Anonymous asked in PetsCats · 1 decade ago

High/low quality cat foods?

I've noticed that so many more people in the cat section feed low quality cat foods whereas in the dog section many more people are aware of what they are feeding their dogs. In the dog section, if someone asks a pet food question, there's like ten people in there explaining about higher quality dog foods. In the cat section, it feels like I'm alone with another two or three people while all the other answerers are recommending low quality foods like Meow Mix, Purina, Iams etc. and recommending feeding dry instead of wet.

My cat food writeup:

Not all pet food is made equally. A lot of it is full of corn, by-products, dyes, unhealthy preservatives, filler grains and all sorts of nasty stuff. A lot of pet food companies are perfectly happy to the dump cheap leftovers and things that aren't safe for human consumption (from human food processing plants) into their foods. Will it kill your cat? No, it has to be nutritionally complete and safe to even be marketed. Is it healthy? Not by a long shot.

Corn is a low quality ingredient you never want to see in your pet food. Corn and low quality grains are two of the biggest culprits when it comes to food allergies in our pets.

Thankfully, there are some excellent cat foods being made these days that include organic, human grade ingredients rather than trash not fit for human consumption.

Examples of low quality foods to avoid: Anything you can find in a grocery store will be low end, Purina, Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, Royal Canin, Whiskas, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Meow Mix.

Examples of high quality foods to look for: Innova, Wellness, Solid Gold, Felidae, Fromm Four Star, Merrick, GO Natural, Nature's Variety Prairie, Nature's Logic, Artemis Fresh Mix, Timber Wolf Organics.

Although the high quality foods are more expensive, you're getting what you're paying for. Less filler material means more concentrated nutrients... this means you typically need to feed far less of the high quality food than you would of the low quality one. Which also means less poop!

Before following your vet's food recommendation, keep in mind that vets get /very/ little nutritional training during their schooling. Besides that, what training they /do/ get is usually sponsored or taught by the crappy pet food companies! They also often get paid to sell some of their products at their clinics (Science Diet, Royal Canin etc.)

A great option is to go with an entirely grainless diet. Diets high in grain have been attributed to problems with diabetes in cats. Cats are obligate carnivores, so why should there be grain in their diet? Many of the high quality foods now put out grainless formulas. Some good grainless diets include: Innova EVO, Wellness CORE, Blue Wilderness, Nature's Variety Instinct, Orijen, Horizon Legacy, Merrick Before Grain, Fromm Surf & Turf, Now!, and Sold Gold Indigo Moon, Taste of the Wild.

Some pretty decent foods can even be found in common pet stores. Petsmart carries Blue Buffalo products (such as the excellent grain free diet Blue Wilderness). Petco carries Wellness, Solid Gold, Natural Balance, Eagle Pack Holistic, Blue Buffalo, Castor & Pollux Organix, Pinnacle, and Halo. If you can't find a food, most of the high quality food brands have websites with store locators on them.

Another option, if you can't find anywhere around you that sells good foods, is to order your pet food online. Here's an excellent place to do so:

Remember that foods should be switched gradually (mixing new slowly in with the old over about a two week period), especially when switching to a higher quality one, so as not to upset tummies.

Another option for feeding cats is to feed raw. This is something that should be thoroughly researched before being attempted:

Now the question is, do you feed wet or dry? Wet is the correct answer. The reason is, in the wild, cats normally get most of their water content directly from their prey items and drink very little. Domestic cats are no different, and because of the fact that they are designed to take in water with their meal, they have a very low thirst drive. Cats often just don't drink enough. This leads to urinary tract infections and crystals. The bit about dry food being better for teeth is a myth and has not been proven in the least (cats barely even chew their dry food and, really, does a pretzel clean /your/ teeth? Cats should have their teeth brushed with cat toothbrushes and cat toothpaste at least a few times a week as well as see the vet for dental cleanings when necessary /regardless/ of what they are being fed). Canned/wet food is better because it more closely mimics the cat's natural diet. More on why canned food is best: (Excellent cat nutrition information by a vet)


Blah. Question cut off.

