The Calico cat, pictured above with her sisters, came to us from a box left in a Pet Food Express parking lot, some three years ago. The fourth one, bless her, was just skin and bones. (I'd heard the expression, but had never seen a cat represent it so tragically)
I took them directly to an understanding vet, who took a quick look and reassured me that the three weren't in imminent danger. The poor emaciated one died on the way home.
AnnaBelle, on top here, was in the best shape. Melanie, on the left, was thin, but viable. Sunflower, or Sunny, lower right, had a terrible skin condition: red and scabby all over. She had very little fur left on her back half. Melanie and Sunny were blind. Their ophthalmologist said that having been fed dog food had was the probable cause: their rods and cones had disintegrated.
The three ate well, and came back to life slowly. Sunny's skin improved, but remained irritated.
We have a great holistic vet, and tried acupuncture, different herbs, western and eastern, and more, but...improvement, but not cure.
Sidenote: Blind cats manage very well. One of ours went blind years ago, and it was some time before we realized it! And they do NOT need to be confined indoors! No reason to deprive them. I've never known a blind one to go far at all! And my two kittens born without eyes were the best tree climbers! The one pictured below is Stella.
Anyhow...I knew that cats often had food allergies, usually because their food is so bad. We feed a raw, healthy diet, but still..it's mostly chicken based: chicken is much less expensive than other proteins. I'd tried to feed Sunny separately, but it took a lot of doing: we had to put her in a cage to see that she ate only her special food...got tired of that and lapsed.
Soon enough, we said "basta!" Need to fix this. We started feeding her a turkey based food. In Chinese medicine, turkey is cooling, and chicken is heating. Her skin, again in terms of Chinese medicine, was the result of an imbalance of heat to cool in her system. The excess heat (yang) also caused her ongoing gastric distress. Sooo...we took the drastic measure of giving Sunny a shot of steroids. It was hoped that this would cool her inflammation and give the other treatments time to work.
And it did!! No way to tell how much of Sunny's improvement is due to the change in food, and how much to the steroids, but....Sunny is a NEW CAT! She is loving the turkey, eating well, and has changed in so many ways! She's more engaged, responsive, active (no more under the covers all day) affectionate...more fluid in her movements, more interested in life in general.....far less panicky when she's picked up...just a joy to see!
Her body is no longer covered in scabs, she's no longer scratching, and her fur is coming back! You can imagine how thrilled we are...and how we wish we'd did the food & steroids sooner.
I'm so grateful to our doctors, and to Sunny for her endurance and patience.
Happy days ahead for Sunflower!