IBD Guidelines
One of the most important things in regard to treating IBD is changing your cat’s diet. Dry food isn't good for their
digestive tract because it’s already extremely irritated and they need all the moisture they can get out of canned
food. Especially if your cat has diarrhea with their IBD, they can easily get dehydrated. Also, dry food is notorious
for the way it's over-processed leaving little left for nutrients, which is something your cat will need every last bit
of. Even if your cat doesn't currently have any digestive problems, staying away from any and all of the following
ingredients, if it can be helped, will benefit you and your cat in the long run. But as I've stated, if this is all they'll
eat, or all they do well on, it's imperative to stick with it if you've tried other things and they can't maintain.

Look for high quality protein, low carb, grain free foods. Cats are natural carnivores and domestication hasn't
changed that. Corn is one of the worst things that can be added to cat food, as it's highly indigestible even for
humans. I happen to love corn, but I don't eat it every day and neither should your cat. In fact, they shouldn't eat
it at all. When an outdoor or feral cat gets hungry, does it run for a corn or wheat field for dinner? Absolutely not!
They eat the mouse that ate the corn! It goes hunting for birds, rodents, frogs…MEAT. Pre-digested grains are
fine and perfectly natural.

Wheat, wheat germ, wheat gluten, barley, corn, corn gluten, etc. for an IBD kitty, are ingredients that are known
to irritate the GI tract. In fact, those very ingredients are causing a long list of health problems such as food
intolerance, food allergies, IBD, diabetes, obesity, megacolon, acid reflux. Gluten allergies in humans cause high
increases of celiac disease every year. Celiac disease is an extreme allergic autoimmune response to gluten and
it can also be life threatening. Gluten is a protein that's commonly found in rye, wheat and barley. People can
easily change their diet and lifestyle once diagnosed. Diet change with IBD is a must for their survival and if you
can do it without any fuss, that's nothing short of a miracle with cats. But it can be done and must be done slowly
and methodically. But make no mistake...IBD is just a serious condition and MUST be treated. Do not ignore the
signs. If you ignore the problem and let your cat continue to have these issues, you'll have a much tougher time
giving it the help it needs to heal. If you notice weight loss, vomiting, nausea, lethargy, any one of those
symptoms, please get them to a vet immediately before it gets more difficult to treat.

Other ingredients that are known to irritate and even instigate IBD are carrageenan and other gums that are
used as thickeners and stabilizers. Carrageenan is by far the worst and has been scientifically proven to
instigate inflammatory bowel disease in people and animals.
www.cornucopia.org/2013/12/carrageenan-risks-reality. Unfortunately you'll be hard pressed to find a food that
doesn't contain this ingredient but they are out there, you just to have to research food labels. Soy should also
be avoided as it acts as a hormone and can instigate thyroid disease. Spinach should not be fed to a kitty with
bladder, urinary and/or kidney disease as it's very high in oxalates and can cause crystals to form. Also, be very
careful about using any products like pet toothpaste that contains up to 50% sorbitol. Sorbitol has also been
linked to IBD and other gastrointestinal issues and has no business in any pet products. For more info on all of
these please see the toxic/unsafe page:

Just like a person with IBD, colitis, diverticulitis, etc., cats need to stop eating an entire can in one meal. Your cat
will probably have to eat several to many small meals per day. This is the best way to ensure that your cat
doesn’t gorge itself in one sitting and then vomit the half digested food shortly to several hours afterwards. It’s a
common problem with IBD kitties and even though you must keep them eating, many small meals is the best way
to go. This gives your cat time to digest each small meal and hopefully not regurgitate it. Each time an IBD kitty
vomits it irritates the GI tract and esophagus with acid reflux usually occurring as well. Vomit sometimes contains
white foam or bile that’s backing up from the liver and pancreas excretions. A person with a bleeding ulcer can
tell you how much that hurts. So now you know why you’re kitty stops eating. Because when they get nauseas
and vomit, it hurts.

