pet food. a serious dilemma

So recently one of our kitties, Triscuit, was diagnosed with crystals in his urine (which can cause pain, inflammation and sometimes blockage) and prescribed a special diet of canned food designed to help prevent this problem from reoccurring.

The food is a little pricey, and my vet appears to have stopped carrying it, so in searching for a replacement I decided to try and compare ingredients to see what made the first food work so well.

Well. Let me tell you, what I read on that label did not make me very happy… I was astounded that meat byproducts and fillers (corn gluten meal?!) are the first ingredients listed on so many brands of cat food. It didn’t seem to matter if it was expensive food or cheap, in fact the local grocery store’s generic brand was the only one that actually listed chicken as the first ingredient.

I’d had this book on my wishlist for a while, and yesterday a food blogger I read linked to an article she’d written after reading the book herself. The interview with Marion Nestle was eye-opening in itself, so I really recommend reading both the interview and the writeup about it Jill did on her own blog.

Anyway, while I didn’t get my questions about the specific ingredients for Triscuit’s health answered, I have to say that I was pretty shocked at all of the other information I read. The gist of it is this, unless you’re feeding your pet one of the boutique organic brands, it doesn’t really matter which one you buy. They all have basically the same ingredients and by-products aren’t as gross as they sound. Considering what I’ve seen Monkey eat, I guess I sort of have to admit that he doesn’t really give a crap if he’s eating chicken breast or chicken gizzards…

The thing that DOES still bother me are the fillers. While I know some are probably necessary to make the food hold together (especially in the case of kibble) the fillers are where the melamine was hidden in that scare a few years back. I hope the actual book talks more about this issue.

Anyway, I’d like to feed my cats one of the smaller organic brands, just because knowing the meat is etchically raised fits in more with my personal values, but I have to admit that with 8 meowing faces to feed, it’s not always a proposition my wallet can afford. There’s also the thought of making my own food, which I’ve tried in the past. Bottom line, I need to do some more research, but I thought the rest of you might enjoy the article and interview.

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3 thoughts on “pet food. a serious dilemma

  1. Maochuen’s vet recommended the Nutro-Max brand. (I think I spelled it right) He swore by it. To his credit, Maochuen never had an illness. Ever. I put all my animals on Nutro. Mayoke loves it and he always gets a clean bill of health. Both cats have been on Nutro with no problems at all.

    I’m sure it’s not the best food ever but it’s done well by my animals and I will continue to use it. I just recently bought the cats some Iams to see if they liked it more. They didn’t really seem to care honestly.

    Just thought I’d throw my experiences out there. Maochuen had 18 well lived years. Maybe he and I just got lucky. *shrug*

  2. Wellness cat (and dog?) food is only slightly more expensive than the big name stuff (now with more zyclon b!) and every word on the label is actually a word.

    I cheated this morning, though, only having time to run to the corner store. The urchins enjoyed the hell out of their McRib flavored canned chemicals/entrails anyway.

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