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Discussion Starter #1
Here's the deal:

Scully has been eating Science Diet dry food (I know, I know *gag*), but she has about a weeks worth of food left, and I'm wondering if now is a good time to switch her over to another food. Here are my questions:

1) Because she is still nursing and slightly underweight (she is doing a whole lot better than before, though), she is eating an enormous amount of food. In fact, I have her on a self-feeder, because I was having a hard time keeping up. Should I still continue to feed her dry food, to help her gain weight? If so, I would be making a slow transition from S/D to Chicken Soup.

2) The kittens are just over three weeks old. From what I've heard, they can start trying out wet food in a week and a half or so. Is this true? Does it need to be "kitten food", or would Chicken Soup canned be ok?

3) Obviously, by the time the kittens start eating canned food, Scully will need to be acclimated to it. How much should I start giving her, to build up to eating a normal amount? What would a "normal amount" be for a lactating mom?

To summarize, I need to know how to transition Scully to canned food, how much to feed her, and how much and when to start feeding it to the kittens, and if I should still continue to feed Scully dry food.
 

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Here's my advice

You can leave dry science diet in the cage or whatever it is the kittens and mom live in, all the time. Most kittens will follow mom and begin feeding themselves. If you can, make sure the dry food is kitten food. Or if you don't want the kittens to learn to eat dry food at all (I'm not in favor of this) but, then you can start putting canned food in for mom, a little at a time, and let the kittens follow suit. I know I'm a minority on the Chicken Soup food, but none of my cats like the wet or dry of the chicken soup. Also, keep in mind not all the kittens may like the same thing. I don't ever force cats to eat what they don't like. If some like one flavor, and other another, than that's what they get.

I know the consensus on this forum is dry food is bad, but I don't entirely agree with that. I think premium foods such as Innova and Felidae, along with others, are perfectly healthy for cats as long as the cat has plenty of fresh water to drink at all times. Now that I know corn is not good I will not feed my cats any food containing it.

I personally think a cat is better off when it has varied tastes. I think the best bet is for cats to eat can and dry foods. Mine like can food, but rather it when it is mixed with the dry because they like the texture and crunch of the dry. If I give them just wet, they only eat very little and are hungry 20 minutes later. When I mix it, they stay full. Thankfully I only have 2 cats who will only eat dry. Once in a great while they will eat a piece of cooked chicken, but that is rare. One is heavy the other slim.

As far as dry food making cats fat I'm not so sure I believe that either. The majority of my cats are at their ideal weight. The only ones who are heavy are ones who were starved before I rescued them. Seems the starvation messed up their metabolic rate so they stay fat and don't eat anymore than the other cats.

I'm sure you'll get a lot of different opinions on this food issue, just wanted to share my experiences with you. Good luck

By the way, how did you come to get this mom and kittens? Is she pure bred and was intentionally bred or did she come to you as a stray already pregnant? Good luck
 

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I don't know what's to "believe in" about dry food being bad for cats. The science is irrefutable.

However, I do agree that kittens should be fed a wide variety of foods so that they'll be more flexible and less finicky when they are older. Since the kittens could end up in "unenlightened" homes that feed only dry (ack!), or there may be times when that's all there is (when, say, there's a Hurricane coming and the stores are all closed!) they should be *willing* to eat it.

Both mom and kittens should get either kitten food or a food certified "for all life stages." It will specify this on the label in the AAFCO statement. I would not try to move Scully to all-canned while she's nursing; but you can offer her a variety of both and let her decide what and how much she needs to eat. At this stage you cannot restrict either her or the kittens on amounts.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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I haven't had any bad experience with Chicken Soup dry at all.
I have heard more than one person claim to have problems with the consistency and that their cats will eat one bag with no problems and turn their nose up at the next bag...so it is something to consider.

I have yet to find a can of Chicken Soup canned food, but from what I've heard about it, I'm not looking anymore. It seems that most cats don't like it and it has a rubbery consistency.

Dry food causes a host of health problems, being overweight is just one of them. So, while Lotocats, prefers to feed dry food, I'm doing what I can to get my cats off of it...If I can get them down to approximately 75/25 percent, I'll be content with that. Honestly, I do want to know that if I go away overnight or for 2 days that they will atleast have SOMETHING to eat if I'm not there to give them canned. However, while Lotocats hasn't experienced some of these things, dry food does cause a lot of problems! DO stay AWAY from foods with corn ingredients even if they claim to be premium! I mean, fancy feast claims to be premium too and you know that's not true!

I only feed HIGH quality dry though. We are mixing Wellness, Felidae and Chicken Soup right now, but mainly stick to Wellness, Innova and California Natural. I do think that IF you are going to feed a dry food it should be of the BEST quality you can find. That's not to say that it's a good idea to feed a dry food diet in the first place.

If you feed a high quality food the kittens and the mother should all be able to feed the same food. At about 4 weeks, they can start weaning, but I think most of the time they let YOU know when they are ready.

