The Best Cat Food For Pancreatitis 2022 – Low Carb, Hydrating Meals
When your usually playful kitty all of a sudden turns sluggish, loses appetite, vomits, or defecates loose poop, you know there’s something wrong.
These signs could mean a number of health issues in cats, including pancreatitis, which is a serious condition. Your best move is, without a doubt, a trip to the animal clinic and seek professional veterinary advice.
We can all agree that the pancreas is a vital organ in the body, including your cat’s, as it releases insulin to control blood sugar and prevent diabetes. It also releases enzymes into the gut to aid in digestion.
When these enzymes are activated too soon, they digest the pancreas itself, which causes inflammation of the cat’s pancreas or pancreatitis.
When discovered in the early stage, feline pancreatitis can be treated and your cat will be alright. This is why early diagnosis and treatment are crucial.
In this article, we will discuss this bothersome health condition that many cats suffer from. We will also talk about how the right cat’s diet can help mitigate acute or chronic pancreatitis and review the best cat food for pancreatitis.
Here at FelineLiving.Net we have a dedicated mission to provide cat owners like you with well-researched information so they can provide the best care and nutrition to their cat.
Our readers rely upon the cat food reviews, articles and recall alerts that we research and publish. We also routinely update and review our own reviews ensuring that any changes by manufacturers are brought to your attention.
FelineLiving.Net is maintained by Mary Nielsen & her staff. Mary is an animal lover of both cats and dogs. She and her staff are passionate about animals and work hard to provide you with a wealth of information for you and your cat.
FelineLiving.Net is supported by our readers. If you make a purchase through one of our links, we may earn a referral fee. This helps cover the cost of operating our free blog. Thanks for your support!
- What To Look For?
- Best Cat Food For Pancreatitis: Top 10 Wet Food Brands
- 1. Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Ocean Fish Formula
- 2. Applaws Tuna Fillet with Seaweed
- 3. Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Ahi Tuna & Chicken in Chicken Consommé
- 4. Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entrée
- 5. Weruva Truluxe Pretty In Pink with Salmon in Gravy
- 6. Royal Canin Feline Weight Care Loaf in Sauce
- 7. Purina Pro Plan True Nature Natural Chicken & Salmon Entrée
- 8. Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate
- 9. Ziwi Peak Rabbit & Lamb Recipe
- 10. Instinct Minced Recipe with Real Chicken
- Best Cat Treat & Supplements For Pancreatitis
- About Pancreatitis in Cats
What To Look For?
While cat foods cannot necessarily be the cure for any illness, including feline pancreatitis, a healthy diet can go a long way in ensuring your pet’s wellness. In fact, most vets will tell you that the best prevention for any pet’s diseases is a healthy diet.
Always choose cat foods with high-quality and natural ingredients, have no artificial ingredients, and meet the nutritional requirements set by the AAFCO. Please note that many cats with pancreatitis also have liver disease.
Artificial ingredients will only make the liver work harder, which could worsen the condition. The best cat foods may be more expensive than regular brands but they can help avoid more costly health issues.
For a cat’s pancreatitis, here are the qualities in a cat’s diet to look for that can help control the symptoms and improve your cat’s condition:
Highly Digestible Food
Since pancreatitis is a digestive disorder, highly digestible foods are preferred in order to minimize the strain on the cat’s digestive system.
Natural ingredients and whole foods are easiest to digest as the gut system doesn’t have to work on unnatural components.
High-Quality Animal Protein
Premium animal protein is essential to your cat’s health as she is an obligate carnivore, which means she needs certain amino acids that can only be derived from animals in order to survive.
The quality of protein is critical to your cat’s overall health, which is why a premium animal protein source is ideal.
If your kitty has a sensitive stomach or food allergies, choose a novel high-quality animal protein like fish or turkey as opposed to the more common chicken and beef, which are known food allergens to some cats.
Moderate Fat Content
Choose cat foods with low to moderate fat levels for easier digestion. But unlike for dogs with pancreatitis, a low-fat diet is not really required for cats suffering from pancreatitis.
