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By-products or Not? Grain or Not? Fish or Not? Help!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
My head is literally spinning trying to choose food. I've read every label and I'm going a bit loopy. I want to do the best for my fur baby.

I am currently feeding 4 mo old Sasha Royal Canin Kitten 36 dry, which I thought was supposed to be high quality, but it has lots of corn in it.

I've been looking for a wet to give her a bit every day and I'm so confused. Some of the ones i see recommended here have meats and *veggies*. I would think if grains are not so good for a carnivore, neither would vegetables be???

And what's so bad about by-products? Raw diets are grinding up bones and offal--so wouldn't by-products in canned food be OK??

And you're not supposed to feed fish? So many foods are fish based or have fish as a top 5 ingredient?

I found Authority wet Kitten food that seemed pretty good without going broke, but Petsmart is not as convenient as Petco to my house. She's only eating about 2 oz at night of the wet. She seems to like it and come running when I put it down.

So what do I do?? Should I change her from the Royal Canin dry? Is there a good kitten dry out there? And is this Authority wet food a good choice or is there a comparable one at Petco or grocery store which are closer to home? And does it make a difference that she is Siamese?? I've heard that Siamese have kinds of delicate digestive systems?

Thanks for any insight!


Royal Canin Kitten 36:
Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, corn gluten meal, corn, chicken fat, chicken, dried egg product, natural chicken flavor, wheat gluten, dried beet pulp (sugar removed), L-lysine, anchovy oil (source of EPA/DHA), sodium silico aluminate, dried brewers yeast, soya oil, pea fiber, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, fructo-oligosaccharides, sodium tripolyphosphate, salt, dried brewers yeast extract (source of mannan-oligosaccharides), choline chloride, taurine, Vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, biotin, riboflavin (vitamin B2) supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin A acetate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], Trace Minerals [zinc oxide, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), L-Carnitine, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols (source of vitamin E) and citric acid, rosemary extract.


Authority Kitten Wet:
Chicken & Liver Formula
Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Ocean Fish, Brewers Rice, Egg Product, Dried Beet Pulp, Guar Gum, Salt, Brewers Dried Yeast, Carrageenan, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E, A, D3, B12 Supplements, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Proteinate, Manganous Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenite), Potassium Chloride.

Chicken & Lamb Formula
Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Lamb, Chicken Liver, Ocean Fish, Brewers Rice, Egg Product, Dried Beet Pulp, Guar Gum, Salt, Brewers Dried Yeast, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E, A, D3, B12 Supplements, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Proteinate, Manganous Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenite), Potassium Chloride, Taurine.
post #2 of 20
Well, some of it is a matter of opinion.

I feed grain free dry. I really wouldn't mind a high quality food with a little grain (no corn or wheat gluton...but some rice or barley would be fine with me...as long as it's not the main ingredient)...however, mine were really smelly on Wellness, which had grains. Removing the grains seemed to help with that, which is why I'm sticking with a grain free dry.

As for by-products, it really depends. To me, the main ingredient in the food should be a muscle meat, and not by-products. As for by-products as a secondary ingredient, the only problem is identifying what "by products" really are. When making raw, you know what kind of animal is going into the food and what parts of that animal. With named by products (ie. CHICKEN by-products), you at least know what the animal is, but you still don't know what they are using. However a lot just say "MEAT by-products", which really could be anything. I avoid them for the most part, except maybe in something that is an occasional treat, but not a staple of their diet.

Fish - I think mainly needs to be avoided for male cats that are prone to URI issues. Since I have two females, I don't mind a LITTLE fish in there, but don't feed fish flavoured foods (again, unless it is a treat).

I feed Orijen dry, which is a high-quality, grain-free food. There are other options that I'm sure are just as good though.

I feed mostly Authority wet - kitten chicken and lamb, and we're moving into the adult formulas - chicken, lamb and rice, turkey and giblets. Mainly because it's affordable and really all my cats will consistently eat.

In terms of quality, Authority is fine, especially for the cost. Brewers rice is a low quality rice and I'd prefer that fish not be in there, but for the amount my girls eat, it doesn't really bother me. For me, the important things are there - meat main ingredient, no by-products, and corn/wheat free.

