What's The Truth About Cat Food?

thunderseed

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The internet is obsessed with diy raw cat food,
but vets say it has health risks
and I've seen cats who are fed crappy wallmart brand food live to be healthy and old
so what's the deal?
 

EmersonandEvie

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If there was one "deal", every single cat lover's prayers would be answered. ;)

Raw food. Vets tend to dissuade raw diet for two reasons. 1.) They feel that animals are more susceptible to bacterial infections (such as salmonella and e. coli) and 2.) They fear that people will not adequately supplement the food so that the cats are getting a complete and balanced source of food. I, personally, feed a half raw diet, but the company that I order from specifically does raw pet food...ie, they slaughter, grind, and immediately freeze the animal to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. There are several people here that feed grocery store meats and their cats do just fine.

Crappy Walmart food and longevity (ha...that sounds like a research article!). You always hear about the cats that lived to be 25 on Brand X cat food. I wonder about what type of cat they were...if they went outside, they were surely supplementing their own kibble diet with fresh prey (birds, lizards, mice, etc...a truly raw diet!). If they were strictly inside...Those cats, in my opinion, just had some darn good genetics and a whole lot of luck.
We know a lot more about cat nutrition and what they needs now than Grandma did back in the day, you know? The importance of a moisture-rich, high protein, moderate fat and low carb diet is the foundation to a healthy cat. Of course, people also have to work in budget restraints and, my personal favorite, what their cat will actually eat. You can pay $5/can for a food, but if the cat won't touch it, it's worthless.

Short answer: There is no right answer. You do what you can afford and what you think is best for your cats.
 

maggie101

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If my cats didn't like what I give them they would starve. Find a variety of foods they like and stick with it!
 

mizzely

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What I strive for is high protein, moderate fat, and low carb. Preferably with high moisture.

Regardless of what diet you choose, that is always a good base to work off of.

Then you have to remember that no one is ever always right. Not the vet, not the internet. And no one knows your cat or financial situation like you do.

So my REAL diet for my cat is: food that I can afford, that my cat does well on, and that has ingredients I can live with.

Finally, remember that what is true today may not be true tomorrow. That goes for our knowledge as well as our budget and what our cats like/do well on. So be willing to roll with it! :)
 

1 bruce 1

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Never underestimate genetics and lifestyle.
Get a cat that comes from a colony with a long history of heartiness and health, give them an enriched life, and you could probably feed them sawdust sprinkled over old boot leather and road kill and see them thrive into their 20's.
Get a cat from a line of poor genetics and a bad luck of the draw (not their fault), shelter them, feed them top quality food and watch their health decline.
Food matters, but other things do, too. This is where common sense prevails.

Would you rather eat a good diet that maybe isn't 100% perfect, but is healthy enough, and hang out with your family, friends, spend time outdoors or spend time doing what you love? Or would you rather have your diet so strictly controlled that things you like (burgers, fries, etc.) are 100% off limits, and the person in control of your food is also in control of your life and decides that running might trigger a heart attack (because you might have an undetected heart condition) or that sunshine might give you skin cancer so you have to live in the basement 24/7?
No one will thrive on a diet of burgers and fries, but if you're fed only the "best" foods and all other aspects of your physical and emotional health are ignored, your health WILL fail. And that's not just humans!

Just do your best, give them good food but lots of love and the opportunity to play and be happy.
Edit: I re-read this jarbled mess and to sum it up...food will bring any living thing up to their genetic potential. If the genetic potential stops at 75%, good food and the good life will hopefully keep them at 75%. If your cat comes from generations of cats that died from kidney disease between 6-8 years old and were fed a poor diet, if you feed a good diet, the aim is to increase longevity as well as quality of life.
I should take a writing course. I sound like a bad online translator.
 
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Azazel

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Just because you can survive on a diet doesn't necessarily mean you are 'healthy' or thriving.

Every medical profession is in agreement that fresh food is healthier than processed food.... except for vets.
 

LTS3

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Just because you can survive on a diet doesn't necessarily mean you are 'healthy' or thriving.

Every medical profession is in agreement that fresh food is healthier than processed food.... except for vets.
:yeah: Any cat can survive on whatever you give them to eat but they won't necessarily thrive. But a homemade raw diet isn't necessarily the best diet out there. What good is a raw diet if a cat flat out refuses to eat it? :dunno: The best you can do for most cats is to feed them the best quality food they like to eat (most important) and won't break your budget. Canned is obviously preferred over dry but feed what works best for your cat and lifestyle and budget.
 

