dry food for cats that can't eat dry food ;)

GWgalJuly 25, 2011

Howdy all,

There seems to be a lot of experience here with regards to foods and such so I'm hoping someone can offer some advice.

After months of "bowel issues" with my two maine coons after we adopted them, we discovered that the problem went away once we switched them completely to wet food. Hooray!

I want to keep them on the wet food primarily. However, in times when we will need to leave out dry food for them (sudden overnight trip out of town, for example) I am wondering what you might suggest as the best choice for a dry food.

Since there are so many ingredients in dry foods, I was never able to determine exactly what it was that they were 'allergic' to, but I am assuming their bodies don't like grain. The dry foods they've tried in the past all had grain (though we did use Blue Buff once and to my knowledge that is somewhat 'low-grain'.)

I'm basically trying to find a dry food (cost is not a factor) that has the best quality and lowest number of ingredients. Even the grain free stuff that I've looked at like TOTW, Felidae, etc all have extra things like blueberries, acai, etc - things that I don't think cats normally eat in the wild, right?

Hopefully my question makes sense :) Thanks all!

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jan2

Natural Balance offers grain free dry cat food. Their grain free dry dog food is excellent.

Jan2

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 12:02PM
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harebelle

I'm not a dry feeder either, but I DO keep a grain-free, moderate carb dry on hand to use as treats (okay, bribes). If your cats are sensitive to grains, then "low grain" is as bad as high grain. Other carbs may be problems too, so test before you travel.

Some will tell you that cats eat lots of fruits and vegetables and grains in the wild because they get those things in the stomachs of their prey. It's likely that some ingestion of carbs occurs in the wild, but the proportion is vastly less than is present in any dry foods on the market.

Dry foods need carbohydrates to act as the paste that keeps those kibblies together. Otherwise the dry food would be a gritty meal instead of nuggets. The blueberries and acai and sweet potatoes and whatever else are not distinguished by your cats as being special in any way, as they won't gain any particular benefit from these. Grass is probably the best vegetable to put in cat food because it's a mechanical aid to digestion. So is anything with fiber. Hence, the expensive berries. They sound healthy and good to us humans so are a great marketing tool.

I dislike feeding high carb diets to my cats but the dry food they get for bribes seems to settle easily without causing gastric issues. I tried several and settled on a moderately priced dry that's a "limited ingredient" food. I use Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Duck & Pea for the kibbly bribes. They love it. There are plenty of choices for dry foods that have no grains. I'd like the NB to have less of a carb load. Some other dry are lower in carbohydrate so good luck finding the right one for your cats.

Bear in mind that your cats may have an undesirable gastric response to the dry food while you're away. As treats, my lot do well. When I'm off on business, Husband often gets lazy and gives them dry food for a meal-which leaves them with astounding gastric issues.

Off topic, but aren't Maine Coons great?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 12:56PM
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quasifish

I'm have no idea if it would be acceptable to you, but I have really liked Royal Canin dry food since I started feeding it to my cats a few years back. My old CRF cat (who insists on eating dry food as well as wet) has done very well on one of their formulas for the past 5 years while having kidney disease that entire time.

I just looked at their website and they do have a special diet 33 for cats which seems to be geared towards cats who don't digest starches well. Not sure if that might help you or not, but thought I'd throw it out there for you to decide.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 5:57PM
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cat_mom

EVO dry (reg and weight mgmt version) is grain free.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 8:43PM
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lisa3000

Hi I know this was a few years ago now but I'm suffering the same thing with my little ragdoll and was wondering if you found a solution? The only thing he can eat is ID wet tins but he is always starving on them where as dry food fills him for longer but doesn't sit well with his stomach. We've tried the dry food version of id, advance, royal canin and science diet. Curious if you were able to find something? Thanks

    Bookmark   March 15, 2015 at 7:35PM
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palmbob

A cat is biologically designed to eat meat… ALL dry foods, grain-free or not, have a LOT of carbs (as someone already discussed above) or else it would not be possible to make a kibble out of the ingredients (my hopes is that with technology eventually we might be able to create a low carb dry food someday for cats). But until that day happens, some cats just have not 'learned' to tolerate the carbs in dry foods (and really not surprising since their GI tracts are not designed to deal with carbs)and will need to be fed low carb canned foods (note that some canned foods even have high carbs)… the more surprising thing to me is how many cats do 'tolerate' dry foods (I read some expert nutritionist's descriptions that 'tolerate' is a better word than the phrase 'do well on', since, in their opinion, no cat really does well on high carb diet.. .they just tolerate it). I have no good answer for the feeding of cats while you are away… what do you do with your dogs? Most have someone come over and feed them while you're gone, and I think the same will have to be done for cats that do not tolerate improper diets.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2015 at 10:37AM
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lukkiirish

mix the wet with the dry for a week or so and then just gradually remove the wet entirely. There is a big divide on how or what cats should be fed and each side has valid points for their perspective. I had cats I fed only wet food to and they lived to be 22 and 19 years old but after seeing what it did to their gums and teeth, I don't necessarily agree that this was the right approach; I just learned the pros and cons after it was too late to switch them. Not only is it extremely expensive, but I think there are some valid reasons hard food is needed too. As mentioned by others you want to stick with something high in protein low in carbs. Meals actually have more protein than fresh meat due to water content, so if you read a label and it says salmon, salmon meal, the meal is good. I also only feed our cats food made in the USA and locally sourced. Some examples would be Fromms which is an excellent food as is Holistic Select, and maybe Taste of the Wild.

