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Best Brand of Cat Food

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I've heard over and over again that it's best to buy cat food from the pet store--not the grocery store. Assuming that's true I wonder how one picks between the all the brands carried by the pet store. Is there really a better brand? My vet recommends Science Diet but at the cat shows I've been to, everyone has had either "I feed Eukanuba" or "I feed Royal Canin." Perhaps they're all good but I thought I'd see if anyone could clarify.

Thanks a lot, Annie
post #2 of 53
Okay, from what I have read and talked to my vet about, as well as several cat people I know....It is usually better to feed the premium brands because of the nutrition that goes into them. I guess the theory "you get what you pay for" kind of applies. As far as the top brands go, You go with what kitty likes. A lot of food companies have programs going for breeders, so they advertise for them. There are specific guidlines for what a cat should get. I do not have them in front of me. It made me crazy trying to look at every ingredient possible. So I went with what my cats like best, I even mix them at times to get a little something different. I have heard the only one pretty acceptable from the grocery store is the purina. Now, this is just the information that has been passed onto me, it is not scientific. If you are really concerned about giving exact ingredience, look at all the literature that is out there.

post #3 of 53
Hi. The trick is being able to read and understand the label. If you read, " chicken by product " that means the junk off the abatior floor!!! In university we used to call it, " Lips and ^**holes!" If it says, " poultry meal," that is much better. It means flesh, ( muscle and meat ) and skin. If it says , " Chicken " than that is pure flesh with no bone or junk in it! The next way the companies can mislead you is by breaking up the grain content into three or four catagories. Such as " Ground corn" then next to it says " Corn gluten meal " next is " maize ." If you add up all the corn, the product is mostly corn. Something else to watch for is the fat they use. The best is Poultry fat. It is 20% more digestable than Beef fat. If the label says, " Animal Fat " put the package down and run away They're not even telling you which animal they are using. It could be Road Kill!!

Both Eukanuba and Royal Canin are excellent products. I feed Nutrience Supreme. It is as good a product as the others, but costs a little less.
post #4 of 53
Here is a good article about pet food:
What's Really In Pet Food
post #5 of 53
Thread Starter 
Thanks Zuzu, the article was very interesting.

