Cats => Caring For Your Cat => Hairballs => Topic started by: Pookie on March 01, 2012, 12:36:03 PM

Title: Need advice on using canned pumpkin and raw
Post by: Pookie on March 01, 2012, 12:36:03 PM
I think hairball season may be starting early this year.  Pookie's already had at least one, possible 2 in less than a week.  I already comb him every night, but last year it wasn't enough so I would give him some canned pumpkin to help move things along.  I stopped the pumpkin for the winter but am thinking I need to start giving it to him again.

I used to give it to him before bed, which was about 4-5 hours after his dinner.  But for the last few weeks I've been giving him either a feeder mouse or raw chicken gizzards as his bedtime snack to help with his teeth.  Is it okay to give him pumpkin then, or with his wet food at dinner?  I'm wondering if the fiber will slow down the meat/wet as it goes through his system.  Or do I give him pumpkin every other night, and on alternating night give the raw/mouse?  The only other thing I can think of is to put some in the timer feeder at some time during the day, but I'm not sure he'll eat it.

Any advice?  Thank you in advance!
Title: Re: Need advice on using canned pumpkin and raw
Post by: Middle Child on March 01, 2012, 07:58:55 PM
I usually start seeing sudden excess shedding in February, when the light changes significantly. Then it seems to slow down again until late March.  This year.....I am not seeing the extreme change, but of course my one boy who shed so heavily is gone.

I would think it would be fine to give the pumpkin in other, canned, meals during the day. All I really know is that the amount has to be at least one tablespoon daily, for it to be useful. I have stopped using any hair ball stuff at all for my struvite girl who has always had serious hair ball trouble, (she does not allow any grooming). I am now relying solely on the pumpkin to control hair balls, and so far it seems to be working, she is getting 1/2 tablespoon in a morning meal and 1/2 tablespoon in a supper meal.

Pumpkin fiber doesn't interfere with nutrient absorption, so I have been assured.
Title: Re: Need advice on using canned pumpkin and raw
Post by: Lola on March 02, 2012, 07:22:14 AM
Any possible issues, if a feline doesn't have trouble with furballs... yet eats pumpkin?  I put out 7 plates of food, but they all tend to share also. 
I only have one cat that has furball issues.  I know when she does, because she tries to escape outside... to eat grass.  Petroleum jelly did the trick, but...
Title: Re: Need advice on using canned pumpkin and raw
Post by: Pookie on March 02, 2012, 11:57:07 AM
Thanks, MC.  I guess I'm wondering if the pumpkin takes longer to digest (since it's fiber) than the wet or raw, in which case I'd be concerned that it would slow down the wet/raw moving through his GI tract, thus allowing bacteria to grow.  Or does it move right along with the wet/raw, at the same rate, in which case "no worries?"  Does anyone know?

Lola, I don't think there'd be any issues for a kitty to eat pumpkin if they don't have a hairball issue.  I just wouldn't feed a lot of it.  Is there a way you could give it to just the one kitty in another room or in a crate?  If not, I wouldn't stress over it.  That's just more in the litterbox for you to clean up.   :D Bumpurr1
Title: Re: Need advice on using canned pumpkin and raw
Post by: Middle Child on March 02, 2012, 03:36:39 PM
I don't know if the pumpkin slows down digestion.  I don't think it does digest, that's the nature of fiber, right, it doesn't digest, it just helps push things through? I have two cats on it now, more for constipation than for hairballs, but now that they are both on it daily, I have stopped using any hairball remedy either, and it seems to be doing double duty.

When I started my first girl (not struvite kitty) on it, I made no other changes in her diet. She's never had hair ball trouble anyway, just a lot of trouble passing stool, which is why I started her on the pumpkin. Almost immediately, her constipation issues disappeared.  Within six weeks, she had slimmed down, and become at least twice as active as she has EVER been.  She lost half a pound, but it really is more that she's become fitter (fit and trim, I call her) from the increased exercise, and not carrying around a lot of sludge in her colon.

My struvite girl is still having a bit of constipation issue, even on the pumpkin, but I think that is from the pepcid. SHE was the cat who has had hair ball trouble from the time she was about one year old.  Her first hairball cost me $400 in emergency vet fees and x rays.  From that time on, she has had to have a regular dosing schedule of hairball remedy.  Every three days  from November to February, every other day from February through October. And that was BEFORE she was on the c/d.

