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4Heath All Stages cat food?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

wavey.gif Hey kitty experts. As you can see.. this is my first post. I wasn't sure whether I should post this in the nutrition forum or introduction forum. I thought this was more appropriate. Anyways, like a week ago, I knew nothing about the rubbish that companies that I thought were good quality, like Purina, (stop laughing) put in their food. They turned out to be no better than any other cheaper supermarket brands. frusty.gifThen, at a petco, I saw these ooper expensive cat food brands and was amazed.. IT WAS HEATHY!!... and expensive... So, I began to search the internet and find out what I should watch out for, and, at the same time, find a cheaper yet healthy cat food.  Well, as you can see from the title, I stumbled across 4Health from Tractor Supply Co. It seems to be ALOT healthier than, well, everything at Walmart. 26.gif(In my town, Walmart is where you go for everything lol. We don't have a Petco, Petsmart, etc.). So, then i set out for a cat site with knowledgable people in it and found this one. biggrin.gif So.. that's about it. Oh and Aristotle was the cat I rescued from the street. I say rescued because he was very skinny so I just assumed he was homeless. He was the biggest pussy cat ever. I pampered him, but after two weeks, he decided he enjoyed his former freedom more and trotted off. sigh.gif Whatever made him happy, I guess. smile.gif Oh and a sad story: my former former cat was the other biggest pussy cat ever. We got her when I was in 1st grade. None of us knew of all the rubbish that was in cheaper cat food. Well... she was fed Meow Mix all her life because she liked it. argh2.gif The sad part is she got diabetes (SHOCKER) when she was eight years old, and we couldn't afford so much insulin so she had to be put down. bawling.gif I feel awful because I (we) never knew she was eating rubbish food. The part that makes me mad is that out vet never told my mom that giving her good food MIGHT SAVE HER LIFE!! argh2.gif So.. yeah ever since I've learned (and am still learning) about all the rubbish that goes into cat food and that that rubbish probably killed the best cat we've ever had, i swore not to let it happen again. ANYWAYS, if we ever got another cat, I can go ahead and say my parents (who don't really believe me when i say there's cat killers in supermarket cat food) won't spend $20 on 3 pounds of cat food. =P 4Health, though, seems like a really great food for a really great price. So my question is.. is it as good as it seems? Im sorry this was such a long post. thanks.gif

Oh, almost forgot. Here's the ingredients. :) http://www.tractorsupply.com/4health-trade-all-life-stage-cat-food-18-lb--1152999

post #2 of 23
I use the 4 health dry and every one of our 6 cats love it. I am having an issue with their wet food now, so I am going at lunchtime to check out if they have the wet food. Good for you for being aware. And welcome to the site!
post #3 of 23

There are two types of diabetes.   It may have been genetic, and not the fault of the diet at all, as it is for some people that were simply born diabetic.   Most people have adult onset type 2 diabetes, and we do know this is affected by diet, and I'd wager its similar for our feline friends.


However, in people it is not primarily the quality of the food that can result in diabetes (within reason), but rather the quantity of food and lifestyle.   A sedentary lifestyle and obesity are the main contributors, and someone staying slim eating 2000 calories of Burger King but running five miles a day and pumping weights at the gym is an unlikely candidate for adult onset diabetes.  


So the most important change you can make is to provide semi-frequent small meals in an appropriate quantity so that our furry friends not become obese.  Otherwise, even the absolute best quality food can be harmful if freefed if you happen to have a piggy kitty that doesn't like to self-regulate (like Wesley). smile.gif


After that, yep, definitely focus on quality and IMO that food looks great for the price:

Chicken, chicken meal, egg product, cracked pearled barley, ground rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon, potatoes, natural chicken flavor, flaxseed, sodium bisulfate, oceanfish meal, potassium chloride, methionine, choline chloride, dried chicory root, taurine, kelp, carrots, peas, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberry powder, rosemary extract, parsley flake, yucca schidigera extract, dried fermentation products of Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, potassium iodide, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.
Crude Protein 34% (min.), Crude Fat 18% (min.), Crude Fiber 3% (max.), Moisture 10% (max.), Magnesium 0.1% (max.), Zinc 120 mg/kg (min.), Selenium 0.4 mg/kg (min.), Vitamin E 150 IU/kg (min.), Taurine 0.1% (min.), Omega-6 Fatty Acids 3% (min.), Omega-3 Fatty Acids 0.5% (min.)

