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Evidence that "premium" food = healthier cat? - Page 2

post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebrillblaiddes View Post
Alright, but that's not really reasonable for most of us. Would be nice, but not gonna happen. Really anything except setting up a breeding colony of mice and penning your cat and a mouse in together at dinnertime is a compromise, but there are still compromises that work in the direction of being more natural and healthy. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.
All a company needs is 5000$ and they can put organic in their name or trademark...

I agree it is not an all or nothing but in most areas of the US and Canada you can get most info ( how grown , what feed , where grown ).. Truely it was easier for me to find out where and how my meat is grown and slaughtered than for me to go get the frozen raw ... half of my meat is delivered to my door by the rancher himself , I do live in a sub rural area .. I for one will not be getting a aviary or a mouse colony anytime soon

back to the topic ... Studies with double blinds are next to impossible to do with cat food .... and there arent many companys doing anything more than the std feed trials, my guess is $$$$ to do said study and third parties to conduct them and fourth to certify that the third party did as told would be hard to get ... ti date only one raw company has EVEN ATTEMPTED the Affco( feed studies in the US) trials and the results of said trial are unknown
post #32 of 49
There's a difference between the question and the results. As has been pointed out, premium food doesn't necessaily translate to longer life and crappola food doesn't mean early death. The question though was if there is proof that better food or premium food makes a diffeence and the proof is all over the place.
Go to feline diabetes.com and see what happens with cats when they are switched to better foods. Go to the yahoo ibd group and the crf group. In all of these groupos you can actually see the proof in the numbers. The glucose numbers the creatinine and bun numbers
Oh and as far as the posts on this site from people eating premium food whose cats have health problems?
Not too many people are going to post 'Hey I feed good food and my cat is healthy!'
People usually only post when they are having problems with their cats so you are not getting a true example,
One more. Everyone can give an example. it is when you take the examples oif thousands that it starts to mean something
post #33 of 49
My first cat (she adopted ME when she was a year old) was almost 20 when she died. I knew nothing about what to feed, and she ate Fancy Feast wet and Friskies dry throughout her life and never had any illness until near the end.

When I adopted my current cat, I was determined to feed him better, but he has rejected every premium wet food I've tried (every one that my high-end pet shop carries). He prefers Fromm dry, but he eats mainly wet and will only eat Fancy Feast and Meow Mix--much to my disappointment.

At his recent wellness check, I told me vet about this, and he said that the best food to feed him is what he'll eat and not to worry.

Naturally, if he were ill, I'd investigate better food if needed. My former pet sitter told me that her two diabetic cats got off all meds when she fed them a better diet, so I know that food can make a difference.
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
back to the topic ... Studies with double blinds are next to impossible to do with cat food .... and there arent many companys doing anything more than the std feed trials, my guess is $$$$ to do said study and third parties to conduct them and fourth to certify that the third party did as told would be hard to get ... ti date only one raw company has EVEN ATTEMPTED the Affco( feed studies in the US) trials and the results of said trial are unknown
My understanding is that the AAFCO feeding trials are fairly short term -- only 6 months or so -- so all they really reveal is that the diet isn't going to kill the animal in the very short run. Unless the food is just terrible, most major long-term health issues like diabetes, CRF, urinary crystals, etc probably won't occur in statistically meaningful numbers during that time.

As for the study itself, I'm not sure that it's necessary or even possible for it to be a double blind in all cases. How does one set up a test so that the feeders don't know whether the cat is getting wet or dry food? I know that the double blind is the gold standard in medicine because it helps rule out the placebo effect, I doubt it's an issue with cat food trials IF they are being conducted by an impartial 3rd party.

Maybe an ideal setting for such a feeding trial would be a no-kill shelter in a large city. They presumably get dozens of kittens each year, so the ones that don't get adopted out could be housed for life and form the basis of a cohort which is divided into groups that get different foods. The shelter would take care of these cats just as they would have anyway and the group conducting the research could provide food and possibly other support over the lives of the cats.
post #35 of 49
Here's a quick discription of some AAFCO feeding study protocols.

