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Impact of "indoor only" on cat nutrition

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I have been reading this a lot lately......"my old cat lived 19 + years on Fancy Feast or Friskies......etc.

I have been having the same discussion with family members. All of our childhood cats lived 19+ years. They ate what is now considered low quality wet food, I honestly don't remember seeing anything but canned cat food then.

However, I think the part of this equation that has been left out is that they were also indoor/outdoor cats. They had access to, and did hunt their own food, there by "supplementing" their diet.

Now I know how unsafe outdoors is for cats, but I can't help but wonder what the trend of "indoor" only cats along with the advent of "dry food is good" has contributed to the host of problems we see in cats now.

How much of the old wet food was really bad....but hunting made up for it?
post #2 of 25
I have no idea.. But we also had an indoor/outdoor cat who lived to be 21! She was always Friskies and the like. In fact, her name was Friskey..
post #3 of 25
Some of it does have to do with indoor only cats... cause outdoor ones will catch and likely eat some "fresh" food ... I have an indoor outdoor who is 18.5... but my cats are trained to the backyard ... Yes she has kidney diesease and the fact she had "junk food " wet/ dry combo is what I think kept her to 14-15 when she was diagnoised ... after age 13 she ate premium food since I was educated about that time( dont ask dog ate premium yrs earlier
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittymonsters View Post
I have been reading this a lot lately......"my old cat lived 19 + years on Fancy Feast or Friskies......etc.

I have been having the same discussion with family members. All of our childhood cats lived 19+ years. They ate what is now considered low quality wet food, I honestly don't remember seeing anything but canned cat food then.

However, I think the part of this equation that has been left out is that they were also indoor/outdoor cats. They had access to, and did hunt their own food, there by "supplementing" their diet.

Now I know how unsafe outdoors is for cats, but I can't help but wonder what the trend of "indoor" only cats along with the advent of "dry food is good" has contributed to the host of problems we see in cats now.

How much of the old wet food was really bad....but hunting made up for it?

That is a very good question and quite thought provoking! You got me thinking on that one as well. I hope someone knows that answer to that as I am quite interested too!
post #5 of 25
Tbh I think a lot of is that people tend to talk more about a cat they knew who lived to be 20 despite eating a poor quality diet than they do about the cat who died age 8 from kidney disease or the 2 year old who died in an RTA. Selective memories!
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbantigers View Post
Tbh I think a lot of is that people tend to talk more about a cat they knew who lived to be 20 despite eating a poor quality diet than they do about the cat who died age 8 from kidney disease or the 2 year old who died in an RTA. Selective memories!


It's like everyone has a relative or a friend of a friend who smoked 60 a day, lived on fried food, and drank daily for their entire lives and lived to be 90, even though those activities are medically known to greatly increase risk of early death.

I do think there is an issue with indoor cats and the trend towards a dry-only diet though. Obesity and feline diabetes are on the rise in a huge way, and many vets rarely see a feline patient that is a healthy weight for their frame size.

I am of the opinion though that poor quality wet food is actually a better option than an all-dry diet - I may be going out on a limb by saying that! Add to that the additional exercise opportunities that are available to the indoor/outdoor cat. What we are seeing at the moment is the feline equivalent of a generation of kids sitting in front of the TV/playstation eating fries.

Keeping cats indoors is better for their long-term prospects, but only if ample exercise is provided (cat trees, places to climb, and interactive play), and with a good low-carb diet. It is our responsibility as their human custodians to ensure that we keep our indoor cats active, fit, and healthy.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
I do think there is an issue with indoor cats and the trend towards a dry-only diet though. Obesity and feline diabetes are on the rise in a huge way, and many vets rarely see a feline patient that is a healthy weight for their frame size.

I am of the opinion though that poor quality wet food is actually a better option than an all-dry diet - I may be going out on a limb by saying that!
I agree with you. I think the increase in dry food is responsible for a lot of medical problems in cats from urinary problems to obesity and diabetes like you mentioned. Especially the poorer quality dry foods. I also think that years ago canned cat foods possibly contained fewer preservatives and articficial colours than they do now, just like human food. In many ways a diet of canned food and table scraps supplemented by the odd freshly caught mouse was probably a lot healthier for cats than a lot of the commercial food available now.

I am actually quite a proud meowmy when I take Jaffa along to the vet as he's not overweight and there aren't a lot of cats his age (nearly 10) who aren't and never have been overweight.

I do think there may be an issue with indoor cats having increased UTI's but I'm not sure why that would be, other than a possible increase in stress caused by multi cat households.

But in general cats are living longer than ever now.
post #8 of 25
OK, I'm getting confused. We're getting two Maine Coon kittens in 3 weeks time, and (upon advice from the breeder) are planning to feed them a premium dry kitten food (Royal Canin) plus a small daily meal of high quality, human grade wet food (Applaws) for their first year, and then go on to a premium dry food for adult cats, with occasional wet food as a supplement.

