Grain Free Cat Feeding?

klp023

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Ok so this is my first post and I am somewhat new to kitties! I have 2 cats (1 male, 1 female) about a year old. I have a couple food questions that I’m hoping you can help me with. I do not have a pet store close by just TSC and Wal-Mart. I currently feed them mostly dry grain free Authority brand kibble. I vary between the chicken and salmon flavors as I know too much fish can be harmful. They are somewhat finicky and I have a hard time getting them to eat wet food. I want to incorporate more wet into their diet as I know it is better but my husband just got accepted into nursing school so I’m on a budget. PetSmart is where I get the Authority but it is quite a ways away so I’m hoping to find something at TSC since I know Wal-Mart isn't the best. I was thinking of switching to TSC 4Health grain free dry and also their grain free wet because it is in my price range.

So my questions are:

Which dry is best? Do I want grain free (I’ve heard grain free can be bad for my male)? Should I stay with authority grain free or would switching to 4Health grain free be fine? If I switch to 4health do I want the indoor or the whitefish, potato, and pea (both grain free)? If no grain free then what is a better alternative?

As for the wet I was switching between Authority and Friskies, but I’m considering 4Health wet as well. If I switch to 4Health do I want grain free in the wet as well?

Both of my kitties drink water from their fountain quite often but having a male worries me about UTIs. My male is also getting on the chunky side so I cut his intake down and he is slowly losing but weight is still a concern. Any advice is really appreciated. I know my budget and location doesn’t allow for many options, but I want to do the best I can for them. Thanks!
 
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klp023

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Thank You Haycat for taking the time to reply. Being new to this is really overwhelming. There are so many conflicting opinions on what is best.

I recently bought a bag of the grain free authority so I will use that until it is gone. Then I am thinking of switching over to the 4health brand since it is closer and in my price range.  

 I started them on 4health wet today and they enjoy both the grain free and with grain varieties (both are corn, soy, and wheat free). Since both varieties are corn, soy, and wheat free is it necessary to be on grain free wet (as I know some grains are good)? Which is the better canned?

Here is the analysis and ingredients for the canned foods:

 

Grain Free Turkey Canned:

Ingredient:
Turkey Broth, Turkey, Chicken, Poultry Giblets, Dried Egg Product, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Carrageenan, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Choline Chloride, Taurine.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.) 9.00%, Crude Fat (min.) 6.50%, Crude Fiber (max.) 1.00%, Moisture (max.) 78.00%, Ash (max.) 2.8%, Magnesium (max.) 0.028%, Taurine (min.) 0.05%

 

Calorie Content (ME Calculated):
105 KCAL/can

Adult Chicken (with grains) Canned:

Ingredients: 
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Liver, Dried Egg Product, Brewer's Rice, Dried Potatoes, Barley, Peas, Guar Gum, Flaxseed Meal, Carrots, Potassium Chloride, Dried Cranberries, Dried Blueberries, Apples, Carrageenan, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Salt, Dried Parsley, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

 

Guaranteed Analysis: 
Crude Protein (min.) 9.0%, Crude Fat (min.) 6.0%, Crude Fiber (max.) 1.5%, Moisture (max.) 78.0%, Taurine (min.) 0.05%, Omega-6 Fatty Acids* (min.) 0.50%, Omega-3 Fatty Acids* (min.) 0.10%, Vitamin E (min.) 25 IU/kg

 

Calorie Content (ME Calculated): 
177 Kcal/Can

 

 Thank you again for the help!
 

mrsgreenjeens

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It is not NECESSARY to be on grain free food
.  Low carbis really what you should be looking for.  That is best to prevent things like diabetes in cats, AND to keep them at a good weight.  Cats don't need carbs.

It's odd that the grain free food lists the percentage of ash, and the other one doesn't, but if I use the same percentage for both foods, I come up with the exact figure for carbs, which is just around 12%, which actually is fairly good.  I try to stay at 10 or under, but 12 isn't bad. 

With these two foods, I would feed either, but I like the first ingredient to be MEAT, so I like the food with grains better actually. It's really a toss-up for me, because I try to stay away from potatoes and peas
.  But, hey, if your furbabies like 'em, that's half the battle
.  Nothing wrong with feeding them both.  Better to rotate anyway, I think.  I try to rotate with every meal, and like to rotate between manufacturers too, just n case they change their formula, or heaven forbid, have a recall


Here are a few articles that may help you out: 

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/what-makes-the-best-canned-cat-food

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/grain-free-cat-food-what-does-it-mean

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/can-i-feed-my-cat-a-fish-based-or-fish-flavored-diet
 

momto3cats

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What you really want is not necessarily something labeled "grain free" or whatever free, but something that is mostly meat. Any food that is primarily plant matter, whether it's grains or vegetables, causes problems for cats. On that basis I would choose the grain free canned you posted over the other one, not because it's grain free but because it's a simpler food that is mostly meat.

