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Are all cat food’s the same?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
That’s what I always thought and still some what do. But, if I’m wrong please educate me on the matter. I feed my cat 9 lives, Fancy Feast, Iams, Purina, and was told that all of those food were basically crap but the AAFCO say’s they are balance and complete nutrition. Are they wrong, please inform me?
post #2 of 26
If you go up to the top of the page ( most like its a blue bar) click on search and put in nutrition or food ... You will get an education...

I dont feed any of the brands mentioned for a variety of reasons
post #3 of 26
they all have required nutritional elements, but many contain things like animal digest, by-products, & high grain content. basically, junk food for kitties, like fast food is for us. won't kill them, but not the best for them, just like McDonald's & Jack-in-the-Box isn't the best for us.
Welcome to TCS!
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Could you elebarate on your “variety of reasons” why you don’t feed the foods mention? – Sharky
post #5 of 26
If you do a search on this site for food or nutrition or specific types of food, you'll find a ton of good information.
post #6 of 26
Hello Mellow. I have been in the same spot you are in. I really thought all cat food was the same. That was until I saw comparisons for what I was feeding and other brands.

Here is a comparsion between Iams dry cat food and what I buy TimberWolf. These are just the first 7 ingredients:

Iams Orignal with Tuna:
Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Corn Grits, Tuna, Natural Chicken Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp

Timber Wolf Organics Serengeti:
Chicken Meal, Fresh Chicken, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Low Ash Salmon Meal, Potatoes,Tuna Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols) Dried Eggs,

Here is wet:
Iams chicken entree:
Chicken, Meat Broth, Poultry Liver, Ocean Fish, Brewers Rice, Dried Egg Product, Ground Whole Grain Barley,

This is Eagle Pack canned:
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Lamb, Rolled Oats, Dried Egg Product, Carrots

See the difference? Yes the lower grade foods are AAFCO approved but that does not mean all foods are created equal. I try to look for things with no by products or no named by products (meaning nothing that says poultry by product). I also limit the grain intake. And I don't like things high in corn meal or wheat meal.
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ping for being kind and trying to help me. I do see somewhat of a difference. I don’t exactly know why you like to avoid grains. I more-so understand the poultry-by product analysis since that term isn’t specific.

And thanks again for your kindness. But, can I ask you what a cat’s diet should consist of. What’s better and more so what the benefit of what you feed your cat versus what I feed my cat?
post #8 of 26
cats are obligate carnivores. they don't really need the grains - the grains are a cheaper protein source for the food manufacturers.
benefits of a better diet - fewer health problems, smaller, less-bulky & less smelly stools, softer, silkier coat.
i saw a BIG change in Chip's coat & stool after i started feeding him the chicken soup brand food. he had been eating science diet at his foster home.
post #9 of 26
When you look at the labels on the foods you feed, what do you see? by-products? corn? soy? by-products...say chicken....can includea head, beaks, & feet. Why would a cat need to eat those? Corn, the only thing I ever see happen when corn is an ingredient is gas...rotten stinky toots. Soy, they can't hardly digest goes in one end & out the other.

Now, super premium foods won't have the by-products, the corn, the soy. Honestly, even Wal Mart's Maxximum Nutrition is better than the ones you listed, although not great.
post #10 of 26
I agree with Laureen when I switched Ping to a low to no grain diet I was shocked at his fur difference. I thought his fur was fine on the other store brand foods. But on what he is on now his fur got so soft, shiny and plush. Plus I saw a major decrease in his shedding. Also his stool changed. 1) less smelly and 2) less of them. See on a diet higher in grains and fillers they tend to poop more because they are digesting less of the food they are taking in. And if you switched to a no grain diet they poop less. Ping poops may be one good poop a day thats smaller, does not stink and is firmer.

And also like Laureen said cats just do not need grains. Their diet in the wild does not consist with them grazing in a corn or wheat field. If they get it at all its very smaller already digested traces of it from their kills. Its in pet foods now because grain is a cheap filler.

