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What Food Makes My Cat Have Diarrhea?

Friday, October 07, 2016

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Cats are highly sensitive creatures and this is true when it comes to their digestive tract. Have you ever seen your kitty suffer from bouts of diarrhea? Then, you would surely realize how miserable a pet owner could feel when her baby is suffering from such a dreadful condition.

There are many possible causes of diarrhea in cats. However, the most common are the food that you are providing to your pet. You may have fed the feline with something that did not sit well with its digestive tract leading to an unwanted reaction.

If this is the case, you may want to know what these foods are so you can avoid feeding it to your cats in the future. Here are some of the products that you should avoid giving your kitty so that it won’t be prone to diarrhea.

Low-Quality Cat Food

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This is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in cats. In fact, there are many pet owners who regret going for a cheaper option because their felines suffered a lot after being fed with low-quality food.

Stick to the kind of food that will meet all the nutritional demands of your cat especially the protein content. Another smart thing to do will be to go over the ingredients of the product that you are planning to buy. If you notice that there are too many fillers in it, it may not be the best choice for your cat.

It’s quite easy to know if the food is the cause of diarrhea. Next time, when you put food in your automatic pet feeder, you should take note of what food you placed there. After that, try to change the kind of food you are giving to your feline and see if it doesn’t suffer from diarrhea anymore.

Dairy
There are some human foods that cats are cannot handle and one of this is milk. Most cats are lactose intolerant. This means that they do not have the necessary enzyme to process milk. If this is the case, they would suffer from stomach complaints and diarrhea when they consume milk and milk-based products. The extent of how lactose intolerant cats could be to dairy could vary. Cheese, ice cream, and other milk derivatives may be given to your kitty but only in small amounts.

Some people who know that cats need protein think that milk is good for cats but this is not true. Milk can cause an upset stomach. However, just like any rule, there are certain exceptions.

When your kitty is complaining of having an upset stomach, you may want to give your pet some low-fat plain yogurt to help the digestive tract settle down. If you already know that your kitty is not in its best health, don’t offer a bowl of milk since it can worsen the condition.

Allergic Reactions to Food

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Cats are just like humans in the sense that they could develop food allergies later in life. This means that there are certain food products that do not sit well with their digestion. If they commit the mistake of consuming any of those prohibited food items, they suffer from dire consequences such as diarrhea.

In cats, the most common food allergens are grains. This includes but is not limited to soy, wheat, and corn. You may be wondering why these lists of products seem harmless and are even in some popular cat food brands.

In fact, there is a prescription diet for some cats that have food sensitivities. There are also cat foods that are grain free which is ideal for cats that suffer from diarrhea when they consume grains.

If you are feeding your cat not only the food from the automatic pet feeder, you should think about putting your feline on an elimination diet. This is necessary to know its food allergies. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian first before doing any kind of diet.

Spoiled Food/ Garbage

When your cat has access to clean water from the cat water fountain and good food from its feeder, you may be wondering why it is suffering from diarrhea. In this case, the culprit could be your cat’s curiosity. These animals seem to think that everything is a treat which includes garbage and spoiled food. As much as possible, clear away any garbage that your cat could accidentally munch on. There are also human foods that cats can be extremely allergic to. If you have leftovers lying around, your kitty can try to see how it tastes like and end up having a stomach ache.

Conclusion

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There are many other food products that can trigger diarrhea in cats. Since it’s hard to list all possible allergens, it is up to you to make sure that all food products harmful to kitty are out of the way.


Guest blog posts are written by Diana Hutchinson, the founder of  Tinpaw.com. She has more than ten years of experience in nurturing and caring cats. "A home without a cat is just a house"


What is FeLV?

Tuesday, August 09, 2016


FeLV is more commonly known as Feline leukemia virus.  Despite its name, it is not a form of cancer or leukemia, it is a retrovirus in the same family as FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), and it is able to copy its own genetic material into infected cells, which is how it reproduces in an animal.

FeLV is known as a “friendly disease”, meaning that cats spread it to their friends.  It transmits very easily between cats since the virus sheds in high quantities from saliva and nasal secretions.  It can be passed from cat to cat as they groom each other, share food and water bowls, share litter boxes, and fighting amongst themselves, and it can pass from mother to kitten in the womb or to a nursing kitten by way of the mother’s milk.  It can also be spread by urine and feces, though that is not as common.  Even less commonly, it can be passed by way of flea bites, blood transfusions, or non-sterilized needles or surgical instruments.  

The only way to diagnose FeLV is by way of a blood test.  Your veterinarian can run a test in their clinic, and if the test comes up positive, a second sample is sent to the lab to confirm the diagnosis.  Cats can test positive within a few weeks of exposure, and most cats who are positive will be so within 30 days.  Younger cats are more susceptible to FeLV.  Some adults are able to fight off the infection after exposure and will never develop the disease.  Most veterinarians recommend retesting after 6 weeks if the test is questionable.

There is no way to diagnose FeLV from symptoms because there are no specific symptoms to watch for.  Cats with FeLV generally have weaker immune systems and are more prone to common infections such as dental disease and upper respiratory infections.  They can live normal lives, but their life spans are significantly shorter.  Kittens with FeLV will generally live one to three years; adults can live a bit longer.  FeLV does not cause death itself, but the cats develop other diseases due to the weakened immune system, such as feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), lymphoma, or bone marrow disease.

