Showing posts with label high quality wet cat food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label high quality wet cat food. Show all posts

Saturday 2 September 2023

Is there a high-quality cat food I can give my cat to reduce shedding?

Ragdoll groomed during the shedding season. Image in public domain.

Conventional response to the question

While there is no cat food that can completely eliminate shedding, you can choose high-quality cat foods that can help reduce excessive shedding and promote healthy skin and coat. Here are some factors to consider when selecting cat food to help with shedding:
  1. Look for foods with a high-quality protein source: Cats are obligate carnivores, so their diet should primarily consist of animal-based protein. Foods with high-quality protein sources like chicken, turkey, or fish can promote healthy skin and coat.
  2. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids: These essential fatty acids are crucial for skin and coat health. Foods containing fish oil, flaxseed, or other sources of these fatty acids can help reduce shedding and improve coat quality.
  3. Limited fillers and carbohydrates: Avoid cat foods that have excessive fillers and carbohydrates, as they may not provide the essential nutrients your cat needs for optimal coat health. Look for foods with a lower carbohydrate content.
  4. Nutrient balance: Ensure that the cat food you choose is balanced and meets the nutritional needs of your cat. High-quality commercial cat foods are typically formulated to provide the right balance of vitamins and minerals.
  5. Avoid artificial additives: Some artificial additives and preservatives may contribute to skin and coat issues. Opt for cat foods with natural ingredients and minimal additives.
  6. Consult your veterinarian: If your cat's shedding is excessive or if you're concerned about their coat health, it's a good idea to consult your veterinarian. They can recommend specific cat foods or dietary supplements tailored to your cat's needs.
Remember that genetics, age, and environmental factors can also influence shedding, so even with the best diet, some shedding may still occur. Regular grooming, such as brushing your cat's fur, can also help reduce shedding by removing loose hair and preventing matting.

Comment on the above

I feel it necessary to comment on the above which, by the way, is a conventional answer taken from sources on the Internet. I think, to be fair, you will find some websites being a little overoptimistic about the prospect of a certain cat food reducing the shedding of fur from a domestic cat.

Why should I say this? Because it is entirely natural for a domestic cat to shed fur when there's more light not, by the way when it is warmer. It is light which dictates when and how much a domestic cat sheds.

Some people believe that seasonal temperature changes dictates when a domestic cat sheds but my reference book written by four distinguished veterinarians tell me that "shedding is influenced more by changes in ambient light. The more exposure to natural light, the greater the shedding. This applies to both neutered and intact cats."

I guess, on that basis, if you kept your cat in a darkened room they wouldn't shed! But that's entirely impractical and cruel. Cats kept indoors full-time exposed to constant light may shed lightly and grow a new coat year-round.

But the point here is that it is a natural process and so feeding high-quality cat food with the intention of reducing this natural process is not going to produce a dramatic change. There might be a slight improvement partly because good quality cat food would improve the overall condition of the cat including the condition of the skin and it makes the skin more supple and the hair strands softer and silkier.

Breeds

I have said it before but I will say again briefly. There are no cat breeds (except hairless!) or individual cats who don't shed fur. All domestic cats of whatever cat breed shed fur because, as stated, it is a natural process. I wouldn't believe what you read on the Internet about certain breeds not shedding fur. They are not really true.

The hairless cats don't shed hair because they don't have any real hair except for a downy coating and so you won't have the problems of shedding hair but you will have other problems of keeping the skin of the hairless cat clean and in good condition.

Sunday 11 September 2022

Indoor/outdoor cat becomes very hungry in the winter

On social media, a cat owner tells us that she has lived with her cat for about a year.  During the summer months, her cat is very much an indoor/outdoor cat. She spends all day, every day outside and prefers to sleep outside under a certain plant in her back garden. She says that "during summer she was out all day barely eating her food". She's not sure but she says "maybe she was catching mice".

Indoor/outdoor cat
Indoor/outdoor cat. This is not the cat referred to in the article. Image: by Sa Ka from Pixabay.

RELATED: Are indoor or indoor/outdoor cats healthier?

Since the weather has turned and become much less agreeable for an indoor/outdoor cat she's become more "homely". She does not like the rain very much. And "she is suddenly so hungry!"

Whatever she feeds her, she demands more. She says that "some days I break and give her another tiny bit of biscuits or another day one of the kids got excited and fed her another packet".

Well, the woman is providing her cat with only dry cat food and not enough of it, it seems to me. The received wisdom of cat experts is that this is incorrect. Good quality wet cat food is better than dry cat food as it contains more water (70% compared to around 10%). Domestic cats do not drink enough water to compensate for the lack of water in dry cat food. This leads them to being mildly dehydrated. Therefore, cats must be provided with wet cat food.

As to the fact that she is suddenly very hungry this must be because she is a great hunter and during the summer months, she obtains most of her food through hunting, probably mice, near where she lives. And clearly, she does not bring her food back into the home. Not all cats do this. And/or she was being fed by a neighbour but the hunting theory is almost certainly the correct one.

