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View Full Version : Day one of Tiger's kidney diet, and history


Brian Link[_2_]
June 3rd 12, 04:09 AM
I'll explain what we're trying in a bit, but first some background.
Apologies for the long post.

Tiger's a 17-year old Maine-Coonish moggie (long hair, ear-tufts,
tabby markings). My son picked him from a litter of farm cats. He's
always been very healthy.

I thought it was time for a physical, so we brought him in to our
regular vet. The vet was impressed at how well he's doing - coat is
very good, strong, and he's only lost one tooth, which was extracted a
few years ago (he also said that cats Tiger's age usually have lost
25% of their teeth! Can that be right?). He was a little concerned
that he'd lost a pound over the last 3 years.

Unfortunately, our relief was followed by the results of bloodwork,
which showed anemia and elevated BUN and Creatinine levels, which
indicated renal failure. The vet prescribed the moderate-protein,
grain-based diet which is the norm, apparently. I've recently read
Elizabeth Hodgkins' book "Your Cat", which says that's backwards, and
the "kidney cat" should get good quality real meat protein (wet), but
with phosporous managed either by cutting the food with cooked egg
whites (high protein, no phosporous) and/or the addition of phosphate
binder. Tiger's always eaten Wellness wet food.

There was a lot of soul-searching. Hoo-boy was there soul-searching. I
called several vets, most of which echoed our vet's advice. I reached
out to Facebook friends, and many reported good results with the
low-protein approach. A few agreed with Dr. Hodgkins, though.

So I thought, the most conservative approach is to follow the vet's
advice for a while and see if he improves. If not, we go to plan B. We
picked up the prescription food, and gave it to him for a few days. He
bacame quite lethargic, and resumed gulping down water and barfing it
back up. And wow, the farts.. His younger "brother", Louis the Bengal
age 10, wouldn't touch it. I thought: "well, this must be acute kidney
failure", and we should start planning for Tiger's demise.

Then I posted (under google groups) here and asked for advice, and
found sympathy with the good-protein, wet, no-grain strategy.

Finally, I had a long conversation with a "conventional" vet who's
begun to suspect conventional wisdom, and a holistic vet that thinks
conventional wisdom is barbaric. The former almost teared up when he
admitted that before his change of heart, he was basically starving
his kidney cats to death. I also reached out to a local big cat rescue
center that I trust, who said they just feed their big cats with
kidney issues raw meat, with some electrolytes added to their water.

What settled it was a response from an old cat advisor who saw that
post and set out very forcefully that prescription diets are indeed
barbaric. I trust her judgement; she's worked with a lot of cats.
Also, I made the calculation that one makes with terminally ill cats:
is discomfort worth a few extra months of life? As in, sure you can do
chemo for a cat with cancer, but then you've got a miserable little
beast that lives a little longer for your selfishness. Even if the
prescription diet preserves renal function, is it worth it to have a
longer-lived miserable cat?

Today we bought some egg-whites in a carton. My wife cooked 'em up and
put them in a food processor. We got the most expedient real-meat
canned food we could find at the local Chuck & Don's, "Tiki-Cat".
Mixed the food about 80/20 Tiki and cooked egg whites (the thinking
behind egg whites is that they're high-protein but zero phosphorous,
the latter being bad for cats with failing kidneys. You essentially
dilute the phosphorous-heavy meat).

Dunno what I was expecting, but we fed Tiger in the morning, and he
spent the day looking pitiful and sleeping in new, dark places. Aw
crap - he's got some acute kidney disease and will keel over any
minute.

I came home tonight, half-expecting Louis to be hovering over Tiger's
corpse. Instead, Tiger was back to trying to get out of the house to
play, and dancing around and playing with Louis. He's sitting at the
computer with me right now, trying to keep me from typing, like he
used to.

We ordered some phosphate-binders which should arrive on Monday. We'll
play with ratios of binder and egg-whites until we can find out what
they'll both still tolerate. It's probably good for Louis to get the
low-phosphorous diet as well, since 10 years old is already a bit long
in the tooth for a cat, especially a hybrid.

My wife found a petfood store that grinds up whole birds for catfood,
which is another bit of advice from Dr. Hodgkins and other whole-food
proponents. Going there on Monday.

I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see Tiger prancing around
like his old self when I got home. It's still possible that the kidney
disease will eventually do him in, but I've got some hope that he'll
be around for a bit longer. After the cat-ocalypse we had in the '90s,
where we lost 4 cats to FIV, cancer and dogs in the space of 2 years,
it's so wonderful to have two older cats stay with us for so long.

Thanks to those of you who've weighed in! And if anyone has any other
suggestions, I'd be grateful to hear them.

BLink

Rene[_2_]
June 4th 12, 02:50 PM
> My wife found a petfood store that grinds up whole birds for catfood,
> which is another bit of advice from Dr. Hodgkins and other whole-food
> proponents. Going there on Monday.

