Honestly

Cat food discussions can be so heated, I know. I most likely won’t mention it again for awhile so let me say this: quality of food does make a difference.

A defensive person might say, “My cat has been eating Friskies his whole life and there is nothing wrong with him.”

Let me say that my own cats started on Nutro, then switched to Felidae, then to Trader Joe’s, then onto Wellness, Merrick, Addiction, ZiwiPeak, and back again to Wellness (with Addiction’s Brushtail to keep them super happy) and it has made a huge difference in their coats and poop.

Garbage in, garbage out. Honestly.

When Stella came into our lives the other 3 kitties were on Merrick and she joined them. At her foster home she was free feeding on Nutro dry and getting some Iams Catfish as well. Her fur was stiff and coarse to the touch. She wasn’t soft or silky, it was sad. After about 3 months her coat turned gorgeous. Everyone comments on how soft she is. The same for Penny. My vet says she has bunny fur.

Annie was the same way. She came from a small shelter and was free-feeding on supermarket food. Her poops could stink up our entire apartment. Garbage in, garbage out.

Read your labels, check for quality, and avoid sugars, by-products, brewers dried yeast, and grains.  It’s the least you could do.

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15 March, 2007 at 8:32 pm Leave a comment

Wet v. Dry

I truly believe, without a doubt, that the number 1 argument in the pet food world is wet versus dry. If I was the Ruler of the Universe I would eliminate dry food from the market entirely and every cat and dog (and ferret) would eat wet food only. All these animals would have un-stinky poop and gorgeous, shiny coats. I promise.

When people (including a veterinarian I really like) say, “Well, dry food cleans their teeth,” a part of me wants to weep and another part of me wants to scream like a wild thing.

Open up Google, type in “dry food does not clean teeth,” and hit enter. One million, two hundred fifty thousand links come up. The only people who believe dry food cleans teeth is dry food manufacturers. We all know that Whiskas does not have your cat’s health in mind.

I know, it can be expensive. I have 4 gorgeous cats who eat only wet food. We use 2 cans in the morning and 2 cans in the evening. I could save some money by buying the 12.5 oz cans of Wellness but that’s a little too much food. I want each kitty to eat about 5.5 oz a day.

If I had just one more kitty then I could use the larger cans.

It’s pricey but it’s worth it to me. I have so much guilt about Pixel that I really want to do what’s best for my little pride all the time. My husband and I don’t have cable tv, we go to the movies once, maybe twice a year, and we rarely go out to eat. Technically, these are sacrifices but I love my home life and my healthy kitties so I don’t care.

I used to be an active member of cat/animal forums. I was eager to share my knowledge of nutrition with others. But I’ve learned that people don’t want to hear that they aren’t doing what’s best for their pets. People would rather believe that free-feeding Friskies is better than changing.

Fine.

That why I started Curiosity Killed the…I wanted to learn and be educated and I know I’m not the only one. There are others out there too.

9 March, 2007 at 2:19 pm Leave a comment

Awesome – Nothing Better

You can’t beat the awesome foods. If I wasn’t a vegetarian I’d smear some of my cats food on a Carr’s Table Water cracker and eat it to prove a point. Alas, my 4 cats eat chicken and I do not.

The big difference between Good and Awesome are the extra ingredients. Awesome foods contain – get this – fruits and vegetables. That might sound strange considering cats are obligate carnivores but think of it like this: wild cats eat birds, mice and rabbits. In an ideal world these cute little creatures would eat only the best fruits and vegetables. Therefore, the cats that eat the mice would eat those too.

My favorites in the Awesome world are Merrick, WellnessHalo, Evanger’s, Addiction, and ZiwiPeak.

Technically, ZiwiPeak doesn’t have the fruits and veggies that the other foods have but the quality is superb.

My cats – Oliver, Annie, Penny, and Stella – have enjoyed all of these brands. Currently they’re all on Wellness.

Their favorite, I believe, is Addiction’s Brushtail & Vegetables. A brushtail is a squirrelly little thing and my kitties love to watch squirrels eat peanuts on the patio. My husband, Mike, thinks the cats know they’re eating something squirrelly. Oliver even shakes (or kills) each piece as he takes it from his dish.

It’s too bad Newman’s Organic is Good and not Awesome. They’re a great company and I love what they do for animal charities but they put too much grain in their foods.

If you’re a stickler like me it’s good to read the ingredient list of even the Awesome foods. Wellness has 8 varieties of canned food and 5 of them are grain-free.They also use ocean life in some foods: Turkey & Salmon, Chicken & Herring, Chicken & Lobster, Sardine Shrimp & Crab, and Salmon & Trout.

I’ve given my cats the Chicken & Lobster but I simply don’t feel comfortable with the other fishy flavors.

Merrick is the same. They make 9 varieties, 5 of them with seafood and only 2 contain brown rice. I’m glad the 4 non-fish flavors are grain-free.

And of course, these Awesome foods don’t contain a lick of articial ingredients, by-products, sugars, or anything not fit for a cat.

2 March, 2007 at 1:42 pm 2 comments

The ‘Good’ Foods

Good foods are a serious improvement.

The one thing that separates Good foods from Decent and Junk is this: human grade meats.
Think about that for a moment. Human grade.
Not euthanized pets or roadkill – human grade.

(You think I made that last bit up, don’t you? Pick up a copy of Foods Pets Die For: Shocking facts About Pet Food by Ann N. Martin or check it out at your local library.)

