Wisdom from a bag of cat food

Aria has officially been diagnosed with eosinophilic granuloma, a skin condition that is causing her to itch so badly, she chews her poor little legs raw. Many cases are due to food allergies, and while her steroids have kept it under control, there are long term risks for keeping her on them indefinitely.

So Aria is doing an exclusion diet, eating only a single protein source (either duck, venison, or rabbit) that is unlikely to cause her allergy because she's never eaten it before. I've started her on Hill's Prescription Diet d/d Duck & Green Pea Formula. And she gobbles it up! She also seems to like the venison wet food. So Thumper, for the time being, is safe. But Bambi's and Daffy's time is up.

As I was looking for feeding instructions, I read an interesting paragraph on the back of the bag:

"For best results, have your veterinarian monitor your cat's condition. Most cats will readily eat Prescription Diet d/d Duck & Green Pea Formula Feline. If they do not, be patient and firm, your cat's health is at stake. If your cat refuses to eat for more than two days, call your veterinarian immediately."

Why can't we treat people with eating disorders the same way? That their health is at stake if they don't eat? That two days of improper eating should warrant a frantic call to the doctor? To be patient and firm and encourage them to eat?

Is it really so difficult?

Note: if you have any pet-related questions, check out the Mar Vista Vet Pet Library. It's a great resource. I'm writing them an email to thank them for all of the information they've put online.

*I never thought something could smell worse than her tuna-flavored kibble, but this does. And let's not mention the litter box fragrance... ::shudder::

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marcella said...

our veterinarian was the ONLY clinician to be of ANY use to my daughter and I when she losing weight and becoming very sick. He's GREAT, although Daisy who was bitten on the tail by a Tom (the perils of being an outdoor cat) wouldn't agree as he's prescribed her antibiotics which she hates. Love to Aria and here's hoping that the diet reduces her problems. Daisy and her brother Parsley and friend Pansy, are eating Hills Senior 7+ Chicken Flavour. Luckily it doesn't smell too bad.

Laura Collins said...

We are often more rational and compassionate to our pets than our fellow humans.

Although... 2 days? I'd like to dial that back to 2 meals, but I get the point.

Wishing tranquil skin to kitty.

mary said...

Yep, vets are great but they are damn expensive!
I hope the rotation diet reveals whatever has Aria itching. I recall going through similar stuff with my last dog. Vitamin E capsules can be broke open and put on wounds and it helps heal and also adds a safe nutrient. Something about sealing out the air helps stop the itch too. I know, it sounds like we're making a salad. I suspect my dog's skin got ruined by those drops for fleas which affect the oil glands.
Anyway, I love that there are folks who go to the effort to create foods that are safe for animals with sensitive diets. Good luck with this Carrie. I know how frustrating it can be when our pets are uncomfortable.

E said...

It is strange how food consumption means so much more than just surviving for humans. Its "personal" for us, and that's why so many people are hesitant even to comment on another person's intake.

That being said, maybe if disordered eating weren't so "normal" (e.g. fad dieting), we would be better able to recognize the signs of an eating disorder and act sooner. Maybe if there weren't an inherent conflict between the desire to see loved one's obtain thinness and with it "health"...maybe we wouldn't be so quick to ignore the warning signs.

Tiptoe said...

You're right that it is a shame that we do not give as much alarm to those with eating disorders when the symptoms begin to appear until it gets to a point of life-threatening status.

I think most people know that animals have the "eat to live" mentality. And well, we want our animals to live. As caretakers, we are in charge of their well being so it seems easier to monitor their eating and health status. There isn't an element of "refusal," granted animals can indeed refuse foods when they are not feeling well. However, instinctively, they eat when they feel better.

As for humans, should all live by the "eat to live" policy, and of course we all need food to survive. But somehow it is different compared to an animal. Maybe it's the compassion factor, maybe it's the conscious versus subconscious thinking, maybe it's something completely different.

As for Aria, I hope she gets better. You are right to be concerned about long term steroids. Just curious, but have you ever thought about switching to a raw diet/partial raw diet? I only say this, because I've seen quite a few dogs and cats alike who have had allergy problems switch and be significantly better. Just a thought, not trying to sway opinion.

Carrie Arnold said...

I don't think Aria is too fond of the vet, either.

On the one hand, I agree with not waiting for two days to get worried. On the other, people (and pets!) can be fickle, and there can be so many reasons why someone isn't eating. Probably at the start of the second day would be a good time to start panicking!


I will look into a raw diet, but I'm going to see how this works first.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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