A moderate-fat diet is okay as cats also need some fat in their system. But a high-fat diet is certainly not advisable for cats with pancreatitis as the extra fat can only make the digestive system work even harder.
High in Moisture
Cats with pancreatitis are prone to dehydration. Hydration can help the cat recover from this condition, which is why it helps that the cat food is high in moisture as some cats don’t frequently drink water.
This is one of the situations where wet food is preferred over dry food. A high-quality canned food can help hydrate your kitty.
But if she’s more used to dry cat food, encourage her to drink more water. A pet drinking fountain can help entice cats to drink more water.
Low in Carbohydrates
Cats can benefit from carbohydrates but they don’t need so much of it. And since plant-based ingredients are harder to digest, a low-carb diet is more appropriate for cats with pancreatitis.
To find out the carb content in cat food, check the guaranteed analysis on the label, add the percentages of the protein, fat, fiber, moisture, and ash contents, and deduct the total from 100.
For canned cat food or wet food, the carb level shouldn’t exceed 6%. As for dry cat food, the carb load should be below 35%.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Cat foods with prebiotic fiber and probiotics can also aid in digestive health, which in turn can help lessen the workload of the pancreas.
When finding the best cat food for pancreatitis, it’s better to buy in smaller packages initially just to see if your kitties will like the cat food. Some cats, especially older cats, can be really fussy.
It’s useless to have the right cat food when they won’t eat it. After all, it’s more important that they eat food. So pet owners may have to do some trial and error with different cat foods until they find the chosen one.
Wet Food Versus Dry Food
Aside from hydration, wet food has another distinct edge over dry food when it comes to feeding cats with pancreatitis – lesser carbohydrates content. Dry cat food contains fillers to hold the shape of the kibble, and these fillers are made of plant-based ingredients like grains.
Plant-based ingredients are harder to digest for cats, which means the digestive system needs to work harder. So for felines with pancreatitis, wet cat food is more suitable.
If serving purely wet food is a challenge financially, you can mix dry food with wet food, with a smaller proportion than usual for the dry cat food and current cat food.
Moreover, if dry cat food is still your kitty’s preferred diet, shift to a low-fat, low-calorie, and low-carb dry cat food with highly digestible and premium animal protein.
Fresh Pet Food
Fresh pet food or homemade cat food is surely a commendable cat’s diet because it has very little or none of the artificial ingredients that are normally found in cheap commercial pet foods, and fresh ingredients are normally highly digestible. The best ingredients are fresh and GMO-free, especially if these are organic.
Cooked pet food is okay because it is minimally processed as opposed to regular commercial cat foods. But use natural oils like olive or coconut oil. And don’t add any of the human-food spices, which could be harmful to your pets.
Also, it’s best to be guided by the vet or board-certified animal nutritionist to make sure you’re serving a complete and balanced nutrition diet, and more importantly, a cat’s diet that’s applicable for cats with pancreatitis. This means that the recipe needs to support your cat’s pancreas, stomach, and digestive system. This is the priority.
If you don’t have the time to prepare fresh pet food, there are some options available online. One of the notable ones is Nom Nom Now Fresh Pet Foods that has a cat food recipe – Chicken Cuisine – made with fresh chicken thigh, chicken breast, and chicken liver, with carrots and spinach. This fresh cat food is appropriate as a pancreatitis cat food for it only has 3% crude fat and 5.2% carb contents.
Raw Pet Food
Raw diets are also good for cats with pancreatitis mainly because of their digestibility. Raw food has about 90% digestibility, which is easy on the digestive system. It's getting more popular as pet food because it is closer to a cat's natural diet in the wild.
Preparing raw food has its challenges. Raw meat may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella. Also, a raw diet doesn’t have all the essential nutrients your cat needs, which is why you need to add some supplements.
But your cats with pancreatitis will surely benefit from highly digestible raw food, which also offers more hydration than dry cat food.
For busy cat owners, there are several freeze-dried cat food options in the market. Vital Essentials Turkey Mini Nibs freeze-dried cat food is worth trying.