I admire your persistance and research. Feeding a raw diet is a great
idea; however, it's important to get the right blend of ingredients/
nutrients. There is a great recipe on catinfo.org here:
http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood

Rene

Brian Link[_2_]
June 5th 12, 12:48 AM
On Mon, 4 Jun 2012 06:50:55 -0700 (PDT), Rene >
wrote:

>
>> My wife found a petfood store that grinds up whole birds for catfood,
>> which is another bit of advice from Dr. Hodgkins and other whole-food
>> proponents. Going there on Monday.
>
>I admire your persistance and research. Feeding a raw diet is a great
>idea; however, it's important to get the right blend of ingredients/
>nutrients. There is a great recipe on catinfo.org here:
>http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood
>
>Rene

Thanks, Rene! Yeah, our cat-lady sent us this link a while ago. I was
planning to call our local provider today, but they're closed on
Mondays. Just makes sense to feed cats the diet they're bred for.
We've got a great local pet-food store that sells raw meat, and I
trust their judgement. (xrist, they grind up the whole bird/rabbit?)

Sucks to have an old-cat that is sick. And to have your vet and smart
cat-folks give you different advice. I was a Fine-Arts major! How do I
choose the best treatment for my cat? Well, I trust the cat lady,
since she's far more experienced than most of the vets I talk to.

BLink

Bill Graham
June 5th 12, 12:55 AM
Rene wrote:
>> My wife found a petfood store that grinds up whole birds for catfood,
>> which is another bit of advice from Dr. Hodgkins and other whole-food
>> proponents. Going there on Monday.
>
> I admire your persistance and research. Feeding a raw diet is a great
> idea; however, it's important to get the right blend of ingredients/
> nutrients. There is a great recipe on catinfo.org here:
> http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood
>
> Rene

We half roast chickens, cut out the cat's food, then roast them the rest of
the way. I would feed them the chicken raw, but I am afraid it might be
contaminated with bacteria, so by half cooking it, I feel better. We don't
have to grind it up, but one cat is too old to have any teeth left, so we
cut his up into small pieces....

Bill Graham
June 5th 12, 01:03 AM
Brian Link wrote:
> On Mon, 4 Jun 2012 06:50:55 -0700 (PDT), Rene >
> wrote:
>
>>
>>> My wife found a petfood store that grinds up whole birds for
>>> catfood, which is another bit of advice from Dr. Hodgkins and other
>>> whole-food proponents. Going there on Monday.
>>
>> I admire your persistance and research. Feeding a raw diet is a great
>> idea; however, it's important to get the right blend of ingredients/
>> nutrients. There is a great recipe on catinfo.org here:
>> http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood
>>
>> Rene
>
> Thanks, Rene! Yeah, our cat-lady sent us this link a while ago. I was
> planning to call our local provider today, but they're closed on
> Mondays. Just makes sense to feed cats the diet they're bred for.
> We've got a great local pet-food store that sells raw meat, and I
> trust their judgement. (xrist, they grind up the whole bird/rabbit?)
>
> Sucks to have an old-cat that is sick. And to have your vet and smart
> cat-folks give you different advice. I was a Fine-Arts major! How do I
> choose the best treatment for my cat? Well, I trust the cat lady,
> since she's far more experienced than most of the vets I talk to.
>
> BLink

I question how good it is for cats to "grind up a whole bird". They don't
normally eat the bones of birds in the wild. Do they seperate out the meat
for grinding?

Rene[_2_]
June 5th 12, 02:36 PM
> I question how good it is for cats to "grind up a whole bird". They don't
> normally eat the bones of birds in the wild. Do they seperate out the meat
> for grinding?

AFAIK you grind up everything together (minus feathers, feet, head,
etc.). Cats need the nutrients from bones (taurine, calcium, etc).
*Uncooked* ground bones are not a problem for cats. When they eat mice
or rodents they eat the entire animal.

Cooked bones become a problem because they are harder and splinter--
thus possibly causing internal damage.