If you ever see vomit with a pinkish/reddish tinge to it, that's blood. That means the GI tract has been very
strained and it's painful for them. If they have vomit that looks like coffee grounds, this can indicate bleeding
ulcers. If your cat is nauseous and/or vomiting make sure you speak to your vet and talk about possible
treatments for acid reflux and nausea. Some of these treatments are Pepcid A/C, Zantac, Prilosec, Cerenia
(prescription only) and Reglan (metaclopramide) for motility. Zantac is said to have motility attributes also and
may be worth trying before going onto prescription Reglan. Everything has side effects and many medications
cannot be used together. So always speak to your vet before putting your pet on any medication! If you'd rather
try something natural first, there is always slippery elm bark powder. It's an herbal anti-inflammatory and also
works well for stomach irritation and diarrhea. Please see the Tips & Tricks page for instructions on how to
prepare and where to get it:
www.ibdkitties.net/tipsandtricks.html. You might also want to consider digestive
enzymes to help break down any food and hair trapped in the intestines. But if your kitty has ulcers or bleeding
ulcers, digestive enzymes should not be used because there is no protective mucilage normally present, and the
digestive enzymes will go to work on the exposed muscle.

If your cat stops eating, please call the vet immediately. It takes less than 48 hours for a cat to develop hepatic
lipidosis (fatty liver disease). Once that happens they need to be hospitalized as it can be fatal. If your cat has
stopped eating completely and nothing is working to entice them, (like baby food, tuna, boiled chicken, etc), you
can call your vet and request an appetite stimulant. There are only two for cats, mirtazapine and cyproheptadine.
I personally recommend cypro as it does not have the same risk and side effects of mirtazapine. The bonus of
using mirtazapine is it only has to be given every three days. It can at times make your cat very restless and
agitated, though it doesn't happen to all cats. Cyproheptadine is an antihistamine and works differently. You do
have to give it daily and sometimes twice a day. It can make them sleepy so I suggest starting out with a smaller

Try feeding a novel protein like rabbit, lamb, duck or venison; something that your cat isn’t usually exposed to in
their diet. These are specially processed to break down the structure of the protein into multiple, tiny particles
that the immune system will not recognize as an allergen. This is one way of “tricking” the immune response in
your cat’s body. Sometimes it’s a specific allergy they have to chicken, beef, egg, etc. It’s a process of
elimination. Stick with low/healthy fats and carbohydrates as these are converted into energy and the unused
portion stored away for future use. This will give the liver and the GI tract a chance to rest. But if the cat’s GI
tract is already compromised, the rest of the organs are working harder to break these down, including the liver.
If too much fat and carbohydrates gets stored in the liver things can quickly escalate to hepatic lipidosis, (fatty
liver disease) and even pancreatitis. Even healthy cats should only be allowed to ingest 3-5% of carbohydrates
per meal, because cats don't have the natural biological enzymes and enzyme pathways to process

If you're having a hard time finding a food that doesn't contain certain ingredients and/or they are not doing well
on any commercial diet, there is always home cooking. A lot of times that works out better as you have control
over the ingredients and where you obtain them. Just be sure to follow instructions and supplement correctly.
For more on home cooking see:
www.ibdkitties.net/Homecooked.html. There is also a recipe for a nutritious
bone broth which can help your kitty if they're losing weight and suffering from malabsorption. B12 injections
should also be considered for malabsorption which is often present when there is diarrhea and/or pancreatitis.
Diarrhea will not resolve until the B12 levels are back to normal. For more information on B12 please see:

If your cat has diarrhea, sometimes a low residue, low fiber diet can greatly improve their stools. A low residue
diet contains limited amounts of undigested or only partially digested ingredients and limits the amount of food
waste that has to move through the large intestine. This diet may help control diarrhea and abdominal cramping.
Adding a teaspoon a day of 100% pure, canned pumpkin to their food also does wonders to help improve
symptoms of diarrhea. Don’t get the pumpkin pie filling, which contains a lot of sugar. Get the 100% pure
pumpkin, preferably organic. It should look like squash when you open the can. If your kitty has severe diarrhea
due to antibiotics you can add a teaspoon per meal instead of one teaspoon a day. Both my cats were on
antibiotics when they were kittens for upper respiratory infections and the pumpkin took care of the diarrhea, but
I had to put it in every meal. Vets will usually prescribe an antibiotic for diarrhea, most notably Flagyl
(metronidazole). However it clearly states on the product's pdf that Flagyl should only be used short term and
never when liver disease is present as it can cause liver toxicity.