Made from raw turkey meat, turkey liver and heart, this grain-free freeze-dried cat food packs 53% crude protein, with low to moderate fat levels of 20%.
Turkey liver also enhances its rich flavor, along with the inclusion of the highly nutritious herring oil. The absence of plant-based food ingredients make this a truly low-carb turkey dinner.
In more serious cases of feline pancreatitis, the vet may recommend prescription foods that have the proper food components and contents to better manage the illness.
Prescription foods are formulated to address specific health issues, like pancreatitis. To purchase, you’ll need a veterinarian’s authorization.
Royal Canin is one of the most renowned pet food manufacturers that specialize in prescription diets.
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet product line has diets for most of the common diseases in dogs and cats. Some of their veterinary recipes that are designed for digestive health and weight management that may be appropriate for pancreatitis in cats too.
Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Ocean Fish Formula
|VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
Applaws Tuna Fillet with Seaweed
|VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Ahi Tuna & Chicken
|VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entree
|VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
Weruva Truluxe Pretty In Pink with Salmon in Gravy
|VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
Royal Canin Feline Weight Care Loaf in Sauce
|VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
Purina Pro Plan True Nature Chicken & Salmon Entree
|VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate
|VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
Ziwi Peak Rabbit & Lamb Recipe
|VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
Instinct Minced Recipe with Real Chicken
|VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
Best Cat Food For Pancreatitis: Top 10 Wet Food Brands
As wet cat food is the preferred cat’s diet for cats with pancreatitis, we’ve listed the top 10 canned foods most suitable in managing this digestive issue in most cats. If your cats are used to dry cat food, you may mix it with wet food for easier digestion and hydration.
- Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Ocean Fish Formula
- Applaws Tuna Fillet with Seaweed
- Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Ahi Tuna & Chicken
- Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entree
- Weruva Truluxe Pretty In Pink with Salmon in Gravy
- Royal Canin Feline Weight Care Loaf in Sauce
- Purina Pro Plan True Nature Chicken & Salmon Entree
- Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate
- Ziwi Peak Rabbit & Lamb Recipe
- Instinct Minced Recipe with Real Chicken
1. Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Ocean Fish Formula
First 5 Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing, Ocean Fish, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Carbonate
Our overall best cat food for pancreatitis is Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Ocean Fish grain-free canned cat food.
Made with high-quality protein from tuna and ocean fish, this moderate-fat diet is guaranteed palatable and nutritious, which your cats suffering from pancreatitis will likely appreciate.
The protein supply is wealthy at 12% minimum, and the fat and carb contents are 2.5% max and 0.5% respectively, with 84.5% moisture and a mere 612 kcal/kg caloric content.
This grain-free canned cat food is also teeming with essential vitamins and minerals, including omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
It has no known food allergen to make it safe for cats with a sensitive stomach or food allergies. Most online reviews for this canned food are highly encouraging, with the greater number of them saying that their fussy cats love the aspic meal.
The few critical comments were about cats not being impressed with the taste and some that thought the quality of ingredients changed.
- Fish as the first ingredient
- Novel protein sources – tuna and ocean fish
- Great for cats prone to food sensitivities or allergies
- Low in saturated fat, high in vitamin B6 and phosphorous
- Reports of quality change
2. Applaws Tuna Fillet with Seaweed
Ingredients: Tuna Fillet, Fish Broth, Seaweed, Rice
Another outstanding wet cat food worthy of mention in the best cat food for pancreatitis list is Applaws Tuna Fillet with Seaweed canned cat food.
Known for its high-quality ingredients, this premium wet food is made of all-natural ingredients led by real wild-caught tuna and seaweed, plus fish broth and rice for a limited ingredient recipe.
A low-fat food, it only has a 1% fat load but boasts 12% protein mass. The carb load is also below 1%. And it is rich in omega fatty acids too to support skin and coat health.
While there are very few reviews online about this canned cat food, all were highly appreciative. This recipe is a great way to add hydration to picky cats who prefer dry, freeze-dried, or other meals that are not rich in moisture.