Dry food has to have some kind of carb source to hold it together, so IMO it's a question of choosing the one least likely to cause problems. Rice seems to be the safest grain from what I've seen. I would choose a meat & rice based food over one with vegetables, since they (veggies) do seem to be a risk factor for urinary tract problems.
 
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klp023

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mrsgreenjeens,

Thanks for your suggestions. I think I will go with a mix of both. I don’t really know of other good manufacturers in my price range that is sold at TSC or I would also mix up brands. Any suggestions? They are really finicky usually so the fact they liked both today when I fed them was surprising to me. TSC doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to choose from so I hope they can do well on these. 
 
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klp023

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I think I am going to do a mix of the canned grain free and regular 4Health from TSC. I would also like to mix up manufacturers so do you have any other suggestions for canned food sold at TSC?

Also I will still be giving them a little dry so any brand suggestions from TSC? I was planning on 4Health brand but I haven’t decided which one yet. I’m thinking grain free indoor or regular indoor. What do you think?

Grain Free Varieties:

Whitefish, Potato, Pea:

Ingredients: 
Whitefish, Fish Meal, Salmon Meal, Turkey Meal, Whole Potato, Dried Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca, Poultry Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dried Egg Product, Turkey, Natural Flavor, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Whole Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Dried Carrots, Choline Chloride, Dried Cranberry, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Fish Meal, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin B6), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K activity), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Cobalt Sulfate, Potassium Iodide.

Guaranteed Analysis: 
Crude Protein (min) 35.0%, Crude Fat (min) 18.0%, Crude Fiber (max) 3.0%, Moisture (max) 10.0%, Zinc (min) 120 mg/kg, Selenium (min) 0.4 mg/kg, Vitamin E (min) 300 IU/kg, Taurine (min) 0.1%, *Omega-6 (min) 3.0%, *Omega-3 (min) 0.5%

Indoor Chicken:

Ingredients:
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Turkey Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Lentils, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Fish Meal, Flaxseed, Sodium Bisulfate, Choline Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, L-Carnitine, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Cranberries, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Lactis, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.) 32.0%, Crude Fat (min.) 13.0%, Crude Fiber (max.) 8.0%, Moisture (max.) 10.0%, Zinc (min.) 150 mg/kg, Selenium (min.) 0.3 mg/kg, Vitamin E (min.) 150 IU/kg, Taurine (min.) 0.10%, *L-Carnitine (min.) 30mg/kg
*Omega-6 Fatty Acids (min.) 2.4%, *Omega-3 Fatty Acids (min.) 0.4%
*Total Live & Active Cultures (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis) (min.) 220,000,000 CFU/kg

Regular Varieties:

Indoor Chicken

Ingredients: 
Chicken, chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, egg product, ground rice, powdered cellulose, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon, potatoes, millet, natural chicken flavor, flaxseed, ocean fish meal, sodium bisulfate, potassium chloride, DL-methionine, choline chloride, dried chicory root, taurine, dried kelp, carrots, peas, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, yucca schidigera extract, L-Carnitine, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, potassium iodide, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Guaranteed Analysis: 
Crude Protein 32.0% (min.), Crude Fat 14.0% (min.), Crude Fiber 8.0% (max.), Moisture 10.0% (max.), Magnesium 0.1% (max.), Zinc 120-mg/kg (min.), Selenium 0.4 mg/kg (min.), Vitamin E 150 IU/kg (min.), Taurine 0.1% (min.), Omega-6 Fatty Acids 2.2% (min.)*, Omega-3 Fatty Acids 0.4% (min.)*

