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What is the best brands to feed my cats??

beckiandthetrio
October 7th, 2007, 12:14 PM
Hi all--

Since joining this message board Ive become more informed on what to feed my cats. So, Im wondering if someone can give me some advice on what to feed them to improve/keep their health. I have 3 cats and all 3 are neutered/spayed and are overweight. My biggest one is Panda, he weighs 18-19 pounds!

Ive always just given them science diet hard food all their lives and thought that was sufficent enough. Well after the last vet appt. he recommended that I start canned food also. So, I started giving them fancy feast or some other cheap brand once every other day.

Well since joining and reading some posts I see that probably isnt the best choice for my babies. Can anyone give me some suggestions as far as hard food to give them and soft food or either/or. I would like to have them all loose a bit of weight in the process also. Also Im a single mom(to my cats :) so I dont have a ton of extra money to spend on this food.

Thanks in advance,

Becki

sugarcatmom
October 7th, 2007, 01:39 PM
Hi Becki,

I would have to say, especially since you are dealing with overweight cats, that you should ditch the dry completely and feed only wet food. It's free-feeding dry food that tends to make cats fat in the first place. Not only is dry very calorie-dense, but it's loaded with inappropriate carbohydrates that cats end up storing as fat. Read this link for lots of good info on diet and obesity: http://www.catinfo.org/feline_obesity.htm

As an example, the vet clinic I go to adopted a severely obese cat (that had been fed diet dry food it's whole life) when its owners abandoned it there after a procedure. They immediately switched it to a regular (NOT diet) canned food, of which the cat could eat as much as it wanted. She went from 20lbs down to a much more appropriate 13lbs in 6 months.

For some commercial canned food explanations and options, check out this link: http://www.catinfo.org/commercialcannedfoods.htm I realize that when you're on a tight budget, it can seem daunting to provide canned food for a multi-cat household. It's possible to economize somewhat by buying the large 12oz cans, or by getting cases (make sure your cats are big fans of a particular food first!). You can also alternate some of the better quality foods (Wellness, EVO, Nature's Variety, Newman's Own, Merrick, etc) with cheaper brands like Friskies or 9-lives. Gluten-free Fancy Feast varieties are fine for a middle-of-the-road kind of food, but because they only come in the small 3oz size they may not be the most economical.

To quote an expert on feline nutrition, feeding a good diet is a "pay a little more now or pay a lot more later" issue. Vet bills for problems like diabetes, obesity, IBD, kidney disease, bladder/urinary tract problems, allergies, could all be minimized or avoided if a proper (wet) diet is provided in the first place. Trust me on that! I spent 10s of thousands on my 2 guys over the years for the very problems listed above, before I knew how crucial wet food is to feline health.

NoahGrey
October 7th, 2007, 01:55 PM
Wellness food is GREAT.

That is what I feed my cat. No animal by-products, soy, wheat, corn or corn gluten, artificial preservatives, colours or flavours.

I would go check out their website. http://www.omhpet.com/wellness/

They are expensive, but well worth it. For a 5 pound bag here in Ontario, it costs about $20 a bag. It lasts for a month and a bit.

ACO22

chico2
October 7th, 2007, 04:30 PM
I have just switched my cats from Fancy Feast to Merricks canned,it is expensive,so I also bought some cans of Pet-Values own brand,the ingredients are ok.
For dry,I buy Orijen and Solid Gold,which they only snack on 24/7.
My 3 cats have always had a variety of foods and I have never had any trouble,the 3 of them split a small can twice a day and seem satisfied with that.
I am not sure what you should feed overweight cats,but I would think a canned food with less grains and other fillers would be better,the same for the dry food.

beckiandthetrio
October 8th, 2007, 09:15 PM
Thanks everyone for your reply's. I did some research off of the websites you all gave me and I think my mind has been changed to switch from dry to wet food.

Growing up my parents always fed our animals nothing but dry food so I guess in turn I thought that was what I was supposed to do with my animals. Plus I always thought that wet only was bad because their teeth would rot from it.

Im not sure on the brand yet. Im looking into the wellness brand right now but I live in an area where organic and wholesome dont exsist, :laughing: sooo, it may be hard to find some of these brands.