With some nice clean waterfountains available and some wet food to provide extra hydration insurance, I think kitty will do great!  

post #4 of 23
I went to Tractor Supply at lunch and was told wet food in the 4Health brand was coming. The store manager said everyone was pleased and surprised at how well the brand has done, so there are definite plans for a whole range of flavors. I only hope it's as good, ingredient wise, as the dry
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your help, Ondine and Ducman! hugs.gif Now I don't have to worry about 4Health. lol2.gif I'm glad that 4Health is putting out wet food, definitely since it might be a great price as well! I never knew there were two types of diabetes. It's impossible for us to know if the diabetes were genetics since she was a stray as well. smile.gif I have a feeling it was type 2 because she was an indoor cat that mostly layed around all day. My mom always kept her food bowl full.., and yes, she was fairly plump. Gosh I feel awful. frown.gif Never again. Anyways, I'll look into kitty fountains. I never really heard of them. paranoid.gif I'm looking into wet cat food. Since 4Health is possibly the only good brand of cat food in my town, I'll probably have to go with a supermarket wet food. =/ I'll just look around more. So far, the best I've found is Fancy Feast Appetizers. Here's one flavor's ingredients: http://www.fancyfeast.com/appetizers/steamed-wild-alaskan-salmon/ Itdoesn't contain a balanced nutrition, but it does provide the kitty with water, and it was the only wet food I found that didn't contain by-products, etc. Thanks again for your help! rock.gif

post #6 of 23
I don't mind by-products in a wet food as much. I use mostly Friskies canned food. . .yeah, there are ingredients I don't like (artificial coloring, mainly), but I have a lot of cats, it's affordable and they all like it. If I get a brand with better ingredients the kitties won't eat it and dogs end up getting most of it. The FF Appetizers are expensive, but I suppose if you only have one kitty it's not such a problem laughing02.gif.

I also use 4Health in my dry food mix. I like the ingredients and the price. Glad to hear they're coming out with a canned food!
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Wouldn't by-products be by-products no matter what they're in? I totally agree with you about not getting expensive food for cats if they won't eat it. They're cats and 99% of the time, cats can't be made to go against their will with anything. The other 1% usually involves a person getting hurt. bluelaugh.gif Yeah, I would buy cheap if she/he didn't eat expensive. Why waste money? If a lot of people found out about 4Health (if people were like me, they didn't even really think about getting cat food at TSC), then it would probably get super popular and put a strain on other supermarket companies. Everyone might step up their game. Profit pressure, FTW! biggthumpup.gif

post #8 of 23
Welcome to TCS! I'm so sorry to hear about your kitties. heartpump.gif

If you're limited to supermarket wet foods, Fancy Feast doesn't have the greatest ingredients, but the classic formulas actually are quite low in carbohydrates if you look at them on a dry matter basis - which apart from ingredients in cat food is one of the more important ways to analyze them. agree.gif They actually average around 11%, which is impressive for a cheap food. Targeting 10% carbs is about the best you'll ever do with a commercial food, and that is hard to do. agree.gif

Ducman's information about diabetes is partially correct, it's not about the quality of the food, and lifestyle makes a big difference (exercise or not!) - but the composition of the diet is VERY important. About 40% of pets are now technically obese (they weigh more than 20% of their ideal target weight), and THAT is leading to an increase of incidence in diabetes. People with diabetes have to manage their carbs properly - that is the key. (My dad just celebrated his 80th birthday, and he is a Type I diabetic, so I grew up with it). And VERY importantly, cats are carnivores - they have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates at all. "Grain free" is great - but most foods simply replace those grains with other carbs/starches.