post #6 of 53
Okay, I don't know about anybody else, but I just went to the pet store to look at all the labels!! I only found 3 brands that specified that there is whole meat product. Then just because it had whole meat product didn't mean that it listed the kind of fat that was in it. I read the article we had a link for. They specify that there really is no 100% good food on the market. I do not have the facility, time or money to make food for 10 cats and 3 people. So, back to the question, which one really is the best for kitty?? I can see why people give up and buy what is on sale. Does anyone know of a fool proof way to decide??
post #7 of 53
I've done quite a bit of research on pet food, and at present am feeding 25 cats. They all look fabulous and although the price per bag of the foods I use at present is more expensive, they eat a lot less and I have found that spending more has actually cost me less in terms of what I spend each month on cat food when I compare it to what I used to spend on not so great foods like Science Diet(ick). The foods I use myself are Innova canned and dry, Sensible Choice canned and dry, Nutro canned (the dry is fairly good but not quite as good as the first foods listed), the fish flavors of Pro Plan canned, but not the other flavors as they contain "animal" liver, Wellness canned, and Royal Canin dry (same company as Sensible Choice). My understanding is that Innova, Sensible Choice, Royal Canin and Wellness all use human grade ingredients and no by-products. The Nutro and Pro Plan contain no by-products, either. Innova has a good website that talks in depth about food ingredients so you can make an educated decision on what to feed your pets http://www.naturapet.com
As you have found, reading and understanding labels is very important in choosing what to feed your pet, and I think it's important that every pet owner learn how to do this. I hope this helps.
post #8 of 53
I have researched cat and dog foods for years. I have come to some conclusions, a good deal of it common sense.
The cat is of the highest order of carnivores. That means they have to have meat in order to stay healthy. When a cat eats it's prey, they eat the whole thing, guts, brains, eyeballs, hair, bone and pre-digested stomach contents. Everybody say Yuk!
The cat with it's God given wisdom and instincts know exactly what to eat to stay healthy. A farm cat that hunts is very healthy. They don't have all the diseases that our companion cats have. It all boils down to nutrition.
First of all, you have to remember that even though the package always says "complete" nutrition, it is only complete for what is known today. We don't know everything about nutrition, so we don't know what constitutes "complete" nutrition for our cats. We can only try to feed the best food we can, as naturally as possible.
Being carnivores, the cat doesn't need carbohydrate, and fiber in more than tiny amounts. A cat should not have grain. They do not attack stalks of grain in the farmers field! It is safe to say that most of the cat food on the market today is GRAIN based. What, primarily does Purina do? They are a CEREAL co. Where do you think the by products from their cereal mfg company goes? Why do you think they got into the pet food industry in the first place? So they would have some place to dump their by-products for gain, instead of throwing them out. By the way, they make terrific rabbit feed, and chicken feed. Be-cause these animals thrive on a grain based diet.
The first thing you have to do is to learn how to read labels. If the package says, chicken, corn gluten meal, rice, rice polishings, even though the first ingredient is meat, this is a grain based product. They get very tricky!
The meat is 65% water to begin with. The next ingredients are fractionated parts of the grain, which is bad because it is not a whole food. The grain is already dry, so that food is practically all grain.
I never feed gluten meal of any kind. After the Bruhaha over soybean they got real clever, and started using gluten meals to take it's place. Gluten, is the protein part of the grain, which causes people who are allergic to wheat, etc, all the trouble. So think what it does to a total carnivore! A cat cannot handle any protein other than from meat. It stresses the immune system and compromises the health of the cat. They will try to get along with it, but eventually they will break down, especially breeding animals who are under stress.
By products is something that has gotten a lot of bad press. Some companies even advertise that their products contain NO by products, as if it were a good thing! It is not a good thing. In the wild, the cat eats ALL of the parts including the by products. The SOURCE of the by products is the thing you should be worrying about. That they are clean and free from toxic junk, and that they are human grade from an inspected plant. Why are by products necessary? Because there is nutrition in by products that cannot be gotton anywhere else, i.e. muscle meat.
The best way to feed a cat is a raw diet. If it is not practical to do that, then some raw meat everyday should be given. How would you like to eat nothing fresh for your whole life? Only eat junk food and out of a can? The enzymes from raw food are essential for health.
Virtually, all petfood mfg plants today are USDA inspected. It comes under FDA regulations. They are in BIG trouble if they use inferior feedstuff. Most in fact, is human grade, and all is tested for toxic chemicals, etc.
post #9 of 53
This is a fascinating thread.

Just wondering, as you feed raw meat, which kind of meat do you use? As you said, the different parts contain different nutrients. I guess chicken would be best, becuase it's the closest we have to a natural diet of mice and birds. But then which parts of the chicken?
post #10 of 53
ZUZU, I have a bag of pro plan here, the 4th ingredient is poultry by product meal. Is there a difference in the by product meal verses just by product?
Judy, I know you are all for feeding raw meat but if you had no choice but to feed dry food, what would it be? I feed everyone dry food all the time. They all get an occasional treat. Generally things like yogurt and lunch meat. I dont like the idea of anything eating raw meat. In some respect, it has taken years to domesticate the cat and feeding them raw food seems to take them back to the days in the wild. I also worry about having to worm everyone all the time. I try to keep medications out of their systems unless necessary. Does anyone have some tips for people like me?
post #11 of 53
The cat is not domestic in the same sense that other animals are. Their digestive system is still very short, as are other carnivores. That means that the food has to get in there pass through, and extract the nutrients in a very short time. Grain gets in there, ferments, causes gas, bloating digestive problems.
Cats have been with us for a very short time, compared to the dog. It has only been a very short time since we have actually taken them into our homes and imposed our dietary laws onto them. Before that, we kept them on the farms to kill mice. But a cat is still wild by nature. If one gets lost, they can pretty well still take care of themselves, unlike a dog, who will find the nearest human to feed him. He will not go out in the woods and do any amount of hunting like a cat will. The cats attitude is very wild, compared to a dog.
They haven't been with us as long.
The best food I've found on the market is Eukanuba. And it runs a poor second behind a natural, raw diet. But I do feed it, as I know when people take home a kitten they are going to feed dry food. Also, it is handy and easy to feed. But mine get raw food everyday. I feed the "Carnivore" diet which is prepared for all cats, dogs, and zoo carnivores.
The difference between by products and by product meal, is that the meal has the water taken out of it. The FIRST ingredient should be meal of some sort, so you know that they are getting meat.
The cats system can handle raw meat, bugs, parasites and all. I suppose on occasion one might have trouble. But this is their food, gross as it sounds. Even with the cats that hunt, I have to worm for tapeworm once or twice a year, but I would not compromise their health by forcing them to eat an inferior diet, because of that small problem.
They are extremely healthy. When we clean fish they eat the guts. They fish for minnows out of the minnow bucket, and boy do they love them!
I'll write more later, as I'm on the way to the airport with my kitties.
post #12 of 53
I really am enjoying this thread. I am learning a lot.

