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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings to the forum...

I lost a companion of 11 years on Monday to complications of Diabetes, pneumonia, lung mass, and septic bacterial infection. I was a huge shock to my system. He didn't show any symptoms until Saturday and he was taken to the ER vet Sunday morning and was put down on Monday at the vet's recommendation.

Through the course of conversation with the vet, he indicated to me that a diet of only dry food was not the best choice for the cat. The Humane Society suggested that I feed my cat Iams dry cat food, and that's what I did for his entire 11 years.

My girlfriend and I are planning to adopt a new kitten in the next couple weeks sometime and I need to know what to feed the cat. I'm not terribly worried about the price of cat food. I have a PetsMart and a PetCo locally where I might be able to buy proper food. I just need suggestions on the following:

Wet/Dry or Combination
Brand/Type
How Much at a time
Snack Treat Options
Foods/Snacks that promote good dental health

Thanks for your time :)
 

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i think all wet or a combination of wet meals for when you are home and dry for when you are not home would be good.

dry food can cause issues because cats normally don't drink enough water, so if you do feed dry, make sure your kitten is drinking enough.

check ingredients! cats are obligate carnivores so if you can go grain-free (no wheat, corn, or rice) i think your kitten would greatly appreciate it. brands that i have been rotating with my kittens are innova evo, wellness core, felidae grain free, and merrick.

in addition, if you can avoid any meal meal or meat by-products in the ingredient list. by-products can include beaks, feathers, and who knows what. the sources are questionable, and could be roadkill, diseased animals, etc.

make sure that there is some meat (not by-product or meal) in the first 5 ingredients listed on the package.

here is a link that goes into great detail about the benefits of feeding canned or raw to your kitty.
Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition :: healthy cat diet, making cat food, litter box, cat food, cat nutrition, cat urinary tract health

kittens have small stomachs and may need to 3-4 times a day until they are about 6 months old. i've been feeding my 4 month old kittens (had them for a month now) wet food at 7am and 8pm and leaving out bowls of dry food out while we are away at work during the day. you may have to experiment with amounts, as kittens appetites can vary, and also the more nutritious the food is, the less they will need to eat. right now i am feeding each kitten 5.5 oz of canned split into 2 meals, with 1/4 cup dry food left out during the day. you may need to adjust accordingly.

i am a fairly new kitten mommy so i still have a lot to learn as well, but hopefully others will chime in with their feedback and browsing the forums can bring light to some useful information for you. good luck!
 

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when feeding wet. go for grain free. but like was said before, best to skip the dry stuff completely if you can.

or if you have a good freezer and a good source of variety meat (ethnic/international stores as well as regular butcher shops or even kroger) and can spend a few hours a month, you can try a raw diet. there is a good forum here with tips on that if you go that way. My cats two 16 year old and an 18 year old love this. (you can ask Aunt Crazy for a feeding chart as to amounts, lol)
 

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I would suggest putting your cat on a wonderful grain free wet food, you can find great options like Blue Buffalo, Merrick Before Grain, and Wellness at your local Petco and Petsmart :) Cat's are obligate carnivores, so the grain's that are often times found in the dry food's, are not good for their systems. Cat's in the wild chase, hunt, and eat their prey and they do get some residual veggies and such from the prey..but, not an abundant amount. As far as how much at a time, you can read the back of the can, kittens tend to eat twice as much as a full grown cat because they're growing and need more nutrition. As far as treats, they have wonderful treat options at Petsmart and Petco, dehydrated chicken treats, and other grain free options. Just always look at the back of the packaging, and meat should always come up first, and not meal. You want chicken, turkey, etc to be the first ingredient listed, the majority of treats though are not healthy for your cat as they include grains and meat meals and aren't regulated by the AAFCO. As far as with dental health, 60-70% of dog's and cat's have periodontal disease, so i would suggest getting Petz Oral gel in the salmon flavor, and start brushing your kitten's teeth around 6 months of age because that's when the adult teeth start coming in. I started brushing Rocky's baby teeth though, just to get him accustomed to having his teeth brushed :) There are plenty of treat options for dental hygiene, even something you can add to their water, but brushing their teeth is the best to prevent gum and tooth disease :) Good luck with your new special baby, and I'm sorry for your loss :(
 

