Since I am ultimately responsible for my cat’s wellbeing and health, there are certain things I would never allow my cats to consume. Read this page and the next few pages as I discuss Rejects #1 thru #8. Then be sure not to miss my 'Not Rejects But Close' page where I drop the letter-grades for other ingredients one-by-one.
I first reject any dry food products. I personally believe dry cat food is literally ‘death’ to a cat, and when you examine the ingredients of dry food, there isn’t a product on the market today that contains anything close to real food - not to mention the lack of moisture and the high carbohydrate content - which will come back to haunt you as disease in your future. Imagine eating nothing but cereal for every meal for the rest of your life. Come on now folks. Have some common sense. How is dry food anything close to a cat's 'natural' diet, i.e. the diet occurring in the wild? Come on now folks. Have some common sense.
"Cats who eat a dry kibble diet live in a constant state of mild dehydration for their entire lives." "[That] puts incredible stress on many of their biological systems, including their kidneys and liver" - Emily Parker, Catological.com
But... "My cat will only eat dry food. He/She refuses to eat anything else." Would you really let your son or daughter eat cereal for every meal of their entire lives? Learn How to Wean Your Cat Off Dry Food.- Ingrid King's article in The Conscious Cat. Another 'transitioning' hint comes from Lisa A. Pierson, DVM on her site CatInfo.org. Scroll down the page to find 'Tips for Transitioning - Getting dry food addicts to eat canned food.'
And They Will. Believe Me, They Will.
I had a guy tell me "I've fed my cat dry food all his life. He's 19 now and in perfect health." About 3 weeks later... Well, I don't want to even talk about it.
The problem with dry food is twofold. Cats are, without question, addicted to the chemicals sprayed on it for flavor, color and smell. Cat-parents are addicted to the convenience and price.
The underlying problem is ignorance. Ignorance in the sense of innocently not knowing... a lack of knowledge of... or an unawareness of... the fact that, in the long run, dry food harms cats.
I have a friend who, very innocently, said “I’ve fed Henry excellent dry food for years. It has vegetables in it.”
How sad. Because of dry food, Henry will most likely be sick and die before his time, and my friend will go through the pain and agony of Henry’s loss.
Don’t let this happen to you. Wean your “Henry” off of dry food before it's too late.
1. Read as the well-respected, retired, holistic veterinarian Dr. Cathy Alinovi, DVM writes in TruthAboutPetFood.com - 'What are the dangers of kibble?' Dr. Alinovi is also a celebrated author, a nationally renown media personality, and a pet expert. Visit her website: HealthyPawsibilities.com
2. Read as Veterinarian Dr. Michael Dym, writing in Pet Meds News, talks about Is Dry or Canned Food Best For Your Pet?. Dr. Dym makes the point that "dry foods fed to cats are loaded with carbohydrates... leading to potential health problems in cats, including the increased risk of diabetes and obesity (because of consumption of too many processed carbohydrates), as well as the increased risk of urinary tract crystals and inflammation, chronic dehydration and kidney stress, as well as pancreatic and/or digestive issues in cats."
3. And another... the website Noah's Ark Veterinary Hospital includes an article on their website titled 'Is Dry Food Bad For Cats.' "A diet with too many carbohydrates is one of the leading causes of obesity and diabetes in felines. While cats do need a small amount of carbohydrate in their diets, they are carnivores by nature... and their bodies thrive best on meaty proteins and fatty acids. Dry cat foods typically contain more carbohydrates than wet food..."
4. "Because cats are carnivores, the short length of their long intestines limits their ability to ferment fibers that are found in many carbohydrates." - Your Cat's Nutritional Needs, published by the National Research Council of the National Academies, pg4
6. And another... the website Feline Nutrition Foundation has an article titled "Bio-Inappropriate: The Dangers of Dry Cat Food.' "It is important to remove dry food from your cat's diet. This one change alone is a big step forward in improving cat nutrition and health."
7. Writing for the website Little Big Cat, Jean Hofve DVM cites 10 Reasons Why Dry Food is Bad for Cats & Dogs. "As a holistic veterinarian and animal advocate with 22 years of experience and thousands of hours of research under my belt, I've concluded that dry food is not a fit diet for our cats and dogs..."
8. And how about the myth that dry food cleans a cat's teeth? "Most cats don't chew their kibble long enough for any of the scraping action that is the theory behind this myth to kick in. What little they do chew shatters into small pieces... Additionally, dry food actually leaves a carbohydrate residue in the cat's mouth that actually encourages the growth of tartar and plaque." - 'The Truth About Dry Cat Food' - The Conscious Cat with Ingrid King
9. Finally, the highly respected Dr.Karen Becker, writing in MercolaHealthyPets.com, states, 'Maybe NOW More Cat Parents Will Make the Switch from Dry Food. "Another recently published study has linked feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) - specifically urethral obstruction (UO) - to dry food-only diets. Urethral obstructions are most often seen in male cats and are life-threatening. A blocked urethra can cause death in a matter of days."
