We've been extremely impressed with the amount of knowledge Lisa Provost, creator of IBDKitties, has passed on to our members here on MySmelly.com. We're grateful to have her here to help cat owners and decided to have a little chat with her to hear her story.

Q - You have helped many members with their questions about cat health and nutrition, how do you know so much about it?

When Alex got sick I spent countless hours on the internet researching her condition. Talking with my vet and learning about her illnesses. Drove myself crazy actually, there’s so much to learn. After she died I wanted nothing to do with any of it anymore. I wanted to let my head rest and not even hear about IBD ever again. But there were a lot of sick kitties with this disease out there and the numbers are growing every day. As I started my website, I began learning more about feline health in general and wanted to learn as much as I can for the sake of my kitties now. I continue to learn something new every day.

Q - What is IBD and what symptoms point to it?

IBD is inflammatory bowel disease – NOT IBS, which is irritable bowel syndrome. Two very different things that people confuse all the time. IBS is easily treated with diet change and is not life threatening. IBD is inflammation of the GI tract and intestines, can be difficult to diagnose & treat and it can be life threatening if not treated. Symptoms are a large range of things; nausea & vomiting, loose stools to explosive diarrhea, dark/tarry stools, abdominal pain, weight loss, inappetence & anorexia, etc. IBD is a diagnosis of exclusions.

Q - What's the cause of this disease and is there a cure for it?

Hard to say what the causes are, there isn’t just one specific thing. But as with any inflammatory condition, it can start with one thing like food allergies or intolerance and cascade from there. Certain bacterial infections can cause inflammatory cells to take over and overwork the immune system. It attacks the intestines, upsets and even kills any beneficial flora and good bacteria. It’s like an internal war going on that never really ends.
IBD can only be managed and stabilized, there is no cure. The bad bacteria keeps changing and adapting, making it difficult if not impossible to keep up with management. Treatments, diet, medications, etc. need to be changed frequently to try and “trick the system” into healing itself. Just when we think we find something that works, their body changes again and upsets the balance.

Q - What role does nutrition play in keeping a cat healthy?

Nutrition plays a HUGE roll in everything to do with their health, just as in humans. All of these foods with fillers, grains, toxins, etc. are driving their carnivore systems to overwork themselves and go against their genetic makeup. Pet food companies refuse to understand this. Feeding them the equivalent of a bag of potato chips or a box of cookies isn’t going to give them energy, build muscle, feed their bodies nutrients, help ward off disease. Does it do that for us? No! And we’re omnivores whereas cats are obligate carnivores. That means they need the protein from MEAT. They cannot sustain very long on protein from any other source like plant protein! As pet food companies have begun making “so called species appropriate diets”, they are including way too many fruits and vegetables. Some of them very dangerous for cats to eat on a continuous basis. They still don’t seem to understand what a carnivore is!

Q - Do you have any more tips and tricks to keep our cats healthy?

I have a lot of tips to try and keep them healthy, obviously we can only do so much. They’re all different just as we humans are. Some of them have much better and stronger systems to fight off disease, so all we can do is our best. Drinking water is just as important as the food issue and by that I mean, CLEAN drinking water. We have an over the counter water filter where we can change the cartridge very inexpensively every 6 months. It removes parasites along with toxins and chemicals. If people can’t get a filter for various reasons, I highly recommend getting bottled water from a health food store that has no BPAs and other chemicals. They sell products like that everywhere now. Even Evian is better than most of the bottled water out there and in the UK there have been several of my members that when switched to Evian water only, their symptoms decreased a great deal. Also, I suggest learning what’s toxic to cats. Things like essential oils are EXTREMELY toxic to pets and should never be used under any circumstances. Anything made with tea tree oil is poison and all of these pet products made with that ingredient is guilty of adding fuel to the fire. I swear they don’t even bother to research at all. Harsh chemicals used to clean your home, use things like vinegar and water to wash your floors instead. Does a great job actually and is non toxic. There are so many things to learn, Things I never knew before either.

Q - How can people help you in your mission to educate about IBD?

I would welcome help from everyone to help spread the word about not only IBD but about feline health in general. It’s amazing how I end up talking to people in the grocery store, the pet food store, anywhere for that matter. Pet parents easily outnumber people that don’t own pets and they need to understand it’s a responsibility like having a child. To bring a pet into your home and treat it like it can take care of itself is ludicrous. Those days are long gone, that way of thinking is dead and frankly it should be. What others can do is take the time to learn about these diseases but mainly learn about proper diet and nutrition. Talk with others, family members, friends, etc. pass along the link for my site and send them to me if they don’t know something. Even if I don’t know something I will always try to find an answer or direct them to the proper place or people to find it. I’ve surrounded myself with knowledgeable people who are as committed to these goals as I am. IBDkitties is a collaborative effort, I have a lot of help and I’m grateful for that.

For a LOT more information, please visit Lisa's website IBDKitties.net!