Another option to get cats to drink more would be a cat fountain. Cats tend to like to drink from running water and cat fountains see to that need, encouraging cats to take in more water.

More: (Dog food reviews. It's for dogs, but most of the high quality brands also put out excellent cat foods. Four stars is a decent food, five stars is a great food, and six stars is an excellent food.)

I guess my question is, why do cat owners seem so far behind in terms of cat nutrition?

Another question, does my write up change your view on what you're feeding your cat at all?

Update 2:

Really? So you think I should type all that up every single time I want to answer a question? I may be copy pasting but I'm copy pasting /my own words/, it's not like I'm copy pasting something from another website.

Update 3:

It's /insanely/ frustrating JC, you're right. It drives me bonkers!

Update 4:

Thank you, Ken, it makes me feel better to think we are starting to make a difference :)

Brian, I do include some links for raw feeding but I don't know much about it myself so I kind of just left it up to the individual owner to follow the links and educate themselves. I only know that it's an excellent diet option when done correctly :)

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Finally someone asked the question!!! It has been driving me a bit bonky myself.. well... more than a bit.

    What makes me even more bonkers, is when researching on the web for information about excellent cat nutrition, many of the sites to which I have visited recommend dry food as part daily feeding for cats. Some of them are obviously connected with the manufacturer's need to sell the product, but some that appear on first glance to have great information include dry food. I just don't get it.

    I have to admit that at one time we did feed dry food to our cats, left out for their nibbling, in addtion to high quality moist food. We thought that it was the right thing to do, so if they wanted a snack while we were out working, they would have something on which to graze.

    What brought me to my senses, was an excellent veterinarian in NY state, who, upon examining one of my cats with serious constipation issues, and a bit "chunky", asked me if I fed dry to my cats. She sat me down and explained carefully about how dry was not appropriate, and, in fact problemsome, and added that dry was made for human convenience, and not excellent nutrition. She explained about the non-existant water content, and since cats generally don't drink a lot of water, they need added fluid content in their food. We stopped feeding dry.

    It was when I "met" Dr. Lisa Pierson, on the internet in a support group years ago, and read her fabulous information about optimum

    feline nutrtion,I started understanding why dry and lower quality canned foods were actually not good for cats

    Folks who vist websites such as this one that promote their own products ( commercial websites, of course) provide information that

    mislead folks to sell their products. They may not think they are misleading, but they are, in fact, not what a cat needs.

    But this morning as I did some research to answer this question, I found five excellent links that point folks to excellent information about feline nutrition.

    Of course, advertising on TV, magazines, in pet stores and on many pet related websites, are so attractive to cat people, appearing to be magical recipes for optimum health. What drives me even more insane is now we have "indoor" cat food designed for the indoor cat. The ad is designed to have folks believe that their "indoor" cat has special needs and their product it the,pardon the expression, "the cat's meow".

    Many responders here have given some really technical answers about high quality cat food, and I applaud them. I also applaud those of us that continue to recommend high quality moist food, raw diet ( done correctly- which can take considerable time to learn and prepare), and who continually talk about the dangers of grained cat food which contains by-products, and dry food's high carbohydrate content, and who also continually receive thumb's down for their excellent information.

    I really do commend you on your answers, Darksong. They are full of excellent information and I am noticing more folks who are spreading the word about proper feline nutrition and care, and dispelling so many of the myths that lower quality food manufacturers spread.

    To sum it up, feeding excellent nutrition to our cats may be a bit more pricey, and may be harder to find locally ( the internet has some wonderful shopping malls), but in the long run, fewer veterinary visits will be necessary to repair the damage that lower quality foods cause.



