What to feed cats with feline IBS, diarrhea, or frequent hairballs

UPDATED 2015 (Radcat added; minor updates)

I’m hearing from more and more cat lovers who are desperate to help their cats resolve colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or disease (IBD) symptoms, such as:

  • diarrhea or loose stools
  • constipation
  • frequent hairballs or vomiting
  • digestive reactions to certain foods (e.g., food allergies)

If you can relate, I’ve got good news to share.

I just saw a terribly stubborn case of feline irritable bowel symptoms healed through natural means. In a series of posts starting with this one, I’ll share everything helpful I learned from that case and other research.

I’ll start by doing my best to answer: “What natural food options might help my cat with these symptoms?”

But first, important: I am not a vet. Get a vet involved in your cat’s condition. Sometimes these are symptoms of intestinal or gastrointestinal cancer – and you want to catch that early.

What are feline IBD and IBS?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an inflammatory immune-reaction syndrome in the gastrointestinal tract. We know healing has been possible for many humans and cats, but the roots of the condition have not been well understood, so doctors have not had reliable solutions.

The symptoms are regular bouts of diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting. You may also see mucous or blood in the stool. In some cats the only symptom is weight loss. Some may stop using the litter box because it reminds them painful experiences.

IBS has similar symptoms to IBD, and I believe it’s a precursor to IBD. The difference is that IBD is so inflammatory that it causes damage to the intestines. Besides making everyone miserable, the scary thing about IBD is it can be deadly because:

  • a cat can actually starve from a very serious case of IBD
  • some experts believe the inflammation it causes can lead to the intestinal lymphoma which has become so common in cats 

By the way, sometimes what you think are frequent hairballs are actually IBD symptoms. If you have a cat who gags or throws up hairballs more than once a month, consider it suspicious.

Natural cat food picks for cats with IBS/IBD symptoms

Mainstream vet medicine often puts cats with IBS/IBD symptoms on manufactured “hypoallergenic” foods like Hill’s Z/D, but these foods are often high in carbohydrates (fattening) and low in quality protein. And according to expert Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM, these foods don’t always work either – at least not for long.

In her book, Your Cat: Simple New Secrets for a Longer, Stronger Life, Dr. Hodgkins explains that for mild cases of IBD, grain-free canned diets are helpful.

For tougher cases, she prescribes a grain-free raw diet of ground meat with cat-appropriate vitamin and essential-fatty-acid supplements mixed in – she refers to this as a “the most complete cure.”

I agree with her on both accounts. And I have also noticed (and know as a human nutritionist)  that simple foods are the best for digestive issues. I have seen cats that do not do well with foods that have a lot of ingredients, even fruits and vegetables. (More on those in a moment.)

For more on grains and the feline digestive track, please see this post by Fern Crist, DVM and this article by Dr. Becker

Therefore…

First choice 

My first choice of natural cat foods from my “Best” list with the most simple, digestive-friendly formulas are:

  • Radcat raw*. This one is my (and our cats’) personal favorite because it doesn’t include ground bones, which are difficult for some cats (like ours) to digest. Very high quality.
  • Hound & Gatos canned. Good quality, simple ingredients. Several different formulas. Also available at Pet Food Express stores.
  • Feline Pride raw*. Nice, clean raw food; recommended by Dr. Hodgkins. You can order it online if you can’t get it from a local store
  • Pure Vita canned. Simple ingredients, grain-free, low carb.
  • Tiki Cat Koolina Luau and Puka Puka Luau canned. Very simple recipes, but the only option is chicken.

Primal’s raw cat foodhas also significantly helped cats with IBD. The formulas are not as simple as Feline Pride or Radcat (it has more vegetables and fiber), but Primal is easier to buy locally, so if it works for your cat, great!

*Note that, due to slightly higher bacteria risk, raw may not be ideal for cats with cancer or otherwise severely weakened immunity.

Often IBD cats develop an intolerance for common meats they eat regularly, like chicken. 

They may do better with less common ones like duck and venison. Feline Pride offers some helpful options there because they have a variety of meats to choose from. Hound & Gatos have a variety as well. Primal now has a Pheasant formula.

In a pinch

If those foods don’t work for you for some reason, you could dip into the 2nd choice brands that offer other types of meats in the most simple formulas, like Life’s Abundance Instinctive Choice cannedBecause Life’s Abundance only sells by the case, online, I suggest getting their trial size first, but most cats seem to love it.

If you want to feed raw food to constipated cats

With some cats, constipation is made worse by foods with ground bones – most raw recipes have ground bones in them. When that’s the case, then you could make homemade raw food with one of these complete supplements.

Please keep in mind that cats can die without enough of certain key nutrients so you need to follow very specific instructions if you want to start a homemade raw diet.

My current supplement favorites for making homemade cat food:

  • Feline Instincts Supplement: They provide a recipe and nutrient supplement, which makes it easy to make sure your cat gets what they need. For constipated cats, I recommend the “No Bones About It” version.
  • Alnutrin Supplement: A good supplement and recipe for bone-free homemade cat food. You can request a free sample here, and they include the simple recipe.

