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How do you rotate foods?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I've read alot of posts here in which people talk about a rotation of different brands, particularly wet, that they feed their cats. I'm not sure how this would work for me at this point because I'm still feeding kitten food to the 3M's, and there aren't alot of choices here when it comes to kitten formula canned. But if I wanted to rotate, how would I go about that?

I did try feeding a different brand one week (I can't remember now whether it was Meow Mix or Friskies), but that didn't seem to go so well. The amount the can suggested feeding per pound was alot more than I normally feed with Iams for Kittens, and one of my babies started throwing up after ever meal. Needless to say, I went back to strictly feeding the iams. I am perfectly happy with what I'm feeding now, but I don't want finnicky cats and would like to have some flexibility in the event the food I need is not always in stock when I need it.
post #2 of 13
I feed dry and wet food. They each get a measured amount of dry food in the morning and then I feed 3 oz of wet food at night.

Right now I have 3 brands of wet food at home (Authority, Natural Life, and Meow Mix). I just grab whatever I feel like grabbing and they get that for dinner. (ETA: I rotate wet food because I don't want them to be picky, and I also tend to just buy things when they are on sale).

Iams Kitten wet food is pretty high in calories compared to regular all-life-stages wet food (like the Friskies is I think), so that's why feeding guidelines are different. Feeding all-wet to kittens is really expensive because you need to feed them a lot!

Wet food isn't like dry food in the sense that changing brands will cause upset stomachs. Kittens might be different though, and the upset stomach thing would be something to consider.

When Chloe was a kitten, I gave her a measured amount of kitten food twice a day and then tried to get her to eat as much wet food as she would eat (she likes dry more than wet).

Feeding wet food is important, but I would supplement the wet food with a high quality kitten dry food (like Wellness Kitten).
post #3 of 13
I think the main reason for alternating is so the kitties won't get bored with eating the same thing all the time. I pretty much stick with one brand of wet food, just rotate flavors. At the moment that means just alternating two flavors because they're the only ones my kitties will eat.
post #4 of 13
The following is taken from a dog site, but I would assume the same holds true about food rotation for all commercial pet food.

Variety is important no matter what type of diet you feed. Even if you use commercial foods, it is best to find at least two or three different brands, using different protein sources, and rotate between them, anywhere from daily to every few months.

Also, even “complete and balanced” diets may contain quite different levels of nutrients. If you always feed the same food, any nutritional deficiencies or excesses present in that food will affect your dog over time. The same is true if you feed different varieties made by the same company, since they tend to use the same vitamin/mineral formulations in all of their foods.

Your dog is also more likely to develop food allergies if fed the same food all the time. It takes time for an allergy to develop, typically months to years. Dogs that are fed the same food for extended periods of time will often develop allergies to one or more of the ingredients in that food. Variety is particularly important for puppies, since puppyhood is when the immune system learns which foods are normal and not a cause for reaction.

The only restriction to consider in terms of feeding lots of variety is to reserve at least some of the exotic proteins in case a novel protein is needed to test for or treat food allergies. There’s no need to feed venison, duck, rabbit, ostrich, buffalo, kangaroo and beaver to your dog. Save some of them in case they are needed in the future.

I rotate wet almost daily and have no problems with it. With dry, I buy a different brand when the bag is almost done and gradually mix it in until I'm feeding 100% of the new bag.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
I guess I should have noted that I do feed dry kibble as well...Maxximum Kitten formula right now. I also can't afford alot of the pet store premium foods, or cannot find them in my area because I'm in a small town. For wet foods, my options are pretty much as follows: Meow Mix, Iams, Sheba, Friskies, 9 Lives, Hill's, and some Natural Life. I really want to keep feeding kitten formula until they are 1 year old, and most of those brands don't offer that. Plus, I'm trying to avoid by-products and alot of preservatives. I just wondered how you all rotate between brands. Is is a daily thing, every meal, or less often?
post #6 of 13
cocoa- Your "small town" sounds a lot like mine...very few options on food here. Do you have a petsmart near you? If so, then their brand of canned food, authority, is good AND CHEAP! It is roughly 65 cents a can here...that's less than fancy feast and the better quality friskies (naturals, or whatever they call it) at walmart. I HAVE found newman's own organic canned cat food at my walmart...they were originally selling it for $1.45 a can... I lucked up and bought a bunch on clearance there for 45 cents a can a couple months ago

All that said....I rotate wet food every day... Right now I've got Natural Balance (2 cans of different flavors), EVO 95% meat beef (this would be a good "kitten" can, even though it doesn't specify them, it is all meat and high in protien and fat), authority in 2 flavors (beef and lamb/rice), and several cans and flavors of friskies (from walmart). I try to rotate between the really good stuff (EVO, NB, and newman's own), the middle-level stuff (authority), and the not-so-great stuff (friskies) so that they don't eat the "junk" food for too long, etc. I also try to mix up the flavors (i.e. they'll get a beef on monday, turkey on tuesday, chicken on wednesday, etc.)

Switching between flavors / brands of wet food everyday won't cause major digestive upsets like changing dry will... Because it is so much water, it's not as big of a "shock".

