Tag Archives: diet

Our Complicated Feeding Routine


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?

Another Change in Our Meal Plan


Chris’s addiction to kibble has always been a real problem. I have not eliminated kibble because he eats very little wet food, even when faced with starvation. Instead, I buy the highest quality kibble that I know of, a brand called Rawz, and try to keep it to a minimum. I have also been giving them homemade raw cat food twice a day that I make using chicken and a premix from a company called TC Feline.

The problem has always been getting Chris to eat the homemade food, or any wet food. I usually give him about half of what I give Frankie and Flokie, who both love the homemade food, but typically he only eats about half of what I give him before one of the other cats come and take it away from him. Sometimes he leaves his food before anyone shows up and I have to follow him around with his plate. I might also put some on my finger and feed it to him like a baby. That usually works once or twice before he turns his head and refuses to look at my finger.

Not long after I feed them, Chris is hungry and wants dry food but the bowls are empty, so he lies down next to the bowls and talks to anyone that will listen.

Sorry about the quality but I accidentally under exposed it.

My wife and I joke that he is “holding vigil at the food bowl.” When this doesn’t work he comes and annoys me in hopes that I will give up and put food in his bowl. Sometimes it works.

Lately he has been eating even less of the homemade food. Sometimes he wouldn’t take even one bite. I did not want to stop giving them the homemade food because it is the healthiest option and Frankie and Floki love it, but I did want Chris to eat something besides kibble, so I decided to split the difference. I decided to give them a can of food in the morning and the homemade food in the afternoon.

Since Chris is also picky about canned food I decided to go back to a food I found after much experimentation years ago that seems to satisfy everyone. It is a food from Earthborn Holistic called Chicken Catcciatori. This is the most universally accepted canned food I have found that is also somewhat healthy. While it is not as healthy as homemade, it is better than kibble.

Please note that the above link and that of the Rawz food are Amazon affiliate links. I included them because there is a lot of information about the products on Amazon but I would recommend that if you are interested, check your local pet supply store first because both products are overly pricey on Amazon.

It has been over a week and I can report that Chris is eating a fair amount of the canned food. Not as much as I would like but much more than he was eating before. He is even eating slightly more of the homemade food. Perhaps he just needed the variety.

The Failure of Puck’s Special Diet


Puck has had a problem with his skin since not long after we moved to our new home at the end of May. The first vet said he was having a reaction to flea bites, even though she could see no fleas and gave him a flea treatment as well as steroids and antibiotics.

That didn’t work and I didn’t want to subject him to more drugs so I put off doing anything for a while and finally brought him to another vet who said he thought it was a combination of nervousness and an allergy, possibly a food allergy. The only way to know was to put him on a 90 day limited ingredient diet that did not contain the proteins that he was already eating, such as chicken, beef and salmon.

I bought a Feliway diffuser to help with the stress and changed his food. The vet wanted me to give the diet 90 days to work because it could take that long for the old proteins to leave his system but after about five weeks Puck was making no progress and actually seemed like he might be getting worse.

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I decided to abandon the diet early and try something else. Of course, I didn’t know what to try and thought very hard about what could be different about our new home. The only thing I could think of was the water.

We had bottled water in our other house and I gave the cats spring water in two of their three water bowls. The third was a larger bowl in the back room that was mostly in case something unforeseen kept us from coming home for a night or two. When we moved, I decided to not keep the water delivery service and instead I would buy a Big Berkey Water Filter. They are close to $300 with the Fluoride filter, which we couldn’t afford at the time since the cost of moving was so great.

Since then, something was always more important to spend our money on, so I am still buying water by the gallon at the supermarket. Since that is such a hassle, I have been filling the cat bowls with tap water. I know, that sounds selfish to be drinking spring water while the cats have tap water but most of it gets dumped out every morning and I always thought it was temporary. So a week or so ago I started filing their bowls with spring water.

Another thing I wanted to try was to eliminate cleaning chemicals, at least for a while, after learning that some cats are allergic to them. I tried this before and even have a spray bottle filled with vinegar and water under the sink but Rose is one of those people who thinks the smell of chemicals is a sign that the house is clean.

