The Norman Transcript

Features

December 19, 2013

Diets to try for cat that has heavy breathing, snoring

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: I need some advice about our aging cat’s health care.

We adopted her when she was 4 years old, and she had dental problems. She had three teeth extracted, and the vet suggested Hill’s Prescription t/d Feline Dental Health to prevent further tooth loss.

She has always had a nasal wheeze but has not seemed bothered by it. In the last two or three years, she has developed more heavy breathing, particularly when she sleeps — in other words, she snores. Sometimes she sits just staring into space like she is in a trance.

The vet has not found lung or cardiac problems. She has some arthritis, and the vet suggested glucosamine injections instead of steroids/cortisone. We have not proceeded with the injections.

Can I change her diet to help with the breathing/snoring problem and the arthritis? I have read a little about raw diets, but I’ve not attempted one. Would it be a good idea to get some raw meat from the grocery store?

We would welcome any advice you may have, despite the fact that we can’t bring her to see you.

— F. & R.G.,

Leesburg, Va.

Dear F. & R.G.: The tooth loss problem, so prevalent in cats, may be due to excessive amounts of vitamin D3, added by pet food manufacturers to cat foods. I will be writing more about this in a future column.

Your cat’s breathing problems could be caused by several factors, considering her age. Her trancelike staring could be associated with age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

What may really help her, even at this late stage in life, is a grain- and soy-free diet, especially avoiding corn meal, corn gluten and other corn ingredients.

Good-quality fish oil, canned sardines and organic butter are sources of omega-3 fatty acids that should benefit your cat significantly. Give her just a drop or two of fish oil initially, working up to half a teaspoon daily, along with the same amount of either sardines or butter.

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