Now I'm reading that wet might be better than dry. Surely somebody actually knows the answer to this question? Like some vet board or something? They can't just change their mind all the time! Can anyone recommend some recent, reliable paper written on the subject?

I would love to give my cats the best possible chance of a healthy and long life, as I'm sure would everyone on this forum! Whose advice can we trust?
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce&Sheila View Post
Now I'm reading that wet might be better than dry. Surely somebody actually knows the answer to this question?
Well that's the million dollar question! You won't find a concensus of opinion wherever you look, including vets (who have very little training in nutrition). I used to believe that dry food was best although tbh I'm not sure why I thought that, esp as Jaffa has always swallowed the dry pieces whole so any implied benefit for dental health wouldn't apply to him anyway. Since reading posts on here and doing my own research I've completely changed my mind and now believe that wet food is best. Dry food is very low in moisture (about 10% compared to 80% in wet food) and high in carbohydrates. Wet food approximates a cat's natural prey much better than dry food does. Water is really important to cats and essential for urinary and renal health but many cats fed on dry food are chronically dehydrated. As they have evolved from desert animals they dont' have a strong thirst mechanism so it can be hard to get them to drink water. It seems daft to me to take water out of their food then go to great lengths to get them to drink more when you could just feed them water in their food.

That's my opinion. Here are a few articles from other people (including a vet) explaining why they believe wet food is best for cats. Ultimately you'll have to weigh up the evidence and make your own decision.

http://www.littlebigcat.com/?action=...needcannedfood

http://www.catinfo.org/

http://www.blakkatz.com/dryfood.html
post #10 of 25
Well, could it be that the indoor/outdoor cat also got way more exercise? Mine growing up was surely not fat and I see a ton of fat cats now-a-days.

There are A LOT of people out there that don't know that wet food is better then dry food -- they are on the the old "too much wet will cause tooth rot." My sister-in-law even said the other day that her cat was getting fat so she was cutting back on the wet food. There are also many people who will not spend the money on wet food as part of a diet and only serve it as a "treat". I think vets and shelters need to educate people better on this.

My sister never gave her cat wet food because she said it made their poop smell worse. Her beloved kitty died of kidney failure at age 14.

I am skeptical of dry foods (like Nutro) that have an "indoor" and "outdoor" formula. Is there really a difference or is a marketing gimmick?
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by meow meow View Post
Well, could it be that the indoor/outdoor cat also got way more exercise? Mine growing up was surely not fat and I see a ton of fat cats now-a-days.
I also supsect there are more neutered cats around now. I know a lot of people still don't neuter but I think in general more pet owners are now aware of the need to neuter. And keeping a cat indoors makes people aware of the unpleasant aspects of not neutering, eg spraying. Not that neutering makes cats fat but it does lower the metabolism a bit so neutered cats are more likely to be overweight if their food intake isn't reduced accordingly. And an un-neutered cat will get more exercise roaming in search of a mate. An indoor, neutered cat getting little exercise is a good candidate for obesity.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by meow meow View Post
I am skeptical of dry foods (like Nutro) that have an "indoor" and "outdoor" formula. Is there really a difference or is a marketing gimmick?

I was wondering about this myself. I keep seeing "indor formula" and wondered what the differences were and is it really necessary for an indoor only cat? Any opinions appreciated.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulaS View Post
I was wondering about this myself. I keep seeing "indor formula" and wondered what the differences were and is it really necessary for an indoor only cat? Any opinions appreciated.
The higher end indoor s ( ie RC and Nutro ) .. have things like l carnitine to aid in fat metabolism and lean muscle mass ... they also have decreased fat but keep a higher protein.also containing more vitamin e and d for bones and coat .. One premium brand the Indoor and light are the same
post #14 of 25
Well....this is going to be different from all of the replies. As most of you may know, I have 16 cats....10 of them rescued from Hurricane Andew and most of them over 10 years old. I always make sure I tell people...I do NOT take any more in...can't afford it on social security.

At any rate, I have never been able to afford all wet food for them...and they like the dry.

What I have done is put the dry in their dishes...then I get a big pitcher and add wet food in water and mix it up like a gravy...and put it in their dry food. They love it! That's all I can afford....and they seem to really like it...

What do you all think?

Deb
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I don't know how to do multiple quotes so please hang with me.

I know that outdoor accidents are a problem and it is why I have a cat enclosure, they get to go outside without the risks of outside. I am trying to look at this with the outdoor risks taken out of the equation..purely from a nutritional standpoint

Personally, my childhood cats,(we are talking 35 years ago] ), lived to be 19, 20, 22 and 24. All were PTS, none for kidney failure. One had a stroke, one had congesitve heart failure, one had dementia and tendon deterioration, and the 24 yr old was just so decrepid that when he jumped off the couch one day he broke his hind leg. These cats ate canned Friskies and were indoor/outdoor.

