A cat food question
The thread started by Krazyaboutkatz about Wellness cat food got me thinking. Can I just ask some questions? If these are too invasive, please let me know and I'll pipe down. Krazyaboutkatz, or anyone else who uses the higher quality cat foods ... what did your kitties eat before you started them on the Wellness food? Was there a specific reason why you switched? What changes have you seen in your kitties since you started them on special food? Your kitties are so precious and beautiful. I love to see pictures of them. I can tell they are well cared for.
I have always fed Cassie grocery store cat food because that is what she was getting at the shelter. They now feed all their cats Hill Science Diet. I am wondering if I should switch Cassie over. The vet said it would be fine to switch her over at her age; the only change I should see would be that the higher end food is more expensive. I know there are some on PT who cook for their kitties, but the vet thought I could feed the best balance of nutrition to her by using a purchased product. She doesn't seem to mind supermarket food; and why would Petsmart carry it if it was inferior? Is there a difference between the Wellness, Hill Science Diet, Iams, Blue Buffalo etc. and others. Petsmart even has their own line.
Again- if these questions are too intrusive, please let me know and i apologize in advance.
I changed my cats' food from Fancy Feast and Purina One to Wellness and Blue Wilderness. Ming, my Siamese boy, had recurring urinary tract blockages and I have him on amitryptiline. Mac, my orangey, is just getting older and was starting to lose weight and vomit more than usual. Someone on here recommended upgrading my cats' food from FF to something healthier. Well, once on these foods (and I tried several before settling on these two, which both will eat), Mac started putting on weight and no longer vomits, or very rarely, and Ming is doing so well I have reduced his med levels and he is doing well. I highly recommend upgrading Cassie's food. My boys are playing like kittens again and they have a gleam in their eyes I haven't seen in years. These foods cost a bit more, but they are more than worth it!
I feed Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry (Chicken) and canned (Salmon - what Jane will eat). I also feed real meat (Deli) as a treat. (Shame on me). I used to cook fish and need to start again.
I used to feed Purina or Little Friskies years ago and the girls (RB) had diarrhea and felt bad. They wouldn't use the litter box. I switched over to Sensible choice (a good food then) and the difference was amazing. No more throwing up or diarrhea.
So Spunky started on SC and then moved to Eagle Pack, Innova, and Veterinarian's Formula. All are good but each cat has a preference and Wilderness is the only dry and wet they really like.
I fed the current clan Fancy Feast for a while but Spunky had diarrhea while on it and now he doesn't.
Spunky tried to eat the store brand when visiting my mom once and promptly threw it up. He also developed kidney stones from a store brand years before that. So now he doesn't eat food unless I put it out for him. That's his decision. Wise cat.
Those foods you mentioned? Most have corn in them among other junk ingredients. (Can you tell what I think of SD, Iams, Hills?) Corn is a source of protein but also has carbs which cats do not need.
Better Food means less trips to the vet and hopefully a longer lived cat.
Oh, Wellness look like a good food but mine don't like it. Finicky Critters.
I hope this answers your questions and I hope I also didn't bore you.
Elyse, your questions are just fine! :)
We have had three kitties. Two were raised and thrived on basic Purina Kitten Chow/ Purina Cat Chow. Our third you know quite well. Pinot was a shelter kitty. I have news for you regarding shelter kitty food, at least the shelters around here. They are SENT HOME with high end food. They are FED with whatever is donated. I found that out after Pinot was quite used to Hills Science Diet, which she was sent home with, when I went to donate food. They said any store brand is fine; I usually give the shelter Meow Mix or Friskies. Pinot is strictly a Science Diet kitty - that's her preference.
I think the majority of people who have switched their kitty's diet is due to a health issue. It all depends on your kitty. If Cassie is happy with her food, leave it be, she's fine. I'm quite sure you're doing the best for her. I hope this helps you.:love:
I fed Science Diet for 10 years, as that is what my vet recommended.
Guess what? SD is crap food! Hills makes huge donations to VMA, so vets recommend it. Vets generally get NO training in nutrition.