- Made with just 4 all-natural ingredients
- Contains high levels of lean protein
- Zero additives, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
- Low in fat and carb contents at 1% and less than 1% respectively
- Odor is quite strong
- Lacks added vitamin and mineral supplements
3. Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Ahi Tuna & Chicken in Chicken Consommé
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Tuna, Chicken, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate
If the first two canned food brands don’t meet your needs, try Tiki Cat Hookena Luau Ahi Tuna & Chicken grain-free canned cat food.
Famous for its tasty fish variants, Tiki Cat offers this low-carb and moderate-fat diet for cats with pancreatitis and digestive problems.
This grain-free canned cat food features wild-caught flaked Ahi tuna and shredded chicken as the premium animal protein sources responsible for the towering 17% protein bulk for lean muscle mass and extra energy in your kitties.
This delectable recipe has a 3% minimum fat load but with only 0.3% carb content and 78% moisture. Sunflower oil and tuna oil supply the essential fatty acids for optimal skin and coat health as well as digestive support.
It’s also fortified with essential vitamins and minerals to make complete and balanced nutrition. While most online reviews were very positive, there were a few complaints about its hydration not being enough.
- Perfect for cats of all ages
- High protein formulation
- Made with real chicken stock
- Top ingredients: Ahi tuna and shredded chicken
- Contains sunflower and tuna oils which are rich in omegas
- Some customers would like to see more broth or gravy
4. Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entrée
First 5 Ingredients: Tuna, Tuna Broth, Water Sufficient for Processing, Mackerel, Salmon
Not to be snubbed in this list of the best cat food for pancreatitis is this premium product – Wellness CORE Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon grain-free canned cat food.
Made with high-quality and novel animal proteins from tuna, mackerel, and salmon, this low-carb recipe has an ample protein content of 10% minimum, with moderate fat content of 3.5% and 85% moisture for sufficient hydration.
As for the carb content, it’s below 1%. Sunflower oil produces the vital omega fatty acids in this wet food for healthy skin and coat. And this grain-free canned cat food also boasts complete and balanced nutrition.
This is a well-loved grain-free wet cat food by many cat owners as evidenced by several rave reviews online. One cat parent even mentioned that this diet helped control her cat’s pancreatitis.
But it does have its share of disagreeable comments, the most common of which are “too soupy,” “few flakes,” and “strong smell.” One customer also claimed she found fish bones in the mix.
- Contains essential fatty acids
- Adds hydration for urinary support
- Quality protein sources – Tuna, Mackerel, Salmon
- It’s prepared by hand with real, natural ingredients
- Smell may be a bit too strong
- Reports of too much broth and very little flakes
5. Weruva Truluxe Pretty In Pink with Salmon in Gravy
First 5 Ingredients: Fish Broth, Salmon, Sunflower Seed Oil, Guar Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate
When it comes to wet food, it’s hard to ignore Weruva recipes, which are reputable experts in wet pet foods.
Certainly one of the best cat foods in the canned food department, Weruva Truluxe Pretty In Pink Salmon grain-free canned cat food is another great option for your sick kitty.
Real meat from dolphin-safe salmon is the main animal protein source that’s blended with savory gravy to entice even finicky cats.
This grain-free recipe is also bounteous with essential vitamins and minerals and is loaded with a minimum 10% protein content, with a moderate-fat supply of 1.3% and just a 2.2% carb supply.
This formula doesn’t have any unwanted ingredients like common food allergens, MSG or GMOs. Weruva cat foods have loyal customers.
This grain-free formula received very good reviews online with a number of them elated about the results in their cats. The most complaint is with the price.
- High in protein
- High quality ingredients
- Appealing to picky eaters
- Not worth the price for some (several buyers felt that more salmon chunks should be included)
6. Royal Canin Feline Weight Care Loaf in Sauce
First 5 Ingredients: Water Sufficient For Processing, Pork By-Products, Pork Liver, Chicken By-Products, Chicken Liver
This Royal Canin Feline Weight Care Loaf is formulated not just to control the weight of obese cats but it also benefits cats with digestive problems such as pancreatitis.
