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Messages - loucat

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Hi Meg. He get VERY stressed if I lock him inside.. and screams to go out. At least when he's outside, he's distracted and happy. Luckily he's very nervous of other people, so he won't beg for food anywhere else. The hedgehog food was just bad luck.

I think in September I was feeding him Wainwright's? It went well for a couple of weeks.. then he started to go downhill again.

It seems some foods give an almost immediate response (5-8 hours later) and others take a few days or a week before it gets bad. Maybe it's some kind of cumulative effect.

When he is very itchy, I most often see immediate relief by changing to another food. I have rotated foods in this manner since September.. but haven't been able to find a food that gives zero reaction.

I have to monitor him closely and decide what to feed him at every mealtime. We can't go on like this.. and my other cat is totally confused as well.

Cosma Nature seems to be ok so far.. only mild itching at the moment, not too bad. Time will tell.. although it's still 100 times better than the Applaws version, which had him awake and itching the same night. Any thoughts on that?

Update! After one year of food trials, I still can't figure out what is making my poor cat itchy.

I had a major setback when I discovered he was eating hedgehog food (which a neighbour was throwing onto the communal lawn area every day). It was a commercial hedgehog food - looked just like kibble - and contained chicken, beef and cereals! So I chucked all my food diaries in the dustbin and started all over again. But months later, still no success.

Did more tests for mites and ringworm  - all negative; and blood tests showed nothing unusual.

I thought it might be nickel allergy at one time and replaced all his stainless steel bowls with ceramic ones. It didn't help.

More recently, I suspected salicylate allergies, because many of the cat foods contain ingredients with high salicylate content. I haven't ruled this out yet.

However my question now is about preservatives..

I find he does quite well on COSMA NATURE CHICKEN FILLET. The ingredients are:
75% chicken fillet, 1% rice, 24% chicken stock. (It's only a supplemental cat food).

But if he eats APPLAWS or KATTOVIT, he gets much worse! Very itchy!!! Although their ingredients are very similar:
APPLAWS: Chicken Breast 75%, Chicken Broth 24%, Rice 1%.
KATTOVIT: Meat & animal by-products (73% chicken), minerals.

Does anyone know about preservatives used on meats please?

Maybe the Cosma Nature chickens are fed differently? or are preserved in a different way? or used farm-fresh??

If preservatives are causing my cat's problems, maybe it would explain why he reacted so badly to Catz Finefood Kangaroo? I have never been able to explain that one. CFF ingredients are very limited: Kangaroo, broth, minerals and borage oil!

I imagine raw food will definitely test this theory, because chances of preservatives in the food are less. I plan to go this route and will hire someone to come in and feed the cats if I can't be here at mealtimes. I will probably start with Natural Instinct, because they have more choices in complete, single-protein raw foods.

However it could take weeks to convince my cats to eat raw.. so I need to find a suitable wet/canned food in the meantime; (can't use dry food with raw food!!).

I need to find foods which are as natural as possible. Nature's Menu complete pouches would be my first choice, because of their limited ingredients. Unfortunately my cats will not eat them. I have tried for months.. I mean really tried!! However NM have a new range coming out soon. It contains many salicylate-rich ingredients, but I'm going to try it anyway.

Which other natural wet-food brands might be worth trying please? I think I have tried all the cat foods in Europe! but willing to try anything twice. Thank you

All about cat food / Re: Incinerated kibble
« on: Jan 13, 2018, 19:16 »
It's a very good article. Very scary.

Wainwright's have replied and said their kibble is cooked at 100 degrees, if that's any comfort..

All about cat food / Re: Incinerated kibble
« on: Dec 13, 2017, 12:58 »
Thank you for the reply Tinyplanets, I agree with your opinion.

It's such a pity. He suffers from terribly itchy skin and this is the only food that I've had any success with.

But it's too much of a worry, so I have started searching for a replacement.

I've also contacted the kibble manufacturer for their opinion.. will let you know if I get a response.

All about cat food / Incinerated kibble
« on: Dec 05, 2017, 13:12 »
I changed cat food brands to a single-protein kibble but have concerns.

The kibbles vary in colour and most of them look totally overcooked. Sometimes they are black and scorched.

