Re: [FH] Cat won't eat - help!
- Hi Lee,
In a message dated 2/29/04 11:38:43 PM, leeborgmeier@... writes:
<< Since the diagnosis, he is on a salt-free diet >>
Why does the cat need sodium restriction?
<< and now refuses to eat almost anything. >>
Socalled prescription foods are often unpalatable to cats, in part b/c the
ingredient manipulation required to achieve a particular chemical analysis (in a
laboratory) renders the "food" inedible and not particularly nutritious (to a
cat's body). Further, it's important to keep in mind that nutrients work in
balance in the cat's body, which has very particular nutritional requirements;
severe restriction in one nutrient sometimes causes an imbalance with other
nutrients, which is not necessarily desirable.
<< He doesn't like the
salt-free cat food, he doesn't like people hamburger or
turkey hamburger. >>
Cats have a very strong mechanism (called neophobia) that generally inhibits
their eating anything "strange." Any new smell or taste needs to be introduced
very slowly, like 1 tsp or less per day...separate from the usual food...so
that they can get accustomed to it without spoiling their appetite; as
acceptance increases, the amt of new food can also increase and be mixed in with the
old food, keeping in mind the necessary caloric intake (about 20-30 calories
per lb of body weight per day). While some cats will accept a new food more
quickly then others, many will not...so introducing it slowly and positively
enhances the chance of acceptance.
If you want to introduce fresh meat, such as fresh chicken or turkey muscle
meat, you can get information on the sodium content and nutritional analysis
here (among others): www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl.
<< Does anyone have any suggestions on salt-free food that
he may eat? >>
It may be a good idea to ask the vet why the cat needs sodium restriction and
what level of sodium is acceptable. There are often commercial foods that
provide higher-quality (again, quality in the nutritional sense) ingredients and
have a chemical analysis that is roughly equivalent to so-called therapeutic
diets; vets are not always aware of commercial options.
For a chart of the sodium content of commercial and Rx diets, see:
http://webpages.charter.net/katkarma/canfood.htm. As you'll see, the sodium content of
Fancy Feast flavors varies. As you'll also see, there are quality commercial
canned foods with a sodium content that is roughly equivalent to that of
sodium-restricted Rx foods (eg Hill's g/d; 0.32% sodium), such as PetGuard turkey
(0.26%), Felidae (0.35%), and Eagle Pack (0.28%).
<< I really worried; he has eaten almost nothing
in two days. >>
This really is not beneficial to the cat. Cats' metabolisms never shut "off"
(simply stated)...which is related to why cats eat around 15 times per day in
the wild. No food intake has potentially serious consequences, incl
malnutrition and hepatic lipidosis. It is important for all cats, regardless of health
disorder, to receive quality (in the nutritional sense) nutrition that meets a
cat's unique nutritional requirements; adjustment of any one dietary
component, such as sodium, needs to take place in balance with those needs. You may
want to consider offering the cat anything he finds palatable, incl Fancy Feast.
Other foods that inappetant cats sometimes find palatable are pure meat baby
food (eg BeechNut chicken and broth) and canned salmon in water; these are not
complete diets for cats, but can be used temporarily to encourage appetite. It
also sometimes helps to spoon some warm water or juice from a can of
water-packed tuna over the usual food to restart the appetite. After the cat begins
eating again with gusto, if you want to introduce a new food, you can start
adding very small amts of the new food off your finger or on a separate dish
before meal times. // Rosemary