Homemade food caveats: Other than getting the nutrients wrong, the other risk with making bone-free food you don’t grind yourself is that the meat may have unhealthy bacteria. I’ve been told not to use packaged meat raw, and that even fresh ground meat from a butcher may not be pure enough. Fresh unground meat is a safer choice. You could also cook the meat and then add supplement afterward. (You have to add the supplement after cooking, otherwise cooking will degrade critical nutrients, like taurine.) Alas, cooked meat is less digestible than raw meat.

What about vegetables? Do cats need some fiber?

For many IBS or IBD cats, the fiber in vegetables only causes more trouble—with one exception: for constipated cats who respond well to cooked pumpkin or squash, a little pumpkin or squash are good to add to their food because it prevents constipation.

I also like pumpkin and squash because they don’t contain disaccharides, which feed the bad bacteria.

Disacchar-what? Basically, vegetables that are high in disaccharides much more readily feed the bad bacteria at the root of inflammatory bowel conditions. This means cats with digestive trouble should avoid high-disaccharide ingredients like:

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • FOS (fructooligosaccharides) – a fiber “prebiotic”

What if no food on earth is working out?!

Sometimes a new food works for a while, and then the symptoms flare up again. Such was the case with my friend’s cat.

This happens with tough cases of IBS or IBD.  First, I would stick with whatever simple foods cause the least reaction. Secondly, I’d assume a deeper healing of the gut is needed – that was the missing piece that solved my friend’s cat’s problems!

Stay tuned for that story in an upcoming post (update: it’s here). In the mean time, here’s a hint: seek help from customer service at Vitality Science. They are amazing and will get your cat on the gut healing path I’m talking about.

What’s your experience? 

I welcome your cat’s story here – we can all learn from each other!

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227 Responses to What to feed cats with feline IBS, diarrhea, or frequent hairballs

  1. Elizabeth Botvin October 18, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    Our cat has severe diarrhea. Her sister was dying of KD and I was feeding them both KD food. Maybe coincidental, but I trace her gut issues to that KD food. I am feeding her RAWZ, and she loves Fancy Feast, which I have been supplementing with FOS, which after reading your column I will stop. It looks like a crime scene in her liter, but she behaves normally. Any suggestions? No parasites, no thyroid issues.

  2. Antonio Cardenas A April 19, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    Greetings from Ecuador, I have two tuxedo cats 14 y.o. cat with IBD. I been dealing with the problem the last 8 months. Started with chronic vomiting, weight lost and diarrhea. After visiting several vets my cats was misdiagnosed with Feline leukemia. I decided to make my own research on the internet and found out about Inflammatory Bowel disease. I knew instantly all the symptoms matched. I decided to change their diet and started cooking at home; a simple 5-minute boiled whole chicken including liver and insides; deboned and serve with the broth. Started with small portions every 4 hours. Like the hand of God all the nasty vomiting stopped and my cats loved the food. It was a good soft diet for the first week but I knew it wasn’t enough nutrients on it. I decided to look for a complement at local pet stores (not many choices in Ecuador). I found a dry kibble made especially for feline sensitive stomachs. I started adding that to the home cooked meal at proportion 50/50. Big success! After 8 months, my cats have gained weight, no vomiting, no diarrhea and they seem to be in good shape. It is very hard to be there to feed them every 4 hours even during the night but it worth it. The only thing I cannot control is their anxiety for eating. They seem to be hungry all the time. I feel I got everything under control, except that I will need to travel soon for 10 days. I wonder if I can put them into the dry kibble as long as I am out of town. But what if they get sick again? Anyway, thank you for letting me share my story. I love my cats like they were my children.

    • Gloria Todd April 19, 2017 at 11:02 am #

      Do you have someone to come and care for your cats while you are away? If so, you can make a good supply of the homemade food, and freeze portions of it (enough for more than ten days, in case your trip takes longer). I suggest that you freeze it in freezer containers or bags, enough for 2-3 days at a time, so one can be thawing out in the fridge overnight for the next day(s). It should not stay in the fridge for more than 2-3 days to avoid spoilage. I, too, have a cat with IBD (over a year) and am cooking at home for her, too. I think I cook more for her than I do for myself. You can also look at http://www.catinfo.org for a homemade recipe using raw meat, but I prefer to cook it lightly, since she doesn’t seem to tolerate raw meat very well.