The constipation problems started in November 2010.  She was still on the c/d then, and even though she was getting so much hairball gunk, she was still having troubles. I was giving her psyllium mixed in a watery canned meal every four days or so, even though I KNOW psyllium is NOT good for cats, and can only make the problem worse, I just didn't know what else to do because she wouldn't, then eat the pumpkin, and it did seem to give her some relief.  Then, this past summer the regurgitation started, and I struggled with that until I finally made the switch off the c/d all together, which you know about and have been a big help with (as have all my friends here). 

She still refused the pumpkin, until I tried just giving her really tiny amounts in her meals, to help her get used to the taste.  Gradually I was able to increase the amounts, and now she accepts a half a tablespoon twice a day in a meal. So then, I stopped ALL hair ball remedy for her (though it was a very scary thing to do)

Since I have stopped the hair ball remedy, she has had no hair ball problems, I am positive the pumpkin is taking care of it, helping her pass the fur in her stool. She also is not regurgitating, and her digestion seems to be doing fine.  She is, however only having a bowel movement every 48 hours now, and that with mineral oil help but I think that is from the pepcid, not hair balls or trouble with her digestion. She is still on the probiotic.

Sorry, I didn't mean to make this thread about my girl and her problems, but I didn't know how to explain my experience without bringing her into it.

I think, in your case, I would mix the pumpkin with canned food, and continue the raw treat alone, as you have been doing.

Geesh, I need to learn more about how various dietary fibers work, I think. I read an article about the various kinds once, but don't remember where.  I know that pumpkin fiber is NOT a bulk forming fiber, so it doesn't put our cats at risk of megacolon, cause dehydration, and make constipation worse (like psyllium can).  I am pretty sure it does not interfere with nutrient absorption like laxatives do (mineral oil, lactulose, hair ball remedies), but I don't remember WHY I know that, I researched pumpkin when I first started it with my first girlie, but that was a while ago now I can't remember what my resources were. bangshead
Title: Re: Need advice on using canned pumpkin and raw
Post by: Middle Child on March 02, 2012, 03:53:19 PM
I just found this article at this website: 

Dietary Fiber

    Pumpkin or Other Winter Squash – A traditional vet recommendation and a good one, plain unspiced canned pumpkin can help relieve either constipation or diarrhea as it normalizes the situation. The beneficial gut bacteria, when properly fed, are good at normalizing the bowel environment. Some cats report that Libby's plain canned pumpkin is the preferred brand but canned pumpkin does not agree with all cats. Baked winter squash can be fed and your cat may have preferences as to type of squash, or baby food winter squash can be used. Use small amounts mixed into several of the daily meals, a small amount being 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon. Then monitor the results. Remember this is food for the gut bacteria, not the cat himself. If using canned pumpkin, freeze the can contents in ice cube trays, pop the frozen cubes into a freezer container, then thaw a cube at a time in a little glass jar in the fridge. Although cats are unable to convert the beta-carotene in orange vegetables to Vitamin A as humans can, they nevertheless utilize beta-carotene for their own health purposes.
Title: Re: Need advice on using canned pumpkin and raw
Post by: Middle Child on March 02, 2012, 03:57:06 PM

What does all that mean? It means that even though dietary fiber does not feed the cat herself, fiber is nonetheless essential for the health of the gut and therefore the health of the cat. There needs to be something in the diet that is not digestible and is not absorbable, that flows on to the gut bacteria waiting in the large intestine (aka the large bowel).
Title: Re: Need advice on using canned pumpkin and raw
Post by: Middle Child on March 02, 2012, 04:15:06 PM
I don't  mean to spam the thread with this website, but it really has a lot of good info.  Here's the home page, in addition to the links to specific sections I provided above.
Title: Re: Need advice on using canned pumpkin and raw
Post by: Pookie on March 02, 2012, 04:34:24 PM
 wow1 wow1 wow1    DrLisaPiersonWorthy

This is great, MC!  Thank you so much for taking the time to post all this, I REALLY appreciate it!  Guess I know what I'll be reading this weekend.   funny2

Thank you!!!!!!!!   thumbsup1 thumbsup1 thumbsup1