Multi-Cat Homes: How do you do it?

zylaai

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I've always been really cautious when it came to feline nutrition, and I've never fed my cats dry food. Right now, between the both of them, they eat 2 cans a day of Instinct Ultimate Protein canned food. It's 22$ for a pack of 12, 5.5oz cans. Since the cans are 5.5oz, I split them in half between them; so I use 2 cans a day.... Which only lasts 6 days. Meaning I need to spend over 100$ monthly on canned cat food alone. That's not even including their other necessities. if I bought bags of dry food, I'd definitely keep the cost down, but I'm really against dry and I don't think I could feed it to them.

So, how do you multi-cat home people do it? How many cats do you have? What brands do you feed? How do you keep the cost down, and how much do you spend on average - monthly - on cat food? 
 
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msserena

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I fed NV Instinct for about 3 years until recently when I tried to find a lower fat, less expensive food. One thing with that line is their dog food is identical to the cat formula. I called & confirmed with the company. So that's what I did, I bought from chewy, set up auto ship & that was cheaper than anywhere else. With the large cans, I have 3 cats, a can would last me about 2 days because I mixed with a lower fat chicken food. That's always having food done, am & pm.

I'm not super familiar with the new line, it's the same formula as something else they make, I wrote them & said really? 2 identical products that are called 2 different names. maybe they're planning on phasing one of the lines out, I don't know. it's weird though.

Anyway with NV check ingredients, see if the dog food is the same, if it is I'd buy the larger cans.

**** I just checked their website, Instinct chicken is the SAME as the Ultimate protein. So if you want more variety, you can feed the Instinct line & get the dog food cans which will save you $$$$
 
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zylaai

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I fed NV Instinct for about 3 years until recently when I tried to find a lower fat, less expensive food. One thing with that line is their dog food is identical to the cat formula. I called & confirmed with the company. So that's what I did, I bought from chewy, set up auto ship & that was cheaper than anywhere else. With the large cans, I have 3 cats, a can would last me about 2 days because I mixed with a lower fat chicken food. That's always having food done, am & pm.

I'm not super familiar with the new line, it's the same formula as something else they make, I wrote them & said really? 2 identical products that are called 2 different names. maybe they're planning on phasing one of the lines out, I don't know. it's weird though.

Anyway with NV check ingredients, see if the dog food is the same, if it is I'd buy the larger cans.

**** I just checked their website, Instinct chicken is the SAME as the Ultimate protein. So if you want more variety, you can feed the Instinct line & get the dog food cans which will save you $$$$
I noticed that their Instinct chicken is the exact same as Ultimate protein!!! I was a bit confused by that. I sorta just thought, oh, maybe they just upped the amount of protein in the cans but kept the ingredients the same.

So the dog brands are the same as the cat brands? I'll go check it out, but what about taurine?
 

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Good quality food is just going to cost more, it's just how it is. You could save money rotating between high and low end brands or making your own food, but the goal in feeding good quality food is so that you can hopefully costly vet bills down the road. 

I have 10 indoors cats that eat about 80% raw and the other 20% canned, and then a small outside colony that eats about 50/50 homecooked and canned. I spent a LOT of money on cat food per month. 
 

msserena

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I don't know what the taurine content is, NV is a good quality brand so I never had any worries. It is high in fat though, so just know that up front!
 
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zylaai

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Good quality food is just going to cost more, it's just how it is. You could save money rotating between high and low end brands or making your own food, but the goal in feeding good quality food is so that you can hopefully costly vet bills down the road. 

I have 10 indoors cats that eat about 80% raw and the other 20% canned, and then a small outside colony that eats about 50/50 homecooked and canned. I spent a LOT of money on cat food per month. 
right! i've fed raw, homecooked, high quality canned, low quality canned... everything, at this point. the only thing i haven't tried was whole prey, which i've heard is very inexpensive.

do you make your own raw food? or do you buy from a supplier, like Savage Cat? what canned food do you usually use? (':
 
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missmimz

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right! i've fed raw, homecooked, high quality canned, low quality canned... everything, at this point. the only thing i haven't tried was whole prey, which i've heard is very inexpensive.

do you make your own raw food? or do you buy from a supplier, like Savage Cat? what canned food do you usually use? (':
I use instinct raw market, which is a newer freeze dried for one of my cats and I buy the dog bags because they're bigger, but exactly the same as the cats. Instinct does this with a lot of their formulas.

I feed some raw I make and some commercial raw. The raw I make i buy meat from Hare Today and use either EZcomplete or alnutrin. For commercial raw I use Rad Cat. I wish I could get Savage Cat, but they don't sell anywhere near me and shipping is a bit too expensive for me. I am familiar with their food though and it looks very good quality. Making your own is a lot cheaper than using commercial raw, but my cats really love Rad Cat so I buy it and mix it with raw I make for variety. I haven't ventured into PMR and likely won't just because I'm not that keen on feeding whole prey, but it is def cheaper. 

