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Old May 11th, 2009, 02:02 PM
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Brat Brat is offline
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Unhappy Cat Food getting expensive

Hi there!

I switched my cats in February from dry kibble to canned Wellness. One of my cats had been rushed to the hospital with a urinary blockage. After a week in the hospital and a few more weeks of recovery, he's doing absolutely amazing. He was a pretty heavy guy (~18lbs) and now he's lost quite a bit of weight and he's looking very healthy. He plays a lot more just looks a lot happier overall.

Here's my dilemma. The Wellness I buy is $2.59 a can plus tax and according to the can instructions I should be feeding each of my cats half a can a day. So that's 45 cans a month. This comes out to approx. $132 with tax a month. We've been pulling it since February but it's been going on our credit card because right now we just don't have that kind of money to spend. I'm in school part time, we opened our own company last year and have been living on very little every month. On top of that I have a $3200 vet bill from when my cat got sick in February. It was my fault for feeding him that dry kibble crap and I feel so bad that I did that to him but I'm doing my best to make it up to him. I want to keep them on Wellness but I think I could only do about 30 cans a month. I feed them 3 times a day (morning, evening and before bed time) so this means one of their meals has to be something else just to help our budget right now. Once we have enough money we'll be doing full Wellness.

My question is what could I feed them as their third meal that won't be as expensive? The place where I buy my food suggested dry kibble with no grain (Taste of the Wild and Evo is what they gave me as sample packs) But to be honest, since February, I'm terrified of dry kibble. Is this no grain stuff okay or is just all bad? As their third meal should I keep it wet but maybe a cheaper kind?

Like I said, I'm really not trying to cheap out on my babies. It's just something we have to do right now. What I might do is feed my guy who had the urinary blockage all Wellness because he's more prone to getting sick again. And for the other two, I'll give them Wellness and something else.

I've read up on a Raw diet and making my own food but it's just not something I have any time for at the moment. Once I have more time and the money to buy a grinder I'd love to start doing that.

Any suggestions?

Thanks for your help!

-- Tamara
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Old May 11th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
My question is what could I feed them as their third meal that won't be as expensive? The place where I buy my food suggested dry kibble with no grain (Taste of the Wild and Evo is what they gave me as sample packs) But to be honest, since February, I'm terrified of dry kibble. Is this no grain stuff okay or is just all bad? As their third meal should I keep it wet but maybe a cheaper kind?
Stay away from all kibble, whether grain-free or not. Absolutely you can intersperse the Wellness with a cheaper canned like Friskies or if you find Fancy Feast on sale (Petsmart sometimes has good deals if you have a Pets Perks card). Also offering some fresh meat when you're cooking your own meals will provide some quality protein (just make sure it doesn't make up more than 10-20% of their diet because it isn't balanced).
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Old May 11th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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I feel your pain, believe me! My bills are around $100 a week. Sometimes more.
Have you tried offering hearts and giblets? Liver? Things like that are inexpensive and would do well as a mid day snack. My guys love the giblets. Not too crazy about the hearts and liver but they will eat a little. I think with feeding Wellness twice a day you should be ok with something like that.
Good luck!
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Old May 11th, 2009, 03:21 PM
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I do the same thing. 1 can of Wellness (Chicken & Beef) for my two cats per day. 1/2 can @ 7:30am, 1/2 can @ 7:30pm, and about a quarter cup Wellness Indoor Dry before I got to bed.

I'm annoyed that a few months ago, Wellness canned jumped up like 30 cents in price per can at both Pet Value and Global Ryan.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 03:57 PM
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I buy the 13 oz Innova and Innova Evo cans. I buy a case (12 cans) a week, which costs me about $23. I feed all 5 cats with one can in the morning. They each get 2 tables spoons. I mix the can in a bowl and add 4 tablespoons of warm water. It makes it so there is a little left over once they each get their tablespoon so I divide what's left into 5.

When I get home in the late afternoon, sometimes all their food is eaten, other times some is still left. They will eat a good bit when I put the food down, but then spend the time it's out just picking and snacking on it. For evening meal, the same drill.

I also give them treats every evening, so they get their little snacks throughout the night until bedtime.

See if you can buy the big cans. Sometimes they are less expensive, especially if you buy a case, and you get more out of them.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 06:49 PM
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Wellness is crazy expensive right now. I'm feeding my guys Performatrin (the Pet Valu brand). I buy the larger cans. It's cheaper, and it's grain free. Something you could try?
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Old May 11th, 2009, 09:17 PM
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wow thanks so much for all the advice!

Joeyjoejoe and phoozles: I found that out today! I walked into the store and saw that the Wellness has shot up in price! *sigh*

sugarcatmom: I do offer them little bits of the chicken that I cook. They love it! Thank God my guys aren't picky hehe (they even like it raw!)