This canned cat food has a 9% minimum protein load, with 1.6% fat content, and 2.8% carb mass. It’s made of pork and chicken ingredients, with wheat gluten and brewers rice flour. And its caloric content is just 632 kcal/kg.
Also, the non-prescription diets from Royal Canin are relatively less costly than the Veterinary Diet line of products.
Cat parents that tried this loaf were mostly contented with this cat food, with many saying it was a big hit among their tabbies.
There were a few complaints about the pate being too mushy as well as an apparent change in the size of the can to a smaller one.
- Contains L-carnitine
- Highly palatable wet loaf in sauce
- Precise balance of vitamins and minerals
- Crafted for cats who need to lose a little bit of weight
- Pate too mushy for some consumers
7. Purina Pro Plan True Nature Natural Chicken & Salmon Entrée
First 5 Ingredients: Water Sufficient For Processing, Chicken, Liver, Wheat Gluten, Meat By-Products
As most weight control cat foods are quite costly, among the affordable ones is the True Nature canned food line from Purina Pro Plan.
Deserving to be part of the best cat food for pancreatitis list, this canned recipe also features real chicken as its main source of protein, for a high 11% minimum crude protein mass that’s suitable for senior cats.
A meaty meal with chunks in gravy, this recipe has zero artificial ingredients. Its carb percentage is below 1%. It boasts essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for the overall well-being of cats.
Omega fatty acids in this canned food help support healthy skin and coat, while matural prebiotic fiber help promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
This formula is also among the favorites of a lot of cat owners, many of them highly recommending this cat food as seen in online reviews. Some of the comments include seeing positive changes in their cats, such as better skin and coat condition.
A lot of the reviews came from pet parents looking for low calorie food for their picky cats. The fussy kitties just loved this highly palatable meal.
The very few adverse responses were about their cats being fans of the sauce, but found the food too chunky to chew.
- 100% complete diet
- High in protein; Perfect for low-carb; low-fat diet
- Enriched with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and prebiotics
- Contains some common food allergens for sensitive cats like meat by-products and gluten
8. Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Herring, Eggs, Sweet Potatoes, Herring Oil
One of the most prestigious premium pet food brands in the market today is Farmina, and its Chicken & Pomegranate canned cat food is surely one of the favorite hits.
Made with prime-quality animal protein sources like real chicken, herring, and eggs, which convert into an abundant protein fill of 12.5% minimum.
This grain-free canned cat food is low in carbs, with just 1.8%, and moderate in fat content at 4.5%. It’s rich in essential vitamins and minerals, plus essential fatty acids from herring oil. It’s also free of artificial additives, gluten, and GMOs.
Reviews for this canned cat food are mostly friendly, with many customers sharing how their picky cats adored this wet food.
But quite a number also find this wet food too pricey, and a few also said they find the chicken chunks not very tender.
- Hearty texture
- All natural ingredients
- Cans are 100% BPA-free
- High-quality ingredients
- Made without any thickeners
- Reports that the chicken chunks are not tender
9. Ziwi Peak Rabbit & Lamb Recipe
First 5 Ingredients: Rabbit Meat, Water Sufficient for Processing, Lamb, Lamb Lung, Lamb Liver
Famous as a high-end pet food brand, Ziwi Peak has its entry in this list with its Rabbit & Lamb canned cat food.
With Ziwi Peak, you can be assured of excellent-quality food components, in this case, real meat and organs from rabbit and free-range lamb are the main ingredients. These animal protein sources serve a high 11% minimum protein load.
This pate also has New Zealand green mussels which naturally helps support joint health. The fat content is not so high at only 3.5%.
This low-carb recipe is also high in in essential vitamins and minerals to keep your kitty healthy and full of zest. This grain-free meal is free of poor-quality ingredients and common food allergens.
As with all the cat foods in this list, this canned cat food also received great reviews online with mentions of the diet’s excellent digestibility, and how it was easy on a cat’s sensitive stomach, and produced healthy poop.
However, quite a number of customers found the smell too strong and unpleasant, perhaps due to the green mussels in the recipe. Others also thought the pate wasn’t too moist, and of course, there’s the usual complaint about the price.
