In a message dated 5/31/04 8:42:33 PM, erosla77@...
<< Question: can switching her food make a difference? >>
Can food make a difference in overall health? Absolutely. Nutrition is the
*foundation* of physical health, as the nutrients that go in the body are the
building blocks or "fuel" for maintaining and repairing the body. All living
creatures have evolved with certain nutrient needs that are met with a specific
food range...eg, koala bears eat eucalyptus leaves, hummingbirds eat nectar and
insects, seals eat fish. And cats have evolved, over more then 30 million
yrs, to eat small prey animals (eg mice, squirrels, rabbits, crickets, birds)
that provide the necessary nutrients to meet their unique requirements as
obligate carnivores, which means they *must* derive certain nutrients from animal
proteins and fats. So, the closer you can get to meeting those needs, the
stronger the foundation for health.
<< what I feed one I have to feed the other. >>
All cats, with almost no exceptions, need the same food: a high-quality
("quality" in the nutritional sense, which means the capacity of the food to meet
the nutritional requirements of the consumer), well-balanced, moisture-rich,
meat-based diet that is high in animal protein, moderately high in animal fat,
and very low in plant carbohydrate...which is the diet for which their bodies
are uniquely adapted.
<< About a year ago I took them off of the different brands they were eating
and put them
on Wellness formula, dry and canned food. >>
While Wellness is one of the higher-quality brands (see below), and Old
Mother Hubbard does make a reasonable attempt to meet the nutritional needs of
cats, it may be worthwhile to consider the use of dry food. No part of the cat's
anatomy...from the mouth to the exit port and everything in between...has
evolved to eat dried nuggets of grain sprayed with fat, and feeding an obligate
carnivore a high-carbohydrate, moisture-poor, plant-based diet can potentially be
a contributing factor in a number of health issues. Among them, besides
malnutrition, are obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel and "allergy," chronic
urinary disorders (eg infection, inflammation, and crystals), digestive disorders,
tooth and gum disorders, coat and skin disorders, and on and on.
<< it LOOKS like good stuff from the label. >>
It's great you're reading the label. While the "guaranteed analysis" provides
little useful information (and I can provide more information on that if
you're interested), the ingredients list is one key to determining nutritional
quality. You'll see from the ingredients list that Wellness canned flavors
contain high-quality muscle or organ meats in most of the first five positions,
lower-carbohydrate vegetables, no grains, no non-nutritive fillers, few potential
"allergens," and no synthetic preservatives, flavorings, or colorings.
Some characteristics to consider in assessing the quality of a commercial
1. muscle meat from a named species (as opposed to "byproducts," "poultry,"
or "meal") as the first ingredient;
2. organ meat from a named species (as opposed to "liver" or "poultry liver")
somewhere in the second to fifth ingredient positions, preferably from the
same species as the muscle meat;
3. muscle and/or organ meats in at least three of the first five ingredient
4. limited to no fish;
5. limited to no carbohydrate sources, preferably from low-glycemic
vegetables, such as squash, or whole, hypoallergenic grains, such as oats and barley
(as opposed to corn, wheat, and grain fractions, such as "rice bran");
6. no plant-protein "boosters" (such as "soy protein isolate" or "corn gluten
7. no nonnutritive fillers/fibers (such as "powdered cellulose" and "grain
8. no synthetic preservatives (such as BHT, BHA, and ethoxyquin), colorings
(such as Red Dye #40 and titanium dioxide), or flavorings.
<< Is Wellness brand one of the better ones? >>
In my opinion, yes, it is...in part for the ingredient characteristics stated
above. Only Wellness and Nature's Variety (www.naturesvariety.com) *canned*
brands are grain free. There are a few other commerical *canned* brands that
also provide human-grade, well-balanced, meat-based ingredients (but with
grains), incl PetGuard, www.petguard.com; Felidae, www.canidae.com; Natural Balance,
www.naturalbalanceinc.com; and Eagle Pack, www.eaglepack.com. See websites
for store locators and ingredient information.
<< I've heard ProPlan(which all the vets out here
sell) is good too? >>
ProPlan is simply a brand targeted to a "higher" marketing niche than the
other products in the Purina (Nestlé) line, eg Friskies, Tender Vittles,
Deli-Cat, Cat Chow. However, it contains roughly the same poor-quality ingredients as
all other Purina products.
Here are the primary ingredients of ProPlan Chicken + Rice Senior canned:
Water sufficient for processing, chicken, wheat gluten, liver, meat by-products,
rice, corn starch-modified, natural and artificial flavors.
For comparison, here are the primary ingredients of Wellness Chicken canned:
Deboned chicken, chicken liver, turkey, chicken broth, sweet potatoes, carrots.
Here are the primary ingredients of ProPlan Chicken + Rice Senior dry:
Chicken, brewers rice, poultry by-product meal, soybean meal, corn gluten meal,
whole grain corn, beef tallow, fish meal.
And of Wellness Super5 Adult dry: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, chicken
liver, ground brown rice, ground whole oats, canola oil, cranberries, blueberries.
Notice any differences?
A vet's choice to sell a food product may be influenced by other fators than
the nutritional quality of that product.
<< if there is ANY kind of supplement to retard the myopathy so her heart
does not continue to enlarge. >>
There may be other types of therapy (whether nutritional supplements or
otherwise) that would be useful in supporting the cat's *whole* body, thereby
potentially reducing strain to the heart. If you are interested in pursuing
complementary treatment...which can incl homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine,
Western herbs, nutraceuticals and glandulars, etc...it may be worthwhile to
consult with an experienced vet who practices holistic or integrated medicine.
There is a directory here: www.ahvma.org/referral/index.html.
If you're interested in more information about feline nutrition in general,
there are relatively reliable articles here:
If you're interested in information on commercial animal food in general, see:
2. "Food Pets Die For" by Ann N. Martin, NewSage Press, 1997;
www.newsagepress.com/foodpetsdiefor.html. Excerpts from the book can be found on many sites,
If you'd like information on the *caloric distribution* (which is diff. than
the guaranteed, as-fed, and dry matter analyses) of many cat foods, see the