Am I the only one who was completely in the dark about cat food?!?

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Question by Ashley S: Am I the only one who was completely in the dark about cat food?!?
Okay, so I was browsing through the questions about cats, answering the ones I thought I could contribute anything useful to, and someone asked what kind of cat food to feed their feline friend with a sensitive stomach.

Now, I really thought I knew the answer to this one, I really did.

BACKGROUND:

I switched my cats from Meow Mix (what the pet store had them on where I bought them) to Natural Balance because my vet told me that it’s much better to feed a cat food with lots of meat in it rather than corn, and it was the meatiest cat food I could find at Pet Co. True to what my vet told me, after I switched them over, they started eating a lot less food and they used the litter box a lot less.

The problem was, while one of them handled the food fine, the other one developed really greasy fur (like how humans get greasy hair if they don’t shower o_O) and had really loose stools that were so smelly it was almost freaking toxic. Granted she used the litter box LESS, but the smell was exponentially worse.

So I took them to the vet and the vet suggested specifically Hills Science Diet. My cats eat the same amount of Hills Science Diet as they did with the Natural Balance, they both have healthy looking coats, and everyone’s bathroom habits are back to normal. Should be a big horray, right?

But now back to the problem at hand…

PROBLEM:

When I answered that person’s question, naturally, I suggested Hills Science Diet, as that is the food I seem to be having so much luck with. Another answerer replied under my response, “Eew, someone said Science Diet? That stuff is junk food.”

I was flabbergasted and somewhat offended that someone would suggest that, not only do I feed my little darlings junk food, but that I would urge another to feed their cat something that was not good for it. After all, my VET recommended Science Diet, so didn’t I have a real doctor of medical medicine on my side?

Well I decided to at the very least Google it and see what people were saying about Science Diet, and it turns out that nearly EVERYONE except for me thinks that Science Diet is garbage! The only site I found that had anything kind to say about Science Diet was hills.com (and yeah, of course they would, it’s THEIR product). Everyone else was saying how Hills uses substandard ingredients, grains and corn that can make your pet fat, and charges too much for a low quality product.

Also, a common theme I saw in people’s reviews of Science Diet is that it makes their animals shed like crazy… My cats are shedding like CRAZY! I thought it was just because it’s summer, but could it be because of their food?!

Have I been taken for a ride here? Did my vet seriously con me into buying overpriced food that wasn’t serving any nutritional purpose? What food should I switch my cats to in order to be feeding them “the right stuff”? How do I know what’s best for my kitties if even the VETS are lying to me?!

I just want to feed my kitties what’s best for them… I can’t believe Science Diet is that bad for them. If it’s really garbage like all those other websites say, then why did my vet recommend it? How do they justify charging so much for their product? How can this be?!

[COMPLETE DAMSEL MODE]

Help me, PLEASE!!!
While I do switch between wet and dry food (I find my critters like the variety), the question above was referring merely to dry food. What dry food should I switch them to so that they can be healthier?

Best answer:

Answer by J
It’s probably like how doctors get given tons of free stuff and samples from drug companies.

A few vets i’ve been in sell science diet right in their office and that’s the only food they sell.

If they can get vets to recommend it then the can charge a ton because most people will think they are doing whats best for their pet.

Yay for the internet i guess.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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3 comments on “Am I the only one who was completely in the dark about cat food?!?

  1. I completely understand what you’re going through. I was shocked when I first did my research on cat food after my cat died.

    He was on Hills CD for years and developed diabetes and bladder tumor, and I was wondering why was that, so I started browsing. Soon enough I found out the truth about cat nutrition.

    Don’t blame your vet. Most of vets get very little education when it comes to cat nutrition, and the few courses available are sponsored or taught by the pet food manufacturers, so they get false info. Most of them really believe they are helping your cat, how sick is that?

    Hills, Purina, ALL dry food is crap. Even the one without grain is not suitable for cats, because cats as desert animals are designed to get their hydration from food, they have low thirst drive and when fed dry food, they become chronically dehydrated. it leads to kidney disease, crystals, UTI.

    The carbs in the food are of no nutritional value for the cat and they can’t process it, so it turns straight into blood sugar and fat. Dry food is #1 cause of diabetes and obesity on cats. Don’t feed dry food please, you are doing your cat no favor.

