Stop Feeding Your Cat CRAP!

29 May

I have recently been enlightened on the issue of cat food.  When we arrived in Buffalo from the Bahamas Mittens developed a bit of an upset stomach.  When we arrived in Miami it got worse to the point where she was having terrible kitty diarrhea every day.  We called the vet who ran a slew of tests and a few days later we had a diagnoses: a virus.  The vet said it was a common virus kittens pick up and there was no treatment but to let it run its course… up to three weeks!  He suggested that if we really wanted to do something, we could try changing her diet.  Well, I was sick of cleaning up the messes so I was on the Internet lickety-split looking for the best cat food made.

That’s when I started reading up on how terrible mainstream cat foods are for cats.  They don’t contain many real ingredients, often use leftover parts of animals like beaks and bones, and they contain a lot of fillers, mainly grain.  I learned that cats in nature don’t eat a lot of grain, so why is it needed in their food?  It makes the food inexpensive but also not very nutritional for kitty.

Many people consider their pets a part of the family, so why wouldn’t you feed your cat as if you were feeding your own child?  If I wouldn’t eat those ingredients, why would I feed it to Mittens?

Read the ugly truth after the break:

Prior to this week we had been feeding Mittens Friskies.  I considered this a step up from what Chris’s mother feeds their cat, Nine Lives.  It looked better in the can… yes, the packaging fooled me.  But here are the ingredients in Friskies Classic Pate: Mixed Grill:

Meat by-products, water sufficient for processing, poultry by-products, liver, chicken, rice, artificial and natural flavors, salt, guar gum, calcium phosphate, added color, potassium chloride, carrageenan, taurine, zinc sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, niacin, manganese sulfate, calcium pantothenate, Vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, biotin, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, potassium iodide.

There are some important things to note about this list of ingredients, which are listed from most prevalent to least prevalent in the pate.  First, there aren’t any real meats listed until the third ingredient.  Meat and poultry by-products, such as beaks and bones, come before the actual meat.  Gross.  Second, added color is listed before the vitamins.  Why does cat food even need added color?  Mittens doesn’t care what her food looks like in her dish.  I doubt she even looks at it as she inhales it down.

edited from google images

Don’t be fooled by brand name and packaging.  Science Diet sounds healthy because it has the word “science” in its name and the packaging is clean and attractive looking.  But even Science Diet is no good for cats, which surprised me because it’s prominently displayed at almost every veterinary office.  This is what we used to feed Spicer before she passed away a year and a half ago, Adult Light – Dry:

Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Liver Flavor, Animal Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Soybean Mill Run, Calcium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Carnitine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

Again, we can see some of the same problems.  The first ingredients include fillers like brewers rice and byproducts.  In fact, there is no real meat listed, only “chicken liver flavor.”  Why not add the actual liver?  That would provide the same flavor and make this food a little more nutritious, though still not enough for me to feed it to my own cat.

If this food is so bad for cats, why is it in the vet’s office?  Simple.  Science Diet pays the office to display and push their product.  Don’t fall for it and don’t buy it.

One of the top rated foods I found was Wellness.  It was one of the few I could find locally without having to order it over the Internet, which was a plus because I needed it fast.  The label boasts human grade ingredients and the list reflects that.  In fact, my husband told me that when he fed Mittens the Sardine, Shrimp, and Crab Recipe yesterday morning he thought it smelled so good he wanted to sneak a taste!  Now that’s quality!  Here are the ingredients for this food:

Sardines, Chicken, Fish Broth, Ground Brown Rice, Shrimp, Crab Meat, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Zucchini, Guar Gum, Cranberries, Blueberries, Carrageenan, Salt, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Iron Proteinate (a source of Chelated Iron), Beta-Carotene, Zinc Proteinate (a source of Chelated Zinc), Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Proteinate (a source of Chelated Cobalt), Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate (a source of Chelated Copper), Folic Acid, Manganese Proteinate (a source of Chelated Manganese), Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Biotin. This is a naturally preserved product.

Look at those foods!  Real sardines and chicken!  There are a ton of healthy vegetables and fruits, too.  This stuff is better than what I put into my own body most of the time (I’m working on that, too!).  You may be wondering about the “Ground Brown Rice,” which is the fourth ingredient listed.  Isn’t that a filler?  The Wellness website basically says that their seafood recipes are too mushy without some grain.  If you really want your cat to eat completely grain free, their non-poultry recipes are grain free.  I’m fine with Mittens having a little bit of grain because she really loves seafood.

via Google Images

Mittens has been eating Wellness food for three of four days now and it’s made a huge difference.  Her excrement is back to normal, her energy level is up, and she even looks better.  Her coat is getting nice and fluffy.  She has also stopped trying to sneak food off our plates… or at least less often as she used to.  She’s definitely a Wellness cat now and we’ll never switch her back to that sub par food again.  It’s a little more expensive and we’re on a tight budget, but it’s improved her health in just a few days and she really seems to love it.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with half a case of Friskies…

Further reading:

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: … When Cat Food Shopping

Pet Food Ratings: Cat Food Reviews

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2 Responses to “Stop Feeding Your Cat CRAP!”

  1. Alise May 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    I totally agree with this! I was talking with one of my friends about getting a dog, and she said:

    “make sure you buy the good food. Feeing your dog the cheap food is like going to taco bell everyday of your life!”

    That really put it into perspective for me.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Feeling better and productive! « Rosswife's Blog - July 5, 2010

    […] slept until 3pm!  We had a late lunch (early dinner?), ran some errands (Mittens needed food!), and caught the fire works at Bayfront Park.  They were pretty […]

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