Multiple Cat Feeding Woes. Wet Food/Scheduling Advice Needed.

sierramist

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Hi all!

My husband and I have four cats (Two are 11 years old, one is 2 years, one is 1 year) that are fed both wet and dry food daily. Up until recently we fed Instinct Original Chicken for the their main wet food (They all loved it!), until the recent unfortunate formula change. Now only two of the cats eats it well and the others are hit-and-miss. I don't feel great about feeding it anymore either, because of the ingredient and packaging changes. So we've been looking for some new wet food staples that are similar in quality, with as few questionable ingredients and gums as possible.

For reference, our schedule is usually, for each cat:
Morning — 1/3 3 oz. can wet food, 1/8 cup kibble
Lunch — 1/3 3 oz. can wet food
Dinner — 1/3 3 oz. can wet food
Before bed — 1/8 cup kibble
...with some treats and toppers (usually freeze-dried turkey) here and there through the day.

First, I've noticed a pattern with my pickiest eater and oldest, Captain. He'll eat just about anything first thing in the morning when he's the hungriest. So in trying out other wet foods he gobbles it up eagerly, but by the dinner serving he seems to be over it. Sometimes he'll eat some if I REALLY put a lot of topper on it, but often just walks away. Note that he WILL eat kibble for dinner, though. It's difficult to know if he genuinely doesn't like the wet food or is just being fussy because he's not as hungry as the morning and is holding out for kibble. As an additional complication, he is an occasional puker and gets medicine at the morning and dinner feedings, so I'm always nervous giving him something new for fear it will come back up along with his meds. He threw up the new Instinct twice, so we've stopped giving it to him completely. Today I thought we might front-load the day with wet as a new tactic, and gave just him a 1/2 can of wet food in the morning, which he ate all of happily. If he can do that at lunch as well, then kibble could be dinner when he's at his pickiest? We'll see.

As for the wet foods, I'm having trouble finding something everyone likes. The new Instinct is out, but I'm trying to use up some cans because it's so expensive, and we'll probably donate the rest of our last shipment. Anyway, here's where I'm at on trying things:

Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Chicken Liver: this one seemed to be a winner, but I fed it in the morning when everyone eats at their best. At the dinner feeding, Captain didn't want it at all, dang it! Will try it again though, I think, or other flavors.

Fancy Feast Ocean Whitefish/Tuna, Seafood Feast: My other picky eater is Olive, the two-year old, and she loves these. The the others will usually eat them also. I don't feel as great about feeding it though, especially the seafood varieties, but it's the only flavor Olive will eat.

Purchased but not tried yetKoha Limited Ingredient, Wellness Core, Stella & Chewy Purrfect Pates: We've fed Koha a long time back, but it is difficult to find near me and doesn't seem to be very available online, either. The others I'm a little leery about (Wellness has a lot of gums, for instance) but will try soon.

Does anyone have other recommendations? Ideally it would be pate, have a poultry flavor to keep in rotation as it's their favorite, be grain-free, have few gums, no carrageenan, be available on Chewy/Amazon, and come in 3 oz cans. One of our cats *might* have had a reaction to green mussel in the past, so I've been trying to keep that out of foods as well. I know, probably a tall order. I'm totally open to keeping more foods in rotation to fit each cat's tastes, but trying to get a handle on that is though. Thinking of going for Tiki Cat After Dark Pates next, but I can't find it in single cans near me so would have to gamble on a whole case.

On dry food, we do still feed the kibble for practicality (as an overnight meal or for when we are gone all day) and especially because I can always count on our picky eaters to eat dry if wet isn't doing it for them on a certain day. However, we want to pare back the amount of dry we're feeding but keep it as high protein/quality as possible. Thankfully Dr. Esley's cleanprotein Chicken samples were a winner for all cats — hooray — so we'll be transitioning them to that soon and cutting back a little since it is more calorie dense.

