New cat mom anxiety about diet!

Swttea

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Hello!

We adopted a kitten about 3 weeks ago. Things have been eventful! We absolutely love her :) Her name is Winnie.
I've been stressing out over food.

I also have an 86lb dog whom I suspect may have a chicken allergy, and have been attempting to change her food for... a year. She is loyal to a single brand in a single flavor and though she might eat new kibble once, never again. She will go days without eating, and while she may eventually eat it, each time it is with such reluctance that I feel awful feeding something she so obviously hates. (The brand she loves is Simply Nourish Chicken & Brown Rice, by the way. It took us a long time to find a food she'd eat with little reluctance.)

What does this have to do with my kitten... I'm just worried of ending up in the same situation, and I know that you can't really refuse food to a cat like a dog! She is already showing signs of being picky.

Right now, Winnie is eating Fancy Feast - the kitten classic pates in chicken or turkey, or the Natural Gourmet kitten pates in chicken. With that I mix in Tiki Cats Chicken & Egg dry kitten, and Whole Earth Farms kitten dry. I pretty much feed her this mixture whenever she is hungry, so several times a day. I also add a few teaspoons of hot water to the mix. I'm feeding 2 dry foods because I originally bought the whole earth...and then wanted to try the tiki.. but she won't really eat the tiki by itself. So I put a bit of the WEF in there, and then she doesn't seem to care. I put a bowl of just the dry out overnight, as well, and she'll usually take a few nibbles of that before the sun comes up.

I've also gotten a few containers of the Sheba perfect portions pates, in the chicken/ turkey, but these are not kitten foods so I probably won't get them again until she doesn't need so much food. I have also gotten the iams perfect portion kitten. I've also tried purina pro plan kitten & pure balance pates, but I bought them before I knew carrageenan was a really questionable ingredient and probably won't get them again.

I'd like to have a rotation of food in case a situation like my dog arises, enjoying meal time, recalls, shortages etc! I have a few other foods on order from Chewy to try out - I would like to go into the store and by single cans to try out but with covid and me being high risk, I haven't been able to, so trying new things have been a bit limited - I don't want to buy a 24 pack and have it go to waste. I have Simply Nourish Essentials Chicken pate for kittens, Tiny Tiger beef / chicken pate, and I also ordered a small bag of Dr Esleys Clean Protein..super expensive but as I am doing a mixture it is more affordable. These aren't here yet but will be soon.

But, I just checked catfoodDB and besides the Esleys and Tiki, the food I've bought really doesn't have good ratings. I saw Fancy Feast and Sheba recommended a lot here, so I felt good purchasing them, and now hope I haven't messed up, since these do seem really 'addicting'! Fancy Feast only getting I believe a 3/10 was really concerning. I don't have the budget to do 100% 'premium' food, especially wet, and have found with my animals a reluctance to even eat it to begin with, but I don't want to feed something that will make them sick either. I already have times where I have to waste half a can of wet food because Winnie just stops recognizing it as food after it has been refrigerated, even if I add more water, microwave, add milk, etc. The Sheba, in particular, was an absolute refusal after refrigeration, wouldn't even sniff it off my finger despite scarfing down freshly opened packs. The Fancy Feast, at least, makes it to 24 hours before she doesn't want it anymore USUALLY. I can't imagine having to dump out 1/2 a can of a very expensive food.. my husband would kill me!

So... advice? Should I stop the FF? Why does it have SUCH a low rating.. or is catfoodDB not where I should be looking? I am self aware and know I am probably making too big a deal out of things... but I have health-ptsd for my pets after my very special pitty passed away a few years ago from a horrible disease (autoimmune hemolytic anemia)...while that had nothing to do with food really, I still stress heavily over all food/vaccines/topicals etc. It's exhausting! :bawling2:
 

rubysmama

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I can't really help with your food questions, as my Ruby girl eats a duck based vet hypoallergenic canned food due to digestive sensibilities, so I haven't tried other foods.

TCS, however, has several articles can cat nutrition, so maybe they'll be helpful.

What Do I Need To Know About Feeding My Cat?
How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?
How To Choose The Right Food For Your Cat
Choosing The Right Food For Your Cat – Part 2
Transitioning Your Cat From Kibble To A New Type Of Food (canned, Raw, Or Homemade) | TheCatSite
 

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I've also gotten a few containers of the Sheba perfect portions pates, in the chicken/ turkey, but these are not kitten foods so I probably won't get them again until she doesn't need so much food.