Surely it can't be healthy to cook kibble with such a fierce heat?

I have used many other brands of dry food which look a healthy brown colour.. perhaps because they are cooked more gently? However as my cat suffers from allergies, I switched to this new brand because the ingredients are strictly single-protein (turkey) with no added fish oil.

There are a number of articles on the dangers of cooking at high temperatures and I would welcome opinions please.

I've attached a photo of this kibble (although I have seen it more scorched than this) and a photo of a competing brand for comparison.

Meg you're a sweetie, thanks for looking for us. (By the way - please add Menhaden to that list.. I see it is missing, apologies).

I will keep Happy Cat Adult Lamb in mind. It is available on Zooplus and yes - the ingredients look safe (hopefully!):

Poultry protein** (21.0%), rice flour, maize flour, poultry fat, meat meal, corn, lamb protein** (8%), potato flakes, cellulose*, beet pulp* (desugared), whole egg powder, sodium chloride, yeast*, apple pomace* (0.4%), potassium chloride, seaweed* (0.2%), linseed (0.2%), mussel meat* (0.04%), chicory root * (0.04%), yeast* (extract), milk thistle, artichoke, dandelion, ginger, birch leaves, nettle, camomile, coriander, rosemary, sage, liquorice root, thyme (total dried herbs: 0.17%); **) dried, partly hydrolysed, (* dried.

However Happy Cat's ingredients don't look quite as appealing as the Wainwrights Grain-Free Turkey:

Turkey 63% (Turkey Meal 29%, Fresh Turkey 21%, Turkey Oil 11%, Turkey Gravy 2%), Potato (21%), Sweet Potato (11%), Linseed, Yeasts, Alfalfa, Seaweed Meal, Minerals, Prebiotic Mannanoligosaccharides (1000mg/kg), Cranberry Powder (500mg/kg), Yucca (100mg/kg).

Will see how he does on Wainwrights first.. but it's good to have another option, thank you.

Meanwhile he just had the worst night of his life - his abscess burst at 3am. The poor boy is recovering now.. but at least he has a decent meal waiting, when he's ready for it.

It is time for his luck to change.

Thanks Meg.. I did a quick search but it looks like only a few Canidae dog foods are available in the UK; (at imported prices). I'll keep looking!

The staff at Pets Corner (a local pet shop) mentioned they have a nutritionist who helps with this kind of thing. I'll take him the diet restrictions next week and see if he knows any other cat foods worth investigating.

It's still going quite well here, although it looks like he has been scratching his forehead - the hair is thinning and there's a small open wound. I won't panic just yet because the abscess is still there and he's been prescribed more antibiotics.. so if his little body is fighting infection, it's not the ideal time for a food trial.

On another issue, I do wonder about the lack of oil in his diet now. There seem to be quite a few pet foods that contain no oils but still claim to be 'complete and balanced'. (When I enquired about one of these, they said the protein content was so high, additional oil was not necessary).

I asked Dr. Dodds, and she said I should supplement his food with another oil. And she suggested anchovy or krill oil.

Of course I can't add anything to his food during this trial phase.. but for future reference, do you know anything about food oil supplements please? I could use some advice, like where to buy, which brands to trust and how much to add? Thank you

Thank you Petmum. Hills Prescription diets didn't work for my cat either.. Hills DD contains fish oil and soya oil, which would explain his itching (if intolerance to fish and vegetable oils is confirmed). Hills ZD made him vomit and gave him tummy problems.. it also contains veggie oil - and rice, which isn't ideal either.

Wainwrights confirmed their kibble is single-protein (only turkey!) with no exceptions, like fish oil. It is the only single-protein dry food I have found so far.

Thanks for recommending Yumega oil.. I still have a large stash of Virbac Allerderm Spot-On so I'll stick to that for now. If the new diet works out (please please), he won't need it as often and I'll reduce his dose to one/week.

My boy's been on his new diet for a few days now.. only occasional scratching at the moment and he already looks much happier! I am trying not to get my hopes up but it's the best progress in a very long time.

