Over the years I have been tinkering with the way I feed our cats but the tinkering has mostly stopped and a routine has set in. I am including links to many of the products I use so you can see details about them. Some of the links are Amazon affiliate links but I do not recommend buying pet food from Amazon if you can find it locally because Amazon tends to be overpriced when it comes to pet food.
Here is a photo of all the foods I have right now, although sometimes the brands will change based on availability and price. If a high-quality brand is on sale I may pick up some cans or a bag to try.
For breakfast, they get one 5.5 ounce can of Earthborn Holistic Chicken Catcciatori. Amazon sells a case of 24 for $50, I buy it locally for $1.79 per can which is less than $43. Plus, I get ten percent off when buying a case. The downside is they don’t always have what I want. The last time I shopped there they were out of the Chicken Catcciatori which is why I have none in the photo. They seem happy with other flavors though but I stick with mostly poultry flavors.
I am not I big fan of dry cat food but Chris loves it. The main reason I keep giving it to them is that I have a hard time getting Chris to eat his wet food, but I try to keep it to a minimum. Shortly after breakfast Chris wants dry food and will annoy me until he gets it. I resist for a while and then get up and do something else, like clean the cat dishes, so he doesn’t think the annoying behavior works, and then I will give him, and Frankie and Floki, a few pieces of Stella and Chewy’s. In this rare instance, Amazon’s price is the same as my local price.
I like Stella and Chewy’s because it is essentially a freeze-dried version of a raw meat diet. I would replace the dry food with Stella and Chewy’s except for two reasons. It is more expensive, although not by much if you add water to it, and it might be dehydrating if they eat too much of it dry. They do like it with water added to it but they like it better dry. Plus, it is more convenient that way. Dry kibble is also dehydrating but I suspect slightly less so. I have not researched it so I don’t know that for sure.
They are usually satisfied for a half-hour or so and then Chris starts bothering me again. Sometimes he lies by the empty food bowls and talks to me whenever I walk by. So again, I hold out as long as I can and then give him a little dry food. I usually buy the Rawz brand of dry food. This is one of the best on the market but I sometimes switch it out for another brand, usually when I need food but can’t get to the store that sells it so end up at Petsmart or Petco. When I put down dry food, Frankie and Floki come to get some too. I give them just enough so that the bowls are empty in less than five minutes. Usually, Chris eats his and then takes over Frankie’s bowl. I put Floki’s bowl on the table so that is protected from the Kibble Monster.
I then take care of what chores I have left and get ready for work. When I leave I give them five more minutes worth of food if Rose is home. If she is not home that day I double it. Sometimes I even put food in their feeder ball if Rose is away and I know I will work a full day. The feeder ball, or whatever it is called, lets them work for their food. I don’t always put it in the same place so they have to find it. This ensures that all the kibble won’t be eaten by a certain piggy before I make it out the driveway.
If Rose is home, or if it is the weekend, they get one small can of Fancy Feast or a can or package of another low-cost wet cat food. I use a lower-cost brand because the smaller cans are way more costly per ounce than the bigger cans and I do not have a money tree growing in the backyard. I read somewhere that the worst wet food is better than the best dry food. I agree with this in principle but I think there are some bad wet foods out there that I would not buy. For example, years ago I bought a box of what I am pretty sure was Meow Mix. One of our cats puked it up and we were left with a stain on our carpet that we could not clean because of the food coloring. The fact that it was puked up was another strike against it.
When I buy Fancy Feast, I never buy the pate and I try to keep it to poultry flavors but I sometimes buy fish or beef just for the variety. Our cats prefer sliced or gravy lovers the most. This week I have a brand called Natural Balance which I happened to see on sale so I picked up several packages. Our cats really like it but I wouldn’t get it at full price for their mid-day snack.
Sometime after their lunch and before dinner, I will give them just a small amount of dry food or Stella and Chewy’s to hold them until dinner, which used to be after 5:00 but since Rose is usually home and I don’t work full time anymore, dinner has changed to between 3:00 and 4:00, depending on how annoying Frankie or Chris become.
For dinner, I feed them homemade, raw food made from ground chicken. You can read about how I make it here. I tried turkey and beef but they only like the chicken. I buy the supplement powder from a company called TC Feline. They are a Canadian company that has the best premix that I have found. You can buy the original premix where you just add your own meat, liver, and eggs, or you can buy the premix that already has the liver. That is what I usually get because it is easier but I sometimes like adding my own liver because it adds some health benefits. I just have trouble finding good liver since I moved farther away from Whole Foods.
I keep the raw food in plastic containers in the freezer and make sure I have three in the refrigerator at all times. I then take the top container, which is about the same size as a large can of cat food, and warm it up in the microwave for twenty seconds. While I am doing that, I grab a frozen container and put it on the bottom of the two remaining containers. I know that heating raw food is not good but twenty seconds just takes the chill off. If I have time and remember to do it, I will instead place the container in warm water for ten minutes.
The raw food is the food the cats like best and usually lick the bowls clean. A couple of years ago that was the only wet food that I gave them but they got tired of it and I ended up throwing a lot of it away. So even though I would like to give them only raw food, I have to play the hand I was dealt.
Sometime after dinner they get more Stella and Chewy’s and after that a little more kibble. The bowls are usually empty when we go to bed so I put just a little more dry food in them to end the day.
A word about variety: I know the conventional wisdom is to feed cats the same food or they will get sick. They say if you want to change their food you have to do it gradually. I have no evidence one way or the other but I believe it is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. I think the reason they get sick is because they have been eating the same food not because they switched. In other words, eating the same food has made them overly sensitive. I suppose it may be related to the fact that kids raised in a too clean environment develop allergies. I am certainly not giving you medical advice since it is just speculation on my part, but I do think it is something you should think about, and research, if you want to try giving your pets a variety. I will say this, none of our cats seem to be negatively affected by the various foods that they get. Frankie does puke sometimes but he has been a puker since we first adopted him and it seems more related to how much he eats and not what he eats.
What do you think? What does your pet’s diet look like?