Newly Adopted Cat, I have some questions!

CatDadNY 86

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 27, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
6
Hello all. Today, my wife and I added a new baby to the family. Her name is Molly. She is a 10 year old DSH and was surrendered by a family who brought her to a veterinarian to euthanize her without ethical need to do so. The Veterinarian has been a trusted vet of ours across a few generations now and she has put molly on a prescription diet due to her obesity. She also suggested something called "the catkins" diet and I was curious to gather a bit of feedback and information from other cat owners before deciding to give it a go.

My questions would be : What is the brand you feel is best for her that is low calorie (no grain free brands, please). Should I avoid cat trees until she loses a bit of weight?

That's really all I can think of at this time. I'm hoping to get to know her better and see what forms of play she likes to get her more active (laser pointers, cat trees with good height for her to run up and jump down, etc.)

Thanks, everyone!
 

HPeters

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 27, 2018
Messages
85
Reaction score
70
Location
Southern Alberta, Canada
Hi! Props for saving a life!
For the food question I would recommend any high quality brand, my top 2 preferences are Royal Canin and Iams in whichever weight loss/ management formula that they offer. (Hills and Purina are the other two top brands I would recommend).
As for the "catkins" diet, that is entirely personal preference it is essentially a strict wet food diet and I think you would be better off feeding a high quality dry food to a lower quality wet food. The wet vs dry has been a long ongoing discussion that I think is better off being based on individual cats.

As for the cat tree, definitely get one!! Especially for a heavier cat, I would recommend something like this, Walnut Cat Tower they are very sturdy and the many levels offer more work for the cat to climb up and resting spots if they get tired, plus easy to clean! Clearly a $200 tree may be out of some peoples budget so I would say that it boils down to being sturdy and lots of levels for her to explore.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

CatDadNY 86

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 27, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
6
Hi! Props for saving a life!
For the food question I would recommend any high quality brand, my top 2 preferences are Royal Canin and Iams in whichever weight loss/ management formula that they offer. (Hills and Purina are the other two top brands I would recommend).
As for the "catkins" diet, that is entirely personal preference it is essentially a strict wet food diet and I think you would be better off feeding a high quality dry food to a lower quality wet food. The wet vs dry has been a long ongoing discussion that I think is better off being based on individual cats.

As for the cat tree, definitely get one!! Especially for a heavier cat, I would recommend something like this, Walnut Cat Tower they are very sturdy and the many levels offer more work for the cat to climb up and resting spots if they get tired, plus easy to clean! Clearly a $200 tree may be out of some peoples budget so I would say that it boils down to being sturdy and lots of levels for her to explore.
This tree looks great to start with. I could easily add some vines to it and comfy bedding. Thanks much! I do have a script for satiety formula from royal canin but it's dry. I will have to ask my vet if she could change that to the pate. :)
 

Kieka

Snowshoe Servant
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Sep 6, 2016
Messages
9,498
Reaction score
13,609
Location
Southern California
Why are you avoiding grain free? Cats are obligated carnivores and don't need grains. Grain free labeling is a marketing gimmick but there are many with that label that are good food choices. The specific potential issue with grain free foods is a dog issue that is most likely related to the boutique fad for pet food, unique proteins and reduced taurine. Basically, a bad combination of situations that people jumped all over without proper research and is now having negative side effects in some dogs. Cats though should be on a low carb, high protein, moderate fat diet, it is what they evolved to eat. Cat food is also supplemented with taurine and since taurine deficiencies are one of the theories as to why dogs are having heart issues on grain free diets it is a non issue in cat food.

