Re: Feline Nutrition
- Hi Ryan
You should post this somewhere -- you can get a little blog site for free. Just a few comments for discussion purposes (nothing to do with your numbers) ...
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "tobythelegend" <tobythelegend@...> wrote:
> 2. Undoubtedly people will post about the benefits of raw. I do not disagree. I feed my cats a partially raw diet. I worry that not all homemade raw diets meet the full nutritional needs of cats.
This is a legitimate worry. For a homemade raw food recipe for cats, I'd check out Dr. Pierson's site, catinfo.org . She's had her own personal troupe of cats on the diet for 7+ years and has done taurine testing, etc. It's not an official AAFCO feeding trial but 7 years of healthy cats is a good sign.
> 3. There are some great brands of pre-made raw food out there. Feline's Pride, Nature's Variety, and Primal are just a few.
Nature's Variety is frustrating because they don't supplement taurine (or didn't, last time I checked). Rabbits are low in taurine naturally, it's aggravating that they just won't add it in.
> 8. Carbohydrates (grains) have no value to a cat. They should be fed in as small values as possible.
I hope I didn't mislead you with my previous comment on carbs. Carbohydrates are nutritionally available to cats and some cats do perfectly well on a diet rich in carbohydrates. My previous comment was that cats do not have a nutritional need for carbs -- they can get what they need just fine from protein and fat alone. Even the much maligned 'corn' and 'wheat' can provide a digestible source of carbs and protein (yes grains have protein) for cats and dogs.
> 9. "Low Fat" brands of cat food are neat, they lower the fat content and increase the carbohydrate content, which is then turned into fat by your cat. Clever marketing.
It's more than marketing. Ingestion of fat is different than storing unneeded calories as fat. Uncommonly cats will have a condition called hyperlipidemia and these cats can benefit from lower-fat diets. Anecdotally, some people believe their cats benefit from lower-fat diets when they are experiencing an acute flare up of pancreatitis (pancreatitis is common in older cats and diabetic cats). My late cat had extraordinarily well-documented, severe, chronic pancreatitis with occasional flares and fat content did not matter to him, but some people believe it does matter to their cats.
> 10. In order to most replicate a cat's natural diet, I avoid beef, venison, and fish. I feed only foods containing rabbit and poultry.
Beef and dairy are the most commonly documented allergens in cats and dogs (yes even above grains! talk about marketing ploys!) so beef might be avoided for that reason. I really can't get on board with the whole 'natural prey' thing ... for one, cats don't prey on large birds like chickens or turkeys. For the other, these are domesticated animals. Feral dogs will preferably eat carrion and actual trash and I don't choose that for my dog because it'd be his 'natural diet.' Cats would eat almost exclusively rodents and occasionally small (usually juvenile) birds. They'd eat rabbit kits too, if available, but it would be an inconsistent part of the diet. Rodents, rodents, rodents. The truth is anyway that feral cats survive mostly on cheap kibble doled out to them by kind people; if they had to make it on their own, there would be far fewer cats out there.
> 11. I avoid soy at all costs. Too many allergies out there.
Food allergies aren't that common in cats -- have you had a particular experience with soy?
> 12. I don't eat by-products. I don't expect my cats to either.
So no sausages or hot dogs for you, right? ;-) I'm actually vegan and don't eat meat or by-products myself. For the record, foods that list "liver" or "organ meat" are including by-products but not putting it on the label. The official AAFCO definition of by-products includes non-muscle meat so liver, kidneys, lungs, hearts, blood, bones, and stomach and intestines "free of their contents" are all by-products. Contrary to popular internet rumor, no feathers or beaks or sawdust included.
FWIW -- and you find proof of this on Animal Planet -- carnivores head for the innards first after making a kill. Most 'by-products' are coveted in the wild at least. We Americans are unusual in our distaste for gizzards; these are standard fare in Europe and most areas of the world. Our lack of interest in organ meat gives US pet food manufacturers a cheap source, hence all of the by-products.
Also FWIW, I feed my current cat (no other health issues but asthma) a higher-protein/lower-carb diet, usually whatever I find with a good price whose primary ingredients are meat. I don't like unspecified ingredients either, so if "animal fat" or "animal by products" or just plain "meat" is at the fore of the ingredient list, I am biased against it. I'd rather see 'poultry' or 'beef' fat, etc. I don't feed too much fish because I think it stinks, but don't have a problem with feeding foods that contain fish, especially the smaller fishes (less contamination way down on the food chain i.e. herrings). I probably wouldn't feed exclusively fish but can't give a research-based explanation for that. (My late cat ate mostly Fancy Feast Cod, Sole, and Shrimp towards the end of his life when he was ill, so I do have a soft spot in my heart for the stinky foods that make cats eat.)
Thanks for the hard work and the good discussion, Ryan!