It's ok to feed Sheba :) Any food that is labeled as "for all life stage" (usually in teeny tiny print on label as an AAFCO statement) is fine for kittens to eat.

Any food your kitten will eat and you can afford is just fine :) There are lots of lists and charts and opinions out there but ultimately what your cat will eat is the best one.
 

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I worried about this when my cats were younger! I fed my cats a mostly dry food diet over the years with grain free wet food as a supplement because of affordability. I went between Wellness grain free, Performatrin grain free and IAMS when they were younger and I personally think IAMS is the best lower priced option for when you are in a pinch (for my cats at least).
I hadn't had any health issues until my one cat was 10 and it was a E. coli urinary infection that caused crystals. Now he eats dry/wet Hills prescription or Iams and is 16 and in perfect health.
My other cat recently died at 14 with perfect teeth and bloodwork (no diabetes, overweight, hyperthyroidism, etc.) but with suspected cancer that had metastasized. It wasn’t a food issue. I think we do over think things sometimes and as long as it is high quality it doesn’t matter. Health issues will arise as they age and until a health or allergy issue comes up then just feed them a high quality food you can afford and they like!

Also regarding the wet food in the fridge..do you use a plastic cover lid or put it in an airtight container. I will also leave the food out for a bit to warm up before or had a tiny bit of water to add moisture back in and they will eat it.
 

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Feeding various textures and flavors helps with kittens not becoming cats stuck on one food, so good you are trying to feed variety.
I would try not to overdo the chicken and feed other proteins as well.
Try to avoid carb heavy and added sugars. Can save in avoiding health issues down the road. More animal protein and less plant based proteins.
 
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Swttea

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Thanks for the advice, everyone!

Since my post we've tried out several more foods, and thankfully have some higher quality stuff in rotation now!
Winnie is so dang picky, but I guess that's par the course for my animals / cats in general :p
Because of this, I actually have a spreadsheet going of what she likes and doesn't like, and various attributes to the food (protein/carb/calories, does it have carrageenan, fish..) lol. I think this lock down situation has me quite bored, I put a lot of effort into my spreadsheet. :lol:

So we now have in rotation:

Tiki Cat After Dark Pate, so far only the Rabbit flavor. She inhaled it. Low carb, no fish, no carrageenan, no unneeded veggies. But, pretty low calories, making it really expensive.

I tried the Venison this morning and it was a NO. It seemed mush drier, even when I added some hot water to it, it just wasn't very pate like. And I had to stick it on her nose to get her to even try it - she ate a few bites then just wanted to bury it. She walked away, and came back, to try and bury it some more. She reallyyyy did not like it.

Nulo MedalSeries Duck & Tuna. Seemed to like this. I was surprised she ate it on day 3 of refrigeration. I wish it came in 3oz cans because that is what I need for her right now...5oz just last too long. Have the other flavors in the line, but haven't tried them yet. Nulo also told me these were exactly the same as Nulo Freestyle, the difference being they are only sold at PetSmart.
It does have 19% carbs, which seems pretty high compared to the other foods I have.

She really liked the new Fancy Feast Savory Centers. I like that they are extremely low - no carb. So far only tried the chicken flavor. This one is more like a treat for now, because it is just labeled Adult, not all life stage. I thought I might be able to use it to mix in the "really good foods" that she doesn't like. I like that I don't really need to add water to this due to the watery, gravy center. Very, very moist already. Pretty low in calories, though.

She really seemed to like Whole Earth Farms Kitten, chicken flavor. However, I think it's 27% carbs! I don't think I'll buy that again.

Seemed to like Natural Balance Kitten, in the Chicken, Salmon and Duck flavor.

We tried Simply Nourish Kitten, in Tender Chicken, and she hated it. My dog hated it, too!

We tried the Iams perfect portions kitten, chicken flavor. She will eat it, but doesn't really seem to like it. I think she would refuse it very quickly. I probably won't get it again, or very rarely.

We tried Chewy's Tiny Tiger, and she liked them. But they aren't much better than Fancy Feast, or maybe worse, and they have higher carbs.

Most of what I've tried that she likes, has fish included. I am undecided if I want to avoid this... mainly because it seems pretty hard to.

She absolutely only likes pate. If I present her with a cuts-in-gravy, it's instant refusal. I guess that is fine, since they are the most calorie dense.

