Friday, August 20, 2010

Cat Food Poll

Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Last night I was watching QVC. I stopped on that channel because Ellen Degeneres was on promoting Halo Purely for Pets cat and dog food which she co-owns.

A couple of weeks back I had to take my Cody to the vet for a lesion type of skin irritation that he had (which seems to have cleared up with the help of an antibiotic). During our visit our vet mentioned the irritation could be caused by a myriad of things which are yet to be determined but one of the things that he mentioned could be causing the irritation is food.

While watching last night's promo and listening, it got me to thinking. One of many things that I could be doing wrong is I am feeding Cody one brand of DRY cat food
 ( Halo Purely For Pets), Wild Salmon Indoor Cat Formula, Spot's Stew and the canned food I am feeding him is 365 by Whole Foods

 Could part of Cody's skin irritation, if in fact it were to be food related have been caused by my feeding him dry and wet cat food by two different manufacturers?

Cody is down to his last 2 cans of 365 and I am seeking your input.

Many of you who read/follow Cat Chat are experts in a variety of different cat-related areas. I am an avid cat lover, animal lover, pet lover who doesn't profess to be an expert on medical issues (I am not a vet!)  and dietary requirements for pets (I am not a dietitian which for those of you who know me is evidenced by my "girlish figure"). I am just a home cat enthusiast like many others...sooooo I am seeking your input.

1) Should the dry food and wet food I am feeding Cody come from the same manufacturer? If your answer is "yes" I will be heading off to get Cody some canned wet Halo Purely For Pets tomorrow. (Cody happens to love their dry food so I am not seeking to change that at this point). Yes...I know to gradually switch Cody over if in fact I decide to change his wet food.

2)  What brands of wet and dry cat food do you feed YOUR cat and WHY?

3) Cody and I eagerly await your response, don't make him wait too long as you can see he is ready to eat!!


  1. I LOVE the photo of Cody in front of the empty dinner plate! Too cute.

    I think it's entirely possible that Cody's skin irritation has been caused by something in his diet. Halo is a decent brand, but I don't recommend feeding any dry food to cats. Cats are obligate carnivores, and they don't handle carbohydrates (grains) in their diet well. Even the so-called grain-free dry diets are too high in carbs. I recommend feeding either raw, or, if you don't want to go that route, a grain-free canned diet. The brand you're feeding has rice (grain) in it. I would never feed only one brand, I recommend rotating several good quality grain-free brands. I think it's impossible to get a balanced diet from any one food, no matter what the labels say. Besides, how would we like eating the same thing, day after day? Our pets deserve better than that. Brands I like are Natures Variety Instinct, the Wellness line (be careful with that, not all their flavors are grain-free. I especially like their CORE line), the Innova EVO line (with the caveat that that company was just purchased by Procter & Gamble, and it remains to be seen what that will mean for the integrity and quality of the formula).

    I've written extensively about feline nutrition on my site and I'd invite you and your visitors to check out some of my articles, in particular the one titled "The Truth About Dry Cat Food" - it's proven to be an eye opener for a lot of cat parents.

  2. Ingrid I sooo appreciate your response! I used to feed Cody Wellness Dry...maybe I should go back to it....I heard that the grains that Halo uses are very good though and they have awfully good ratings on reviews about them
    I am going to check your post now...
    Thanks very much!!

  3. Ingrid what a stupid comment I just left. I would still use some dry (but not a lot) because Cody enjoys it so much. I only give him about a 1/4 cup a day of dry (because he has a weight problem) he doesn't "free feed" like my former cat used to.

    When you are saying to use multiple brands do you change off by the month? How do you do that without causing digestion problems to the cat?

  4. Just make sure the dry food is grain-free, too, Caren. Typically, feeding multiple brands is not a problem as long as there's no grain in the food. Cats' systems just aren't made to digest grain. I change brands every day or every other day, but with dry food, I suppose you wouldn't want to have that many open bags.

    Free-choice feeding is a no no - it's the number one reason for obesity in cats - so it's great that you don't do that with Cody. You might also find that if you reduce his dry food a little bit more and switch him to a grain-free canned food, that the weight will come off more easily.

    I'll shut up now :-) - feline nutrition is one of my passions, and once you get me started, it's hard to get me to stop!

