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Trying To Find The 'holy Grail' Of Cat Food

EricDufficy

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Sep 28, 2019
3
2
Hi there.
I am likely searching for something in vain, but I am trying to find a brand of wet cat food that is fairly healthy for my cats, not too expensive, and also ethically sourced/tested. There are a number of good choices at the pet store but the prices are just so high ($1.80) a can.

Has someone found a great catfood for a decent price? Thanks for your help.
(I am in Canada)
 

Luc

TCS Member
Young Cat
Jul 31, 2019
33
26
If you do not buy the big main brands always advertised it should be a good starting point.
 

lisahe

TCS Member
Top Cat
Mar 23, 2014
4,369
2,737
Maine
There does not exist a 'holy grail' of cat food! All cat food products have a downfall. It's usually a game of picking the lesser of evils unfortunately.
Yes, this about sums it up! This is why I make about half of our cats' menu. Too many foods -- including many of the expensive, allegedly "premium" brands -- include lots of legumes and other carby ingredients as fillers and/or non-meat protein sounces, not to mention carrageenan and agar-agar as thickeners. Cats don't need those things! Our cats love the foods I make, which have no fillers or thickeners.
 

SpecterOhPossum

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Sep 1, 2019
124
114
Dude.. Check my page, I've been in this same loop since september 2nd, and before that; even, on different forums and groups. I'm telling you --- there isn't a holy grail. There is no holy grail.
Personally, my journey was as follows..
  1. no dry - has to be wet food.
  2. no soy, no whet, no corn.
  3. AAFCO approved.
  4. Highly rated - many reviews; to avoid a shadey brand.
  5. No guar gum, no carrageen, no xanthum gum, no thickeners.
  6. no vegetables, no fruits, no herbs.
As you can tell - this went horribly! There simply is no perfect food.
The ONLY wet food I found through this journey was tiki cat which I still feed. Otherwise, there aren't any even worth mentioning, in my opinion. I'm slowly getting into making home cooked at this point.
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Jun 13, 2018
6,983
8,618
Central FL (Born in OH)
It is not a holy grail, but a couple of members put together a list of wet foods that display the ingredients of each for comparison purposes. It might be something you would at least like to look at for ideas of foods to try. It does not list prices, but when you find a few you think you might be interested in, then you can check their prices either for ordering online or for your local area stores. Here is the link to the food chart.

Check This Out.... Chart For Cat Food Ingredients
 

Azazel

Time spent with cats is never wasted.
Top Cat
Apr 14, 2018
1,684
1,952
Dude.. Check my page, I've been in this same loop since september 2nd, and before that; even, on different forums and groups. I'm telling you --- there isn't a holy grail. There is no holy grail.
Personally, my journey was as follows..
  1. no dry - has to be wet food.
  2. no soy, no whet, no corn.
  3. AAFCO approved.
  4. Highly rated - many reviews; to avoid a shadey brand.
  5. No guar gum, no carrageen, no xanthum gum, no thickeners.
  6. no vegetables, no fruits, no herbs.
As you can tell - this went horribly! There simply is no perfect food.
The ONLY wet food I found through this journey was tiki cat which I still feed. Otherwise, there aren't any even worth mentioning, in my opinion. I'm slowly getting into making home cooked at this point.
Just as a side note - AAFCO doesn't approve any foods; they just publish nutrition standards (minimum and maximum values of nutrients) to define what would be considered a 'complete meal.' Foods that have the AAFCO label are just showing that they meet the guidelines laid out by these standards. There is no approval process though, we take their word for it.
 

SpecterOhPossum

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Sep 1, 2019
124
114
Just as a side note - AAFCO doesn't approve any foods; they just publish nutrition standards (minimum and maximum values of nutrients) to define what would be considered a 'complete meal.' Foods that have the AAFCO label are just showing that they meet the guidelines laid out by these standards. There is no approval process though, we take their word for it.
You know, I thought that but decided not to say it since I look like a dumbass enough on here; but I'm glad you cleared it up! The world of catfood gets scarier and scarier the more ya look into it..
 

daftcat75

TCS Member
Top Cat
Sep 7, 2018
3,463
4,375
Your holy grail for cat food is a mouse.

But since you won't be picking up mice for your cat any time soon, the next best thing is to unpack what makes a mouse and look for that.

Your basic formula for cat food should be, preferably in this order: meat, moisture, organs, and supplements.

Some brands, like Friskies, go organ heavy. Organs will either be listed by name like "liver", "heart", and "kidney." Or pet food manufacturers will get an unsorted supply of organs (or possibly a grind?) that are labeled as "meat by-products." Cats will eat it all so there are no by-products as far as a cat is concerned. "Meat by-products" is not a dirty word. Moisture is often water but it can be broth. And supplements are required. Even a raw food will be supplemented because nutrients are lost in processing, transporting, and storage. Additionally, certain favorite foods like brains and eyes are not allowed in cat food due to BSE ("Mad Cow Disease") concerns. Personally, I don't trust a food that doesn't use at least some supplements. Taurine is one I require on the label as it is easily destroyed or degraded by nearly every process of transforming an animal into cat food. Another you will find in all cooked (wet) food is a calcium supplement because bones, the natural calcium source for a wild cat, can splinter when cooked and cause internal damage.

