Monthly Archives: November 2016

Let Them Eat Chicken

If cats could prepare their own food, most would choose chicken, the best selling cat food flavor
© Rasulov –

Americans spent $13 billion in the pet specialty market in 2015, and most of that money went to chicken-flavored food.

We’ll never know for sure whether cats actually love chicken or whether their humans love it for them, but chicken-flavored wet and dry cat food and treats outsold all other competing protein sources, including fish. And we always thought fish was our cats’ favorite.
Now that I think about it, my cats really do prefer chicken.

Except for Sizzle. He’ll eat anything I put in front of him, although he’s not crazy about beef. 

And Now We Have Prescription Treats

Royal Canin introduces prescription cat treats.
As if prescription food wasn’t enough, Royal Canine has introduced prescription treats. I didn’t check the ingredients (and really don’t want to), but if your cat is on prescription food, you can now get matching urinary treats, gastrointestinal treats, hydrolyzed protein treats for cats with food sensitivities, and satiety treats for cats who are on weight-loss food.

All of these are available only from your veterinarian, of course.

Most vets love prescription food because it’s an easy source of steady income. After all, cats have to eat!
But if you’re willing to do some research, you can find food that meets your cat’s special needs on most pet supply retailers’ shelves.

For instance, several cat food manufacturers make wet food with novel proteins for cats with food sensitivities. And the best diet for cats with bladder stones and crystals is all wet food and no dry, even if the wet food is something as simple as Fancy Feast.

New Prescription Food For Cats With Kidney Disease

Blue has introduced new food for cats with kidney disease
© Olga Sapegina |
So your vet wants your cat with kidney disease to eat prescription food, and Royal Canin’s and Hills’ kidney diets both got an unequivocal paws down. Enter Blue Buffalo, a newcomer to the prescription cat and dog food market.
Blue’s KM Kidney + Mobility Support for cats is grain- and gluten-free and comes in both wet and dry food formulas.
The food has controlled levels of protein, phosphorous and sodium. Available only from veterinarians, it was introduced earlier this month.
The company launched its BLUE Natural Natural Veterinary Diets in 2015. Other products in its prescription cat food line include BLUE GI Gastrointestinal Support for Cats and BLUE WU Weight Management and Urinary Care for Cats. 

A Cure For FIP? Clinical Trials Are Underway

Scientists are working on a cure for FIP.

Of all the awful diseases that can affect our cats, FIP is the absolute worst. It’s a cruel disease, and it’s almost always fatal. But that could be changing.

The first phase of clinical trials for a drug that could cure FIP ended this fall.

In a study published in the March issue of PLOS, researchers at Kansas State University treated eight cats who were sick from FIP with the antiviral protease inhibitor, GC376. Sadly, two of the cats became so sick they were euthanized. But the other six recovered and were still doing well eight months later. And that was just the beginning.

Last winter, in collaboration with the Kansas State Researchers, UC Davis veterinarian Niels Pedersen began the first phase of clinical trials of GC376 with 13 “owned” cats.

FIP Explained

FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) is caused by a coronavirus that infects almost all kittens. It causes mild diarrhea, and then pretty much disappears. But in some cats, it goes rogue and mutates into the deadly disease we call FIP.
While most FIP victims are kittens, the virus can remain dormant in some cats’ bodies for years and doesn’t make them sick until they’re well into adulthood or even old age. 
Signs of FIP can include abdominal swelling, weight loss, an unkempt coat and mental dullness. Once a cat gets sick, there’s not much to do but provide palliative care. 

The Cure For FIP Is Still A Long Way Off

In the first phase of the clinical trials, Pedersen and his team looked at optimal doses and what forms of FIP and the length of illness were most responsive to treatment with GC376.

They learned that treatment requires at least 12 weeks and will cause a rapid reversal of FIP in some, but not all, cats.

One of the questions that remains to be answered is how long the remission will last.

But even after the researchers have finished gathering information, it could be a long time before GC376 is available to veterinarians.

First, Pedersen said in an interview with Catster, they’ll need to find a pharmaceutical company that’s willing to take GC376 through the long and expensive Federal Drug Administration testing and approval process.

Since “a company may not find it economically viable to spend the money necessary to gain FDA approval for a disease for a single animal species such as FIP,” he added, “I would not want to speculate on if and when this particular drug may become commercially available for use by veterinarians.”

Help For Cats With FIP Now

While GC376 may still be a long way from your vet’s office, there are things to do for cats with FIP now.

Prednisone, interferons and some supplements and antioxidants can extend the length of life and improve the quality of life for cats with FIP.

To learn about treatments, take a look at leading FIP researcher Diane Addie’s handout for veterinarians. And join the Support and Info for Owners of FIP cats email list on Yahoo Groups or the group’s FIP Fighters Facebook page. You’ll find all the information and support you need if you’re caring for an FIP cat.