14+kitties: $100 a week?! *faints* wow! Right now I'm spending about $220 a month feeding my dog and the 3 kitties and I'm having so much trouble financially. I will definitely try the giblets. Can I just buy those at the grocery store?

ancient girl: Right now I'm buying 12oz cans (the 12 case is $33) and I always mix in some warm water. As soon as I put it down they gobble it within seconds.

You should hear them screaming for it while I'm putting it into their bowls. It's a huge event 3 times a day! It's actually gotten to the point of being super annoying and my bf and I don't know what to do. Is it normal for them all to just meow and scream? Are they just hungry all the time?! Or are they perhaps just anticipating the yummyness they're about to get? It's just not the first thing we like to hear in the morning when we wake up hehe..

Again thank you all for your input, I'll try adding other little things like other wet food, some giblets, my own food, etc.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 11:18 PM
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You could try the Performatrin Ultra. I think it's a little cheaper than Wellness. My guys like it better than Wellness. For some reason a while back they turned their noses up at Wellness. No matter how many times I try it they won't touch it.
Instead of giving them the midday feeding you could try giblets, hearts, liver. You find it in the meat section. It is sometimes trial and error trying to get them to eat it but it's worth a shot. None of mine are crazy about liver. The giblets get gobbled quickly, hearts not so much. They do eat them though. In my store hearts and giblets come together in a pack.
If they eat raw chicken why not try giving them some of that for one meal? Chicken legs/thighs are not too pricy. Especially on sale. You can take the meat off the bone if you are sqeamish about the bones for them and see what they think.
SCM also mentioned feeding a cheaper brand occasionally. For the midday meal that would be good too. A can of Friskies (pate) is around 55 cents. Even two or three of those a day is cheaper than one can of Wellness.
It's trial and error finding the combination that works for you. You will find the right mix soon.
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Old May 12th, 2009, 12:39 AM
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thanks 14+

I'm gonna try everything. Thankfully they will eat just about anything so I don't think I'll have any trouble in that area.

I always see specials on chicken legs. I'm not a big fan of them but I could buy it for the kittehs. I've never really handled raw meat much so I'm sure it'll freak me out a bit at first lol..
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Old May 12th, 2009, 07:51 AM
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I feel your pain too.

I have cut my cat food bill in half by making my own raw, so if you are able to and because your kitties like raw chicken, you may find you save some money, but give up about half hour a week or every second week depending on how much you make:

http://www.catinfo.org/makingcatfood...aking_Cat_Food

It costs me about 50 cents for 5.5 oz.
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Old May 12th, 2009, 08:22 AM
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I stopped giving my gang Wellness because it got so expensive. When I switched to Innova I not only cut down their food bill but I managed to get them better food. I buy mine at a small pet food store. They special order the regular for me and save the EVO case out of their order when I need it.

Where I buy it it's 75 cents cheaper than every other place I've seen that sells it here. Look around for some smaller places that might be able to order it for you cheaper.
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Old May 12th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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The smaller stores sometimes are cheaper than the big chain stores. Check them out for some deals.

I see you are in Laval, Quebec - do you have a Pet Valu there? When you buy by the case you automatically get a 10% discount. And if you have a manufacturers coupon you can use that as well. Don't be afraid to ask store clerks wherever you buy your pet food if they have specials for buying a certain amount of cans or spending a certain amount of dollars.

Have you contacted Wellness to requset coupons? Tell them your story and they will send coupons to you. I have heard of people requesting coupons once a month. Also, you can join their pet club - they send coupons to your inbox once a month. They haven't been very useful for me since I don't buy dry food but I am waiting for the canned food coupons

It is great that you already buy the 12.5oz cans b/c you are saving some money. I think you said you feed a half of can to each cat a day. You could probably feed them a tiny bit less 5.5oz (size of a smaller tin) which will help on the can lasting a bit longer (every bit counts ) that would be .75oz a can times by 12 cans = 9oz extra for you to feed just a thought - watch how the cats are doing - if they are losing weight then up it a bit - if they are gaining then decrease a bit...

Count yourself lucky paying $2.49 a 12.5oz can. Here in Winnipeg it is between $3.19 and $3.49 a can.....
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Old May 12th, 2009, 08:59 PM
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I'd love to make my own food. I've actually read that page a few times already over the past few months. I just don't have much time or money (for a grinder) right now. As soon as I have the money though, that's what I will be doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Love4himies View Post
I feel your pain too.

I have cut my cat food bill in half by making my own raw, so if you are able to and because your kitties like raw chicken, you may find you save some money, but give up about half hour a week or every second week depending on how much you make:

http://www.catinfo.org/makingcatfood...aking_Cat_Food

It costs me about 50 cents for 5.5 oz.
Next time I go to the store I'm going to check to see how much the other brands are. Even .50$ would make a huge difference for us right now!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ancientgirl View Post
I stopped giving my gang Wellness because it got so expensive. When I switched to Innova I not only cut down their food bill but I managed to get them better food. I buy mine at a small pet food store. They special order the regular for me and save the EVO case out of their order when I need it.