All Life Stages Chicken

Ingredients: 
Chicken, chicken meal, egg product, cracked pearled barley, ground rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon, potatoes, natural chicken flavor, flaxseed, sodium bisulfate, ocean fish meal, potassium chloride, DL-methionine, choline chloride, dried chicory root, taurine, dried kelp, carrots, peas, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, yucca schidigera extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, potassium iodide, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein 34.0% minimum, Crude Fat 18.0% minimum, Crude Fiber 3.0% maximum, Moisture 10.0% maximum, Magnesium 0.1% maximum, Zinc 120 mg/kg minimum, Selenium 0.4 mg/kg minimum, Vitamin E 150 IU/kg minimum, Taurine 0.1% minimum, Omega-6 Fatty Acids 3.0%*, Omega-3 Fatty Acids 0.5%*
 

carrielynn

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I am a big fan of 4health. My only complaint is the lack of flavors! I know of nothing else of 4health quality for such a low price, so it can be frustrating. Other Tractor Supply store brands are not good. Wellness is a good brand they carry, but it is considerably more expensive. With 4health I rotate between the regular cans and the grain-free cans, though I've mostly been picking up the grain-free lately. There are only two flavors though, and I noticed one of my cats having some soft poo on it that she didn't have with the regular kind. She's eating an expensive brand now due to finickiness.

Even though it isn't grain-free, I highly recommend 4health All Life Stages if you need to feed dry food. I was leaving that out for the ferals, and their coats became so beautiful they looked like house cats. It really made a difference. I also prefer not to feed a lot of fish, which is why I didn't go for the whitefish grain-free dry. I've also heard of cats developing urinary problems from grain-free dry, and I'm not sure it's a coincidence that the one time I got the bag of grain-free I had to take my cat to the vet for urinary problems.
 
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tabbysia

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Since Walmart is the only other store you have near by, you might check out their new Pure Balance food. That is, if your kitties ever get tired of 4Health. I have never tried it, but the ingredients seem pretty decent compared to some of the other foods Walmart carries.
 

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Hi again klp023! 


I did some calculation again... you can look at only Carb(DM) if it's too long! The lower the Carb(DM), usually the better.

Brand / Carb(WM) / Carb(DM)
Grain Free Indoor Chicken / 30 / 33
Grain Free Whitefish, Potato, Pea / 27 / 30
Regular Indoor Chicken / 29 / 32
Regular All Life Stages Chicken / 28 / 31
(Used 7.0% as an estimated ash content, since they don't list ash)

Of the four flavors, Grain Free Indoor Chicken was the highest in carbs... but the carb content may actually be lower than 33%, because their ash content may be higher. Wish they listed ash content... the grain free formulas don't list magnesium either, though the regular formulas do.

I'd use either of the three meat-based flavors. I don't think it's good to use Grain Free Whitefish, Potato, Pea especially if you are worried about urinary issues. Fish-based dry food is much more likely to cause FLUTD than meat-based food. If your cats adore fish, fish-based canned food or fish for human consumption only once in a while makes a nice treat.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of indoor formula because they use a lot of fiber. Fiber makes it harder for cats to digest the food. Both indoor formulas list much higher fiber than the other two. Cats are carnivores, so unlike cows they can't process plant fiber well. Indoor formula claims to prevent obesity by reduced calories, but what they do is replace some of the food with indigestible fiber. So it's actually better if they omitted powdered cellulose (fiber source) at all, because the food is easier on their system that way. Unless your cats have an acute bout of  constipation, cats don't need this much fiber.

So I'd go for the regular All Life Stages Chicken, since it seems to be lower in carbs and hopefully lower in ash. Or rotate between meat-based formulas, including brands others offered.

Some cats seem to tolerate high ash content better than others. (Maybe they drink more or have more efficient kidneys?) However I can't tell if your cats in particular do better on grain free than regular food. Since every cat is different, the only way to know for sure is to feed them the food for a while and keep an eye on them.

Sorry my post was long! Wish I had the ability to express with fewer words 


Are your kitties siblings? Good thing they have each other to play with 
 
 
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klp023

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Thanks again Haycat!

My cats aren’t really crazy for fish, so I think I will limit that to every once in a while just to vary their flavors. The All Life Stages Chicken is what I was leaning towards as well. Since I’m switching them to mostly wet the dry will last a while anyway. I’m just hoping to use it to wean them off their dry onto the canned.

Yes my kittens are siblings. Brother and Sister. My parents had a stray dilute calico running around and I was planning to take her in. Found out she had babies in my neighbors barn and was going to take them too. While I was waiting for my neighbors to get home to check their barn my husband took her to the vet for blood work, flea, & worm treatment and when I let her out to feed her babies she was attacked and killed by another neighbors pit bulls. After that I was not separating her babies! Turned out she had 3. I took the 2 (black/white) and my mom has the other (orange). It worked out well because the single is definitely meant to be an only cat! My two have been inseparable since I got them out of that barn. 


