Need advice for a non-grain food

Felinian

Owned by this little princess!
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Aug 23, 2023
Messages
16
Purraise
10
Location
Ozarks
Greetings, fellow cat lovers.💚 It's good to be back with you - I sank into grieving for a while. For those who might remember me, I've been absent since late August, first trying to get my beautiful 18-year-old Tonkinese (still my icon at left) to drink enough water to keep his stool from getting rock hard. It turned out that he had an aggressive liver tumor (not detected by his regular vet - whom I'll never see again). He got very sick, and after weeks of hospitalization and expensive surgery (still trying to pay for - they never said till afterwards it was hopeless), he finally died from a horrible brain seizure (metastasis) on October 20 last year. He was the last (and smartest and closest) of my long-lived family of 'meezers - his loss was near unbearable grief. The house was suddenly so achingly empty.

I apologize for digressing before I even begin my topic!

I swore no more after him (my age, how long my cats live, the grief), but my heart was captured by a little 8-month-old pale ginger beauty who had been abandoned as a kitten in a small town hours from here, but was fortunately brought into a caring rescue service, fostered out, but then returned (poor thing), and was all alone in a display cage at Petco the day I finally had the courage to return my late Tonk's unused water fountain. She was immediately interested, friendly, playful, and adorable.with me. It was impossible to leave her there.

But NOW to my point! My new little kitty has been fed nothing but Meow Mix - which I'm troubled to see is loaded with grains and by-products - and she's showing early signs of what might be allergy - more scratching and biting than I'd like to see (it's not frequent yet, she is indoor only, and there are no allergens in the house - I'm allergic, myself. Thankfully, not to cats!). Decades ago, I lost a darling cat to gradually increasing allergies that finally swelled her kidneys shut - prednisone ruined her mind, and she walked right out into traffic despite having been a very streetwise cat. No one told me that a grain-free diet might have been the solution.

The only other food my little cat (still working on her name - it's "Princess" for now) will eat is salt-free, extra-low mercury (expensive) tuna for humans which she eats voraciously - but she won't eat canned tuna for cats! I've tried Chicken Soup for the Soul - with tuna and brown rice the #1 ingredients - but she refuses to eat any of it and goes back to her Meow Mix. If I mix just a spoonful of the C.S.S. in her Meow Mix, she won't eat the Meow Mix either! She won't eat C.S.S. if I pour human tuna juice over it. In short, she hates whatever is in C.S.S. Any recommendations of a no-by-product, no-grain hard food would be most welcome. As she's still under 10 months old, I don't know whether kitten or adult catfood is best, either. (I haven't had a kitten in 18 years!)
.

Thanks in advance!!!
1. On the cat tree.jpg
 

Kris107

Cat mom, cat foster mom
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Mar 6, 2023
Messages
811
Purraise
1,637
Your new girl is beautiful! It's wonderful that you opened your heart and home again too. Nutritional/diet topics tend to be fairly controversial in my opinion. I fed my last two cats grain-free their whole lives. They did pretty well, but they also passed at ages 10 and 12. My vet(s) have also since told me that domesticated cats can do fine with grains as they've had decades and decades of eating them. So with my current cats, I've eased up on that. What I do is go to the store and read ingredient labels and find the best quality food I can for a cost that is sustainable for me and my budget. If your cat is having food sensitivities, it's usually best to find out what exactly the cat is sensitive to and avoid it. I have one cat who is very sensitive to most things so has a very expensive prescription diet and another who is sensitive to fish. I know these things and can feed accordingly. I know this is just generalized "advice" but I'm sure others will weigh in soon!
 

mrsgreenjeens

Every Life Should Have Nine Cats
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Aug 13, 2009
Messages
16,595
Purraise
7,508
Location
Arizona
She is adorable :loveeyes:

It may not be the food that is causing her it itch. It could be anything, really. I know you said your home environment is "allergy free", but how is that possible? Some cats are even allergic to dust mites. How do you keep dust out of your home. I have three air purifiers in my home, and they have lights that tell me when they kick on the reason why (odor/allergen/etc) but I'm sure they do not clean the air 100%. How can they? (now I have digressed myself :lol: )

Since she is so picky, perhaps try moving up one step at a time in food. IMHO, Meow Mix is the bottom rung of cat food. Maybe try a small bag of another grocery store brand and see if she'll accept it. Don't try to jump up to a premium brand just yet. Baby steps. And, BTW, at 10 months she should be able to eat adult food.

