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Discussion Starter #1
OK, let me stir it up a bit. I'm seeing that people have their cats on certain foods because as they put it "they do good." What does that mean exactly? I personally keep striving for the perfect food for my pets (cats and dogs) because I want them to live out a very long life without dread diseases such as kidney failure, FUS, liver disease, etc. Basically they would "do good" on Purnia cat chow for the moment. It's in their senior years that I worry they will be strickened with diseaeses that could have been prevented had they eaten a better food.

Here is my question(s). Is corn actually bad for a cat's health or is all the talk about corn just because it doesn't have a lot of nutrition and basically the cat has to eat more of the food when there is a lot of corn compared to meat protein? Don't the big cats eat the stomach contents of the herbivores they kill?


I know that by-products are "nasty" and no animal should be eating that just because we don't know where or what it is.

I'd like to see a discussion based on members experiences as to how food has kept their pet healthy and hear how many pets have lived to 20 disease free and if so what food did they eat. I have a 16 year old dog who has eaten Science Diet, Pro Plan, Iams, and other better brands. The only health problems he has is too fat and arthritis. His heart and all organs are in great condiition. I have a 16 year old cat who in 16 years has never been ill up until last year when she developed hyperthyroid condition. Otherwise she is very healthy. As a young cat, before I knew about "super premium" foods, she ate Purina Cat Chow, Friskies, Science Diet. Now she gets Pro Plan, Royal Canin, Innova, Felidae and other premium brands of food. I wonder did the cheaper foods they ate as youngsters help contribute to the diseases they have today? Maybe Dr. Jean can ellaborate on this.
 

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OK, let me stir it up a bit. I'm seeing that people have their cats on certain foods because as they put it "they do good." What does that mean exactly?Basically you nailed it. I take that to mean that their cats have always been feeding on that type of food and they haven’t noticed any immediate concerns, therefore they assume that they are doing “good” and are not going to make any changes to something they feel isn’t broken. Almost everyone I’ve ever discussed this with who has opted to try better foods will admit that their cats have a shinier coat, energy levels seem to improve and they see an overall improvement in the health of the animal. Long term the animals left on diets such as Purina, etc. end up being the ones with thyroid problems, diabetes, obesity and many other significant health problems.

Here is my question(s). Is corn actually bad for a cat's health or is all the talk about corn just because it doesn't have a lot of nutrition and basically the cat has to eat more of the food when there is a lot of corn compared to meat protein? Is it actually bad? I’d say that technically it’s not *immediately* harmful, but it’s mostly a filler and doesn’t really provide nutrition to a cat. Dogs seem to be able to process and use corn a bit better than cats and can use some of the protein that is from corn. Cats do not, so basically it is used to up the protein percentage on the cat food labels. Corn gluten meal is a cheap protein source that is not very beneficial to the cat. The cat bodies seem to have a weird ability to sense when they need more "protein" and thus will cause them to eat more food. Inevitably though, it can result in obese cats and cats who end up with diabetes and other harmful ingredients form indulging themselves in food of little nutritional value.

Don't the big cats eat the stomach contents of the herbivores they kill? I’m sure they do, but the contents of plant matter in the stomach of prey is probably very insignificant.

I know that by-products are "nasty" and no animal should be eating that just because we don't know where or what it is. Well actually we do have a good idea of what it is and that’s the problem. A pet food manufacturer would not print the words by products on it’s label if they didn't have to. And, they are feet, beaks, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, etc and whatever nutritional quality there actuall is in the meat and poultry by-products, meals and digests - it significantly varies from batch to batch since they are all random rejected parts and are never consistent.



I'd like to see a discussion based on members experiences as to how food has kept their pet healthy and hear how many pets have lived to 20 disease free and if so what food did they eat. I have a 16 year old dog who has eaten Science Diet, Pro Plan, Iams, and other better brands. The only health problems he has is too fat and arthritis. His heart and all organs are in great condiition. I think his weight is probably been contributed to by the foods he’s been eating. Also, there are many premium food brands now that incorporate Chondroitin and Glucosamine into the foods which helps stimulate joint function and rebuild cartilage thus helping to prevent and alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.

I have a 16 year old cat who in 16 years has never been ill up until last year when she developed hyperthyroid condition. Otherwise she is very healthy. As a young cat, before I knew about "super premium" foods, she ate Purina Cat Chow, Friskies, Science Diet. Now she gets Pro Plan, Royal Canin, Innova, Felidae and other premium brands of food. I wonder did the cheaper foods they ate as youngsters help contribute to the diseases they have today? I have always heard that these types of foods contribute greatly to the thyroid conditions. And it’s a combination of cheap foods made of fillers, chemicals and by-products and also giving a cat a dry food diet.
 

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When I say my cats "do well" on a certain food I usually mean -
they have nice coats, less shedding, well formed stool, no vomiting... pretty much no negative repsonses from any of my cats on that particular brand. Some of the foods I've used even seem to help with hairballs (Innova) while some of the cheaper foods I've used seemed to make their coats greasy, there was dandruff, increased shedding, loose stools and/or vomiting. Meow mix was one of the worst I've used and had poor results with.
As far as corn goes(and this is just my opinion), I don't have a problem with it as an ingredient as long as it is not added as a source of protein (corn gluten meal) and as long as it does'nt appear to make up a majority of the ingredients. In general, animal protein is more digestible and better utilized than plant protein. Cooking/grinding makes plant material digestible and food can't provide calories unless it is digested....carbs do provide calories so they would have to be digestible to some extent. I know low carb is best for cats but if you use dry food there is no getting away from them.
Just my 2cents.
 

