Feeding Your Cat and Kitten
Some of the BEST information you can read for your cats health!
"Not all Cat Foods are Created Equally!"
One of our big and gorgeous cats. Pictured is "Vasili's Jack" owned by Karen
Here at Vasili's we have taken the time to research and write about the information you need to know about your cats nutrition. We are committed to feeding the best food available to our cats and kittens so that you get the very best and healthiest kittens from us. For these reasons, the old adage, "You get what you pay for" is particularly true when it comes to cat food. We have listed the food that we feed our Cats and Kittens at the bottom of this information; we invite you to check out for yourselves to see the quality of the food that our cats and your kitten receive!
Cats and Kittens are "Obligate Carnivores" and their nutritional needs are very specific. The nutritional quality of cat and kitten food is one of the most important factors in cats' health and longevity. These resources will help you learn what you need to know about the nutritional needs of cats. We also encourage you to do more research on your own!
Why are cats obligate carnivores?
Cats "guts" are much shorter than ours. They do not have the ability to fully digest and utilize the nutrients in plant material. Cats have a functionless cecum. The cecum is a small, dead-end pouch that lies near the junction of the small and large intestines, the function of the cecum is to help digest plants through the body. Cats also have a short colon, which limit their ability to use poorly digestible starches and fiber for their energy through bacterial fermentation in the large bowel. Cats are considered obligate carnivores because they have strict requirements for certain nutrients that can only be found in animal tissues. Cats need taurine in order to thrive. Taurine is found primarily in the muscle meat of animals, and is most highly concentrated in the heart and liver. In the wild, cats may get a small amount of grain and other plant material from the stomachs of their prey, but our domestic cats really do not need large amounts of grain. Corn is a good example. Corn is a cheap source of protein, and many of the "supermarket brands" of dry cat food are packed with corn.
Cats Basic Nutritional Needs
- Protein from a meat, fish, or poultry source
- Taurine, an essential amino acid
- Certain other vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids
That's it, basically. Cats do not need carbohydrates, although corn, wheat, and/or rice are used as fillers for both canned and dry cat foods. Other ingredients, such as binders, flavoring, and coloring, are added by cat food manufacturers to satisfy the esthetic wants of the consumer. Although preservatives are necessary, to keep foods fresh for our cats, canned food should not be allowed to remain out for any length of time, in any case.
What is the difference between Chicken Meal and Chicken By-Products?
We already know what "Chicken Meat" is but have you ever wondered what the difference is between, Chicken Meal and Chicken By-Products? Here is how the two are defined by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials.)
"Chicken Meal, is the dry rendered product from a combination of clean chicken flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from whole carcasses of chicken, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails. A 'meal', in general is an ingredient which has been ground or otherwise reduced in particle size."
"Chicken By-Products consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice."
Chicken by-product meal is considered an inferior source of protein for cats. Although cats may eat a certain amount of by-products "in the wild," the most nutritious commercial cat foods will show a named meat, such as "chicken" as the first ingredient, rather than "chicken by-products." In other words, "Stay away from By-Products!"
What about corn and corn products in cat food?
Corn is a common allergen for cats. Avoid any food listing corn, corn meal or corn gluten. Also be aware that some marketing companies are using the term 'Maize' in their food list; just so you know Maize is corn! Cornmeal and corn gluten meal are used as inexpensive fillers in cat foods. Many cats simply are allergic to any form of corn and will develop itchy, dry skin. In addition, some veterinarians believe there is a link between fillers and cat diabetes. Here are two veterinarians view on corn products:
Dr. T. J. Dunn, Jr. DVM performed an informal observation of over 1000 cats and dogs. His conclusions were: Pets who where solely fed a cheap, grain-based pet food have course, brittle hair coat, and dry skin but the coat will seem slightly greasy and dusty. The pet will probably itch. It will eat a lot of food because the pet is nutrient starved.
Dr. Funaba from the Laboratory of Nutrition, Azabu University School of Veterinary Medicine Japan, performed a clinical study about meat meal vs. corn gluten meal. CONCLUSIONS: Meat meal was superior to corn gluten meal as a protein source in dry foods formulated for cats, because dry-matter digestibility and Nutilization were higher for the meat meal diet. In addition, net loss of body calcium and magnesium for the corn gluten meal diet suggests that mineral requirements increase when corn gluten meal is used as a protein source.
Read the ingredients, and select foods that have little to no corn, if possible. If there is corn or corn meal in the first few ingredients, put the food back on the shelf and move on - your cat will thank you!
What About The Breed Specific Pet Food?
To put it bluntly, breed specific pet food is a gimmick, just hype to make consumers feel that they are buying the best food just for our unique and very special pets. You can buy the best food for your very special pet if you stick with what nature intended and the pet brands that offer that - human grade food if you can, and the appropriate ratio of protein to complex carbs. No fillers.
Take time to learn what your pet really needs and don't fall for the hype
Breed Specific Pet Food: Should You Fall For It? Please read the article linked below
http://inventorspot.com/articles/breed-specific-dog-food-should-you-fall-for-it (This includes cat foods)
Are breed specific foods the best foods? (Check out your "Breed Specific Food" and you will see they are "loaded" with corn and corn products!)
We here at Vasili's have been called by promoters for Royan Canin to be in Royal Canin's commercials and in photo shoots for their bags of food. We have kindly refused due to the fact we find that their food to be sub-standard and would not feed it to our cats or kittens.
Don't judge a food by it being a 'Breed Specific' brand cat food, some breed specific food brands, Royal Canin is an excellent example; is not always the best food. Learn to read the ingredients label! Here are a couple of good examples:
Let's look at the first six ingredients from a specialized Siamese cat food by Royal Canin. The food claims to be great for a Siamese's muscle tone.