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Also, wet food is really good for cat's, because they're indigenous to the desert (long long ago) and they often times don't opt to drink very much water. If you have them on a great canned food diet, they are getting a sufficient amount of water. Cat's are prone to urinary crystals, and with sufficient water, urinary crystals and other kidney issues are easily preventable :)
 

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My understanding is that the feline body does not produce all of the enzymes necessary to break down and utilize carbs. As obligate carnivores, they are physiologically designed to eat meat and other animal body parts (including many of the so called "by-products"). Carb-heavy diets can, therefore, be hard on their systems, esp. over time. Carbs include not only grains, but fruits and some veggies, as well, so check labels carefully for ALL carb sources. Many of the "grain-free" cat foods simply substitute vegetable carbs like potatoes for grains, which doesn't move the food any closer to a species-appropriate, animal-based diet.

Felines fed kibble diets tend to be in a state of chronic, mild dehydration, which can have very serious long-term effects on body systems. Kibble absorbs fluid from the GI tract during digestion, while canned or homemade diets add fluid to the body. The most remarkable demonstration of this is the vast improvement one typically observes in a kibble fed cat's coat quality when kibble is removed from the diet and a canned or meat homemade diet is fed, instead. A shiny, silky, and smooth coat is the hallmark of a properly hydrated cat. Felines fed kibble rarely drink enough water to make up the fluid deficit caused by the kibble itself. Go with a canned diet for your kitten ... or make a homemade diet, either raw or cooked (if cooked, you'll need to also supplement nutrients killed off by cooking).

Kittens can generally eat as much as they want for the first nine mos during rapid growth and development, after which they can be transitioned to portioned meals to maintain proper weight.

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I will look for some of these options and do some research online of the various brands and get something going once the new kitten has been adopoted.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome to Cat Forum, JMSetzler!

As with so many who have already posted, I recommend a canned diet or, better yet (if you're up to it), a raw diet. I don't recommend either kibble or home-cooking.

The Feline Nutrition Education Society is a great resource for all facets of feline nutrition and health.

Petfooddirect is a very good place for researching and comparing different foods. If you search the term "grain free canned" for cats, you can then compare the actual ingredients and nutritional analysis of the various products.

The Truth About Pet Food is an eye opening read.

Good luck, have fun, and congratulations on your new family member! :love2

AC
 

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in addition, if you can avoid any meal meal or meat by-products in the ingredient list. by-products can include beaks, feathers, and who knows what. the sources are questionable, and could be roadkill, diseased animals, etc.

make sure that there is some meat (not by-product or meal) in the first 5 ingredients listed on the package.
Meal is actually quite fine to feed because it just means the food has been dried out first and actually places it higher on the ingredient list than fresh meat. So if the list reads 'Deboned chicken, lamb meal, potato, etc', lamb is actually going to be the largest ingredient in the food.
By-products are another story and while the 'other parts' of an animal can actually be good for your pet, the problem is there is no regulation to the ratios of meat/parts in say 'chicken by-products', and a batch of only heads and feet is not healthy.
 

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So sorry to hear about the loss of your furbaby. Your situation is similar to mine although how we lost our 11 yr olds is different - I lost my kitty to a balcony fall in September. I was planning to get 2 new kitties and that led me to this forum when having the OMG realization after feeding her MediCal her entire life. The more I learn, the worse I feel. Although, one thing to put it in perspective and hope it helps you too, when I got Zoe I did research the foods that were available in my area AND within my financial ability to provide for her and MediCal was the best I could provide. Seems to me Iams wasn't a bad food back then as well. A lot has changed in 11 yrs.

Not really much I can add nutritionally except one thing that completely surprised me is the amount of berries in the grain free food. Apparently they are there to help maintain a low urine pH and mimics the tummy contents of natural prey. Since I cannot have contact with berries (cranberries are the exception) due to allergies, my two get cranberry juice/puree and even berries as treats now and then.

My Pedro LOVES fresh peas for treats. Apple seems to feel peas are beneath her. lol She wants meat.

We're slowly working to getting them to eat a chicken winglet for teeth cleaning. Bones & tissues in raw meats sliding over teeth are the best way to keep them clean. Since my two aren't really working with me on that program we also have teeth brushing sessions about once a week.