If there are any other suggestions that I can buy single cans of, I'm all ears! There are many I would like to try but are only available on amazon / chewy in 24 packs, which is so wasteful if she won't eat them :( So something I could pick up at petco/petsmart would be great. I'd like to find an "A+" food that she'll eat I can put into rotation with the others. Also maybe less fish.
 

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Dr Elseys will send you samples of both their dry and wet food Just go on their website and request them. My boys went nuts over this brand Because of the high protein content serving portions are smaller and more filling I have been happily surprised that the cost is offset because of how long a bag of dry lasts Mine have always preferred dry but they eat one meal of wet at night Dr Elseys wet is all pate style. I rotate some Sheba in there too They have been on this brand a little over a month and their coats are looking amazing! Good ingredients Good results Knock on wood!
 
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Swttea

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Dr Elseys will send you samples of both their dry and wet food Just go on their website and request them. My boys went nuts over this brand Because of the high protein content serving portions are smaller and more filling I have been happily surprised that the cost is offset because of how long a bag of dry lasts Mine have always preferred dry but they eat one meal of wet at night Dr Elseys wet is all pate style. I rotate some Sheba in there too They have been on this brand a little over a month and their coats are looking amazing! Good ingredients Good results Knock on wood!
Oh, I didn't know they would send samples, thats great!! She is already eating the dry food in rotation with tiki cat dry for kittens. She won't eat dry on it's own anymore but I mix it into her wet food and it's eaten that way just fine.I just put a little bit so I think she'ls actually happy when she finds a crunchy nugget of dry food when she's eating. :lol:
 

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Swttea Swttea

What about Natures Variety Instinct ~ for both kitten and adults.

Wellness is a good brand and has kitten pate.
 
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Swttea

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I haven't tried Instinct because it is very expensive and I don't like how high peas are on the ingredient list, but I may give it a go. Still on the fence with that one! Maybe as a treat if she really likes it. Certainly couldn't feed it daily.

I've tried several Weruva flavors over the past few days and Winnie really likes the Cats in the Kitchen line. She REALLY liked the Fowl Ball and it wasn't even pate! It had big shreds of chicken. She loved that one. But my gosh, are they LOW in calories for the price!

I have a question about catfooddb. Are they ever wrong? They list Whole Earth Farms Kitten as 27% carbs which I thought was REALLY high... but I calculated it myself and only get around 13-14? Still high but a lot lower. I could certainly be doing the calculations wrong because I don't really know how to do it lol.

CatfoodDB Link

But I came up with:

Moisture is 78%. So, 100 - 78 = 22.

Convert to .22, and divide as fed %

Protein 9% / .22 = 40.9 (41%) dry matter
Fat 4% / .22 = 18.1% (18%) dry matter
Fiber 3% / .22 = 13.6 (14%) dry matter
Ash 3% / .22 = 13.6 (14%) dry matter

100 - 41 - 18 - 14 - 14 = 13% left, which would be the carb amount?
If that is true I would like to add this back into rotation because it's got no fish, no unneeded veggies, no carrageenan, no potato starch, she likes it and it's very affordable.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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I get 13.54 carbs also, in my carb calculator, which is a spreadsheet I've been using for years. I got it from someone else here on TCS. Doesn't mean it's correct, but I want to think so. Intersting. I guess it's possible what CatfoodDB is using is old dta. Cat foods DO change.
 

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I know a cat who lived a happy life based solely on proplan kibble. I don't know the statistics about that but I see it as a miracle. maybe we are a bit obsessed with out pets' nutrition but I think it's well deserved, given the facts about capitalism and food industry. and it's up to us to decide for our pets, they don't have the choices we do.
I support your idea to get Winnie used to different foods. When I adopted minish as kitten I was suggested by cat owners and vets in Turkey to give best quality dry I could find- wet food not recommended here for some reason. In her first year, I fed minish mostly with Origen grainfree kibble, which is not altered for kitten or spayed (only suggested daily portions change accordingly). Then my next vet warned me that Origen has too much protein (for an obligate carnivore, I don't even know what it means!!?!) Then I learned about urinary tract issues, importance of water intake...Then minish got reactions to chicken based commercial foods (almost all of them!) and got overweight..I am still stuggling to feed her the right way. My final decision is home-made raw which I will rotate with various commercial foods.
I believe the best method is providing variety, not only because they need different nutrients, but also because they have to be able to adapt to different situations. Although I fed minish almost exclusively with one brand of food her first year, I offered her raw meat, cooked meat, butter, mayo, potatoes, pasta, even cauliflower... so that she got familiarized to human food in case something happened to me and she became a stray. This resulted in a not picky, adaptable cat. I can change her food easily. She eats and digests just fine. She may be reluctant on some (hates cooked minced meat, cooked mackarel, a wonderfully balanced premium wet food even I want to eat), she consumes them if the need arises. I saw its benefit when I had to remove chicken based food from her diet for a while.
Another very important thing is encouraging water intake, which is problematic with dry food. Minish is used to and looks forward to chicken and bone broth with some meat added in. Even if I feed her only with wet food, I add warm water in different amounts just in case.
 