For canned I use mostly Weruva, Ziwipeak, and Feline Natural. 
 

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I've never done all the math but probably the cheapest food I feed to our cats is homemade cooked: I use EZcomplete and various combinations of boneless meat from the supermarket. Though some of the meats I use are relatively expensive (turkey tenderloin from Whole Foods is probably the highest), using lower-cost meats like chicken thighs and pork chops (which always seem be on sale!) keeps the overall price down, even with the supplement factored in. I'm sure I could do better if I compared more and/or stocked up more when things are on sale but that's a project for another day! In any case, the cats love the homemade so eat everything and it really fills them up because it's all meat, no fillers.

Their canned foods are Tiki, Feline Naturals, and Weruva Cats in the Kitchen; they get a bunch of commercial raw foods, too: Rad Cat, Primal, Northwest Naturals, and Feline Naturals. None of what they eat is cheap but the foods are so low-carb and high-protein that they stay filled up and happy. And, as missmimz said, it really does help for health: our two have some low-grade digestive issues (nausea in one, sensitivities in the other) that this diet keeps in check. The vet was very happy with them at their last check-up!

As for whole prey, I'm with missmimz on that point, too: not keen on it! (Beyond the balancing and freshness questions, one cat has a tendency to like to carry her food around and drop it...) But a lot of people and cats love it.
 

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As for whole prey, I'm with missmimz on that point, too: not keen on it! (Beyond the balancing and freshness questions, one cat has a tendency to like to carry her food around and drop it...) But a lot of people and cats love it.
I started sending the kitties outside on the patio each time I give them a quail now. If the weather stinks or if I don't want to deal with chasing after someone, I'll just put them in the tub with one so the mess is confined. When I lived in my house, they took them everywhere. I'm sure my carpet was a salmonella lab experiment, the kitties would throw them all over the place & when they chew off their heads, yellow crap leaks out. it's great!
 

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I started sending the kitties outside on the patio each time I give them a quail now. If the weather stinks or if I don't want to deal with chasing after someone, I'll just put them in the tub with one so the mess is confined. When I lived in my house, they took them everywhere. I'm sure my carpet was a salmonella lab experiment, the kitties would throw them all over the place & when they chew off their heads, yellow crap leaks out. it's great!
This is exactly what would happen in my house. I live in AZ so def can't send them outside to eat in the summers (still working on our catio anyway), and I have too many to confine them to a crate, so PMR is just out for me. 
 

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it sure is fun watching them toss it around & just being a cat. it is gross though when they crunch down on it, I always try to stand far away, it's really gross
 

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Although we feed the adopted ones outside some canned food and a steady supply of dry, almost everyday somebody shows up with a squirrel or bird (and,strangely enough, we have lots of them too). We always praise the hunter for doing such a good job.Feel like they need to be encouraged to fo what comes naturally
 

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I have 13 rescued and adopted cats. My husband is not an animal lover so I try to do everything as reasonable as I can. I buy grain free dry Halo from Chewy and am on the auto program which saves some. I buy Friskies canned and Sheba for their wet food. They get dry in morning and wet in evening. A few do not like wet so they just eat dry. I give them Feline greenies for treats. If they get colds etc which is very seldom, I order my own Amoxicillin from Internet. That is the best I can do. I always make sure they are neutered and spayed as soon as they are old enough to do so and have the important immunizations like rabies etc. After the first rabies I do not have them get their rabies anymore. They say vets are over doing the shot thing. All my cats get Lysine and have two water fountains to drink from. My cats have a sun room with a pet door and can outdoors into a protected Catio that is about 40 X 40 feet. They have cat trees in their sun room and have a bridge and a cat home outdoors plus plenty of other climbing trees etc.They also have a 5 X 5 foot sand box outdoors to use if they like. That is the best I can do. I have thought about making my own cat food but at 65 years old I am weary enough with just cleaning litter boxes and making sure I give them attention by playing with them everyday. I even have a single bed out in their sunroom and sleep with them some nights. My hubby snores anyway! LOL
 

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God bless you for what you're doing. You've certainly provided a great life for your guys. We have a similar situation and are in our late 60s so sure understand how it is. With 12 inside and 13 outside, seems that's all we do, but can't imagine any other life. I really wish we could afford some of the better foods, but we do all we can. We sure love them all and try our best to keep them happy and healthy.
 
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Yes, that is all we can do is to do our best. I know I can not take in anymore because it is wearing me down. I have Fibromyalgia and degenerative disease.
 

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We live paycheck to paycheck, and I can't work thanks to autoimmune complications and a sleep disorder, so money is VERY tight. I'm lucky to live in an area with 2 Petcos, 3 Petsmarts, a Pet Supplies Plus, 2 Pet Supermarkets, several feed stores, and several independent stores. This means competition! I had been ordering Orijen off of Chewy and buying Wild Calling cans from an independent store for my allergy cat. They offer 10% off if you buy a flat, but it's $2.29 per 5.5oz can. A flat is 24 cans, so I usually only buy 5 cans per week. She also gets raw lean beef and beef liver with taurine, and a mouse treat when I can manage it. (I'm a gold member at GNC, which helps with supplements like taurine through sales.) Mice are expensive at the store, and ordering mice/rats/quail is expensive. Where do you find PMR cheap? I'd love to feed only PMR, but I dont have hundreds of $ for bulk discounts, or much extra freezer room.

