DEAR DR. FOX: I have two neutered male Maine coons. They are 6-year-old brothers. One weighs 9 1/2 pounds, and the other weighs 13 pounds. I have been feeding them Science Diet Adult Indoor dry food. But now they stick up their noses to that food until they are desperate. I feed them each 1/3 cup twice daily with 1 teaspoon of wet food in the evening.
What do you suggest I feed them? I would appreciate any suggestions. -- G.N., St. Charles, Mo.
DEAR G.N.: You should find helpful information on my website, www.DrFoxVet.com. Check the archives by posing a question in the question-and-answer box.
There are other brands and varieties of cat food listed on my website (including Wellness, Evo, Organix, Evanger, Wysong and Orijen -- canned and dry) and frozen cat foods are also available. For additional details, go to www.feline-nutrition.org.
Cats can be finicky eaters, and some can manipulate caregivers into giving them unhealthy tuna or hamburger. Others become addicted to certain dry foods, even formulations that are bad for their long-term health.
However, most cats possess nutritional wisdom that guides them to choose the kinds of foods best suited to their carnivorous physiology and metabolism. It's best to feed cats small portions four to six times a day. The ideal diet is raw or lightly cooked, minimally processed moist food. This food should be comprised of animal fat and protein, ideally from organic, humane and sustainable sources.
DEAR DR. FOX: We have a pair of male Abyssinian cats. We got the littermates when they were 4 years old; they are turning 7. They are very healthy except for a problem with loose stools accompanied by mucus tinged with blood.
They both had ringworm coming from the breeder. Their previous owner's vet had them on a regimen of antibiotics (C-Tylosin) their entire lives for the loose stool, but it never helped the problem. We ended that when they came to us.
We feed them the best kinds of foods from Weruva and Prairie Foods. We give them natural supplements like Phytomucil, Gentle Digest and prebiotics to help them heal, but they never seem to.
What are your thoughts? -- B. and R.M., Alexandria, Va.
DEAR B. and R.M.: The long-term treatment with antibiotics is an absurd regimen and may be at the root of your cats' bowel disorder. Judicious, short-term use of drugs like Tylosin, metronidazole and prednisone can be extremely beneficial for some cats with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
There may be permanent damage to your cats' digestive systems. The condition dysbiosis could be significantly alleviated by the three supplements you are giving to your cats. Ask your veterinarian to consider preparing capsules of fecal bacteria from healthy cats with which to inoculate and help restore your cats' digestive tracts if probiotics do not help. Give them a teaspoon of dried catnip to eat every two to four days and one or two drops of peppermint extract hidden in their food every day for seven to 10 days.
Bacterial probiotics are very important. Anti-inflammatory fish oil may also be of benefit, beginning with one or two drops in their food and increasing gradually to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon daily.
If there is no significant improvement, discuss with your veterinarian setting up an elimination diet to test for another complication such as a food allergy or intolerance to beef, eggs, corn, dairy products, corn or soy.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.com.)