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Swttea

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minish minish thank you for your history with Minish! Winnie often sniffs my "human food" but the only thing she's ever actually tried to eat was shrimp, canned chicken and milk. I've offered her bits of things she seems really interested in smelling but those were the only things shes taken so far. Lol. She seems very picky and not food motivated!

I got free samples of Dr Esley today! That was quick! They sent a small packet of dry, in the salmon flavor, and 2 cans of wet, even though I only requested 1. They sent rabbit (the one I wanted), and duck & turkey. I've tried the duck & turkey so far and she's eaten half a can today (that's good for her!). I already had the Chicken flavor dry food, which she has never taken on it's own.

She ate, like, 5 kibbles of the dry, on it's own, which is impressive for her LOL. She hasn't touched dry that isn't saturated in wet food since I started giving her wet food. So, this might be a good leave-out-all the time option / treat option. It's super smelly!

Winnie doesn't eat much. She only eats about 0.8-1oz at a time. I started tracking what she eats because I am concerned it wasn't enough when I read about kittens her age eating whole cans in one sitting. I don't know if she doesn't like it, doesn't like the texture, doesn't like licking, is actually full, or simply gets bored of eating. I've decided I probably won't feed Weruva because of this... I need a denser calorie food if she is only going to eat small amounts at a time. 1oz of Weruva is, like, hardly any calories!

Yesterday she ate 330 calories. That seems good. Today she is at 130, but we have a ways to go, however it looks like it might be a day where she only gets in the 200s for calorie intake. I weighed her and she was at 4.6lbs, which is another 1lb gain since her last vet visit a few weeks ago so..she is gaining weight, and that seems appropriate for her age. I am just not sure how to get her to eat as much as other kittens seem to want to eat. I offer her food many many times a day since she eats so little at a time.

She seems great otherwise. Healthy poos and pees. Playing.

I e-mailed several companies requesting samples today. I'll report back who responds!
 
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Swttea

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I have only gotten one response from the companies I e-mailed, Rawz says they are going to send some samples! Still waiting to see if anyone else responds.
 

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If she prefers wet food which is better for cats than dry👍 I wouldn't try to transition her to dry food or partially dry.
 

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Fussie Cat sent me a sample when I requested it.

Also, I don't know if you have a Hollywood feed in your area but they had some small sample sized Fromm dry foods that they gave me at no cost.
 

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Kaikoa was VERY generous in sending their samples. Unfortunately, they only have salmon based food but oh so good for my cats! They only get it every two weeks because it's fish but boy, it's best day ever for them.

I truly hope Rawz will work for you, my cats love it and it's really good food. They absolutely love their rabbit and rabbit+pumpkin formula.
To keep the cost down I recommend Redbarn Naturals turkey flavour, it's often around $30 per case, not sure if they send the samples out, but even if you buy the whole case from Chewy and she refuses to eat it, they will refund it and you could donate it to someone in need.
My cats love Merrick Purrfect Bistro Rabbit flavour but the ingredients are worse, but still it's pretty cheap rabbit (+chicken).

Other worth mentioning pate canned: Identity, Essence, PureVita, Hound&Gatos. Not sure if they send samples.

TikiCat pates are inexcusably expensive imo. For this price, I'd expect their canned to be at least gum-less.

SOme of the Tiny Tiger (Turkey pate for sure) don't have artificial ingredients what makes them better than FFClassic Pate imo. But I noticed that they differ so much between batches, my cats refused eating it after being super enthusiastic about this previously.

