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Cat food debate? - Page 3

post #61 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by yiplong View Post
This is wrong because litters don't get used up. When we change litter, 90% of what we put in were still there, but they just don't smell as fresh. Even a house with 2 cats will not use twice as much litter as a house with 1 cat, having one more cat will just use up a little more litter, this is obvious from economic of scale and personal experience. Higher quality food result in litter saving not b/c the cat poop less, but because cat excrements usually don't smell as bad.
Actually, having had a large number of cats on low-grade, medium-grade and high-grade foods, and using a number of different litters, PLUS actually tracking the amount of litter used, I can say that the above is false. About four years ago, when I had my group of cats plus a number of foster cats (usually totaling around 15 cats in the house at a time), I actually did track for a several months what the litterbox usage was, plus how often I had to change certain litters.

For a while, I had been feeding my cats a medium-grade food and the fosters a low-grade food. When I switched to feeding all cats a medium-grade food, the total amount of litter used (scooped out of the box) was significantly less than previously - not half, but about 70% as much, representing 30% less litter scooped out in a given week. I paid attention to this because a bag of garbage put on the curb could not be over a certain weight or the sanitation department would refuse to haul it away.

In addition, the lower-cost/lower-quality litters needed to be dumped and changed more often. The cost analysis I was actually trying to make was as to what litter was most economical. With the lowest-quality scoopable litters, I would sometimes have to change out the box every five days. With World's Best, which was one of the most expensive litters, I would have to change out any particular box about once every 3-4 weeks - as you can imagine with that many cats, I had several boxes. Plus, the World's Best was not useless at the end of that time, I simply hadn't been adding to the box as litter was used up and the levels got too low - I would then dump the remainder into another box that was also partially-full and clean and refill the first box. I wish I had kept the spreadsheet showing $/box to fill, number of days between refilling, and $/week to sustain the litter usage, but I did not. However, the most expensive/lb litter came out to being the cheapest to use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yiplong View Post
It is actually inherent in a free market that cheaper product is almost always economically cheaper, but more expensive ones might have other benefits. So when everything is considered, on average, there is no difference between expensive and cheaper food.
The explain the McDonald's dollar menu. There is nothing on that menu that is remotely healthy for a human being, yet it is cheaper than healthy food. It's pretty well documented that when people eat cheap, nutritionally devoid crap they then cost a lot more in health care, far off-setting the food savings.

With as many cats as I feed, I do a cost analysis any time I am considering changing their food. I find the kCal/cup, feeding guidelines, price/lb, consider any specific health needs of my cats, and do the math. And when I switched from Deli-Cat (ultra-crappy) to Science Diet (just normal crappy), it did cost me some more money, though not nearly as much as treating my cat with kidney failure that was attributed to the previous crappy food. And when I switched my group from Science Diet to Felidae (medium-to-high quality), I did the math and it was actually cheaper per day to feed the Felidae.

There are switches that can be made to increase quality that do not necessarily have cost savings. I personally believe that if it can be afforded, pets should be on teh highest-quality diet possible. Just as I am healthier on healthy food, so are my pets. But do not discount that some switches are both economical AND beneficial to the health of the animal.
post #62 of 79
Personally, I don't run a cost analysis on my cats. I wouldn't do it on my kids (if I had any), and I don't do it on myself.

It's great knowing what is, in theory, the best foods to feed a cat. Unfortunately, just as many people won't eat broccoli (despite its proven health benefits), any given cat may not eat the best food you can buy. Some will eat anything, some are very picky, just like people.

Yiplong made one big error in his math up above, by the way. A 15% increased risk of some disease that would normally occur in 30% of all cats actually only raises the cat's risk to 34.5%. This is a common misconception in the reporting of health research. Just as an example, if 1% of all people will normally have a heart attack before 50 years of age, and some risk factor (say eating Big Macs) raises that risk by 30%, that means that 1.3% of the risk group would be expected to have that heart attack before 50.