My only question would be how much canned food do I give them?? Someone who has multiple cats, how much do you give your cats?? One can a feeding to share? Im not good with math so I didnt calculate how many calories they all need but they are all overweight for right now, my baby though is only a 1-2lbs over.

Thanks in advance for all of your wealth of knowledge!!!

Becki

rainbow
October 9th, 2007, 01:43 AM
Here is the store locator for Wellness food:

http://www.geoserve.com/forms/omhwell.htm

sugarcatmom
October 9th, 2007, 09:32 PM
My only question would be how much canned food do I give them?? Someone who has multiple cats, how much do you give your cats?? One can a feeding to share?

There are so many variables to consider when figuring out how much to feed that often it's just easier to pick a generic amount and then adjust according to how the cats are doing (can you weigh them once every week or 2?). Most cats do fine with between 6-9 oz of canned per day, so I would think that a 12oz can between the 3 of them, per meal, would be plenty. Either that or 2 of the 5.5oz cans. What you don't want is for any of them to lose too much weight too quickly, especially your big guy, as fat cats can be prone to life-threatening hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver). If they don't lose any weight at all after a few weeks, start cutting back gradually on the amount you're feeding until you see a change.

Good luck! And good for you for making the switch. Your cats will be healthier for it, I promise!

NoahGrey
October 10th, 2007, 05:11 PM
I would not just feed them only soft (wet) food. It will make their teeth become very soft. The only time you should feed a cat just soft food is if you have been told by a vet...like had bad teeth, etc.

ACO22

sugarcatmom
October 10th, 2007, 05:23 PM
I would not just feed them only soft (wet) food. It will make their teeth become very soft. The only time you should feed a cat just soft food is if you have been told by a vet...like had bad teeth, etc.

ACO22

That's an old myth, dry food does nothing to improve dental hygiene and may in fact make things worse due to the high carbohydrate content. Does your dentist tell you to eat pretzels and cookies in order to clean your teeth? Same concept. When I get home from work, I'll post some links on this topic.

Okay, here we go:
Does Dry Food Clean Teeth (http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=doesdryfoodcleantheteeth)
The Relation Between Dental Disease and Canned Food (http://home.ivillage.com/pets/cats/0,,p8ds,00.html)
Feline Nutrition (http://www.maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm)

And for those too lazy to actually click on the links, here are some excerpts:

Question: "Can you address the issue of diet and dental disease? I feed my cat canned cat food. She loves it and will have nothing to do with dry food. Several of my pet-owning friends say that a diet of exclusively canned food will make her teeth go bad. They say she needs dry food to help prevent dental decay. I disagree with them. What is your advice?"

Answer: What a great question! Many veterinarians, including myself, were taught that dry food was better for the teeth due to the abrasive action of the pellets. However, clinical experience over the last few years has shown this to be a myth. For example, just about every pet needs its teeth cleaned at least once a year, yet most of these pets are eating dry food. Obviously the dry food is not preventing dental disease. I see no difference in my own practice in the amount of dental disease regardless of type of diet.

Several references I consulted on diet and dental disease agree. For example, in Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, the authors state, "Although consumption of soft foods may promote plaque accumulation, the general belief that dry foods provide significant oral cleansing should be regarded with skepticism. A moist food may perform similarly to a typical dry food in affecting plaque, stain and calculus accumulation. Typical dry dog and cat foods contribute little dental cleansing." In the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry (September 1996) the author states that "In a large survey, dogs consuming dry food alone did not consistently demonstrate improved periodontal health when compared with dogs eating moist foods."

Interestingly, my clients who feed their pets raw foods plus meaty bones for chewing report the least amount of dental disease, many of these pets do not always require an annual dental cleaning. And finally, the speed with which dental disease occurs in dogs seems to be related to breed and size; most large-breed dogs do not need their teeth cleaned as often as their smaller counterparts. New recommendations on feeding cats encourage wet food to increase water consumption and decrease the chance of diseases such as diabetes, as canned food most closely mimics the natural diet of cats. The best thing you can do to control dental disease is to regularly brush your pet's teeth, and have a professional cleaning whenever needed. So tell your friends that they can feed whatever kind of food they wish, but that your cat is eating the most appropriate diet."