Commercial foods are generally a balance of bad choices; Iams and Royal Canine are not good brands. They are at the top of the brands who exist to profit off pets and pack in cheap fillers to allow them to provide a food that will keep your cat alive at the lowest cost to them. Of course, in my opinion and based on my own research into cat food for my cats. Cats are obligated carnivores, they evolved to eat moisture rich raw meat. Domestic cats have lived in the shadows of human society feeding on small prey attracted to human habitations. Its only since world War 2 that dry food was even an idea and that was wartime necessity to feed household pets in urban settings. Humans loved dry food convenience and pet food companies loved the lower cost so it stuck around after wartime. Dry food has its place but it is far from ideal and even most cheap wet foods will out perform the dry in terms of nutrition. Basically because of the core concept of dry being shelf stable and needing a binder that turns out to be a carb which increases the carb content in the cats diet. A high carb diet is a leading contributor to cat weight problems, diabetes and kidney issues (kidney issues being through the lower moisture content that also pairs with a dry diet). But some people (myself included) have to feed some dry because of lifestyle, budget or other reasons. It is a necessary evil but steps should be taken to reduce carbs whenever possible and increase mositure even when feeding dry (using a low carb dry for example and providing water fountains).

Catkins (Catkins diet involves simply feeding canned food to your cat, terminology started by catinfo.org) is just a terminology to piggyback on the popular human Atkins diet. But the basic principal is one that cat nutrition specialists have been promoting for years. Wet diets are better for our cats, usually less fillers, usually less carbs and the higher moisture content are better for a cats overall health. Friskies classic pate line is a decent widely available commercial wet food. There are higher quality brands out there but the general rule is look for something with meat, vitamins and minerals. Cats don't need vegetables or fruit in their foods so those are unneeded fillers. Some of those will be grain free labeled because they are grain free so why not label it so but that doesn't make the brand or food bad or dangerous for cats.

As to trees, yes get one. Make sure it has platforms to allow your cat to get up and down without making big jumps until she's lost some weight and reduced strain on joints.
 

lokhismom

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
485
Reaction score
107
Location
New England
Thank you for saving Molly. So sweet

For low calorie, high protein foods I'd recommend Weruva, Whole Hearted (Petco brand) Feline Natural
 

lisahe

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Mar 23, 2014
Messages
4,783
Reaction score
3,243
Location
Maine
Thank you for taking in Molly, CatDadNY 86 CatDadNY 86 , she's very lucky!

I agree with Kieka Kieka on all counts! There's no reason to avoid grain-free foods -- cats don't need grains and they wouldn't fit into a low-carb diet for weight loss anyway.

Cats need protein derived from meat; ingredients like potatoes and peas don't do them much good. Cats are designed to eat meat and that's what satiates them and helps them reach and maintain a healthy weight. It also helps prevent muscle wasting in older cats. Kieka mentioned the site catinfo.org, which I highly recommend as a vet-written introduction on how to feed cats. (Our cat specialist vet recommends it, too!) Unfortunately, lots of foods labeled "diet" contain fillers that end up being empty calories for cats: when we had an overweight cat, she gained on diet food. I think the only thing that kept her from getting even larger is that we started feeding her a can of wet food each day.

The cats we have now eat a very low-carb diet that's almost all wet food. Some is raw, some is home-cooked (with proper supplements), some is canned. They also get a very small snack of dry food: Dr. Elsey's, which doesn't have any carby ingredients. It's very calorie-dense but it's a great night-time snack that prevents one cat from vomiting bile. It's the only dried food I'd feed.

Good luck on Molly's diet!
 

war&wisdom

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
996
Reaction score
1,235
Location
Rockville, MD
There's been some recent research about how grain-free diets can be detrimental for dogs, but they have different needs than cats.
 

Kieka

Snowshoe Servant
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Sep 6, 2016
Messages
9,498
Reaction score
13,609
Location
Southern California
There's been some recent research about how grain-free diets can be detrimental for dogs, but they have different needs than cats.
The nature of being grain free though still isn't a proven causation. Everything I've seen on the subject points to a possible correlation because grain free dog food is typically also novel protein. Some of the meat sources are naturally lower in taurine and dog food isn't supplemented with taurine. Unlike cats, dogs produce taurine but not enough to fully meet their needs. They still need some from diet. If the grain free food has less meat protein because they use heavy pea and potatoes and a novel protein that naturally has less tuarine. The combination could be causing too little taurine and contributing towards dogs already predisposed to heart problems to develop heart problems they might not have otherwise.

There was a paper just published that said grain free food does not cause the heart problems. But the funding source of the paper is causing major questions on the validity of the paper. However, I tend to lean towards the correlation not causation.