If it’s good enough for people, it’s good enough for cats.

The list of Good cat foods is well-sized, thankfully:

California Natural, Innova (both made by NaturaPet), Wysong, Newman’s Own Organics,
Next to Nature PetGuard, Nature’s Variety Prairie, Wellness, Merrick, Halo, Evanger’s, ZiwiPeak, and Addiction.

Notice that these foods aren’t what you can typically find at Petco or PetSmart. Big chain stores can provide good foods but choose to stick with Junk.

To be fair, Petco has started to carry some of the healthier lines, but who wants to pay over a dollar for a can of Good or Great food when Fancy Feast costs $0.49? Especially when the average consumer (or underpaid employee) doesn’t know the difference.

When I’m at the market or Target and I see someone select a big bag of Iams, I want to scream.

They could have it so much better.

Good foods can be found at independent or small chain pet stores. On each website there is a store locater to help you do right.

Oh, and I wasn’t born a know-it-all. I became one. Back when my husband was my boyfriend he had an old cat named Pixel. Pixel ate Whiskas because Mike liked the purple bag. Neither of us learned how crappy it was until after she had passed away.

28 February, 2007 at 3:50 pm 3 comments

Better Than Junk

Decent foods are a little better. But only a little.
They won’t have any by-products but that alone doesn’t make it acceptable. Decent foods will still most likely have mystery meats and it absolutely won’t be human grade.

These foods have sugar (beet pulp anyone?), carbs (cats can’t break those down, but they’re cheap so they’re common), and corn (grr, more carbs!). I strongly believe that cat foods should contain more than just meat. Cats can really benefit from fruits and veggies.
Another thing: Decent foods usually manage to sneak fish in there.

I am very suspicious of fish. Cats do not fish. Cats with a history of Urinary Tract Infections should stay away from fish. I stand behind the theory that cats should not eat fish. And if a cat food company has a flavor called Chicken & Gravy but fish is one of the ingredients, I head the other way.

Decent foods are Nutro, Pet Promise, and Trader Joe’s store brand. Both are full of fish, so read those labels.

27 February, 2007 at 6:38 pm Leave a comment

Unworthy

The lowest of the low on the Cat Food totempole is called Junk because that’s exactly what it is.

Junk foods are filled with mystery meats and by-products. What’s a by-product you ask?
The sleazy AAFCO defines by-products as:

“An ingredient produced in the course of making a primary food ingredient; a secondary or incidental product. Feathers are a by-product of poultry meat processing. Feathers which are removed from a carcass during production of poultry meat are then hydrolyzed (pressure cooked with steam until they are an edible gel) which makes them an acceptable feed grade ingredient. Hydrolyzed feathers have been assigned the (IFN) International Feed Number 5-03-795 and can appear on a label as “Poultry By-products.” On page 158 in the AAFCO book, Official Publication, 1994, Association of American Feed Control Officials Incorporated, they show: Hydrolyzed Poultry By-Products Aggregate is the product resulting from heat treatment, or a combination thereof, of all by-products of slaughter poultry, clean and undecomposed, including such parts as heads, feet, underdeveloped eggs, intestines, feathers and blood.” The IFN assigned to this mix is 5-14-508. Today’s regulations allow the entire mix or any part of it to appear on a label as “Poultry By-products.” A “Fish By-product” can contain heads, tails, intestines and blood. This fish process residue has been assigned the IFN 5-07-977.”

whiskas_sucks.jpg

Grossed out? You should be. Don’t give this to your cat. Don’t give this to your dog or ferret either. Don’t let anyone tell you that by-products are acceptable.

Just because your vet recommends Science Diet doesn’t mean you should use it.

Mystery meats are bad too.

When collective feed names are used, individual ingredients within a group aren’t listed on the label. Collective feed names are used on feed labels when diets are developed based on least-cost formulation. Least-cost diet formulation will select the most inexpensive ingredients to provide the guaranteed analysis.

Don’t trust anything that reads ‘poultry giblets’ or ‘meat broth.’ Demand specifics!

Carbohydrates, sugars, preservatives, and food colorings also made junky food junky. If you’ve ever noticed a cat vomit stain that won’t come out of a carpet, it’s most likely because of the food colorings cheap foods add. Kitty cats don’t care what color their food is, you shouldn’t either.

Discount, drug stores, large pet chains, and supermarkets carry junk foods. It’s a sad, sad shame. Remember: Don’t buy pet food at a human store, go to a pet store.
Avoid Hill’s Science Diet, Friskies, Purina, 9 Lives, Meow Mix, Alley Cat, Sheba, Whiskas, and Fancy Feast at all costs.

Read labels. If it’s too vile to feed to humans, do not even contemplate feeding it to cats!

27 February, 2007 at 5:56 pm 2 comments

The Problem With Food

Who knew that people should only be buying people food at grocery stores and animal food at animal stores?

I didn’t. Not for years. I assumed pet stores were full of toys and the same food that can be found at markets . Sadly, big chain stores like Petco and PetSmart are full of junk.

It’s the smaller chains or independent stores that carry quality.

All cat foods are not, in any way, created equally. In the past, a good rule of thumb was any foods approved by the AAFCO were deemed worthy to give to your kitty.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The AAFCO are a bunch of careless jerks and I hope to overthrow them one day.

Cat food can be broken down into 4 categories: Junk, Decent, Good, and Awesome.
Please do right by your cat or cats and give them Good or Awesome foods.

27 February, 2007 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

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