You know those stories you hear now and then about someone who smoked cigars like a chimney, drank rotgut whiskey, shoved down steak & fried foods, and lived until he was 98? Well, that was my previous and first cat Choie (she's the black & white one below in my arms).
She showed up on our doorstep when I was 17 and she was just under a year, and she was basically "my" cat. I fed her a diet of cheap brands, some of which I now know are full of fillers and dyes and worse. Mostly 9 Lives, but also Figaro, Friskies, Meow Mix, Purina Cat Chow, Purina Moist Meals (whatever they're called, LOL), and Pounce Treats. The highest quality she got was Fancy Feast now and then.
Not only that, but I fed her haphazardly, changing brands and flavors (depending on what was available at the local Duane Reade) without ever knowing that it's recommended that you make any change gradually.
And yet, she never had digestive problems, she was never sick, she was never overweight ... and she lived to be 20.
Now, would I recommend
such clueless feeding habits? Lord no. My current trio get the good stuff (Pet Guard), 'cause I know better now -- largely thanks to this awesome site!
But still, Choie was a cat in a million and thrived despite my innocent ignorance, bless her sweet little heart.