Saturday, January 22, 2011

Not a cat dietitian ...

I love nutrition. I went to school to study it, I work in nutrition, I read about nutrition, I practice good nutrition. Nutrition is a big thing in my life (and not just because I eat). However, when I say this, I mean HUMAN nutrition ... not feline nutrition.

As of late we have been having feeding problems with our two cats, Mowgli & Bagheera. Bagheera is a 7.5 year old black, short-haired, timid kitty, and Mowgli is a 2 year old, calico, short-haired, energetic monkey of a cat. When we got Mowgli as a kitten, we wanted to be able to feed them the same food, so we found a Canadian-made dry food that is good for cats and kittens alike. They were fine on this food for quite some time, but then Mowgli started having blood in her stools. We attributed it to possible IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and tried adding some wet canned cat food into the diet. Well, Bagheera started sneaking Mowgli's deluxe wet food, so we ended up giving them both a combo of wet and dry food. Wet & dry in the morning, and just dry at night. Breakfast when we eat breakfast, and dry food when we eat dinner.

Since the birth of JC and moving to our new house, the cats have become much more demanding. Bagheera, aptly nicknamed "Bug," SCREAMS at us as soon as my husband arrives home from work. She insists that she must be fed her dinner when he gets home rather than when we eat dinner (grrrr ...). Mowgli has started to come prancing into our bedroom at ~5:30 am most days, mewing and bouncing up on the bed, begging for breakfast. They are driving me NUTS!

We've tried pushing off their feeding times so that they don't associate feeding with us getting out of bed or arriving home, but it's a long process and I don't think we've ever given it a fair trial. Maybe we should try again and try harder?

On the flip side, I tried to research feline nutrition for a few minutes this morning, and now it looks like we shouldn't be feeding them dry food at all! Which makes sense, really ... why are we feeding cats highly processed, dehydrated pellets? Would I recommend that we (humans) all consume a diet exclusively made up of highly processed breakfast cereals??? CERTAINLY NOT! So what are we to do? Do I have to buy a meat grinder and start grinding up raw meat for our kitties? Yikes! I don't know anymore.

1 comment:

  1. I find it odd that this person is saying that cats should not eat dry food and that they do not get anything from it without backing that up with any research. From things that I've read and information from food companies I've always come to the conclusion that dry food is better.

    I think the main things to look for are wether a commercial diet has undergone a feeding trial in animals and to read the bag or can of food for information. In Canada pet food websites are not regulated so companies can write anything they want to get you to buy their product even if its not remotely true. Another important point is to be sure that your pet is on a diet that is for their age (based on the AAFCO statement not the front of the bag!). Pet food that meets the requirements for all stages are essentially a kitten/puppy food that will have much higher energy and nutrient content than the requirements of an adult making them overweight.

    There are plenty of pet food commercials out there that keep focusing on meat being the first ingredient. Well you have to pay attention to what else is in there. Most compnaies do ingredient splitting so they will contain rice or another grain in multiple formats which will place meat first even though the ingredient making up most of the food is grains. Another thing to consider is that the ratios of ingredients are measured by wet weight not dry and since meat is made up of a lot of water it will weight more than other ingredient. And finally (I apparently have gone on a rant) in Canada pet food companies are required to list their minerals and vitamins completely so it might look like there are a tonne of ingredients and that there are some complicated chemicals in the food but most of those are vitamins. In the US they can just write vitamin and mineral mix.

    Some of my prefered brands (as well as a vet that I spoke with that has a masters in pet nutrition) are: Royal Canin, Eukanuba, Hills and Iams.