-Corn gluten meal
Now look at that same company's healthy top six cat food ingredients for Maine Coon cats by Royal Canin. This time the food boasts nutrients necessary for the fur color and joints of a Maine Coon:
-Corn gluten meal
-Natural chicken flavor
Very little is different between the two foods. Chicken Meal is used as a first meat source when a Whole meat source would be much better. These foods are packed with corn products which we already know are not good for cats! This is by "Vet Info" on how bad corn is for your cat! http://www.vetinfo.com/corn-free-cat-food.html
Companies rely on these misleading tactics to sell their different, "Breed Specific foods." They do this to make you, the consumer, feel like you are doing what is best for your cat; when in reality all you are really doing is adding to their company's profits! If these companies really cared about cats they would do so by improving their ingredients, which they obviously have not done! This is why it is so important to educate ourselves about cat foods and cats' nutritional needs so we can make smarter, healthier choices for our cats! http://inventorspot.com/articles/breed-specific-dog-food-should-you-fall-for-it (this also includes cat foods)
Check out the Royal Canin ingredients for the Maine Coon Cat who lives in the U.S., versus one who lives in the U.K.... REALLY OR THEY SERIOUS?
Royal Canin ingredients for Maine Coon Cat in U.S vs. U.K.: image:http://truthaboutpetfood.com/breed-specific-nutrition
Are cheaper brands really cheaper?
Many first-time cat owners, in an attempt to hold down expenses, buy the cheapest foods they can find for their cats. This is false economy for a couple of reasons. First, studies have shown that cats eat as much as they need to get the nutrients they require. Therefore, they might eat twice as much of that generously-carbohydrate-filled store brand to get the nutrients they need in a normal feeding of premium food. Second, the continued feeding of substandard foods over a period of years will heavily contribute to, or even cause, serious medical conditions that will require expensive veterinary care.
In various forms, e.g., corn bran, corn germ meal, ground corn, corn gluten, corn gluten meal. If I could give you one rule of thumb only, it would be to shy away from any cat food containing corn, especially listed at or toward the top of the ingredients. (Pet food ingredients are generally listed in descending order by dry weight).
What should I look for in cat food ingredients?
As a general rule, the order of ingredients is just as important as the kind of ingredients. Unless a cat is on a special diet for a medical reason, the protein source will always be listed first, followed by other ingredients listed in the order of their percentage to total weight. Here are some quick guidelines (after the protein source, the order may vary from product to product).
1.Named Protein Source
This is by far the most important ingredient to look for in cat foods: a specific protein source other than "meat." Look for chicken, turkey, lamb, salmon, etc. (May be followed by named organs, e.g.. chicken liver, chicken heart, both rich sources of taurine.)
2.Specific Carbohydrates aka "fillers"
Cats are obligate carnivores, they must have meat to survive, and they do not need carbohydrates. In fact, cats have problems digesting some carbohydrates, and many food allergies are triggered by the carbohydrate content of foods. However, most dry foods depend on carbohydrates as the "fillers" needed to hold the other ingredients together for dry cat food. Look for whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, or wheat (wheat may also trigger allergies in some cats). Try to keep Carbohydrates to a minimum!
3.Named Fat Source
Look for a named fat source, such as "chicken fat." You may also see sunflower oil, or other oils listed, usually in premium foods.
4.Vitamins and Minerals Vitamin C (calcium ascorbate) and/or Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) are often added as preservatives, along with other vitamins and minerals.
Taurine is an amino acid that can be readily produced by the human body; however, cats need a dietary source of taurine for good health. In a *1974 study, it was found that a diet deficient in taurine contributed toward retinal degeneration in cats. Taurine deficiency can also cause a heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy. For several decades cat food manufacturers have added taurine to cat food.
These are basically the types of ingredients you will look for in cat foods, and they can be found in most premium foods.
What are the best types of food and water bowls?
The best type of food and water bowls are those made out of Stainless Steel or Ceramic. Stainless is the best choice followed by Ceramic. Plastic harbors germs and can cause 'Chin Acne' in cats. If you have ever seen what looks like pimples on your cats chin and wondered why he or she has them, the culprit is more than likely the plastic bowls they have been eating and drinking from. Change your cats food and water bowls to either Stainless Steel or Ceramic and the acne problem will generally clear up on its own in several weeks.
What we "Free Feed" our ADULT cats (Click on links to buy):
Duck, Duck Meal, Pea Protein, Turkey, Dried Whole Egg, Peas, Chicken Meal, Pea Flour, Dried Tomato Pomace, Potatoes, Chicken Broth, Turkey Liver, Quail
What we feed our KITTENS:
"Nutro Kitten Soft Loaf Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food"
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Pork Broth, Natural Flavors
||150 IU/kg min
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Split Peas, Potato Protein, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Tapioca, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal
We feed the above dry and canned foods to our kittens and generally they start eating it around 6-7 weeks old without any coaxing.
I hope you have found this information helpful. I have had cats my entire life; I have spent countless hours researching these wonderful creatures and their nutritional requirements and needs. I wish someone would have posted this information for me when I first started out because the true winners in all of this are the cats and kittens!
This information was researched and authored by Patty Frazier (webmaster). Some of its contents are the expressed opinion of the author.
*The Comprehensive and Authoritative Medical Reference for Every Cat and Kitten
*Nutrient Requirements of Cats: Revised Edition, 1986
Elizabeth M. Hodgkin's, D.V.M.; Esq., "Your Cat, Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life."
Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, Third Edition
Dr's Foster and Smith
Pet food information was taken directly from the Pet Food Manufacturer. We do not represent or work for the manufacturer.