Zorro: a trip to the vet and the weirdness of pet food.

by , under Mom, personal, Pirate

zorroIn our very full house, we have a cat named Zorro. He’s our cat, not the in-laws. In fact, he’s 14, and adopted TheBoy and I one day. Other than the brief reign of terror when we moved into this house and he decided he’d be the Alpha Cat, he’s pretty mellow- though very vocal.

Over last weekend (not the one that just ended, but the one before), he was puking. A lot. So I took away his food, and noticed that he was just sort of off. Not really talking, just sort of laying there- and he’s a talker, that cat. So we took him to the vet, and they drew some urine and blood and the next day we had to take him back- he tested positive for pancreatitis.

For the next three days, he was at our vet. And for those three days, I had one very upset Little Kidlet- who thinks of Zorro as his cat. The vet called with daily updates. Though Zorro was recovering, he was concerned that Zorro wasn’t eating, and that he seemed fearful. Finally I asked him if he thought he wasn’t eating because he was scared- and reminded him that he’s a 14 year old cat who has access to almost all of our house. So even if it gets loud here, he can find a nice quiet space to sneak off to. He isn’t used to constant noise. In fact, he’s usually the noisiest thing in our house.

So we brought Zorro home for a night, to see if he’d eat some wet food. Which he did! They took out the IV catheter in his arm, and he’s back home with us, and everyone’s happy. Especially Zorro, who now has a few places he lurks when the house is just too loud. (And yes, the Little Kidlet is thrilled- and bestows a lot of affection on his cat whenever it seems like his cat wants the attention)

But here’s the other part of this drama that I wanted to talk about. Our vet sent us home with Hill’s Prescription id Gastrointestinal Health Formula. And when there was a brief period where we weren’t sure if it was pancreatitis or IBD, I looked at this can to see what it had.

Corn. It was like the third or fourth ingredient. Corn. For a cat, which is a carnivore. Corn, the one ingredient that I have been repeatedly warned that I can’t digest- so why would a cat be able to?

And it smelled disgusting. (Not to get too gross, but I’m a mother and I have Crohn’s – I’ve smelled a lot of gross things over the years)

I know that most vets take the word of their food reps about the nutritional value of the ingredients in the food, and I don’t blame them- it’s hard to know what’s best for every type of animal they treat. But it just doesn’t seem to make any sense to include corn or wheat (which is getting tougher to digest these days) in a pet product that’s supposedly easier to digest. I did some more googling, and there was a nutritionist who suggested that cats with GI issues (or prone to pancreatitis) switch to grain-free foods with poultry or rabbit. Which is what we’re trying, now. Zorro seems happier. (And it doesn’t smell, believe it or not)

If you have a pet with special needs, feel free to question what sort of food your vet is selling you- odds are, they’re working off the best information that they have. There are animal nutritionists out there, and certainly some more expensive brands of food that have less grain and better quality meat. (I won’t list the name of the brand we’re trying)

  • Tigger

    I have a pukey kitty. She’s been pukey for YEARS. About 8 months or so ago, we started feeding her grain-free on advice of another customer at the pet store we get stuff at. She had a pukey kitty, started feeding it this, and it stopped. I won’t say ours has stopped, but it’s a LOT less. If you read the labels of a LOT of dog and cat food, it almost always lists corn as one of the top ingredients. This makes me sad for our pets, that they should suffer because people are cheap. No, the grain free stuff isn’t cheap and yes, money is tight. But my oldest cat is 10. I’m willing to spend a bit more on her if it means that she (and my younger one) are happy and healthy. it’s certainly cheaper than the vet!!

  • Carolyn Fodel

    We had a barfer when I was using grocery store food. At the advice of some friends who were animal foodies, we tried Taste of the Wild. My cats look better and act better, and no barfing! I used to pay $5-8 per week for a 3.5 lb bag of cat food. I pay $32 ($26 with coupon) for a month (15 lbs) of TOTW, and all three cats have lost weight. Best move I’ve made for my cats.