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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Since the recall of Wellness, I have been unable to find any stores which carry it since they have been taken off the shelves. Could someone recommend other brands besides Weruva that have grain free canned food? I am looking for non fish flavors.

I was looking at Blue Buffalo which I have read is a very good high quality brand which comes in grain free and with grain. My question is should cats always eat grain free or can they sometimes eat foods with grains as long as it is high quality?? I read that the grains give them energy, is this true? Thanks, any info is appreciated!
 

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Cats have no need for grains in their diet, since they are carnivores. Aside from Wellness, Weruva and Blue Wilderness, other grain-free foods would include Evo, Nature's Instinct, Natural Balance, Merrick's Before Grain (BG), Go!/Now!, Felidae...there are others, but those are a few that I can think of offhand. All of these brands would offer non-fish flavors.
 

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A nice way to get a comprehensive list of grain-free cat or dog foods is to search "grain free" on petfooddirect.com. You can also review / compare each food's ingredients list, which makes picking a couple to try out much easier.

Regards!

AC
 

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Cats are obligate carnivores. They don't require grains and it often brings out allergies it seems. If you don't want to do raw then a good quality grain free canned is best.
 

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Seconding the comments above. Claims that "grains give them energy" is likely just a pet food company marketing gimmick. Cats get their energy from the proteins and fats in meat. They don't have nearly the same carbohydrate as humans, and no need for grains (in fact one of my cats can't even eat grains, they give her gas and runny stools).

All the brands mentioned above are good choices. When I feed canned (I normally feed raw, but supplement occasionally with canned) I feed Merrick Before Grain and Blue Wilderness, as well as Wellness.
 

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Ah, I missed the second part of your post the first time I read it.

Any claim that cats gain anything of value from eating grains is completely bogus. Their bodies are so specially adapted to eating animal-based protein that - unlike dogs - they lack some of the enzymes that are necessary just to digest grains. Feeding this kind of stuff (right along with fruits and vegetables) actually puts unwarranted stress on a cat's body; this is why so many cats "can't handle" foods that contain these products - they're simply not built to.

Best regards.

AC
 

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Actually cats can and do digest grains, they don't have amylase in their saliva (like humans do) to start the digestive process, but they have other enzymes that do the job...just not as efficiently. And grains do give them energy...grains are carbs that get converted to glucose which gives them a big energy burst. Carbs get processed first, before the protein and fats. The problem is that cats don't do well with the sugar spike that causes...the body throws insulin at the glucose in large quantities...over working the pancreas, shutting down the digestive process too quickly. Then that glucose gets converted to fat. The protein that is digested after the carbs gets excreted in the urine, so it doesn't contribute to building good muscle. The fats get stored instead of utilized, so the skin and coat suffer and the cat puts on weight.
 

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Actually cats can and do digest grains, they don't have amylase in their saliva (like humans do) to start the digestive process, but they have other enzymes that do the job...just not as efficiently. And grains do give them energy...grains are carbs that get converted to glucose which gives them a big energy burst. Carbs get processed first, before the protein and fats. The problem is that cats don't do well with the sugar spike that causes...the body throws insulin at the glucose in large quantities...over working the pancreas, shutting down the digestive process too quickly. Then that glucose gets converted to fat. The protein that is digested after the carbs gets excreted in the urine, so it doesn't contribute to building good muscle. The fats get stored instead of utilized, so the skin and coat suffer and the cat puts on weight.
I've read something similar to your explanation a number of time in various articles, but that's the first time anyone has put it in a way that is simple to understand! Thanks.
 

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Thank you for the clarification Doodlebug! That's a better explanation. Mine was a bit overly-simplified, mainly the point I was trying to make is a cat's body is designed to get their energy more efficiently from animal products rather than carbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all your information. I will try different grain free brands to see which ones my kitties like. I tried Soulistic which is grain free, my cats ate a little but then lost interest. I am sure if I mix some Weruva food in, they will eat it. Is Soulistic a good brand?