Rene

chaniarts[_2_]
June 5th 12, 05:14 PM
On 6/4/2012 5:03 PM, Bill Graham wrote:
> Brian Link wrote:
>> On Mon, 4 Jun 2012 06:50:55 -0700 (PDT), Rene >
>> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>>> My wife found a petfood store that grinds up whole birds for
>>>> catfood, which is another bit of advice from Dr. Hodgkins and other
>>>> whole-food proponents. Going there on Monday.
>>>
>>> I admire your persistance and research. Feeding a raw diet is a great
>>> idea; however, it's important to get the right blend of ingredients/
>>> nutrients. There is a great recipe on catinfo.org here:
>>> http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood
>>>
>>> Rene
>>
>> Thanks, Rene! Yeah, our cat-lady sent us this link a while ago. I was
>> planning to call our local provider today, but they're closed on
>> Mondays. Just makes sense to feed cats the diet they're bred for.
>> We've got a great local pet-food store that sells raw meat, and I
>> trust their judgement. (xrist, they grind up the whole bird/rabbit?)
>>
>> Sucks to have an old-cat that is sick. And to have your vet and smart
>> cat-folks give you different advice. I was a Fine-Arts major! How do I
>> choose the best treatment for my cat? Well, I trust the cat lady,
>> since she's far more experienced than most of the vets I talk to.
>>
>> BLink
>
> I question how good it is for cats to "grind up a whole bird". They
> don't normally eat the bones of birds in the wild. Do they seperate out
> the meat for grinding?
yes they do. about the only thing my outside cat didn't eat of packrats
was the tail and the squeek.

cooking, or partial cooking, of the food makes the bones turn brittle,
and that's what makes them dangerous for eating.

Brian Link[_2_]
June 5th 12, 10:37 PM
On Mon, 4 Jun 2012 17:03:54 -0700, "Bill Graham" >
wrote:

>Brian Link wrote:
>> On Mon, 4 Jun 2012 06:50:55 -0700 (PDT), Rene >
>> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>>> My wife found a petfood store that grinds up whole birds for
>>>> catfood, which is another bit of advice from Dr. Hodgkins and other
>>>> whole-food proponents. Going there on Monday.
>>>
>>> I admire your persistance and research. Feeding a raw diet is a great
>>> idea; however, it's important to get the right blend of ingredients/
>>> nutrients. There is a great recipe on catinfo.org here:
>>> http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood
>>>
>>> Rene
>>
>> Thanks, Rene! Yeah, our cat-lady sent us this link a while ago. I was
>> planning to call our local provider today, but they're closed on
>> Mondays. Just makes sense to feed cats the diet they're bred for.
>> We've got a great local pet-food store that sells raw meat, and I
>> trust their judgement. (xrist, they grind up the whole bird/rabbit?)
>>
>> Sucks to have an old-cat that is sick. And to have your vet and smart
>> cat-folks give you different advice. I was a Fine-Arts major! How do I
>> choose the best treatment for my cat? Well, I trust the cat lady,
>> since she's far more experienced than most of the vets I talk to.
>>
>> BLink
>
>I question how good it is for cats to "grind up a whole bird". They don't
>normally eat the bones of birds in the wild. Do they seperate out the meat
>for grinding?

My understanding (and I'm still learning this stuff) is that cats do
take in important minerals from gnawing on bones. Especially marrow.
And they'll eat guts & stuff. That's one of the questions I'll have
for the fresh-food vendor - does seem kinda weird to have bones in the
mix, though bone meal is an ingredient in some commercial
preparations.

BLink

Bill Graham
June 6th 12, 02:19 AM
Brian Link wrote:
> On Mon, 4 Jun 2012 17:03:54 -0700, "Bill Graham" >
> wrote:
>
>> Brian Link wrote:
>>> On Mon, 4 Jun 2012 06:50:55 -0700 (PDT), Rene
>>> > wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>>> My wife found a petfood store that grinds up whole birds for
>>>>> catfood, which is another bit of advice from Dr. Hodgkins and
>>>>> other whole-food proponents. Going there on Monday.
>>>>
>>>> I admire your persistance and research. Feeding a raw diet is a
>>>> great idea; however, it's important to get the right blend of
>>>> ingredients/ nutrients. There is a great recipe on catinfo.org
>>>> here: http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood
>>>>
>>>> Rene
>>>
>>> Thanks, Rene! Yeah, our cat-lady sent us this link a while ago. I
>>> was planning to call our local provider today, but they're closed on
>>> Mondays. Just makes sense to feed cats the diet they're bred for.
>>> We've got a great local pet-food store that sells raw meat, and I
>>> trust their judgement. (xrist, they grind up the whole bird/rabbit?)
>>>
>>> Sucks to have an old-cat that is sick. And to have your vet and
>>> smart cat-folks give you different advice. I was a Fine-Arts major!
>>> How do I choose the best treatment for my cat? Well, I trust the
>>> cat lady, since she's far more experienced than most of the vets I
>>> talk to.
>>>
>>> BLink
>>
>> I question how good it is for cats to "grind up a whole bird". They
>> don't normally eat the bones of birds in the wild. Do they seperate
>> out the meat for grinding?
>
> My understanding (and I'm still learning this stuff) is that cats do
> take in important minerals from gnawing on bones. Especially marrow.
> And they'll eat guts & stuff. That's one of the questions I'll have
> for the fresh-food vendor - does seem kinda weird to have bones in the
> mix, though bone meal is an ingredient in some commercial
> preparations.
>
> BLink

Well, there is no reason why I couldn't grind up a whole chicken and feed it
to my cats. - They could do a lot worse, and the cost per pound would be
significantly better than canned cat food.

