Feeding Elderly Cat

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by Elvis, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    My soon-to-be 17 year old kitty has been on YoungAgain (Zero, then Mature, now LID) for 3 1/2 years now... which was started to control what was thought to be diabetes at the time. After a very short time on insulin (less than a month), his numbers improved dramatically on this food, and Elvis has never showed diabetic signs since.

    But now my dilemma is he appears thin to me and doesn't like this food anymore. He was around 13.5 lbs when the diagnosis was made, and is now about 9.5. I don't like that I can feel his spine and hip bones, but he appears healthy in all other ways with the exception of occasional constipation, but then, if he isn't eating as much, that could be why.

    When I took him to the vet at the end of July, he wasn't hyperthyroidic (which was my fear), and all numbers from bloodwork were normal; teeth didn't seem to be bothering him either. When he doesn't have a BM for more than a couple of days, I give him Fancy Feast Classic with either some organic pumpkin or about 1/4 tspn. of Miralax and it does the trick.

    Now though, he seems to only want the Fancy Feast and no part of the hard Young Again food. I don't want to feed him just FF and can't afford cans of some of the other higher end canned foods.

    So now I'm looking for a top notch dry food I can try that is grain free and fairly low in carbs, or any suggestions on how I can get him to eat the YA. I would also like to know what I can give him that might put a little weight on him. I've heard about Old Skinny Cat syndrome... is that fact or rumor?

    Any guidance would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  2. Lillie

    Lillie Member

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    Mar 10, 2017
    Several people here have mentioned Dr Elsey's food as being very good. Is there a reason you don't want to only feed him Fancy Feast? I don't have any advice on the Old Skinny Cat syndrome as all of my elderly cats got pretty thin when they started losing muscle mass due to aging. A high calorie food would probably help but I'm not sure about what the carbs would end up being.
    I sprinkle some Forti Flora over my cat's wet food that has his medication in at night to make sure he eats all of it. It's a probiotic but works like an appetite stimulant with my cat. You could try sprinkling some over the Young Again dry food to see if it helps to get him eating it again.
     
  3. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    Jun 8, 2016
    Dr elsley's is 5%... If he will eat ff happily them let him have it. I do ff classic twice a day and free feed young again. The wet food helps keep them hydrated which I'm guessing it's an issue for your cat since he gets constipation.

    If you get the big bags of young again, and you are half way through, maybe the food went bad. .
     
  4. FurBabiesMama

    FurBabiesMama Well-Known Member

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    Jul 6, 2017
    If he will eat Fancy Feast, I would feed him as much of that as he wants. Bone broth might be a good way to get moisture and nutrients in him; you might want to try adding that to his food. Cats do tend to lose weight as they get old, unfortunately.
     
  5. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Thanks, Lillie...some good suggestions. The reason I am hesitant to feed him FF only is I wasn't sure if he would be getting all the nutrients he needs...being one of the less expensive canned foods on the market...I'm leery of it's nutritional rating. Also, he never before liked canned food and would only eat dry, now that seems to have changed in his old age, but I have to be sure I only give him pates or he'll just lick the juice and leave all the meat in the dish. I will check out Dr. Elsey's food as well and also the FortiFlora, which I remember now that I have some stored away. His BMs have been more like pellets the last couple of times, where it use to be like fingers. He doesn't complain or make sounds if I squeeze his tummy, so I don't know what to make of that. Anyway, thanks again for your input.
     
  6. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Thank you, Janet....I found a local pet shop that carries Dr. Elsley's so I'll try some. I'm relieved to read that several here have endorsed FF as an good diet for cats...I've been uncertain because Elvis never liked canned foods of any kind, up until just recently. You say you feed your baby twice a day....is that a whole can 2/day, or 1/2 can 2/day which is what I've been doing. He drinks plenty of water so I'm sure he's well hydrated, but the less frequent and pellet size BMs do have me a little concerned. Thank you again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  7. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Thanks, FurBabiesMama, it's comforting to know that weight loss is pretty standard among older cats...other than the fact that he sleeps all day (but I do see him up during the night), he seems pretty normal. Purring has increased, which is good I think. Bone broth is a very good suggestion and will pick some up...he likes the juice in the FF cans which is why I buy the pate (classic), but once he licks the food dry, I can use a little of the bone broth to rewet it. Thanks again for your advice.
     
