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I'm switching foods - question about best for free feeding

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
The great thing about this site is that it has educated me about what is a quality food and what is not. And even though I knew it wasn't the best, I've been feeding my gang Science Diet for years, mostly because its so easy to find and I don't need to drive far to get a bag when we get low (we go thru a lot of food here).

But once in a while I'll get a bad bag of it and I know within a few days as the vomit increases out of the blue. I've got 6 cats yacking right now from the bag I purchased last weekend. No more Science Diet in my house unless it is prescribed.

With 12 cats eating around here, it isn't practical to serve meals at prescribed times so I free feed and will continue to free feed. I've been digging thru this forum and have settled on 2 brands which appear to be recommended over the rest: California Natural and Wellness. Mine like chicken and both have a chicken and rice formula.

For those that feed either of these, do you free feed and do you have any problems with the food getting stale sitting out all day? I change out food at the end of the day so it doesn't sit more than 24 hours.

I also mix a tartar control into their food and was using SD tartar (I mixed a 20 pound bag of maintenance into an 8 pound tartar control). Is there a good tartar control other than SD? My Stumpy really needs this due to his gum problems and I don't want to have to feed him tartar treats all day long.

I'm heading to Petsmart this morning and will buy a few different brands and test it out on them. Any insights into free feeding or brands other than California and Wellness would be welcome.

And just an fyi - I go thru close to 28 pounds of food in a week. Price isn't entirely an issue but I don't want to go broke either.
post #2 of 8
We've always free fed our cats. Anyways, i have 3 dry kibble choices here, california naturals, nutro NC complete care indoor and orijen.. i just keep about hmm 1/2 cup in each bowl and refill at the end of the day, their are 3 cats grazing on these bowls so usually they are empty by the end of the day or at the most within 24hrs.

I have used wellness indoor my males cats seem to like it, my female seemed more drawn to the california naturals, i have since discontinued the wellness since i find it pricey and if the other foods are well recieved i didn't see the need to continue with it.

I can't help with tarter treats as we don't use any. For other recommended brands, again i use california naturals, nutro natural choice and orijen this is a grain free food made in Canada [it is not easy to locate though.] i have also heard good things about felidae, we used canidae their dog food but my cats never took to it

I have found really their is no "best" food, it's about what you can readily purchase, afford, one your pet does well on and most of all one your pet will eat, my cats have rejected some of what are considered 'the best' by experts
post #3 of 8
I don't free feed because you end up throwing it away, and that is so wasteful and expensive. I put down enough food for a meal twice a day.
post #4 of 8
our free feeding is a measured amount of kibble (1/8 c.) in 2 bowls, twice a day. if the bowl still has some food in it, i give the next ration minus what's in the bowl. they have days where they are really hungry, and others where they are starving. i figure it's just like me--sometimes i'm hungry, sometimes not. i have 3 scheduled wet food feedings too.

edited to add: my cats really like nutro natural kibble. both indoor and regular. we've tried a bunch of really high end stuff, and they seem to all agree on this one. other foods they don't always agree on.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Silly me should have done a food locater before I went to the store. Petsmart didn't have either Wellness or California Natural (I know, you probably could have told me that), and since I needed to pitch my current food, I bought 2 small bags of Blue Buffalo (chicken/rice and Salmon/rice).

But I did find both at a feed store about 10 minutes away so will stop by later today and pick up both. We'll see which ones the kids like the best. I do understand that Wellness and California are both better than Blue, so I'm hoping those will be liked (the kids already dove into the Blue).
post #6 of 8
I haven't tried the California Natural dry, but used to feed mainly Wellness, and had great results with the old formulation. We switched to the Innova Evo which is just a bit more expensive, but I like the ingredients and luckily everyone will eat it . I recently let them try out the Wellness Core, but only one of the kitties liked it.

We free feed for several reasons, long work hours, finicky kitties, and I never have had a problem with it going stale. Their food is stored in an air tight container, and I put out about one cup in each of two bowls available during the day, refilling if it goes empty during the day.

I have four incredibly finicky kitties and so the wet food that I put out once a day is where we get our problems. If a plate of wet goes untouched for more than half an hour we just toss it.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
I can't free feed wet as the dogs will find a way to finish it off. They get a wet snack every night about 7PM. I give the cats about 20 minutes and if they don't finish it, we call "puppy time" to the dogs to tell them its all theirs to finish.
post #8 of 8
Quality depends on what you are desireing...

Grain frees have poop smell and more poop but have more protein

Many holistic s like Blue and some Wellness have multiple grains and meats plus veggies

Cal natural is the most basic and IMHO the best ... since it is one meat one grain and one grain like.... Most digestable best fatty acid profileand a good protein to fat ratio
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