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"Fish!!"

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I can't clearly recall how it started with Pixel, my seven year-old red tortoise tabby, but I feed her "fish." I buy the small cans of sardines packed in water and feed her maybe half a fish or so each day.

She's never gotten wet cat food from me. And I adopted her when she was pretty young. I thought I had learned that pet food was typically loaded with ash, which is bad for them. (Why they would put something bad for cats in catfood is a mystery to me but...)

I guess what's got me worried is a new pet commercial where the vet is telling the pet owner that "shedding can be a sign of health problems." I did not know this and Pixel does shed. Three to five times a year I comb massive amounts of fur out of her.

So I came in to ask the opinions of this group. Pixel seems healthy and happy but could the sardines be harming her?
post #2 of 22
I've always heard that you shouldn't feed fish more than twice a week due to the magnesium levels.

What is her primary fiood?
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've not heard that! Now I am worried.

Her primary food is Iams Adult.
post #4 of 22
As long as you are feeding at least 90% of the diet as an actual cat food and 10% or less non-cat-food treats, it is fine. It sounds like you are using sardines as a replacement wet food though, and you can start to mess up their vitamins and levels with that.

Ash is also in dry food though, so if you're feeding a main diet of a food like Iams you are already feeding them ash. You should try feeding them at least 50% wet food, not canned human fish which can actually hurt your cat depending on what it's packed in. And cutting down on the dry. Dry food often contains significantly more ash than wet, actually, for the brand you're feeding it's around 7% ash for the dry and less than 2% ash for most of the wet.
Here's what Iams claims ash is:
"Ash is a component of magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and many other minerals. Ash plays an important part in both dog and cat diets as its minerals are essential nutrients. The amount of ash (mineral content) in our diets is monitored closely to maintain low ash with optimum mineral content." I'm not sure how I feel about that explanation, hopefully one of our feline nutrition experts will help out.
post #5 of 22
Ash is not a bad thing ... it is what minerals are left after the food is burned...

If she sheds alot try a food higher in Omega 6( linoleic acid ) and omega 3 ... look at Nutro and Royal canin and compare it to Iams
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm very glad I came in here, but wish I had learned this sooner.

Because the ash discussions I had "learned" about raved about how bad it was and how much it was in WET food; I decided not to even start feeding Pixel wet food. Only dry food and treats.

I will look into the other foods mentioned.

Her sardines are packed in water so are the sardines themselves harmful?
post #7 of 22
Water is a better packing medium than oil, but you are still much better off finding a cat food based on fish, like tuna or whitefish or lobster, than feeding human fish because our bodies make taurine whereas cats don't and they can go blind without it. There's plenty in any commercially made cat food no matter how low quality it is, but they don't add any to human food. Other nutrient balances will also be out of whack. So if you're eating the fish already you could certainly give the kitties a piece as a treat, but nowhere near as much as it sounds like you have been. If your cat will eat fish likely they will gulp down the wet food.
post #8 of 22
Canned fish for human consumption is far worse for cats than what is in specially formulated canned cat food. If you're feeding Iams dry, why not try the new Iams wet pate style foods. The new formulas are moister than the old ones. They're phasing out the old ones but still have them on the shelf because they have a 2 year shelf life. Look for the new ones that have different packaging on them. Yes Iams uses fish in their foods because of the Omega 3 fatty acids that help maintain a shiny healthy coat. But their food is low in magnesium and balanced to be safe and nutritionally formulated specifically for cats. I was impressed when I called the Iams company this morning and asked about whether or not the fish they use contain any mercury. I was told by the representative who first had to put me on hold to talk to a vet, that they only use cold-water fish which is lower in mercury levels than other fish and before they put their food on the market They test the fish to make sure that there are no detectable amounts of mercury in them and she assured me that it's safe to feed this food to my cats every day. I think that's pretty good quality control. And I feel confident feeding their food even though my cats are getting a certain amount of fish every day combined with other meats. For good nutrition you may want to get your cat eating other things besides fish, buy cat foods that don't have fish at the very top of the list but may have some fish towards the bottom. Iams Lamb and Rice, Chicken formula, Turkey and Giblets have this quality. You may or may not be able to get your cat eating wet foods that don't have any fish in them(For that try a different manufacturer). But rest assured, cat food designed for cats with some fish in them is going to be a lot safer for your cat to eat than canned fish for human consumption that is not formulated to have the right balance of nutrients for cat. Also it is worth knowing that well known cat food companies can lose millions and be sued if they make our pets sick. That's why they have done so much research. You can call the phone # on the package or can and ask them questions. Their customer service reps do this for a living. If there is a phone # that means they are willing to answer any questions or concerns you may have. If I don't see contact information on a bag or can of cat food, then I don't trust the company.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies to this. I really had no idea the sardines would be ... "not so good" for Pixel.

She is liking wet food just fine. I still call it "fish!" so she comes when called.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61
I guess what's got me worried is a new pet commercial where the vet is telling the pet owner that "shedding can be a sign of health problems." I did not know this and Pixel does shed. Three to five times a year I comb massive amounts of fur out of her.
I think the members came to the consensus that this particular commercial was simply a marketing ploy because whatever product they were advertising was not even of the highest quality.