As to allergies common in cats, many are actually allergic to chicken and fish! Not sure what flavor her food is, but you might try turkey and see what happens. And, typically, with food allergies, the itching is concentrated around their heads and neck. Is this where she is scratching the most. Sorry if I'm all over the place. Ideas just pop into my mind randomely.
 

PushPurrCatPaws

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
10,157
Purraise
10,368
It looks like you feed your felines dry food. I feed my cat canned wet food, but I do use a small amount of dry food for training treats when I give her a medicine she needs daily. That dry food would be Dr. Elseys Cleanprotein Salmon formula; my cat loves it. You can try a small, 2-lb bag of this and see if your beautiful cat might like it. I get my small bags from Amazon:
Amazon.com

Many of the smaller stores, like Mud Bay (if you have those near you) will provide little packs of sample dry foods for you to try. I think otherwise you might have to buy whole bags of food to try, which can be frustrating and expensive in the long run. This is why I offered up a dry food that was a success with my own cat.

PS- I might suggest not mixing tuna or tuna water with a cat food. In my experience, that hasn't worked in getting a cat to eat a cat food.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

Felinian

Owned by this little princess!
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Aug 23, 2023
Messages
16
Purraise
10
Location
Ozarks
Thank you all for your replies! And the compliments on my little foundling beauty above.

As usual, nothing is predictable with cats. Their approval of whatever is never guaranteed - that would make life just too boring. And you know what cats say: "Curiosity did not kill the cat. But boredom certainly can!" (Having been owned by cats for three decades...)
My vet(s) have also since told me that domesticated cats can do fine with grains as they've had decades and decades of eating them. So with my current cats, I've eased up on that. What I do is go to the store and read ingredient labels and find the best quality food I can for a cost that is sustainable for me and my budget.
That is very interesting to learn, Kris! I'm so old that I grew up with the dictum that cats are all "obligate carnivores" - but then there was always this cognitive dissonance in the back of my mind, wondering why so many cat foods had more vegetable ingredients than meat! But it makes sense that since cats have lived and evolved with us for thousands of years (new research says since 7500 BC!) that those cats that could digest a more human omnivore diet would be the most likely to survive the best as domestic pets. I'm in the same situation you are - I read labels for the best quality that I can reasonably maintain in my limited budget.
Since she is so picky, perhaps try moving up one step at a time in food. IMHO, Meow Mix is the bottom rung of cat food. Maybe try a small bag of another grocery store brand and see if she'll accept it. Don't try to jump up to a premium brand just yet. Baby steps.
I just took your advice MGJ - planning a cross-over between two brands at Walmart - got a small refresher bag of Meow Mix (#1 whole ground corn, #2 soybean oil, #3 chicken by-product meal) and another of Rachael Ray's Nutrish (#1 Salmon, #2 Fish meal, # Corn Protein Concentrate), a step up it seems (with even a clear schedule of proportions & amounts to make a crossover). And just as an after-thought, picked up Fancy Feast Savory Salmon paté as I left the cat aisle - since both dry foods "can be mixed with wet".

So what does my little princess do when I put them all on the kitchen counter and left for a few moments to get the other groceries? She chews the Nutrish bag open (she's much feistier than she looks!), eats some kibbles, then tears into the Meow Mix bag, eats some of that. Stunned, I decided to see what she'd do with the Fancy Feast, and she scarfed down a couple of gulps of that, but without finishing turned back to the dry food bags. It was like watching a starving person at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet bar. I stopped the wild buffet and put the appropriate proportions in her usual dish. She nibbled a bit more and then ran off to play with her favorite toy - a mouse that squeaks when you bat it around the floor. I sighed and took my evening dose of xanax. (BTW. She's not starving. She's more than a pound overweight. Measuring strictly now.)