    Owned by cats for over 40 years

    Former Siamese and Oriental Shorthair breeder

    Freelance writer/blogger for

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  • 4 years ago

    It doesn't look like a really bad food - it's bound to have carbs in being a dry food - but I don't feed much dry food to my cats. I feed them good quality wet food and my younger cat has a little dry food (Orijen, a grain free dry food). I'm in the UK but the brands I feed are natures menu, hi life, animonda carny, bozita, cosma, applaws, almo nature, natures harvest, eagle pack and a few others. Unfortunately we can't get some of the premium foods that are available in the US so I just buy the best I can find. I look for a high meat content, low grain content (preferably no grains) and no artificial additives. I've never rated Hills foods. I don't like the ingredients and think there is better out there for the price. I tried my cats on Hills dry food years ago and it gave them stinky poos. More recently, I tried one of my cat's on the Hills wet food and it gave him diarrhoea so that was the first and last time I fed that. I don't think it's really bad, but the reason most vets recommend it is because Hills is one of the few companies that do prescription foods so most vets have a lot of contact with Hills reps and get most of their 'training' in nutrition from them.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I guess I'll answer your last question first. My personal view hasn't really changed after reading your write-up simply because you're preaching to the choir on this one. I have 2 cats and I began doing a lot of research on cat foods. Luckily, my cats are picky and absolutely refused from the beginning to eat anything cheap. They seem to know that most of it is simply filler. I absolutely refuse to feed them dry food for the exact reasons you already stated (low thirst drive, etc.) My guess is that most cat owners simply don't realize that cats are meat eaters; dogs are omnivores. Cats simply don't have the enzymes to be able to properly digest the filler material in some wet food and all dry food which of course leads to serious health problems futher down the road. Your write-up is excellent, including the external sources as well. The only thing that I would add is that to properly feed a cat, is to mimic what they eat in the wild. My main problem with traditional wet food is that it is cooked. I've been doing a lot of research on raw food diets for cats and am in the process of transitioning my cats to one. They've taken to very well. It takes time and research to make sure that you're giving them the proper balance of meat, organs, and bone-meal, but once you get the hang of it, it's relatively easy to prepare a weeks worth of high quality meals in about a half hour. Plus, even if you're using good cuts of meat, it's still cheaper than buying canned.

    Unfortunately, I think most cat owners stick to the dry stuff simply because it's cheap. And then wonder, of course, years down the road why their cats have shorter life expectancies, numerous health issues, etc. It's a shame.

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  • 1 decade ago

    To answer the question, we have a new kitty that found us, and since her arrival I have been doing a ton of research to find out what is best. She eats the Wellness Kitten Formula and is really energetic and healthy. A little lonely sometimes without siblings or mama (she arrived to us at 6 weeks, poor baby....but she has started giving ME baths so maybe she thinks I'm mom now? so sweet).

    The more people that choose to educate themselves about what is best for their pets the better. What exactly is the point is you aren't determined to care for them?

    To the people who balk at the expense....I hear kitty insulin and kitty dialysis aren't cheap. Pay for better food now, and avoid the vet later.

    Also, to the question of why people insist on feeding their pets crap...prob the same people who eat an over-processed/no idea what is in that/corn loaded diet themselves. This country isn't exactly known for its health consciousness.

    Anyway...stubbled upon this reading more for the little princess, so thanks :)

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  • J C
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I really is frustrating when people clearly feed their dog good food, and take their dog to the vet, then feed their cat junk and don't take it to the vet even when sick. After all, they say, it's "only a cat". It's one thing to not know that cheap foods are cheap for a reason. It's quite another to say I know better and still choose to feed cheap food.

    So hang in there - changing the mind of even one person is significant!

    Source(s): Many years of cat rescue
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  • Ken
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Keep up the good work

    I notice more and more people on answers getting the message and making the switch. We are still outnumbers by the spreading of old wives tales like dry is good for the teeth and other such nonsense but posts like yours are making a difference

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  • 1 decade ago

    Raw feeding is an excellent way for feeding your cat. Go on give it a go.

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  • 1 decade ago

    hi! I know you through Livejournal :3

    Anyhow, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind me printing this out and taking it to work for other associates to read (I work for a pet store)?

    If not, Ill keep it to myself, but if yes, would you like me to put your yahoo name or real name on the print out?

    Thanks either way and I am glad you wrote this up.

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  • I'm going to have to say it doesn't change my opinion... considering you are just COPYING AND PASTING!

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