I've no input on the sardines thing, however.
post #11 of 22
Unless sardines are her main source of food, the occassional treat is ok - fish oil is good for the coat. What else does she eat besides the fish. An all-fish diet is not healthy in the long run.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
About the commercial: I'm glad to hear this was discussed in here already, I had a feeling it might have been. Thanks.

And, Pix doesn't seem to know the difference between the wet food I am now feeding her and the fish/sardines. I had to give her 1/3 of one the other night because I ran out of wet food and she didn't gobble it up faster than the wet food or anything.

The IAMS food does seem to be good stuff. I feed Pixel the Adult IAMS but recently I bought her Maximum Brand diet cat food that is also for hair balls.

One thing about Pixel is that when she hisses (and she's been doing that a lot lately with all the kittens around), she starts coughing up the hairball. It seems she always has one.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Ash is not a bad thing
It can be bad if the levels are high....longterm ingestion of high ash foods can cause bladder/kidney issues (build-up).
post #14 of 22
Fish is no good for cats. From what I understand it interupts the vitamin E balance and the cats get "Yellow Fat Dasiese" I guess it can be quite painfull. Do a few web searches. I still give our cats fish on a limited scale. Cooked not raw. It's real hard not to. I always seem to have some fish in a pan. I would stop feeding kitty fish. I find that our cats love roast chicken.
post #15 of 22
Why is she on a diet food? Is she overweight? In general, cats do better and lose actually more weight being fed mostly regular wet food, maybe a little dry. Diet foods often just have more grains and fillers (which is why many cats are fat in the first place!).
When Zissou has a hairball she eats a bunch of grass and that gets it up (along with some grass, fun for me).
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlphilli
It can be bad if the levels are high....longterm ingestion of high ash foods can cause bladder/kidney issues (build-up).
YOu really should learn to quote properly or not Quote as the meaning changes and ASH is essential for a cat yes HIGH( if memory serves me over 7.5 is high) levals not often found any more can be troublesome./....lol..
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
Why is she on a diet food? Is she overweight? In general, cats do better and lose actually more weight being fed mostly regular wet food, maybe a little dry. Diet foods often just have more grains and fillers (which is why many cats are fat in the first place!).
When Zissou has a hairball she eats a bunch of grass and that gets it up (along with some grass, fun for me).
Well, I'm glad to learn this. We will stop feeding Pixel the diet dry food immediately then. And wet food will help her lose the extra weight? I never would've thought that. Thanks for the info!

Pixel's hairball problem is ongoing. Lately when she's been hissing about the new kittens she will hiss then start coughing to dislodge the hairball. It's like she has one inside her all the time...
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61
Thanks for all the replies to this. I really had no idea the sardines would be ... "not so good" for Pixel.

She is liking wet food just fine. I still call it "fish!" so she comes when called.
glad to hear she was so easy to 'retrain' - very unlike MY Pixel, who absolutely refuses to eat any wet food!
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Aw, another Pixel....I've not heard of a cat who wouldn't eat wet food!!!

She was weighing 13 lbs last week but I just weighed her today and she is 11 pounds. I think the scale must've been off or something.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61
And wet food will help her lose the extra weight? I never would've thought that. Thanks for the info!
Our Bijou was getting to be a "big boy" - 16 plus pounds. I started feeding them wet morning and night (used to feed all dry until I became better educated here), and he has lost a bit of weight and maintained.
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well for heaven's sake! When I pick up the foster kittens at the vet, the past two times they specifically told me to feed them only dry food.

These are vets! What is up with them?

Now, one thing I will want to review is what wet food to feed. If this is the main of her diet I will want to give a better brand, probably, than the "Special Kitty" cheap stuff, right?

Someone mentioned IAMS in another thread...
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik61
Well for heaven's sake! When I pick up the foster kittens at the vet, the past two times they specifically told me to feed them only dry food.

These are vets! What is up with them?

Now, one thing I will want to review is what wet food to feed. If this is the main of her diet I will want to give a better brand, probably, than the "Special Kitty" cheap stuff, right?

Someone mentioned IAMS in another thread...
Unfortunately "most" vets do not get much in the way of education regarding nutrition. The younger/newer vets are becoming more savvy but it may take time. Dry food (IMO) is more like cereal and can cause kitties to get fat. A wet food diet is far better for your kitty as well because cats tend not to drink a lot of water.

When I got smarter and started adding wet food to our babies diets, I went to our local pet store and picked out about 6 different brands with no by-products (Nutro, Wellness, Merrick, Natural Balance and I forget the others right now) and bought 2 of each. I asked the cashier if I could bring back any unopened cans as I was trying to find out which brand they would like. She assured me they would take them back as long as I had my receipt.

Turned out ours would only eat the Merrick. Merrick is a good food (looks and smells good enough for us to eat). Our kitties will not eat any food with fish in it so we feed Granny's Pot Pie and Thanksgiving Dinner.
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