TL;DR — I'm having a tough time finding new wet food staples to fit as many tastes/needs as possible while balancing our 4 cats' eating schedules. Any advice or examples of what you're doing with your furbabies would be very helpful. Thanks!
 
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Marley&Luna

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My girls really like the Hound & Gatos Chicken & Liver and their Gamebird Poultry. That might be worth a try. Both are pates.

The cases of After Dark are small, so at least you wouldn’t be stuck with 24 cans. 🙄 My cats love it, though they much prefer the shreds in this case.

The Honest Kitchen is good too. The Turkey Caté and Chicken Caté are loved here.

Mouser has a Turkey and a Duck you could try.

Everyone talks about RAWZ and it looks like great stuff, but my cats won’t touch it, unfortunately.

It’s such a shame about Instinct, their Duck and their Rabbit are two of the girls’ favorites. We’re almost out and I’m not sure if I’ll try the new formulas or not.
 
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sierramist

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My girls really like the Hound & Gatos Chicken & Liver and their Gamebird Poultry. That might be worth a try. Both are pates.

The cases of After Dark are small, so at least you wouldn’t be stuck with 24 cans. 🙄 My cats love it, though they much prefer the shreds in this case.

The Honest Kitchen is good too. The Turkey Caté and Chicken Caté are loved here.

Mouser has a Turkey and a Duck you could try.

Everyone talks about RAWZ and it looks like great stuff, but my cats won’t touch it, unfortunately.

It’s such a shame about Instinct, their Duck and their Rabbit are two of the girls’ favorites. We’re almost out and I’m not sure if I’ll try the new formulas or not.
Thanks for the recs — I'll check these out! Totally forgot about RAWZ. I wish more cat food companies sold samplers so you can try multiple flavors at once! We may just have to spend a little to figure out what's going to work best.
 

Marley&Luna

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You’re most welcome. Yes I try not to think about what I’ve spent testing cat foods. 😂
 

Astragal14

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Hi all!

My husband and I have four cats (Two are 11 years old, one is 2 years, one is 1 year) that are fed both wet and dry food daily. Up until recently we fed Instinct Original Chicken for the their main wet food (They all loved it!), until the recent unfortunate formula change. Now only two of the cats eats it well and the others are hit-and-miss. I don't feel great about feeding it anymore either, because of the ingredient and packaging changes. So we've been looking for some new wet food staples that are similar in quality, with as few questionable ingredients and gums as possible.

For reference, our schedule is usually, for each cat:
Morning — 1/3 3 oz. can wet food, 1/8 cup kibble
Lunch — 1/3 3 oz. can wet food
Dinner — 1/3 3 oz. can wet food
Before bed — 1/8 cup kibble
...with some treats and toppers (usually freeze-dried turkey) here and there through the day.

First, I've noticed a pattern with my pickiest eater and oldest, Captain. He'll eat just about anything first thing in the morning when he's the hungriest. So in trying out other wet foods he gobbles it up eagerly, but by the dinner serving he seems to be over it. Sometimes he'll eat some if I REALLY put a lot of topper on it, but often just walks away. Note that he WILL eat kibble for dinner, though. It's difficult to know if he genuinely doesn't like the wet food or is just being fussy because he's not as hungry as the morning and is holding out for kibble. As an additional complication, he is an occasional puker and gets medicine at the morning and dinner feedings, so I'm always nervous giving him something new for fear it will come back up along with his meds. He threw up the new Instinct twice, so we've stopped giving it to him completely. Today I thought we might front-load the day with wet as a new tactic, and gave just him a 1/2 can of wet food in the morning, which he ate all of happily. If he can do that at lunch as well, then kibble could be dinner when he's at his pickiest? We'll see.

As for the wet foods, I'm having trouble finding something everyone likes. The new Instinct is out, but I'm trying to use up some cans because it's so expensive, and we'll probably donate the rest of our last shipment. Anyway, here's where I'm at on trying things:

Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Chicken Liver: this one seemed to be a winner, but I fed it in the morning when everyone eats at their best. At the dinner feeding, Captain didn't want it at all, dang it! Will try it again though, I think, or other flavors.