Apologies for late post Meg.. Yes, after I had his blood tested, they kept some of the serum and tested 11 of my selected cat foods against his serum. The foods tested were a variety of brands - wet and dry - bought directly from the pet shops. They included various products made by OptimaNova, Nature's Menu, Acana, James Wellbeloved, Applaws, Orijen and Catz Finefood.

(By the way - have you looked at CLEANLABELPROJECT.ORG? Shocking results for Acana and Orijen!!).

Anyway, sadly the blood results didn't help at all. He reacted very badly to foods the report said were ok.. so I was forced to return to food trials.

Since then, we hit rock bottom. Feeding a single type of protein is not practical and very depressing. He wouldn't eat and lost weight.. and there is another cat in the house who was eating normally (hidden behind closed doors) which upset him terribly because he could smell her food. Plus I had to guard them both at mealtimes to make sure their meals were kept separate. (This is very time-consuming and almost impossible for one person, especially because they eat in several small doses!)

He started looking ill so I put him back on commercial food, for a complete, balanced meal. I would feed him a particular brand until he started reacting.. and then replace it with another. As I have been doing this for many months already, I have a good feel for what works and what doesn't.

Although the blood tests confirmed he suffers from environmental allergies which may complicate things, the food reactions are still pretty obvious. When he reacts to food, it usually start a few hours after eating.. he starts scratching, stops just long enough to rest his legs, then carries on scratching, all the time. Sometimes he scratches harder and harder in the same area, until I hear it go 'gooey'. And many times he gets almost frantic.. on those occasions especially, I stay awake with him at night and brush him for hours, which makes him feel a little better. I am so grateful when he falls asleep and gets some rest.

It is difficult to apply creams until the hair thins enough to reach the skin.. so I find the Vet Gold and cortisone creams don't help that much. I keep applying Allerderm Spot-On but don't know how much it helps anymore; (and it gets very expensive to use every few days!) He also hates having it applied and runs away from me when he sees it.

Then at one stage, nothing was working. He was scratching all the time and none of the foods seemed to help. I didn't know what to do at mealtimes. On many occasions I boiled him some cod - which he liked and looked forward to! And the itching subsided a little. On other occasions, I reluctantly fed him the prescription foods which upset his stomach.. only because I was desperate and didn't know what else to give him. (Actually there were a few foods that were ok for the first week or two - but then made him sick after continued feeding. His problems are 'inside and outside').

He scratched the underside of his chin and back of his head so much, it was often scabby and bleeding..  He had another cortisone shot when things got really bad.

I dreaded mealtimes. What do you feed your pet when every food appears to make him poorly? It was the saddest time of day. He always looked hopeful for something nice to eat, but he didn't like any of the foods I thought might help him, and he often walked away hungry. He was regularly disappointed, and I was completely heartbroken.

So I followed your suggestion and bought the NUTRISCAN test. I sent his saliva sample to HEMOPET in California for intolerance testing and got the results a few weeks later..

The results were negative for everything - except an 'intermediate reaction' to whitefish!!

The report said to avoid WHITEFISH, HERRING, SARDINE, FISH OILS (excluding salmon and salmon oils) and CANOLA OIL. Later, I found out I should also avoid TUNA, MACKEREL and TROUT.

So - just like the last time - I went rushing out and bought cat foods which were 'appropriate', given these new guidelines. But unfortunately he had another very bad reaction, to a food I thought would make him better. It was THRIVE CHICKEN & TURKEY; (ingredients: Chicken breast (70%), Chicken stock, Turkey (5%), Sunflower oil, Vitamins & Minerals).

I suspected sunflower oil as the culprit because the other ingredients looked ok (according to both NutriScan and the blood tests). So I checked other foods that made him sick in the past. These included:

Catz Finefood Kangaroo (which contains BORAGE OIL)
Little Big Paws Chicken and Turkey (which contains SUNFLOWER OIL)
Canagan pouches (which contains SAFFLOWER OIL)

Dr. Jean Dodds at NutriScan/Hemopet was kind enough to help me with a consultation and agreed that oils could be a problem. Now we believe he should avoid food containing any fish oils (including salmon oil), vegetable oils or plant oils. (As well as whitefish, herring, sardine, tuna, mackerel and trout!)