Examples of AAFCO feeding protocols

Minimum testing protocol for proving an adult maintenance claim for a dog/cat food

A minimum of 8 healthy adult dogs/cats (at least 1 year old) are exclusively fed with the test diet. The test runs for a minimum of 26 weeks. An individual physical examination takes place before and after the test. Though, each animal is evaluated as to general health, bodyweight, and some blood parameters (including taurine in cats). Only small changes are tolerated. The diet fails if any animal shows clinical or pathological signs of nutritional deficiency or excess.

Minimum testing protocol for proving a growth claim for a dog/cat food

8 weaned puppies/kittens from 3 different bitches/queens are required to start the test. They must not be older than 8 weeks of age, and an equal sex distribution is recommanded. They are exclusively fed with the tested diet during 10 weeks minimum. At the same time, 8 puppies/kittens chosen according the same criterions form a concurrent control group. This last group receives a diet that already demonstrated that it meets the growth requirements as determined by AAFCO protocols. The same observations that in the first example are recorded. The average body weight gain is compared to the growth of the control group.

Minimum testing protocol for proving a gestation/lactation claim for a dog/cat food

A minimum of 8 pregnant bitches/queens over 1 year old are required to start the test. (For dog breeding, the male must belong to the same breed as the female). A concurrent control group of 8 pregnant females receives a diet that already passed successfully this specific AAFCO protocol. The feeding of the test diet starts at or before estrus, and is completed when the puppies are 4 weeks old, 6 weeks for kittens. For larger litters, puppies/kittens may be transferred to females with smaller litters. For example, a bitch under 13 kg should not suckle more than 5 puppies, and 5 kittens should be a maximum for a queen.

- observations concerning females: general health, food consumption, body weight evolution, blood parameters ;

- observations concerning the litters: litter size, stillbirths and congenital abnormalities, body weight gain and general health. Data recorded for the control group are used as references to interprete the results of the test.

A manufacturer desiring to prove an unqualified claim for nutritional adequacy must use the litters obtained from performing the gestation/lactation protocol for the growth protocol. If both tests are positive, the diet is qualified as "complete and balanced for all stages of life".
post #36 of 49
<Go to feline diabetes.com and see what happens with cats when they are switched to better foods. Go to the yahoo ibd group and the crf group. In all of these groupos you can actually see the proof in the numbers. The glucose numbers the creatinine and bun numbers>

Are there any clinical studies supporting this out of any of the vet schools at all?
post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappilyRetired View Post
When I adopted my current cat, I was determined to feed him better, but he has rejected every premium wet food I've tried (every one that my high-end pet shop carries). He prefers Fromm dry, but he eats mainly wet and will only eat Fancy Feast and Meow Mix--much to my disappointment.
I understand - I have a fussy pants too She will gladly eat quality dry food of any kind but the "better" the wet food the more she rejects it. I wasted a lot $$ before just giving up. (I do like the FF can size though, works perfect for us so for that alone I'm pleased with it). I worry about her getting enough water so I get it mostly b/c she lickes the juices up. She's not big on eating it

Regardless of "proof" or not, I know my cat's poo doesnt smell nearly as bad as when she was on Iams and Purina (before I knew better). She also would eat and eat and eat and rarely seem satisfied. Now she eats a higher quality food and eats a normal portion and is pretty happy with it. I'm better able to control her weight now.

I had a 22 year old who ate meow mix her whole life. Knowing what's in the food I really dont care if it isn't proven to cause health problems. I cant in good conscious feed my babies stuff like that.
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
<Go to feline diabetes.com and see what happens with cats when they are switched to better foods. Go to the yahoo ibd group and the crf group. In all of these groupos you can actually see the proof in the numbers. The glucose numbers the creatinine and bun numbers>

Are there any clinical studies supporting this out of any of the vet schools at all?
Vet schools are usually the "3rd" party in the AFFCO tests, that is why most do want a 4th party involved ... I know of three big schools that do the tests for the basic and then the more extensive tests for claims like UTI health .. Yes diet in the already ill will show easily but it is harder to prove in the healthy group of animals in their lifespans ... I would love some long studies so I felt less like a guinea pig with my kids... Now some companies run trials like you suggest and one is on going to date they are not giving up any info .... Others run tests thru breeding programs , obvious issue there is the "truth " factor and the limited gene pools
post #39 of 49
It's just so hard getting well designed studies and hard data - you can have all the anecdotal info in the world, and there may well be more than a grain of truth in it, but when you don't have the hard studies, you really have no proof and it's hard to design protocols without good data.