If some big manufacturer could show some significant results from long-term research, that would be great. But you'd have to have a sample size of something like 2,000 cats, and provide them the same identical food for their entire life, and eliminate any treats or table scraps or even bugs and mice, etc.
post #63 of 79
And, sometimes it comes down to pure, common sense. Eating at McDonald's 24/7 isn't healthy no matter what argument one may try to put up.

Yes, it's true, some folks won't eat broccoli even though it is healthy. That doesn't make broccoli any less healthy even though some may argue that. So, what a good parent would do if their child wouldn't eat broccoli would be to find some other healthy food to replace the broccoli. Since our cats can't do our food shopping for us (just as our children can't), it's up to us to get the best food for the money that we can. As has often been said here, some cats won't eat quality food, some cats will thrive on junk food, so all we can do is the best we can afford and what our cats will eat - that isn't rocket science.

Heck, my grandfather drank a pint of whisky a day and smoked a pack of unfiltered cigarettes a day and lived to be 94. That doesn't mean that everyone else could do the same just like it doesn't mean that all cats would thrive on lower quality food and not need to see a vet. Every cat is different just as every human is different.

As for litter - after using many different brands of litter over the years, nobody can tell me that the cheaper brands are cheaper in the long term. I used to buy a lot of clay litter with just one cat in order to keep the litter box from smelling which is kept in our bedroom. I now buy a large bag of WBCL about every 3 months, only wash and change out the whole litter box every 6-8 weeks (and even then what's left in the pan does not smell bad), have 2 litter boxes going, and pay much less for litter in the long-term. Since I started feeding a better quality food, there really is less mess in the boxes and what is there is firm and not very smelly (except of course when they first go before they cover it). I have had several cat owners visit our home and now use WBCL for their cats and do find it less expensive in the long-run.

IMHO, this whole food issue isn't about feeding our cats expensive or inexpensive foods - it's about feeding our cats the best quality food that we can afford. Nobody should feel bad if they can't afford to feed expensive food because often the expensive foods are not always the best foods (you pay for a name or a successful advertising campaign). All we've tried to do in this forum is compare qualities of food and recommend foods that are of equal or better quality that do not cost more than the lower end foods. That's education, not preaching although because it has to be repeated so often it does tend to sound like preaching.
post #64 of 79
My cats eat mostly raw with some Wellness wet food. They are very healthy, have silky fur, no bad breath, no smelly waste and good teeth.
Food does make difference. If you choose to feed the cheaper less quality stuff
and that is a choice you are comfortable with then fine. But I have seen the difference between my cats and other cats on cheaper foods and there is a difference.
I have no judgments about other people's choices. You do the best you can given a variety of circumstances.
post #65 of 79
I think that some of the attitudes on here, whilst undoubtedly unintentional, come across as a bit snobby. It's been implied that the £15 I spent on 2kg of food wasn't really as much as I thought it was, and perhaps I was being naive to believe it so. I think that at the end of the day, what works for your cat is what works for your cat and it may not work for another. I agree with MrBlanche that, again, my parents have never been able to afford said £15 for catfood - theyve always gone for the supermarket brand and all of their cats have lived beyond 17. OK, they may not have been in the 110% best condition they possibly could have been, but they are very happy and healthy.
It worries me that there is an degree of criticism being directed at people who go for the cheaper option...as someone else pointed out, the alternative for rescue moggies just doesn't bear thinking about. And, not that it makes any difference, I actually haven't encountered much difference with Oscar's toilet habits since swapping over from the 'cheap' food, although I am now realising that what I am feeding him is still classed as 'cheap' food. Erk.