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  8. FurBabiesMama

    FurBabiesMama Well-Known Member

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    Jul 6, 2017
    If you buy it already made, be sure it does not have ingredients you do not want like garlic and onions. I make my own with chicken drumsticks. I make a big batch then freeze it in ice cube trays and keep the cubes in a Ziploc freezer bag so that I can pull one out and microwave it anytime I want. Here is a site that gives info about the benefits and a recipe: https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/12/02/pet-bone-broth.aspx
     
  9. Lillie

    Lillie Member

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    Mar 10, 2017
    If you add water or bone broth to the pate you can make it into a puree so maybe he will eat all of it since he seems to lick all the juice off everything. If it's all juice like he may eat all of it.
    My cat's food is a mush, puree which he seems to like better than chunks of anything.
     
  10. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Yes, FBM and Lillie....I love the idea of making my own. I make soup stock all the time so this should be easy. I even thought about using a little Lo-Sodium chicken broth that I buy. The more mushier the better for him. Last night I mixed a teaspoon of the YA LID in a half can of FF with warm water and mushed it up and he ate 90% of it. I can see I may have to trick him. Anybody know of a healthy treat I could try for him. He eats the YUMs from YA, but not always. Tried the freeze-dried chicken bites, but the pieces are too big for him to chew and he's not crazy about them either.
     
  11. Lillie

    Lillie Member

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    Mar 10, 2017
    Was it the Pure Bites freeze dried? They can be broken down into very small pieces that are not hard at all to chew. My cat loved the duck ones but because of his IBD he can't eat them anymore. He used to rip open the bag if I left it out. Duck has a very intense aroma!
     
  12. Tanya and Ducia

    Tanya and Ducia Well-Known Member

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    Feb 25, 2017
    Good morning,
    I used to cook bone broth and aspic for my cat - it is said to help with osteo arthritis pain in joints. However, a little later I was warned that the bone broth is high in Phosphorous and can be harsh on kidneys - the most vulnerable organ in cats. I'd do some research about what is the safe dose of bone broth to be fed to an elderly kitty. Daily portion might be too much.
    Have you ever thought of homemade raw? My cat loved raw chicken hearts. You can either blanch in rolling water or roast in hot oven without oil for a few minutes to kill off the surface bacteria. If you grind it or run thru the food processor with some water added than it's almost like FF pates texture. I know hearts and gizzards sounds gross to most people but many cats seem to like it and it is budget friendly. And if fed raw it is a balanced food, complete with nutrients and minerals.
     
  13. Squalliesmom

    Squalliesmom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 26, 2015
    My cats eat 3-4 times a day. They each get one 3 oz can of food for breakfast and dinner, and 1/2 can for lunch. Sometimes they get another 1/2 can as a snack, if they seem hungry at any other point during the day.

    My older kitty won't eat anything but the pate, too. I think the chunks and shreds are difficult for old teeth! Did the vet check his teeth when he was there? Dental issues could be one reason he's not eating the dry food any more, and losing weight. Homemade raw is great but you need to add nutritional supplements to it to make it a complete meal; there are different companies that offer these, just search online. I have used Nature's Variety Instinct frozen raw chicken pellets, and all my cats love it, but it's too pricey for me to feed to 4 cats as a regular diet.

    ETA: Squallie is currently eating Pro Plan True Nature pate canned foods. They are a little bit more expensive than FF but still affordable, but I do a lot of price shopping for them, too. (I buy them online)
     
  14. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Aug 16, 2015
    Also, in an older cat you should watch the phosphorus content. Fancy Feast is very high in Phos. If you choose to do the homemade raw, as Lucy said, you’ll need a supplement to make it complete. Opt for the low phos one that gets calcium from eggshells rather than bone meal.
     