There is a grain free pet store brand wet that I can get here in town (I'm in Canada) that I would like to try to switch my girls to...mainly for the grain/fish freeness of it. So far, they seem to be accepting of it. However, if I had to feed Authority wet forever, it wouldn't bother at all as long as the girls continued to do well on it.

It really is a matter of preference. All you can do is educate yourself and read the labels. In the end, it's a matter of what you are comfortable feeding and what your cat will eat.
post #3 of 20
I'm on the same boat. I've been feeding royal canin for kitten and just found out it has too much grain. I also feed authority kitten with chicken and lamb ....I am not switching from royal canin because my kitty eats mostly wet anyway...
post #4 of 20
Do to the information on websites like catinfo.org and catnutrition.org, I've been feeding wet food since my cats were kittens. Recently, with the addition of two more cats, I was sorta toying with the idea of adding just a bit of dry to their diet, however, I just picked up Elizabeth Hodgkins', DVM, book, "Your Cat, Simple New Secrets To A Longer, Stronger Life" and it has definitely reaffirmed for me that there will be no dry food fed here.

Cats are descended from desert animals and don't have a strong drive to drink water because they've evolved to get their daily intake from the animals they hunted. Cats fed exclusively dry are often chronically dehydrated. Also, being descended from desert critters, they haven't evolved to eat fish and too much fish in their diet can encourage UTI's, especially in male cats.

As obligate carnivores, cats can't digest grains, grasses and vegetable matter, so it's a waste to feed it to them, it's bad for their health, it stinks up the litter box and, in the dry form, can cause them (especially free-fed cats) to be overweight.

*whew*

I'm sticking to an all-wet diet, as fish-free and grain-free as I can possibly get. Since you asked for food suggestions, I'll list what I feed, but none of the grain-free foods I buy can be found in the big-box stores - with the exception of Wellness, which is a great food and can be purchased at Petco.

Wellness: "Core" (awesome stuff), "Turkey", "Chicken", and "Beef & Chicken" (all are grain-free)
Nature's Variety Instinct: "Beef", "Chicken", "Rabbit", "Duck", "Lamb", "Venison" (all are grain-free)
By Nature Organics: "Chicken & Chicken Liver", "Turkey & Chicken", "Turkey & Turkey Liver" (grain-free)
Go! Natural: "Chicken, Turkey & Duck" (grain-free)
Natura Products: "Innova Cat & Kitten", "Innova Evo Cat & Kitten", any flavor of "Evo 95% Meat" (all are grain-free)
Chicken Soup: "Adult Cat", and "Kitten"
Natural Balance: "Venison and Green Pea", "Duck & Green Pea", "Indoor", "Ultra", "Chicken & Liver", "Turkey & Giblets"
Solid Gold: "Gourmet" (not the tuna blend, although there is some fish in it)

In the end, though, there's no one diet that's perfect for every cat. If your cat won't eat Wellness Core (which I think is one of the best foods out there), well, there's no sense in feeding it to her.

A trick I've been using with great success lately is sprinkling a bit of Whole Life's freeze-dried Pet Treats over the wet food. They are single ingredient treats that crumble very easily and come in Chicken (this is what I'm currently using), as well as several other flavors. Since I started using it, hmmm, a little over a week now, I've not had a single smidge of uneaten food.

Of course, again, cats are such individuals that this probably won't work for everyone, but it's definitely worth a try if you'd like to encourage a reluctant furbaby to try some wet food.
post #5 of 20
I feed no grain dry as two have grain issues ... I feed low to no grain wets ( ie rice or oats are no higher than sixth ingrediant) ... I also feed homemade ( chicken and beef normally)and raw same as homemade...Cats by design do not need grain and thus they do not digest most grains well ...

I do NOT use by products in commercial foods as I do NOT know what exactly is in there and what quantity .. With my homemade foods I know there are no chicken feet or heads , just organs and which one s in what quantity....

Fish is a tricky one ... my vet recommends giving my animals sardines ... except for my PJ who is known to have ph and related UTI issues ... I personally would never feed a cat with a history of crystals ANY fish... Pj get a small amount just not an everyday or sometimes even week occurrence...