Ah yes, my POV have been highlighted by the 3 posts above mine. Whoops. Sorry for repetitions guys!
post #66 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by clumsy kitty View Post
I think that some of the attitudes on here, whilst undoubtedly unintentional, come across as a bit snobby. It's been implied that the £15 I spent on 2kg of food wasn't really as much as I thought it was, and perhaps I was being naive to believe it so. I think that at the end of the day, what works for your cat is what works for your cat and it may not work for another. I agree with MrBlanche that, again, my parents have never been able to afford said £15 for catfood - theyve always gone for the supermarket brand and all of their cats have lived beyond 17. OK, they may not have been in the 110% best condition they possibly could have been, but they are very happy and healthy.
It worries me that there is an degree of criticism being directed at people who go for the cheaper option...as someone else pointed out, the alternative for rescue moggies just doesn't bear thinking about. And, not that it makes any difference, I actually haven't encountered much difference with Oscar's toilet habits since swapping over from the 'cheap' food, although I am now realising that what I am feeding him is still classed as 'cheap' food. Erk.

Ah yes, my POV have been highlighted by the 3 posts above mine. Whoops. Sorry for repetitions guys!
Again, as has been noted, food prices will and do vary from area to area and country to country. For instance, I pay $1.69 CDN for a 5.5 ounce of Merrick's whereas folks in the US pay much, much less. Merrick's is considered a premium food and that is what I prefer to feed. I also feed Orijen which is very pricey but has lasted me easily twice as long as Royal Canin and Performatrim which I fed before Orijen. Granted, I have been married to hubby for 30+ years, we both make good money and don't have a mortgage so I can afford to pay more for cat food now than I certainly could have afforded when I was young and single. In fact, my Siamese, Susie ate the cheaper food all her life. Unfortunately she didn't live past 14 but she was very much loved and cared for in those 14 years.
post #67 of 79
For those saying we ONLY seem to recommend expensive foods... one of the first ??s I ask is WHAT can YOU afford..

I have found IMHO decent to good food avail at the biggest retailer in the US , the grocery store has a narrow selection but they do have stuff... big box pet store have some good to very good foods ... I love feed stores great selection and $$ ... then there is the mom and pop s that can be $$$ or like a feed store usually they can order what will fit your needs ...
post #68 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
Yes all cats are different ... chicken soup has some smell issues but not as much as some...lol.. Katies group is a bit rare that smelled on nutro but it shows different cats different results
When I had to put my older cat in IVD due to allergies....P.U.!!!! Definitely noticed a difference. :p
post #69 of 79
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of these informative replies. I wish I had something more to add, but I am learning a lot by reading the thread, and picking up many names to research.
post #70 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by clumsy kitty View Post
Surely a vet food is better quality than a supermarket's own brand?
Judge for yourself. This is one of the most expensive veterinary diets in Scandinavia and it's sold by vets only (for healthy adults):
Cereals (in fact wheat), vegetable protein extract (in fact corn gluten meal and potatoe proteins), derivatives of vegetable origin (cellulosa), fish and fish derivatives, egg and egg derivatives, oils and fats, minerals, yeast, seeds

Does it even look like food fit for healthy carnivores? Where's the meat?! I'm not kidding you, this is the most expensive dry food here in Sweden. Sold at vets only an people honestly believe it's great catfood.
post #71 of 79
I think what people need to do is separate the issues of cost and quality. Some people have been getting at this, but I still see people using the expression "cheaper, lower quality" or "expensive, high quality."

It has been well established that there are many high cost foods that do NOT equal high quality. Cost DOES NOT EQUAL quality. Sometimes they are correlated, and other times, cost has nothing to do with quality, and quality has nothing to do with cost.

When the knowledgeable people here (I mean people who do research or have some background in nutrition - not the people who are giving anecdotal stories) say to pick a quality food based on the INGREDIENTS.

We may not know what foods are best for a cat, but we do know about their nutritional needs and look at the ingredients. For example, we know that cats are obligate carnivores and get their protein from meat. So, we can assume that foods that have meat as their main sources of protein are better than foods that have grains, corn, etc as their main protein sources. Will many cats do just fine on proteins from grains? Probably.