Once I got dogs, I got involved in the bichon forum; bichons are known for their food allergies. So bichon owners tend to spend a lot of time learning about foods. I was able translate that to the cat side of things. Note: there has not been as much research done on cats and foods.
I fed Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul kibble for a few years (2 or 3, I forget), and suddenly, I had NO MORE HAIRBALLS! Hairballs are NOT normal.
Then about 2 years back, I switched the whole house to grain free Taste of the Wild. No hairballs continued; and smaller poops as there is less waste. All the cats that were pudgy trimmed down, with no effort on my part and no ill effects to them. (They weren't complaining they were starving!)
In the past year, I've started some home cooking for them, and I now include grain free canned as well. Here is what happened: Sparkle was diagnosed w/ early stage renal disease last Fall; my vet said we could do sub Q fluids, or I could try feeding her some canned and, as she is very early stage, that may have the same effect. Er, wait a minute, "wouldn't she just drink more from the water bowl?" Well, it seems that cats are not geared to drink; they get more than 90% of the fluids they need from their prey (mice, moles, shrews, a bird here and there). Then why the heck am I feeding them only dry kibble?!
Commercial cat foods did not come on the market until the 1960's. Up to then, vets did not see over active thyroid in cats (I've lost 3 cats to this), renal failure, cancers. Cats ate what the family had, and supplemented it with prey. Also, cats are obligate carnivores; again, this means they got all the nutrients they needed from their prey. Cats (in the wild, ferals, untamed / undomesticated) do not eat grains in any form. They do get a small amount of DIGESTED grains from the stomach of their prey -- cats can not digest it themselves.
A good base to learn about commercial cat foods:
There is a menu on the left. The link above takes you to CAT FOOD QUICK REFERENCE TABLE. You will also want to click on COMPLETE CAT FOOD LISTINGS.
(NB - do NOT use this table for dog foods if you also have a dog; it is not detailed enough. For dogs, refer to: www.dogfoodanalysis.com)
A good base for home cooking: THE WHOLE PET DIET by Andi Brown. I found it at my library; liked it so much, I bought a copy at Amazon.com. She provides recipes, and explains what each ingredient is for. I make the Chicken Spot's Stew and all 15 here go crazy for it!
The Whole Dog Journal found only 1 complaint with her book: she does not emphasize calcium enough. But if you follow her recipes, your pet does get what it needs for calcium.
Recently, I've been exploring raw feeding. I know I will never convert to it completely. But having the pet (dog or cat) crunch up some raw bones helps clean their teeth and prevent tartar naturally. I have been giving the cats raw chicken necks -- Tommy is absolutely WILD for them, he hee.
There are 3 supplements for cats eating a raw diet. One I have used for years is Barley Cat. I am still learning about the other 2, on a raw diet forum.
Hope this helps!
Sometimes I wish she could speak! Meow: I'm hungry! Meow: this food tastes awful! Meow: Got any tuna? Meow: I'd like bottled water in my water dish, please. Meow: Just where the heck do you think you're going, human?
Edited to add: Freedom, interesting findings on this chart! I'm not surprised at where the supermarket brands fall (one *) but I AM surprised about Science Diet and Iams! Yikes! I'm scared of Iams anyway after losing my cat-nephew Churchill to their contaminated product.
I switched to grain-free food because Smudge was having urinary and allergy problems. Grain raises cats' urinary pH and makes it harder for them to dissolve minerals in their urine, so they get crystals; and many cats are allergic.
Choosing a dry food was easy, because he loved the first one I tried (Indigo Moon by Solid Gold). He's pickier on wet food, but will reliably eat Natural Balance Limited Ingredients. (He needs to get at least some wet food for me to mix in his meds & supplements, and to help get more water into him.)
If you want to make sure your cats get enough water in their diet, try getting them a fountain. I did this and both of mine now walk over to the fountain and help themselves to a drink all the time! It is filtered water so you know it is good for them.
I got Smudge a fountain and he was scared of it. :rolleyes: But he drinks happily from a glass bowl in the living room, just not a steel bowl in the kitchen.