  3. KAREN Hitchner February 27, 2017 at 7:14 am #

    Our IBS/IBD kitty story.
    Just came across this site. Looks terrific ! Last April we acquired a drop -off ,
    ( someone dropped her in our yard/driveway )very sick, emaciated, starving, and dying small black/white female kitty. She was parasite infected inside and out. We kept her on the porch in a a dog crate for a week . We have 5 other kitties inside/outside. We fed her dry food/water and watched her. She was suffering from severe diarrhea and very dehydrated and in much pain all day long. a lot of gas too. We decided to vet her, since she appeared to be so very friendly to us and the other kitties. I hoped to adopt her out when well as we have done many times. Vet wormed her , inoculated her and sent her home. The pain, gas and severe diarrhea persisted even after cleaned of internal parasites. She came indoors , but had to remain in the cage, because of the mess and constant clean-up and disinfecting of my kitchen floor.
    I researched for hours and hours for a food to feed her and spent $$$$$ in the process. A wholistic vet was very helpful in guiding me toward appropriate feeding choices too. Most vets are not taught proper nutrition for pets in Vet school. They are taught by pet food reps who come to the college and push their food products. So Ive heard. She is a petite 6 lb girl , so she didn’t eat much. Dry kibble was out of the question. I decided to feed her cooked chicken and then turkey for several months and froze the portions. She wasn’t well, so I added chicken/turkey canned cat food, knowing it would hurt her, but I had NO choice. She needed the supplements it added to her diet.. She tolerated it somewhat. Still loose bowels though. Then realized she must be allergic to chicken/grains. Severe itching also plagued her constantly. Her BMs were still loose , but not solid. I came across Natures Variety Instinct Limited ingredient canned turkey and ordered a case. I ordered many other products on a trial basis, but nothing made her feel better. We cannot afford raw, as we are feeding 6 kitties ( one senior, one struggling with obesity, and others )Her BMs were a little more solid for several months. The itching continued though. I tried NV Instinct LID canned rabbit after reading good reviews. Pricey and DID hurt our budget, but seemed to be a little better and NO itching, but very stinky BMs in the litter box. Next tried NV Instinct LID canned Lamb. It is rather dry and sticky so I add a little water to make it more appealing to her and she gets her H2O. By now, I had discovered slippery elm syrup and RXvitamins RX Biotic probiotic and added these daily after much trials concerning the dosage. She now gets 1/4 tsp slippery elm syrup with small amount of food in AM, then 1 hour later with her morning feeding , she gets her probiotics added So does everyone else with morning feeding. She must be fed 4-6 times a day, small portions too work well with her. Also, we must keep the others food away from her. She cannot eat anything else or symptoms return. immediately. BINGO. Solid BMs in the litter box, NO itching and NO stink !!!!! Thank Thank God she isn’t picky ! NO pain, NO gas, NO more diarrhea. All of this took me 8-10 months to achieve all on my own and much research. We have had her here for 11 months now. She is a very happy , always playful, and ever loving indoor kitty named Cinderella.
    thanks for reading. 🙂

    • Gloria Todd February 27, 2017 at 8:53 am #

      Thank you for sharing your experience w/ your little kitty. I have an older kitty w/ IBD, as revealed by sonogram. It must be mostly upper GI, since she did not have diarrhea, just vomiting. The vet recommend open surgery to do bowel biopsies to determine if it was lymphoma, but I felt that she would not survive the surgery, because of her age and extreme weight loss. In the beginning of this illness, she started w/ vomiting hairballs, then on to vomiting food and water (drinks a lot of water, typical of IBD). She is currently on canned food, NV mostly and she likes the rabbit and turkey the best. I also have to give her cooked turkey and/or unsalted canned Alaskan salmon just to get her to eat. Since cats w/ IBD are chronically deficient in vitamin B12, I give her B12 injections at home, starting w/ weekly, for 3-4 weeks, then bi-weekly. It really perks up her appetite. I also give her probiotics (Bene-Bac…daily for 7 days, then about every other day) and am trying to transition her to a raw diet, but am making it at home. It is more affordable that way. I am currently using My Natural Cat powdered mix which I add to partially cooked lean meat (chicken thighs, lean beef, liver, chicken hearts). It you make it at home, it is cheaper than buying the ready frozen ones in the stores. I freeze it in little globs on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for an hour, then bag it and date it in freezer bags. My male cat really likes it and my female kitty w/ IBD is starting to like it. Both are 13 y/o and I hope to have them around for many more years.

      • Gloria Todd February 27, 2017 at 9:04 am #

        Just wanted to add one more comment. Whatever food you feed your cats, please read labels, since it seems that many canned cat foods contain carageenan (used as a thickener). It has been linked to intestinal inflammation. I read every lable carefully to make sure this is not included in the ingredients.

        • Lynette Inocente Gebler March 11, 2017 at 11:18 am #

          I never heard about carageenan, thank you!

          • Gloria Todd March 11, 2017 at 11:39 am #

            You’re very welcome. Blessings to you and your kitties.

  4. drumshadower January 23, 2017 at 11:00 am #

    My cat Blinxie has always been a very small, petite cat, so when at 13-14 years of age, she stated looking a little too bony and was continually licking fur from her back legs, belly and seemed generally, “itchy,” I did some general things like de-worming her but when going to the vet and she was diagnosed with IBS, he gave us the prednisone and wished us luck. Both vet and I knew this wasn’t a cure all and I knew that I had to get down & dirty with the internet as I’m generally a natural foods & medicine person. I discovered this wonderful blog like everyone else and tried the raw food thing but think it was too severe of a jump for my cat as she wasn’t completely interested and threw up the food itself. So next I turned to the Vitality Science products and introduced her to the PetFlora, SuperFood, Super Pet Enzyme and her whole world turned around. I would say within a month possibly less, all of her hair had grown back, I’d never really seen her look “fat,” and just a stunning looking cat. As the stools were still a little loose, I invested in the Luxolite from Vitality Science. I even did videos on the fact that inspired others. However, now 3-4 months into her better health, she’s gotten itchy again and has begun the routine of licking hair off of her legs and belly and feel we’ve missed something. I keep reading about “the backing off” phase but not sure what that means or if its relative to overall IBS or what. My cat never had vomiting or diarrhea associated nor does she now, but we’re definitely on a backslope moment. I’ve sent an email and put in a call to Vitality Science but if anyone has some advice here, we’d be grateful because she had “beaten” it for a good stretch.