One independent pet store recently started carrying Evo, so I nearly cleaned them out of their small bags at 60% off sale. Our new Petco had a glitch in their system on food dates or something, so they had Instinct 50% off once. We bought 3 large bags of raw boost for $26 each! I wish we could have bought them all. I add a lot of water when I feed them, but still feel bad about dry. Check pet store discount bins every time you visit, as I've seen good things there including food.

We have 4 big dogs too, and they each have specific issues. One has to be on carb free raw, no exceptions. The others eat raw, and Orijen or Farmina from Chewy. That really hurts us, but it saves to not pay taxes or shipping. No vet bills saves even more! When I need something else, I try to order it with the food to avoid tax/shipping.

I also order antibiotics from ebay when needed, but don't recommend this because if you don't know what you're doing, you add to antibiotic resistance. I use other things off label too, again not recommended. I make my own cat scratchers and some dog toys. Old comforters are good dog beds, and you can make a lot of things at home for cheap or free. Many pet products are sold as human or livestock products for much less. Get a littermat (textured rubber doormat) from Home Depot for $9 instead of $25-50. Make your own cat or dog collar from cheap paracord. Order ID tags from Amazon or ebay. SO much $ to be saved!

I check thrift stores often for pet stuff and have found great things like cat play tunnels, new harnesses, litter, etc. I got almost 100 slightly used tennis balls for $8. I once even found a new large bag of Blue grain free cat food for $6. I don't normally feed this, but couldn't resist. Some days you find nothing, but some days you find something.

I look for discount meat and sales at grocery stores, and sign up for every reliable pet retailer's email offers (jefferspet, drs foster and smith, revival, only natural pet, etc). Holiday times are worth saving for if you can at all, particularly Christmas, New Years, and Labor Day. Plan your total so you get free shipping. Use Petco reward $ and iBotta app.

We have other small animals, so we end up buying other things that save up points. If you have one near you, Pet Supplies Plus and Pet Supermarket have buy 9 get 1 free programs, but it doesn't apply to canned. Join any VIP pet clubs and sign up for emails so you know what is on sale, and when. Plan everything out ahead as much as possible, and try to buy in bulk. We spend about $110-$180 a month in food for 4 cats, 4 large/giant dogs, a rabbit, 2 birds, a gecko, and many fish. The gecko even gets crickets from the bait shop instead of a pet store for much less, and I'm going to start breeding them again - for free. I make my own dechlorinator for fish next to free. We look for discount veggies and greens at our local market for the rabbit and ourselves.

Our total varies because of different deals I can get. It's not cheap, but I think we are saving a lot of money with what we have. I almost forgot, I buy horse stall pine pellets $11-12 for two 40lb bags at Tractor Supply. It's the same as feline pine litter. I hope this helps!
 
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msserena

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I found rodentpro & they take care of the animals a lot like other quality places. I've ordered from them too, quail & chickens

When I took my trip to the east coast last year, I saw Pet Supermarket everywhere, I never stopped & went in one cause I only saw them while driving, but I was curious & wondered what they were. I wish now I could have gone in one.
 

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Rodentpro is not well-regarded in the reptile hobby; they frequently buy mice and rats from outside labs so quality is iffy, and their packaging practices aren't the best. They probably raise their own quails and such though. I buy from Big Cheese. Layne Labs and Perfect Prey are also well-regarded.

My cats get the snakes' rejects, and I usually order some extra mice just for the cats. There are 2 or 3 who usually get the rodents, the rest of the cats aren't very impressed by whole prey. I don't think it's especially affordable as a sole diet for cats. . .well, maybe cheaper than high-end canned food. You do have to order a fair amount to offset the shipping costs, so freezer space may be an issue. If you even want dead rodents in your freezer! :lol3: Some people are bothered by such things ;).
 

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I looked into rotentpro a while back, and really liked what I read about them. I just can't afford to order bulk right now to get the best price, as much as I wish I could. I had no idea about them buying from other labs though. I really don't mind rodents in the freezer, and keep a couple around as rare treats. One dead mouse at the pet store is about the same price as a can of Wild Calling for my allergy cat, but less than half the food. I do care about food being treated humanely, and I'm willing to pay more for it when I'm able to.

Pet Supermarket is like your standard pet store with food, toys, and accessories, but they are a little smaller than Petco/Petsmart. They do have a few small animals, fish, reptiles, and rescue cats. They give a monthly 20% off coupon off $35 or more to members. This is in addition to buy 9 get 1 (our independent store is 9 and I might have mixed that up, and it be 10 bags... not sure in my sleepy state). It's a good deal. They usually have friendly employees.
 
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