If you do a search on wet foods you'll find my recommended ones depending on where you are or can shop

FYI : No one diet works for all cats and if dry food with what many call "crap" was all bad cats in general would not be living longer lives ( as the ones feeding said foods usually are also the one s who do not run to the vet for little things... )... IMHO no vet should say one diet will cause a cat to live longer , think about us humans
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by marieba View Post
My head is literally spinning trying to choose food. I've read every label and I'm going a bit loopy. I want to do the best for my fur baby.
The best thing you can do is find a food that agrees with your kitty... The food topic is very confusing. All you can do is research and then make an educated choice. Noone can say with 100% what is right and what is wrong (grain or no grain, veg or no veg, etc)

Quote:
I've been looking for a wet to give her a bit every day and I'm so confused. Some of the ones i see recommended here have meats and *veggies*. I would think if grains are not so good for a carnivore, neither would vegetables be???
I feed grains, and I feed food with veggies. The way I look at it, the prey kitties would catch in the wild has both grain and veggies in its tummy.

Quote:
And what's so bad about by-products? Raw diets are grinding up bones and offal--so wouldn't by-products in canned food be OK??
By-products can be anything... beaks, feathers, fat, etc. It's not as bad if it specifies which by-product ( chicken by-products vs meat by-product)

Couple of links:
http://cats.about.com/od/catfoodandn...byproducts.htm
http://www.naturalnews.com/012647.html

Quote:

And you're not supposed to feed fish? So many foods are fish based or have fish as a top 5 ingredient?
Main reason is for male cats as posted by Zoeysmom.

It's alot of reading to do, alot of people have different views, and ultimately you have to find foods that work for you and your kitty. My kitty doesn't like wet food alot, which doesn't concern me as he drinks ALOT of water. I feed Chicken Soup and Taste of the Wild dry because those are both good foods to me, and Kizzy seems to agree (gorgeous fur, regular normal poops, etc). For wet, I was using a holistic brand, but it gave him diarrhea, (I think too many veggies/herbs in it) so I feed him whatever he will eat.

Personally, I think alot of people worry way too much, especially about feeding. Yep, researching is great. Worrying that you're not providing the perfect diet is not a good thing. We can only do what we think is best, and that will vary. Educated decisions are good decisions... definately read up on it so you can form your own decision.
post #7 of 20
I've been looking for a wet to give her a bit every day and I'm so confused. Some of the ones i see recommended here have meats and *veggies*. I would think if grains are not so good for a carnivore, neither would vegetables be???
I know of no harm (or benefit) that comes from vegetable but I believe harm comes from grains.
My own personal belief is that the dehdrating factor from dry food as well as the carbohydrate level makes that something I will never feed my cats again
post #8 of 20
I've been feeding Toby Wysong dry, but I hear it's not THAT great for kittens. Then I feed mostly Merrick canned food. I highly recommend Merrick but it can be quite expensive...
post #9 of 20
well, to answer your original question i would say no by-products. all of the other things really depend on how your cat reacts - for example, i tend to feed limited fish [in wet] because of my male, who has had urinary issues in the past. otoh, mine don't seem to have any digestive problems w/grains - to be honest, Cable does better on a food w/grains. otherwise, she has really soft poo.
there's a good thread here: what food do you use & why
post #10 of 20
Basically, feline nutrition boils down to this - the closer you get to their natural diet of prey animals, the healthier your cat will be. Conversely, the further you get, the more likely you are to run into problems. And, yes, veggies in a feline diet are just as "useful" as grains.

Despite all the discussions back and forth, there really isn't anything mysterious or secretive about it. Cats evolved to eat other animals. Not veggies, not grains, not any kind of plant in any quantity. Whole prey animals only.

One of the reasons we have so much confusion surrounding feline diets is because the pet food industry (PFI) simply modified their already existing canine diets to satisfy the increasing numbers of consumers looking for cat food, without ever actually considering how very much a cat's metabolic and digestive system differs from that of a canine's (or, if they did, discounted those differences). Canine dry food diets were created under pressure from two main factors - convenience for the owners and the PFI's need to find a way to utilize agricultural leftovers from products produced for human consumption, which consisted of, among other ingredients, a high volume of low-quality grains. Since dogs are omnivores, the grainy diets, while not 100% optimal, were (and, obviously, are) fairly well tolerated. (Although corn is just as big an allergen in the canine world as it is in the feline. And some canine diets don't have any meat at all, which is ridiculous. But I digress.)