    • Les January 23, 2017 at 11:18 pm #

      Hi drumshadower, I’d recommend joining both or either of these Facebook groups; “Raw feeding for IBD cats” or “IBD Kitties” (this one has owner who feed commercial food as well as raw). I’ve joined both, although my cat has a mildly sensitive tummy or just very low level IBD, these groups have helped immensely. In particular the Raw Feeding for IBD Cats page. Hope that helps xox

      • drumshadower January 23, 2017 at 11:25 pm #

        I see there are other “night owl” cal lovers up right now! LOL! Thanks so much and I will check them out immediately and appreciate your cat concerns and humanity :>

        • Les January 23, 2017 at 11:29 pm #

          Hi drumshadower. Haha, it’s ok. It’s only 6:30pm where I am. The raw feeding group was started by the founders of EZ complete, which I believe Gail mentioned earlier. It is a meat completer and makes raw feeding easy. I use it for my cat’s dinners, while her breakfasts are canned – so you don’t have to go complete raw if it’s not working (my kitty gets constipated on complete raw- hence the canned for breakfast). The founders are very very knowledgable having hone through many illnesses with their own brood of cats. Hope it helps 🙂

          • drumshadower January 23, 2017 at 11:34 pm #

            Oh I see! Well, funny how we assume its night everywhere sometimes! Cats nocturnal after all! I’m already taking a peek at the EZ site and appreciate the pointers and references and just positive cat vibes!

          • Les January 23, 2017 at 11:37 pm #

            Hi Drumshadower, yes it’s quite good – just need to introduce it very very slowly, particularly for an IBD/sensitive cat. It’s the only way I get my kitty to chew chunks and to feed raw without her getting constipated! Argh Cats!

  5. Gail Anderson January 22, 2017 at 11:07 am #

    People, my 10 year old male tabby has been diagnosed with IBS.
    I gave him pure food (0 grain,0 additives) and added pure pumpkin.
    I also have given him 1/2 tspn of diatomaceous earth mornings and
    evenings. He now only vomits once day in the early am.
    I suspect that his stomach is empty during the late evening
    and becomes irritated. He vomits exactly at 5 am every morning.
    Any suggestions would be welcome.

    • Gail Bohan January 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

      Do you feed him right before bed? Does he have access to food throughout the night? I have a non ibd/ibs not who if he doesn’t eat enough will vomit as well. You are correct with you assumption of empty stomach = acid buildup = vomit

  6. Tracy November 28, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

    My symba cat has bad diarrhea which he cant.make.it to his potty box fast enough….this comes with extreme pain and alot of crying out on his part…..have got him on pro one sensitive and sometimes it doesnt work…..hes lost so much wieght and i cry when he has these episodes…..vets say its stress or food allergies…..no tests were done…..need to gind him some relief and a cure for his ailment…..any suggestions?

  7. Gail Bohan November 15, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Everyone – If you are on facebook I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you to join the groups “IBDKitties” (one word) and “raw feeding for IBD Kitties”. The amount of info and knowledge on these pages is unparalleled. If not on facebook at least read thru http://www.ibdkitties.net
    Some top ideas for all of you from these pages:
    B12 Shots – if kitty is deficient they will not absorb their food
    Human Probiotics and Saccharomyces Boulardii – You can read about both on the facebook page and website
    Raw Food – Has helped SOOOO MANY kitties – Rad Cat is my fav.

    Our foster now part of the family, came in with FULL BLOWN LIQUID poo. Combination of prednisolone, B12, raw food, cooked chicken with Food Fur Life (a food mixer you can find on facebook and the internet) has helped her TREMENDOUSLY. She cannot free feed hard food even though she loves it, rips her gut up 🙁
    Her poos are BEAUTIFUL (if that can be said of poo 🙂

    Please Please for your sake and your kitties check out the references above.
    I am not taking anything away from this page but the above are resources no IBD kitty parent can be without. I know from experience.

    Peace and Love to ALL OF YOU

    • Brandy January 5, 2017 at 6:25 pm #

      Thank you so much! This will be a great resource as I have spent a lot of time researching this new diagnosis for my boy. I can’t get enough information. My boy is rather picky and recently won’t eat anything but fish. I’d like to try another food. Is your lady a picky eater?

      • Gail Bohan January 6, 2017 at 4:47 am #

        Hi Brandy my girl is semi picky. She loves everything she can’t eat. We make her chicken breast and diced it up to and mix it with foodfurlife it’s a powder that can be mixed with raw or cooked meat. It has all the nutrients she needs. The company was founded by the two women who run the raw feeding for ibd kitties Facebook page
        We also offer fancy feast classic flavors of beef and yes fish which I know isn’t the best but she eats. Any food with gravy is bad for her apparently it’s has gluten.
        Good luck

        • Brandy January 15, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

          Thank you so much! I will look into the foodfurlife, as I have read that in many posts. I have found I am on the ibdkitties.net daily…sometimes even hourly. All of the information there and on the Facebook site has been my saving grace. I’m willing to try anything to help Buddy feel better. Again, thank you so much!