To my surprise, she was willing to go along with the chemical free cleaning so last week I cleaned the floors with vinegar and water. When she came home she immediately commented on how the floors didn’t feel right. They felt like floors to me. I don’t know what she was talking about but the next day she re-moped the floors with a nice, comforting, harsh chemical. So much for that idea.

It has been over a week that the cats are off the tap water and I sometimes look at Puck and think he is looking better and sometimes I’m not sure. I guess I will know in a few weeks. Wish us luck.

Adjusting to a Limited Ingredient Diet


A couple weeks ago Puck visited a new vet for his over-grooming problem. The vet said it was probably partly due to stress but he was also having an allergic reaction to something. The vet recommended a Feliway Diffuser for the stress and he recommended switching Puck’s food for three months to see if the problem went away. The vet had food that I could buy but they didn’t push it on me. The dry food was $64 for an eight pound bag. I decided to try my luck at a local natural pet food store where I buy the cat’s current wet food, Earthborn Holistic Chicken Catcciatori.

The Feliway was expensive, over $50 at the pet food store, but I did find it on Amazon for Under $30 so I ordered it. The food was also expensive but getting it at the pet food store was cheaper than getting it at the vet.Limited IngredientLimited Ingredient

I needed to buy a food with a single protein that was unlikely to be in our cat’s current food. The vet suggested rabbit or bison but he did not limit it to those two. He said duck was okay but sometimes an allergy to chicken can cross over to duck since they are both fowl. The woman at the pet food store helped me and we found a dry food with rabbit as the main protein from Nature’s Valley called Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Rabbit Meal Formula. I shared an Amazon link to the food so you can see what it is but in this case it was cheaper to get it at the pet food store.

While the dry food was more money than normal (I don’t remember what I paid), it was not unreasonable. The Instinct wet rabbit food, however, was too much to justify buying, especially considering that I have to buy it for three cats since I don’t want the trouble of trying to separate them for meals. I don’t know the exact price but it was around $3.50 per can.

The pet food woman found another brand of rabbit food called Wild Calling: Rabbit Burrow, for $1.89 a can. That was just a little more than I was already spending on wet food so we added a few days worth of that food (about 6 or eight cans) to my order. I didn’t want to buy too much in case they didn’t like it.

Finally I picked out a cat treat that was also rabbit. This was yet another brand called Vita Essentials Freeze Dried Rabbit. The one I bought was labeled “for dogs.” It was a larger package then the one for cats but had the same ingredients. The entire order was just under $64.

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They loved the dry food and the treats, but unfortunately, they were not crazy about the wet food. When I would open a can they would all get so excited and then Frankie would give me this “What are you trying to push on us?” look.

20151219_084515After a couple of days of that I went back to the pet food store and we decided that I didn’t need to feed them just rabbit. The goal was to avoid the proteins that Puck was eating such as chicken, beef and salmon. With that in mind I bought food from a company called Mauri. They use a single protein, New Zealand sourced meat that is unlikely to be in American pet food. Their website even says it is great for pets with allergies. I bought New Zealand Unagi, Wild Brushtail, New Zealand Venison, New Zealand Hoki, and Australian Wild Kangaroo.

These are mostly pâté type foods that our cats are not crazy about but they seem to be okay with this food. Chris does not generally care about wet food, he is more of a dry food junkie (hence the girth) but yesterday he would not give up his Venison to Frankie. Usually Puck or Frankie scarf their food down and then take what is left of Chris’s food. Chris usually takes a couple of bites and is done by then anyway or he walks away when he sees another cat coming his way, but this time Frankie had to force his head into the bowl because Chris would not walk away.

20151227_Cats_516The Feliway showed up about a week later and I plugged it into the bedroom where Puck was spending much of his day. He was in a self-imposed exile until Rose’s son left the day after Christmas. I then moved it out into the living room near the door to the patio.

It’s been a couple of weeks now and Rose seems to think Puck’s fur is looking a little better. I am not sure I can see a difference yet. The vet did say it could take eight to twelve weeks because certain allergens can remain in their system for that long. If it doesn’t work, I don’t know what else we can do.

Related posts:

New Vet, New Hope

Puck’s bald spot returns

Puck’s Vet Adventure