Fancy Feast Ocean Whitefish/Tuna, Seafood Feast: My other picky eater is Olive, the two-year old, and she loves these. The the others will usually eat them also. I don't feel as great about feeding it though, especially the seafood varieties, but it's the only flavor Olive will eat.

Purchased but not tried yetKoha Limited Ingredient, Wellness Core, Stella & Chewy Purrfect Pates: We've fed Koha a long time back, but it is difficult to find near me and doesn't seem to be very available online, either. The others I'm a little leery about (Wellness has a lot of gums, for instance) but will try soon.

Does anyone have other recommendations? Ideally it would be pate, have a poultry flavor to keep in rotation as it's their favorite, be grain-free, have few gums, no carrageenan, be available on Chewy/Amazon, and come in 3 oz cans. One of our cats *might* have had a reaction to green mussel in the past, so I've been trying to keep that out of foods as well. I know, probably a tall order. I'm totally open to keeping more foods in rotation to fit each cat's tastes, but trying to get a handle on that is though. Thinking of going for Tiki Cat After Dark Pates next, but I can't find it in single cans near me so would have to gamble on a whole case.

On dry food, we do still feed the kibble for practicality (as an overnight meal or for when we are gone all day) and especially because I can always count on our picky eaters to eat dry if wet isn't doing it for them on a certain day. However, we want to pare back the amount of dry we're feeding but keep it as high protein/quality as possible. Thankfully Dr. Esley's cleanprotein Chicken samples were a winner for all cats — hooray — so we'll be transitioning them to that soon and cutting back a little since it is more calorie dense.

TL;DR — I'm having a tough time finding new wet food staples to fit as many tastes/needs as possible while balancing our 4 cats' eating schedules. Any advice or examples of what you're doing with your furbabies would be very helpful. Thanks!
Dr. Elsey's is the first brand I thought of, so I'm glad they like the chicken! They may also like the turkey and the duck & turkey, one of my cats likes all of those. And I like how dense they are because he doesn't mind when I add a small amount of water - anything to get more water in them! Nulo is another good brand, I feel like I've seen more options on Chewy than I've ever seen in stores.

Tiki Cat also has 3 oz pâtés, but the Luau line has xanthan gum and the After Dark line has a few more gums. The Luau paté formula recently changed and my cats no longer like it. Lotus also has 3 oz pâtés without gums. Both of these brands are grain free and carrageenan free. Identity is another brand with no grains, gums or carrageenan and many, many different proteins (so many!), but they're new and only available on their website. But they're very palatable and even my super picky cat likes some of their proteins!


I've noticed a pattern with my pickiest eater and oldest, Captain. He'll eat just about anything first thing in the morning when he's the hungriest... As an additional complication, he is an occasional puker and gets medicine at the morning and dinner feedings.
Since Captain is a poker (as is one of my cats), do you think he may have a little nausea? Cats can develop food aversion very, very quickly if they associate a particular food with feeling ill (even when food is not the cause). This could make sense because he'll still eat kibble, but it also could just be pickiness. What meds does he take?
 

Astragal14

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Marley&Luna Marley&Luna do your cats like the newest cans of Hound & Gatos Gamebird Poultry? That was one of my cats' favorites. But they were out of stock for a while and I wonder if the recipe or ingredient sourcing changed because now my cat won't touch it. I was so excited it finally came back in stock that I ordered two cases!
 

Marley&Luna

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Hi A Astragal14 , yes they do. We just got a new case a couple of weeks ago. They still love it.
They can be so tricky sometimes!
 
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sierramist

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Dr. Elsey's is the first brand I thought of, so I'm glad they like the chicken! They may also like the turkey and the duck & turkey, one of my cats likes all of those. And I like how dense they are because he doesn't mind when I add a small amount of water - anything to get more water in them! Nulo is another good brand, I feel like I've seen more options on Chewy than I've ever seen in stores.