By the way, you're certainly right that no house can be allergy free - that's why I take montelukast, flonase, and benadryl every day this time of year - especially this year, thus far the warmest and muggiest on record here in the Ozarks. I just remembered I needed to replace all the air filters in the house after reading your reply. Thanks. I'm so lucky not to be allergic to felines!
I'd recommend Stella and Chewys.
It's odd that I've never heard of them before, but I'll definitely try the raw foods if allergy proves to be a problem. Thanks for this info I can keep in reserve.
It looks like you feed your felines dry food.
ONLY because this little ginger beauty refused to eat any of the canned food that was included in the courtesy bundle that came with her adoption, and she was not interested in a can of pricey I&LOVE&YOU beef paté that I had left over after Hermes (my Tonkinese) crossed the rainbow bridge in October. This surprised me because I had planned to do all wet food with her, but dry Meow Mix (all she had ever known I guess) was the only thing she would eat for over a week. But I agree with Mrs. Greenjeans - it's the bottom rung of catfood. Gonna keep striving to improve the quality of her food, whether dry, wet, or mixed.

Anyhow, sorry I carried on here - I tend to do that. Retired English teachers with little social life tend to write full reports of their cats' every behavior. I thank you all again for the informative and supportive advice - all very useful!

Felinian
 

Kimski44

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 7, 2024
Messages
1
Purraise
1
Just a quick word of warning re raw food. Im in the UK where many (most) cats are kept indoor-outdoor cats (access to gardens) but in any case, due to my recent experience with my cat, I would strongly suggest you get your cat tested for toxoplasmosis before starting on any raw food diet, particularly if she’s going to be an indoor-cat only. Raw food is one of the several ways that cats can acquire toxoplasmosis, and in a healthy cat, it shouldn’t cause any problems. My cat was supremely healthy with none of the main dreadful cat infections, and vaccinated regularly against them. She nearly died of an overwhelming toxoplasmosis infection last week. Very rare, but it can happen. Mine cat was most likely infected whilst scavaging as a street cat-kitten in Corfu, Greece which is where I originally rescued her from.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8

Felinian

Owned by this little princess!
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Aug 23, 2023
Messages
16
Purraise
10
Location
Ozarks
Thank you for that warning!

I had already assumed that most cats and their intimate owners already carry asymptomatic toxoplasmosis. Cornell College of Veterinarian Medicine: "Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). It is one of the most common parasitic diseases and infects nearly all warm-blooded animals, including pets and humans". There is research proving that it causes rats to lose their fear of cats and become docile, easy victims to them. The Smithsonian: "The Parasite That Makes a Rat Love a Cat".(Some say it does the same thing to the cats' humans - probably true. 🤔)

If I'm interpreting this accurately, it is a massive overload of toxoplasma gondii which is introduced into the system by raw meat which "tips the scales" that keep the parasite in check and overwhelms the immune system causing the serious infection. I would imagine that your cat and perhaps every cat I've ever had (these incredible felines of mine all just came to me "out of nowhere") already had asymptomatic toxoplasmosis, and myself as well.

But the end result of what you're telling is still the same. Excess toxonplasma gondii will make even an asymptomatic carrier very sick. Again thank you for warning me. That's not an option I will consider anymore - for me or my cat.
 

Alldara

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
6,064
Purraise
10,523
Location
Canada
Stella and Chewys is not a true raw. It is a freeze dried "raw". I do not recommend feeding raw diets as its very risky for pathogens.

Sorry to confuse everyone with thr misnomer.

I am.much to worried about salmonella, and all the other ones that are easily solved by cooking.

