Listening to Your Cat’s Needs
Here’s a story of a cat who was about to fall under the waves of conventional medicine, but was instead saved by a diet change. A change to something that fit her species. A disaster averted by a perceptive owner who said “No more drug insanity! This can be mended with appropriate food!”
Patrice in Australia writes in the comments section, in an earlier article,
I have just taken on a foster cat that was rescued from death row. She was spayed, vaccinated, wormed and given flea and heartworm treatment,(even though we do not have heartworm in this area)
She has had two previous homes in two months and I was told that she was suffering from chronic diarrhea that no-one had been able to correct. One carer had her on vegan Cat food, which consists mainly of soy and corn.
The day before Grace came to me she was due for further vaccines and also antibiotics in an attempt to stop the diarrhea that was occurring within half an hour of every meal. ‘Dr. White Coat’ suggested that if the antibiotics didn’t work cortisone would be the next line of treatment. We requested that no treatment be given that day.
Grace was so hungry, I have fed her a variety of raw meat with probiotics and a reputable brand of ‘Cat Mix’ Multi-Nutrient Formula. After one week her condition is already so much better, her fur is becoming shiny and the diarrhea has stopped.
I have been a Vegetarian for 30 years and I also found it hard to give my cats meat but they are ‘true carnivores’ and deserve to have a diet that will not only sustain them but set the groundwork for excellent health, wellbeing and longevity.
I have seen so many cats suffering health problems due to the modern day invention of ‘dry cat kibble’. As someone said: ‘If you don’t want to feed a cat a species appropriate diet, then get a rabbit or a guinea pig’.”
On Feeding Who’s in Front of You
Patrice rightly set her own dietary preferences aside (long term vegetarianism) and fed Grace food appropriate to her species: a water conserving, obligate carnivore.
And magic happened.
The magic of recovery with proper “fuel” in the form of food aligned with her species.
As I’ve written earlier, even the healthiest kibble is not appropriate food for the cats in your life. It doesn’t fit. And Texas Ray showed us what a difference it made to get off “health food kibble” and dig into real food.
Imagine if Grace had landed with a caretaker who simply blindly followed Dr. WhiteCoat’s recommendations:
- More vaccinations (immune system destined to further confusion).
- More antibiotics (immune system loss, further gut upset from killing beneficial flora).The final straw, if the above didn’t work (which hadn’t to date, and showed no sign of working in the future):
- Steroids (pure suppressive therapy, which, while suppressing the inflammation everywhere in Grace’s body, would also suppress her immune response, and could set her up for diabetes)
No, don’t do this, please. That’s such a stretch of putting human values on another species that I cringe whenever I hear those two words in the same sentence. We shouldn’t even go there.
Luckily, I’ve never seen a cat fed a vegan diet. But my colleagues have, and the outcomes haven’t been good:
I had an assistant some years ago, and her husband and she were staunch vegans and animal rights people. …They had several cats and dogs and tried to feed them vegetarian. I don’t even think vegan. And the animals looked terrible. Dry dry coats, dandruff, itchy, not healthy. Finally I got them to change the food and what a difference it made.
– Don Hamilton, DVM
I’ve worked with a few clients whose dogs were vegan. They all had, or developed, various skin, coat and gum issues. In two cases, resolved with the addition of a few organic local eggs a week, and some fish oil. No other changes. The only vegan cat I saw was pretty messed up until put on a balanced raw meat diet, everything resolved and needed very little homeopathy after.
– Anne C. Hermans, DVM
I had clients who went vegan and did the same for their dogs. Constant unrelenting otitis and smelly gross skin.
– Jessica Levy, DVM
So, even dogs, who’ve adapted much more to our starchy diets and are far more omnivorous, have had issues with vegetarian diets, let alone vegan ones.
Is it possible to feed cats vegan? It may be. I just don’t think it’s a responsible move. Better to take in a rabbit or guinea pig, at Patrice suggested earlier.
When Diet Does Make a Difference
I pointed out earlier that sometimes a natural diet just doesn’t go far enough to cure chronic disease. So be it, but Grace’s example shows what’s possible.
Her chronic diarrhea clearly resolved and her coat became shiny in a mere week of a diet befitting her species. And she’d been through the “steer in a chute” brand of veterinary medicine, so common to rescue and shelter cats:
- flea pesticides
- even heartworm pesticides
So, the bottom line that I think we can learn here is this:
Never shirk on diet. Make it the best, most species appropriate you can. Odds are, you’ll do a whole lot of good for that waif in your care.
And, if chronic symptoms remain, after all your careful efforts, get a veterinary homeopath on board (see the AVH list on that page).
Have you seen similar miracles in the animals you’ve taken in who’ve been down on their luck? Tell us in the comments. Your experience helps others to do good things for their animals.
That’s what this Vital Animal community is all about. Knowledge is power. Share yours, and help others help their animals.