Good luck with your new babies and we'd love to see pics of not only the new babies, but your 11 yr old baby too.
 

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Meal is actually quite fine to feed because it just means the food has been dried out first and actually places it higher on the ingredient list than fresh meat.

FDA conducted a study looking for pentobarbital, the most common euthanasia drug, in pet foods. They found it. Ingredients that were most commonly associated with the presence of pentobarbital were meat-and-bone-meal and animal fat. Sense the source of bone meal leans heavily into the "4 -D" resource catagory.. i would avoid it
 

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I agree with BotanyBlack. Although meal is more nutrient dense, without knowing the source it's sort of similar to saying meat.
 

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FDA conducted a study looking for pentobarbital, the most common euthanasia drug, in pet foods. They found it. Ingredients that were most commonly associated with the presence of pentobarbital were meat-and-bone-meal and animal fat. Sense the source of bone meal leans heavily into the "4 -D" resource catagory.. i would avoid it
If that's the same study I'm thinking of....first of all it was on meat meal or meat by-product meal (I forget which). Not meals with named meats like chicken meal. I agree that meals with unnamed meats are the dregs. But meals with named meats are just fine...and the reality is, when feeding kibble there are very few foods that do not make use of meals.

The other thing about the study I'm thinking of is that it was conducted over 10 years ago. There has been a whole lot of increased awareness in the pet food industry since then. If a super premium food manufacturer goes to the bother to declare that they only use meat that does not contain hormones, antibiotics or GMOs you can be sure they're not using a meal made from roadkill and euthanized animals.

The key here is to stick to meals with named meats and high quality brands. Then it's not a concern.
 

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If that's the same study I'm thinking of....first of all it was on meat meal or meat by-product meal (I forget which). Not meals with named meats like chicken meal. I agree that meals with unnamed meats are the dregs. But meals with named meats are just fine...and the reality is, when feeding kibble there are very few foods that do not make use of meals.

The other thing about the study I'm thinking of is that it was conducted over 10 years ago. There has been a whole lot of increased awareness in the pet food industry since then. If a super premium food manufacturer goes to the bother to declare that they only use meat that does not contain hormones, antibiotics or GMOs you can be sure they're not using a meal made from roadkill and euthanized animals.

The key here is to stick to meals with named meats and high quality brands. Then it's not a concern.
^Agreed.

And then what I was going to say before I saw this: "There is a huge difference between 'meat meal, bone meal and animal fat' and say, chicken meal, beef bone, and lamb fat.

I avoid meat meal like the plague."
 

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If that's the same study I'm thinking of....first of all it was on meat meal or meat by-product meal (I forget which). Not meals with named meats like chicken meal. I agree that meals with unnamed meats are the dregs. But meals with named meats are just fine...and the reality is, when feeding kibble there are very few foods that do not make use of meals.

The other thing about the study I'm thinking of is that it was conducted over 10 years ago. There has been a whole lot of increased awareness in the pet food industry since then. If a super premium food manufacturer goes to the bother to declare that they only use meat that does not contain hormones, antibiotics or GMOs you can be sure they're not using a meal made from roadkill and euthanized animals.

The key here is to stick to meals with named meats and high quality brands. Then it's not a concern.
ah, thank you for the clarification. it's amazing how much research we need to do in order to give the best to our feline friends! i can't believe how many brands there are out there with less than stellar ingredients!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks again for all the feedback. Hopefully we are going to get a new kitten next friday, which will be my first day off work where I'll have time to go have a look at what's available.

I like the concept of wet food in the morning and evening with a small dose of dry food in between. I think that will work well for us. I went by Petco yesterday to see what kinds of food they have available and they have a pretty good selection, and Merrick was one of them. They also have some of the Innova. I didn't buy any food yet but I bought a new collar with a little bell on it :)

I will post some photos when the new addition arrives at home. I'm a photographer (sideline career) and I should be able to get some decent photos! Here's one of Potter who is no longer with me :(



We told my girlfriend's nephews today that Potter had died (they are 4 and 5 yrs old.) The 4-year-old said "he went to be a kitty angel..." :)
 
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