Special Snowflake Edition: What do you feed a toothless cat with IBD?
September 18, 2016 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Looking for food suggestions for a very soft canned cat food for an older cat with no teeth and possible IBD. Snowflakes galore ahead!

Asked this question about picky eaters a few months ago but the situation has since changed.

Thirteen year old cat suddenly stopped eating altogether and started hiding under the bed all day. After lab tests and an ultrasound, the vet radiologist thinks the cat potentially has IBD. After getting him some steroids, he is completely back to his old self and very hungry!

He does not have the normal IBD symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea, but his intestines are inflamed. So my first concern is getting something soft enough for him lick up, second concern is whether it's grain free, anti-allergenic, or just generally good for IBD.

The vet suggested getting him a non-allergenic food, any of the mainstream brands should work. But...it seems like there's a lot of controversy on exactly what brands are best. An extra rub, the little guy doesn't have any teeth and he seems to strongly prefer super duper soft food even to the normal "pate" styles of ground meat. He basically swishes it around in his mouth and spits out the meaty bits, pretty gross. He absolutely loved the A/D food the vet gave us while he was recovering it was extremely soft and easy for him to lick up, but the vet said that it wasn't great to use that as a permanent food.

I tried reading through this chart on commercial canned food from CatInfo.org, but...I'm totally overwhelmed.
posted by forkisbetter to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have had good success with Royal Canin Selected Protein, add water as you see fit to make it soft. I wouldn't worry too much about what others think, as there are 5001 opinions about cat food brands, and it comes down to what the cat will actually eat. Please note, I am not opposed to Science Diet, I am just suggesting what I have had success with ( I have recommended Science Diet, it all depends on the pet and what they like). I also strongly suggest considering getting a full-thickness biopsy to make sure that it is actually IBD and not lymphoma, as that may change how you evaluate and approach the situation. Good luck!
posted by bolognius maximus at 12:26 PM on September 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Natural Balance Ultra Chicken & Liver is the closest in consistency to Hills a/d that I've seen; however, it has brown rice and carrageenan, which may be an issue for IBD. The Wellness grain-free chicken is a slightly stiffer pâté but you can thin it with water pretty easily, but again it has carrageenan as a binding agent.

If you want carrageenan-free, that sends you into the gourmet speciality tier, perhaps something shredded like Tiki Cat's chicken variety that you'd then whizz up in a blender.
posted by holgate at 12:27 PM on September 18, 2016

I feed my cat Wild Calling. He has FeLV, so I wanted to feed him a really good quality food, and this is the only brand I could find that I was happy with (finding a grain-free food without carrageenan was a challenge). I haven't tried any of the formulas that contain fish, nor the beef or alligator (!!) flavors, but the chicken, turkey, rabbit, and duck flavors are all smooth, though you might need to add some water to get it to be the consistency that your cat prefers. The bison formula has some texture to it, so that one might not work for you.
posted by kitty teeth at 12:34 PM on September 18, 2016

Add a tiny spoon of water (not too much as he needs the calories) to pate style food, and moosh up his food with a fork so he can lick it.

Chicken or beef baby food (make sure it has no onions as those are bad for cats) is also good although it lacks some amino acids cats need, so don't feed them exclusively that for more than a week or so.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:55 PM on September 18, 2016

What does your vet think of Hill's z/d? My cat with IBD has done very well on it and it has a soft, almost pudding-like consistency with no chunks.
posted by magicbus at 1:11 PM on September 18, 2016

I've got a blog article here on hypoallergenic cat food (full disclosure - this is my site) that lists and reviews cat foods that are hypoallergenic in the sense that they don't contain any of the more common cat-food allergens -- which are traditionally the more common proteins in cat food. Also as an aside, I personally have two toothless cats and they have literally zero problems with any type of food, wet or dry. Of all the things you're trying to balance, I'd personally worry about that complication the least until you know for a fact it's an issue.
posted by cgg at 1:37 PM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

My IBD (and diabetic) does well on Nature's Variety Instinct, rabbit flavor. Interestingly, I don't but the one that is limited ingredient rabbit-only. The one I buy has pork as a secondary protein. But, happy cat and firm poops, so I go with it.
posted by Pleased_As_Punch at 8:02 PM on September 18, 2016

I have also had two toothless cats, and they were capable of eating anything. One was even known to swipe whole pork chops from her humans. So focus mainly on the IBD and don't worry about the fact that he has no teeth.
posted by poppunkcat at 12:46 PM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

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