Where I buy it it's 75 cents cheaper than every other place I've seen that sells it here. Look around for some smaller places that might be able to order it for you cheaper.
I don't think there are any Pet Valu stores in Quebec (well according to ther website they aren't any) I'll see if I can contact Wellness and get some coupons. I also feed them the canned food only so I guess the mail coupons won't work.

I actually buy it from a small store in Laval. I buy my dog's Orijen food there because it's the cheapest I found in the Montreal area.

Ouch! Sounds like I was wrong in thinking Quebec was the most expensive hehe.. 3.19-3.49 is pretty pricey!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khari View Post
The smaller stores sometimes are cheaper than the big chain stores. Check them out for some deals.

I see you are in Laval, Quebec - do you have a Pet Valu there? When you buy by the case you automatically get a 10% discount. And if you have a manufacturers coupon you can use that as well. Don't be afraid to ask store clerks wherever you buy your pet food if they have specials for buying a certain amount of cans or spending a certain amount of dollars.

Have you contacted Wellness to requset coupons? Tell them your story and they will send coupons to you. I have heard of people requesting coupons once a month. Also, you can join their pet club - they send coupons to your inbox once a month. They haven't been very useful for me since I don't buy dry food but I am waiting for the canned food coupons

It is great that you already buy the 12.5oz cans b/c you are saving some money. I think you said you feed a half of can to each cat a day. You could probably feed them a tiny bit less 5.5oz (size of a smaller tin) which will help on the can lasting a bit longer (every bit counts ) that would be .75oz a can times by 12 cans = 9oz extra for you to feed just a thought - watch how the cats are doing - if they are losing weight then up it a bit - if they are gaining then decrease a bit...

Count yourself lucky paying $2.49 a 12.5oz can. Here in Winnipeg it is between $3.19 and $3.49 a can.....
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Old May 13th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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I live in Laval too! I've only been to 4 stores in the Montreal area...
What stores have you been to?
There's Nutri-ville on Rene-Laennec and there's La Maison du Chien on Samson Blvd (where I go).
There's also a Bark & Fitz on Sherbrooke as well as Naturalanimal there too, near Vendome metro.

At LMdC, for every 12 cans you get a 13th one free (you pay taxes on it, though). If you don't go there, maybe you can and try this deal? I know the 5.5oz cans are 1.59 there (same as Nutriville and B&F), and I *think* the 12.2 oz cans are 2.59-2.89. These are pretty much the same prices, but the 13th can deal can make a difference. They also sell a few other canned brands that might be cheaper.

And I know you don't want to feed any dry, but maybe you can add an 1/8th of a cup a day of a decent dry food like Orijen just to cut down a bit?
LMdC has a 2.5kg bag for 17.99 - best price I've found. When you store canned food in the fridge, just add some water to the fat in the can to make a kind of 'sauce' to make up for the water difference. And of course, you can just use some cheaper canned.

And I know cans say to feed 5.5 oz to a 6-8 pound cat, but all pet foods suggest large feeding portions that are at a calorie max, so you can easily cut down on their food intake.
Cats need about 20-30 calories per pound depending on activity levels and whether they need to lose weight... A can of Wellness suggests you give your cat 27-36 calories, way above. So you can get away with feeding a smaller (not to mention healthier) amount each day, making it cheaper...
Just do the math for when you plan out meals, like how many calories are in an ounce and how many calories and ounces each cat needs. You'll probably be saving a good bit like that!

Oh yeah.. I know you can't afford the grinder, but maybe you can just try chopping up the meat, and use the boneless recipe here? http://www.catnutrition.org/recipes.php . I know it would be really tiring, but its worth a shot to help cut down on costs a bit..

Last edited by Sujaki; May 13th, 2009 at 09:16 PM. Reason: new suggestion
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Old May 14th, 2009, 01:10 AM
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Sujaki: I go to LMDC too! I used to go to Nutri Ville but LMDC is just closer for me now. I really love the people there. They're very friendly and have answered any questions I had. And yeah I love their 13th can free special. I usually buy 2-3 cases at a time so an extra 3 cans really does help.

I tried feeding them less for a while but I was getting worried cause they meowed all the time and circled their bowls constantly. A few times, they even kept me up all night with their hungry cries. And the rest of time whenever I would walk around my house, they'd be running in front of me, tripping me, just to get to their bowls to show me that they're hungry. Is it just something that I should get them used to? I mean, should they be screaming and meowing for food almost all the time? That's what worried me.

Thanks a lot for the link to the recipe without bones. I'd love to try making it! I'm gonna try to get some time off and get all the ingredients I need.
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