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Old February 20th, 2008, 08:16 PM
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protein for cats

How much protein is an acceptable level in canned and dry cat food?
I know dry is frowned upon but my guys get it. I get the Kirklands and wet it down for them with warm water. They like it better that way. The main diet is canned with "treats" usually for their night meal - hearts, gizzards, liver, sardines, and some other canned fishies packed in water. Probably all wrong but the best I can do.
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Old February 20th, 2008, 08:53 PM
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i am sure alot of people will give you the detailed information... but it doesnt sound to me like you are doing anything wrong, if their second feeding is canned food, and human protein sources as treats. the general consensus is that cats thrive best on a high protein food with little, or really no grains..but you have a heck of a lot of kitties and doing a 50% 50% with dry and wet is good to me.

the main reason for limiting or eliminating dry for cats usually has to do with water consumption, effect on kidneys, cats on an all wet diet tend to have far less issues with urinary infections, kidney issues etc. there are grain free dry foods, but it also depends on what you can afford.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 08:20 AM
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It is better to consider the quality of protein rather than quantity for cats. Poor quality protein that can't be used will be excreted through the kidneys and that is hard on them. Cats really don't need any veggies or grains in thier diet unless they tend to get constipated, then it should be minimal. I read somewhere that in a feline diet in the wild, they would consure about 3%grains & veggies when eating their prey.

A canned food that uses human grade meat protein (Go Natural, Wellness, Fromms) is best for cats and if you are feeding kibble, then it should be a kibble that is baked at low temperatures and uses human grade meat(Orijen is one).

I am sure you will hear from Growler and Sugarcatmom, they are so knowledgeable in cat nutrition.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:41 AM
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Thanks loopoo and L4H!
Actually loopoo, they get canned in the morning and at night. Some dry is left down for them all the time with fresh water bowls 4 times a day. I also do the warm, wet dry food (makes no sense ) because some of them seem to prefer it. They get the canned food heated up right now too. Not spoiled at all.
The reason I am asking is that I am trying to find the best possible food I can for them with the correct amount of protein on what I can afford. Wellness and the other more expensive foods are out of the question on my budget. At $1.33 a small can with 16 kitties - staggering amounts! Plus I also feed the strays (moms) the same.
I am searching now for some better foods. Reading labels and such. If meat is first on list with grains way down the list or not at all and it is in the range I can afford I get it. I also do as much "real" meat as I can. I was just a little confused as to protein levels.
Thanks again!
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Old February 21st, 2008, 11:55 AM
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I know what you mean about cost. When I was fostering 7 kittens and their momma, I was feeding them 2 large cans of food, two small cans kitten food, plus leaving Wellness kitten kibble out for munchies all day, plus they got their raw feedings daily. They were being fed 5 times a day, plus raw human meat. I was spending $60 per week on cat food, not including all the human meat they would eat (top sirloin, salmon, pork loin, chicken breasts).

The cheapest high quality food I could find was Felidae in the large cans. I think they sell a kibble too, but have not checked it out because I wanted the kittens to be on a specific kitten food. Wellness also sells in large cans but it is about .50 more per can.

Instead of watering down their kibble why don't you mix 50% canned with 50% kibble, their fishy treat and a little bit of water mixed in. It may make feeding times easier than mixing up several different meals. Cats that are hungry don't care if it is all mixed in, they just love that they are getting fed.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 06:15 PM
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I agree - I don't believe there really is a case of 'too much' protein for cats - it's just the types of protein they are getting. If you've got by-products and grains near the bottom of the list (or, ideally, not on it at all), you're doing just fine.
Have you tried Pet Valu's Performatrin brand? It actually looks pretty decent, considering it's cheaper than the pricey stuff.. From what I saw, one of the bigger cans was the same price as a small can of Wellness - and the beef flavor that I got didn't have any grains or by-products in it.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
How much protein is an acceptable level in canned and dry cat food?

Well most commercial pet foods are going to at least have a minimum amount of protein as established by AAFCO (26% on a dry matter basis). If you take a look at the ideal feline food (mice), it has about 55% protein. There aren't too many commercial foods that reach that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
I know dry is frowned upon but my guys get it. I get the Kirklands and wet it down for them with warm water. They like it better that way.
I wouldn't leave moistened dry food out for very long, it becomes a breeding ground for mycotoxins: http://www.blakkatz.com/dryfood.html

Quote:
Mycotoxins

Before you start moistening your cat's dry food to try to replace the missing moisture, you should know about mycotoxins, another potential side effect of the use of grains in cat food. Mycotoxins are naturally occurring fungal by-products that can cause disease and death in dogs and cats. When grains are improperly stored, mycotoxins can develop. Two common forms, both of which have been found in pet food (more commonly in dog food) are aflatoxin and vomitoxin. Although mycotoxins are found worldwide they only become toxic in temperatures above 82 degrees and over 80 percent humidity at which point they interfere with cellular function, and are extremely carcinogenic and immuno-suppressive. .....

