What Should I Feed My Cat with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBD)?

CatChannel's online veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, offers feeding suggestions for cats with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

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Q: My cat was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). He does not like the prescription diet, and the food he eats now makes the symptoms reappear. Are there any natural food choices I can give him?

A: I suspect your cat was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) rather than Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). People often confuse the two.

The best diet for a cat with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a hypoallergenic one. Hypoallergenic diets contain a protein source — venison, rabbit or duck — that your cat probably has not been exposed to because it normally is not found in commercial foods.

If your cat will not eat any of these diets, you will have to try several different types until you find one that causes the least clinical signs. If you’re determined to feed a “natural” diet, you can check out your local pet food stores. Many brands market themselves as being “natural,” “organic” or something similar. I cannot vouch for these diets personally, but if I were to choose one, I would find a diet that contained a protein source that my cat had never encountered.

Regards,
Arnold Plotnick, DVM

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Reader Comments

Sam    Egg Harbor Township, NJ

4/3/2014 8:47:56 PM

I have a cat who's 9 years old. She started to have bouts of diarrhea and vomiting in February. I took her to the vet where she had blood and urine samples sent to a lab The results were a bladder infection. So, she was given a antibiotic shot which in my opinion made her dirrhea even worse. I took her back a few weeks later and she was given a steriod shot and her symptoms still continued. The vet said she could have IBS but the tests were invasive. She already lost a third of her weight and is about 5 1/2 lbs. I could actually hear gurgling in her stomach like someone with colitis. I tried all kinds of commerical cat food which did not work. I went online and found that most of those foods contain by products. And, dry food really isn't taht good for cats either. I finally found a grain free wet food with natural ingredients called Earthborn.She likes the chicken which is shredded (I chop it up in smaller pieces for her ) and I also came across Pride by Instinct Ritzy's Rabbit recipe. I was kind of taken a back by the word rabbit but it is recommended that you give a cat with IBS and/or IBD a food they never had. Well, shecleaned her plate like there was no tomorrow. I haven't seen any bad after effects like I did with comercial food so, I have my fingers crossed. I also purchased a dry food with probiotics (which are very helpful) to give on occasion. And, last but not least ... I started to give her a few drops of Slppery Elm which actually heals the stomach. It has to be puure Slippery Elm with no other ingredients included.You take a few capsules and mix with a small amount of boiling water. Then you stir until you have a paste and let it cool. Directions are online and it's absolutely safe and almost a miracle herb used in conjunction with good grain free food. I am determined to get my little kitty back to feeling well in the near future.

Sam    Egg Harbor Township, NJ

4/3/2014 8:46:12 PM

I have a cat who's 9 years old. She started to have bouts of diarrhea and vomiting in February. I took her to the vet where she had blood and urine samples sent to a lab The results were a bladder infection. So, she was given a antibiotic shot which in my opinion made her dirrhea even worse. I took her back a few weeks later and she was given a steriod shot and her symptoms still continued. The vet said she could have IBS but the tests were invasive. She already lost a third of her weight and is about 5 1/2 lbs. I could actually hear gurgling in her stomach like someone with colitis. I tried all kinds of commerical cat food which did not work. I went online and found that most of those foods contain by products. And, dry food really isn't taht good for cats either. I finally found a grain free wet food with natural ingredients called Earthborn.She likes the chicken which is shredded (I chop it up in smaller pieces for her ) and I also came across Pride by Instinct Ritzy's Rabbit recipe. I was kind of taken a back by the word rabbit but it is recommended that you give a cat with IBS and/or IBD a food they never had. Well, shecleaned her plate like there was no tomorrow. I haven't seen any bad after effects like I did with comercial food so, I have my fingers crossed. I also purchased a dry food with probiotics (which are very helpful) to give on occasion. And, last but not least ... I started to give her a few drops of Slppery Elm which actually heals the stomach. It has to be puure Slippery Elm with no other ingredients included.You take a few capsules and mix with a small amount of boiling water. Then you stir until you have a paste and let it cool. Directions are online and it's absolutely safe and almost a miracle herb used in conjunction with good grain free food. I am determined to get my little kitty back to feeling well in the near future.

Elizabeth    Palisades, CA

1/17/2014 9:55:16 PM

Try Fancy Feast CLASSIC. Several years ago my cat was diagnosed with IBS and was drastically losing weight. Tried everything including raw and even considered making my own (not recommended). Then I started reading cat food labels. The classic varieties have the fewest ingredients and both cats love it. I also give them yogurt (not with artificial sweeteners) which helps. It's been 2 years so I know it works.

Dee    CA, CA

11/5/2013 2:55:21 PM

and choose one with no grains.

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