Tiki Cat also has 3 oz pâtés, but the Luau line has xanthan gum and the After Dark line has a few more gums. The Luau paté formula recently changed and my cats no longer like it. Lotus also has 3 oz pâtés without gums. Both of these brands are grain free and carrageenan free. Identity is another brand with no grains, gums or carrageenan and many, many different proteins (so many!), but they're new and only available on their website. But they're very palatable and even my super picky cat likes some of their proteins!

Since Captain is a poker (as is one of my cats), do you think he may have a little nausea? Cats can develop food aversion very, very quickly if they associate a particular food with feeling ill (even when food is not the cause). This could make sense because he'll still eat kibble, but it also could just be pickiness. What meds does he take?
Oh, I meant Dr. Elsey's kibble, but yes, I guess we could try the wet, also! I'll check the ingredients.

Yes, so many brands are great but more difficult to get in bulk or even pick up locally. RAWZ is sending us a sample because no one around here carries it. I think our Petsmart actually has some Tiki After Dark Pate, so we'll pick up some of that and more Nulo for sure. We just bought a can of Nature's Logic, but they only have large cans so we'd have to adjust for that.

I don't think Captain is nauseated, because if he refuses wet food he'll eat kibble, and if he throws up wet he's usually been eagerly eating it beforehand. So I've assumed either the ingredients aren't sitting well, or sometimes he may have just eaten it too fast. Most of the time if he's thrown up a food he'll go back to it fairly quickly, thankfully. He takes phenobarbital twice a day for idiopathic seizures, so we have to time two meals 12 hours apart (6:30 am and 6:30 pm) to coincide with those doses.
 
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sierramist

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An update: For lunch I gave Captain the second half of his 3 oz can of food he had for breakfast. Wasn't too into it at first, then added some turkey topper and he ate BUT didn't finish it all. Boo! Maybe he just hates leftovers?
 
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sierramist

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So we tried out the Stella & Chewy Purrfect Pates Chicken and Tuna last night, and none of the cats liked it. Two wouldn't even try it! However, they all would eat Koha Limited Ingredient Chicken, though two weren't as excited about it. Captain loved it, though! I'll keep that in rotation for him especially.

Still really trying to find one good wet food staple for them all. Wellness Core is up next. It's rated really well on the catfooddb which is great (even though it has a few gums), but I was just reading about it possibly causing urinary issues or stones? Should that be a concern?
 
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sierramist

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Good news — Wellness Core (Turkey & Duck) pate was a hit for most of my crew! 🎉

Unless there's a good reason to avoid it, I think I'm going to order more Wellness Core and the Nulo to put into rotation. I also picked up a few other cans yesterday: Tiki After Dark Pate in duck, regular Wellness, more Koha varieties, and a few other Fancy Feast flavors to try on my pickiest eater (Why is "fish" in almost all of them, btw?!).
 
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sierramist

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Okay, now I'm frustrated because AFTER ordering cases of the Nulo and Wellness CORE, I read some not-so-great info on chickpeas and cranberries, which happen to be ingredients in each of these foods. Aaargh!

But I imagine there's no perfect food, right? That's why we are all always searching for the "right" one? 😂 I might be overthinking this. I just want the best for my babies that they'll actually eat. Manufacturers make this so difficult!

If we do Wellness CORE (Turkey/Duck and Chicken/Turkey/Chicken Liver), Nulo Chicken & Chicken Liver, and Koha LID in a regular rotation, with some Fancy Feast and Tiki Cat After Dark (hoping they like the duck and/or rabbit) thrown in here and there for variety — does that sound good? Too much poultry? Btw, I had picked the Nulo Chicken & Chicken Liver because it didn't have fish, but maybe we'll try another flavor also that doesn't have the chickpeas. Advice appreciated!
 

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Did you order it from chewy? If so give it to a shelter or friend. I think cranberries are OK but I wouldn't buy anything with chickpeas though some think it's ok. Just another topic that hasn't been proven. If from Amazon, type why you don't want it then they'll approve or not
 
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