In 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. Aside from the brief reign of terror when we moved into this house, he’s mellow but vocal. (That’s when he made the decision to become Alpha Cat. So much spraying.)
Over last weekend (not the one that just ended, but the one before), he was puking. A lot. I took away his food in order to see if it helped. That’s when I noticed he was just… 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.
One long vet trip
For 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 the vet if he thought Zorro wasn’t eating because he was scared. After all Zorro is a 14 year old cat who typically 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)
Beware Vet Recommended Food
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 in his cat food. 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)
Why would they recommend it?
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 wheat or corn in cat food that’s supposedly easier to digest (as both grains are more difficult 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. (We ended up trying Instinct Grain Free wet food – which he enjoyed and we were able to get shipped to us)