There is no treatment for FeLV.  Preventative and supportive care is the most important part of caring for a cat with FeLV.  Any illness or infection needs to be treated by a veterinarian as soon as it is noticed, and dental care is a high priority, since infections in the mouth and gums can pass through the bloodstream and cause more serious infections they can’t fight off.  Raw foods and unpasteurized dairy products should be avoided because of the risk for foodborne bacterial and parasitic infections from such items.  

Vaccinating any cat who goes outdoors or may be exposed to cats with FeLV with the FeLV vaccine can help prevent transmission of the disease.  If your cat goes outside, or if you bring unvaccinated cats into your home (or cats that you are not familiar with their vaccine history), the vaccine can protect them from the virus.

FeLV cats must reside indoors, so they do not expose other cats to the virus, and can live in homes with FeLV negative cats as long as they live completely separately.  They can never share food bowls, litter boxes, and can never come into contact with each other.  They may have a shorter life span, and they do require more attentive preventative care, but they are worth it.  FeLV cats are wonderful, amazing animals, and deserve the chance to live happy lives filled with love.  


The Reality of FIV

Thursday, August 04, 2016

FIV:  it sounds scary, but what exactly is FIV?  FIV stands for feline immunodeficiency virus, and it is a retrovirus (similar to HIV).  That means it uses the RNA in cells to reproduce.  It is also known as a lentivirus, which means it is a slow virus, that can take months or years to incubate, and is capable of lying dormant in the body before causing any symptoms.

What does FIV do? FIV causes an immunodeficiency in the cat’s body, meaning that the body is not able to create a normal immune response.  Most cats infected with FIV have a normal life expectancy, and do not show symptoms of the disease.  However they are prone to developing infections and certain types of cancer due to their weakened immune system.  Some cats can fight off the infection after they are exposed and become immune, some may become carriers who never get sick themselves, but most commonly they become infected and develop a compromised immune system.

How do cats get FIV? One place the virus lives is in the salivary glands of an infected cat.  FIV is transmitted cat to cat, usually through deep bite wounds, where viral cells can pass from the infected cat’s mouth into the uninfected cat’s blood stream.  There are less common ways of passing the infection on, occasionally it can be passed from mother to kitten in utero, during the birthing process, or when kittens are nursing.  Because of the way it is transmitted, cats infected with FIV can live normal lives in homes with cats who do not have FIV.  

It is extremely unlikely (and may even be impossible, if they are properly introduced) for a cat to contract FIV from being around infected cats, from grooming infected cats, from sharing food bowls, playing with another cat, sharing a litter box, or from secondary contact with a person who has touched an FIV positive cat.  

How is a cat diagnosed with FIV? There is no way to tell that a cat has FIV just from looking at them.  FIV is diagnosed by way of a blood test, which tests for antibodies in the blood stream.  Most veterinary clinics use an in-house test, which is good, but can give false positives on occasion, so if a cat does test positive for FIV, a secondary test is always sent out to a lab to confirm the diagnosis.  Also, kittens can test positive for FIV just from their mother’s antibodies, which may remain in their system for up to 6 months.  This is why a kitten who tests positive for FIV is not considered positive until they are retested once they are over 6 months old.  Another thing to remember is that if you test a cat for FIV who has been outdoors, they may test negative, but still have FIV.  The test is checking for antibodies in the blood stream, and the antibodies may not show up for several months.

What symptoms will a cat with FIV have?   It depends; some cats will show no symptoms, others may show signs, and others may have periods of appearing healthy interspersed with being ill.  Some of the symptoms may include enlarged lymph nodes, recurrent fever, weight loss, poor coat condition, inflammation of the gums, recurrent infections of the skin, bladder and upper respiratory tract, diarrhea, and behavioral changes.  They are also more prone to get other infections, such as ringworm.  Since all cats react differently, there is no way to tell what signs will appear in an individual cat.

How can FIV be prevented?   The only way to prevent a cat from getting FIV is to keep them from being exposed.  Keeping cats indoors is the best measure of prevention.  An FIV positive cat can live with an FIV negative cat, as long as they do not fight.  There is a vaccine for FIV, but it is not recommended for cats because not only does it have poor efficacy, but any cat who receives the vaccine will test positive for FIV.  Although cats who have FIV live normal lifespans, a cat who is vaccinated and happens to escape their house may well be euthanized at a shelter because they test positive for FIV.

How should a cat who is diagnosed with FIV be cared for?   Cats who are FIV positive can live full and healthy lives, with our help.  They should be kept indoors, so they don’t risk infecting other cats, and to limit their exposure to outside infections.  They should also be spayed or neutered, so they can’t pass the infection to other cats by breeding.  They should eat nutritionally balanced diets, with no raw meat or eggs, or unpasteurized dairy products.  This is because they are at higher risk for food-borne bacterial and parasitic infections from such items.  They should have wellness visits with a veterinarian at least once a year, preferably every 6 months, so that any infection or illness that starts can be caught and treated early, before it overwhelms their immune system.  Be vigilant and notice any changes in an FIV cat’s behavior or attitude, so that any changes that could be a sign of illness are caught and recognized early.

What is the most important thing to know about FIV positive cats?   Know that FIV positive cats are wonderful, playful, social, and loving animals, who deserve the same chance at life and happiness as all other cats.  Having FIV is not the end of a cat's life, it’s just a change.  They can live full lives, chase sparkly balls, eat catnip, and curl up in your arms, because having FIV doesn’t make them less, it only makes us less, when we don’t give them a chance.



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