Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
A little over a year ago, I adopted a 3-month-old black kitten, As she grew, she started to have more and more health problems. Gluten intolerance, severe allergies to most plants and insects, and a recurring skin condition triggered by her allergies that causes her to lick her fur out. I’ve done everything I can for her throughout the year. I am a young college student who does everything on my own. I have come to a crossroad. I am no longer able to afford her healthcare. I’ve gotten the advice of both vets and shelters and have had mixed responses. The consensus seems to be that I can either find a new home for her that will be able to afford her vet care and high needs, or put her down. She is only a year and a few months old, and is loving. I lost my cat of 11 years in February to liver failure, and do not wish to see another cat leave so soon, but I need to do what is best for her. Shelters are not willing to take her in her condition–she is currently in a phase of illness, which I cannot currently afford and cannot find help to fund or reach a payment deal with vets, and if I cannot find a person willing to take her in and care for her, I am afraid of what will have to come to pass. Please help me!
Thomas: Oh, Angelica, we feel for you! Especially Mama, because she put herself through college, too, and she knows how hard it is, especially when you have a cat relying on you.
Bella: We’re going to do our very best to help you!
Tara: Before we start, we’re going to stress that we’re not veterinarians, so we recommend that you follow a vet’s advice if it’s different from the advice we give.
Thomas: With that in mind, the first thing we’d recommend, if you can find a way to afford it, is to consult with a holistic veterinarian. Often, they have a lot of knowledge about nutrition and non-drug ways to treat cat allergies.
Bella: From what we understand, allergies can be milder or more severe, depending on environmental factors.
Tara: What we mean is, sometimes when there’s a mild food allergy combined with mild environmental allergies, those things can add up and create serious problems like your kitty is having.
Thomas: You may be able to help your cat’s symptoms subside by eliminating one or more of the allergens in her environment.
Bella: But how do you do that?
Tara: We recommend that you start with the food issue. A lot of times, cats that have gluten intolerance can be helped by changing their diet.
Thomas: It sure helped me once. I used to always get the runs, really bad. So bad that it hurt when I had to poop and I even cried out in pain sometimes! Poor Mama was beside herself worrying about me, because she’d tried everything the vet recommended.
Bella: But then, Mama switched him (and all of us) to a raw food diet. And Thomas got better literally overnight!
Tara: Now, the thing with raw diets is that you can either make them or buy them pre-made.
Thomas: We recommend a pre-made raw diet because they’re created to meet all of a cat’s nutritional needs. If you make your own raw food, you might find you’re missing some crucial nutrients.
Bella: We’re not going to lie–a raw diet can be more expensive than kibble or canned food. But hopefully your cat’s good health will make up for the expense because you won’t have to go to the vet as often.
Tara: The raw food we eat is a dehydrated mixture that Mama moistens with water to about the consistency of canned food.
Thomas: There are three brands we recommend, not just because of the quality but because they’re tasty and we like to eat them!
Tara: They’re available in most pet stores these days, and if you can’t find them at the pet store you can order them online.
Thomas: We recommend poultry and/or fish products because some of the red meat-based products can be too rich. We’ve tried some of them–beef, venison and the like–and they make us urp, which makes Mama sad.
Bella: But we love the duck, goose, turkey, rabbit (when we can find it) and chicken formulas!
Tara: Now, as for how you can get the money to help pay vet bills–we wrote a post a while back, answering a letter from someone whose cat has dental disease that he couldn’t afford to treat. In that post, we had some links for financial assistance.
Thomas: This financial assistance is given to people who meet income guidelines, and as a poor college student, we’re pretty confident that you would.
Bella: It’s possible that if you change your kitty’s diet, the rest of her allergies might calm down, too.
Tara: In the meantime, if you need to rehome your kitty, it’s possible that even if the shelters can’t take her, they may be able to help you find her a foster home where she can get treatment and get better.
Thomas: If you belong to a group like a church or if you volunteer for a nonprofit, you may be able to ask them for assistance in finding your kitty a good home where her medical needs can be met.
Bella: If you can give us a general idea of where you live–the state and/or metro area–we could put a call out to our fans to see if there’s someone who might be willing to help you find her a good home.
Tara: Please keep the faith, Angelica. See if you can qualify for some financial assistance, find a holistic vet if you can, and try feeding your cat a raw diet to see if that helps her allergies.
Thomas: Do you other readers have any ideas about how Angelica can help her cat? We’d love to help her keep her feline companion if at all possible. If she can’t, we want to help her find a good, loving home for her kitty where she can get the care she needs.