A lot of domestic cat hunting takes place out of sight and out of mind of their owners. This applies to all domestic cats allowed outside. Although, we know too, that many cats like to bring their 'kills' inside the home, extend the hunt inside the home and then finally kill and eat their prey in a quiet corner of their "den".

The question on the social media site (mumsnet.com) regarding this cat is that she is a "very hungry cat". That's a question because she is asking "why is my cat suddenly very hungry?". The answer is she's not hunting any more in the winter months and therefore requires feeding. And she is not being fed enough and the wrong food by the sound of it.

REALATED: 16 tips on cat worms and deworming.

A side issue is that she should be dewormed regularly to get rid of endoparasites that she is ingesting with the mice. It is almost certain that she has worms after summer months of mice hunting.

Saturday 6 August 2022

Best dry food for indoor cats?

This is a question on Mumnet.com by a mum who has started to foster cats. Here is her question:

Hello, I've recently started fostering & have a neutered male who the vet thinks is about three. Because he's being fostered, he has to stay inside, so I'm making sure he gets as much exercise & entertainment as possible while he's here - climbing up to reach treats, jumping & chasing when we play with his toys, etc.

I've been giving him Go-Cat for indoor cats because that's what he was on when he came here, but a friend's just told me this is linked to UTIs. What would the Litter Tray experts recommend?
Image in public domain.

The answer has to be something like this:

Go-Cat is cheap and nasty. There is no effective difference in the dry cat food requirements of indoor or indoor/outdoor cats. The worst cat food is cheap dry cat food only 24/7. That is not good enough. There are stories of cats on cheap dry developing type 2 diabetes and then being cured entirely in time by going onto a canned food. These are normally obese, inactive indoor cats eating too much cheap dry. That is a bad combination.

RELATED: How much cat food by weight should I feed my adult cat daily?

High quality we cat food either commercially prepared or homemade raw must be the default food for all domestic cats but homemade raw requires real skill and knowledge of storing raw foods as there are risks with bacterial contamination and pathogens like Toxoplasma gondii. If you are good at homemade raw, I'd use it or at least test it. A lot of people say that it cures a lot of health issues such as diarrhea issues or gut issues. But it must be balanced with supplements and prepared and stored correctly. It is quite technical. Click this for some pointers.

RELATED: 3 diabetic cats cured with an exclusive wet cat food diet.

To this default food you can add a high quality dry for grazing at night. I use Hill's Dental Care. It is large kibble which is better for teeth cleaning. There is a big question mark over whether dry cleans teeth but if it is large there is chance that it does. 

But it should ideally be a secondary food. The wet is the default because it is more natural in terms of water content. It should have a high genuine meat content too. Insect based dry cat food is coming onto the market now and it looks good. That's natural too as a raw material as cats eat insects.

RELATED: Best cat food – informative overview discussion.

Even dry cat food made from plant material (plant protein) is okay in my book as the manufacturers add in supplements to ensure that it is fully balanced. Don't shy away from plant based dry cat food because you believe that they have to eat 'meat'. That is a fallacy. But don't try and turn your cat into a vegan or vegetarian either. That could be fatal.

RELATED: Auckland vegan cat owner says that her cat is healthier and happier on a vegan pet food diet.

A third type of food would be the occasional human food treat such as a chicken wing with bones. Dr Fogle DVM recommends that. I guess you could try it raw too. The bones clean the teeth. There is a slight risk with the bones but if Dr Fogle recommends it I'm okay with it too.

Monday 15 February 2021

Is dry cat food cheaper than wet cat food?

I am going to have to take a guess at this. Let's call it a guesstimate based upon lots of experience. It is difficult to be precise because there are many variables such as the quality of cat food which does very considerably as we know. It is probable that the price per kilogram of dry cat food is similar to the price per kilogram of wet cat food of the same quality. In this discussion the context is the UK.

Dry cat food is cheaper than wet cat food of the same quality because there is les waste
Dry cat food is cheaper than wet cat food of the same quality because there is les waste.  Image: MikeB based on images from Pixabay (copyright free).



Alhtough it is hard to make that assertion because it is difficult to compare quality. However, I believe it is a fair starting point. The big factor in working out whether dry cat food is cheaper than wet cat food is how much waste a cat owner has in respect of dry and wet foods.

It is probably accepted by nearly everyone that is far more likely that you will waste some wet cat food compared to dry cat food. In my estimation, across the board, on average, cat owners probably throw away about 25% of the wet cat food that they buy for their cat. It goes into the waste bin or it feeds the local fox. Although foxes are not that keen on thrown-away cat food in my opinion and my experience.

So this last factor in the calculation swings the result towards dry cat food being cheaper than wet cat food. This is because you simply do not waste any dry cat food, also in my experience. Yes, dry cat food does go off eventually but it can remain in the bowl for long enough for it to be fully eaten without any wastage whatsoever.