  5. Ingrid DO NOT shutup!!! As I mentioned in my blog I am NOT an expert, just a pet/cat enthusiast who likes sharing information with others that I may find and thoughts, etc.
    This is greatly appreciated and HIGHLY informative!
    You meant no grain in the canned food as well right? Some companies use oatmeal (is that a no-no as well?)
    I was going to go to Whole Foods and look tomorrow.
    My first cat Bobo never had a weight problem so he was free-fed. Poor Cody, he takes after me lol. I once tried free-feeding him (for one day only! lol) had to take the bowl away because the poor food obsessed little guy didn't realize he was supposed to STOP eating BEFORE the bowl was empty lol

  6. Yes, no grains in canned food. Oatmeal is still a grain - look for food that has absolutely no grains in it. And look for foods that are low in other carbs, too - unfortunately, what some pet food manufacturers are doing now that more pet owners are asking for grain-free foods is using other carbs like potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, etc. Carbs are cheaper than meat - and what cats need is protein (meat). I know Whole Foods carries the Wellness brand, look for the yellow triangle on the cans that tells you that a flavor is grain-free. I don't think any of the other brands they carry are grain-free.

    I can't say that I blame Cody for wanting to finish everything in his

  7. Ingrid your advice has been fabulous!! I will check this out...
    Are familiar with Plum Market? Do you have those where you live? They are similar to Whole Foods and might have brands that Whole Foods doesn't. I will check with Whole Foods first though...
    I am going to start investigating...I thank you!! I appreciate all of the time you have taken to reply.

  8. I feed Cassie and Maurice half a can each morning of c/d multicare feline moist food. I also have dry c/d out all day long for them. Plus a few Greenies during the day they have certain times. I switched to c/d when Maurice had uric acid stones in his bladder and could not pee. So it is a script that I get from the vet but since then no diarrhea, no stuck stools on them, the stuff really did the trick for him and Cassie loves it. She prefers wet but does eat some dry. Used to have them on fancy feast and it was doing a number on them, they have been off it for a good 2 plus yrs. She is about 7 pds and he is 12. Worth the $$$ for me to buy it for them, they are healthy and thats what counts. Hope this helps

  9. Hi Caren, I know I've written about cat food before and I do agree with Ingrid pretty much on everything, but the "absolute no grain" policy. Funny about Cody having a skin irritation. My tabby, Oogie's fur fell out and at the time she was on the same Halo diet that Cody was on.
    When I met the breeder of Kokoro, Connie, and I realized the error of my ways.
    She feeds her cats (15 or so registered ragdolls) and a coupe of adopted alley cats, only poultry, a can a day (half in the morning the other half in the evening) usually Wellness and Fancy Feast<< (She shudders at this I know, but most cats will eat FF, those finicky felines. Mixed with the Wellness it's a compromise.)
    As far as varieties~ chicken, turkey, liver (She says absolutely no beef, a little fish is ok, (Salmon does contain a vital amino acid cats need.)
    She also always has 3 mixed dry foods available all day. (I watch my amounts, as Oogie will over eat when she gets stressed.) Connie recommends these dry foods:

    I ams Digestive
    Wellness core chicken Gold/white bag
    Life abundance (must be ordered on line: (877)387-4564
    Taste of the Wild
    Before Grain(BG)
    I bought a large ant proof container that I keep the mixed dry food in. Caren you may have to get another kitty to justify all that food. ~ε:)

    I asked Connie about the raw feeding, and she says with all the salmonella around she wouldn't recommend it. @Ingrid, I'd love to hear the recipes you use, as I still like this idea.
    My tabby is quite the huntress, when she catches a bird she eats all but the beak. While I understand cats are true carnivores, they are also ingesting what ever birds, mice etc are eating so they actually do get grains in their diet. (Am I reaching here?) Anyway I still think the crunch is necessary for healthy teeth and gums. ( I also brush their teeth daily)
    I had 7 teeth removed from my 4th cat Pepito, who was on an all canned food diet. (You just can't win sometimes)
    So now I believe in variety, little grain as possible, mostly poultry and TONS of water.
    *Since the switch in diet, Oogie, she's the one I have to hand feed the wet food, her fur has almost grown back, the lesion are clearing up (over grooming) I think the dominate reason for Oogies fur loss was not so much an allergic reaction the the Halo, but mostly stress. As we brought Koko home at that time.