Bottom line though is that cats and dogs have different biological nutritional needs. So even if dog food being grain free is a health problem for dogs, it doesn't mean it is for cats. The substitution of peas and potatoes for grains could very well be the problem on both sides and something owners should limit by going low carbs for cats. And limiting both peas and potatoes in their cats diets.
 

HPeters

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 27, 2018
Messages
85
Reaction score
70
Location
Southern Alberta, Canada
[/QUOTE]
Iams and Royal Canine are not good brands. They are at the top of the brands who exist to profit off pets and pack in cheap fillers to allow them to provide a food that will keep your cat alive at the lowest cost to them.
Umm not sure where your getting your information, Kieka but all the brands that I mentioned are peer-reviewed, they are the ONLY brands whos research is checked and reviewed by other companies


Cats are obligated carnivores and don't need grains. Grain free labeling is a marketing gimmick but there are many with that label that are good food choices.
Again, not sure where you are getting your information, ALL animals need some grains as this is their source of carbohydrates. Cats used to get their grains from feasting on the stomachs of their small prey so yes they need grains. Not to mention that pretty much all "grain free" foods either have an obscure grain in them ( I have seen it in Blue Buffalo) or another source of carbs such as potatoes or legumes
 

Kieka

Snowshoe Servant
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Sep 6, 2016
Messages
9,498
Reaction score
13,609
Location
Southern California
All four variations of weight control food from Iams or Royal Canin are rated below or significantly below average. Also, those peer review studies are usually based on outdated formulas since most lines change the formula constantly. Most commercial foods meet the guidelines for complete nutrition but those guidelines are designed by the companies to maximize profit while keep the pets who eat it alive.









As to carbs, I didn't say cats don't need carbs but they need low carbs. Most commercial dry foods, and all the weight loss foods, have 35%+ carbs which greatly (and potenitally harmfully) exceeds a cats needs. Even if you want to make the leap that cats naturally should get carbs from the bellies of their prey how much partially digested grains are in a mouses belly at any given time? I guarantee it wouldn't equate to 30% of the nutritional profile for the prey. Most mice, rats, bunnies and birds will have some grains but also long grass, nuts and berries but small tummies and small digestive systems would mean less than 5% of prey including what is undigested in their stomach would be carbs. Cats do need carbs but we are talking in the 5-15% (6% being around what a prey eating cat would consume and 15% being what a cat on an well picked all wet diet would get) not 35% and more that most commercial diets provide. Cat owners shouldn't be trying to get their cats carbs down to 0 and most will only be able to get in the 20-30% range even with careful food selection but avoiding the high carbs foods is a good idea. I also don't disagree that peas, potatoes and beans are not a great substitute, I didnt say they were. Grain free labeling shouldnt be avoided but also isn't a marker of good food. My cats wet food doesn't have grains or legumes or potatoes, it is marked grain free to piggyback on the marketing kick but it is also low carb. Checking ingredients and nutrition is more important then the labeling.

.

Feline Obesity: An Epidemic of Fat Cats



Edit to add: Cats still don't need grain in their diet. They won't die from processing some grain but they don't having any benefit to eating grain. They need carbs and fiber which they can get through diet without grains.
 
Last edited:

Kieka

Snowshoe Servant
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Sep 6, 2016
Messages
9,498
Reaction score
13,609
Location
Southern California
Gotta love how theres the same 3 websites there. Sorry but I was taught by a practising veterinarian at a certified college.
My cat specialist vet who has treated only cats for 25+ years and teaches classes on cat neurology also agrees with a low carb wet food diet. She specifically tells clients to avoid foods with grains and legumes. But her peer reviewed papers are on neurology not nutrition so I couldn't cite them. All the peer reviewed papers citing that 30%+ carbs are ideal were paid for by the pet food industry and being a trained qualitative and quantitative analyst myself I understand that bias is real in research. Meaning that I don't trust a paper that is paid for by a special interest especially since I've written some myself and know the influence the funder can exert. The reason my sources are not widespread, although they are from more then three sources including veterinarians and cornell, is I was working off my phone during my lunch break with limited searching.