Great thread idea Elyse.:) I used to feed all of my cats Nutro Natural Choice Complete Care dry and I some of their canned as well. Then later on I stopped giving them any canned which was a very bad idea on my part.:( When I had Cirrus he develped crystals and he had to have the PU surgery. A while later Storm also developed crystals and needed the PU surgery.:( Of course my vet back then recommended Hills C/D Presciption diet which has horrible ingedients. I later changed vets but I was still feeding a presription diet of Royal Canin S/O dry and canned. It was a little better than the Hills but not much. I was told that I could feed this to everyone without any problems.
Well my problems began with Starr. He started having severe diarrhea and Pearl started breaking out on her chin and lips.:( I had actually fed both Starr and Pearl Innova Evo dry and the regular Innova canned when they were kittens and they did well on this food. I tried feeding the rest of my cats the regular Innova dry and canned but after a while Storm got more crystals so I was forced to feed everyone the Royal Canin S/O again because Storm would refuse to eat his food if the others ate something else.:rolleyes:
I changed vets again when my current vet didn't really know what else to do to help Starr. At first my new vet prescribed Hills ZD diet which also has horrible ingedients. He didn't seem to like it and he didn't do well on it. She later suggested that I try Innova Evo which is grain free. She also told me that Storm could also eat it as long as I he got plenty of canned food too. This is when I started feeding everyone Innova Evo dry and canned.
I noticed a huge difference in their energy levels, stools, fur, and ever since Storm's been on a grain free diet he hasn't had any more urinary problems.:) Although Pearl's problem is supposed to be not food related, I really do think that it is. It seems that as long as she's eating a dry food that is very high in protein like Innova Evo or Wellness Core then she doesn't seem to break out any more. After the Natura Products were sold to Proctor & Gamble I really didn't trust what they might do to Innova Evo so I decided to try another grain free food. I tried Nature's Variety but it was very expensive and over time my cats got sick on this food and they also stopped liking the canned food.
When I adopted Alani & Blaze they were eating Natural Balance Chicken & Green Pea dry so I eventually changed all of my cats diets to this along with the canned. They liked it but I noticed that they weren't doing as well on it because it didn't have as much protein and it had many more carbs. The kittens were also having diarrhea and mushy stools. Pearl also broke out again.:( I then decided to try Wellness Core dry and the core canned. They all loved the dry but not the canned. When I tried the grain free Wellness canned they all loved it and this canned food has also helped Storm to stay regular in the bm department. Before this even though he was eating canned food, he would still sometimes become very constipated.
After a while Alani & Blaze started having mushy stools again so I knew that I would have to change their diet but I didn't want to change my four adult cats diets because they loved their food and they were doing very well on it. I knew that grain free didn't seem to work for the kittens so I looked at a bag of Chicken Soup For The Soul and I liked the ingredients so I bought a small adult formula bag. I mixed it together with the Wellness Core and they were still having issues. When I was at the pet store again, I looked at the ingredients of the adult dry compared to the adult light dry and I noticed that the light had more protein, less fat, but more fiber. This is exactly what my kittens needed. Now I also feed them the adult hairball canned and so far so good. Finally nice well formed stools.:)
You need to learn to read ingredients and try to avoid ingredients like corn, wheat, meat by products, dyes, BHT, BHA, and ethoxyquin. I think that most of the higher premium foods are now eleminating ethoxyquin as a preservative. Although the higher premium brands will cost more, you will feed your cat less so the food should last longer. I was also told that the Wellness canned food is very easy for a cat used to a grocery store food to switch over to. I don't know why though. I know that this is a lot of information for you to take in. Good luck with your new diet search.:)
I had 3 fountains, but with 15 pets, it was just nuts. I now have one 96 ounce stainless steel water bowl, which gets filled morning and night.
Mandy is in a bedroom separated and has her own small water bowl.
That's a point: switching to stainless steel bowls for food and water (unless you are using a fountain) is also important! The plastic interacts w/ some foods and over time the pet can have issues from this as well. I switched all my bowls in late January of this year. MUCH better w/ the dogs, not as noticeable w/ the cats. Alot less itching on the dogs.
