When you are dealing with cats with issues, food also becomes a big issue, especially in the age of Corporate Pet Food poisoning our animals with toxic and substandard ingredients. But let me just tell you that you will be thoroughly challenged to find a food without some fucked up shit in it. And I’m not kidding. So let me just preface my screaming session with some facts:
Moon is a neurotic cement truck. He plugged up the first year he was in the house with us, so, he has to have a low mineral diet (Calcium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium), a low carb diet (carbs make him fat and crazy with too high a urine PH), and because he has allergies, we can’t have fish or beef or lamb. We haven’t ruled out chicken at this point either. So far, he doesn’t seem to have a problem with chicken.
Rupert is FIV and seems to also have problems with beef resulting in chin acne.
Both are also feral cats, and to keep feral cats calm, they have to be able to eat when they feel like it, just like they did outside. If food is not plenty and available, it does trigger fear of starvation and that can trigger territorial conflict. So that said, they eat dry food and wet food. Dry so that I can leave food out during the day to relax the feral cat panic muscles, and wet because moist tasty meat is good for the urinary tract.
For kibble, I used to feed EVO, even to my ferrets because it’s very low carb, but I had to switch because the mineral load is just too high for Moon, and Proctor & Gamble bought them so the recalls began pretty promptly after that. He was on a prescription diet for a while but the carb load was way too high and he started getting fat and crazy from the cheap ingredients. So, I wandered into Catinfo.org, and they had some nice charts with carb and phosphorous percentages that I could use as a start. Eventually, I settled on Young Again Mature because it had the same mineral profile as the prescription food, contained a citrate to dissolve the crystals, and had a 6% carb level, though I have since switched to the zero carb. It uses Hydrolyzed pork and chicken, which are low on the allergen scale. Not to mention that their claim of self-regulation is very true. It took about 6 months, but now, I can leave food out and they never eat it all and Moon dropped the weight he gained. He’s also been sludge free in his bladder since he started eating it.
Now canned gets more complicated. I have tried every canned food under the sun and quite a few dehydrated/raw diets. None of them have the low mineral load needed for Moon, so they only get ½ a 3-oz can a day. It’s basically a meaty treat and it gives me options for rotating their protein sources. Moon never liked any of the raw food, and with Rupert’s immune issues, I’m not supposed to risk raw with him at all, and that’s fine by me. When you can’t get the cat to eat it, you’re just throwing money away anyway. Neither will eat cold food, so I need the smallest cans possible because I can’t refrigerate them. The can has to be gone within 12 hours. I can’t do that with a big can because they are just too rich for Moon’s system and he won’t eat more than a couple teaspoons in a sitting.
Texture is a thing too. It’s has to be a pate that I can put on the plates in little pats. Both have issues with their teeth. Shreds and Minced crap just stick to the plate, as does gritty, grainy food, which just gets smeared all over the plate and wasted.
I also didn’t used to worry about by-products because, let’s face it, when a feral cat eats outside, they eat by-products. Now I do worry because I cannot determine if the meat by-products come from beef. Moon cannot have beef, so the Sheba and other brands I used to like are now off the list.
So at this point, we need a meat pate, but no beef or fish or lamb, no grains, no soy, no rice (too much contamination i.e. melamine), limited peas and potatoes (carbs), no Carrageenan (controversial topic), no veg/fruit fillers (cats don’t eat veg, duh) unless they are low on the ingredient list, like at the fucking bottom…
On and on and on … scream … shake fists at corporate greed … pull hair out.
I was really happy with the Sheba I was feeding them until Moon’s beef thing. They were just meat with no carrageenan or fillers, but they all contain meat by-products, possibly from beef. Sigh. I also liked Instinct Limited diets, but the Montmorillonite clay is too much mineral for Moon and the texture is too grainy, not to mention the bits of sharp bone you are likely to find.
I even went out to Truth About Pet Food’s site and bought the 2017 LISTS. Don’t bother!!! Everything is on the Do Not Feed list except for 11 Cat foods. Most of them are RAW diets. Most you have never heard of. I saw a lot of Beef, Chicken, and Fish. And most of them you will be hard-pressed to find. I liked 1 on the list. Hound & Gatos, but I had to stop feeding it because they don’t make small cans, and I was wasting too much money. They aren’t cheap, but they are good. Every other brand in the world had some sort of issue, so really, you have to do a lesser of evils, lest you become totally mental. I wish I had the storage space to make my own because I’d just buy the ground up mice and be done with it.
My choices right now are Merrick Rabbit Pate (which contains chicken and Sodium Selenite), Whole Earth Farms/Merrick Real Turkey (which contains Sodium Selenite), and Nutro Duck Soft Loaf (which contains Carrageenan and Sodium Selenite, but it’s one of the few that is all Duck.) The chicken isn’t really a problem, but you don’t want everything to have chicken in it when you’ve got a cat with allergies. Variety is key. Their dry food is Pork and Chicken.
Like I said, I’d switch back to Hound & Gatos if only they would make 3-oz cans. I liked Merrick Limited Ingredient as well, but no rabbit and no small cans. So until then, hopefully Nestle Purina won’t fuck up the Merrick/Whole Earth brands too much, and maybe Mars will take the carrageenan out of the Nutro foods.
Nobody is puking and all the face/chin scabs and ear itching went away, so I’m sticking with this for now.
Note: I don’t know what the deal is with sodium selenite either, but it’s hard to get away from and apparently there is no alternative yet to the selenite supplementation dilemma.