Saturday, October 4, 2008


We are in a battle of the wills with our cats at the moment, we are trying to change their diet, and they don’t like it! A few months ago hubby, Mick, joined an on-line cat forum, and has learnt a lot about cat nutrition, as well as general health and well being.

Apparently, dried food is not good for cats. It's full of carbohydrates, something that they can well do without as it lacks the moisture that is essential to a cat's digestive system. Cats are Obligate Carnivores, which means that to remain healthy they need to eat meat. They are naturally desert animals and have a low thirst drive, they depend on getting their required moisture intake from their kill. Dry food contains no moisture and dehydrates them, which can lead to kidney disease/failure, one of the biggest killers of cats. According to the folks on the cat forum, feeding your cat the worst wet food is better than the best dried food.

Wilson, the lounge lizard.

Wilson, at eight years old is a lost cause. When we adopted him from the Humane Society three years ago, he was a totally indoor cat, and had no claws. De-clawing is something else I strongly disagree with as it leads to all manner of physical and psychological problems, but that’s a whole other story.

When we adopted Wilson, the Humane Society gave us a bag of Science Diet, dried cat food. The first time I heard him crunching down on this food it seemed really funny as I had never known cats to eat biscuits. In England, cats ate canned meat, biscuits were for dogs, though I don’t know if this is the case nowadays.

In the early days, we did try to introduce Wilson to canned meat but he wouldn’t touch it, so we continued with the dried stuff. I wish now that we had been a bit more persistent with him, because three years on he is even more set in his ways, and adamantly refuses meat. But, we have switched him to a better dried food called Eagle Pack, Holistic Select. He has been eating this food for two weeks, and I’ve noticed he doesn’t eat anywhere near as much of it as the old stuff. And not because he doesn’t like it, but because it has a higher nutritional content than Science Diet. This can only do him good in the long run as he is very overweight.

Alvin, as a kitlet.

Alvin, (adopted as a kitten from the Humane Society), and now 3 years old, is more amenable to the wet food, but he still stubbornly sticks out for dry stuff if he’s that way inclined. Alvin is a very willful boy. On the other hand, he does catch plenty of his own food, small rabbits, mice and other rodents, so I’m not too worried about him. Still, I would prefer to get him off the dried food.

Tommy Ticklemouse, can't a cat get any privacy around here?

Tommy is 2 years old and has taken to the wet food without any problems, he just eats whatever’s in his dish. On occasions though, even he has stuck out for the dried stuff, but he’s not as bad as Alvin. Mind you, he has never been a picky eater. He wandered into our yard as a kitten, and the poor little mite was starving. He looked like a bag of bones with the skin thrown on, so he will pretty much eat anything and everything. Tommy is also not as murderous as Alvin, though he does catch an odd mouse, and eats Alvin’s leftovers, he, therefore, does need to eat more meat.

It’s going to be a slow process, as cats don’t like change, well not unless they’ve been consulted and agreed to it in the first place. We have had no problems with the switch to the Holistic Select dried food, but the canned food is going to take a little longer. The wet food is also Eagle Pack, Holistic Natural Canned Formulas.

Quote of the week: Dogs have owners, cats have staff! (source unknown).


Denise said...

I don't have any cats but I still found your post very interesting and I will pass the information to all my friends who have them. I had a cat years ago, a Ginger Tom called Binkey. He was a wonderful cat and I loved him to bits. I also loved the photos of your little darlings, and it's so funny that just like people they are all very different. Thanks for another great post.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Very interesting Jan, as we feed ours Science Diet religiously believing it's the best for them. We do however give them the 'wet' tinned version of SD everyday as a treat and as a result they 'ask' for it everyday at the same time!

Cal-Jo though is a little more resistant and definitely prefers the dry stuff. One thing I will say though, most days they almost drink a water bowl dry between them.

I am also going to do some research on this and will try giving them more of the 'wet' stuff.

Lakeland Jo said...

I enjoyed your blog.I am sadly very allergic to cats but I do love them and I would like one. I like your quote about cats having staff, I would say 'teenagers have staff...'.
There is quote from TS Eliot ( I think) from memory which goes something like
'Cats, no less liquid than their shadows, offer no angles to the wind'. Lovely!

Raquel said...

Thanks so much for this info, Jan, we feed ours Science Diet dry and a little bit of wet every morning. They are very picky about the wet, will only eat certain flavors. None of ours go outside. My glutton kittie will eat tuna, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, just about any kind of meat and he loves cheese. I will research this a bit more. Thanks again. Much love, Raquel XO

pamokc said...

Very interesting post. Instead of the canned cat food, try giving Wilson the packets of Whiskers. Ours eat that much much better than the canned stuff. They do nosh away on the Iams hard food though. Very interesting about the blood theory. My forearm can attest ;)

Lisanne624 said...

I really enjoyed your post, as I'm struggling with a similar problem. My three indoor cats have suddenly started vomiting quite a bit. I truly believe they have developed an allergy to something in the food, or the formula has been changed. We were giving them Purina One dry, but no longer. Now I'm reading cans and bags and trying to find high protein/no filler food. We have been hearing that EVO brand (either dry or canned) is one of the best. My cats seem to like it, and the vomiting has decreased. You might want to give it a try! Good luck!

pamokc said...

Hi Jan, thanks for stopping by ... I just had to come back and say how much I love the name Tommy Ticklemouse. A classic cat name if I ever heard one! I hope his paw is better soon!

Janet said...

Denise, thanks I'm glad you like my boys.

Sarah, we thought Science Diet was good for them too, but apparently not. Any food that lists corn as being among the main ingredients is not good, and that includes SD.

Jo, I'm sorry that you're allergic to cats, they are such lovely pets. I love your TS Eliot quote.

Raquel, thanks, but Science Diet isn't good for cats, see my reply to Sarah.

Pam, we've tried Wilson with everything, he just won't touch it.

Lisa, I'm sure your cats vomiting will be due to the food. Most dry cat foods contain corn and cats find this difficult to digest. You are right to switch their diet. Mine do seem to be getting more amenable to the wet food now. With the exception of Wilson. :-)

Pam, I'm glad you like Tommy's name. His paw does seem to be on the mend now.