The AAFCO does not allow pet food manufacturers to list the carb content in the nutrition analysis. (Don't ask me why).

To compare the "guaranteed analysis" of various foods, you have to "remove" the moisture content from the analysis, because that causes great variations. For instance, comparing dry and wet foods, you're comparing apples and oranges. To make them comparable, you have to look at them on a "dry matter basis." In this site, over on the right hand side in the top box, fourth link down is a Dry Matter Basis (DMB) Calculator: http://catcentric.org/ (hopefully you have Excel).

Now...if you have starchy foods to chose from, clearly go with the one with the better list of ingredients and the least additives. agree.gif 4Health All Stage food is about 31% carbs (hard to know, they don't report ash. That's usually around 7-8% in dry foods. I assumed 7%). That's bulky - but actually, pretty standard except for some premium dry foods, and the ingredients are pretty good. They use barley, not corn, and they at least use rice, not brewer's rice, and there's no coloring added. smile.gif
post #9 of 23
Originally Posted by Aristotle View Post

Wouldn't by-products be by-products no matter what they're in?

Eh, I just think they can sneak more nasty stuff into by-product meal in dry foods than in "fresh" by-products in canned food. Might just be wishful thinking, though! laughing02.gif
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for all your help LDG! hugs.gif Is ash a bad thing? It sounds bad since I'm invisioning the stuff you find under a fireplace. paranoid.gif Now I'll be the person in the cat food isle punching in numbers on my phone's calculator to try to find the lowest carbs in everything. clap.gif Would the Appetizers be an exception to the " Fancy Feast doesn't have the greatest ingredients" rule since it doesn't have any by-products, soy, corn, bha, bht, coloring, animal digest *shudders* or other stuff? What carb percentage (if any) is considered safe for kitties in food? 

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

Lol ok willowy. lol2.gif That's definitely a possibility. "What you don't see won't hurt your cat." False, sir! paranoid.gif

post #12 of 23
Yeah, the Appetizers have good ingredients. . .but they don't have any vitamins added or anything, so it's not really "cat food" (just a treat). You could buy regular old canned chicken or tuna (sold for humans) and it would be basically the same (maybe more salt in the human kind. You could rinse it). Or cook up some chicken breast---yummy!
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the answer, Willowly, and that's a good idea. biggthumpup.gif I wouldn't have thought of that. Can you answer the ash or carb amount questions? I'm not trying to be a pest. I'm just curious. sorry.gif Oh, and does anybody recommend another DNB calculator? The one LDG recommended doesn't work on my computer. frown2.gif

Edited by Aristotle - 1/4/12 at 9:59pm
post #14 of 23
My understanding is that ash is a result of the high temperature cooking process. OK - did a quick search, and found not only a little information about ash, but the methdology for calculating the guaranteed analysis on a dry matter basis, so you can do it yourself! http://www.naturalcanines.com/gpage6.html

Hope this helps!
post #15 of 23


Originally Posted by Aristotle View Post

What carb percentage (if any) is considered safe for kitties in food? 

Ideally you want to keep it below roughly 10% of calories from carbohydrate, since cats in nature would typically be eating less than 5%. There's a decent (although not exhaustive) chart at this link showing some carb calories for popular canned foods: http://binkyspage.tripod.com/CanFoodNew.html


post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks Sugercatmom and thanks again LDG for all the help you gave this newbie! biggrin.gif This is definitely the site to go to for extremely helpful answers from very knowledgable people. biggthumpup.gif rock.gif By the way, on that carb counter site, in step 2:

"Divide the listed macronutrient percentage by the dry matter percentage. PROTEIN = Divide 10 percent by 25 percent = 40 percent protein. FAT= Divide 8 percent by 25 percent = 32 percent fat",     was 10 and 8 made up imaginary numbers? I'm trying to make sure I'm not missing anything. =) 

Edited by Aristotle - 1/5/12 at 1:54pm
post #17 of 23
They were using the theoretical "guaranteed analysis" numbers. Yeah, they don't make that clear. I had to back into the ash number, but in their dry matter basis assumptions/example, they're using a theoretical guaranteed analysis (like they would list on a can of food) of:

Protein 10%
Fat 8%
Fiber 3%
Ash 1.5%
Moisture 75%

It's a typical analysis you'd find on canned food.