Rene[_2_]
June 6th 12, 02:41 PM
>
> Well, there is no reason why I couldn't grind up a whole chicken and feed it
> to my cats. - They could do a lot worse, and the cost per pound would be
> significantly better than canned cat food.

FYI, you need to include the organs too. Feeding cats a raw diet is a
tricky things. They are obligatory carnivores and need a delicate
balance of nutrients. I'd strongly suggest feeding a tested, balanced
raw recipe. This great website has one: http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood

Bill Graham
June 6th 12, 08:39 PM
Rene wrote:
>> Well, there is no reason why I couldn't grind up a whole chicken and
>> feed it to my cats. - They could do a lot worse, and the cost per
>> pound would be significantly better than canned cat food.
>
> FYI, you need to include the organs too. Feeding cats a raw diet is a
> tricky things. They are obligatory carnivores and need a delicate
> balance of nutrients. I'd strongly suggest feeding a tested, balanced
> raw recipe. This great website has one:
> http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood

Yes, but those, "balanced diets" are quite expensive. We have 5 cats and
taking care of them gets kind of expensive. One of the reasons why we feed
them chickens is that they are quite a bit cheaper than canned cat food. One
chicken, roasted, costs about $5.00 and it will feed both my wife and
myself, and our five cats. (5-1/2 actually....My wife started feeding
another stray last week, and it showed up again yesterday, so its only a
question of time before we have 6 of them)

FragSinatra
June 21st 12, 11:56 PM
Brian Link .> wrote in
:

> I'll explain what we're trying in a bit, but first some background.
> Apologies for the long post.
>
> Tiger's a 17-year old Maine-Coonish moggie (long hair, ear-tufts,
> tabby markings). My son picked him from a litter of farm cats. He's
> always been very healthy.
>
> I thought it was time for a physical, so we brought him in to our
> regular vet. The vet was impressed at how well he's doing - coat is
> very good, strong, and he's only lost one tooth, which was extracted a
> few years ago (he also said that cats Tiger's age usually have lost
> 25% of their teeth! Can that be right?). He was a little concerned
> that he'd lost a pound over the last 3 years.
>
> Unfortunately, our relief was followed by the results of bloodwork,
> which showed anemia and elevated BUN and Creatinine levels, which
> indicated renal failure. The vet prescribed the moderate-protein,
> grain-based diet which is the norm, apparently. I've recently read
> Elizabeth Hodgkins' book "Your Cat", which says that's backwards, and
> the "kidney cat" should get good quality real meat protein (wet), but
> with phosporous managed either by cutting the food with cooked egg
> whites (high protein, no phosporous) and/or the addition of phosphate
> binder. Tiger's always eaten Wellness wet food.
>
> There was a lot of soul-searching. Hoo-boy was there soul-searching. I
> called several vets, most of which echoed our vet's advice. I reached
> out to Facebook friends, and many reported good results with the
> low-protein approach. A few agreed with Dr. Hodgkins, though.
>
> So I thought, the most conservative approach is to follow the vet's
> advice for a while and see if he improves. If not, we go to plan B. We
> picked up the prescription food, and gave it to him for a few days. He
> bacame quite lethargic, and resumed gulping down water and barfing it
> back up. And wow, the farts.. His younger "brother", Louis the Bengal
> age 10, wouldn't touch it. I thought: "well, this must be acute kidney
> failure", and we should start planning for Tiger's demise.
>
> Then I posted (under google groups) here and asked for advice, and
> found sympathy with the good-protein, wet, no-grain strategy.
>
> Finally, I had a long conversation with a "conventional" vet who's
> begun to suspect conventional wisdom, and a holistic vet that thinks
> conventional wisdom is barbaric. The former almost teared up when he
> admitted that before his change of heart, he was basically starving
> his kidney cats to death. I also reached out to a local big cat rescue
> center that I trust, who said they just feed their big cats with
> kidney issues raw meat, with some electrolytes added to their water.
>
> What settled it was a response from an old cat advisor who saw that
> post and set out very forcefully that prescription diets are indeed
> barbaric. I trust her judgement; she's worked with a lot of cats.
> Also, I made the calculation that one makes with terminally ill cats:
> is discomfort worth a few extra months of life? As in, sure you can do
> chemo for a cat with cancer, but then you've got a miserable little
> beast that lives a little longer for your selfishness. Even if the
> prescription diet preserves renal function, is it worth it to have a
> longer-lived miserable cat?
>
> BLink

I admire your persistence as well and I'm sure Tiger does too.

How much does Tiger weigh? I've always heard Maine Coons are the
biggest breed of cat.

I can't read the rest of this thread, the grinding up of whole birds
kinda makes me sick to my stomach.


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