The End of Kibble . . . and Then Not

Several months ago Chris went to the vet for a sensitive spot on his back (see here). It was only the second time he visited a vet for a medical issue since we adopted him in late 2009, the first was after we adopted Floki and he picked up Floki’s eye infection. I don’t remember them weighing Chris that time so that means the last time he was weighed was late 2010 when we brought him to Florida and needed proof of vaccinations for the Condo Nazis. (Yes, I am one of those wacadoodles who believe yearly vaccinations for indoor cats do more harm than good).

Anyway, if memory serves me, Chris weighed nine pounds at the time. When the vet tech weighed him recently he topped the scales at a just under 18 pounds. He has doubled in weight. I knew he was getting fat but to see actual proof really hit home.

Chris and Floki

I know why he is fat. He is a kibble addict. If he was human we would call him a carb addict. That label is even worse for cats because their digestive system is made for a diet high in protein and fat. I have tried to get them off kibble for years. In fact, I was buying raw cat food back in 2010. I was hoping to phase out kibble but it never worked out as planned. Back then we had other carb addicted cats like Tigger and Abbey.

After abbey and Tigger both died at age eight, I was more determined than ever to get our cats to eat healthily and knew the kibble had to go so I gradually decreased how much I gave them. My wife resisted my efforts at first, telling me I was mean to let their food bowl go empty but eventually she came around.

The main problem preventing me from eliminating dry food altogether is Chris. When I feed them their wet food twice a day Chris only eats a very small amount and then walks away. I always have to follow him around with his food in a vain attempt to get him to eat it. Eventually, one of the other cats finishes his bowl and takes over Chris’s bowl. This happens even though the dry food bowl has been empty for hours and Chris is almost certainly hungry. So, like a sucker, I think he is going to starve himself so I put dry food in his bowl.

Recently, Rose suggested that I replace his dry food with Stella and Chewy’s. That is a dry food too but it is freeze-dried raw and not the same. Sure, the dry part is not ideal (it is technically supposed to be mixed with water), but it is better for them than kibble. I didn’t do this before because I often listen to complaints about how much I spend on cat food and replacing kibble with freeze-dried raw would add to that but she seemed okay with it so on January 2, to start the new year off right, I bought an 18-ounce bag of Stella and Chewy’s just as the last of our dry food was running out.

stella and chewey's cat food

All of our cats love it, which is good and bad. The problem is they eat it as fast as I can put it out which means the food bowls are always empty. That means I have to watch and/or listen to poor, pathetic Chris all day long. He either sits in front of the food bowls and cries, or if I walk into the kitchen, he follows me in and opens the cabinet where we keep the food and looks at me as if to say, “Here is the food, Daddy. It’s time to put it in my bowl.” If I do nothing, then the crying starts. It’s like I’m raising a two-year old child.

It wasn’t very long before the Stella and Chewy’s was running low and it was time to spend another $38. That came up too quick for Rose and she said it was too expensive and she wanted me to buy dry food again. So, as of Friday, they are back to eating kibble but I am going to try to keep it to a minimum and I am still going to give them Stella and Chewy’s too, perhaps I will do half and half. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can with what you have.




19 thoughts on “The End of Kibble . . . and Then Not

  1. onespoiledcat

    I hate feeding Teddy only kibble too but he simply will NOT eat wet food – I’ve spent a fortune getting every single type there is – he sometimes will taste it – like two licks or three – but then walks away. He doesn’t cry when he’s hungry though so I have to just keep an eye on the bowl and I only put a half cup of kibble in at night and again in the morning. He never asks for treats and never asks for people food. He just loves kibble. I’m convinced the 11 months before we adopted him that was all he ever had. I had thought he’d leap at the chance to have nice wet food but he simply does NOT. Sigh. As you say – we do what we can with what we have to work with.


    1. Charles Huss Post author

      I never tried it but I wonder if mixing kibble with wet food would work for starters. Also, I mix canned food with homemade raw and it took a lot of searching before I found one they all like (Earthborne Chicken Catatorie).

  2. The Island Cats

    Yeah, the mom did really good for awhile and got us all off kibble pretty much. Then she bought a bag of dry food from the vet who recommended it for Wally (it’s a hydrolyzed protein food) and we love it. So now she rations it out in small amounts so we get a little bit of it every day. Ernie loves the Stella & Chewy food…but you’re right, it is a little pricey.

  3. Carole

    We have two growing cats, Frodo and Rosie, who will eat their wet food quite happily but love their kibble to munch on in-between. It’s the specialist Maine Coon kibble in nice big chunks so although carby, it is good for them to crunch it.
    Unfortunately our little Sammie, who does not need to grow any more, is a bit of a hoover and will lick the gravy off everyone’s wet food and then eat all the kibble. We’ve had to get chip-operated feeding dishes to keep her to her own food. She’s not happy about this, especially as she’s now carefully rationed to get the extra weight off, and is very vocal about not having enough food.
    The things we do for them, eh?

  4. indianacats

    It is very hard with multiple cats. I have four and one that is a senior with no teeth. I have to feed her wet pate and the others try to steal some. I have to monitor until she is done. My others eat dry food that is low cal but unfortunately they are overweight.

  5. Summer

    We only get mealtimes, and food is never left out. Free feeding is like leaving a bowl full of chips sitting around all the time for humans to eat… and you know how that would work out! MOL! We’re used to that – not sure how it would be working to get a cat like Chris to adapt to a feeding schedule, with no food left around.

    1. Charles Huss Post author

      We don’t exactly free feed because the bowl is empty a lot but at the same time they eat more often than they should. If I didn’t feel so bad about Chris not eating the wet food I wouldn’t do it.

  6. Photofinland by Rantasalot

    That photo breaks my heart, oh Chris. Kosmo is a fat boy, too and he loves to eat dry food. We bought him Leonardo Light Chicken, fat only 12 %, and he likes them, too. We have started also running excercise outside. I am afraid of diabetes. Kosmo is about 16 lb, 7 kilos, so Chris and he are big boys. The bag, 2 kg, was 22 euros. It is reallyhard to control a cat´s eating, so we use these Leonardos also as treats. Goos luck and nerves!

    1. Charles Huss Post author

      I hit send too soon. I don’t consider fat to be a bad thing it’s carbohydrates in a bad thing and diet food usually restricts the fat. Too many carbohydrates, particularly sugars, are also the cause of diabetes.

  7. databbiesotrouttowne

    tuna free feeds only because I never know from day to day what hours I will work
    or when I will get home because of other obligations. I recently switched him to
    Purina Beyond; Grain Free, and he doesn’t eat nearly as much as he did on other
    kibble brands. He does get canned once in the morning and again at night in the hopes
    he won’t graze all afternoon; I feel “bad” when I’m getting in at say 10 pm, and he hasn’t
    had something to eat since 6 that morning; hence the free feed ~~ 🙂 ♥

    1. Charles Huss Post author

      When we go away and have a cat sitter come I tend to fill the bowls up pretty high just in case the cat sitter doesn’t show up. I know that’s being overly cautious but kibble is the only thing that will work in that situation.


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