I wish I’d had Alex since she was a kitten. She traveled far and changed hands many times before coming to me. She never had a proper diet and maybe she still wouldn’t have had one even if she was with me. I didn’t learn what I did about pet food until it was too late for her. I’d like to think maybe I would have learned about it sooner and maybe she would have had a healthier and longer life. I can do the “what ifs” all I want but it won’t change anything. I can’t get her back and I can’t erase her illnesses and how she died.
By the time she came to me she was obese. I put her on a diet and fed her Iams and Science Diet. I thought I was doing better by her than her previous owners did. She did start to lose weight but she also got very sick. She began throwing up all the time which eventually led to her anorexia and fatty liver disease. No doubt she was sick before I switched foods. I certainly don’t blame it solely on the foods I gave her; but they didn’t help the situation. (These particular foods contain a large amount of grains and by-products). While she was sick I did an enormous amount of research and I found groups and vets online that explained how cats don’t eat grains in the wild; how they’re obligate carnivores. Grains can cause everything in a cat’s system from diabetes, obesity, allergies, food intolerance, to the dreaded IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). Things started to make sense to me but back then it was extremely hard to find grain free cat food.
I embarked on a mission to feed her a grain free diet. She was very sickly at this point but I had to try. Unfortunately the diet change was too little too late. Her system was destroyed and she left me regardless of my efforts. In the seven years since she first got sick I’ve done more research, started my website http://www.ibdkitties.net/, and more grain free products have become available. Many kitties with GI disorders have since been stabilized on a grain free and/or raw food diet and educating others on this subject has become second nature to me. I’ve got two cats that are now five years old and have always eaten grain free since the day I adopted them. After what I went through with Alex, I wanted to start them off right.
If there ever came a day that either one of them were so sick they needed prescription food, or they refuse profusely to eat anything else but food with grains in them; of course I’ll always do what’s best for my kids. But for as long as I can and with a lot of resolve, I’ll feed them a grain free diet. Why? Because I’ve never once seen a cat run into a field to eat the corn; they run into the field to eat the mouse that ate the corn. This is my preference based on what I’ve learned, what I’ve experienced and what I see in front of me. My cats have shiny coats, lots of energy, are a good weight and so far (knock on wood) are very healthy. Will this kind of a diet completely stop illnesses? No. Will it cure any illnesses? No. But next to raw food (which is the ultimate species appropriate feline diet) a grain free diet helps keep them at a proper weight, is low carbohydrate (cats don’t need and all those carbs) and higher in protein (which is what they should be getting).
Why don’t I feed a raw food diet? I’m still trying to. I should have started them on it when they were kittens and they tore into their food. Again, I’m still learning like everyone else. Now, they are much more stubborn. And this must be done slowly and with patience. NEVER let a cat starve because they won’t eat what you want them to. You risk hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) in less than 48 hours of them not getting the proper nutrition; and its life threatening. I don’t know that my cats will ever eat a full raw diet but either way, I’ll continue to try, and in the meantime to feed them grain free. My goal is to keep their digestive tracts working properly, for them to stay at a healthy weight, and to stick around their mom for a very long time.
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