    Bookmark   last Monday at 3:26PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

I know this is mainly an old post too, but with a recent question. My cat gets a combination of dry food and wet food. I give Rocket Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free Duck and Potato dry food and Nutro Natural Choice minced chicken canned food. This I just give a little bit two or three times a day. He is thriving on this combination. He is 13-1/2 years old and very healthy. I don't think grain free cat food was available when the original poster asked his/her question. This food is made in Tennessee.

    Bookmark   last Tuesday at 7:07AM
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harebelle

Lukkiirish, the problems with your cats was not due to wet feeding. Dry food is made to shatter IF the cat bites down on it. Of course, when it does, it's nothing but mealy grit that easily lodges in the gingiva. This leads to periodontitis, resorption, and other painful conditions. The only way to care for cat teeth at home is to brush them. Your claim that dry food is good for feline oral health is no different to claiming that eating saltines will clean your own teeth.

If you know the anatomy of a cat's mouth, you can see that there are no chewing surfaces, ie., the molars are high on the outside and low on the inside near the tongue. This facilitates shearing action, which, rather than chewing, is what a cat's mouth is evolved to do. Chewing animals have flatter molar surfaces, so that food can be kept in place for chewing. Imagine the action of a mortar and pestle. The tool is designed to hold stuff in place for grinding. That's what your teeth are made for. Cat teeth are shaped to provide a scissor-like action. So, on that alone, you can understand why dry food is useless for feline oral health.

Next, dry food is by nature very high in carbohydrates. It must be, since the plant matter is needed to glue the meat meal grit into kibbles. If you're reading labels, good-but if you're not translating them, then you have no idea what you're feeding your cats. Any claims on dry food labels of "50% protein" are utter hogwash. Firstly, any plant matter that is useful protein in any other animal feeds is also considered useful protein in cat food, despite the fact that cats cannot utilise plant protein. You need to know how much animal protein is in the mix, and manufacturers are not always going to tell you that if you call them. Secondly, you need to calculate dry weight to get a grasp of how much of ANY protein is in the mix. If you're lucky enough to get facts from the manufacturer, then you still do the maths. The best dry food on the market is probably less than 20% animal protein, which is grossly insufficient for obligate carnivores.

Then you need to consider that cats are not particularly interested in drinking water. Everyone claims that "my cat drinks plenty of water!" But no one can tell you how much water "plenty" is! A cat's natural diet is prey, which is about 70%-80% water. So is wet food! Dry food? Under 10% water. Cats will drink, but are not thirst-driven, so are unable to know if they're getting enough water to function. The dry-fed cat will walk away from the water dish long before it has consumed sufficient water. As a result, dry-fed cats have undue strain on kidney function, digestion, urinary function, and who knows what else because they are always dehydrated. Dry-fed cats are also far more likely to be obese and to develop diabetes and hypertension. Oh, and let's not forget how many dry-fed cats end up with an excess of urinary crystals or even blockages! This is almost always due to dry feeding, which leads to concentrated, alkaline urine. Cats need the sufficiency of wet food fluid intake in order to reduce urine's concentration and to flush out crystals. The higher animal protein in wet food helps to maintain appropriate urine acidity.

Another interesting thing is that so many people are completely hoodwinked by the"grain-free" movement! It doesn't matter! Grain-free does NOT equate carbohydrate-free! Grains are often primary suspects in food allergies. The grain-free bandwagon needs to be halted for the sake of our cats. Grain-free dry foods contain as much carbohydrate as do grained foods. You'll frequently see claims that cats in the wild will eat the stomach contents of their prey, but this is not fact. Cats are not keen on stomach acids needed for plant breakdown and carefully avoid eating any part of prey digestive tracts. I suppose that laboratory cats who are only fed digestive tracts will consume them in hope of avoiding starvation, but not cats in more normal surroundings.

Lastly, I'm always hearing from people who claim to have cats who were dry-fed only, and lived to be 32 and never had a problem. Well, genetics can make some cats lucky enough to slip past troubles, but these are very much the minority. I also suspect that some of the owners were lying about the cats' longevity, or the cats had outdoors access so supplemented their dry food with nice juicy prey. It is also likely that the cats were never taken to the vet so any problems they may have had were never diagnosed. It's like the centenarian who, when asked the secret to his long life, answers " booze, cigars, and unrestrained sex!". Does that mean that EVERYONE should live like that in order to become a centenarian? Of course not.

I see no problem with using dry food in place of cat treats. It's less expensive. Ten to twenty pieces of dry food in a day are amazing as training rewards. But there is no real benefit to dry feeding.

    Bookmark   last Tuesday at 8:32AM
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