- Grain-free recipe
- High-quality, all-natural ingredients
- High in protein, low-carb, moderate fat content
- Novel protein sources rabbit, lamb, and hare plus green lipped mussels
- Some customers find the odor from the mussels too strong and unpleasant
10. Instinct Minced Recipe with Real Chicken
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Egg Whites, Ground Dried Peas
Completing our list among wet cat foods is Instinct Grain-Free Minced Recipe with Real Chicken Cat Food Cups.
Cage-free chicken meat and liver are the main source of protein in this minced meal that’s fit for adult cats. This recipe packs 9% minimum crude protein and has a moderate carb content of 3.5%. It’s fat content is still within the acceptable range for pancreatitis in cats at 4.5%.
Typical of the Instinct brand, this grain-free pate is made of only premium-grade ingredients, including whole foods that include spinach, artichoke, cranberries, pumpkin, and broccoli to name some.
By looking at the ingredient list, you can see that this formula is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, plus essential fatty acids from ground flaxseed to support healthy skin and coat.
The reviews for this canned cat food are mostly constructive, with several customers liking the all-natural ingredients and the fact that it’s safe for cats with food allergies and a sensitive stomach.
There were also a few mentions about their cats with pancreatitis and other gastrointestinal issues doing well with this formula. However, there were negative comments about the packaging being hard to open or easy to pierce.
- Highly digestible
- All-natural ingredients
- Features cuts of chicken in a savory gravy
- Includes whole-food ingredients, like carrots, spinach and cranberries
- Good feedback from owners of cats with various digestive issues
- Packaging needs improvement
Best Cat Treat & Supplements For Pancreatitis
The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. Meow Lamb Green Tripe Treats
Your cats with pancreatitis can use some healthy and yummy cat treats that are beneficial to the gut and can support your cat food for pancreatitis.
We highly recommend The New Zealand Co. Lamb Green Tripe cat treats, which are created to support healthy digestion and at the same time safe for your cat’s pancreas and sensitive stomach.
It only has two ingredients – lamb green tripe from grass-fed lamb and green lipped mussels.
This freeze-dried treat is wealthy in natural prebiotics, probiotics to support healthy gut flora cons, digestive enzymes, and other nutrients for gut health and overall wellness.
It’s rich in omega fatty acids too. It also packs a 54% protein load. But serve moderately as it also has a 34% fat content. Remember that while these are healthy treats, they are not meant to be given in meal-sized portions.
Thomas Labs Bio Case Plus Pancreatic Support Powder
This is one of the finest digestive enzyme supplements you can find for your cats with pancreatitis.
It is developed to benefit the cat’s pancreas and the overall gut system with high levels of enzymes. It also aids in the absorption of nutrients. The main ingredient is dried porcine pancreas, with vitamin B12 supplement and probiotics.
PetAlive LiverAid Granules Liver & Pancreatic Supplement
If you’re looking for homeopathic options for your cat’s pancreatitis, this supplement fits the bill.
Made from natural plants, this supplement offers relief from symptoms of health disorders in the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.
It also intends to relieve sluggishness as a result of poor liver function. Moreover, it aims to promote a healthy bile flow.
Reminder: It’s imperative for all pet owners to seek professional veterinary advice before serving any supplement meant for certain health issues.
About Pancreatitis in Cats
What is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is when the pancreas is inflamed. The pancreas is an organ on the right side of the abdomen that produces insulin and digestive enzymes.
Digestive enzymes help in digesting food, while insulin controls blood sugar. This is a condition that happens to humans and animals, including dogs and cats.
When the pancreas is inflamed, in most cases, the liver and intestine are too, which is called triaditis (pancreatitis, hepatitis – liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD). The inflammation in the pancreas causes the digestive enzymes to overflow and affect the other organs.
This illness can be painful depending on its severity. Pancreatitis can happen to any cat’s age, sex, or breed. Some cats that recover from acute pancreatitis end up with recurring cases that are pertained to as chronic pancreatitis.
What causes pancreatitis?