  10. Oh boy - are you prepared for a 100 different answers? I'm just a cat mom like you - an expert by no means. But, through the years I've usually trusted my vet. The latest response when we asked her what to feed kitty was, canned food would be better than dry. Recent studies have proven cats do better on canned in the long run. We feed our cat chicken and fish when we are eating it. The remainder of the feedings we go with some dry (Royal Canin dry and Science Diet for canned) - some of each every day. Our cat is still quite playful for a 5-year-old, so we haven't been faced with a weight problem yet.

  11. We don't have Plum Market here. Do you have any pet stores other than the box/chain type stores in your area? Most of the smaller, independently owned stores carry the good brands. And there's always if you can't find any of the good brands in stores.

  12. You may think me horrible for this but I feed my cats a mix of whatever ProPlan/ Purina/ Meow Mix/ Iams dry is on sale and the canned food from my local supermarket. I live paycheck to paycheck and cost is a concern. Still, considering the youngest of my cats to pass was 14, and Diesel will turn 21 soon, I think I'm doing okay. I'm not saying that nutrition is not important, as I would chose better food if I could, only that people should not feel they have failed their pet if they just can't afford the higher end foods.

  13. wow this is going to take me a long time to answer all of you who have been so kind to comment! I thank you ALL because you have all given me so much to go with!
    I will comment on everybody...
    @Anonymous (on the top) I also stopped Fancy Feast eons ago with my first cat. My former vet had told me it was extremely high fat. No worries there!

  14. @Kokoro-OMG, Oogie experienced the same problem as Cody? Did Oogie also have what looked like bleeding with it? (a sore) was below both ears.
    I have heard with male cats never to serve turkey flavor, is that another myth? (I heard it causes urinary problems in male cats)
    I am going to try and limit the beef flavor and just do poultry.
    You and Ingrid both agree about Wellness brand (Cody was on that when he was about a yr old and then I took him off of it for Halo)
    I also agree about having some dry food. Bobo free fed for all 18 yrs of his life. Ready for this? He mostly ate Whiskas canned food his entire life and lived til age 18...they stopped making the small cans of Whiskas...I know that wasn't great food but look at how long he lived. I am sure genetics comes into play somewhat.
    You put me to shame brushing your kitty's teeth every day! I am awful!
    Now when I go to Whole Foods tomorrow I really want to take Cody off of the Halo right away...should I?? Same with switching his canned food, should I be mixing as they say til he adjusts?

  15. Ingrid, I have to stay away from some of the smaller stores due to cost but if things change I will look into them thanks!

  16. @Anastasia, I tend to agree with you completely!
    My husband just retired and I am out of work so yes money is a concern for me as well. I have to take that into consideration.
    I would never have looked into this if Cody hadn't had those sores (which DO seem to have cleared up with antibiotics) We never determined that food caused them, I am just paranoid that they will reappear so I wanted to try and be proactive.
    I completely understand what you are saying and do not think you are a bad Kitty Mama! As I said my Bobo ate Whiskas for nearly his entire life and lived til the age of 18.

  17. @Anonymous, I have also heard very good things about Royal Canin. (for dogs as well because I am considering switching my Sheltie's food as well but I want Cody under control first). Royal Canin is another one on my list to check out.
    As I said I am going to still give him a 1/4 cup of dry daily (1/4 cup is not a lot and if I don't he will NEVER let us LIVE or SLEEP lol) My vet advised a 1/4 cup of dry and a 1/3 of a tuna sized can of cat food at each meal (morning and night)

  18. Do any of you use just high protein "treats"?? Or do you use kibble???

    THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR AMAZING SUGGESTIONS! I so appreciate it! You all gave me so much to go on!

    If I accidentally didn't respond to someone I am so sorry!! I am trying to be sure I respond to everyone!

  19. I'm not a vet or animal nutrtionist either, but I can't believe that it would make a difference to feed dry and wet food from different manufacturers.
    Four the first 5 years or so I fed Bella strictly Wellness kibble-mixing two flavors together in her bowl. I added a few treats/day-mostly from EVO, but also Greenies, which she loves.
    I started switching around he rfood a bit, but she stopped eating it (even though the new food is organic!) so she's now back to Wellness.