I rotate for 3 basic reasons:
1. I don't want them to be picky eaters
2. I think that it helps prevent any insufficientcy or overdoeses of any nutrients from eating 1 brand/flavor too long,
3. I like to give them some variety, as I'd hate to eat the same thing day in and day out all the time.

I used to combine 2 different dry foods at one time (usually EVO -grain free- and something like nutro natural choice or california natural-with grains) but have had to stop as there are only a few UTI-friendly dry foods and one of my cats seems to be prone to them. Now I feed nutro max dry in the mornings and canned food at night.

Something you might want to think about is saving up and ordering a large amount of wet food online through a site like petfooddirect or national pet pharmacy. They offer many brands and although they are not cheaper on the lower quality brands (I've not found anywhere cheaper than walmart for the friskies in the 13oz cans)...You can get good deals on the higher end brands if they are on sale and you get a 22% coupon via email (which is usually enough to cancel out shipping costs and then some, for me...if I order, like $100 of food at once). I just placed an order for about 4 months worth of canned food with them. Some of it I can get locally (NB cans are about 1.65 here a can but I got it for about 75 cents a can via the website) and some aren't (EVO and by nature 95% meat cans). That is where I had to order the different types of dry I fed them before switching to max....I can't get EVO or cal natural within a 50 mile radius of my home town.

post #7 of 13
I rotate wet food every meal, or every day, depending on what size can I use. they get 2 wet meals per day. I use 5-6 different brands/flavors and just try to take turns with them.
post #8 of 13
I don't do much in the way of rotation - just 2 flavours of Merricks and even then it took me weeks to even get them to eat those wet foods. I can't remember how many different kinds I tried but there were many. They won't touch Newman's, Nutro, Natural Balance and any of the other better foods so Merricks it is!
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks! Your information was very helpful! I have considered buying food online, but I haven't researched that alot yet. It is an idea, though. I will have to look in the next town over to see if they have a PetSmart. We just moved here, so I'm not sure. Thanks for all the suggestions and ideas, though. I appreciate everyone's input!
post #10 of 13
Originally Posted by Cocoa Cream View Post
Thanks! Your information was very helpful! I have considered buying food online, but I haven't researched that alot yet. It is an idea, though. I will have to look in the next town over to see if they have a PetSmart. We just moved here, so I'm not sure. Thanks for all the suggestions and ideas, though. I appreciate everyone's input!
The only comment I would insert here is that if you order food online and your cats don't like it or won't eat it, you have wasted your money. I personally would pick up several different kinds, just a can or two of each one, and try them to see if they'll eat them. When you have found out what they will eat then buy online. It would be worth the trip to a better store to get the different foods rather than end up with a bunch of food you'll have to give away to a shelter or someone else.
post #11 of 13
I rotate wet foods each meal. Nothing very scientific about it - I just pull something different out of the cupboard for each meal The only thing I pay real attention to is making sure I don't feed complementary foods too often.

I rotate foods because they all vary slightly in terms of nutrient profile, so I reckon that if I feed a variety of brands, they stand a better chance of getting a balanced diet. I also do it to give them a variety of tastes and textures. They don't have any digestive problems through eating something different at each meal.
post #12 of 13
Cocoa- No problem. If you can get some of the better quality foods locally (even if they are a lot pricier), I'd do as Yosemite suggested...Buy like 1 can of each that you're interested in and see if the cats like them. If they do, then you can buy a case of them online.

When I started out feeding wet, I bought a can of each of the mostly-non-fish flavors and let the cats try them. That's how I narrowed it down to certain flavors of the authority (petsmart) and decided that I couldn't get them to eat ANY nutro cans (not sure why)... I got a couple cans of each of the natural balance flavors from a petco that is near me (they sell wellness now too) and that is how I found some of them that the cats like.

The better quality cans (evo, cal natural, wellness, merricks etc.) I had to buy 1 can of each variety from a seller online that sells by the can. It was quite expensive to get them that way (and pay shipping), but, I found out which they liked and which they didn't....Apparently mine don't like ANY merrick flavors (dissappointing as I bought 1 can of each flavor, lol). They also won't touch any wellness cans or anything in a "pouch".

I've taken a risk ordering food this time around, as I ordered 36 cans (3 different flavors) of a new 95% meat By Nature food. I can't get them locally to try, but I ordered them with other cases of wet that I know the cats will eat...and they were on sale, so not too much of an expense if they don't work out. I'll probably end up donating any cans they don't choose to eat to our local humane society.

One more tip...if you are interested in any specific brands, I'd go to their websites...Most will have a "dealer locator" function. And, if you email customer service, many will send you coupons or samples (I've only had 1 company send me a sample of canned though, but many will send samples of dry or coupons for wet food).

post #13 of 13
Easy for me. I buy 2-3 cans of certain flavors. Then when I come home, I take them all out and just stack them (no 2 flavorsbrands in a row)

Right now 1 can (5.5 -6 oz) is 2 meals. When Jack comes, I'll be using a can (or so) every day.
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