What's missing from that formula is vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, fiber, clay, gums, and other ingredients of non-animal origin. That's not to say that these should be avoided completely. They just don't make up a significant part of a cat's natural diet. Therefore, the inclusion of any of these can be a source of suspicion. However, some are actually quite useful. For example, fiber, in addition to helping a cat poop, can also feed the good gut bacteria (aka prebiotics.) Pumpkin is an invaluable fruit in regulating stool irregularities like diarrhea and constipation. Rawz uses fenugreek seeds as binder in place of the gums.

Also, not all the gums are bad. Guar gum is a soluble fiber and thus can feed the good gut bacteria. Aside from large doses in a failed diet drug, guar gum is not really implicated in anything harmful. I think it gets swept up with the rest. Now xanthan gum, often used in smooth foods, I don't know what the deal is with that one. But it runs right through Krista. Mousse in, mousse out. I think you have to accept that some form of binder will be in foods of a uniform texture such as pates, mousse, or foods in gravy. Shredded meat like Tiki Cat can often get away with skipping a gum or binder.

You don't need to feed your cat one perfect food from here to eternity. Find something that's as close to the meat, moisture, organs, and supplements formula as best as you're able and can afford and your cats will actually eat. Then keep browsing for a better food to bring into the rotation. When you do find a better food, you don't have to abandon the one they like. Feed them both. Feed all the better foods so you can cover your bases on appeal, availability, and affordability. A rotation will help dilute questionable ingredients if they aren't in every food. And a rotation protects you from shortages, recalls, or product discontinuations if you're not feeding just a single food or a single brand.

Cats can live a long time. You don't have to find the perfect food(s) today. It can be a lifetime journey as cats' tastes and needs will change. Also your understanding of cat nutrition and cat food composition can also change over the course of your cats' lifetime. New foods are coming out all the time too.
 

Erin80

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Sep 19, 2018
394
349
Hi there.
I am likely searching for something in vain, but I am trying to find a brand of wet cat food that is fairly healthy for my cats, not too expensive, and also ethically sourced/tested. There are a number of good choices at the pet store but the prices are just so high ($1.80) a can.

Has someone found a great catfood for a decent price? Thanks for your help.
(I am in Canada)
When I first got Kaia I was buying all the premium foods, super expensive, insane. Then we got Binx 2 months later and I continued on that path. Kaia was having constant diarrhea....so at some point I decided to just try Friskies. The diarrhea stopped, so I just kept buying Friskies or fancy feast.
Lately I have been buying PC Extra Meaty....meat is the first ingredient in all their varieties (instead of by product), so I do feel it is a step up from Friskies. All three cats like it and everyone’s systems seem to be running normally on it, lol. It’s only .62 at No Frills.....might be one to keep in mind. We rotate between the turkey, beef and chicken. I buy a few salmon as a treat once or twice a week. It isn’t as thick of a pate as Friskies, it is softer and the cats really like it a lot.
Good luck!!!
 

Azazel

Time spent with cats is never wasted.
Top Cat
Apr 14, 2018
1,684
1,952
I have an IBD cat who is only stable on Rawz. That's worth any price compared to the vet bills before this.
It’s interesting, I also had a kitten who got diarrhea on any food except Rawz. Unfortunately he ended up passing away suddenly at 9 months, but Rawz was all he ate because it was the only thing that kept his poops normal. Must be something about the fenugreek seeds.

The only thing I didn’t like about it is that all the varieties are high in fat. But, the company is very transparent.
 

lisahe

TCS Member
Top Cat
Mar 23, 2014
4,369
2,737
Maine
I agree that Rawz seems to be a good company: their food is certainly high-quality and they are, indeed, very transparent. The only slight knock I have on them is that their food is a bit inconsistent, though this is something that seems true of nearly every cat food company! Some Rawz batches are soupier than others and our cats do seem to notice the difference.
 

PushPurrCatPaws

TCS Member
Top Cat
May 22, 2015
8,775
8,923
...
When you do find a better food, you don't have to abandon the one they like. Feed them both. Feed all the better foods so you can cover your bases on appeal, availability, and affordability. A rotation will help dilute questionable ingredients if they aren't in every food. And a rotation protects you from shortages, recalls, or product discontinuations if you're not feeding just a single food or a single brand.
^ THIS.

I took Milly to a vet this week and on their intake form, they wanted to know, "What brand does your pet eat?"

She eats just over ten different brands and flavors, with me rotating them for her. (It was easiest for me to just trim the labels off of her cans of food and give the vet the brand names and ingredient lists in that way, lol. I taped them to the back of the form.)
🐱 :disturbed:
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Aug 29, 2014
11,450
8,216
USA
Rawz is also pricey, $2.99 for a 5.5 oz can at the local pet store here :eek2:
 

lisahe

TCS Member
Top Cat
Mar 23, 2014
4,369
2,737
Maine
Rawz is also pricey, $2.99 for a 5.5 oz can at the local pet store here :eek2:
It's significantly cheaper here, more in the range of $2.29-2.39. (The company's based in my state so maybe there's a slight difference because of that?)
 

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