Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats

The inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is a gastrointestinal disorder, in which the mucosa of the digestive tract becomes inflamed. The causes of IBD are not known, but food is suspected. IBD is difficult to diagnose, as it has common symptoms with other conditions such as hyperthyroidism, chronic renal failure or pancreatitis. The treatment for IBD is opting for an appropriate diet.

Hypoallergenic Diet

Hypoallergenic diets for cats contain restricted amounts of ingredients that are thought not to harm the digestion and not cause bowel irritation.

The cat has to be on the new diet for at least 2 weeks before the IBD symptoms will disappear.

The vet may introduce a food ingredient every second week and monitor the cat’s reactions. The cat may do well on this diet.

Hypoallergenic food may also be bought in pet stores. Look for limited ingredient diet products, which are available at many veterinary clinics, as well as online.

Low Residue Diets

Low residue diets are easy to digest and absorb. They are often prescribed in intestinal diets.

Discuss with your vet if this is an option for your cat.

High Fiber Diets

High fiber diets are helpful in cats with the inflammatory bowel disease. The fibers improve intestinal motility resulting in slower passage and better water absorption.

Raw Food Diets

Raw food diets are more and more endorsed by cat owners and cat breeders as a solution for inflammatory bowel disease. 

Studies show that cats that are fed raw food are less likely to develop IBD.

As cats are naturally carnivore predators, a raw food diet will be abundant in meat and should not contain wheat, milk, soybean or preservatives.

However, veterinarians agree that raw diets can be dangerous if nutrients levels are not monitored. Raw meat diets can be too high in phosphorus and too low in calcium and lack the necessary taurine, leading to heart conditions.

Low Fat Foods

Low levels of fat are also essential in inflammatory bowel disease diet as fats tend to interact with the bacteria present in the intestine and prevent the food from being absorbed and processed in the system.

Food Trials in Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats

A food trial consists of a restricted diet during 2 to 12 weeks. One source of protein and one source of fibers will be fed, in the same proportion, for the whole time and new ingredients will be added every second week. In order for this to work, you will need to respect a few rules:

  • Even if you have an outdoor cat, she should be kept at home, so you can prevent her from eating anything else.
  • No treats should be given for the time of the trial.
  • Feeding time should be restricted, so you can monitor how much your cat is eating a
  • If you have other pets, feed them the same diet or feed them in a different location.