Elsa My Female (Year Old)


Thor My Male (Year Old)


Thor & Elsa as babies!


Sunny my moms male as a baby


The three the day after we found them (sleepy from the shots)
 

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mrsgreenjeens,

Thanks for your suggestions. I think I will go with a mix of both. I don’t really know of other good manufacturers in my price range that is sold at TSC or I would also mix up brands. Any suggestions? They are really finicky usually so the fact they liked both today when I fed them was surprising to me. TSC doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to choose from so I hope they can do well on these. 
We don't have TCS in my area, so I don't know what they sell there.  If you can tell me the brands, I can tell you what I think is good or bad.  But, honestly, even Friskies PATE is an okay food for your rotation.  They sell that at Walmart, I'm certain.  Also, Fancy Feast CLASSICS could be in your rotation, also at Walmart. 

BTW, your kitties are gorgeous.  All THREE are, actually
 
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haycat

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Yes my kittens are siblings. Brother and Sister. My parents had a stray dilute calico running around and I was planning to take her in. Found out she had babies in my neighbors barn and was going to take them too. While I was waiting for my neighbors to get home to check their barn my husband took her to the vet for blood work, flea, & worm treatment and when I let her out to feed her babies she was attacked and killed by another neighbors pit bulls. After that I was not separating her babies! Turned out she had 3. I took the 2 (black/white) and my mom has the other (orange). It worked out well because the single is definitely meant to be an only cat! My two have been inseparable since I got them out of that barn. 
Wow I'm at a loss for words 
 Your cats are all soooo beautiful!!  And I love Thor's furry tail 

Sorry for the mommy cat... guess she was a beautiful cat too. Without your help I don't know what happened to the kittens... The kittens in the photo look so relaxed! After my cat came to me directly from the street, he was so afraid of humans he wouldn't get out of his tiny cardboard house for three days 

And good luck for them to get used to canned food! I think rotating brands works in the long run too, since there are less worries about formula changes, recalls etc.
 
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klp023

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The kittens were in between the beams in a barn. They were on concrete flooring between 2 1x1 foot beams. So they were crammed in pretty good. Had we not found them they probably wouldn't have made it as they were only 6 weeks when we found them, and wouldn’t have been able to jump up the 6 foot tall beam.

I had their mom in and out of my bedroom for about a month before she would really let me examine her. I think they were so relaxed because my scent and my home scent must have been familiar to them because their mom spent so much time with me and inside. My vet was also surprised. She thought they would have a feral temperament.

They are so far doing well on canned. Thor still wants his dry but he’s eating less and less. I just leave about 1/8 cup out over night for him. Yes I plan on rotating brands and flavors. Thank you for all the advice and support!
 

handsome kitty

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You can order cat food on-line.  Petco will even send a monthly order.  Amazon .com will send cat food but some of their prices are high.  I think my cats current favorite is being phased out (Meow Mix Pate) so I am scrambling to get a variety hoarded while I try to find other brands they will eat.  I also mix several (currently 4) dry foods together and serve that.  I am really bad at phasing food out!!

Your cats are beautiful!
 

haycat

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Thank You! I got really lucky with 3 beautiful well behaved kittens! Oh yes Thor is very fluffy. His dad was a long haired, mom was short and she was very pretty.

The kittens were in between the beams in a barn. They were on concrete flooring between 2 1x1 foot beams. So they were crammed in pretty good. Had we not found them they probably wouldn't have made it as they were only 6 weeks when we found them, and wouldn’t have been able to jump up the 6 foot tall beam.

I had their mom in and out of my bedroom for about a month before she would really let me examine her. I think they were so relaxed because my scent and my home scent must have been familiar to them because their mom spent so much time with me and inside. My vet was also surprised. She thought they would have a feral temperament.

They are so far doing well on canned. Thor still wants his dry but he’s eating less and less. I just leave about 1/8 cup out over night for him. Yes I plan on rotating brands and flavors. Thank you for all the advice and support!
So you know every cat in the family! Their mom is very cute too 
 I was always amazed at how these mommy cats raised kittens on their own... sad for the mom, but glad all the kittens found good homes!

I see why the kitties are relaxed in the photo. The kitties already knew the place, and it finally became their home... 
 Good thing they did well at your vet too! My cat is always beside himself at our vet. His body is frozen solid and only his heart is pounding loud...

So you're well on your way with your transition! Lucky your cats liked the food too


It's been really nice talking with you, since I too joined lately! Wishing you all the best! 
 
 
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