Inflammatory bowel disease in cats is as big a problem as it is in humans. When any part of the digestive tract is out of natural balance, the whole body feels unwell. Ask anyone who suffers with it! Your energy is affected and there is a general feeling of malaise. You have to be very careful what you eat.
Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD refers to a variety of diseases and include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. IBD are the most common cause of chronic (that is, never going away) vomiting and diarrhoea in cats. (Acute vomiting and diarrhoea comes about because of conditions such as food poisoning, ie it is short lived.)
A sequel to inflammatory bowel disease in cats can be lymphoma, or tumours, in the intestines. This is unsurprising given that cats tend to develop tumours at the site of chronic inflammation.
The veterinary solution to this is a special diet (more on this later) and cortisone.
Gut flora plays a super-important role in general health, but in digestion in particular. Without the natural quantity and quality of gut flora IBD is almost inevitable. In everyone, including cats.
When a cat is eating a species-appropriate diet (and has not been medicated with drugs such as antibiotics), the gut flora is maintained in the exact proportions it should be for a healthy digestive system.
Sadly, the majority of domestic cats are eating a species-inappropriate diet, supplied by commercial pet foods. Years of this diet can lead to allergies to various foods and food intolerances. Then your vet will tell you your cat is suffering from a protein intolerance and will suggest a diet with lower protein, which has also been hydrolysed.
It isn’t the protein itself which causes the problem (as long as it is species-appropriate and not processed). More that the gut flora has so deteriorated over the years, that it has little option to do anything else.
So what is a species-appropriate diet for cats? Cats are obligate carnivores. This means they MUST eat animal protein, to survive. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Not only must they eat animal protein, but they need a very high proportion of it. Look at a wild cat’s diet – they kill and consume the whole body of their prey. Nothing else.
In itself, this gives us more vital clues:
- that meat is bountiful in their diet
- that the meat is very fresh
- that the meat is raw
- that the meal contain organs, bones, skin
Raw, fresh meat supplies a cat with all the necessary nutrients and enzymes they need, that they have evolved on.
The combination of all the parts of the prey ensure the cat is getting the right balance of the necessary nutrients.
The complexities of diet are still little understood in humans and are far from understood in animals. Humanity is presently more focused on making vast fortunes from covering up the truth, from creating myths, than it is on creating harmony and good health.
A species-inappropriate diet for cats, the one commercial cat food manufacturers focus on, has:
- a high carbohydrate content – which is detrimental to cats
- a high toxic content – preservatives, synthetic colours, flavours, etc, despite the assurances on the label
- a low quality protein (cheap) which has been processed – all processing depletes nutrition
The only way to deal with this distressing condition is to get to the cause. And the cause, I believe as did the famous Dr Pottenger after extensive research, for virtually all cat health problems is their diet.
Inflammatory bowel disease in cats can be treated in two ways:
- discount the cause and just treat the effect – rely on special diets with high carbohydrate content and hydrolysed protein, plus medication that is known to reduce the life of those treated
- consider the cause and set about righting that
The second option is the only one that will help your cat rid themselves of the condition. But it is more complex for most people to follow. For most people, it is easier to just follow their vet’s advice, whatever the consequences to their cat.
Yes, it isn’t the easiest thing you will ever do, but neither will it be the most difficult, as I can show you a way to take baby steps. Naturally Healthy Cats tells you what foods are the healthiest, how to convince your cat this diet is the best (not always easy!), how to easily fit this new regime into your already hectic schedule and much more.