          • Les January 15, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

            I use EZ from foodfurlife too. Slow transition as my kitty is sensitive but now she has it for most of her fingers and no more constipation issues worth trying to balance raw with bones. Very simple to use instead of purchasing and trying to balance all supplements & offal.

          • Gail January 16, 2017 at 6:22 am #

            That is GREAT Brandy that you are looking at the facebook and website.

            Hoping Buddy gets better.

  8. Kristie November 11, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    I ordered venison rad cat that was hard to get my cat won’t touch it. He’s got explosive diarrhea blood lost weight been giving him rabbit but no help than I found this site. What can I do to entice him to eat this???? Please I don’t want my cat to die. The vet was useless

  9. Liz October 5, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    I have a 10 week old kitten that I took in from someone else. They told me he uses the cat box but since I’ve had him he doesn’t. He’s had diahrea all over my house. I came home one day with my kids and as soon as I walked in the door the smell hit you. 6 piles of diahrea. I’ve caught him in the act yesterday and immediately picked him up and put him in the cat box. He pees in it, he never poops in it. I need help what do I do about this? He’s seeing a vet tomorrow but in the meantime what should I do to stop him from pooping everywhere.

    • ANGELA October 5, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

      Hi Liz
      get a second box. Some cats like to separate poop from pee. But his diiarhea might come too fast for him to make it to the box

  10. Alexandra E July 31, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

    I have been having the same problem, my cat is about 14 yrs old, used to be 15+ lbs (not fat, just big) and now he is down to 7.5 – I have paid for every test known to man and they cannot find out what is wrong with him; even steroids only help for 24 hours at best (although the first time they worked great for almost a month). All your success stories give me hope, I’m going to try some of these brands and see if I can find the “magic potion” too! Thank you!

    • Claudia August 25, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

      Our 10 year old Maine coon cat has been through the mill- vomiting, diaherra , conspiation , enlarged heart . Like yourself we knocked on every vet/ every test going . In the end we found a WONDERFUL holistic vet who saved our cat’s life . Please contact Dr.Nick Thompson . His website is holisticvet.co.uk

      His email is nickthompson@holisticvet.co.uk

      Do not give up !

      • sofia jonsson December 27, 2016 at 2:15 am #

        Hi,got a british short hair 4 yrs old, suspecting she got IBD had diaherra for over 2 months. How did Nick Thompson help your cat? Thank you.

  11. Vicki July 19, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    My 19 year old kitty has battled IBD for several years. I had all but given up throwing money away on treatments and unappealing foods recommended by his vet. I’ve spent years dealing with explosive diarrhea and vomiting. After reading your review, I decided to give the Hounds and Gatos brand a try. Raw diets weren’t an option as he is a grazer…I now have tried all the flavor offerings to test whether my boy will eat it and if it helps with his potty issues. I am so relieved to share that the lamb flavor was the magic potion! He is experiencing his first solid stools in years! I cried the first time I discovered it was working. He appears to be putting on weight and instead of exploding several times a day, he has one or two mostly normal bm’s a 24 hr period. Thank you so much for your guidance. I know he is so much more comfortable and this fur mommy is thrilled beyond words!

  12. Scott June 27, 2016 at 7:27 am #

    Hey guys…follow up, I started giving my cat fancy feast moist KITTEN food in the morning and the night to keep her hydrated, as well as Royal Canin Veterinary diet Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP (amazon or your vet). Kind of pricey on this, I think $50 for a 7.7lb bag, BUT since switching over to these 2, there is no more vomiting, and the diarrhea has stopped completely now for4 weeks!! My cat looks better, runs around again, and went from 4.8lbs to 6.4lbs!! After I thought there was no end in sight, This has done it. I recommend this, I promise, you will see an improvement after a couple days, so don’t quit if its not within 24 hours, again, this will do the trick!!

    • Nanxy October 20, 2017 at 8:17 pm #

      Hi Scott what were symptoms and what flavor fancy feast?

  13. Jennifer Morris June 26, 2016 at 5:51 am #

    Please help, I have a 15 year old bruiser who went from 16 lbs. to about 8 lbs now and skin and bones. He lost most of the weight in the last 6-8 months. First he had labs with the only abnormally of high esophils blood count, indicating either tape worms or lymphoma. His kidney, liver and thyroid were all good. After tx for tape worms he continued to lose weight and the vet said food allergy. I tried every brand of food, for cats with gastro problems and he continued to lose weight and just seems lackluster and not interested in eating. After more weight loss and more research I called the vet this week and said I want an ultrasound. I am in the medical field and I don’t want my pet to die because he is not being treated as best as necessary. Initial ultrasound showed no lymphoma but some fluid around one kidney. Needle biopsy was done and cytology report came back negative as did of lymphoma.The vet put him on antibiotics as a attempt to fix things. I am still waiting for rest of reports. He just doesn’t seem to have much appetite, doesn’t even smell food I offer, he seems to like only gravy, by the way, all his fangs have been pulled but one, so I don’t think it is a dental problem. I am desperate to try and save a family member who appears to be dying for no apparent reason other then imflammatory bowel syndrome. What do you suggest? If vet said he has cancer then I would have accepted and made him comfortable, but I feel he is slowly dying from something that should be able to be fixed. I had a cat in the past who had to have a peg tube and I WILL not do that again. Thanks so much for any feedback. I have had the same vet for all my cats for 15 years and have complete faith in him, he is at a loss too.