LadyLondonderry

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Never underestimate genetics and lifestyle.
Get a cat that comes from a colony with a long history of heartiness and health, give them an enriched life, and you could probably feed them sawdust sprinkled over old boot leather and road kill and see them thrive into their 20's.
Get a cat from a line of poor genetics and a bad luck of the draw (not their fault), shelter them, feed them top quality food and watch their health decline.
Food matters, but other things do, too. This is where common sense prevails.

Would you rather eat a good diet that maybe isn't 100% perfect, but is healthy enough, and hang out with your family, friends, spend time outdoors or spend time doing what you love? Or would you rather have your diet so strictly controlled that things you like (burgers, fries, etc.) are 100% off limits, and the person in control of your food is also in control of your life and decides that running might trigger a heart attack (because you might have an undetected heart condition) or that sunshine might give you skin cancer so you have to live in the basement 24/7?
No one will thrive on a diet of burgers and fries, but if you're fed only the "best" foods and all other aspects of your physical and emotional health are ignored, your health WILL fail. And that's not just humans!

Just do your best, give them good food but lots of love and the opportunity to play and be happy.
Edit: I re-read this jarbled mess and to sum it up...food will bring any living thing up to their genetic potential. If the genetic potential stops at 75%, good food and the good life will hopefully keep them at 75%. If your cat comes from generations of cats that died from kidney disease between 6-8 years old and were fed a poor diet, if you feed a good diet, the aim is to increase longevity as well as quality of life.
I should take a writing course. I sound like a bad online translator.
I so hope that my current cat (11 years old and rescued from a feral colony) has inherited the more awesome kind of genes!

My previous cat, who lived to 21.5 years, clearly was genetically gifted and totally FIERCE. ;) Not the easiest to live with, especially in her early years, but boy, did I feel a surge of maternal pride when she made the vet techs at the cat hospital put on their elbow-length deerskin gloves before handling her ... and when she violently threw off not one but TWO muzzles while being groomed. :redtongue: You go, girl!! All this despite being fed mostly Iams dry (which was the vet-recommended option in 1986) and later Iams wet in the ocean fish variety, which she became addicted to, refusing any other flavor.

I have learned so much about cat nutrition since then, thanks to you all here!!
 

Pucks104

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If there was one "deal", every single cat lover's prayers would be answered. ;)

Raw food. Vets tend to dissuade raw diet for two reasons. 1.) They feel that animals are more susceptible to bacterial infections (such as salmonella and e. coli) and 2.) They fear that people will not adequately supplement the food so that the cats are getting a complete and balanced source of food. I, personally, feed a half raw diet, but the company that I order from specifically does raw pet food...ie, they slaughter, grind, and immediately freeze the animal to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. There are several people here that feed grocery store meats and their cats do just fine.

Crappy Walmart food and longevity (ha...that sounds like a research article!). You always hear about the cats that lived to be 25 on Brand X cat food. I wonder about what type of cat they were...if they went outside, they were surely supplementing their own kibble diet with fresh prey (birds, lizards, mice, etc...a truly raw diet!). If they were strictly inside...Those cats, in my opinion, just had some darn good genetics and a whole lot of luck.
We know a lot more about cat nutrition and what they needs now than Grandma did back in the day, you know? The importance of a moisture-rich, high protein, moderate fat and low carb diet is the foundation to a healthy cat. Of course, people also have to work in budget restraints and, my personal favorite, what their cat will actually eat. You can pay $5/can for a food, but if the cat won't touch it, it's worthless.

Short answer: There is no right answer. You do what you can afford and what you think is best for your cats.
So we live and learn but our last cat before the current ones lived to nearly 20 yrs old on dry food Purina, Iams, something equally bad. He was strictly indoors for his whole life and never sick until he died of basically old age though I expect his kidneys were shot at the end. He was a gray and white DSH that we got from a vet that had purposely had a litter so her kids could see birth (yes, really!).
With Louie and Newman I am feeding them Answers raw and love how they are doing so far. Only time will tell as to whether they live as long and are as healthy as Otto was on “junk cat food”!
 

divyanka2111

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The deal is that canned food is just as bad for cats as it is for humans. Why some vets (money makers, keep in mind, and cannot always be trusted) don't like the idea of home cooked meals is that some people may not make enough of what the cat needs for balanced nutrition. But in majority of countries that are not ahem north america, cats live healthy and long on solely homemade food. Canned foods are not glorified in countries like India and whatnot and petcats live just fine.
 

