I don’t understand the whole ‘I-need-a-prescription-to-get-food-for-my-pet’ thing. I understand that certain pets have certain specific needs; but no pet food should hurt your pet. Regardless of if it’s targeting weight loss, or if it’s for sensitive stomachs. So why do I need a prescription to buy it?

There is a point to this musing.

My cat has ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease. And we have a prescription for his cat food.

Specifically this one: Hill’s Prescription Diet

It is normally around $20 for a 4-lb bag of food. And a 4-lb bag of food would last him about three weeks.

Now my cat has about an 8-week cycle. It was 6 weeks before I married my hubby (apparently I have a calming effect on both the man and the cat), but it has since stretched to 8 weeks.

So at the beginning of this year- I had an idea. With ALL the different cat foods out there, there had to be a non-prescription one that worked as well as the prescription food. So we went shopping. We grabbed a bag of the prescription food, then we went and compared ingredients. The idea was to get the two/three brands that were the closest to the prescription food, then try him out on those and see which one he liked best. Then we would slowly integrate that one WITH his prescription one and slowly phase out the prescription one.

We originally found two. And while he liked one as a treat- he wouldn’t eat large quantites of it. So we tried the other one. And so far we have been doing well.

He is currently eating this one: Authority (Chicken flavor)

And I think it works just as well, if not better than the prescription one. Authority is lower in crude fiber (bad for bowel diseases) and higher in protein (good for cats in general) than the prescription. And the part I like BEST about it, is the 18 lb bag of it is $30. So I can get over 4 times the amount of the prescription one for only $10 more. And one bag lasts about three months.

We switched him at the beginning of March. And so far his symptoms (when he is at the end of a cycle) have been milder than when he was on the prescription food. So that leads me to believe that the prescription food did slightly aggravate his condition. And I am aware that no food will cause him to go asymptomatic, but I do appreciate not having to clean up as much cat vomit as before. As a matter of fact- his 8-week cycle ended at the beginning of last week and we’ve had no visible symptoms so far. So either his cycle is getting longer or we just had one of the rare ‘No Flare’ cycles. A flare for my cat, is when his colon gets swollen and angry, and he can’t keep any food down. (Thus the vomiting.)

He probably hates the non-flare cycles, because tuna soup is one of his very favorite things. Tuna soup is what he usually gets during a flare, because he can’t handle his normal dry food.

(What is tuna soup? It’s about two teaspoons of tuna, mixed into 4-5 tablespoons of water. It’s to get a little food inside him, and also to keep him hydrated. He LOVES it.)

So. While I like foods that target certain problems, I don’t like the whole practice of foods needing a prescription. And I’m glad my household is getting away from that. This experiment has turned out to be cost effective (which is good for me), and better on his digestive tract (which is good for my cat). And I like that result. So if you ever plan to do this with your pet- make sure you figure out the principal ingredients (that make the food do whatever it’s supposed to do or NOT do), and try to stay as close to those ingredients with the new food as possible. And monitor how it affects your pet.