How to Care for a Cat With IBS: Part 2
The following is a supplement to my old post about taking care of cats with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or Disease). My 9-year-old cat, Peach, was diagnosed with IBS in early 2013 after a slew of expensive tests showed nothing wrong with her… aside from the fact that she could hardly keep any food down. During her sickness, I was desperate for information and ideas. I’ve learned a lot through trial and error, and continue to adjust the game plan, which I guess is part of treating any chronic disease. So if any worried cat owners are reading this, please benefit from my knowledge!
Meds: Peach’s primary IBS treatment is still a daily dose of prednisolone. Some cats can get by with a low or less frequent dosage, but she’s not one of them. For almost a year, I gave her half a pill every day in a pill pocket treat, which she ate without complaint. But last November, she suddenly stopped cooperating. I tried different treats and hiding it in favorite foods, but she made it absolutely clear that she was Done Taking Pills. (Looking back, I suspect she’d been spitting out or avoiding the pill part of the treat for a while.) Thankfully, it was no big deal for the vet to switch her to a liquid. So now, instead of persuading Peach to take a pill every evening, I (gently) pin her down, shoot medicine into her mouth with a syringe, and we both go on with our lives. Some days she’s more cooperative than others, but as long as most of it gets into her mouth, I call it a success. Overall we’re both happier. I’ve heard it’s also available in a gel form that you can rub onto the cat’s ear! Technology.
To my surprise, Peach improved drastically on the liquid medication. Even on a pill, she still had some issues, and I had hoped for a better baseline of health. Now everything is pretty normal, and she’s filled out a lot more and lost that gaunt look. I’m thankful and pleased. I know long-term prednisone use carries some risks, but it’s working for now and I’m alert to any new problems she may have. By the way, it’s better to give prednisone to cats in the evening because it’s more harmonious with their natural cycles. Don’t ask me how, I’m not a vet.
Diet: Like humans with IBS, cats with IBS do best on a grain-free diet. I switched both cats to grain-free several months before Peach was diagnosed (it’s too difficult to feed them separate foods), and I believe it may have saved her life. My primary cat food source is Petco – they have plenty of grain-free options and a decent rewards program. However, Whole Foods has a new store brand of GF canned cat food for 89 or 99 cents a can! I pay an average of about $1.30 a can at Petco, so my bank account is still thrilled about that development.
Anyway, my cats get half a can of wet food each evening, and I mix in a little probiotic enzyme powder to give Peach’s stomach a boost. I used to use a different brand, but this NaturVet seems more effective and is cheaply available on Amazon. One container will last you forever.
My cats’ favorite dry food is Halo Spot’s Stew, but it’s one of the most expensive. So we compromise on the salmon or chicken from Merrick, which costs almost $10 less per bag. They each get about half a cup a day as recommended.
Caveat Emptor: Last fall, when Peach was having a rough spell, I came across information about a natural remedy that claimed to completely cure IBS in cats, including a lot of testimonials. I’m ashamed to say I came thisclose to dropping $100 on it, but thankfully I talked to my feline-expert BIL first. He gently reminded me that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. After some more research, I confirmed that it was a snake oil situation. I share this story as a reminder to keep a clear head. When someone you love is suffering (even if that someone is an animal), it’s hard not to grasp at any hopeful possibility, but always check your facts and don’t let anyone take advantage.
In conclusion, my cat is doing great, but I have no guarantees that this will continue. So I’m staying flexible and appreciating every good day!
About Brenda W.Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
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