This morning I found evidence that my two cats, a male and a female, were not feeling well. First of all, last night I found that their water bowl had been diminished a lot. Now I know that cats, as a general rule, do not drink a lot of water. Some weeks back our girl kitty had been drinking a lot of water for several days. A trip to the vet resulted in our needing to remove cat treats from her diet, due to finding of crystals in her urine. During this two week trial, I had also removed dry food, after conferring with the Holistic Moms Network. Not the smartest time to remove the dry food, of course, because when her urine tested clean, it was impossible to know if it was simply from removing the cat treats, or if it had something to do with the dry food.
Fast forward a few weeks. I bought some more dry food. I did so because the cats are getting big, and are starting to eat us out of house and home. They eat Newman's Own Organics canned cat food. The cans are 3 oz - in other words, small. The two of them were eating five cans a day! At a dollar and change a can, it was getting ridiculous. So I did some research and bought some Organix Feline Formula Adult and Kitten dry cat food. This is, from what I can tell, good stuff. It is made from organic chicken, brown rice and flax, and is minus a lot of the stuff that other dry cats foods contain and are supposed to be bad for them. Anyhow. A few days ago we introduced the dry food in place of the canned for one meal, and they devoured it. Yay! thought I.
So then yesterday, the female cat was drinking, and I noticed the bowl was low. Oh no. But wanting to be sure, I decided to wait a day or two. The bowl was fine this a.m., but I could tell the cats weren't right. For one thing, there was wet food left over from their feeding last night, which has never happened since getting them. Then they left a fair amount of food this morning. Hmmm... Then my daughter stepped in something.... uk. Ok, so there were a couple of piles of cat barf on the carpet. And they were full of fur. Ok. So is the problem crystals in the urine? Or is it hair balls? Or is it both?
I know the solution if the problem is crystals. So I'll give it another day or two, and see if the girl kitty continues to drink a lot of water. Easy solution: no more dry food.
I didn't know the answer for the hair balls, so I did a quick Google search on "natural hair ball remedies for cats." The answer? Psyllium fiber. Metamusil! Wow! As I read about it, I found that it makes perfect sense. If it helps us, why not the cats? Here's one link I found. Though this link does not mention hair balls specifically, it mentions several other conditions for which psyllium fiber is recommended by vets for cats.
This website, and many others, recommend Psyllium Nigrum for cats, which is the same seed husk fiber source as is used in Metamucil. This is a neat site in general.
I'm gonna try it. Starting today, I'm going to mix a small amount (if you try it make sure you know the recommended doses) in with their canned food. I'll report back in a few days if I see any changes or improvements.
If anyone has any experience with this, I'd sure appreciate hearing about it!
UPDATE: I put a teaspoon of flavorless psyllium fiber in the cats canned food, mixed it very well, and gave it to them. Both cats took one sniff, and would not eat one bite. I replaced it with a can without the fiber, and they ate it right away. So much for that! I may try again with a much smaller amount, but I'm thinking this is not the remedy for my cats!
Now to try coconut oil.... trial in a separate post!
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