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What food to switch to

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone I'm here to enlist your help again! You can google as much as you want but you'll never find a direct answer lol. Ok this is kind of random and scatterbrained post lol but I honestly don't know much about cat food at all and I have been free feeding frown.gif I didn't even know that was bad until recently.

My cat is overweight. He needs to lose weight. He's about 16 pounds. Although he is an adorable chunkster I want him to be healthy and live as long as possible. I have been feeding him Purina Indoor Cat Chow. I asked my vet if I should switch and they said any Purina food should be ok. Is the brand I'm using ok?

I've also been reading that wet food with high protein and low carbs is best for cats? Is that correct? I've also been reading you should feed your cat the portion size of two mice per day? How in the heck do I figure out how much that is? Lol

I was thinking of purchasing an automatic feeder to control the portions more but do they have one for wet food? Or is that a no no....

If I can't do wet food, what is a really good brand of dry food that's mostly protein? Is it ok to keep cats on dry food?

Any advice is appreciated. basically I'm just wondering what some good brands are, and if you know if they have an automatic wet food feeder... or if I could even make my own food I would do that.

Btw I have 2 cats only one is overweight and I want to switch both of them to the healthiest diet possible

post #2 of 9

Hello and welcome!! :wavey:


What to feed is the eternal question. The rule of thumb is that cats are obligate (true) carnivores and need to have a diet that is high protein and low in carbs. Right now he is eating Cat Chow Indoor? Is he eating any wet food at all?


This is the ingredients list for the CC Indoor (from Purina's website). As you can see, there are a lot of fillers in there. These can contribute to a cat's weight gain especially if free fed :   


Corn meal, poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal, soy flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, powdered cellulose, animal liver flavor, soybean hulls, calcium carbonate, phosphoric acid, salt, natural flavor, potassium chloride, choline chloride, parsley flakes, Vitamin E supplement, taurine, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, Red 40, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, Yellow 5, Blue 2, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.


I would stop the free feeding and incorporate wet food into his diet. You didn't mention what your budget is but if you're looking for a better quality dry, I recommend Orijen. It's pricey and not available from big box pet stores like Petco and Petsmart  but it's good. Most independent pet stores do carry it.


Here's their ingredients list as a comparison



Boneless chicken,* chicken meal, chicken liver,* whole herring,* boneless turkey,* turkey meal, turkey liver,* whole eggs,* boneless walleye,* whole salmon,* chicken heart,* chicken cartilage,* herring meal, salmon meal, chicken liver oil, chicken fat, red lentils, green peas, green lentils, sun-cured alfalfa, kelp, pumpkin,* butternut squash,* spinach greens,* carrots,* apples,* pears,* cranberries,* mixed tocopherols (preservative), chicory root, dandelion root, chamomile, peppermint leaf, ginger root, caraway seeds, turmeric, rose hips, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, freeze-dried chicken, freeze-dried turkey, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Choline Chloride, Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, niacin, ribo?avin, folic acid, biotin, Vitamin B12, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, sodium selenite *delivered fresh and preservative-free
If you're looking for a more budget friendly choice, Merrick Purrfect Bistro is a good choice (Petco carries it)
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Dried Potatoes, Peas, Natural Pork Flavor, Potato Protein, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Fat(preserved with mixed tocopherols), Natural Chicken Flavor, Sweet Potatoes, Ground Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Liver, Dried Whey Protein Concentrate, Organic Alfalfa, Cranberries, Phosphoric Acid, Flaxseed Oil (source of Omega 3 fatty acids), Salt, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product
For wet foods, this will depend a lot on what you can afford and what your cat will eat (the dry too). Most cats cannot resist Fancy Feast and Friskies. The pates from both brands are the best choices. I get the Friskies poultry pates in a case of 32 from Wal Mart for $15. Sheba pates are also good as is the 4Health line from Tractor Supply Company. They have a grain free food that is .69 for a 5.5 ounce can. These are just a few. Petco and Petsmart have other brands such as Nutro Natural Choice, Merrick (the pates are well received by many cats) and Nature's Variety Instinct. These are more expensive than the Shebas, FF and Friskies but are good choices.
I would try to change him to a mostly wet diet with some dry as a topper to entice him to eat if he is reluctant to go for the wet. A lot of kibble cats are. Using toppers such as crumbled Pure Bites freeze dried chicken treats is a good idea as well. My cats adore these things and they are a staple in our house. They are much healthier than Temptations and such as they are simply freeze dried chicken breast. All meat. 
He's probably not going to like it when the free feeding ends but it's for the best. Adding more play time in will help him shed some pounds too by getting him to be more active. It's also good bonding time :heart4:.  Do you have a wand toy or something like that for him?? Most cats go crazy for Da Bird and laser pointers. These (and the Pure Bites) can be found on Amazon. 
When switching dry foods, it's better to do this gradually to avoid tummy troubles. Here is a guide



post #3 of 9

Unfortunately most regular vets don't really know much about nutrition dontknow.gif So don't rely on the vet for very good or accurate advice on diet.


