I really don’t recommend feeding dry food of any kind (high protein or not) because it is so potentially dangerous for reasons such as:
- water depletion (many cats on kibble are severely dehydrated)
- high in plant-based proteins and carbs
- risk of bacterial and fungal contamination and food which is essentially cooked to death
- very calorie dense and without nutrients
Urethal obstructions and cystitis are extremely common problems seen in cats fed dry food. Urethral obstructions are painful, life-threatening and very expensive to treat. Because it is so painful cats often stop using the litter box (note, if your cat free roams you may not notice this).
Cats fed raw or wet canned food consume double the amount of water when compared to a dry fed cat (even though you will probably never see them drinking from their bowl!). Water is one of the most important nutrients for all living beings and cats are no exception.
But my cat seems fine on the food he’s on ….
- Every living creature is “fine” until outward signs of a disease process are exhibited
- Every cat with a blocked urinary tract was “fine” until they started to strain to urinate and either died from a ruptured bladder or had to be rushed to the vets for emergency catheterization
- Every cat with an inflamed bladder was “fine” until they ended up in severe pain, started passing blood in their urine and begin to refuse to use their litter box because they associated it with pain
- Every cat was “fine” until the feeding of species-inappropriate, hyperallergenic ingredients caught up with him and he started to show signs of food intolerance/IBD
- Every cat was “fine” until that kidney or bladder stone got big enough to cause clinical signs
Diseases ‘brew’ long before being noticed by the living being.
Cat Food Analysis:
(the ones highlighted red are a big NO NO)
Top Tip: buying food from The Happy Kitty Company or Zooplus can save you a lot of money. It seems that some of the best cat food is made in Germany – both these companies stock what is considered to be the “top wet cat food”.
Cat food ingredients are listed in decreasing order according to weight, so formulas that are mostly meat will have meat listed as the first ingredient (remember though it’s by weight PRE COOKED). Feeding your cat a formula with a meat or identified meat meal (like salmon meal or chicken meal) ensures that your cat is getting its protein from a quality meat source and not an unidentifiable mystery meat source.
If a cat doesn’t get the majority of her nutrition from meat and fish she’s going to suffer some pretty serious health problems. The most crucial element is taurine, an amino acid essential to the health of your cat’s heart and eyes, as well as its immune system. It can’t be synthesised by the body so must be taken in through food, and the highest concentrations of taurine are found in meat and fish. A lack of taurine has been found to have such major implications for cat health that it is supplemented in all cat food. Cats deficient in taurine can suffer from heart failure, irreversible blindness from retinal degeneration, fur loss and tooth decay.
Common medical problems associated with dry food:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Fatty Liver Disease
- Cystitis / Urethral Blockage (UTI)
- Dental Disease
Main concerns with cat food is how it affects a cats:
- metabolism in regards to diabetes and weight
- kidney and urinary health
- digestive system, IBD and intestinal cancer prevention
Water Water Water
This is really the most important take away from the post. Water is so very important to your cats overall health that it just can’t be ignored. Cats do not have a very strong thirst drive when compared to other species so that is why it is so very important, critical even, that they ingest a water-rich diet. The cat’s lack of thirst drive can lead to low level, chronic dehydration when dry foods make up the bulk of their diet.
A cat fed a species appropriate diet will be passing more urine so the litter box will need scooping more frequently. I always recommend having two litter trays per cat. Why? Some cats are very fussy and will not poo in the same place they have previously pee’d . Or if they have to “go” frequently they will not pee in a tray which has had poo in it already (note, if you are home all the time, or your cat has access to the outdoors, this may not be necessary). However, if they are an indoor only cat or you are keeping them indoors whilst you go on holiday then I would recommend having two litter trays – one for each floor of your house.
Adding 1-2 tbs of water (plain or flavoured such as tuna water, without salt, chicken or beef broth, again without salt) per meal is beneficial. I feed raw and even with that I add water to each meal.
If your vet tells you to keep feeding dry because it helps with your cats dental health … be forewarned … ! it is about as healthy as crunching cookies is for your own teeth!! 🙂