    • Clara Diaz June 26, 2016 at 8:21 am #

      Hey Jennifer,
      Recently I went through the same thing you are going through. I was at my wits end, but I never stop searching for a solution. I would recommend acupuncture, yes accupuncture saved my cats life. I also change her food, I stopped feeding her chicken and fish. Went to a single based protein. I feed her a high fatty brand called Mauri–Wild Brushtail Entree which she loves and is still on this food. We took her off of dry food, since it was very hard on her. I was told by her Dr.that dry soaks up all the moisture in their stomach. She was withering and was skin and bones. We kept her on vitality Science probiotics, steroids and Acupuncture. With all of these changes she is back to get normal weigh and a happy little girl. It’s my hope that you find a good solution for your Brusier. 💞💖😻

    • Gloria February 7, 2017 at 11:05 am #

      I have a cat with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and possibly lymphoma. Diagnosis was made by ultrasound. Lymphoma could only be diagnosed w/ surgery, and since she is very frail (has lost 4 lbs) and is 13 y/o, I decided to not to have the surgery done. Worried that she may not survive it, and if she does have lymphoma, vet said survival is less than 1 year. So, I have started giving her vitamin B12 shots (perks up her appetite), (250 mcg.) once a week for 4-6 weeks then tapering down to perhaps every 2-3 weeks, eliminating chicken from her diet (in case she is allergic to it), and giving her a probiotic gel, Bene-Bac daily. The vet also has her on Flagyl (which is not only effective for things such as guardia, but helps reduce bowel inflammation, as well. Also feeding her only freshly cooked turkey, un-salted canned salmon (sparingly), and high quality canned foods that contain no carageenan (causes bowel inflammation). She now rarely vomits and I think she may have put on a little weight (will know when she goes in to the vet for a weight check this week). She seems to feel much better and I am considering transitioning her to a raw diet if she will eat it. One holistic vet said that raw food “could kill her”, so I am scheduling a consultation with another holistic vet on that issue.
      To reiterate: B12 shots, Flagyl (low-dose once daily), pro-biotic, freshly cooked meat, good quality canned food with no carageenan, and a little canned un-salted alaskan salmon.

  14. Madeline June 21, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    I was happy to read this post. I’ve been battling IBS with my cat for the last 3 years. The vet prescribed budesonide 1mg daily which came from a specialty pharmacy. He took that for a little more than a year and then was weaned. I also add the contents of one full Metamucil capsule to each 3 oz serving of his food. All of that seemed to help along with identifying the proteins that seem to aggravate the problem. Chicken and turkey are definitely out for my cat. I tried salmon, venison, beef and rabbit — and for my cat, only beef and rabbit are keepers. I give him Instinct Rabbit and Purina One Classic Beef pate. And he gets lots of steak treats (which I sear on each side before feeding. So it’s red on the inside but cooked on the outside.) I feel bad because he loves dry food but it always seems to be a problem, even if there isn’t any evidence of problematic meat ingredients. I’d like to find a good recipe for making healthy dry food — something without too much carbohydrate and something that he’d like to eat.

    • Gloria February 7, 2017 at 10:49 am #

      Madeline, I realize that it has been several months since your post on needing to find a good dry food for your cat. Although dry food is not generally recommended for cats with IBS, may I suggest Orijen? Their dry food seems to be much better quality than others. They have several varieties and most cats really seem to like it. It is usually only sold in small pet food stores or online.

  15. allisonjaynes June 18, 2016 at 8:21 am #

    Hi everyone,
    I’ve had great success with isolating one uncommon protein – such as beef – and feeding only that. It’s tricky since even so-called ‘beef’ canned food often has chicken liver or other animal protein in it, so you have to be quite careful. Hound and Gatos, and Instinct are two great brands with ‘clean’ beef options. There are some others, too, for variety. For treats, Orijen makes an all-beef dehydrated dog treat that the cats love. I haven’t tried raw foods yet…

    Squishy was vomiting almost daily for a while. It was very scary (not to mention messy). On the new diet, she hasn’t vomited once in the past 4 months! She is still underweight and eating too much without gaining weight, so I might try more gut-healing supplements. But I wanted to share this story for others’ benefit.