I have been hunting for foods that meet this criteria and have found these ones:


I can only find one company who make a suitable kibble.. (If you know any others, please let me know!):


He won't eat Nature's Menu, I have been trying to feed it to him for weeks.. it is such a pity. But fortunately he likes ZiwiPeak (although my other cat won't eat it!) and I have a few AATU and LILY'S KITCHEN samples coming in the post.

After two years of misery, I think we have finally made some progress. The NutriScan test was the best thing I have done so far.. thank you for the recommendation!

He has been eating ZiwiPeak for a couple of days now - and enjoying his meals, which is such a relief to see. Although he is still scratching, it doesn't seem too bad at the moment and I am cautiously optimistic. I'll keep him on one food only for a few weeks, monitor his progress and see how we go.

Of course it doesn't help that he just had an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory injection, which may be clouding the picture. He developed a large lump on the side of his face, which the vet thinks is an abscess; (probably from scratching). Although I can't see any cut or scab.. it is just a raised lump, almost the size of a golf ball, covered with fur with no redness. I am very worried, but hopefully it'll go away soon. The poor boy has been through enough!

Here's an update since our discussion over a month ago..

I discovered feeding him white fish and James Wellbeloved sachets (Adult Turkey) were the only foods that seemed to relieve his itchy skin.. so I poached cod in water every morning and kept both my cats on this diet for a couple of weeks.

However they both deteriorated in health.. and my other (non-allergic) cat  - who loves fish - started shedding a lot of hair and became VERY bloated and uncomfortable.

Desperate for answers, I had 12 cat foods tested against his blood for sensitivity. The results were wonderful - apparently 5 foods (2 dry and 3 wet) were non-sensitive, and some really healthy food options were among them. Unfortunately when I put one of the dry foods to the test (Acana Wild Prairie), he had a VERY severe reaction.. the worst I've seen in a long time - so now I'm scared to try the others..

At least Springtime is behind us and the environmental allergies have eased a little, which gives me more room for error with the foods I think. It seems he can tolerate James Wellbeloved wet food (Turkey) and Nature's Menu Chicken & Turkey .. but as both cats only eat a couple of mouthfuls before wandering off, I am battling to keep the summer flies away. (Interestingly - the flies prefer Nature's Menu and leave the James Wellbeloved alone.. does this say something?!)

Anyway Kibble is their preferred food.. and definitely best for when I'm not at home. CANAGAN GRAIN FREE, FREE-RUN CHICKEN is the best one I have found so far.. He still itches, but the reaction is mild compared to other dry foods. Both cats have been eating this for the last 2 weeks (along with the Nature's Menu wet food) and their health seems improved and they seem happy and playful.

Unfortunately their fur still feels very rough, and not glossy and healthy like it used to be. Perhaps after a few more weeks on this diet, I will see improvements?

His weight is a worry though - he is quite thin. I have seen him vomiting after eating the Canagan but perhaps that was due to the sudden change in diet? I will weigh him today and closely monitor his progress.

I still hope to find a kibble which doesn't set off his allergies at all.. but for the time-being, I want both of them on a consistent diet and won't try anything new for a while; (unless he continues to lose weight, and then I will have no choice).

In the meantime, I continue to apply Virbac's Allerderm Spot-On every 3 days, and use cortisone cream on his balding areas when absolutely necessary. I also tried Dermoscent Spot-On - but prefer Virbac, as the Dermoscent smells VERY strongly of essential oils. I think it must be aimed at the smelly dog market!

It's good advice Meg and he is not short of round-the-clock reassurance, love and attention, I can promise you! Unfortunately it only helps so much..

Despite all my efforts to improve his environment and alleviate the situation, there comes a time when his levels of discomfort are so incredibly high, only medication can help him feel better.

I hate giving him steroids and WISH for an alternative. But even so, I had just hoped the occasional injection would see him through until a more permanent solution could be found. But as the steroids are no longer helping him much, there is no point in giving him any more.

That doesn't help him right now, of course.. when he is scratching so badly he is bleeding.

On a brighter note, I spoke with Nature's Menu and there are thinking about manufacturing novel-protein cat foods! So perhaps in future, more single-protein options will be available, which would be an enormous relief to cat 'owners' in my position.