Interesting that the raw companies haven't been more into going through certification studies, as was indicated above - any particular reason for that, other than perhaps not having deeper financial pockets? I'd think it'd be a good marketing tool, if nothing else.
post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
It's just so hard getting well designed studies and hard data - you can have all the anecdotal info in the world, and there may well be more than a grain of truth in it, but when you don't have the hard studies, you really have no proof and it's hard to design protocols without good data.

Interesting that the raw companies haven't been more into going through certification studies, as was indicated above - any particular reason for that, other than perhaps not having deeper financial pockets? I'd think it'd be a good marketing tool, if nothing else.
My guess is the $$$ issue as even the basic AFFCO is a lot of $$$$$....The company that did them thou is a VERY VERY small Northwest company so it could be the "holier" than thou thinking?

Maybe we should submit a protocol design ?
post #41 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
Interesting that the raw companies haven't been more into going through certification studies, as was indicated above - any particular reason for that, other than perhaps not having deeper financial pockets? I'd think it'd be a good marketing tool, if nothing else.
Probably the expense. It's a tiny market. I expect a lot of raw feeders are like me, they start out buying the premixed from such companies but quickly realize both how easy and how beneficial it is to do themselves. They might also see the certification as being of negligable value since most consumers have no idea what it is.
post #42 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
Probably the expense. It's a tiny market. I expect a lot of raw feeders are like me, they start out buying the premixed from such companies but quickly realize both how easy and how beneficial it is to do themselves. They might also see the certification as being of negligable value since most consumers have no idea what it is.
Shocking to me was in 5 plus years working in the PF industry the only thing folks knew was the AFFCO seal and what it was ( not the logistics of it )... More shocking to me was the amount of food s then that were NOT affco approved on Big store and Small store shelves...
post #43 of 49
What would be the markers of good food results? I wonder if a blood sugar reading would be helpful. I think it would be hard to measure coat quality or stool size... (well, maybe not hard so much as gross in the case of stool size/consistency )
post #44 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sohni View Post
What would be the markers of good food results? I wonder if a blood sugar reading would be helpful. I think it would be hard to measure coat quality or stool size... (well, maybe not hard so much as gross in the case of stool size/consistency )
they use stool amount by wt in dog so that cant be that hard outside how many kitties pooed in the box ... blood sugar could be a marker not sure how good unless someone did blood x amount of time after eating
post #45 of 49
I personally felt better about feeding my cats a premium-ish food, like someone said, sure a human can live a long life on junk food, but you'd be healthier if you ate better

As for Arlyn's statements of feeding a better food equaling less cost in the litter department, i can vouch for that. I used to feed Chicken Soup and then one of my cats, Chaos (appropriately named ) got a urinary blockage and now i have to feed them all a scrip food because with 14 cats and my schedule, i cannot schedule feed. Now, this food may be designed to prevent crystals and all, but it is, IMO, a very low-quality food with the first 2 ingredients being corn derivatives. Long story short, I am using double the amount of litter I did before because they are pooping like crazy because they eat this stuff like crazy The bags are 18 lbs and I'm lucky if it lasts me 10 days

It may not be as easy to tell with only a couple cats regarding the litter, but with my crew, I can totally tell
post #46 of 49
In so far as scientific studies in animals, I can't cite any.

