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Exactly How Important Is It To Feed Your Cat Different Proteins?

Discussion in 'Cat Nutrition' started by trisha422, Feb 2, 2018.

  1. trisha422

    trisha422 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    As I've read through some these threads I found that some are saying they feed their furbabies different foods to switch the proteins.
    Is it that much of a concern?

    My cats only like white meat (chicken and turkey) and turn their nose up to any red.
    I avoid feeding them seafood.
    I'm wondering if feeding them only white meat will harm them in some way......
     

  2. MissMolly08

    MissMolly08 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    It is not necessarily harmful. The suggestion to rotate proteins is because there is some belief that with constant exposure to the same protein, cats may develop an allergy to it. It's a preventative measure but not an absolute necessity.
    Most brands of food don't even offer much other than chicken, turkey, beef and fish. Brands that offer novel proteins like duck, rabbit and lamb can be pricey! My budget doesn't allow for any of these flavors so my cat ends up with mostly chicken and turkey too.
     
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  3. duckpond

    duckpond TCS Member Top Cat

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    I don't know if its necessary to feed other proteins. I think its good for them, and mine seem to enjoy it. So if the basic diet is chicken, turkey, duck. every once in a while try throwing in a can of lamb, rabbit, even fish once in a while will be OK. They might enjoy it once in a while :)

    However my main concern, with rotation, is to use different brands. maybe even different textures, pate, shreds, and minced. I have had cats that will get fixated on one food, and if that food is out of stock, or discontinued it is rough! Or as sometimes happens a cat food company messes up a batch of food, or it is somehow contaminated, feeding it in a rotation with several other brands is helpful, so that they don't get too much of the bad food. i feed quite a bit of chicken, but never the same brand twice in one day. i have 5 or 6 brands i rotate between, and always open to trying a new one that i find :)
     

  4. Timmer

    Timmer TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    My cat Timmer just passed away two weeks ago from IBD. I had never even heard of switching proteins until he became ill. But he always had chicken, turkey, beef, tuna/fish. When he got sick, he wouldn't touch the rabbit or duck but I believe it was because they were pate in and he never cared for pate.
    The other thing was I feed my cats Fancy Feast. My vet said it was fine and they like it. I went on a grain free kick with them a few years ago and they both got diarrhea from that. The vet told me grain free is not necessary -- it's a marketing gimmick.
    Maybe now and then you could try a gain but as someone mentioned above -- the duck and rabbit foods are expensive. Like $1.35 a small can or more!
     
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  5. trisha422

    trisha422 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    My condolences on the loss of your sweet baby.
    I have a cat that is batteling IBD as well and she seems to only tolerate rabbit, which is very costly.
     
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  6. Timmer

    Timmer TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    @trisha422, yes, it is but it's worth it if it keeps them going. Timmer would generally try the rabbit or duck once and then turn his nose up at it the second time around. His case was so far advanced it wouldn't have mattered anyway, so I gave him whatever he wanted. If he didn't like it, I threw it out and opened another can.
     
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  7. maureen brad

    maureen brad TCS Member Super Cat

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    The reason behind rotating protiens is that no one knows the exact nutrient profile a cat absolutely needs to get a well rounded diet. They are not exactly sure with people either.None of us would eat only 2 things every day for our entire lives, by changing up what you feed your cat has a far better chance at a well rounded diet. All foods are different. By the way 'Garin Free' is not a gimmick, grains are killing cats.If you have Netflix watch ' Pet Fooled'
     

  8. Neo_23

    Neo_23 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Your vet is right that the label "grain free" is a gimmick in the sense that most grain free foods just replace the grains with another carb source like potatoes or peas. These are equally as bad because cats need to obtain the majority of their protein from meat sources. So ideally you want to look for a grain free cat food that is also potato and pea free and mostly meat. There are a few brands that are available such as Rawz, Ziwipeak, Feline Natural, Nature's Variety, but it can be pricey.

    By the way, a lot of Fancy Feast can foods are grain free, they just don't promote it that way. The main concern with fancy feast is that we don't know much about the food source and I think they might import from China.
     

  9. Blakeney Green

    Blakeney Green TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I try to feed my cats a variety of foods, mainly because 1.) They get tired of things they have too often, and 2.) I don't want to be in a situation where if a line of food is discontinued or the recipe changes and my cats no longer like it, I'm scrambling to try to find something to feed them.

    That said, you really don't need to get into the exotic ingredients unless you want to. There are plenty of other ways to mix it up.

    Ultimately, if you have picky eaters that will only eat certain things, though, you kind of just have to go with it.
     