    Bocci's Parental Unit

  20. Interesting question and I have no good reply! Gus eats a prescribed Science Diet M/D dry food, but the wet Science Diet MD makes him throw he eats Friskies Tuna and White Fish canned. My other cats eat Purina Cat Chow dry and Friskies canned food. I stick to simple flavors...mostly chicken flavors in the dry and no unusual flavors because my vet told me it's not good to feed cats dry food with ingredients that they don't normally eat.

  21. Bocci thankyou!! Another vote for Wellness! I used Wellness a year ago for Cody and now it appears that I will be going back to it. Did you feed Wellness canned (does Wellness even HAVE canned? I don't recall seeing it but I will probably look today). I like the idea of mixing dry Wellness and I like Kokoro's suggestion of getting a container that tightly seals to keep the kibble in.
    Thanks for stopping by and for commenting!

  22. Lisa thank you so much! I have always been hesitant to try Science Diet again because years ago I tried it for Bobo and he HATED IT!! It wasn't even on my radar but you never know!
    Everyone also seems to agree to stay with poultry flavor (which I wasn't, I was feeding Cody canned beef and chicken and for the dry, Halo salmon)
    I appreciate your comments and I thank you!

  23. @Kokoro-OMG I don't make my own raw food, I feed Nature's Variety Instinct frozen nuggets and Primal frozen nuggets - it makes raw feeding very easy, just thaw and feed. As for the salmonella concerns: cats have much shorter digestive tracts than humans and can handle any bacteria that may be in the food much better than humans. Besides, with the recent IAMS recalls of dry food for salmonella contamination, feeding dry isn't exactly safe anymore, either! A wonderful resource for anyone interested in raw feeding, or species-appropriate nutrition for cats in general, is the Feline Nutrition Education Society at

    As for dry food being good for your cats' teeth - that's actually a myth. For starters, most cats don't chew their food long enough to effect any scraping action, which was the theory behind why dry food is good for teeth. Even some of the so-called "dental diets" with bigger kibble don't work. Additionally, the digest sprayed on dry food to make it palatable actually forms a film on teeth that actually contributes to tartar formation.

    And you are absolutely right, cats in the wild do consume a small amount of grain - the amount that a mouse would have ingested before it became pry. However, it's so miniscule as to be negligible, and the grain content in commercial pet foods is much much higher - too high for a species whose digestive tract was not designed to digest carbohydrates.

  24. thank you all for this incredibly interesting conversation, I am learning soo much that I never knew (even after having been a kitty momma for over 20 yrs!!)
    Ingrid thank you for your most recent comment!
    Thanks all!

  25. Wow! it's an interesting post and I just read all the comments and find them really helpful. I feed Eva only dry food (Royal Canin) because the breeder advised us not to give her any others except this particular brand (She's a strong supporter of Royal Canin). Mika and Laura had others before but since we changed theirs to Royal Canin, we saw the differences soon after that. Their coats became shinier and smoother, and they looked healthier. Mika has skin problem (yeast) since young so he has the food which is for sensitive skin and has a medical bath twice a week. The yeast problem comes and goes as it wishes so the poor boy always has the dreaded 1 1/2 hours bath twice a week.
    I don't know what causes Cody's skin problem but I hope it didn't disturb him much : )

  26. I've read a lot about raw food from and my pal Ingrid but my cats didn't like it but then again they are almost 16 and fussy.(I blogged about it). What's always worked best for us is a mix of wet and dry plus they like grazing natural grasses/herbs in the garden.

  27. Priscilla thanks so much for giving us the "doggie" point of view as well, especially for those of us like myself that have a dog and a cat. Priscilla has a Sheltie like I do.
    Priscilla, I just went to Petsmart today and bought Dakota a bag of Royal Canin. I am going to start gradually changing him over once he is about halfway through with what he is eating now. I see your Eva's coat and how gorgeous it is (but you also brush her DAILY! which I do not!)

  28. Layla welcome! So happy to have you as a Cat Chat reader!
    From the majority of the suggestions on the blog I went out today to Petsmart and bought Cody 12 cans of Wellness (just chicken and the one that is chicken/herring), read the ingredients and there are even cranberries in it! I also bought him a bag of kibble which is Wellness Healthy Weight formula. I am going to start switching him over tonight. Hopefully that skin irritation will not return once I do this and maybe my poor chubby kitty will start to lose weight! :)
    Thanks for reading and for commenting!