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Good food to me means that it prevents illness and it keeps the cat in great shape. No dry food I've ever fed my cats with have kept them in great shape. They've never been ill so I wouldn't say the dry food was harmful but it certainly wasn't optimal food for them.

Do wild cats digest veggies? Yes, about 5 % of a wild cats diet is veggies from their preys stomach... They eat a small amount of grass but the veggie content would still be very low. Absolutely under 10 %, more likely around 5 %.

I don't necessarily think meat by-products are bad as long as they follow the Swedish definition which means that all meat by-products are human grade. In Sweden it's illegal to feed animals (meant for food) antibiotics and hormones so Swedish meat and meat by´products are free from hormones and antibiotics. My cats occassionally get chicken stomach, rabbit stomach, lungs and such by-products. It's quite natural for a cat to eat by-products :wink:

Sice I switched my cats to an all raw diet their general health have increased greatly so I do not believe that dry food promotes optimal health which I believe every good cat food should do.

As a pet owner I don't settle for less good quality. I always try to feed my cats the absolutely best diet and I think I'm on the right way.
 

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Sol said:
I don't necessarily think meat by-products are bad as long as they follow the Swedish definition which means that all meat by-products are human grade. In Sweden it's illegal to feed animals (meant for food) antibiotics and hormones so Swedish meat and meat by´products are free from hormones and antibiotics. My cats occassionally get chicken stomach, rabbit stomach, lungs and such by-products. It's quite natural for a cat to eat by-products
Sol, unfortunately, here in the states by-products are NOT human grade. They are of very poor quality. I'll try to post some sites or info. on by-products. I wish everyone would follow suit on the regulations they have for companion animal food products by you!
 

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Here's a little blurb I've pasted from www.wholisticpets.com

"Meat and poultry by-products, another major category of pet food ingredients, are the unrendered parts of the animal left over after slaughter, everything deemed unfit for human consumption. In cattle and sheep, this includes the brain, liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, blood, bones, fatty tissue, stomachs and intestines. The items on this list that would normally be consumed by humans, such as the liver, would have to be diseased or contaminated before they could be designated for pet food. Poultry by-products include heads, feet, intestines, undeveloped eggs, chicken feathers and egg shells".

I noticed this website has a contact address in Australia, but this info. is pretty much the standard of what I've seen about by-products in the U.S.
 

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Well I went through three major stages of cat food.

1) Science diet. The former cat mommy of my first cat used this. The cat was about 15lbs at the time. When I adopted my second cat, at first she was eating this too. She weighed 10lbs

2) Innova dry (occasionally mixed with chicken soup). The second cat's coat improved dramatically, but she began gaining weight. The other cat remained unchanged, except maybe a bit less shedding.

3) Innova wet (and various wellness flavors occasionally). The first cat has dropped to 13lbs in about 3/4 of a year or so. The second cat has stabilized in weight at a still-too-fat 12.5 lbs. But her coat is even better. Both cats seem a little more energetic, and greatly look forward to meals (well, exhibit hunger at mealtime and distaste for dry food).

Right now I give them one meal every other day of dry, either because I'm tired or thinking about the money I am wasting by not using up the old innova dry. It also helps control their appetite a bit, at least in my imagination.
 

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TAsunder said:
Right now I give them one meal every other day of dry, either because I'm tired or thinking about the money I am wasting by not using up the old innova dry. It also helps control their appetite a bit, at least in my imagination.
Is that healthy?
 

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Gab, I think they also get wet food everyday, but in an effort to use up the dry food, they get it every other day or so.

Does that sound better to you?
 

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Well, you guys have pretty much said what I would have said! :)

The only thing I would add is that corn (in any form) is a major problem for cats. Corn has the same glycemic index as a Hershey bar; it is loaded with sugar. I'd stay away from corn-containing foods for cats. Corn-based dry foods are probably *the* primary contributor, if not cause, of diabetes in cats.

If you'd like to know a little more on by-products, labels, etc., see:
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... w&item=004

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So corn is bad for cats

Thanks Dr. Jean. From this day forward no corn containing cat food in my house!! I have so many cats it would be impossible for me to monitor a cat with diabetes. I've been lucky and haven't had one come down with it since my FIV cat, 5 years ago. Poor darling was so sick that by the time he was diagnosed it was too late. What about white rice or brown rice? I know I eat brown rice because it's healthier so I imagine the same goes for animals.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Almost forgot

I almost forgot about another cat I had 15 yaears ago who died of diabetes. She was left behind by her previous owners so we inherited her and her daughter when we bought the house we now live in. The owner left behind boxes of Tender Vittles and said that is all they ate. I immediately switched them from Tender Vittles, but the damage had already been done. The daughter, who was only 2 years old had a heart attack and died. The mother, age unknown, developed diabetes and by the time I realized she was sick, she died. I know the diabetes was caused by the Tender Vittles because I have learned it is loaded with sugar. I'm not sure about the heart condition as I realize she may have been born with it (Cordiomyopathy) I know I'm mispelling it. Whenever I hear someone even mention Tender Vittles I go balistic!! My sister in law was feeding the equivalent (moist and meaty) to her dog. When I told her it was loaded with sugar she immediate switched him to a healthier food and one he loves much better than that garbage he was eating before.
 

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Rice is still a starch, whether white or brown. Brown is a little bit more nutritious, but given the extensive processing that pet food goes through, I don't think it would make much difference.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 
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