Sincerely,
Shawn Messonnier, D.V.M.


Let's get this one straight once and for all: dry food does not clean your cat's teeth! In fact, dry food really has no benefits for the cat. It is merely a convenience for the guardian. If you haven't already read "Why Cats Need Canned Food" (http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=whycatsneedcannedfood), that's a good place to start in your quest for accurate, up-to-date information on feeding cats.

Most cats don't consistently chew dry food; they swallow it whole. Obviously, without contacting the teeth, there is zero effect on tartar accumulation. For cats who do chew dry food, whether consistently or occasionally, there is still little or no benefit. The kibbles shatter, so contact between the kibble and the teeth occurs only at the tips of the teeth. This is certainly not enough to make a difference in the formation of tartar and plaque, which most commonly builds up along (and underneath) the gumline at the base of the teeth.

In my experience as a feline veterinarian, I've probably examined at least 13,000 cats' mouths. There was no real pattern to the dental and periodontal disease I saw. If anything, tartar and gum disease seemed to be more attributable to genetics or concurrent disease (such as feline leukemia or feline AIDS) than to any particular diet. I saw beautiful and horrible mouths in cats eating wet food, dry food, raw food, and every possible combination. Many of my patients initially ate mostly or exclusively dry food; yet these cats had some of the most infected, decayed, foul-smelling mouths I saw. If there was any dietary influence at all, I'd say that raw-fed cats had better oral health than cats on any type of commercial food. However, the overall effect of diet on dental health appeared to be minimal at most.

Bluedrake
October 11th, 2007, 04:42 AM
Hello there!

Personally, I would recommend feeding only wet food. Kibble really has no special benefit, as stated above.

If you are on a tight budget, what you can do is alternate between brands. You will have to start reading labels carefully though! Some varieties of Friskies and Whiskas are grain free, but you really have to read the label carefully. They all contain by-products though, but as Dr Pierson says on her site, better a few by-products than ANY grain.

But just do the math: I pay about 3 CAN$ for a 12.5 oz can of Wellness (high quality), while a 3 oz can of fancy feast or whiskas will cost about 1 CAN $, maybe a little less, but if you add up, the price difference is not all that great, but the quality makes a quantum leap.

I use Wellness as an example because it's what I feed my cats, and they both love it!

From an environmental point of view, a bigger can also means less waste, even if you recycle, so it's better to buy the bigger formats, especially since you have several cats.

beckiandthetrio
October 12th, 2007, 09:12 PM
Thanks everyone sooo much for your replies!! I never knew this type of community existed before. You all know sooo much and I appreciate all of the article links too.

After reading everything I have decided to go to wet food only, wellness brand probably. I think I will have to wean them off of the dry food though as that is basically all they know. I hopeing this will make a good impact and keep my babies healthy for a long time.

Thanks again,
Becki

Bluedrake
October 14th, 2007, 04:26 AM
Glad to hear you'll switch to canned food! Don't buy large quantities at first, in case your cats don't like the food. That way you'll avoid waste of both the food and your money.

If your cats are "kibble addicts" (won't touch wet food), what you can do is switch them to a better kibble, and then go with the wet food.

Mia101
October 25th, 2007, 04:58 AM
For dry, I like By Nature Organics. It's the only brand in petsmart that is organic, holistic, AND premium. I like it better than Felidae, and don't mind paying the extra $2 to have it.

Cats eat so little, a couple of bucks is no biggy. Plus I'm having her eat mostly canned.

AND she will eat it, unlike Felidae!

rjesak
October 25th, 2007, 09:01 AM
Hey Becki,

I signed up for this board recently and was convinced to make the same switch. I'd always given my cats a bottomless bowl of cheap brand indoor formula kibble because I didn't know any better. Recently I found a natural food store and bought a bunch of different types of canned options. I cycled my cats through them to see which one they liked and it was no contest.

Sugarcatmom, I really like your idea of alternating the cheaper brand with the higher end brand. I give my six cats three cans in the morning and evening and I'm thinking maybe I could mix in one can of the cheap stuff out of each three. You have really good information and ideas! Thanks so much to you and everyone on this board.

Good luck Becki