The way I look at food in general, be it for me or for a pet is - anyone can survive meeting minimum nutritional requirements. To truly thrive you have to get your food from a variety of sources. The closer to their natural state - the better. Studies in humans have lead to a variety of papers regarding how the body absorbs nutrition, and how certain combination of nutrients are absorbed better accompanied by each other. Another example that comes to mind is the iron from protein sources tends to be absorbed by the body better than iron from vegetable sources. Also when it comes to tummy upsets because of switching food up - well, if all you ate was cheerios for a month straight, your tummy would be pretty out of whack if you suddenly ate a salad. Or anything else for that matter. Your digestive system adjusts according to what it has to break down.

We're really just another animal... so in my mind, the logic stands for the same to apply to our pets. Peanut gets a decent quality dry food that I treat like a stop-gap. It's always there if she wants it. She never wants for food, and probably eats better than I do. Her dry diet is supplemented by as good quality of canned as I can get, poached (lean, no-additives) meats, and pretty much anything feline-safe that she's interested in as a treat. Don't kill me for not getting into the raw kick, poached might be a little different to digest but at least I don't have to worry about getting her sick.

It works for me, it makes sense to me, Peanut has never had a tummy upset out of either end, she's a healthy weight and otherwise generally a happy and healthy cat. Do what works for you and makes sense to you and adjust if needed.
post #47 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
More shocking to me was the amount of food s then that were NOT affco approved on Big store and Small store shelves...
Are there a lot of non-AAFCO-approved brands out there now? I looked and couldn't find any. Not even at the farm store. I wanted to find one so I could see how the ingredients differed from the AAFCO-approved brands.

My first cats were raised on Friskies, and this was back when it was preserved with ethoxyquin. Ugh. Well, they're 19 now and have never had serious health issues (besides having CRF---but they don't require treatment at this point, and I think all old cats have some degree of CRF). But they're half Siamese, and Siamese are longer-lived naturally, and they have been eating higher-quality brands for quite a few years now.

Anyway, the main reason I feed my cats a "premium" (Chicken Soup) brand is because of litterbox odor and barfing. I tried a bunch of other brands......Cat Chow, Purina ONE, Maxximum, etc. On Cat Chow and foods of similar quality, the litterbox odor was terrible. They did pretty well on a mix of Maxximum and Purina ONE, but then they raised the price on Maxximum and I can get Chicken Soup for less. On just Purina ONE they barfed too much.

There are ingredients I simply will not stand for, even when choosing an inexpensive food for the ferals. BHA/BHT, meat protein farther down than the second ingredient, etc. Special Kitty, regular Meow Mix, grocery store brand, etc.......all contain BHA/BHT or have basically NO meat in them. So no. The ferals get Purina Cat Chow usually. I do NOT think grocery-store brands are nutritionally adequate, AAFCO certification notwithstanding.
post #48 of 49
I feed my cats Wellness because it addresses so many issues we had around here: UTI, hairballs (badly), and one cat who was ill with no know cause so I was looking for a food free of corn, etc. It's worked out great for us. I swear, we haven't had one hairball since I switched to it and I'll stand by that food.

On the other hand, our dog eats a food packed with fillers (I tried to switch her but she wouldn't eat so we settled for a brand we could all agree on.) She's outlived her breed life expectancy by about 2 years now. People routinely think she's 10 years younger than she actually is and she's had cancer for 2 years. It makes me suspect that good genes are the real benefit for her.

Still, I'd prefer to feed a quality food as some other posters mentioned it cuts down on litter waste and in my opinion on the smell of said waste. Furthermore, I've seen an overall improvement of my cat's weight, coat, skin and activity level since I made the switch.
post #49 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
<Go to feline diabetes.com and see what happens with cats when they are switched to better foods. Go to the yahoo ibd group and the crf group. In all of these groupos you can actually see the proof in the numbers. The glucose numbers the creatinine and bun numbers>

Are there any clinical studies supporting this out of any of the vet schools at all?
Hi
Sharky made a good point about seeing results with healthy animals versus sick ones.
I don't believe there are studies nor will there be in our life time because who will pay to step on their own foot?
Is a pet food company going to finance a study that may show their highest grossing products aren't as good as the lowest profit margin products?
While I am on this, who will finance a study that could possible show vaccinations lasting the lifetime of a cat????
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