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Hi all,

my 9 month old male devon has developed a dermatitis that has costed me much in terms of drugs, vets, exams these last 4 months..he started scratching the base of his ears badly, so I went to the normal vet who gave him antibiotics for malassetia, then an anti-flea treatment (stronghold) and ear drops. The problem seemed to get betted but then it got worse again. I took it to the vet dermatologist, she made some exams with no evident results, said she was suspecting either a flea problem or a micotic problem, so gave him more anti-flea (in quite strong dosis) and anti-micotic drugs. After that, he started scratching like a desperate under his chin and neck, which made me suspect that he was having a reaction to the anti-flea treatment. In all this time, the sister who lives with him has never had any problem, which made me think that maybe he has a food allergy issue that makes him more prone to skin problems (also because the cat is healthy apart from that).

I have always fed him with Royal Canin (starting with Kitten and then switched to Indoor a couple of months ago under the vet's advice. He thought Kitten might have too many proteins.)

Now I went again to the dermatologist and she said that yes, probably there is a food allergy going on. So she suggested to try different meat protein (chicken, rabbit, lamb etc) for a certain amount of time eg a month and find out if he gets better. She suggested to give fresh meat, boiled, instead of the dried food, adding some vegetables like broccoli. The problem with this is that:

1) it is quite more convenient for me to give dried food rather than fresh meat + vegetables. First of all it is time-consuming to cook a fresh-meat meal twice a day for 2 cats, and if I have to leave home, it's complicated to ask a cat-sitter to come and cook the meat.

2) I don't know what is the right amount of meat I should give, while instead for dried food I have the indications in the bag, which are vet-approved

3) is meat alone enough in terms of all the nutrients?

4) the breeder always recommended me to feed them dried food in a dispenser so that it can be always available, because since they have less hair than normal cat devon rex disperse heat and need to eat more and have always food available. now that autumn is coming, I don't want to leave them feeling cold cause they don't have food available.

I know that here are many dried food brands that have developed hypoallergenic dried food, and there is even grain-free food, I would be eager to try them instead of feeding the cat fresh meat.. but this would go against the vet's advice so I'm a bit unsure.. what do you think? do you have any experience you can share?

Thanks all in advance!

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  • I know this may take a bit of work, but perhaps do some research & prepare your own raw.  Find out what ingredients are required to keep him healthy.  Also look for grain free dry.  I'm not sure which varieties they are - Black Hawk I think.  Maybe with the right dry raw meat alone may be enough.

  • I've been feeding raw now for about 3 years. I have a 4 yr. old Decon, Timmy and an 11 yr. old Bengal. My cats have never been healthier! It's not nearly as hard as you'd think. I learned about it and a lot more at

    About every week-10 days I make it. I buy boneless thighs. I mix with a special vitamin powder and water I run the meat through the grinder (a middle range model, not real expensive,) and freeze it in small containers. If there was just one cat it would last nearly 3 weeks.

    Consider it, your cat will be much happier and so will you!
  • If you don't want to go the raw route (and I don't blame you if you don't), I think you may be able to get some good results doing one of two things. First, Royal Canin Indoor is a chicken and brown rice based dry. You need to find a dry that is a switch of both the protein AND the carbohydrate since you don't know what is causing the reaction. Look for something with lamb or rabbit and potato, or even maybe a fish and potato. I'd stay away from turkey, duck, quail, etc, because if chicken protein is the issue, all fowl could be an issue. The other thing you can try is a grain free dry. The issue I found with grain free dry is taste. There is only one brand my cats would eat and it may be hard for you to find except online. It's Purina in the "Beyond" line in the Ocean Whitefish and Egg.
    It's much easier to find canned food that is grain free and an alternate protein if you'd want to try that. I ended up having to put one of my Devons strictly on wet food for her digestive issues. I just dump a can down in the morning and she and her sister eat on it all day and then I supplement it once I get home if need be.
    Another important thing to remember is, don't give treats that are chicken or rice! Even just a nibble or two can have a large effect. Your goal here is to detox the body of the allergen, so be sure they're not getting it anywhere.
  • Figuring out food allergies and sensitivities can be difficult. I'm sorry you and your cat are dealing with this. First I would like to say that cooked meat and vegetables is not an balanced diet for a cat. There must also be organs and some source of calcium, at a minimum. And they don't need vegetables or grains. They are obligate carnivores. A well balanced raw diet is the diet most likely to address food sensitivities  as long as you find the right protein that the cat isn't sensitive to. Here are some links to read about feeding a balanced raw diet. by Julie)  Raw diets are also available commercially. You just thaw and feed. When I began feeding raw I had three Devons all in their teens. One took to it immediately. One took a few weeks. One took a few months. They were switched from canned. If you feed the appropriate amount in terms of calories for each cat at scheduled meals times they will not get any colder than if you free feed. And there is less chance that they will gain too much weight over time.