But everyone is entitled to their opinions. I personally choose to believe that thousands of years of specialist ambuser predator evolution that successful isn't going to alter over just a few hundred years of human influence. Especially since the dry food and carb heavy options have only existed for 60 years.

And just to emphasize, when I say low carb I am talking goals should be in the 10-15% range but with commercial diets getting 20-30% is realistic. They need carbs but not 30+% made up of primarily grains. It is just not ideal and not nutritionally beneficial. I avoid grains with my cats but everyone has to make their own choices based on their knowledge base and interpretations.
 
Last edited:

pearl99

In memory of Pearl, my labrador. RIP Pearl.
Super Cat
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
976
Reaction score
2,423
Location
Colorado, USA
I currently feed Nulo Freestyle Cat and Kitten and they do well on it- a not too bad protein/carb ratio in what I can afford. Mooshoo had trimmed down some slowly with a regulated amount of that plus wet food. I had Mooshoo on WholeHearted weight control and she loved it, but I wanted all cats on the same thing.
Ziggy (who I adopted after her owner died) had been on Iams, was overweight and had very flaky skin. I wouldn't recommend Iams. After a switch to a higher quality food (Nulo) her flakes have all but disappeared and she's a better weight (I also regulated her food amount.)
I also feed Merrick wet food.
They are doing well on these. There are a lot of better quality foods out there, I did calculations on dry matter basis and % of calories of protein/fat/carbs using formulas on catinfo.org- it was a chore but it's paid off!
 

Kieka

Snowshoe Servant
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Sep 6, 2016
Messages
9,498
Reaction score
13,609
Location
Southern California
I currently feed Nulo Freestyle Cat and Kitten and they do well on it- a not too bad protein/carb ratio in what I can afford. Mooshoo had trimmed down some slowly with a regulated amount of that plus wet food. I had Mooshoo on WholeHearted weight control and she loved it, but I wanted all cats on the same thing.
Ziggy (who I adopted after her owner died) had been on Iams, was overweight and had very flaky skin. I wouldn't recommend Iams. After a switch to a higher quality food (Nulo) her flakes have all but disappeared and she's a better weight (I also regulated her food amount.)
I also feed Merrick wet food.
They are doing well on these. There are a lot of better quality foods out there, I did calculations on dry matter basis and % of calories of protein/fat/carbs using formulas on catinfo.org- it was a chore but it's paid off!
I have to avoid poultry with my crew, one gets projectile vomiting and the other diarrhea. Merrick and Nulo are both in my rotation because they have poultry and fish free options. I try to get non fish just so I dont have a fish only rotation. I agree that all of their coats and their body condition is really nice with those in the rotation. I rotate so no one locks on a a flavor but they are so used to it they also won't eat the same one two meals in a row anymore.
 

pearl99

In memory of Pearl, my labrador. RIP Pearl.
Super Cat
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
976
Reaction score
2,423
Location
Colorado, USA
I have to avoid poultry with my crew, one gets projectile vomiting and the other diarrhea. Merrick and Nulo are both in my rotation because they have poultry and fish free options. I try to get non fish just so I dont have a fish only rotation. I agree that all of their coats and their body condition is really nice with those in the rotation. I rotate so no one locks on a a flavor but they are so used to it they also won't eat the same one two meals in a row anymore.
Mine just did not like the Merrick dry, so I tried Nulo. They love the Merrick Cowboy Cookout wet food! I was surprised, since it is beef. I didn't think cats liked beef. Mine also like Merrick duck, but that's poultry.
 

mrsgreenjeens

Every Life Should Have Nine Cats
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Aug 13, 2009
Messages
13,340
Reaction score
3,299
Location
Arizona
Gotta love how theres the same 3 websites there. Sorry but I was taught by a practising veterinarian at a certified college.
We're not purposely picking on you, honest. BUT, most Veterinarians are not well trained in animal nutrition. Their knowledge mainly comes from what the sales reps from the big companies tell them. And those big companies? Royal Canin, Hills (Science Diet), Purina.
 
Top