  16. Joann T June 11, 2016 at 11:23 pm #

    My 10 year old male tabby cat was having problems with vomiting. After undergoing an ultrasound, it was determined that he had IBS. The vet said he needed a hypoallergenic cat food, but my cat did not like the hypoallergenic cat food and would not eat it. I had a quandary on my hand. Per the vet’s advice, I gave my cat a quarter of a Pepsid AC. Since my cat did not eat the hypoallergenic food, I was trying to give him a high protein, low fat, low carbohydrate food. My cat would have good days, but mostly bad days. After reading several blogs about cats with IBS, the common factor that seemed to appear to help cats with IBS was feeding them a raw food diet. I decided to give raw cat food a try. I started with Chicken RadCat Raw Cat Food since a lot of sights rated it number one. I’m happy to say that after one week, my cat has stopped vomiting and I no longer give him Pepsid AC. He no longer is withdrawn and goes outside now and plays. Instead of sleeping all day under the foot stool, he is outside playing and starting sleeping in his cat tree. I tried several cat food that were high in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates, but nothing seemed to work. I was dealing with this issue for about 8 months. My cat underwent a blood test and x-rays that came out negative. It wasn’t until he had the ultrasound that confirmed his problem of IBS. I plan to change his diet every 3-4 months so that he doesn’t develop a problem with the chicken. I found a lot of very useful information from the website healthypets.mercola.com. I know it’s only been 1 week without vomiting, but my cat is now eating and is his normal self. I can only hope he begins to gain the weight he lost. Will keep you updated on his progress.

  17. Tanas Mackay June 2, 2016 at 6:43 am #

    Hi
    I’m from Australia, I am cooking my guys. Hormone free chicken and organic natures gift. However natures gift is no longer supplying or making it. So my boy Tommy was constipated before then recently a bout of the runs, with a bit of blood at the end. So atm I’ve done a broth with rice lamb chicken and it has completely settled. This is short term lots of work and I can’t find anywhere in Aus for 1. Supplement to add and 2. Organic tin food. I’m not keen on them eating dry they where on a vets formula for breakie.
    At a loss, as he seems to flare up occasionally with diarrhoea if I give other tin food. Now keeping a food and toilet diary.
    His bloods from the vets very good and races around silly still. He’s now nearly 11. It’s ironic as this all started after my 16 year old male passed last September. Stress maybe.
    Any websites that ship to Australia would be helpful. Thanks Tanas

    • Les November 28, 2016 at 1:22 am #

      Try EZ Complete from foodfurlife.com They also have a Facebook group called ‘Raw feeding for IBD Cats’. They have some great tips.

  18. Dara J Klatsky June 1, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    My cat has been having bloody stools/diarrhea for 6 months now. His sister has bouts of blood in her stool but not as often as him. He has it every time he goes.-not always diarrhea but always blood. The vet said its colitis- he was on antibiotics for a week and the blood stopped, once he was off the antibiotics it came back. Ive been trying different foods to see what helps. The vet suggested I give him pumpkin or metamusol. Ive been giving him pumpkin but that doesnt seem to help. He has no problem eating anything. He eats whatever he can get his paws on. I’m trying to find a food that will help with this. They get wet and dry food in the amount of calories they should consume to maintain a healthy weight daily. Everytime I switched food it was over a weeks time to help them get used to it and ween out the old food.
    Ive had him on:

    Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken in Chicken Consomme
    Tiki Cat Koolina Luau Chicken with Egg in Chicken Consomme Canned
    Redbarn Naturals Chicken Stew Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
    BFF Tuna & Pumpkin Valentine Recipe in Gravy Canned Cat Food(they get this about twice a week)

    Orijen Cat & Kitten Dry Cat Food
    Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Chicken Meal Formula Dry Cat Food
    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food, 2-lb bag

    Please help!

    • Rob June 7, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

      I’ve tried every food you listed plus more. I previously had her on vet diets and they did improve the situation, but didn’t resolve it. I know how you feel. I’ve finally had luck with Blue Basics Turkey recipe (I imagine duck would be good also). I’ve had the first formed normal/dark looking stool in months. I highly recommend giving it a shot. I know it’s dry .. but it’s definitely working for now and once she is stabilized I might venture into their wet choices for this as well.

    • Shazzacanuk March 13, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

      I had the same problem. I work at a pet food store and tried all the pricey stuff like Orijen and nothing worked. Although I am not a fan of Science Diet, the one thing that has calmed my cat’s GI issues down has been Science Diet sensitive skin and stomach.

    • Tracey Budge April 17, 2017 at 2:09 am #

      I have a kitten who has IBS. I tried everything, including the products from Vitality Science for treatment resistant diarrhea and vomiting. Finally I changed him to a raw diet and SUCCESS!! I’ve been using Primal, both the frozen and dehydrated. Murphy LOVES it! It IS expensive, (the large bag of dehydrated venison makes 3Lbs and is
      $43.99 +tax!! (And it only lasts a week). I am now researching recipes I can make myself to cut costs.

      If your feline friend is struggling with tummy troubles this may just solve the problems! And you can also take heart knowing your cat is enjoying exactly what a carnivore is meant to be eating – raw meat! Best of luck!

  19. Scott May 30, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    What kind of raw meat diet? My cat has lost so much weight, and i was giving him moist and dry, but the explosive diarrhea now and the gas was unbearable. Trying to figure something out,I feel sorry for her.