That basic initial error (if it was simply an error and not a convenience/monetary decision) has been confounded over the years until what is considered basic common sense (such as the "fact" that dry food "cleans" teeth) is fundamentally flawed.

I've been an animal lover/rescuer/welfare advocate all my life, but I've been focused heavily on felines for about three years, and the things I've learned about them, the chasm between what's accepted as common knowledge and what the facts really are, is just jaw-dropping.

I urge each of you to go read catinfo.org and catnutrition.org. Pick up Elizabeth Hodgkins' book. The first website and the book are both written by vets, vets who stepped outside the box and took a hard look at the ever-increasing numbers of overweight and chronically ill cats streaming into their practices and asked themselves, why? What are we doing wrong?

With all due respect to your years and experience in the pet food industry, Sharky, a single diet CAN be best for cats - their natural one. And you're right in your human/feline comparison, but not quite the way you meant it. Cats, exactly like humans, are living longer lives, but both of us in spite of our carbohydrate-filled diets, not because of them.

Learning and understanding is not a static state of being. It changes constantly. Our knowledge of feline nutritional requirements has grown dramatically over the last 20 years, and, just like it has begun to do with our own diets, what is considered "common knowledge" is slowly undergoing a perception shift toward a more natural diet for all of us. For you and me, that means less fast food (even though people live long, "healthy" lives smoking cigarettes and eating at MikkyD's every day) and more fruits and veggies; for cats, that means LESS fruits, veggies and grains (even though cats live long, "healthy" lives on strictly dry food) and more whole meat meals.

I think this post got a bit (er... a lot) longer than I intended. I hope some of what I've written helps someone somewhere. Choosing a diet for our furry friends shouldn't be so darn difficult!
post #11 of 20
I'm a little confused- if grains aren't digested, what happens to them? Are they just passed down, just like humans pass down fiber and cellulose? And how can that be bad for cats, if it doesn't really do anything just goes in and out lol..??

Oh, and by the way- has anyone ever seen that commercial for cat food that shows the carrots and peas in the end?? I forgot what brands it's for, my mind got rid of that info b/c I threw it out as unimportant but I remember that image at the end...
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ut0pia View Post
I'm a little confused- if grains aren't digested, what happens to them? Are they just passed down, just like humans pass down fiber and cellulose? And how can that be bad for cats, if it doesn't really do anything just goes in and out lol..??
they can be and are at different rate s due to processing ... a whole kernel of rice or corn Is NOT digestible .... it is when you bring it down But NO cats Have No need for them...Even the vet manual most have in their offices states Dogs and Cats have no biological need for carbohydrates... FYI Dogs are carnivores just not obligate like cats ...

My knowledge comes from Actual schooling as well as the PFI ... and NO you Will Never convince me of a one size fits all ...But that is more from Having yrs of actual pet owning than anything else and listening to those with Far more experience than myself

IF you want a truly natural diet it would mean NO longer having a PET cat and turning all pets loose ... that is the natural diet ... OF course that is nonsense for a pet owner or animal caretaker .. and Live animal to live animal feeding is actually Illegal in many states ...

Little thought , ave feral cat lives 3-5 yrs ave house cat in most countries is 10 -14 yrs

ON a FYI : if the ave human ate the true diet for said animal most would have massive issues

VERY VERY True on the it should not be so hard ... lol... feeding a human should be easier too
post #13 of 20
Everyone will have their own opinion.

To one set of cats, I feed Taste of the Wild grain free dry.

To another set of cats I feed Wellness (not grain free) dry.

All cats get a variety of wet - Friskies, Fancy Feast, Eagle Pack, Sheba, Wellness, Nutro, Meow Mix, etc. I feed some of everything, as IMO any quality wet with a high quality dry is good.
post #14 of 20
A couple points to ponder:

- whole prey items, usually have grains and veggies in their stomach/digestive system.