If you use bigger cans, you can try to transfer the leftover to the glass container and keep it in the fridge that way, it may be more palatable for her than when stored in a can. Then you can place this jar in the hot-ish water to warm it up. My cats love this method.

ETA: I forgot to mention American Journey pate - my cats love it, but it's mostly chicken based and higher in carbs.
 
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Swttea

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Kaikoa was VERY generous in sending their samples. Unfortunately, they only have salmon based food but oh so good for my cats! They only get it every two weeks because it's fish but boy, it's best day ever for them.

I truly hope Rawz will work for you, my cats love it and it's really good food. They absolutely love their rabbit and rabbit+pumpkin formula.
To keep the cost down I recommend Redbarn Naturals turkey flavour, it's often around $30 per case, not sure if they send the samples out, but even if you buy the whole case from Chewy and she refuses to eat it, they will refund it and you could donate it to someone in need.
My cats love Merrick Purrfect Bistro Rabbit flavour but the ingredients are worse, but still it's pretty cheap rabbit (+chicken).

Other worth mentioning pate canned: Identity, Essence, PureVita, Hound&Gatos. Not sure if they send samples.

TikiCat pates are inexcusably expensive imo. For this price, I'd expect their canned to be at least gum-less.

SOme of the Tiny Tiger (Turkey pate for sure) don't have artificial ingredients what makes them better than FFClassic Pate imo. But I noticed that they differ so much between batches, my cats refused eating it after being super enthusiastic about this previously.

If you use bigger cans, you can try to transfer the leftover to the glass container and keep it in the fridge that way, it may be more palatable for her than when stored in a can. Then you can place this jar in the hot-ish water to warm it up. My cats love this method.

ETA: I forgot to mention American Journey pate - my cats love it, but it's mostly chicken based and higher in carbs.
I agree about the TikiCat. They're super expensive. I'm only giving her those once and a while. She seems to enjoy the rabbit one, but all of the other flavors were a bust - she immediately just tries really hard to air bury them, especially the venison, she also doesn't always finish off a can of the rabbit so I may just phase it out all together, it hurts to dump it out lol.

I requested samples from Hound&Gatos but haven't heard back. Redbarn replied I think and said no.

I have a bunch of tiny tiger. She really likes the chicken & turkey flavors, pates. When she refuses everything else she'll usually eat one of those! I haven't run into the batching issue so I will keep an eye out for that! Because she liked Tiny Tiger a lot I did buy some American Journey - but I tried out the 'mined' variety. She actually ate a whole can of it yesterday, I ended up just leaving it out all day and she kept going back to nibble until it was all gone. So I guess she liked it! Usually, I am throwing some away. They do have more carbs then I usually feed (18%, 15%, and a whopping 28% in the variety I got), but I'm not too worried if she actually eats it/it isn't daily.

I've got soo much food at this point - nothing she seems enthusiastic about, which bothers me, but I think I'm going to hold off buying more food at least from Chewy. They are the only place with most brands I want to try, since I am in a small town without any specialty shops really. Just petco/petsmart. I know they will refund if it's not liked but like... i've had to get a lot of refunds, and I'm worried they're going to black list me :lol: That's why I've been looking at free samples. I just really want to find something she seems to LOVE, but... maybe she just wont. :bawling2:

I already do store her food in glass! I got 3oz mason jars with air tight lids, so the leftover portions immediately get put in there. I stopped storing in the can weeks ago, and also switch from plastic to glass. I haven't tried heating in water, I will give that a go! I noticed some flavors she actually prefers straight from the fridge, cold. Others she wants them warm. And others she wants them hot.

I tried sprinkling Parmesan cheese on her food too. She didn't really seem to care for it. But I ordered some bonito flakes the other day, and those seem to be helping a LOT! When I first opened the bag Winnie was on the couch near me and she immediately stuck her head up trying to locate the smell (my god they stink) and trying to get into the bag. I squished it up into sprinkles on her food a few times now when she was trying to bury it, and then she went to eat a good amount. My dog freakin loves it, too.
 

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Will say shame the dog might have a chicken allery. I my self am a raw meat feeder. My turkish angora grow up with it and having made the switch my other cats loved it too. You can also try beef just not pork as that is not all to healthy for cats. It is also easy as you can leave some meat from your meal for the cat and or dog, they are carnivores after all. Before I go will give you this the animals I know that eat raw foods have less stinky waste too so helps with cleaning up after them.
 
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