Buying Food For Cats

By on 4-05-2012 in Uncategorized

Buying Food For Cats

Mmm new food

Most of what passes for cat food is literally garbage. Madeleine Innocent had this to say on the subject:

When you walk down the isles of the cat food section in any supermarket, you could be forgiven for thinking that all the big brand names were offering you the most nutritious cat food for a healthy cat.

Can you believe the advertising, the pretty pictures and sage words by ‘veterinarians’?

Not on your life!

Turn the packet or tin over and you’ll see what constitutes ‘quality’ ingredients – meat by-products.

Meat by-products are the net result of a rendering plant. Rendering plants take the waste from slaughter houses – typically heads, hooves, intestines (including the contents…). Many also get their ‘raw material’ from veterinary clinics (euthanised dogs and cats), road kills, euthanised or dead zoo animals, horses and the like.

This not only means the quality of meat is very low, but that you are turning your cat into a cannibal.

The chemical that is used to euthanise animals cannot be broken down in the cooking process, which means your cat is living on a diet of a fatal chemical.

Most of the top brands of cat food then bulk out this ‘meat’ with a filler. This makes the end product much more profitable for them, but much less nutritious for your cat, if you thought it was in the first place.

Fillers tend to be whatever is currently cheap in the world market. Sugar can be used. So can melamine. I’m sure you’ve heard of all the deaths of cats from cat food manufacturers importing melamine from China.

Don’t imagine that it has gone away. It’s just been buried a bit deeper.

Because the manufacturers want to keep this ‘nutritious cat food’ on the shelf indefinitely (good for marketing), preservatives are then added. Two of the worst ones are ethoxyquin (which can give factory workers symptoms similar to agent orange poisoning) and formaldehyde (which is great for preserving or embalming dead bodies).

Animal fat is a bit of a problem, as humans tend not to eat much of it. So a lot goes into pet food. Look at what your butchers sells as pet food. One butcher told me that it’s a common practice to add beetroot juice to fat and sell it as pet food. If that’s done openly, imagine what goes on behind closed doors.

What, then, SHOULD cats eat? Ideally, raw meat with some fortifiers added in to make a nutritionally complete cat diet. However, not all felines are candidates for raw. Cats that already have certain health conditions and/or refuse raw meat will not be able to survive if only offered raw. It’s an unfair cycle: cats with compromised digestive systems may not be able to tolerate raw, but feeding raw is conducive to healthy digestion. In my case, I gradually transitioned my cats to raw so their bodies and palates could get used to it.

A supermarket's pet food aisle in Brooklyn, Ne...

A supermarket's pet food aisle in Brooklyn, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fact that cats do not NEED vegetables, fruits, and grains does not prevent even so-called high-quality cat food manufacturers from including it in their products. It’s up to the consumer to read labels and provide their cats with a carnivorous diet. According to Halo’s website: Remember long ago cats hunted for their food (and some still do!) and were exposed to carbohydrates within the digestive system of their prey. The domesticated indoor cat appears to benefit from the digestive health that COMPLEX carbs (in the form of fiber-rich vegetables, oats and barley) provide.

I must respectfully disagree with their statement. Cats generally don’t eat the digestive systems of their prey. They eat the head and other parts that have more nutritional value to them. And even if they were “exposed” to carbs, that doesn’t mean they require them or benefit from them. If cats were meant to eat grains, cats wouldn’t be used to protect granaries from rodents. Cats’ value as mousers comes from the fact that they require meat and NOT grain. It’s up to cat parents to know what’s best for their cats and not give into manufacturers’ attempts to explain away the inclusion of unnecessary ingredients in their foods. (My cats had diarrhea when I fed them HALO, both dry and canned.)

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  1. I have a question about what to feed my cat. I believe he is a polydactyl Main Coon (he is sort of an oatmeal color and white). Because of his long hair, no matter how often I brush him, he gets hairballs. He has recently been having a bout of diarrhea; though he is drinking plenty of water. Every site I've visited online has suggested feeding varying brands of wet food or a raw diet to combat his problem. The kicker is, he will not touch real meat (fresh, raw, cooked, or canned) and will not eat wet food. He will only eat dry food. He is almost 13 years old. Do you have any recommendations?

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Have you tried Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost Minis? They are freeze dried raw treats that may be acceptable to your cat if he doesn't care for wet food. They contain montmorillonite clay, which can help bind, and eliminate the diarrhea. Otherwise I'd suggest adding the clay in powder form to his wet food but he doesn't like wet food.

      Another great way to deal with hairballs is to plant bowls of grass for him to nibble on. Our cats bring up fur that way, as well as Petco Hairball Formula treats. They also eat canned pumpkin but if he doesn't like canned or wet food, that's probably not an option.

      If you haven't tried Nature's Variety dry food, you might want to, in case he'll go for it. You may also want to try Nutro Max Kitten dry food. Because he's senior, kitten food is a great option. Senior cats need more fat and kitten food has higher fat content. Our kids love Nutro Max Kitten canned, we haven't tried the dry, but we would if they refused their raw or canned diet.

      With the higher fat diet, you probably won't see as many hairballs. Cats need more Omega 3s in their diet than most foods provide. People tend to want to avoid feeding fat, but it's fat that helps prevent excessive shedding, itching, skin infections, and over-grooming.

      Please let me know if these suggestions work out for you, or we'll think of something else! By the way, your cat sounds absolutely gorgeous! Good luck!


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