Lotocats is also correct, you may have kittens that gobble down one food while one or two of them smell it and wobble away! Just like people, they all like different stuff!
 

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What science

Dr. Jean: I don't understand exactly what makes dry food (I'm speaking about premium of course) bad. I've had cats live to 20 years old with no health problems up until they died at 20 from cancer. I've had cats live to 18 with nothing, but thyroid trouble, they had to deal with 1 year before they died. I've never had a cat with a UTI except the one who had cancer (the one I fed Kit n Kaboodle) and I still question if that is not what caused her cancer. Right now I have a 19 yr. old, a 16 yr. old, a 17 yr. old and the only one that has a health problem is the 16 yr. old who was diagnosed with thyroid problem last year and is on tapazole. I think if my cats live to their mid to late teens without illness I'm doing pretty good. How much better than that does it get if I just give them can food?

I do appreciate your opinions and willingness to share them and educate me and everyone else who frequents this board. If you can help me understand this dry food thing better I would appreciate it.

Thanks
 

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Have you read:
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... cannedfood

Dry food causes cats to be chronically dehydrated, thereby contributing to the development of bladder and kidney disease as well as constipation. It is the exclusive cause of diabetes, and the main cause of obesity. Allergies of all kinds are more common in dry-food fed cats. The carbs are essentially empty calories as far as feline metabolism goes. Substituting carbs for protein and fat, which cats need, is an extra metabolic stress. Liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) is seen mostly in dry-food fed cats. Cats have limited ability to digest and utilize carbohydrates. High dietary carbs actually decrease the digestibility of protein; not a great thing for an obligate carnivore.

The only reason to feed dry food is for OUR convenience (including the convenience that it is cheap!).

Re your cats seemingly doing fine on dry food, one feline expert at Texas A&M says: "Although cats have adjusted to manufactured diets, the limitations of substituting animal-origin with plant-origin nutrients in foods formulated for cats are being increasingly realized." (Zoran, 2002).
 

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Oops, hit the wrong button there! :oops:

Anyway, the bottom line is that even though cats *can* survive in relatively good fashion on a dry food diet, one has to wonder how much healthier and longer-lived might they be if they ate food that more closely matched the diet they are designed by Nature to eat: high protein, high fat, low carb mice! :wink: (A rat is 55% protein, 38% fat, and 9% carb on a dry matter basis; moisture accounts for approximately 70% of total weight)

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Re: What science

lotocats said:
Dr. Jean: I don't understand exactly what makes dry food (I'm speaking about premium of course) bad. I've had cats live to 20 years old with no health problems up until they died at 20 from cancer. I've had cats live to 18 with nothing, but thyroid trouble, they had to deal with 1 year before they died. I've never had a cat with a UTI except the one who had cancer (the one I fed Kit n Kaboodle) and I still question if that is not what caused her cancer. Right now I have a 19 yr. old, a 16 yr. old, a 17 yr. old and the only one that has a health problem is the 16 yr. old who was diagnosed with thyroid problem last year and is on tapazole. I think if my cats live to their mid to late teens without illness I'm doing pretty good. How much better than that does it get if I just give them can food?

I do appreciate your opinions and willingness to share them and educate me and everyone else who frequents this board. If you can help me understand this dry food thing better I would appreciate it.

Thanks
People can live to be a hundred on a poor diet to :wink: I used to think that "high premium" dry food was good catfood. Today I question if it's even OK to put the words "high" and "premium" in the same sentence as dry food :roll:
 

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LOL, yes that's a good point! Look at George Burns for example!

I also have come to realize that the overall quality of pet food ingredients has gone down over the years due to competition in the marketplace. There are some 3000 pet food makers in the US. This results in higher demand for a limited amount of animal products. Animal ingredients have gradually been replaced with grain-based proteins like corn gluten meal. The cat who lived to be 20 who was fed on cat chow produced in the 1980s would probably not do nearly as well if she were starting out now on today's dry foods.

The cat chow that we fed 20 years ago is nothing like what it is now. Back then, it was made with more meat and a better quality of by-products. Mechanical processing has changed the composition of by-products. For instance, by-products used to contain quite a bit of meat that was left on the bones; but now mechanical separation removes virtually all of the meat, which the processor can get a better price for if it can be used in human-consumable products (canned meats, hash, soup, chili, etc.).

So only the truly human-inedible bits are available for pet food. That includes condemned parts (cancerous or parasitized tissues, and animals condemned whole because of disease, death prior to reaching the slaughterhouse, drug residues etc.), as well as the usual medley of heads, legs, feet, tails, udders, lungs, tracheas, spleen, intestines, uterus, colon, and so on).

Years ago, grains were less contaminated with pesticides and none of it was genetically altered. Today, a third of the corn and almost all the soy grown in the US is genetically modified. Grains so contaminated with pesticide residue that they are condemned for human consumption may be used without limit in animal feed, a term which includes pet food.