Also wanted to add on a grain free food he eats less. With this food he eats maybe 1/2 a cup or a little more. But on the grainy food I was always filling the bowl up because he ate more of it to feel full and stay full.
post #11 of 26
All of the above advice is very excellent. I myself have been seriously researching feline nutrition and have been learning alot!!! However, as of now, I am feeding Zoe many of the "lower brands". I don't want her to be a picky eater, so she gets a variety of many wets. I keep to a core dry, Nutro.

Not everybody can afford the best cat food out there for their precious babies, we just can't. We are saving for other things (a vehicle, college, savings for college) and we also have other pets to keep in mind. My animals eat into about $300 of my budget a year, which isn't bad, but I'm definitely not a spendy person. I like to keep my money close! So Nutro is a good middle-of-the-road brand. Maybe not so good as some other organic, grain-free, top-of-the-line food, but it is very decent.
Coming to wet, same thing. We can't all afford to feed expensive foods. It's good for our kitties, but as long as they stay healthy and happy, "decent" foods rather than "excellent" foods is superb! As I said, I feed Zoe a variety of brands now. But when she grows older I will probably feed mostly Nutro and Natural Balance, with MeowMix & Fancy Feast as twice-a-week treats, you know?
Just do some research and you will find alot on nutrition! Nobody can really tell you what to feed your cat; you need to find something that your cat likes to eat, that is fairly good in nutrition, and that fits your budget. Some people feed strictly wet, some feed strictly dry, some a mix. I do mostly dry with a spoonful of wet a day. Maybe not the best thing for Zoe but she is in excellent health, with a beautiful coat and her stools aren't extremely stinky nor do they come abnormally often. Just find what works for you and your cat. Nothing is a wrong choice! Well, I say nothing... the cheapest brand of dry with absolutely no wet will probably NOT be a good idea... Haha! Anyway, good luck with your mission!
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
LOL I’m a dummy. After You said Carnivore I hit the search engine Lauren. I though hey wait a minute Carnivores eat raw meat and I found a bunch of information that say’s cat’s should be eating raw meat.

So, what I’m feeding my cat is far from what a proper feline diet is. I actually never thought of a cat as a carnivore and especially not an obligate one. That has never run through my mind, and I mean never.

I feel bamboozle and by who I don’t know. I just go to the grocery store and I see all these advertisements that say’s how healthy and great this food is for my cat and I think that’s right. But, after reading a bit of information what I previously thought sounds like it was dead wrong.

But, I’m also seeing conflicting information. With people saying raw is awful and others saying its nature appropriate. I probably want be feeding raw but I should at least try wet. From what I read cat’s have no need for carbohydrates (even though some articles or sites advised dry food saying it’s overall better) and wet should have less carbs right?

And now I want to ask why there is so much conflicting information in regard to cat nutrition. Certain information appeals more because it just seems to make since from those who opt for a raw or wet diet than those who opt for a dry diet.

Now for experience cat care-givers and those who know a lot about cat nutrition from your experience what’s the best diet for our cats.

And I feel that I’m in the process of freeing myself of ignorance in regards to cat nutrition.

Lauren you said the trigger word that actually made me get off the message board and look up information on cat nutrition. –Thank You!
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks KuntryKitten for chiming in, I really appreciate your advice. I should have done research on cat nutrition in the first place. And now, I can try and make a change and be more conscious of what I’m actually giving my cat.

I’m not able to spend what ever it takes to provide better foods but I should be able to do decent quality and with the occasional higher quality brand. But, I definitely will be making a change and thanks for your candor and kind words kuntrykitten.
post #14 of 26
Raw is tricky & it really is best to have a vet who knows about nutrition to guide you on a raw diet. Some says it's good, some say its bad.

Honestly, I would try to get to feeding a mostly wet commercial diet. That might be the easiest at this point. If you are interested in raw feeding, then you can do research & take time to consider it.
post #15 of 26
you're welcome! there are some commercial raw diets available out there, but i simply can't afford them. for price, the Chicken Soup brand is very affordable, & acceptable quality. they make both a dry & a wet. i have 2 cats that won't eat wet, & 3 that like both the wet & the dry. you won't find it at the grocer's or at pet stores - i get mine at a feed store. it's comparable to Eukanuba [but better, i think] quality-wise, but less expensive in most places. if you can't find it locally, you can get it online at PetFoodDirect. they have periodic sales & percents off deals too, if you get on their mailing list. right now the website says free shipping on some items! here's the link:
post #16 of 26
I just wanted to chime in and congratulate you! You're doing a great thing (for you and your cat!) by learning more about feline nutrition! You'll be a more informed consumer, and your cat is going to be healthier for it!