My vet feeds her cats nothing but canned, Fancy Feast. She says that dry food (any kind) causes dehydration, causing the kidneys to work harder. I do leave out dry food (with 30% protein) that they munch on during the day, though. Because Bart is so old, he gets fancy feast canned whenever he wants!!!!
I have found that in garbage food, it can cause crystals in males.
I've had cats all my life & until Dec 2010 I fed them food that I got at the grocery store. For Luke until December 2010, I fed him DRY Purina One Hairball Formula & DRY Purina Indoor Formula (I mixed it) & a small amt of canned Nine Lives or Fancy Feast. I would also give him Laxatone for constipation.
However, in Dec 2010 (here we go again) he had severe constipation and vet put him on canned Hill's w/d. From reading here on PT, I decided to put him also on canned no-grain Wellness.... and Laxatone for constipation & hairballs. I mix the w/d & the Wellness & Laxatone & it's working for us.
I get the w/d from the vet & I order the tall cans of Wellness from 1-800PetMeds as the tall cans dont cost as much as the flat cans & my Petsmart does not have the tall cans.
I cannot tell you how much better Luke feels these days. (He's 10 yrs old). Because of the moisture & ingreds in his food now, he is not constipated but I still have to put Laxatone in his food EVERY day. I can tell he feels better; he is more active & more like a cat. He likes to go on walks with us & is more active. He even plays some now.
So, the reason I went from basically DRY cat food to expensive canned food is because Luke just cannot handle dry food anymore & needs something better, something wet with good ingreds. Yes, his food is expensive but so was his constipation (over $500 counting everything) & I dont want him sick again so I'll pay for the expensive food. Pay now or pay later I guess is my motto... Kay in NC
Thank you, everybody! You've given me a lot to think about and some questions to clarify with the doctor.
Cassie's water is in a Pyrex glass bowl. I can wash and rinse it, then put it in the microwave with water in it, zonk until the water boils, let it air-dry and refill it. (I don't have a dishwasher) She got bottled water for awhile when our pipes were being worked on, so she'd prefer only that. I give her filtered tap water.
I want to back up and explain. The shelter from which I adopted Cassie is no-cage as well as no-kill. When the cats are fed, more than one may eat from one plate, so there's no way to know exactly who's eating what. They are given wet food twice a day. The cats in the medical room get individual food and water, because they are in cages. Part of medical room care involves keeping track of what they drink and eat. but the cats in the remainder of the shelter have shared water dishes.
When I brought her home I kept her on the same schedule, wet food twice a day and dry food always available. Food has never been a problem unless she eats too fast and barfs. Now I feed her smaller servings 3 times a day. She would be happiest eating nothing but turkey or chicken, tuna, pureed baby food meat, and tuna juice! But that's not an option. I give her a bit of cooked chicken, tuna or pureed baby food meat as a treat, but not as her regular food. I love her tons and i want her eating an appropriate food. She also likes yogurt (especially licking the tin foil lid), peas, canned pumpkin, and milk. My sister's (RB) Siamese cat liked ham from the supermarket deli, of all things. If she was making a sandwich, he would come running when he heard her unwrapping the deli meat! She'd give him a bit as a treat. He also liked steak!
So - again - thank you ALL! I appreciate your help so much! Thank you! Could you please give your well-fed kitties some petting and hugs from me.
another cat food question --- Moosmom mentioned in another thread that one of her cats likes Chobani yogurt, but has lactose intolerance. Cassie likes yogurt. I only give her plain or the top of "fruit on the bottom" yogurt. I haven't watched the litter pan enough to know if it's causing a problem, because I only give her maybe half a teaspoonful at a time. She has no problem with milk -- so, can I keep on giving her the yogurt? Should I keep a closer eye on what she puts in the litter pan? When she hears me pull off the foil lid, she's there. She likes yogurt a lot. Silly kitty.
I had a sandwich from Arby's for lunch yesterday between church and bell choir -- you'd think she was starving, the way she was waiting for me to give her some of the beef! I cut it up very small and put it in a dish for her. No sauce or anything, just the meat. She did fine with it.
Another PT kitty gets half and half-- please don't tell Cassie, or she will want that too! :)