Now, fast forward 15 years and the next generation of cats did not do as well. Lots of chronic urinary problems and obesity. This generation of cats was not fed wet food and were indoor only. One, died at 14 with kidney failure. She was fed her entire life the original Iams dry (for you other oldies like me, this is when it came in a milk carton type container) This was "THE" food for that day. Another of this generation, died at 2 due to hepatic lipidosis, another at 5 due to pulmonary embolism secondary to heartworm. All were FAT. Some of these cats died before the oldsters from the "first" generation. See this second generation were "MY personal cats and I took "better" care of them....kept them inside and fed the best, highest recommended food of the day. This better care certainly didn't do them much good in terms of longevity and health.

My oldest right now is 12, she is not healthy, has chronic cystitis and has bouts of abnormal liver function tests. She was put on C/D at 9 months old and kept on it until she was 9. The rest of the youngsters 7-9 in ages are overweight, two have bad teeth. All grew up on "high quality" dry food. Only recently have I started feeding wet food and I am in the process of switching over to hopefully homemade and/or wet food only.

I honestly think there are multiple factors that are in play...but the dry, high carb diet and indoor lifestyle (by this I mean the prevention of hunting as a way to supplement their diet) is wreaking havoc on the health of our cats.

It seems to me somewhere along the line, pet food manufactures forgot cats are carnivores, not omnivores or goodness forbid....herbivores. Then when we concerned cat guardians wanted to keep our cats from the dangers of the outdoors, we unknowingly took away the means by which they were keeping their nutrition supplemented with the things they needed to be healthy.

These are just my thoughts, based on my experiences. For me...dry is looking like it is not the way to go. I am going to try to start feeding my cats like the little carnivores they are. Hopefully, their health problems will decrease and they will live to be happy healthy geriatric kitties.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittymonsters View Post
Sorry, I don't know how to do multiple quotes so please hang with me.

....

These are just my thoughts, based on my experiences. For me...dry is looking like it is not the way to go. I am going to try to start feeding my cats like the little carnivores they are. Hopefully, their health problems will decrease and they will live to be happy healthy geriatric kitties.
I just want to say that I completely agree and your post points out a lot of interesting things. Thank you.

For the multiple quotes, It took me bit to figure it out, but if you click the quotation mark that's between "quote" and "quick reply" ...do that for each post you want to multi quote. When you click the quote marks they will turn red. Then when you're ready to reply, hit the usual "reply" button and all the quotes you wanted will be pasted in your message.

As a final note...Umm, I remember the IAMS milk carton containers...and I refuse to be old. LOL I'm only 34 ...maybe I just have a real good memory...but I'm not old
post #17 of 25
I think food is a contributor, but also genetics. I haven't had any indoor only cats (Except fosters, but they dont count as they are short term), so can't say much on the impact of that, but both my current ones, and a lot of the ones I have lost, have had 10-20 mins outside through choice - the only one who hasn't was my male, the females tend to stick to home a bit more. I haven't had a cat live past the age of 15 (including our childhood cat), but all mine have come to me in their twilight years, so who knows what they were fed before, I know the current two didnt get good quality food before coming to me, and both have just had clear blood tests done. I do believe that dry food is contributing to the weight issues we are seeing, when I first got Pebbles, she had put on a lot of weight in a short time, so the vet did warn me about it - she would only eat dry food and put loads more weight on due to it, as soon as I managed to get her to eat wet as well, she lost some of that weight (but then we went on to have continual weight issues with her, she was always like a yo yo with it!!)
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by toomany View Post
What I have done is put the dry in their dishes...then I get a big pitcher and add wet food in water and mix it up like a gravy...and put it in their dry food. They love it! That's all I can afford....and they seem to really like it...

What do you all think?
I'd be very wary of doing that as there is a lot of bacteria on the surface of dry food and adding water can cause bacterial growth very quickly resulting in upset tummies.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbantigers View Post
I'd be very wary of doing that as there is a lot of bacteria on the surface of dry food and adding water can cause bacterial growth very quickly resulting in upset tummies.
I would agree if the food is being left out like dry food for more than 30 minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beandip View Post

For the multiple quotes, It took me bit to figure it out, but if you click the quotation mark that's between "quote" and "quick reply" ...do that for each post you want to multi quote. When you click the quote marks they will turn red. Then when you're ready to reply, hit the usual "reply" button and all the quotes you wanted will be pasted in your message.
Thank you for being so helpful!
post #20 of 25
For the multiple quotes, It took me bit to figure it out, but if you click the quotation mark that's between "quote" and "quick reply" ...do that for each post you want to multi quote. When you click the quote marks they will turn red. Then when you're ready to reply, hit the usual "reply" button and all the quotes you wanted will be pasted in your message.