Its often used for inflammation in addition to it's antibiotic properties but in my opinion it's used much too often.
This drug definitely has it's place as it treats certain parasites but if your pet responds badly to it or not at all,
consider trying Tylan (Tylosin) instead. It's not as strong and has antibiotic properties as well. Diarrhea is
product of an imbalance of gut flora and most importantly probiotics should be used to help return that level to as
close to normal as possible for stabilization. Some pet versions of probiotics do work but we're finding that
human grade probiotics are now being recommended by vets and are working much better. They contain much
higher doses of healthy bacteria and the proper strains. Even if your cat does not have diarrhea, they will still
most definitely benefit from probiotics. Please read this section of the site and if your cat has diarrhea, note the
section where it has the stop diarrhea instructions:

Treats are great but only if they’re free of any of the ingredients I’ve mentioned and are all natural and/or
organic. Treats are just as capable of making your kitty vomit or get diarrhea, it really doesn’t take much at all.
Healthy treats should consist of very few ingredients and mainly MEAT. Pet food companies have come a long
way in making great treats and there's no reason to feed the ones with a million ingredients in them. My healthy
cats don't get anything with grains in them, not even treats. They get freeze-dried treats with one ingredient and
that's meat. I have a comprehensive list of grain free treats on this page:

Think about elevating your cat’s food dish as well. When a cat eats as quickly as they tend to do with their heads
facing in a downward direction, they don’t usually pick their heads up to swallow, they just inhale. Keeping their
heads slightly elevated or even with their neck while eating helps to ensure the food goes in one direction, down.
Some people have asked me about water filters and I myself have a filter hooked up to my kitchen sink and only
give filtered water to my cats, no tap at all. I feel it’s best for my own health as well and this way none of us get
the chemicals, contaminates and/or unhealthy bacteria that are in city water. If you can't do a water filter, at least
give only bottle water, preferably something from a health food store that's free of BPAs, arsenic, etc. There are
several brands out there. Read more about water here:

IBD kitties are notorious for suddenly changing its preference of food. Their systems seem to become used to a
protein very quickly. It’s good to keep at least two or three difference foods in the house at all times for this
reason. Even if your cat doesn’t have IBD, it's best to rotate their food choices very often. This will discourage
their bodies from getting used to one set of ingredients and developing an allergy to it. Would you want to eat the
same thing for the rest of your life? I highly doubt it, and they shouldn't either. The old school way of thinking it's
okay to force the same food day after to day on your cat is gone. This is a sure fire way to cause food allergies
and intolerance. Please see the switching foods page for information on how to slowly and safely introduce new
foods into their rotation:

On the premise of switching things around, the same may have to be done with medications, supplements, etc.
As with anything else there comes a point when the body gets too used to it and it may not work that well
anymore. If you notice this happening with their medication, don't get discouraged. Talk with your vet about other
meds you can try and the same goes for any natural treatments. It comes with the territory and having
forewarning that this will in all most likelihood happen several times, can give you a better way to be prepared for
it. Some medications for inflammation include steroids like prednisone, prednisolone, budesonide (Entocort),
Atopica (cyclosporine), dexamethasone. If steroids, diet changes, natural treatments, etc. have all been tried and
nothing is working, please discuss the possibility of using a chemo drug like Leukeran (chlorambucil). It should
be a last choice but can in fact be short term and help instigate healing when nothing else has worked. Just do
not wait until your cat is too weak to start this treatment. You want to make sure your kitty has enough left in it's
immune system to deal with a round of chemo.

This can be a very discouraging and exhausting disease. Please remember to take time for yourself because
you are a caregiver.
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