  10. Timmer

    Timmer TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I don't think the grain free extends anyone life. I had a cat who lived to be 18 who ate mostly Meow Mix her entire life.
    My understanding and my personal feeling is it is the guar gum and carageenan that is the worst thing they put into the cat food, not the grains, peas, potatoes, etc. I don't believe my cats need blueberries or kale.
    I did give Tim a wide variety of proteins in his life and mixed grain free food with Fancy Feast. I tried him on pure grain free and both he and my other cat got diarrhea from it. I felt so bad because I thought I was doing the right thing and all I did was cause problems.
     

  11. Neo_23

    Neo_23 TCS Member Top Cat

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    It will all depend on the cat, but if you're considering feline nutrition and what cats would eat in the wild then grain, peas, and potatoes and any other carbs in large amounts are a very minimal part of a cat's diet. It is very likely that the increasing rate of obesity seen in domestic cats is due to the high carb diets these cats are being fed. Cats process fats pretty well in moderate amounts, but they are meant to have less than 10% of their diet consist of carbs. Most cat foods on the market are 30%+ carbs and non-meat based protein. Some cats will live long lives on unhealthy food the same way some humans will, that doesn't mean that it is nutritionally healthy.

    I agree that all of the gums and carrageenan used in cat foods are also concerning.
     

  12. LAL

    LAL TCS Member Young Cat

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    Unfortunately it is not practical for me to trap sparrows and chipmunks for mine...she'd be very pleased with that. Indoor only cat staying that way. [Although she was very happy when she caught a fly on a window last Fall.]
     

  13. ailish

    ailish TCS Member Adult Cat

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    I think it is important for a number of reasons. First, your cat's favorite food company could file for bankruptcy and then if you've been feeding her nothing but that food you have to switch with little transition. Second, something could happen to you and someone else has to care for your cat. If you are in a coma and Whiskers eats nothing but Weruva Lamburgini from the 3 oz can, your cat and your helper are going to have a rough time. If something goes wrong or is wrong with a specific food, and that's the only food your cat eats, there could be a problem. Fourth, according to somebody, almost every ingredient in every cat food is cat poison. A few of these people may be right, but we don't know who. So if you switch food, the few ingredients that may actually be detrimental will make up a smaller portion of your cat's diet. Hopefully a small enough portion that she can live a long and healthy life!
     
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  14. LAL

    LAL TCS Member Young Cat

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    Thank you! I am going to try to find other companies that make flavors she likes. Right now she will eat flaked tuna or turkey & giblets, both are doable flavors in other brands. I'll start testing some out to find variations and intersperse them
     

  15. maureen brad

    maureen brad TCS Member Super Cat

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    Fish is not ok for cats except once in awhile. It is not high in nutrients they need and is highly addictive, look it up. Fish is not ok. I realize the pet food industry has done a great jon making people feel fish was a natural food for cats, but, that was never true.
     

  16. jclark

    jclark TCS Member Adult Cat

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    The concern is that cats which eat only one protein (ex, chicken/turkey) are more likely to develop IBS vs cats which eat something of a variety in protein. I don't believe there's hard data on how much the risk is reduced and whether breeding is also a contributor. IBS is a condition where the cat develops an auto-immune response to a specific protein within the intestinal tract. Constant vomiting after eating, following by lack of eating (cat associates food with getting sick) and X-rays will show inflammation of the intestinal track This condition can evolve into IBD and then cancer. IBD is a huge PITA to deal with, and I'm speaking from personal experience.

    Pet food companies developed a prescription dry/wet food with hydrolyzed protein which sneaks past the cats immune system and is digested/absorbed by the cats digestive system.

    I personally feed my cats a mixture of dry/wet/raw "grain free" in a couple of flavors (Dry is Rabbit or Salmon, Wet is Beef or Venison, Raw is Lamb or Rabbit). They get 50/50 wet/dry mixed and occasional I'll serve raw only from time to time. I also use toppers sometimes (powdered up dried Cod or dried Beef Liver treats).


    Final thought, I know a lot of people suggest that mimicking the "natural diet" of feral cats as a healthier alternative. Personally I think it may be true in some respects (ie. low carb diets are best for cats), but some claims are hard to prove because feral cats have significantly shorter lifespans than domestics. Basically feral cats, as a whole, don't live long enough to develop cancer or kidney failure or whatever. Feral cats die of disease or get killed by something else (dogs, coyotes, cars, etc).
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018

  17. himawari

    himawari TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I'm not too sure how important it is, but my cat gets tired/stops eating if he is fed the same meal twice in a row. Plus the way I see it, if humans can't stand to eat one thing every single day then why should cats? And I don't believe it's a bad thing to feed different proteins.
     

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