I know it can be confusing, and there is a LOT of conflicting information out there, but you seem to be on the right track, so keep at it!

I've found these sites to be invaluable when I was looking to learn more: (the free article library is GREAT!)
and has a great section on feline nutrition

I feed raw to my two, and this is probably one of the forms of feeding people get most passionate about. On both sides. Only you can make that decision for yourself if it's the route you want to take or not. It's nice if you've got a supportive vet who'll help you, but most vets do not understand raw feeding and therefore do not support it.

Good luck!
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks again Laruen, the first thing I saw on that site from the link you provided was nine lives on sale. Nine lives is really affordable but I’m going to steer away from it. And it looks like I may have found a good quality pet store in my area. They said they only sell premium-quality brands. All of the products they sell at their store are by-product free. So that’s a plus. I’ll make it up there very soon and I think I’m going to purchase a pet book. I actually think it would be fun to cook for my little furry friend.

And since I’m a true beginner at this I hope. I’m not making any one nervous when I said I want to cook for my pet (lol). I do understand there are certain foods that are highly toxic to cats, onions, garlic, chocolate, and etc.

I want to make him some then very tasty, some then that will impress him, lol.

And thanks Vanillasugar. I will definitely check out the sites you listed. I have learned a wealth of information today. And I’m so glad I did. From now on I will be making more informed choices in regard to my pet’s health. And yes reading conflicting information isn’t so great. I’m just trying to weight it and just go with what makes since and what’s also backed up with facts.
post #18 of 26
No problem Mellow! I am glad I can help!

In regards to raw... I also just recently dug up some interesting information on feeding cats raw cat food. I mean, it makes sense, they are carnivores. But then, they are domestic cats, mostly indoor I am assuming in your case, so they don't neccessarily need as much raw as outdoor cats would. So it is a conflicting debate, as anything is! No matter what you look up, you will find contradicting information, everybody has opinions. It's up to you to feed raw or not. I don't see how it would harm a cat, it may benefit it, or it may not. It's your choice, becausse every cat and situation is so different! I myself may attempt to start feeding raw... I wonder if beef is safe. We get our own beef butchered and packed (nobody throw shoes at me please!) so I know it has no chemicals or fillers, just pure meat. I am currently debating this in my own mind... Hmmm...
I myself would stay away from brands like Nine Lives and Friskies, as far as dry. They are good, but there is better, but of course, there always is. Like I said before, nobody can tell you what to feed. But if you want an affordable, middle-of-the-road brand, I have researched Nutro Natural Choice and it works well for me. I have heard good things about Chicken Soup too... If you are on a budget, I would rather feed a lower-quality dry and a higher-quality wet, rather than a higher-quality dry and a lower-quality wet, just my personal opinion. I feed everything wet to prevent picky eating, as I said. But I also research most of this to find out what is okay for Zoe and what is just plain bad for her. Good luck finding a food that is right for your budget and cats needs!
post #19 of 26
actually, the reverse is better. basically, all wet is better than the drys. i try to feed a higher quality dry because of my 2 dry-only cats. but i wish they' eat the wet, too. Sharky said once that lower-quality wet is preferable to higher-quality dry [hopefully, i'm not misquoting]. she's our resident 'expert' on food, IMO, at least.
post #20 of 26
*cracks up* I got confused! That's what I meant... because wet may be best to feed your kitty, but I just feel more comfortable using a mix, I just do. So any quality of wet (preferrably something like Nutro, Natural Balance, Wellness, etc) is okay, so long as it is supplemented with something more high-quality, say a more decent dry food. I've been feeding Zoe everything, so she's not picky, and she is getting a good, nutritional dry, so I can feed her lower quality wet, no problem. Here is from the two cans I have left, just some bad ingredients they include, since your original question was are all cat foods the same? "Good" brands should not have these ingredients.

