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Feline pancreatitis is potentially life-threatening and can affect all cats irrespective of their age or breed. Furthermore, the underlying cause of this condition is unspecific and hard to diagnose. It’s important to understand what to feed a cat who has had pancreatitis, or who is presently suffering from this condition.
The pancreas performs a dual function, that of producing insulin, as well as enzymes that digest food. When the pancreas gets inflamed, these digestive enzymes leak into surrounding organs wreaking havoc in the cat’s body.
Since this is a very serious condition, getting a cat to the vet should be your number one priority. But once a cat is out of the woods, learning what to feed a cat who has had pancreatitis is also necessary.
Pancreatitis and How It Affects Cats
The pancreas is a small organ located between the stomach and small intestines. It has two main functions. First it produces insulin, and other, producing digestive enzymes that help cats absorb nutrients from food. Pancreatitis is a condition when the pancreas becomes inflamed and these enzymes leak into the abdominal area. As a result, the body literally starts to digest itself.
Because of their proximity to the pancreas, the liver and kidneys can also be affected. Due to this, the abdomen becomes inflamed, and causes infection.
The pancreatitis symptoms include weight loss, fever, loss of appetite and dehydration. Since this condition progresses rapidly, immediate veterinary care is vital.
The good news is, if caught in early stages and treated properly, pancreatitis won’t cause any permanent damage to the organs.
How to Get a Cat with Pancreatitis to Eat?
When dealing with feline pancreatitis, it is imperative to get a cat eating again as soon as possible. Cats that stop eating, are at risk of developing hepatic lipidosis, which is also a potentially life-threatening disease.
Therefore, in this situation, it doesn’t really matter what you feed your cat as long as she starts eating again. If you are having a hard time getting your cat to eat, here are some tips on how to get a cat with pancreatitis to eat.
#Tip 1: Tempt your cat with her favorite canned cat food. Wet cat food smells better, tastes better and at the same time hydrates the cat.
#Tip 2: Feed the cat more frequently and with small food portions that won’t overwhelm the sensitive digestive system.
#Tip 3: Mix a bit of warm water into your cat’s food or get it warmed in the microwave to intensify the food’s aroma.
#Tip 4: If your cat refuses to eat despite of your efforts, try assisted feeding. It’s the best way to get some of the much-needed nutrients into your cat.
#Tip 5: Still, if nothing works, you should consider using a feeding tube. Your vet can suggest a feeding tube that will work best for your cat depending on her individual case.
What to Feed a Cat Recovering from Pancreatitis?
Since this disease affects the cat’s digestive system, it is important to consider what to feed a cat who has had pancreatitis.
After proper treatment, your vet will probably recommend the food that will work best. However, there are certain guidelines that apply to all cats suffering from pancreatitis. Here are a few of them:
- Easily digestible food: To make your cat’s recovery smoother, you should minimize the stress on her fragile digestive system. So, it is best to feed your cat with easily digestible food. Look for foods that don’t contain grains, and have easily digestible proteins like turkey, chicken or rabbit.
- Wet cat food: Besides providing your cat with essential nutrients, canned food will also keep her hydrated speeding up her recovery. Furthermore, wet cat food is easier to digest than kibble, and is also tastier.
- Moderate protein levels: Pancreatitis can affect a cat’s kidneys as well. Thus you should pay attention to the protein count in your cat’s food. Foods with moderate protein count will not strain your cat’s kidneys and will provide her with all necessary amino acids.
- Moderate fat levels: Unlike dogs, cats suffering from pancreatitis, shouldn’t be placed on a low-fat diet. On the other hand, high-fat foods can cause digestive upset. Hence it is best to find a food with moderate fat levels.
3 Best Foods for Cats with Pancreatitis
It may seem that only prescription diets can fit all of the above requirements. But that’s not the case. There are several pet food manufacturers that make food that complies with the criteria listed above.
The foods listed below are suitable for cats with pancreatitis problem. A couple of our picks have easily digestible chicken and turkey, while the other one has tuna as main protein source.
In addition, these foods have moderate protein and fat levels which is an important factor to consider. The list of cat food mentioned below isn’t a comprehensive one, but it will give you an idea of what to feed a cat who has had pancreatitis.
Purina Beyond Grain Free Natural Adult Wet Cat Food
The Purina Beyond Grain Free Adult Wet Cat sports chunks of food and vegetables in a delicious gravy. This formula is made without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Plus it doesn’t contain corn, wheat or soy and has moderate levels of proteins and fat that should help speed up the cat’s recovery.
Besides keeping your cat hydrated, this food is easy to digest. Hence, it is best suited for cats who suffer from pancreatitis. Furthermore, the main ingredient turkey is easy to digest and won’t upset your cat’s stomach.
Being easy to digest and great taste are the biggest benefits of this food. So, you have better chances of enticing your cat to start eating again. However, it seems that the recipe has been changed recently and now contains artificial Vitamin K.
The Purina Beyond Turkey formula can be a great alternative to prescription diets for pancreatitis. Many cat parents are pleased with the quality of this food and say that even picky eaters succumbed to its delicious taste. Tough some owners state that their cats vomited after eating this food. So watch out for any signs of vomiting!
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Wet Cat Food
The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Cat Food contains baked tuna chunks is gravy. This formula is made of high-quality ingredients that are easy to digest.
Since the main ingredient in this formula is tuna, cats have a hard time resisting the fishy aroma and taste of this food. Furthermore, this formula is made to support ideal weight and easier nutrient absorption.
Cats with pancreatitis can benefit from eating this food since it has moderate levels of fat and protein. But, Hill’s incorporated grains into the mix. Therefore this may not be the right choice if you want grain-free cat food.
We recommend this food because it is easy on the stomach and has a variety of flavors to choose from if your cat isn’t a tuna lover.
Reviews suggest this food is a real hit amongst cats and is a great way to keep a cat hydrated. However, some owners state that the chunks are too big and that they had to mince them prior to serving this food to the cat.
Nutro Grain Free Cuts In Gravy Wet Cat Food
The Nutro Perfect Portions Poultry Cuts in Gravy Wet Cat Food comes in 6 trays each of turkey and chicken in gravy. Both formulas are grain-free and made without any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
Both chicken and turkey are easily digestible with proteins present in moderate amounts. So, this food won’t cause digestive upset. It is also made without grains, which makes it even easier to digest.
NUTRO Grain Free Natural Soft Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Turkey Recipe and Chicken Recipe Variety Pack, (12) 2.6 oz. PERFECT PORTIONS Twin-Pack Trays
With a lot of gravy, this is an excellent food to keep your cat hydrated. Turkey recipe contains a bit higher levels of protein and fat, however, they are still suitable for cats with pancreatitis.
We recommend this product since it contains two flavors and gives you a better chance to entice your cat into eating again.
According to reviews, most cats love the chunks and gravy and clean their plates to the last bit. However, some owners were concerned about the use of tapioca as the thickening agent in this food.
Pancreatitis is a serious condition that requires immediate vet attention. Since it upsets the digestive system, some long-term dietary changes are necessary to help a cat make full recovery.
The recovery process isn’t going to be easy, with the cat refusing to eat altogether. But after reading the above paragraphs you at least know what to feed a cat who has had pancreatitis and how to get a cat with pancreatitis to eat.
Just make sure the cat eats food that is easily digestible and contains moderate levels of fat and protein. The list of foods recommended above will work best. But there are also other options out there that will work equally well and help your cat on the road to recovery.