The elimination of mycotoxins in food is extremely expensive. Pet food manufacturers are not known for using the highest quality grains available; they would not be able to keep up their high profit margins if they did. The grains most pet food manufacturers use are those that are not fit for human consumption or are by-products from other processes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
The main diet is canned with "treats" usually for their night meal - hearts, gizzards, liver, sardines, and some other canned fishies packed in water. Probably all wrong but the best I can do.
As long as those "treats" don't make up more than 20% (some say even 10%) of the cats' diet. They don't contain enough calcium and you could be creating a calcium-phosphorus imbalance, which has a number of serious consequences. You'd be better off just feeding dry food if that's the case.

What about getting some whole chickens (bones and organs), grinding them up and feeding that? It would hands down be the cheapest, as well as the healthiest. I'm sure want4rain could give you tips. (She'd also say you don't need to grind them, but it would make it easier to ensure all of your cats are getting the proper ratio of meat/bones/organs). Anyway, something to think about.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:23 PM
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Thanks for all of the useful information! I am going shopping tomorrow and am going to look around for some of the suggested foods.
Sugarcatmom - I value your input. You know a lot about nutrition for cats. I think I may have lead you astray in my first post. I do not leave wet dry food out during the day. They normally eat what I put out within 5 minutes. What they don't eat I throw away before I leave the cat house. I leave dry food out for them for the rest of the day along with bowls of fresh water available at all times.
I think I now have a good handle on protein requirements for cats and can start looking for healthier foods for them. Thanks again everyone!
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:39 PM
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How is your water not freezing when you put it in the catuary?
My gosh it's freezing cold out I want summer.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:45 PM
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Luba - you would be very surprised at how warm their little house is. I guess 16 kitties can keep a house pretty cosy! It is insulated and the carpet is on floor, walls, and ceiling and on all of their shelves too. The water has frozen twice and that was because the wind was coming from a different direction. Most of the time it is so warm in there it is amazing!
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
I do not leave wet dry food out during the day. They normally eat what I put out within 5 minutes. What they don't eat I throw away before I leave the cat house.
Okay, cool. Just making sure. I imagine feeding time at your place must be a lot of fun.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 12:19 PM
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Most times feeding is a matter of..... "Ok, hang on guys, mom can't open the can if you guys are on top of it! K, back up so I can put it on your saucer, no, back up! Only 4 to a saucer, not 10! Geez, I guess I am going to have to find a better way of feeding you hungry monsters...... " And then of course if it's fishies or something else as delectable then it's one big hummmm purr (weird way of explaining but that's what it sounds like) till I get it down and they can eat! Let's say it is interesting but I wouldn't trade it for the world!
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
I'm sure want4rain could give you tips. (She'd also say you don't need to grind them, but it would make it easier to ensure all of your cats are getting the proper ratio of meat/bones/organs).
*snickers* i never ground mine, i bashed them!

i would think if you are feeding things along with their dry food, i wouldnt worry too much about it.

so let me get this straight though- you are feeding kirklands dry wet down and then treats of human grade meats and organs?? do the fish you feed have the bones in them?? any way you can add some egg shells into their 'treats'?? if you can get them to take down some of the chicken with egg shells or eggs (very good protein source!!) that would be ideal, then cut the kirklands to something you feel more comfortable with.

to grind up the shells, bake them on low low heat then stick them in a mortar and pestle to grind them to a fine powder. i cant remember how much you want to add though.

-ashley
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 09:25 PM
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Ok, I guess I opened up a whole kettle of fish here.
I keep Kirklands dry down all the time for the kittens. They free feed on it. The "wet" dry I started doing about 2 weeks ago. It is probably about 1/2 of a cup that I soak with warm water. It makes a gravy which is what some of the kitties love. I think more because it is warm at this time of year. Before I leave the cat house it is gone. Once the weather gets warmer I will probably stop doing it. They get canned food in the morning and at night. Approximately 10 175 g cans a day. It is warmed up for them too.
Yes, the fish I feed has the bones in. I buy whole fish when it is on sale and cut it up and freeze it. I won't leave it in one piece because with this many cats I am afraid it would start fights if I gave it to them that way. They get the hearts, gizzards, liver, etc usually twice a week. When we have chicken I make sure they get lots of leftovers. Not raw yet. Let me work up to that. The fish doesn't bother me but for some reason the chicken does. Go figure.
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