So, if you're going to buy a brand off the grocery store shelf, don't feel bad about it. What you can do, however, is look at the food you are planning to buy and compare it to other foods of similar cost. Look at the ingredients. Perhaps the other food has better ingredients (this is where research comes in)...so there you go....you have a more quality food that does not increase cost.

Even with my limited knowledge, I always look at the ingredients of the food before I buy it. It's similar to how people now look for trans fat in human food because we know it is not good for us. If I was given a similar product that has a similar price, and one had trans fat and one did not, I would, of course, try the one without the trans fat. It might taste horrible (or your cat might not like the better quality-similar price food), so I'd probably go back and get the trans fat one (I know, I know...but oreos are tasty!).

As people have said, no one should feel bad about the food they feed their pet. You give them so much else other than food - shelter, water, love, companionship, toys, etc. But, you can do some research for their sake and make sure you're feeding them the best you can (again, the best and the price range you are willing to spend).
post #72 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoeysmom View Post
I think what people need to do is separate the issues of cost and quality. Some people have been getting at this, but I still see people using the expression "cheaper, lower quality" or "expensive, high quality."

It has been well established that there are many high cost foods that do NOT equal high quality. Cost DOES NOT EQUAL quality. Sometimes they are correlated, and other times, cost has nothing to do with quality, and quality has nothing to do with cost.

When the knowledgeable people here (I mean people who do research or have some background in nutrition - not the people who are giving anecdotal stories) say to pick a quality food based on the INGREDIENTS.

We may not know what foods are best for a cat, but we do know about their nutritional needs and look at the ingredients. For example, we know that cats are obligate carnivores and get their protein from meat. So, we can assume that foods that have meat as their main sources of protein are better than foods that have grains, corn, etc as their main protein sources. Will many cats do just fine on proteins from grains? Probably.

So, if you're going to buy a brand off the grocery store shelf, don't feel bad about it. What you can do, however, is look at the food you are planning to buy and compare it to other foods of similar cost. Look at the ingredients. Perhaps the other food has better ingredients (this is where research comes in)...so there you go....you have a more quality food that does not increase cost.

Even with my limited knowledge, I always look at the ingredients of the food before I buy it. It's similar to how people now look for trans fat in human food because we know it is not good for us. If I was given a similar product that has a similar price, and one had trans fat and one did not, I would, of course, try the one without the trans fat. It might taste horrible (or your cat might not like the better quality-similar price food), so I'd probably go back and get the trans fat one (I know, I know...but oreos are tasty!).