The main cause of pancreatitis is still unknown. Most veterinarians however believe it may have a connection with injuries to the pancreas, infections, parasites, or drug-induced reactions that lead to the inflammation. Cats with pancreatic cancer, diabetes, or inflammatory bowel disease may be more prone to pancreatitis.
A healthy pancreas releases the digestive enzymes to the small intestine, where they start the digestion process. But under pancreatitis, these digestive enzymes are activated while still in the pancreas, hence digesting the organ itself.
What Are The Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Cats?
The most common symptoms of a cat’s pancreatitis are vomiting, diarrhea or loose stools, nausea, fever, poor appetite, abdominal pain, and lethargy.
In severe cases, this condition may lead to death. It’s an illness that brings much pain and discomfort to cats especially with chronic pancreatitis and advanced cases.
Most cats will conceal the symptoms pretty well. This is why pet parents must always be observant and persistent in monitoring pets.
In the early stages of pancreatitis, early diagnosis and treatment can be lifesaving. The survival rate in cats is pretty good when acute pancreatitis is detected early.
Please note also that these symptoms are the same as some other health issues in cats. Don’t quickly assume that your kitty has pancreatitis or any other illness. Let the vet determine that.
Lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting are sure signs of a health disorder that must immediately be brought to the vet’s attention.
How Is Pancreatitis Diagnosed And Treated
Cats with pancreatitis will normally have to undergo laboratory tests to check if there is an abnormal increase in the pancreatic enzyme levels, which almost always signifies pancreatitis. But having pancreatitis doesn’t always show elevated levels of digestive enzymes.
The vets may also opt to use radiographs and ultrasound to check the inflammation in the pancreas and surrounding areas. However, many cats with this condition still avoid detection even with these tests. Pancreatitis is a condition that’s hard to diagnose.
Again, early diagnosis helps a lot in controlling pancreatitis. In mild cases, simply resting the pancreas can allow self-healing.
This involves taking a brief vacation for the pancreas in releasing digestive enzymes, which necessitates also a quick break from eating and drinking, like for 3-4 days.
To do this, the cat needs to stay in the animal hospital to undergo fluid therapy, wherein intravenous fluids will be clinically infused to keep a normal fluid and electrolyte balance. This can be a painful process, which may require painkillers and medications for nausea and vomiting.
If the presence of bacteria or parasites is determined, antibiotics may be prescribed. Food will be gradually reintroduced to the cat. If the cat refuses to eat after fluid therapy, a feeding tube may have to be used.
Tips In Preventing Pancreatitis In Cats
As the main causes of pancreatitis are still very much undetermined, so are preventive measures. However, vets offer some advice to help reduce the chances of pancreatitis in your furry kids.
1. Regular veterinary checkup
For adult cats, a semi-annual visit should be adequate. For baby kittens and senior cats, a quarterly visit is recommended as these life stages are more prone to illnesses.
2. Healthy Diet
First of all, don’t feed your kitties with table scraps. Human food contains components that are harmful to pets.
Secondly, feed your pets with healthy foods, made with natural and high-quality ingredients, and without artificial components. Moreover, choose a balanced diet with the essential nutrients your cat needs to be healthy.
If your cat is showing signs of pancreatitis, look for cat foods that are suitable for this condition (check the guidelines in this article about the best cat foods for pancreatitis) or seek veterinary advice from your local vet.
3. Healthy Weight
Don’t overfeed your cats. Obese cats are more likely to develop diseases like pancreatitis, diabetes, and heart problems. Feed your cats in smaller quantities but more frequently, say, 3x a day. Motivate your kitties to play and have some exercise. Cats get easily bored so you can help them by providing some stimulation.
Make sure your cats have easy access to clean water. Regularly clean their water bowl and change with fresh water daily.
5. Spend More Time With Them
Pets want your time and attention. They can benefit from regular playing time. This will prevent stress and anxiety, which could trigger diseases too.
But more importantly, spending time with your pets allows you to notice any unusual signs that may indicate a health alert. Early diagnosis and treatment can help cure your cats and prevent long-term damage or serious disorders.