Azazel

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The deal is that canned food is just as bad for cats as it is for humans. Why some vets (money makers, keep in mind, and cannot always be trusted) don't like the idea of home cooked meals is that some people may not make enough of what the cat needs for balanced nutrition. But in majority of countries that are not ahem north america, cats live healthy and long on solely homemade food. Canned foods are not glorified in countries like India and whatnot and petcats live just fine.
Cats in other countries also have different lifestyles. Most are outdoors and hunt their own raw meat and so they receive most of their nutrients from wild game. But indoor only cats can suffer malnutrition if only eating home made food that isn’t nutritionally complete. That’s why owners who feed indoor only cats homemade need to make sure they follow proper recipes.

Also important to note that it’s really a Western, primarily North American, view that cats shouldn’t eat raw food. It’s completely normal in most countries to give scraps of raw meat to cats. I mean, cats don’t cook their food in the wild....
 

4theloveofcats

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The longest lived cat I've ever been around lived 23 healthy years.
My late Dad's cat Athena.
On (human quality) chicken, kosher deli roast beef, whiskas and sheba (she died years ago, so not current formulations)
little water, little dry food.
Never neutered, no shots. Indoor always except the 2 times she escaped briefly.
 

1 bruce 1

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I so hope that my current cat (11 years old and rescued from a feral colony) has inherited the more awesome kind of genes!

My previous cat, who lived to 21.5 years, clearly was genetically gifted and totally FIERCE. ;) Not the easiest to live with, especially in her early years, but boy, did I feel a surge of maternal pride when she made the vet techs at the cat hospital put on their elbow-length deerskin gloves before handling her ... and when she violently threw off not one but TWO muzzles while being groomed. :redtongue: You go, girl!! All this despite being fed mostly Iams dry (which was the vet-recommended option in 1986) and later Iams wet in the ocean fish variety, which she became addicted to, refusing any other flavor.

I have learned so much about cat nutrition since then, thanks to you all here!!
21.5???? That's amazing!!!

If I want to get really picky I'd say that even poorer brands of food back in the day were better than today because of the state of our food supply and the nutritional content in a lot of it.
When one or the other of us does the cat brush/combing routine, most are OK with it but Baby Girl (as a half grown kitten) once slapped the comb out of my hand and sent it across the room. The sassy ones have a tough will to live (and conquer)!
 

LadyLondonderry

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21.5???? That's amazing!!!

If I want to get really picky I'd say that even poorer brands of food back in the day were better than today because of the state of our food supply and the nutritional content in a lot of it.
When one or the other of us does the cat brush/combing routine, most are OK with it but Baby Girl (as a half grown kitten) once slapped the comb out of my hand and sent it across the room. The sassy ones have a tough will to live (and conquer)!
I agree — I feel sure that my first vet truly believed that Iams was the best option for my cat back in 1986, and I'm willing to believe he was correct! I think it was a better food than it is today, and also that there were far fewer good alternatives then.
 

1 bruce 1

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I agree — I feel sure that my first vet truly believed that Iams was the best option for my cat back in 1986, and I'm willing to believe he was correct! I think it was a better food than it is today, and also that there were far fewer good alternatives then.
I come from the days of Ken-L-Ration, Tender Viddles, and all kinds of crap I and most others wouldn't feed today but they lived to be (almost) as old as I am now. But no one is that old :lol:
 

ailish

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Hey, I remember Gaines Burgers, so I'm betting I'm that old! :flail:
I remember many a long-lived dog doing so on Ken-L-Ration and Gaines Burgers. We had a Dachshund who lived to be about 15, my aunt had a mini poodle who was in its 20's when it finally just collapsed of old age. Neither had anything heroic done to keep them alive, they were healthy until the end. Genetics - the best thing in pet care.

It might be an interesting side note that both dogs spent a good deal of their puppy and adult years running around outside with us kids.
 
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