I would just like to suggest that all feral cats do require grain. They get it by eating the stomachs of their prey, which are usually herbavoirs. If cats were only fed fresh, butchered chicken, they would become deficient very quickly.
post #13 of 53
That is very true, Harriet. And it is in very small amounts. Even Eukanuba has a small amt of corn or rice. That is different than a "grain based" food, where the main ingredients are grain, and/or fractionated grain, which is even worse yet, because it is not a whole food.
And it also true that a cat eating only the flesh portion of the chicken will, indeed, have malnutrition, because of the high phos in that portion. In order to be balanced the animal has to eat the bone, also, then it is minerally balanced. I buy turkey backs for 29 cents a lb. Chop them up for the cats, bone and all. Then you don't have to worry about it. Grow some grass in a little container for chlorophyll and enzymes, and carb.
I also use Innova as it has no glutens or soybean, yet has vegetation, but very little grain. I wish it also would have a safe source of by products.
Zuzu, it is normal and natural for a cat to have the same diet it always has had. We have not improved on the God given diet that cats crave and do well on. It is convenient, and that is all.
Remember the cardiomyopathy that the cats were getting from these so called "complete and balanced" diets? They fixed that by adding taurine, an isolated, artificial, lab made protein (chemical). This is not the same as what is found in meat, naturally. If I read a label, and one of the ingredients is "taurine", you know then, that the food probably is not meat based. If there is enough meat in a product, there is no need to add artificial taurine. There is no added taurine in Eukanuba, or any of the dry Iams foods, as it is not needed because they are meat based. It says right on the package the taurine levels of the product, and this is from the meat, as there is none added, artificially. And they state this fact on the package.
I do freeze the meat before feeding, as this would also kill undesirable pathogens.
post #14 of 53
I dont know about anybody else, but I feel like a vacuum, sucking all this information up. I think the more it is discussed, the clearer it is getting. I am not at a point where I can make their food all the time. But I will say that they will get more of what I call treats and I will be looking at these packages a lot closer. Does anyone know if when a package states...chicken as the first ingredient, that there is real meat in the product?
post #15 of 53
Chicken listed as the first ingredient means that by weight, there is more chicken than the next ingredient. BUT,
chicken, like other meat is about 65% water. If you put everything on a dry basis, it is likely that the amount of chicken would be quite a bit further down the list. Another way we can be fooled into thinking we are feeding a meatbased diet. If chicken MEAL is the number 1 ingredient, the water is already taken out, and then it is probably got a good deal of meat in it. See if there is added taurine somewhere on the list. If so, the meat probably isn't up there where it should be.
post #16 of 53