    The absolutely best way to feed your cat is raw feeding. It’s the closest to the nature of the cat and if done correctly, provides it with all the nutrients it needs + some dental advantage. Learn more here: http://www.rawfedcats.org/

    The second best is grain-free, muscle meat based canned food with no by-product. EVO, Merrick, Wellness, Nature’s Variety and others make them. You can get them online or in specialty pet stores. You need to learn to read the label, first ingredient always has to be meat.

    here are some great sites that helped me understand what a cat really needs to remain healthy. I don’t do raw but canned and I believe I made the best possible choice for my cat.

    Good luck!

  2. I have a friend who is a teaching vet at one of the leading vet colleges in the country. She has earned her Diplomat with the AVMA (the highest designation possible). Hills is there weekly, and as she says she can get their food ‘practically for free’. And what does she feed her own cats? Not Hills – she feeds them Merrick. I find that interesting …

    Yes, Hills is full of by-products and corn. Vets recommend it because Hills has a great sales program, and vets can make a lot of money selling it. Not all vets are up to speed with proper feline nutrition. Vets are the general practitioners of the animal world – they deal with mildly sick animals, dentals, spays and neuters, vaccines, and so on. They aren’t specialists, and most of them don’t have significant hours in nutrition any more than your family doctor does. The Hills is making your cats shed as it doesn’t contain the meat and fats they need to support a healthy coat.

    The fact that your one cat didn’t do well on Natural Balance doesn’t mean much. It’s a good food, but not every food agrees with every cat. Try some other good brands – Blue Buffalo and Wellness are also available at Petco, and maybe one of them will better suit your cat. And some cats can’t adjust well from the crap foods to the better ones, and they need to be “upgraded” in stages. Try a decent but less rich food like Petsmart’s Authority brand, or Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul if you can find it (most smaller pet stores will have it).

    There is a good quality food out there that will suit both of your cats, you just need to find it.

  3. This is very good that you’re interested in your cats’ health! Cat food makes a huge difference… you’ll be amazed once you start using good food.

    You really have to watch out with the marketing for pet foods. It’s almost as bad as cigarettes, I swear. It’s hard, but don’t look at the fancy labels… “exclusive” looking labels don’t mean anything. Basically anything you can buy in a grocery store is bad; you’ll have to go to a proper pet supply store for real food.

    I’ve seen a lot of clueless vets… don’t know what to say to you. They’re like car mechanics. Most of the time they’re confusing and a bit “slippery” to deal with. When you find a REALLY good one, you’ll know… and you’ll stick with ’em forever. Something about explaining things clearly… (shrug) …hope this helps somewhat. I’d check some out on Yelp.

    You didn’t specify if you prefer to feed them wet or dry. The best widely-available dry foods I can recommend are “Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul” (yes, it’s really called that), Solid Gold, and Innova. All very good, highly-respected brands.

    For wet food, Innova, Solid Gold, Weruva, and Wellness are all good brands.

    You probably won’t be able to find this stuff at a grocery store. PETCO typically has at least one of these brands, right next to junky brands, and their staff don’t know anything. In a pinch they’ll work, or if you know they have exactly the brand you want. Your best bet is to go to a proper local pet food store… they will ONLY carry the good stuff, and can advise you on which food is best for your cat (protein content, etc.) They will also have samples for all these good brands, so you can grab one of each and try them in order on the kitties, before splurging! I make a little chart with all the brands and types down the left, and then rank each one 1-5 (loved-hated) depending on the cats’ reactions. Not all on one day, of course! Works great for wet food when you have a single company that makes about 20 different flavors, like Weruva.

    My cat was itching and throwing up for a long time. A few years ago I switched her to “the good stuff.” I now feed my cat wet food (Weruva) for breakfast and dinner, and leave a bowl of dry food (Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul) during the day. She also has a bowl of water at all times. Her coat is shiny now, eyes are clear, and she runs around like a wild kitten. No more vomiting. This is an 11-year-old cat! She also does not eat as much… I think it’s because there’s no “fill” in the food… it’s all nutrients.

    Keep doing research… keep in mind they’re your kitties and you want them to live a good long life, and the few dollars’ difference between the junk and good food is totally worth it! (It’s literally the cost of a coffee or two.)

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