Iams Kitten Food Chicken Entree (Wet Canned):

Chicken By-Product Meal / Poultry Liver / Dried Egg Product / Ground Whole Grain Barley / Dried Beet Pulp /

Friskies Country Style Dinner (Wet Canned):

Meat By-Products / Poultry By-Products / Brewers Rice

But as I said, accompanied by a good-quality dry, this is okay. You can feed this with dry. Alone, I would not recommend it.

Here is a good link on cat nutrition, all the articles are really good:
post #21 of 26
I am not ignoring you I am sick and quite tired but you got good advice..

Meat( ie chn poultry or meat ) can be heads, ft ,intestines, undeveloped eggs

Corn not great digestabilty but in a chn based or beef based corn gluten meal or a touch ( ie fourth or later ingrediant) serves a purpose

Wheat and soy can be ALLERGEN S.. wheat is decent in digestabilty but I try to avoid it

NO artificial colors or flavors ... ie red and yellow arent natural cat food

Yes using a lesser quality wet is better than high end dry .... ie if kitty will eat natural life wet and dry ( this is a good wet but ??? able dry found at Walmart) //// USE the wet ...

With my Kandie she ate raw and high end canned with some lower end decent canned..... that diet kept her evan with stage 2-3 CRF for about 2 yrs ... the prior she had eaten low and high end dry and canned... I think the canned let her make it till 14 before CRF ( she pasted 5 weeks shy of 19)

Zoey eat s whatever Fishy wet I can get her to ... she likes wellness , solid gold , california natural ,nutro and some raw ... she eats Natural choice dry ( true premium and the only one she wants )

My dog eats 50 raw 50 homemade..

Feed the cat the best you can afford and the cat will eat

hollor if I didnt answer something
post #22 of 26
No, they are not all the same as you have learned

There are two really important books you should pick up, I am sure they are even at the library as they are popular:

And here are some other additional sites that were helpful to me:* Every year the Whole Dog Journal rates dog foods, many of the few select that make the good list also have cat food available

And here are some actual sites that go thru the brands and give more specific information on the brands:

Good luck on your search, using a better food will be beneficial to your cat in so many ways. Here are two more:
post #23 of 26
Oh, and another thing, if you are interested in home cooking join a list that talks a lot about home cooking and feeding a good diet, here are three good ones

Also buy Pitcairn's book if you are interested in cooking and feeding a species appropriate diet. I love that book and enjoy the way it is written, it is very common sense and is available pretty much anywhere, even at Barnes and Noble.
If you are interested in learning more about raw, there are also lists like that out there.

Good luck, I am glad you are doing your research!
post #24 of 26
Let me Preface CHECK with a Nutrition minded vet prior to homemade or raw diet undertaking...

Books mentioned are great reference
post #25 of 26
All cat foods aren't the same, as some are not healthy for cats. To determine good from bad, just check the label and watch out for harmful ingridients. ~
post #26 of 26
You've already received a lot of great advice. I don't know what I can add, except my own experience.

My cats used to eat Cat Chow and the occasional can of Friskies. While it "seemed" like they were doing fine...I found out differently later, after getting away from those foods and seeing the enormous differences for myself. Beandip struggled with bladder/urinary tract issues for a long time...while I struggled to find the right food to feed him...all the while forcing 3 or 4 different meds on him to keep his issues somewhat under control, but not very well.

Beandip's issues prompted me to check into the options. I found out that a high quality "wet" diet would be the best thing for him. He wasn't enthused. I offered him a pre-made commercial frozen raw and he gobbled it up, so that's what we went with. Canned would have been OK with me, but it was up to Beandip, to a point. He did very well on that. After more research, I put him on a home made raw. I no longer spend my days and nights wondering if he's peed yet, LOL It was really that bad. It was a daily problem and now it's all but disappeared.

So now 6 of mine eat a variety of premium wet (mostly grain free) and Beandip and Junior get the raw. They've never been healthier, it's great. Their poop used to clear the house, it was so bad. Now I don't even notice it. Shiny coats, more energy, fewer vet visits, fewer hairballs, less trouble!
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