As people have said, no one should feel bad about the food they feed their pet. You give them so much else other than food - shelter, water, love, companionship, toys, etc. But, you can do some research for their sake and make sure you're feeding them the best you can (again, the best and the price range you are willing to spend).
Well said - you've been paying attention! Go to the head of the class.
post #73 of 79
Clumsykitty - sadly, Hills is very expensive and IMO very poor quality - I can name a couple of brands available in the UK that will cost less than that bag of hills cost, and better ingredients. Hills sells well cos it says it is Vet approved (or some such wording, I dont have any), and vets push it - yet when I had a cat with stomach issues last year, even the specialist admitted the food I normally buy was just as good for her as the prescription food he wanted to sell me. i also dont rate some of their prescription foods. I dont like Royal Canin for similar reasons - no one from there has ever been able to confirm the meat percentage, so I wont feed it, even though they like the sample bags - and their prescription wet is about 8% meat, I am sure she is better off with the 50% meat foods I buy. I use James Wellbeloved, I believe the RRP is around £11 for 2kg, but the shop I use (actually a garden centre), sell some of the flavours for £8 for 2kg. IF you go on their website, they will send samples of the flavours. I may have a sample bag of the fishy variety that I could send (mine aren't keen on teh fishy one). Pets At Homes own brand (not their Cuisine) is similar ingredietns, but cheaper, they are doing 2 x 2kg bags for £12, but I just took back the ones I bought in OCt, it didn't go down well at all. I also used to feed HiLife biscuits, but they are hard to get hold of. The only supermarket brand I would buy is Ollie, it is around 38% meat, but they were fussy on that when I tried them (although different lot of cats now)
As for wet foods, I do feed high quality, and can prove a difference - one of my bridge babes had really greasy fur that clumped terribly, to the point where the vet had to help groom him, and two days later, he was clumping again - he was fed on Whiskas senior at the time. I changed him to HiLife senior and within a short time, his fur stopped clumping and was much easier to deal with. Asda sell the complete pouches and tins at 4 for £1 offer - think that makes it a couple of pence cheaper per pouch than Whiskas, am sure they are 29p a pouch. Only drawback is less flavours, the complete pouches only come in 2 flavours, and tins in 3. Bozita also works out quite cost effective, as they eat a lot less in one portion.
post #74 of 79
when i adopted Chip, he was being fed SD, & he was doing fine on it... but i was feeding Chicken soup dry at the time, so i switched him to it.
w/in a couple of weeks, his coat was MUCH softer, not as harsh, & his stools had considerably diminished in bulk.
better ingredients +
lower price = better results. can't really argue with that equation!
post #75 of 79
I wish my cats would eat Chicken Soup. It just sits in the bowl and they will not touch it. Some of the other premium dry foods they won't eat is Nutro, & Blue. They won't eat Merrick's canned, Blue Canned, and some other premiums. Instead its Fancy Feast or Friskies canned. Dry is Purina Naturals, Friskies, Purina One. Sometimes its not what one is willing to pay but rather what kitty will eat. I have an overweight kitty but thats another post.
post #76 of 79
So which food would you guys recommend to improve Oscar's digestive transit? I won't go into great detail (I've posted on it before), I thought the problem was solved but it's come back again. He's not particularly clean after using the facilities, so I expect his diet might be causing a 'stickiness'.
I'd love some advice from people who have kitties with clean bottoms!
post #77 of 79
James Wellbeloved is hypo-allergenic, and my cat with sickness/diarrhea did OK on it, and the internal medicine specialist agreed it was as good as prescription food. Burns is recommended too, but I am a bit reluctant to use that, while the meat content is 40ish%, so is the grain content. IT is a good price though, last time I looked at it, it was £6.99 for 2kg, but that was a few years ago now. I personally use a mix of wet and dry, with more wet than dry available.
post #78 of 79
Quote:
Your price for Chicken Soup is actually lower than the actual cost, because while SD is generally available from big box stores like Petco/Petsmart, Chicken Soup is not. Buyers either have to pay hefty shipping or go to small petshops, where everything is generally more expensive.
Actually I just bought some Chicken Soup cat food - and you are right it was at a small pet food store - for 17-18 pounds I paid $21.95 - At Pet Smart for Blue Spa I paid $16.50 for 7 pounds - I would say that laureen227's post and katiemae1277's post Just saved me some $20.00 in actual cat food cost then another $15.00 in gas cost.

The small local pet store the Chicken Soup cat food is sold from is 12 miles away The Blue Spa I was buying was at Pet Smart which is located 25 miles away -

The Chicken Soup bag is 18 pounds verses the Blue Spa bag at 7 pounds that means less trips a shorter distance - I would say those were some really valuable ideas that saved me a bundle.

The quote above is incorrect for my specific circumstance.

My savings in time and money are significant and I felt the advice was worth a return to this thread to tell both members thank you and to share my actual experience .

My kitties are being switched over as I type and so far do not seem to have any problems eating the Chicken Soup food.

laureen227's and katiemae1277 thank you very much for sharing your opinions and experience.
post #79 of 79
you're welcome! i'm glad your cats like it.
i've switched since that post - i decided to try the Royal Canin Special 33, after reading the ingredients - it had added lysine, so i thought it would be beneficial for Pixel, who has herpes.
mine all LOVE it - to the point that they're not interested in the chicken soup or authority anymore... i'm sure they'd eat it if necessary, but they like this more.
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