It comes down the wastage; the wastage factor is the key factor in this calculation. In the UK, it seems that both wet and dry cat food costs about £5-£6 per kilogram. I'm referring to decent quality food. It's expensive in the UK. One reason why you don't want to waste it. But it is difficult not to because domestic cats can be quite pernickety and picky.

They might give you the impression that they are hungry and then they turn their noses up and walk away from the bowl. They will have their favourites but they will go off their favourites for a while. You have to provide variation. Or they will eat part of the food offered. These are reasons why you end up with some waste. In hot climates wet cat food can go off and become inedible for a cat within an hour or so.

If you make a mistake about whether your cat is hungry or not the whole bowl of food can go into the bin. Perhaps I've been generous in favour of wet cat food when I say that 25% of it is wasted. Or perhaps in some households they will say that they never waste any of it. Like I said I have to rely on a guesstimate and my own experience.

My conclusion is that dry cat food is cheaper than wet cat food on a price per meal basis. That does not mean that cat owners should rely exclusively on dry cat food. I think by now, or I hope by now, that cat owners realised that the better cat food is high quality wet but dry can be used for night-time grazing which is what I do. The reason: wet is more natural and mirrors the standard prey of the domestic cat, the mouse in containing around 70-80% water. Cats needs that. They don't make it up in drinking more.

As an aside, if you don't like your cat bringing back live or dead mice or birds then a study encourages cat owners to provide their cat with the highest possible wet cat food with meat protein and without grain. This may curb your cat's hunting instincts. It is suggested in the study that protein from plants in cat food lacks certain micronutrients which the domestic cat tries to make up by hunting and eating mice and other small mammals and birds. They need that meat protein or cat food based on plant-proteins with these additional micronutrients added as a supplement. Further work is being carried out on that.

Friday 12 February 2021

2 ways to reduce your cat's hunting behaviour

There are two ways to reduce your cat's hunting behaviour and they are: providing your cat with the highest quality wet cat food which is grain-free and playing with your cat as much as possible. The advice emerges from the conclusion of a sensible study by scientists of 335 participating domestic cats in 219 households.

Feeding domestic cats wet food which is grain-free and which derives protein from meat plus play reduces predation on birds and mammals
Feeding domestic cats wet food which is grain-free and which derives protein from meat plus play reduces predation on birds and mammals. Image: the scientists who conducted the study and reproduced here under an implied license.

The cats were split into two groups and strategies to curb their hunting behaviour. They discovered that feeding the cats with a high quality commercial food in which the protein came from meat and not plants, i.e. it was grain-free reduced the number of prey animals that the cat brought home by 36%.

Also, playing with a domestic cat for between five and ten minutes daily resulted in a 25% reduction in the same behaviour. The study is published in the journal Current Biology.

Martina Cecchetti, a PhD student of Exeter University, who conducted the study, said that despite some foods claiming to be a complete diet, they might leave the cats with a nutritional deficiency in micronutrients which compels them to hunt.

Another member of the study team, Professor Robbie McDonald, of the same university, said: "Our study shows that with entirely non-invasive, non-restrictive methods, owners can change what the cats themselves want to do."

They also concluded that when a domestic cat wears a bell on their collar to warn birds that they were being stalked by the cat, there was no discernible reduction in the birds brought back home. Further, they decided that the brightly coloured collars that you can purchase for domestic cats to reduce predation on birds were effective by 42% but they did not have any impact on predation on mammals such as mice. In other words, there was a 42% reduction in the birds brought home when the collars were worn. I have an article on that you can read by clicking here.

The study is important in two respects (1) it possibly highlights an issue with high quality complete diet wet foods, which needs to be further investigated and no doubt will, (2) there is, it seems, a connection between appetite and hunting desire.

We have constantly heard the mantra that a domestic cat's hunger is completely dissociated from their desire to hunt. But this study indicates that there is a connection between what a cat eats and the desire to hunt. And essentially it seems to say that if you provide a cat with the highest possible wet cat food they will hunt less.

It is thought that some cat foods contain protein from soy which may leave a micronutrient deficiency which the cats try and make up through hunting.

There is a general concern from both sides of the divide i.e. from cat lovers and cat haters about the predation by domestic cats on wildlife because the environment and the protection of wildlife has become a priority in the minds of many people. 

Therefore, the domestic and feral cat is under fire from environmentalists, nature lovers and ornithologists, and indeed animal lovers of all kinds. The common advice is to keep your cat inside at all times, but this also produces a deficiency in their lifestyle because cat owners tend not to substitute the natural behaviour they enjoy by hunting with play.

This is borne out in the study because one third of the cat owners participating in the study indicated that they would not continue to play with their cats as they did in the study but they will continue to feed them with premium cat food. There is therefore a reluctance to play with domestic cats. That's because it is boring for the person. Notwithstanding that, it is highly enjoyable and necessary for the indoor cat.

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