So removing moisture, 100%-75% means 25% is dry matter.

Protein is 10% divided by 25% = 40% of the dry matter is protein
Fat is 8% divided by 25% = 32% of the dry matter is fat
Ash is 1.5% divided by 25% = 6% of the dry matter is ash

In this calculation, they assume that fiber is typically carbohydrates.

So to calculate carbs, you take 100% and subtract the other stuff:

100% - 40% - 32% - 6% = 22% carbs

Other DMB calculators don't include the fiber, so you'd take it out:

Fiber is 3% divided by 25% = 12% of the dry matter is fiber

With this calculation, the carb content is estimated at 100% - 40% (protein) - 32% (fat) - 6% (ash) - 12% (fiber) = 10% carbs (on a dry matter basis).

...and with dry foods, the moisture content is typically around 10% - 11%, so you still need to do the calculation, because there is that bit of moisture.

Ash... is a by-product of the high temp heating process. It is in every commercially cooked food. I believe the thinking is that cheaper foods often have higher ash - because "chicken" can include bones, cheaper chicken would have more bones, thus more ash (as an example).

Hope this helped!

And please - the forum is here so we can all ask questions, it's definitely no bother!

post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 

Phew, this can be slightly overwhealming to someone new to counting carbs in cat food. biggrin.gif Very informative. Thanks once again! hugs.gif

post #19 of 23
Originally Posted by Aristotle View Post

Phew, this can be slightly overwhealming to someone new to counting carbs in cat food. biggrin.gif Very informative. Thanks once again! hugs.gif

I find it easier just to call the toll free number on the bag/can and ask how many carbs there are wink.gif  (I'm not very good with  numbers any more)

post #20 of 23
Unfortunately, you're probably not getting a good answer with this method. It's easy, Sally. The food is composed of protein, fat, fiber, moisture, ash, and carbs. The guaranteed analysis lists protein, fat, fiber, moisture, and sometimes ash. So you simply add those up and deduct from 100 - the balance is carbs. That is likely the number the pet food company is going to give you. What matters is the analysis on a dry matter basis, because the moisture changes - and in canned foods, dramatically - the apparent composition of those components. smile.gif
post #21 of 23

So I am assuming 34 would be a high number for carbs for kitties...is that correct...they eat only twice a day....thats all I can afford with 30  ...I do get a little help with a sponsor or twohobbes.gif

post #22 of 23

That would be the number of carbs that I came up with on the 4Health Whitefish Potato/Pea with Real Turkey....

.its a new food  ...all my cats devoure it..but again only 2x a day..they would eat 10x a day if I let them hearthrob.gif


Whitefish, Fish Meal, Salmon Meal, Turkey Meal, Whole Potato, Dried Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca, Poultry Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dried Egg Product, Turkey, Natural Flavor, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Whole Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Dried Carrots, Choline Chloride, Dried Cranberry, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Fish Meal, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin B6), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K activity), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Cobalt Sulfate, Potassium Iodide.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min) 35.0%, Crude Fat (min) 18.0%, Crude Fiber (max) 3.0%, Moisture (max) 10.0%, Zinc (min) 120 mg/kg, Selenium (min) 0.4 mg/kg, Vitamin E (min) 300 IU/kg, Taurine (min) 0.1%, *Omega-6 (min) 3.0%, *Omega-3 (min) 0.5%

post #23 of 23
There is no exact known cause for diabetes in cats. Some of it is genetics. Some may very well be diet and exercise. There are excellent and extensive articles on the subject in a variety of places. This is a good place you may want to begin. Also your veterinarian will be a huge source of help with diet if he/she is educated on the subject. http://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/diabetes-symptoms-cats Your cat food looks pretty good ingredient wise and I'm glad to see you are carb concerned biggrin.gif
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