    If you aren't comfortable with feeding a raw diet, trying a limited ingredient, grain free, canned food that is a novel protein. I do not recommend dry food at all. There are too many ingredients to figure out what is actually causing the issue. In addition, long term use of dry food can cause low level dehydration and can contribute to kidney disease and obesity.

    It can take 4 to 6  weeks to know if the diet change is effective. You might not see results in a week, though I know some people who have. Good luck!

  • A 100% raw diet didn't work for us, at first it was great but then our kitty started throwing up. Try Natural Balance Limited Ingredients. It can also be stress related as well, ask your vet about also giving Lysine pills. They are over the counter adult pills but you cut them into I believe quarters. (Double check with what your vet recommends before giving them and for the proper dosage).
  • Lots of valuable information in reply to your post Alis.

  • Thank you all for your useful info, did not have any time to read the links yet (too busy cooking for the cats Grin.gif) but I will do asap. Meanwhile, I must admit that for the moment the diet is not having (finger crossed) any side-effects, I try to feed them 3/4 times a day in small amounts and their stools look fine, they are healthy and seem satisfied.. In fact there is a lot of controversy related to cat food, some people are total supporters of dried food, some others of raw food, there are so many brands and ingredients that I feel like I need to take a degree in order to get an idea..

    What I can say is, it's true that even the premium-quality brands and even the hypoallergenic lines of dried food seem to have TOO many ingredients and sometimes weird ones (eg corn as first ingredient? aren't they supposed to be carnivores??) and many times even if the first protein is declared (eg rabbit) then there are "animal fats" so who knows if there is chicken in that? Dried food is good for the owner cause it is very handy (especially if you have more than one cat and you stay out all day) but I'm not convinced anymore it's the best for them..

  • Hello Alis, 

    I would like to respond to your questions because I've had very similar issues with my cat and I have asked a few vets the same questions. Currently, my cat is getting better so I think the vets' instructions were accurate. I'd like to share some of my experience.

    Fresh meat is good from time to time (it might be even raw if fresh), but it is not nutricious enough for a cat. Cats need much more ingredients than protein to be healthy. High quality cat food available in the market is well-balanced and contains all necessary elements. In nature cats eat a whole mouse or a bird (not only meat but also skin, feathers etc.) Meat alone is not enough, even if we add vegetables.  

    Definitely dried food is better or as good as wet. I was concerned as my Oshi refused to eat wet hypoallergenic food and my vet advised me to use only dry. She told me that dry food is better as cats drink more water with it than usual, which is good for them. However it is necessary to check if they drink enough and how successful they are in the bathroom afterwards Smile.gif  

    There is another issue about dried food - cats should eat not more nor less than the indications on the bag or how much the vet says. My vet calculated for our 2 cats how much dry food they should eat per day according to their weight. They are desexed and stay indoors, so have a bit more appetite. Therefore I do not leave the food available in dispenser - they would eat too much and gain weight very quickly. I've never heard about devons eating more because they have less hair - why should they if they stay in the house during cold weather? 

    For allergy or skin problems I would rather recommend hypoallergenic dry and wet food instead of fresh meat. I've tried feeding cats with raw meat (they didn't touch any cooked meat) and it didn't work - and apart from no results, it was complicated. It requires a lot of preparation (apart from shopping, also cutting, freezing, mixing with proper amount of vitamin powder, taurine etc.)

    Grain-free food is good if you know that your cat is allergic to grain. If you do not know they might be also allergic to chicken or another protein. What I know from vets, the most common ingredients that cause allergy are chicken, beef, fish, wheat, corn (but not rice). Maybe it would help to give cats some hypoallergenic food (dry or wet) to avoid allergens and check if it helps. What I also know from my very smart vet - you need to put all cats (both if you have two) on a diet. It is very difficult to keep one cat on a diet and another feed with normal food - they always try or lick from each others bowls. To see if a diet works takes some time - at least 10 or 12 weeks without any snacks or breaks. 

    I wish you luck :)

  • Try feeding human grade kangaroo mince/neat which doesn't hv preservatives. It is not used in commercially manufactured cat food and more closely aligns to their natural diet. For biscuits try the R/C exigen range
    • Thanks Dorota, I agree with most of what you said.. it's true that at the beginning I did not follow indications written in the cat food package, I would fill the dispenser and let them eat as much as they felt like.. they did not become fat though, but maybe they've eaten too much anyway. I'm feeding cooked meat at the moment and it seems to work fine, I need to keep this diet for 8 weeks according to the vet and then gradually introduce food that is suspected to cause allergies..

      @ Jeff : I'm not Australian.. here you can see kangaroo only at the zoo ;)

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