10. In a YouTube video, Dr. Becker goes on to give another loud and clear message about dry foods. "Two potent, cancer causing substances are created when dry pet food is made by the extrusion process. When protein is extruded carcinogenic hetercyclic amines are created. The by-product of extruding starches are acrylamides, both of which are known to cause cancer in dogs and cats. This is a little scary if you think about the fact that most pets on the planet are eating dry food for their entire lives, and the fact that the cancer rate is skyrocketing in companion animals."
(Return to the page about Transitioning.)
My own cat, Pooky, died sometime after I had changed her diet to include a Vet recommended, dry food produced by Hill's® Prescription Diet® y/d™ grandly labeled "Thyroid Care." It was supposed to help her hyperthyroidism. Now I read a line from an article that "Hyperthyroidism has been linked to pet foods that, within their ingredients, include the thyroid glands of slaughtered animals." Yet another terrifying thought to think about. I'm not saying that Hill's® uses such ingredients. I'm just saying that I find it interesting that Pooky's condition worsened after I began feeding her the vet-recommended dry food.
Please save yourself (and your cat) the pain and agony of watching your cat's health decline, and worst of all, experiencing the pain of loss. Don't feed your cat(s) dry food.
One thing is for sure... You can't be too careful about the food you feed your cat(s).
One last bold, controversial comment about dry food: In my humble opinion, most people are more dedicated to convenience than they are to their cat's health. If the shoe fits wear it.
On her website PoisonedPets.com, pet food safety consumer advocate Mollie Morrissette writes:
"My search for healthy pet food began, as it does for so many people, with a tragedy that forced me to examine my beliefs about commercial pet food.
One night, one of my cats, Blackie, straggled in and collapsed at my feet, unable to move. After rushing Blackie to the vet, he said my cat’s bladder was blocked, and the only way to allow the bladder to drain was through a catheter. What seeped out onto the cold metal table was a sickening mixture of blood, urine, puss, and crystals slowly trickled from Blackie’s lifeless body.
The veterinarian told me that if I wanted Blackie to live I would have to drive him immediately to a veterinary hospital 75 miles away. With instructions not to stop for any reason, the vet hung the IV attached to Blackie from my car window – and with that my journey began.
Blackie’s diagnosis was Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder which causes inflammation, crystals, and stones in their bladders and kidneys; symptoms which are exacerbated, if not caused, by dry food. Blackie’s treating veterinarians were emphatic: Blackie was never to have dry cat food ever again."
Don't make the mistake of comparing protein percentages of wet food to dry food. The percentage figures represent the comparative values of nutrients within a can or bag and cannot be compared between two products. "When reading labels, it is important to remember that what may appear to be a big difference in the amount of a nutrient - for example, 8% protein in a canned cat food vs. 27% protein in a dry cat food - reflects the fact that there is more water in the canned food. - Your Cat's Nutritional Needs, published by the National Research Council of the National Academies, pg12
To accurately compare dry and wet food you need to do a little math. You need to convert the guaranteed analysis shown on the wet can (the As Fed Basis) to the Dry Matter Basis. Dry matter basis ignores the can's moisture content as if there were no moisture in the can. Here's an excellent tool to keep in your 'about my cat' toolbox... Go to PawDiet and see their Dry Matter Basis Calculator for Pet Food.
Stop to think about how dry cat food is packaged. Most all dry food bags have an interior, shinny lining designed so that the kibble doesn't stick to the bag. That coating could be leaching chemicals into your cat's food.
The rendered animal fat in dry food is a source of microorganisms (Salmonella, etc.) and toxins (heavy metals, etc.). If moisture penetrates a dry food bag (as on a humid day), harmful bacteria and mold can flourish. That is especially possible if you buy big bags thinking you will save money on the cost.
"Those 30 and 40-pound bags of dry kibble, or entire flats of cat food, may be enticing budget-wise, but they’re really intended for homes with multiple kitties. Aim for buying in quantities that can be used up in less than a month’s time, and ideally within three weeks." - Readers Digest
Dry cat food preservatives such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and ethoxyquin are used to maintain food odor, color and flavor, but they are suspected to be one of the primary causes of cancer in cats.
A recent study released by the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine says "More than half of the pets in the U.S. are overweight or obese, a condition that causes a host of health problems in cats and impairs their quality of life." Well... what-the-hell do you expect when cats are being fed dry food by the truckload?
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