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Is "less expensive" cat food still healthy?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've been feeding my kitten, Frances, Iams dry mixed with Friskies wet...but he eats like a horse, and the Iams is kind of expensive. I'd like to get some of the less expensive dry cat food, but want to make sure it's still healthy for kitty. Also - someone told me that there's *sand* in some of the cheaper wet seafood brands - has anyone else heard that?? Thanks!
post #2 of 14
if that's what kitty likes.

Check value pack, newspaper, flier, store coupons for any discounts. Call the local pet stores and supermarkets for sales or coupons on cat food.

Write the Iams company and ask them to send you some coupons. Explain that you are on a budget and the food is expensive, however, you want your cat to continue with nutritious IAms food.

If your cat vomits or has a hairball problem, call or write IAms and explain that the food may have been bad or contaminated and your cat was sick. They'll send you some coupons. Ask to be placed on a mailing or coupon list and that you would appreciate them sending you any coupons or discounts in the near future. Good luck!

Remember, everything is negotiable!
post #3 of 14
Here's my take on it. Cats will do okay on the cheaper foods, just like many people survive on fast food and Top Ramen noodles. A co-worker of mine feeds his cat real cheapo crap (we're talking store-brand here) and his cat is 15 years old. But, just like people who live on fast food, they suffer from lower energy, excess fat, and bigger, smellier poops. The reason is, cheaper foods use a lot of grains as filler, so each piece of kibble has less meat and protein in it than a better brand. The cat then must eat more of the cheap food to get the same amount of necessary nutrients. Add to that the plentiful carbs in the food (that the cat doesn't need) and you get weight gain. And, because a lot of the cheap food is junk, it results in more waste.

So, I think the quality of the cat's life is lessened with the cheaper foods. I know money's an issue, but that's the beauty of the premium brands. They contain more meat and more digestible ingredients, so the cat actually eats less of it to get the same nutrition. I've found that you actually spend less because the premium food lasts longer. Add to that smaller, less smelly poops, and it starts to look like a clear choice. In the California Bay Area, I've seen some of the better brands (Solid Gold, Innova, Natural Balance) for $12. I think you can even go with something like Maximum Nutrition, which is the Walmart house brand. The ingredients are very good, and it's only $7 for an 8 pound bag.
post #4 of 14
very true glentheman(sorry! i got your name wrong at first! how embarrasing!!)...i was just explaining this at the other forum i frequent...LOL...all i add, is a reiteration of what i feel needs to be brought to light:

post #5 of 14
Well i know with the store bought food patches system is out
of whack but when she's on Science Diet she's just fine.
The vet told me that the store bought food is filled with
fillers and dyes
post #6 of 14
Well, I used to feed my cats cheepo food like Happy Cat and Alley Cat and Meow Mix and I had problems. One thing you have to watch is the ash content in the food. I lost my girl last year to CRF (kidney failure) and they say that ash can play a big part in that. The foods I feed my cats now, do not contain any ash.

What about Purina ONE? I compared the ingredients in Purina ONE and Iams and they are pretty much the same. Purina ONE is a little bit cheaper than Iams and I know its not the best, but it is better than the cheepo foods.

Good Luck.
post #7 of 14
Max gets Purina One. I think it is much better than say Cat Chow. I've read the ingredience on Purina One and I was satisfied with it and he really likes it.
post #8 of 14
i HATED Purina One and my kittens are now on Nutro Complete. i had to feed them 2-3 times as much of the Purina to get what they get out of the Nutro i feed. plus when they were on it, my apartment always smelled like something had died. on Nutro, they have less waste and it smells far better than it did. i don't have to buy nearly as much litter as i was. and once i switched, they both started growing like crazy.

just my two cents.
post #9 of 14
My cat is about 15 months old and I've been feeding her dry Cat Chow. I've only had her about 4 months so I don't know what she was being fed before that (she was a stray). She likes the dry food but it has crossed my mind whether or not she's getting good nutrition. I feed her about 1 cup per day and that seems to keep her satisfied. She's an active cat so I'm not too worried about her becoming fat.
post #10 of 14
I agree with everyone here. The cheaper foods end up costing more in the long run, becuase your cat eats more to get all the meat nutrients he or she needs. Many years ago, I used to feed mine Wiskas and 9-lives. My cats did fine on those, but I did have one that always acted like she never ate and she was over weight. For years now, I have been feeding them Eukanuba and they do great. There is even less to clean up out of the litter box.
post #11 of 14
MissCharlotte, Snowball was also a stray when she came to me. I didn't know much about cats at that time, so when I pet her I assumed it was normal for her to have course fur (she was like a brillo kitty). I fed her a cheaper brand, but then learned about the healthier brands. Just for kicks, I decided to try Innova. Within a couple of weeks, her fur became so soft and silky. It was nice to see such a tangible result.

So, if you're in doubt as to whether the Cat Chow is healthy enough, I think it's worth it to give one of the more expensive brands a trial run.

BTW, even though Snowball benefits a lot from the premium foods, she doesn't necessarily prefer them. She went just as crazy for the store-brand as she did for the Innova
post #12 of 14
I have examined my cat's hair and it does feel soft and looks shiny. I just opened a new 7 lb bag of Cat Chow this morning which gives me time to shop for another brand and to slowly change over the food.
post #13 of 14
Here's a link to a good overview on how to choose a cat food:

Cat Food Overview

When looking for a cat food, read the ingredient label. You want to try to stay away from by products, fillers and artificial colouring, flavourings etc. Also, meat (not byproducts or fillers)should be the main ingredients listed in the first few ingredients noted on the package.

Also stay away from synthetic preservatives which include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate, propylene glycol (also used as a less-toxic version of automotive antifreeze), and ethoxyquin.

Many people say that premium foods cost too much, but in reality, the premium foods last twice as long because they are nutrient dense and therefore require less amounts in a daily serving.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks, guys!! I'll check out Purina ONE this weekend and maybe hit IAMS up for some coupons too.
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