    • Lou October 15, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

      Please try pumpkin canned and human tuna

      • Gloria October 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

        Canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may be given in small amts., perhaps a teaspoon a day. It may be useful if cats need a little fiber but too much will give them diarrhea. I do not recommend canned tuna (human or for cats). Human tuna has too much added salt, also, unless you can find some that has no added salt. It will not do anything to help with IBD, and fish should only be fed occasionally, in small amounts) to cats. As far as raw food, it is difficult to make a completely raw diet from meat purchased from the grocery store. I buy turkey thighs, chicken hearts and chicken livers, using 3 oz of hearts to each 2 lbs. of meat. Cook them lightly and then add the supplements before freezing in small portions. You can find a homemade recipe at http://www.catinfo.org or http://tcfeline.com/original-raw-cat-food-recipe/. You can also purchase supplements pre-made at http://www.foodfurlife.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html. This saves a lot of work by not having to measure out several different supplements each time you make a batch of food.
        I have another cat that eats Rad Cat raw food, and he is doing very well on it. It is sold frozen at the smaller pet food stores. I let it in the fridge until it is starting to thaw (a few hours) but still mostly frozen, and chop it into small portions before refreezing.

        • Susa November 30, 2017 at 3:21 am #

          You have to remember that tuna has a lot of mercury in it as my vet reminded me. Ever people should not eat too much tuna.

        • Susan Bremner November 30, 2017 at 3:46 am #

          Tuna has a lot of mercury in it as my vet reminded me. I have been feeding my 2 cats tuna when I run out of regular cat food but have stopped that. I have 2 manx cats, brother and sister, and I have been struggling with these issues ( diahrrea, blood in it, occasional hairballs) forever. My tiny female has lost weight so the vet said she had IBS/IBD and prescribed prednisolone and Royal Canin Hypoallergenic dry food. This has no meat in it, only rice and soy as well as vitamins. I will try this for a while and then will try some of the suggestions on this page if it doesn’t work. They get dry food and canned food as they have no teeth. Both lost them all through resorption and dental surgery. I just discovered this page yesterday and it is great.

          • karen November 30, 2017 at 5:18 am #

            Susan, If your cat was diagnosed with IBD/IBS , I would recommend an all wet food diet or raw. Most Vets are NOT taught nutrition in vet school. They are taught about food my pet food companies pushing their food. Irritable bowel is just that, an irritated bowel tract. The kibble scratches and grinds all the way throw the intestinal tract ( since cats dont consume much water) of pets who eat this food for a lifetime. Cats dont drink much water in the wild, since they get their water from the raw meat they consume. A cats natural diet should be meat in its natural form, RAW. I feed my IBD kittie Natures Variety Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb, Rabbit, Duck or Turkey. She has an allergy to poultry, so we have to use those sparingly. She does great on the Lamb and Rabbit. The food is pricey, but it is worth it. HOpe this helps.

      • Gloria Todd October 15, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

        Canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may be given in small amts., perhaps a teaspoon once or twice a day. It may be useful if cats need a little fiber but too much will give them diarrhea. I do not recommend canned tuna (human or for cats). Human tuna has too much added salt, also, unless you can find some that has no added salt. It will not do anything to help with IBD, and fish should only be fed occasionally, in small amounts) to cats. As far as raw food, it is difficult to make a completely raw diet from meat purchased from the grocery store. I buy turkey thighs, chicken hearts and chicken livers, using 3 oz of hearts to each 2 lbs. of meat. Cook them lightly and then add the supplements before freezing in small portions. You can find a homemade recipe at http://www.catinfo.org or http://tcfeline.com/original-raw-cat-food-recipe/. You can also purchase supplements pre-made at http://www.foodfurlife.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html. This saves a lot of work by not having to measure out several different supplements each time you make a batch of food.
        I have another cat that eats Rad Cat raw food, and he is doing very well on it. It is sold frozen at the smaller pet food stores. I let it in the fridge until it is starting to thaw (a few hours) but still mostly frozen, and chop it into small portions before refreezing.

      • Gloria Todd October 15, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

        Canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may be given in small amts., perhaps a teaspoon a day. It may be useful if cats need a little fiber but too much will give them diarrhea. I do not recommend canned tuna (human or for cats). Human tuna has too much added salt, also, unless you can find some that has no added salt. It will not do anything to help with IBD, and fish should only be fed occasionally, in small amounts) to cats. As far as raw food, it is difficult to make a completely raw diet from meat purchased from the grocery store. I buy turkey thighs, chicken hearts and chicken livers, using 3 oz of hearts to each 2 lbs. of meat. Cook them lightly and then add the supplements before freezing in small portions. You can find a homemade recipe at http://www.catinfo.org or http://tcfeline.com/original-raw-cat-food-recipe/. You can also purchase supplements pre-made at http://www.foodfurlife.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html. This saves a lot of work by not having to measure out several different supplements each time you make a batch of food.
        I have another cat that eats Rad Cat raw food, and he is doing very well on it. It is sold frozen at the smaller pet food stores. I let it in the fridge until it is starting to thaw (a few hours) but still mostly frozen, and chop it into small portions before refreezing.

      • Gloria October 15, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

        Neither human tuna or canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) will do anything to help IBD.

  20. Simone April 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    Hello, it’s Simone from Brazil. I’ve recently posted about my cat with food ‘allergies’, and it’s been a week now that I’ve taken him off dry food completely. I’m feeding him only raw meat, a recipe made by a vet specialized in nutrition. He has no diarrhea anymore! He went from explosive liquid diarrhea 5 times a day to tiny stools once or twice a day, since his bowels are ‘adjusting’ to this new diet. This is a victory 🙂

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