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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the problem with cheap cat food

We often advise cat owners - new and old - to avoid feeding supermarket brands of dry food to their cats. The main culprits are Whiskas (purple packaging) and Friskies.

The problem is not that you should be spending more on your cats; the price is not the contention. The problem with these two brands is that:
  • There is too much corn - it is listed in the top 5 ingredients, the most important ingredients you should look out for. Corn is totally non-nutritional for cats, they have no need for it, and neither can they digest it, so using it as fibre is totally out of point.
  • High salt content in both brands, not healthy for cats either
  • The use of 'flavours' which can be artificial or not, we do not know, which makes it shady.
So, unless you feel comfortable buying corn as food for your cats, please refrain from feeding these to your cat. She will not be full eating these brands, and will have to consume more to be full, and thus the rate of dry food consumption will be very high. To ensure your cat has a healthy life and that you do not need to spend large amounts on veterinary fees in future because of her diet, do switch to other brands.

What if you are on a budget and you would like to get something that is in a similar price range but better than Whiskas and Friskies?

There are two other brands that are economical and slightly better.

Snappy Tom
is in the same price range, and has slightly less corn. It also has added supplements that Friskies and Whiskas do not include.

Aristo-cats is also a cheap food brand (blue packaging with white cat in front) but it is regarded as the best of the supermarket brands available in terms of its quality. Also slightly less corn, and no added food colouring.

Cheaper foods can only be cheaper because it includes less meat sources and more fillers. This is another reason why cat food costs more than dog food, because cats need more protein. While cats do need a balanced diet, try to avoid corn as a majority of the top 5 ingredients. Maize is a slightly more digestible form of filler so that is another option you can look at. Meat sources should be in the top 5 ingredients.

If you would like to feed your cats pricier food that is low in quality you would be feeding them Science Diet and Iams. I wouldn't say much on these two brands here, but refer you to this site. These two brands are the anti-thesis of value-for-money.

In the same price range as SD and Iams is Royal Canin, and if you would like to repent from paying good money for mediocre food, you can consider RC. There is lesser by-products and fillers but the same price range.

Converting cats from lousy food to better food is not easy. Food that is high in salt content will be habit-forming for the cats - think of how you can't stop eating those potato chips once you open the bag. They will also seem to be eating less, which is a good sign, because they need to eat less to be full, but may seem alarming to owners who may think their kitty hates the new food. And remember, conversion from any food to another should be gradual, adding a bit of the new food to the old and increasing the proportion slowly each day. Changes in diets usually cause diarrhoea in cats if it is too sudden. Water should always be provided for your cat regardless.

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