So while I feel mildly guilty that I fed my cats Meow Mix 20 years ago, it wasn't so bad then; I sure wouldn't do it now.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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One more question and then I'm done

Not to be sarcastic, but does anyone know how long a domesticated cat will live on a diet of just mice? Has anyone done any experiments to find out?
 

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I don't know of any experiments using mice. But since that's what cats ate for thousands of years, I would guess they'd do pretty well on it! :)

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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lotocats said:
Dr. Jean: I don't understand exactly what makes dry food (I'm speaking about premium of course) bad.
I know this was aimed at Dr. Jean, but, here is some info. provided by Feline Future http://www.felinefuture.com
I think this is a pretty easy read and gives some great information. Here is the actual link to the chapter on dry foods and why they are not healthy.

http://www.felinefuture.com/nutrition/bpo_ch4.php

Edit: I had originally copied and pasted some of the info. from their website, but removed it because they have statements all over their website saying to email for permission before doing so.

Here are some other websites with evidence that supports the feeding of canned food as opposed to dry food:

http://www.catinfo.org/
http://rocquoone.com/diet_and_health.htm
http://www.cat-world.com.au/Nutrition.htm
http://www.vet4petz.com/articles/diabetes.htm
http://home.earthlink.net/~jacm2/id2.html
http://www.parkvets.com/microsite/flutdoverview.html
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Alright well, I went to the store, and got some Wellness and Innova canned foods, and Chicken Soup Kitten dry food. I gave Scully a piece of the CS and she flipped, and has been looking for more. So I think that's a "yes" :D

I'll give her a little canned tomorrow morning and see how she does.
 

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I guess the reason for my success with having healthy cats and feeding them dry is that I also feed them wet and raw food to supplement. With 15 cats over the age of 8 and none of them ever having FUS or kidney problems or other health problems, I have to assume I'm doing something right. Maybe wet food and/or raw food is the optimum for their health, but I won't ever be of the mind set that premium dry food will "kill" them when it is part of an overall good feeding plan. To that end I hope we can agree to disagree. I only tell people what I do, they in turn have to make their own decisions based on what they read or hear.

One thing I wanted to mention about one of those articles was that they recommended Science Diet can kitten food for cats with FUS. I guess because of it's high fat and protein content.

I will continue to study and experiment with all premium foods that come out, canned and dry. I'm wondering if maybe the variety of brands/flavors I give my cats can also be a factor in their overall good health. They never eat the same food 2 months in a row.

I know we'll continue to debate and learn from each other. That is why I'm here, to learn and hopefully share some of my experiences with others in hopes they can benefit from it. To that end I'll say goodnight for now. See yall tomorrow!!
 

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Oh, I'm not saying that everything in all those articles is the best advice...(i.e. recommending science diet foods - and frankly, that's a vet recommendation that happens way to often...but i think in time that will fizzle out a bit too), but I just wanted you to see that there is evidence of dry food causing an array of health problems.

I just don't want you to think it's hear-say or that it's an opinion. It's soooo much more than that. What you do with that knowledge is up to you. I certainly can agree to disagree (or atleast agree to to debate some more...until I change your mind....JUST KIDDING).

This forum wouldn't be what it is if we all just listened to what a few people were telling us and automatically believed it. I enjoy a good challenge. Nor, am I opposed to being proven wrong on things from time to time. I'm here to learn (and post silly kitten pictures!), just as much as the next guy (or in my case..gal).

Oh and I do believe that alternating their diet has a big impact on their health, what one food is lacking another may make up for. Also, what one food may have in it that isn't particularly great for them, another may be waaaaaaaay better quality. I think that does harmonize things a bit.

Have a good night. We'll chat tomorrow. I'm sure. :twisted:
 

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OK, here's my question (actually, 2). I'm posting in this thread because there are so many other similar ones going on, no need to start another.

I've been one of those uninformed cat owners that was feeding my boys store brand wet and dry food, up until about a week ago. Now I've changed them to Wellness wet, but I've noticed that they aren't eating as much. Before, the two boys would split a 5.5oz can in the morning and one at night, with dry food left out. Before, they would finish each can presented, every last drop. Now with the Wellness, they are only eating about 1/2 as much. Is it because they don't need as much now to get the same nutrients, or what? They seem to like the new food, as they go right for it as soon as it's set out. Just wondering if I should be concerned. Shouldn't they be eating more?

Second questions, I'm fine with the idea of pulling all dry food alltogether, but when I have to leave them alone sometimes 48-72 hours at a time, I HAVE to leave out dry food for them. Would switching them from all wet to all dry mess with their little tummies? I'm wondering if I should just continue to leave dry food out so as to not mess with their diets moreso than necessary. As always, thanks in advance for your help.

katsprat
 

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That is normal for them to eat less of a good food. They don't need to eat as much because they are getting more of what they need with the better quality foods.

If you are often away for periods of time like you have described above, I would keep a small percentage of their diet as dry food regularly. But, I'd do more of a 75/25 percentage.

You should not leave dry food out all the time while you are feeding wet food though, they can potentially become overweight from doing this.
 
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