I just got a little concerned when I saw that Blue Buffalo has food with grains in them thinking that they are the better cat food company. Why would a good company sell food with grains I wonder? I am going to start giving my cat Blue Wildnerness then and then keep trying other high quality brands if they do not like it.
 

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We recently switched to the Nature's Variety "Instinct" grain free food and both kitties are doing well on that--it can be fed to kittens/younger cats as well, as long as they're free fed (I checked with the vet brand kitten food we're giving Atlas on the side as we can't free feed one without free feeding the other and the protein/carb/fat breakdown is almost identical). Wicket didn't like the canned version as much as he likes the dry stuff but what I like about it is that there are three or four flavors that have been designed to be switched whenever you want without having to transition--so if they don't like the chicken, they get the duck, or the turkey, or the beef, or whatever, or sometimes we mix a few flavors in a big bag. Wicket's bloating was a lot less after we switched. Since we found that all wet foods gave Wicket the runs we just give them a small amount of cat tuna every evening mixed with some dry food, they loooooove it! And it only has tuna and vitamins in it which is great for them!
 

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Thanks for all your information. I will try different grain free brands to see which ones my kitties like. I tried Soulistic which is grain free, my cats ate a little but then lost interest. I am sure if I mix some Weruva food in, they will eat it. Is Soulistic a good brand?

I just got a little concerned when I saw that Blue Buffalo has food with grains in them thinking that they are the better cat food company. Why would a good company sell food with grains I wonder? I am going to start giving my cat Blue Wildnerness then and then keep trying other high quality brands if they do not like it.
I don't know for sure, but my guess is possibly because they want to offer cat owners a better-than-average, but cheaper option? Blue's grain foods at least use complex carbohydrate grain sources instead of simple ones so it's not as bad as, say, corn. Foods that contain more meat and less grain filler are generally more expensive (this is why the ones filled with corn are able to be sold so cheap). I don't actually know how much cheaper the non-Wilderness stuff is though.

Obviously very nutritionally-informed cat owners will want to do the absolute best for their cats, but grain-free foods do seem to be the most expensive canned foods out there, and I know not everyone can afford to feed that. Blue Wilderness in particular is actually the most expensive of all the canned foods I fed (as least at my store). I don't buy it very often for that reason.

So I'm betting their other lines are marketed towards people who want to avoid corn and soy and other allergens/cheap ingredients, but can't necessarily afford grain free.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for that explanation, it does make a lot of sense. I guess pet food companies try to appeal to everyone.
 

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I agree with saitenyo's explanation...the companies are trying to appeal to different market segments. In fact, virtually all of the pet food companies make both grain-free foods and foods without grain: Wellness, Nature's Variety, Merricks's, etc., not just Blue Buffalo/Wilderness.
 

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The other thing to remember here is to not confuse grain free with low carb. A food may not contain grains but may have potato, sweet potato, peas, carrots and other fruits and veggies that contribute to the carb content. The Natural Balance LID foods are perfect examples of a grain free food that is extremely high carb.

There is a major difference in the quality of the carbs. Corn is a simple carb and gets digested very quickly, but not thoroughly. It also has a very high natural sugar content. So it spikes the blood sugar levels like crazy. Whole grains (oatmeal, barley etc.) are complex carbs, they get processed much slower and don't spike the sugar levels as much.

Non-grain carbs like potatoes are also complex carbs and have a similar effect as whole grains on the blood sugars. They may contain more fiber which essentially brings down the actual carbs that are converted to sugar.

So, the upshot is...first look at the carb level of the food (an easy method for this exercise is to subtract protein, fat, moisture and fiber from 100. it doesn't account for vitamins/minerals but that number is similar amongst all foods). Find the ones with the lowest carb content. Then look at the carb source. Grains are typically a bit more difficult to digest and may be allergens, where potatoes, peas etc don't typically present those issues. If your cat doesn't have any digestive issues or allergies, then it doesn't much matter if you pick the grain free over the one with whole grains...you want the one with the lowest carbs.
 
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