In a message dated 4/1/07 10:11:55 AM, diane@...
> Like many others, I'm reevaluating what I feed our cats.
That's great. Nutrition is so important to cat health.
> For years they have lived on a mix of Science Diet Adult Light and
> Hairball Light.
Both of these foods have problematic ingredients in terms of meeting a cat's
nutritional needs and minimizing risk of adverse reactions (the ingredients
are the same in each, just in diff. proportions).
The primary ingredients of Adult Light are: Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product
Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Ground Whole Grain Corn.
The primary ingredients of Hairball Light are: Chicken By-Product Meal,
Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Powdered Cellulose.
Neither one contains a source of animal proteins and fats in a form cats can
use...and byproducts and grains are contributing factors to various
"allergy"-type reactions in cats. Cellulose, which is the hard structural part of plants
used in making paper and insulation, is an insoluble fiber used to push the
food out of the gut to reduce the body's ability to absorb calories and
Both products are also very high in carbohydrate, which is a high risk factor
for a number of health problem, incl diabetes, obesity, urinary disorders,
and gum/dental disorders. Sci Di Light has 41% calories from carbohydrate and
Hairball Light has 40% calories from carbohydrate. Cats have no dietary
requirement for carbohydrate and have limited ability to process it, in part b/c of
lack or inefficiency of appropriate enzymes (which makes sense from an
evolutionary standpoint, since cats eat about 5% or less carbohydrate in the wild). All
"lite" foods are high in carbohydrate and low in fat on the mistaken notion
that high dietary fat contributes to high body fat. This is a theory adapted
from humans and dogs, neither of whom are obligate carnivores, which cats are.
(And we're finding out that the theory may not be applicable to humans and
dogs, either, as the epidemic in human diabetes and obesity is bearing out.) Cats
have evolved with a high fat requirement for energy and nutrients...and
typically eat about 50-60% of calories from fat. Further, "lite" foods have a high
amt of plant fiber (1.8g per 100 calories for Sci Di Light and 2.3g per 100
calories for Hairball Light) to displace calories. However, this also displaces
nutrients...and may have an adverse effect on the cat's dig. system, since cats
are not equipped to process plant fiber. Typical prey animals have about 0.1g
fiber per 100 calories.\
Just 2 brief excerpts:
1. From Deborah S. Greco, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (who concentrates in
endocrinology) at www.dcavm.org/01mar.htm:
"The cat is an obligate carnivore and as such is unique among mammals in its
insulin response to dietary carbohydrates, protein and fat. The feline liver
exhibits normal hexokinase activity but glucokinase activity is virtually
absent. Glucokinase converts glucose to glycogen for storage in the liver and
is important in "mopping" up excess post-prandial glucose....When type 2
occurs in cats, the metabolic adaptations to a carnivorous diet become even
more deleterious leading to severe protein catabolism; feeding a diet rich in
carbohydrates may exacerbate hyperglycemia and protein wasting in these
2. From Eliz. Hodgkins DVM (who is co-patent holder for Purina DM) at
"Excessive carbohydrate consumption, over time, causes both obesity and
strongly predisposes the cat, an obligatory carnivore, to the metabolic
wreak" we know as type II feline diabetes mellitus. Once this condition
effective treatment absolutely requires that a high protein, moderate fat and
low carbohydrate diet be used in these patients. High fiber diets like w/d
r/d (and their analogs by other companies) DO NOT WORK, and they do not work
because they are loaded with carbohydrate that continues to dump sugar into
blood stream of an animal that already has problems handling sugar. "
> I bought some Chicken Soup food and they are not really going for it.
Chicken Soup dry contains 28% calories from carbohydrate in the Adult formula
and 37% from carbohydrate in the Lite formula.
> The biggest issue is that Mudgie loves big chunks
Would she like big chunks of meat? Cat teeth are designed to puncture and
tear animal flesh and are not able to "chew" dry pellets of grain, as there are
no flat grinding surfaces.
> What are people moving to now?
A number of caregivers I know are moving to a fresh-food diet, either
homemade or commercial.
There are also a number of sites that have lists of commercial brands with
products not made by Menu. Altho, if the contaminant is wheat gluten from a
particular Chinese supplier (as is now thought), then any food made with that
ingredient, regardless of mfr, is potentially a risk for cats.
Some sites incl:
> I picked up a bag of Greenies that I had in the house and that has
> wheat and corn gluten in it as well.
Greenies have a number of problematic ingredients besides plant glutens, incl
rice, oats, and yeast.
A safe and low-risk treat for cats is 100% dehydrated meat or fish, eg Halo
Whole Life Pet treats (http://www.wholelifepet.com/products.html)
. These come
in chunks, so the cat will have something to chew.
> the last 2
> or 3 recalls are not listed on the FDA site, who's to believe who?
Animal Protection Institute has added a round-up of recent recalls to their
site at www.api4animals.org/facts.php?p=359&more=1.
Before Menu, the major recalls of animal food have incl a number of dry foods
(eg Diamond, Doane, Nature's Recipe) b/c of corn and wheat contamination.
Since grains are a potential risk for cat health, contaminated or not, a safer
course would be products without grains. // Rosemary
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