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  15. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    Jun 8, 2016
    I put out a few cans because I have 6 cats.... There's always a little left by the time I get home for work. Then in the evening open a few more cans, and again there's usually some left by morning. Then the ya is out all the time. I would just feed her however much she wants both times.
     
  16. Shenandoah

    Shenandoah Member

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    Nov 25, 2015
    It's really hard with our old ones, and sometimes takes a lot of experimenting. For the moment I've found a balance with Shenandoah (at 18) with FFC (low carb, wet for extra hydration, but high in phosphorus), with Hill's Age Defying (dry, high carb, low phosphorus). I just have to check her glucose frequently to make sure the carbs aren't making BG creep up, and her weight to make sure it's not dropping. With FFC alone she kept losing weight.

    My vet did feel the moisture from FFC was more important than the low phosphorus content of the dry, but that the dry is important to keep weight on her. So that balance is working for us for the moment, but it requires a lot of monitoring.
    My cats always have FFC available, 24/7. They get the dry overnight only. I also measure out how much I put down and how much I pick up, so monitor exactly how much they are eating of each.

    (And yeah, we've tried wet low-phosphorus foods, but haven't found one she will touch)

    So it could change at any time, but we have something for this moment. Our finicky little seniors.

    As always, the most important thing is that they eat, and sometimes that in itself is a big challenge with our old ones.
     
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  17. Lillie

    Lillie Member

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    Mar 10, 2017
    organic pumpkin is good for pellet poos. I see you mentioned the smaller bm's that have changed from larger ones so I thought I would mention that pumpkin puree helps move things better down the line.
     
  18. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Yes it was the Pure Bites, chicken though. Some of the pieces were kind of large.... when I did break them up, he would try to eat then but they seemed to be very chewy and he eventually would spit it out. I'll try the duck though.... thx.
     
  19. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Thx...yes, the kidneys are a concern for me too...I don't plan on giving him too much or daily... maybe just a tablespoon with his night meal.

    I think I'll pass on the liver, gizzards, etc.... not sure I can stomach it... but I'll keep it in mind... far back! Lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
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  20. Lillie

    Lillie Member

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    Mar 10, 2017
    Too bad- maybe he just doesn't want to eat anything that requires much chewing anymore? Pureed mush pate may be the only option.
     
  21. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Thank you, Squalliesmom, what seems to be working so far is mixing in about a tablespoon of the YoungAgain L.I.D. and a half tspn. of organic pumpkin into a half can of FF with a little warm water which I will replace with the bone stock from time to time. When he licks it dry to a thick paste I add a little more warm water... eventually he eats all of it. I also free feed the YA Mature. Elvis has never spent a lot of time at his bowl. He may visit it many times a day, but he just eats a few bites each time and chases it down with water. I will check out though the Pro Plan True Nature.

    His teeth seem to be ok... He's lost a few but when the vet checked them, even though they weren't ideal, he didn't seem to feel they were bothering him. I press his gums around his mouth occasionally and he never flinches from soreness.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
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  22. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Thank you, Sharon...I don't plan on using the FF as a daily diet... only as an odor and taste booster to the YoungAgain foods because he's done so well on them and I am also concerned about too much phosphorus. I really think his sense of smell is what's been the issue... the YA foods are not potent, but since I've been sprinkling FortiFlora on it as Lillie suggested...he's more receptive to it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  23. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Completely agree... eating at this age is paramount. You may want to try YoungAgain's newest formaula L.I.D. The people there are great... Michael, he's either the owner or formulator or both, has helped me tremendously. The LID is specifically designed for older cats and actually has proven to add weight on a cat. You might want to call them and pick their brain... they're very accommodating and will talk to you for as long as you need. Jennifer is his associate.
     
  24. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Yes I believe you're right... been giving it to him and this morning he had a very healthy looking finger's length poop. Got to camouflage it well though... doesn't like it straight.
     
  25. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
    I think it's getting to that point... but I'm getting creative, thanks to all of you, and it seems to be helping these last couple of days.
     
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