Purina dry food is likely the reason why your cat is overweight. Cat Chow has roughly 400 calories per cup depending on the particular formula, far too much for most cats. Are you measuring out the dry food or just filling the bowl up as needed? Besides the high calories, the ingredients in Cat Chow (and most Purina dry foods) are horrible as Kat0121 listed in her post. Too many fillers (including cellulose aka wood pulp) and grains and no real meat.


Canned foods are much better for cats and can help with weight loss. Many canned foods are under 200 calories for a 5 oz or so size can and under 100 for a 3 oz can. Here's one chart: You typically want to feed 20 to 25 calories per pound of ideal body weight daily. You could be more conservative and feed 30 to 35 calories per pound of ideal body weight daily to prevent fatty liver disease. Any commercial brand that your cat likes and you can afford is fine: Fancy Feast Classic / Gourmet, Friskies, etc You don't need to buy expensive premium brands.


There is good info here on how to help a cat to lose weight safely:


A little more than a 5.5 oz can is plenty for most cats. That's about three 3 oz cans. Some cats may need more or less food. It helps to spread the food out all day instead of setting two strict meal times. Three or four meals daily usually works for many cats. If some dry has to be fed, limit it to less than 1/2 cup daily.


Honestly IMO, don't worry too much about carbs unless your cat needs very low carbs because of diabetes or some other medical condition. Generally stick with around 10% or less carbs. The occasional higher carb food is ok and will give variety in the diet. Here's a chart that you can use to find out carb and calorie and other nutritional content of canned foods:


If you can stop all dry food and feed only canned food it would be great for your cat :nod: If you want to make your own cat food, please see the Raw and Home Cooked forum for info on how to do such a diet properly.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much!!!! Wow I can not believe the vet told me his food is ok I've basically been feeding him cat McDonald's for years I feel so sad for him now. I wish i would've done more research about food long ago.

Well this information has helped me a lot. I'm not sure exactly what my budget is yet because I have to look into prices more.

He will probably hate me for not free feeding anymore lol he will meow his head off when he doesn't have food and he starts swatting me lol how rude. But it's def for the best.

He loves wet food so I'm not really worried about that I just want to make sure his tummy doesn't get upset when switching.

Oh and when I said automatic feeders I meant like the ones you can set a time for them to be fed. But it looks like wet food is a better option. The reason I was interested in this is because I work all day and am gone from 7am-6pm so I might have to only do two feeding times one morning one evening unless it ok to do another feeding later at night? Not sure how I should work that out.

Also he doesn't like playing no matter what I do he just looks at me like what are you doing? He is very lazy. lol I'll try Dabird though I've been hearing about that a lot.

Thanks again I'm going to read all the articles you've linked and go from there. Thanks for the helpful information.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

This is him btw lol. His name is Professor.
Edited by hellothere1234 - 2/26/16 at 9:52am
post #6 of 9
Originally Posted by hellothere1234 View Post

This is him btw lol. His name is Professor.

He's very handsome!! :heart4:

post #7 of 9
I think that wet food is great for weight loss. I adopted a cat one year ago who was quite overweight. He had a giant belly! The first thing that I did was switch him to canned food. 1 year later he is down to 10.4 lbs and is in great health.
post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by hellothere1234 View Post

Oh and when I said automatic feeders I meant like the ones you can set a time for them to be fed. But it looks like wet food is a better option. The reason I was interested in this is because I work all day and am gone from 7am-6pm so I might have to only do two feeding times one morning one evening unless it ok to do another feeding later at night? Not sure how I should work that out.




Those types of feeders actually work well with canned food :) I've used this one in the past to provide small canned food meals to a diabetic cat. Catmate is another popular brand of feeders. Canned food is ok if left out all day. You acn add extra water to the food to keepit from drying out too much or freeze canned food into serving size chunks (silicone ice cube tray works best. You can buy them in 1 oz or 2 oz capacities) and pop the frozen chunks into the feeder to slowly defrost.


My cats are fed breakfast, dinner, one cat gets a post-dinner snack, and both cats get fed a snack before bed time. Since I feed raw, I can't leave raw out all day for them to eat. Neither cat seem to care about not having anything to snack on during the day. Other cats are different so a timed feeder or a very small amount of "healthy" dry food or even freeze dried raw is good.


Originally Posted by hellothere1234 View Post

Well this information has helped me a lot. I'm not sure exactly what my budget is yet because I have to look into prices more.



Affordable canned food suggestions:


You can start out with an inexpensive brand like Fancy Feast Classic / Gourmet and then later add in other brands for variety.

post #9 of 9

LOL he looks so fat and happy! This made my night. 

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