I have always fed my cats Science Diet from the time they were babies. It is true you get what you pay for. I once changed their food to try and save a couple of dollars. It ended up costing me much more in veterinary bills. I changed to Purina One and my 5 year old male ended up with a urinary tract infection. He peed on my bed. At first I thought it was the kitty litter I was using (I had changed it gradually)so I switched back to the brand they were used to. Then one night I was in bed reading a book when Casey climed on my lap, looked me straight in the eye and peed in my lap. That was HIS way of telling me he was sick. The vet said she never saw anything like it. From the minute she took the urine sample, crystals began to form in it. She also told me that some males were more susceptible to UTI's than others. I also told her I had switched cat foods. I went back to Science Diet and have not had a problem since. As my Dad would say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Nuff said.
post #17 of 53
I just talked to a pretty reputable vet here today. We got on the subject of cat and dog food. He sais the best bagged brand of both dog and cat food is eukenuba. I brought up this discussion and his take on it was, that we have been feeding our pets this dry food for years. Over the years they have come up with some pretty good products. That they do need certain amounts of grains and such. In a nut shell, he said we as people have a choice not to eat potatoe chips and candy and we could go buy the organic foods and become health nuts. We as people are not counting all of the nutrients we actually require...why are we doing this for our animals. I figured I would share another take on this with all of you.
post #18 of 53
Smart Vet. Eukanuba is a very good MEAT based food. Most of them aren't, regardless of what they say.
The cat normally gets a small amount of grain, seed, vegetation by eating the stomach contents of it's prey.
For experimental purposes they are now feeding Eukanuba to zoo cats, and they are growing wonderfully, and are healthy.
post #19 of 53
As I have said before, I don't have the time to feed them all natural food. Besides I am sure I would not be able to get them exactly what they need. I would really like to switch everyone to Eukanuba. Does anyone know if you can get it for less than the high profile pet stores?
post #20 of 53
Sometimes if you buy in quantity, petco gives a 10% discount. Talk to the manager. Also some feed stores have it.
They don't eat a whole lot of this food, and it is highly digestable, so it is not as expensive as one would think.
post #21 of 53
Thanks Judy, I think next time we have to buy food, we are going to try it. We have been very lucky so far, but I want to make sure they stay healthy and happy!!!
post #22 of 53
I'm looking for Eukanuba in the local stores but I can't find it. The people there keep telling me that Eukanuba is Iams and it's the same. One salesperson even told me that Eukanuba is a cheap version of Iams quality cat food... They say that Eukanuba is cheaper than Iams because it's not as good ):

I'd love to compare the labels myself, but I can't find Eukanuba anywhere...
post #23 of 53
Eukanuba is the Iams Co. top of the line food.
post #24 of 53
Eukanuba is FAR superior to Iams. They are made by the same company. As has been already stated, Eukanuba is Iam's top of the line product. Not the other was around!
post #25 of 53
Yeah, I'll try and look up the importer. I just bought 3 packages of regular Iams (it was either that or just canned food the whole week ). I'll see where I can get the Eukanuba.
post #26 of 53
Their website has a phone # to call and international listings. It is http://www.eukanuba.com ...hehe what a surprise. You can also find all the nutritional values too.
post #27 of 53
Thanks for the link!

I found my local distributor there and called them. Eukanuba will be here within a month (possibly less).
post #28 of 53
My vet recently recommended
'the Missing Link' as a supplement to help my 18 yr old gain a little weight (good health per blood tests)
Anyone tried this
'Missing Link' ?

vet strongly recommended fresh liver/organ meats. Even if chewing a little difficult.

Ktty also takes "Felo-Form"
to add taurine to diet. He is on science diet senior + canned

My young kitties are on Eukanuba
kitten for the first time and I must say doing well. Wonder about Vitimin supplements for them. Vet says not nec. ???
post #29 of 53
I'm no expert, but from what I've heard there's no need to supplement quality cat food. So if you're feeding Eukanuba, I guess there's no need for supplements. Adding vitamins and minerals can actually harm the cat if it becomes an overdose - so I'd follow your vet's advice.
post #30 of 53
I would not add any artificial and/or isolated nutrients to a diet. If the ingredients are good they are unneeded and may do harm.
If the cat is on a meat based diet, which they all should be, added taurine in unnecessary as it is found naturally in the meat. The taurine which they add is an artificial isolated protein (chemical) which they make in a laboratory.
If a dry food package has taurine added, you can be sure that the food is not meatbased, but is grainbased.
I fed "missing link" once to my dog, and she promply got hot spots. She never had them before or since, once she recovered.
Look at the package. Are the ingredients those which your cat would hunt for if he was in the wild?
You vet is right in telling you to feed by products. They are a very necessary part of cat nutrition. There are nutritional substances in by products that cannot be gotten from feeding muscle meat. They are an exceptional food if they are clean and uncontaminated.
If your cat is healthy and you are worried about weight, add a little real butter to his diet. He needs more calories. Or maybe he is having a hard time digesting at his age, in which case he needs digestive enzymes. Is there a reason why he is on a special diet?
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