I think what we feed our pets is a personal preference that is based basically on the advice of our vet and others. With many many choices out there, it’s really confusing and hard to know what’s best for our beloved pets.
Walking through Walmart last night buying canned cat food at lady stood in the dry kitty food asile looking confusingly at all of the choices before her. Cat chow, Purina One, Special Kitty, Meow Mix, Iams…they were all there in their colorful bags promising that their brand had the most complete nutrition for your kitty. Tempting you with color photos of meats and grains, fruits and veggies. This one is for a sensitive stomach and has yogurt, this one is for hairballs…urinary tract health with cranberries…you get the idea. I’m sure you’ve seen these bags in the aisles.
I was loading our cat with canned food. 9 Lives and Friskies…Chicken & Tuna, Prime Grill, Super Supper, Turkey and Giblets. Counting and recounting the cans to ensure that we were buying enough for two weeks for our 4 cats. They eat twice a day, 1/2 can each…so we need 4 cans a day. This is the reason why we’re buying 9 Lives and Friskies and not Wellness or Felidae like I’d rather be buying. It’s just too expensive.
The lady asked why so much canned food and what kind of dry do we feed? My husband said no dry. She asked, no dry? How come, I thought that was bad for them! He said no, it’s better for them to get wet food than dry. He started to explain to this woman that his wife (me) listens to a podcast where they urge people to “think outside of the bag” and get kitties off Kitty crack…or dry food and on to wet food. I think this just sounds crazy, so I pipe in and say…the vet also recommends it. Which, is not a total lie. I’ve never asked the vet about cat food and dry vs wet.
I leave the conversation and go back to counting cans and scanning the aisles for the flavors that are accetable…no cuts, no flakes, no gravy…no fish. And my husband continues his conversation with the lady. She is still trying to pick a dry food for her cat. She has Cat Chow Naturals in her cart. My husband directs her to a better quality purina one and she switches bags and thanks him. I can’t hear what they are talking about after that, but they continue to chit chat. I come back with the last few cans and say, ok that’s enough. She asks me how many cats we have…we have a ton of canned food in the cart by now and 3 bags of litter on the bottom. 4 I tell her. She says, 4? You must have a busy house! I say…well we have 2 dogs too…it’s more like a zoo. I laugh and she laughs and we part ways. As she is walking by the canned foods she stops…reads a few of the flavors and picks up a few 4 packs and says to herself…well, i guess we can try these.
What I would have told the lady about wet food is that if you think about it, what do wild cats eat…like kitty cats, not big cats…they eat mice, birds, etc. So…a mouse is the perfect food for a cat. what part of dry kibble is like a mouse? None of it. That would have been my logic. My husband however went a different route and the lady looked at him almost as puzzled as she looked at the many bags of dry foods on the shelves.
Back to the personal choice. The lives and nutritional health of our pets are in our hands. They cannot tell us what is best for them. They cannot tell us how they are feeling or whether they like this vs that. We go on what we know from the past – “I fed my dog (fill in any grocery store food here) and he/she lived to be 15 with no health problems” – or what we have read about or what our vet tells us. And most of the time the vet is pushing a certain brand because they get money for every bag sold. Our new vet has information on Purina Vet Diets. Our last vet had Science Diet. So…it really depends.
But think about it…a friend of mine had a cat who had severe crystals or bladder stones. I don’t remember which. Her cat almost died because of it all. These types of issues are generally a male cat issue (but we have had a female cat ourselves with this problem) and can happen because of the male cat’s urine and too much dry food. I don’t know what it’s called exactly, I just know male cats generally have this problem and it has to do with dry food or water…anyways…so the vet put my friend’s cat on a prescription DRY food…does that make sense? She had to pay for an expensive surgery to save her cat, AND then for the rest of the cat’s life she had to buy special, expensive, vet diet food for his urinary issues AND also get him tested twice a year to make sure everything was ok. Well…first test in, it wasn’t…he had crystals forming again…more vet bills… Hmm…the vet food was supposed to “fix” this issue….What does that tell you?
I feel like I’ve spent the better part of the past few months debating in my head the food I’m feeding my animals. I want what’s best for them. I want them to be healthy. The healthier they are, the less my vet bills are and the longer they will live. We lost 2 cats in 2006 who were both too young to die (8 yrs). I am convinced one was due to the Diamond recall, but the other one…who knows for sure. But it was devastating.
I finally feel like I’m doing what’s best for the cats, as well as the dogs. I’ve seen improvements with the dogs that far exceed what I was hoping for. The food is more money, the preparation is longer, but the benefits outweigh all of that. I know in my heart that wet food is the best thing for our feline babies. I wish I could afford better wet food than 9 lives and friskies. But for now, we can’t…so even that is better than kibble.
The only problem we’re going to run into is when we go on vacation and need to have someone come into the house to feed the cats twice a day.
Why did I write all of this? I have been thinking about it for a little bit and the whole walmart conversation kind of triggered me to think about the decisions people make about their pet’s food. I’m glad people are thinking about what’s going into their animal’s bodies and how it effects their health in the long run. Even my mom is feeding her dog better.
I wish there was a Hon Code for pet information. I’d be able to give you all kinds of links about this wet vs dry with cats issue. I do have a few to share though.
The Truth About Dog and Cat Food
Does Dry Food Clean the Teeth (cats)
Selecting a Good Commercial Pet Food