I still can't figure out how to do the multiple quote....do you have to highlight the sentence of paragraph you want to quote? It doesn't work for me....so I just cut and paste as above.

Help, please and thank you.
post #21 of 25
"I'd be very wary of doing that as there is a lot of bacteria on the surface of dry food and adding water can cause bacterial growth very quickly resulting in upset tummies."

Now I am very confused....a vet told me to add water to the dry for the older kitties. That is when I decided to mix the water with wet cat food.
Does anyone have any other suggestions?? I can't put both wet and dry food out b/c I have so many and everyone knows what will get gobbled down first....and I really can't afford all wet food for all 16 kitties.

My cats range from 6 to 17 years of age and so far most all of them have stayed healthy except for my recent bout with P.J. (another story).

But...now every has me scared of using dry food....and it never hurt them before....what to do?
__________________
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by toomany View Post
I still can't figure out how to do the multiple quote....do you have to highlight the sentence of paragraph you want to quote? It doesn't work for me....so I just cut and paste as above.

Help, please and thank you.
I think you can only multi quote the whole post(s) that you choose...then just maybe shorten them up if you didn't want to quote a person's entire post.

To the bottom right of my message here, there should be 3 buttons...

1st one is "quote" ...2nd one is just a quote mark " ...and the 3rd one is "quick reply"

The middle one - the quote mark " if you click that button once, it should turn red. Repeat for other people's posts you want to multi quote. Then when you're finished picking out posts to quote...go find the button at the very end of the thread...on the left. It says "post reply". It will then take you to a new window for your reply. The quoted text shoud be already pasted in the window where you type your reply. If that doesn't work, it may be a browser issue or something similar on your end.
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beandip View Post
For the multiple quotes, It took me bit to figure it out, but if you click the quotation mark that's between "quote" and "quick reply" ...do that for each post you want to multi quote. When you click the quote marks they will turn red. Then when you're ready to reply, hit the usual "reply" button and all the quotes you wanted will be pasted in your message.

As a final note...Umm, I remember the IAMS milk carton containers...and I refuse to be old. LOL I'm only 34 ...maybe I just have a real good memory...but I'm not old
He He He... thank you Beandip!!!! This post is possible because of you. LOL you are still a youngser....I have decade on you. You must have been about 8 when Iams was using the Milk Cartons

Quote:
Originally Posted by toomany View Post
Well....this is going to be different from all of the replies. As most of you may know, I have 16 cats....10 of them rescued from Hurricane Andew and most of them over 10 years old. I always make sure I tell people...I do NOT take any more in...can't afford it on social security.
Oh you are an angel for taking all those Hurricane Andrew kitties. I can't tell you how thankful I am for people like you. I have been helping with the Katrina kitties for 18 months now

Quote:
Originally Posted by toomany View Post
Now I am very confused....a vet told me to add water to the dry for the older kitties. That is when I decided to mix the water with wet cat food.
Does anyone have any other suggestions?? I can't put both wet and dry food out b/c I have so many and everyone knows what will get gobbled down first....and I really can't afford all wet food for all 16 kitties.

My cats range from 6 to 17 years of age and so far most all of them have stayed healthy except for my recent bout with P.J. (another story).

But...now every has me scared of using dry food....and it never hurt them before....what to do?
__________________
Please my post was not to scare you or anyone for that matter! It was only to bring up some things I have been questioning and to provide a sounding board for thoughts on this topic.

Please remember that your 10 Andrew kitties would not be alive at all if it were not for you. Any cat over the age of 15 is beyond the average life expectancy for an indoor cat....over 5 is beyond the life expectancy for an outdoor cat.

I am in the same boat as you and I only have 7 kitties. To feed them good quality canned food would cost a mortgage payment, which is why I am trying the homemade/raw route. I have come to the point that I am no longer willing to accept what "those that Know in the food industry" tell me is best, I am going to recheck the information for myself.
This is one of the reasons I like this forum so much. A lot of well educated, outside the box thinkers here when it comes to our cats.
post #24 of 25
toomany, if you want to put down wet food on top of the dry, measure out half a meals worth of dry. Then add the wet "mixture to that". Only leave it down for 15-30 minues tops. Then you can put down the "un tainted" dry food to leave out for free feeding.
post #25 of 25
I thank you soooooo much. I know it is hard for some people that only have a few kitties to understand the expense....and me, being a sucker, (BUT NO MORE) have to deal with a limited income and still taking care of all these "oldies"....b/c they love me so much, nobody seems to want to go to kitty heaven.

I wish I knew if anyone else on this catsite has as many as I do....I really wish I did.....it is so helpful to me.

Love you ALL.

Toomany (Deb)
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