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29 June 2006

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hey, what's that in my food dish??

OY! Do you know what you're feeding your resident ingrates? Not, I don't mean what brand, or formula. Really, what's inside that can or pack of biscuits, do you know? Check out this new article: What is Fido really eating? (Alt Link) . And check this out: What’s Really in Pet Food What scary thoughts, and BY-Products isn't the only problem! Hey, I know we are all busy and do not have much time to read up or research. But please educate yourself - you have home cats or feed the homeless ones because you care for them, so why feed them something that may harm them? A good rule of thumb - would you eat the same thing every meal if you knew it may cause you to develop Urinary Tract Infection... or worse? Another one - would you eat only salted potato chips for every meal? (And if you answer yes to either, I know you're a fastfood chain spy or a Fritto Lay's lackey!) Understandly, some of us may find the prices of "premium food" unaffordable. But consider: Cheaper Brands are False Economy Many first-time cat owners, in an attempt to hold down expenses, buy the cheapest foods they can find for their cats. This is false economy for a couple of reasons. First, studies have shown that cats eat as much as they need to get the nutrients they require. Therefore, they might eat twice as much of that generously-carbohydrate-filled store brand to get the nutrients they need in a normal feeding of premium food. Second, the continued feeding of substandard foods over a period of years will heavily contribute to, or even cause, serious medical conditions that will require expensive veterinary care. For these reasons, the old maxim, "You get what you pay for," is particularly true where it comes to cat food. (Source: Tips for choosing cat food - learning the basics about cat food labels) Please take the time to look at the ingredients list of the food you're feeding your cats. It's usually on the back of your dry food package, near the bottom. If the label of your pet food has the following, please consider changing immediately! * Words such as "By-products," "meat and/or bone meal," "animal digest," most other descriptions including "digest" or "meal," and added sugars. * Chemical preservatives, including BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and propyl gallate * Corn meal as a filler * Excess of carbohydrate "fillers" (Dry food can contain as much as 50 percent grain) Also, look for * Compliance with AAFCO's requirements for "Complete and Balanced," as evidenced by that wording on the label. * Named protein source - look for "chicken, lamb, or beef," rather than "meat." * On canned food particularly, the protein source should be the first listed ingredient * Check the expiration date for freshness (Source: Tips for choosing cat food - learning the basics about cat food labels) Also, educate yourself on the basics of cat nutrition (Ref: FEEDING YOUR CAT: KNOW THE BASICS OF FELINE NUTRITION) Demoralising, isn't it, to know that all those proclaimations of "We care for your pets!", "Your pet's health is important to us", etc etc are just so much insincere marketing ploys, in most cases. But do not despair! There ARE alternatives other than Friskies, Whiskas, (many UTI victims have a history of being on these two brands!) and popular brands that use by-products and fillers that cause your cat to get indigestion, shed fur prodigiously, among other problems. For a start, here's a list of brands that have either by-products, fillers, harmful artificial preservatives/flavourings or combinations: Alpo, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Mighty Dog, and Ralston Purina products such as Dog Chow, ProPlan, and Purina One, 9 Lives, Amore, Gravy Train, Kibbles-n-Bits, Nature's Recipe, Hill's Science Diet Pet Food, Eukanuba and Iams, Kal Kan, Mealtime, Pedigree, Sheba, Waltham's, Star-pro, Royal Canin. If you're using any of the above brands, please consider these alternatives or if you find other alternatives, feel free to add on to the list below! ( NOTE: Both lists are not exhaustive - it is really important that you check the ingredients list of your current cat food, and any new ones you're considering as well - your supplier's sales pitch/vet's recommendation notwithstanding) ALTERNATIVE BRANDS Basic/economical formulas Back To Basics Cat Food Felidae: Look for the "Felidae For Cats" link on the top navigation bar on this link. Click on the respective formula to see details (NOTE: Felidae may not be a popular choice with your cats due to high lamb content) Mid-range formulas Avo-Derm High-end formulas Pinnacle Premium formulas Natural Balance (Not to be confused with Nature's Balance!) Innova Click on the "Choose a Product" drop-down list to see the details for the different formulas These alternative brands I listed in post 1 are the ones I've personally looked at. Out of these, I've fed my cats with Avoderm, Pinnacle, and Natural Balance. All of them are tons better over Science Diet, Nutro, Royal Canin, Precept, which we've also tried. But NB, by far is the best. I can vouch for my opinions on these brands as we feed both outdoor cats and home cats the same food. Our oldest cats are 8 years old, and one of them is fussy as in his system is sensitive and the results are quite obvious. So, if anything's not good or vice versa, it's pretty obvious since we get to observe both sets of cats on the same nutrition baseline. Improvements are obvious even though the outdoor cats obviously do get fed other stuff by other people. As an aside, we're extremely happy with NB as it is the only pet food maker listed on PETA's cruelty-free list that is BOTH by-product and filler-free. Other brands are only by-product free. So it is a happy happenstance that our cats all love NB too. This is a personally important consideration due to concerns about animal testing in the pet food industry - that is, cats and dogs are tested on, vivisected etc, in the name of nutrition research. We can never reconcile ourselves with supporting brands that make other cats and dogs suffer. IAMS and EUKANUBA are the worst! Check out these sites: , , , Here's another one on animal testing in pet foods: (NOTE: Proctor and Gamble is a known advocate of needless animal testing , ,, and also owns familiar toiletries brands like Colgate and Palmolive. Science Diet is a Colgate company, IAMS and Eukanuba are sister companies and belong to P&G... much food for thought!) I do not have experience with dogs, but I reckon these alternative brands should also make good dog foods. For more ref on dog nutrition, try the about cats' sister site, about dogs for a start. Here's the dog nutrition link on the site: Diet & Nutrition Back to cat food. The popular brands I listed as doubtful food for your cats are based on checks on their ingredients list and personal experience. For more info, again the about cats's references on nutrition is a good start: Cat Food & Nutrition. There are also reviews of cat food, but there's no index link or page, so just look out for the recommended reading, related links at the bottom of any of the nutrition article pages opened. I just wanted to add that there is only one difference in the diet of our homecats from the outdoor ones. Our homecats used to be on pure dryfood - they never fancied wetfood somehow. For the ones outside, we feed a mix of NB dry and Snappy Tom wet. Snappy Tom is Australian, and it has the AAFCO statement like most other brands, unlike the other brand, Yi Hu, which is Thai-made. Recently, we've also began feeding our homecats NB wet food - this is because one of our 8-yr olds developed acute renal failure, and doesn't like the vet prescribed SD k/d (unfortunately, SD is the only one of two brands that have 'special' diets ). In any case, we then tried boiling fish/chicken but all them refused to eat! So back to the drawing board. So we looked online and found info that recommended NB wet food-venison and pea formula as a viable alternative to the k/d. (Info and links here: Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) - aka Kidney problems) Now all our homecats are lapping wetfood dinners up. Mornings are still dry food breakfast. c (PS... we also bought a cat fountain for the home brood to encourage them to drink and ensure the water is fresh: Hey, can we have a refill here) Go to Pawprints: TLC for other cat minon requisite education

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