  29. Layla I just clicked on your name hoping it would take me to your blog but it didn't. What is the link to your blog? I would love to check it out!

  30. Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm following you back! I love that picture of your cat at the table. I'm also delighted to meet a great cat blogger, since most of my pals are canine. Good luck as you figure out what is best to feed the kitties. I've been working on the same thing with my dog Kelly.

  31. Peggy Hi! So happy to meet you! You are welcome! I am a follower of your blog as well!
    Thanks for the compliment about Cody at the table. He truly thinks he is a person.
    I am happy to meet a great dog blogger too! Oh, I have a Sheltie as well so I am concerned about doggie issues too. I heard from a number of dog people that Royal Canin is great for dogs...I just bought a bag that I am going to start transitioning my Sheltie with next month. Let me know what you find out!
    Thanks for stopping by and for commenting!

  32. My cats get Solid Gold Katz n Flocken dry and I am currently searching for a canned they will consistently eat. They were big fans of Fancy Feast, but after reading "Food Pets Die For", I took them off it. They seem to like Avoderm chicken or beef. I have tried many (many, many) different foods from Abady to Weruva and it's been difficult to find a "good" canned food they will eat. I tried frozen raw but they won't touch it. They do like the Stella & Chewy's Carnivore Crunchies (freeze-dried raw treats), and they come running when I open the bag (Blackie will even try to steal Horus' treats from him!). I have sprinkled crumbled CC onto the canned food to get them to eat it, but they only eat the part the crumbled crunchies are on. My male cat Horus developed bladder problems (symptoms of UTI but not stones, crystals or infection)about a month into both times I tried switching them Wellness, and the vet said that she knew of quite a few cats that this happened to. I also have a couple of friends whose cats developed crystals after switching to Wellness. I'm not saying Wellness is a bad food, just maybe not the best choice for cats who are prone to bladder problems like FLUTD and UTIs. I started feeding my dog Dr. Harvey's Canine Health about three weeks ago. It is a pre-mix that you add your own (cooked or raw) protein to. He loves it and is doing very well on it. I would feed it to my cats too, if they would eat it..... but they are cats, why should they cooperate? Good luck with your search, I look forward to updates!

  33. AMR thanks so much for commenting. Figures I would read this 3 days into switching Cody over to Wellness. I have never heard of any cats having problems on Wellness but you said your vet has heard of "many"...hmmm...wonder if anyone else has heard of this.
    I also have never heard of 99% of the cat foods that you are mentioning in your comment (where are you located?) The only one I have heard of of course is Fancy Feast.
    Can anyone else help out?
    Thanks for reading and stopping by and of course for commenting!!

  34. I have not heard of any connection between Wellness and urinary tract problems in cats. In fact, many cat vets recommend Wellness canned food for cats,and if anything, I've heard the oppposite - that the canned Wellness diets can help cats with urinary tract problems. Typically, it's dry foods that are causing urinary tract problems in cats, not canned foods.

  35. Ingrid I knew I could count on you! Thanks so very, very much!

    Just started switching Cody over to still "mixing" his dry though (he only gets a 1/4 cup of dry a day) far he is adjusting to the mixture really well!

  36. Hi :)

    We have just found your blog thanks to your posting on ours.

    To answer the questions:
    1) It's totally not necessary to feed only from one manufacturer. :)
    2) My cats get Wellness canned grain free (several varieties, rotated), and Nature's Variety Instinct canned rabbit formula. They don't get any dry food because Pandora has digestion issues (possible IBD or food sensitivities) and I found that dry food aggravated her digestion and gave her diarrhea more often than not. Percy often eats raw (with supplements from

    I didn't read much of what was above, so apologies if it is repetitive :)


  37. Hi Percy! So happy to meet you!
    Ironic that you would write today. I thought I had had the issue solved (after antibiotics and changing to Wellness a few days ago) but one sore is back on Cody and today I am heading to the vet for more antibiotics and new food.
    I am also picking up canned Nature's Variety Instinct the one by Dick Van Patten? My vet recommended that...I am not getting that right now I am going to get the canned rabbit that the vet has.
    Do your cats ever develop lesions on their skin as a result of food allergies?
    We are starting the testing with the food to try and determine the cause of the lesions.
    So happy to have met you and thanks for reading and commenting!