Thanks, I am already very careful with those kind of products and have protectors on everything. The air purifier will have to wait for now.. but it is on the shopping list for future.

The cortisone shot was supposed to give him 5-7 days of relief, but it wasn't a great help and he is already scratching furiously. I am reluctant to give him another one, because of the risk of side-effects.

During my midnight internet research (when I am keeping him company), I found some articles about alternatives to steroids, like Atopica (cyclosporine) and Apoquel.. do you know much about these treatments? Although I see many warnings about their side-effects too - and I don't want to keeping pumping drugs into him, if there are natural alternatives.

The VetGold is on express delivery. It will be pretty easy to apply to his 'balding' areas.. but I guess I'll have to rub it through his fur onto the itchy spots around the back of his neck? (if he'll let me!) There are more itchy areas appearing by the day and this could get very messy I think.

I am applying Virbac's Allerderm 3 times a week now, because the springtime pollens are making his allergies so much worse.. however it isn't helping a great deal anymore and I can't seem to break the itch/scratch cycle. (Although he would probably be worse off without it).

Do you think I should try Dermoscent Spot On - or is it the same as Allerderm? (Dermoscent is a bit more expensive but maybe it's worth trying..?)

I am still trying to get his diet sorted out.. but hope that when I do, the cumulative effect of food + environmental allergies will be low enough to make his allergies more manageable.

If not, would allergen immuno-therapy be the only remaining option?

Thank you! I have found VetGold on Amazon UK and will order some right now! (I only have a steroid cream which I don't like to use).
Will it be OK if he licks it off?

He also shows an allergy to dust mites, and I have been recommended Virbac's Indorex spray; (there's a lot of chat about it on PetForums). I'm not sure I would be comfortable using it and would prefer to just keep washing the bedding and hoovering regularly instead. But would be interested to know if you use this product?

As for the canned foods (Ropocat and Feringa rabbit/venison varieties).. it is the smell I think. The first few times, he wouldn't even try them. Then he took a bite the other day because he was hungry, and for a minute, I thought he would spit it out! He did not look impressed. (My other cat won't go near them either). Maybe they are just being fussy.. but I have tried many times now and only the flies will eat it, so it goes straight in the bin.

Hey Meg, I just meant he will not eat the Ropocat or Feringa cat foods. I have given them to him many times now.. but even when he is hungry, he will not eat them. It is a pity, because the ingredients looks perfect.

As for the Optimanova Rabbit and Potato, they advertise it as a 'single-protein' food.. so I should hope there is nothing in the oils or fats except for rabbit proteins?! (Although by comparison, I see James Wellbeloved claim their turkey pouches only have a 'single source of animal protein' - but then they list fish oil in the ingredients, so surely this means it isn't single protein?)

As my cat still has cortisone in his system, I won't be able to judge his response to the food this week.. (although the poor boy is still scratching despite the cortisone shot, and I am applying Virbac Allerderm Spot-On, which helps his itchy skin a little bit).

I am pretty sure tuna is a problem but will think about retesting it.. I only have four tests and would really like to confirm two suitable foods (one wet and one dry) if possible. I wish I could test more than four foods!! but I don't want him to have more blood drawn right now; he has had enough stress this month, and I probably couldn't afford it anyway.

My other (non-allergic!) cat happily eats the Nature's Menu chicken and turkey pouches. However NM's range of cat foods are quite limited compared to the dog food range. It looks like all the pouches (except chicken) contain mixed proteins.. and none are appropriate, which is really unfortunate.

The Optimanova Rabbit and Potato kibble just arrived so I am trying that first; (their website claims it is single-protein). My cat's blood tests suggest rabbit should be ok.. and it is definitely an unusual protein, so I am cautiously optimistic; (although I'm not sure how he'll react to potato).

I am still searching for a wet food, as the Ropocat and Feringa canned foods have the right ingredients but have been repeatedly ignored.

Avacta still have some of my cat's blood and they can test up to 4 foods for an allergic reaction. I am going to price this option and choose four foods for testing. Which four, I don't know yet..

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