- regarding
Quote:
feline nutrition boils down to this - the closer you get to their natural diet of prey animals, the healthier your cat will be.
the issue I have with the above statement is that our cats are not living in their natural environment. They get nowhere near the amount of exercise that they would in their natural environment nor do they have to hunt their prey.

I'm relating it to feeding my snakes. Snakes in captivity are generally overweight because we feed them every week or so. In their natural environment, they do not feed every week. It can be months between feeds, as well as it being ALOT more work to get food.

Edit: It's the same with cats. Cats in the wild do not eat every day but we feed them daily.

Our housecats are from generations away from their natural environment. They've adapted. I don't believe the statement is as cut and dry as what was quoted above. Cats have been living on less than quality food for years, and growing old on them. Now with the wide variety of foods we have, the better quality foods, we can give our pets a better life. Ultimately one has to remember that a housecat cannot be compared to a wild cat.

You are right, feeding our pets shouldn't be this hard.

Hopefully, this thread has been educational to all, and have given some opinions that can help the OP make an educated decision on how to feed her kitty.
post #15 of 20
Feeding cats is not an exact science. And some of us might make it look harder than it actually is.

I believe that the perfect diet is prey. So I try to replicate a prey model diet as much as I can (using some info that provides most of the nutrient make up of specific prey). When we start talking about by-products, grain and vegs there are some things to think about as other members have pointed out. Sharky mentioned not really knowing what they are and how much of it is going in. I agree. By products are not bad if you are controlling the diet yourself. I currently feed by products.

Prey can consist on average about 3-5% gains or vegs. Some say as high as 9%. We know they are obligate carnivores. By looking at the current cat nutrient profiles provided by the AAFCO we can conclude, with a little research, that every nutrient a cat needs (according to the AAFCO) is located in meat, fat, bones, and organs. Sharky also mentioned a vet manual, I am speculating she means the Merrick, stating that cats have no biological need for carbohydrates. Along with that info we can ask is there a reason why cats lack salivary amylase (enzyme needed to help digest carbs) and why the pancreas produces a little amount of it. Could it be that over a period of time of evolving that their body figured out that prey consisted of very little plant material. So large production of amylase was unnecessary. There is no real answer for this yet. Can we somehow link carbs to obesity? We kind of can but nothing that we will do cartwheels over. IMO they play a big part. I don't feed any vegs to my kitties.

Fish is a debatable topic. I am sure if you did a search you will find a lot of info and opinions on it. I currently feed my kitties fish once a week.

I feel that our little fluff balls are essentially the same as their desert ancestors. The only real difference is physical appearance.

Just another opinion to add to the mix.
Good luck
post #16 of 20
I don't want to get into a debate but I find it laughable that people want to feed their cats the most natural diet possible then they go and feed them beef - I know my kitties are clever but I'm yet to see them bring down a cow!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
A big thank you to everyone's thoughtful responses! I am digesting all the info presented (pun intended!).

I will be reading even more labels in the near future, I see...

I'll try switching to a grain free dry as we finish up the current Kitten 36 and see what happens. It can be any more expensive than the $16 RC (3.5 lb)!!

I guess it's a lot like feeding my kids. A balance between organic produce and home made bread and the occasional chicken nugget and chocolate pop-tart!

Thanks again!
marieba
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats View Post
I don't want to get into a debate but I find it laughable that people want to feed their cats the most natural diet possible then they go and feed them beef - I know my kitties are clever but I'm yet to see them bring down a cow!
I have a 3 legged one that would give it a shot if I would let him out of the house
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippymjp View Post
I have a 3 legged one that would give it a shot if I would let him out of the house
Wow that would be quite a feat!

I can see a big cat such as a Maine Coon bringing down a lamb though.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by marieba View Post
I'll try switching to a grain free dry as we finish up the current Kitten 36 and see what happens. It can be any more expensive than the $16 RC (3.5 lb)!!
I buy the 12lb bags of Wellness Core, and they are $35. I get it at Petco, and the RC kitten there is more expensive than that.

I bought two bags of Wellness Core on December 15th. As of yesterday I have only used 1/2 of the first bag. Nora isn't a big eater, though.
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