Felinian Felinian K Kimski44
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11

Felinian

Owned by this little princess!
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Aug 23, 2023
Messages
16
Purraise
10
Location
Ozarks
I might suggest not mixing tuna or tuna water with a cat food. In my experience, that hasn't worked in getting a cat to eat a cat food.
It does work well with my little princess, but possibly because I use salt-free, vegetable-oil-free, low-mercury tuna only. I can only buy a few cans of it a month for myself. But with her being a bit overweight, and now eating a better food, I don't need to "supercharge" her appetite anymore.

mrsgreenjeens mrsgreenjeens - I too am excited that's she taking to something better than Meow Mix! Hope to have her completely off of it soon.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

Felinian

Owned by this little princess!
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Aug 23, 2023
Messages
16
Purraise
10
Location
Ozarks
I am happy to announce that after going through three gradual upgrades that my little Honey is now eating a premium, no-grain food and is no longer itching at all. I noted that the itching decreased after each upgrade of food.
  • We of course started at the bottom with Meow Mix (which for every reason, I wanted to get her off of ASAP)
  • Crossed over to Rachel Ray's Nutrish, which still contained corn protein concentrate as the third ingredient, following two real meat ingredients unlike MM. But a little less itching.
  • Then transitioned to Purina One for Sensitive Skin, with more meat ingredients, but still some corn in the ingredients, but even less itching.
  • And finally Honey was willing to eat the absurdly named Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tuna and Brown Rice (but no corn, wheat, soy, or any by-product meals). Now I never see her itching! I assume it was the corn. I was really lucky to target that first, I guess.
I must admit that to encourage her food changes, pouring chicken or pork drippings or salt-free tuna water over her hard food has encouraged her to eat each new food, which she eventually eats without the extra liquid. But she still will not eat canned food!!?

I'm lucky she hasn't shown any signs of stomach upset and is so full of energy that she exhausts me just looking at her running and jumping around with her toys - she is 10 months old but her "kittenhood" is not decreasing! But now that she's not itching, she does sleep soundly for long periods, thank goodness.
 

tyleete

Queen of the Crazy
Alpha Cat
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
385
Purraise
413
Location
Virginia
Most of mine are eating Young Again LID Zero. It's called Zero because it has less than 1% carbs, and had absolutely NO fillers of any kind, including grains. High meat protein though.
I started this food for my diabetic and she went into remission. But speaking with the president of the company (he directly answers many questions), assured me it's for all cats too. It may seem costly at first at $57 an 8lb bag, but it's so nutrient dense (again NO fillers) that you my feed them 1/2 what you feed if other brands. All my 10lb kitties eat a total of 1/4cup per day. And my 12lb ones get 1/3 per day. I like feeding them the way they were meant to be eating. This is the next best thing to feeding them mice daily. No thanks.😅
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14

Felinian

Owned by this little princess!
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Aug 23, 2023
Messages
16
Purraise
10
Location
Ozarks
I have owned eight cats in my life and not a single one of them would eat a mouse. They would "dispatch" them and drop them at my feet as a gift, and sit back looking proud of themselves. But they never ever took a single bite themselves. (They did the same with birds, shrews, moles, etc). Have you ever wondered why there's no mouse- or bird-flavored catfoods? I have, but nobody can answer that! Cats just don't eat mice (or birds) anymore like they did in Ancient Egypt.

I think as K Kris107 noted above, over the 1000's of years domestic cats have lived with us, most have evolved more into omnivores like their humans (rather than obligate carnivores as all wild felines are). We don't eat mice, robins, or moles either. 😄 Obviously, some cats can live for a number of years on the practically meatless Meow Mix, though I'm sure not nearly as healthily as cats with a meat-based diet like yours will with LID Zero.

I'm so happy for you that your diabetic cat went into remission with this premium food!!! Just a question in case I need to recognize it someday - what made you suspect that your cat was diabetic (or that something was wrong)? Or did you not suspect it until the vet found out with a blood test? I'd like to know what to look out for.
 

tyleete

Queen of the Crazy
Alpha Cat
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
385
Purraise
413
Location
Virginia
I had no idea she was diabetic till the lab work showed. She's always been a very healthy cat.
As for being omnivores? Definitely not. I'm no expert, but have had to do a lot of different research as I have several cats with all sorts of medical problems. I do rescue with and am down to 10. Due to no one wanting the ill ones. From my research, cats are built totally stupid. They're the one animal that had never 'evolved'. They're systems actually suck. They can't make their own taurine, their digestive tracks are extremely short, and they'd thirst drive is horrible. Lots more that's wrong with cats, but those first come to mind. They've been domesticated for eons, but their internal systems have not.
I've seen people feed fennec foxes a vegetarian diet. Will they eat it? Yes. Is it good for them? Definitely not.
Sadly, my cats will eat mice. I live in the middle of the woods and occasionally they get in. If I don't get to it first? Yuck. Mine won't even leave much of a mess behind, but still. Eww. I actually have a 'pet' mouse from one that was on the roof and fell down the vent over the oven. Just a baby and when I tried to release it, it came right back. Also just released another I had to hand feed to its eyes opened. My cats eat them whenever they can. Outside? My old neighborhood's cats did that too. They used to bring what was left of birds, mice & moles.
As for why no flavored mice foods? Because people would have to know what that tastes like to recreate it.😅
 

IzzysfureverMom

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
May 3, 2024
Messages
797
Purraise
1,867
Location
Near a Cat, Always
Actually, there IS a cat food made out of mice. It's called Mouser :barfgreen: But it's a canned food, not kibble
Mouser cat food's fourth ingredient is brewers yeast. So for that alone it would be a no go for my one cat who has terrible issues with brewers yeast.Other then that if you are looking from limited ingredients it might meet that as 4 starting ingredients are rabbit ( or turkey etc) whole mouse ( does that include fur ? ), tomato paste, and brewers yeast. It does not contain any water or broth or thickeners ( but I would thick brewers yeast would thicken the food).It is more then $64 dollars for a case of 24- 5.5 ounce cans.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18

Felinian

Owned by this little princess!
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Aug 23, 2023
Messages
16
Purraise
10
Location
Ozarks
Thank you for the details on that ridiculously expensive mouse(trap) food!

I can't imagine feeding my little princess tomato paste! Has anyone here ever seen any cat eat a tomato?? There's nothing in a tomato that a cat can't get plenty of from other less acidic foods. A cat's digestive system produces its own vitamin C (unlike humans), and that's what tomatoes have the most of. (There were no tomatoes in the "Old World" until the 16th century, when they were brought from the Americas by Columbus. But cats and people in Europe, Asia, and Africa had done fine without them for millennia.)

Plus the acidity of tomatoes can't be good for a cat. A healthy mammalian body should be slightly alkaline. but this food could throw the pH completely out of balance, which could lead to poor health, esp. painful joints and inflamed tissues. Also, if you happen to serve your cat's food in an aluminum bowl, the tomato acid will actually leach aluminum into their food. THIS IS POISONOUS!

Brewers yeast is fungus, mold, very high on the list of allergens--it can be devastating, even deadly to those allergic to it.

This Mouser catfood just sounds like a horribly reckless concoction at a horribly ridiculous price. Just like one of those two-thousand-dollar Vuitton purses that are actually made out of garbage bags, fashionable for the obscenely wealthy just because they're "unique" and French.
 

IzzysfureverMom

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
May 3, 2024
Messages
797
Purraise
1,867
Location
Near a Cat, Always
The price in part maybe that they are a start up. The food is only available in very limited areas at this time. It is apparently selling well. To me it looks like it contains a lot of brewers yeast ( someone sent me a can) which is a big no no and a issue for my one cat, makes her really ill. There a couple of other brands that I can think of that contain tomato paste.It is interesting idea which is why my friend sent me a can.
 

IzzysfureverMom

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
May 3, 2024
Messages
797
Purraise
1,867
Location
Near a Cat, Always
There is RAWZ pate that has no grain or gums.If you have determined certain allergies this may be an option. If she does not have certain allergies or none at all there may be better options for her. Mine is highly sensitive to gums and this is one of very few pates without any gums or other things she has issues with. Unfortunately it is fairly expensive. I recommend checking ingredients for what you are looking for. If you have not confirmed a food allergy by food elimination trials that is a good thing to do ( but takes time) you might also want to consider environmental things as well.
 
Top