Cheap cat food - false economy?(33 Posts)
My cat has 3 x felix pouches a day plus grazes on pets at home biscuits.... If I switched to asda pouches this would be a lot cheaper but is it true that you're just storing up big vet bills in the future as the food quality isn't at good?
We gave our dog the cheapest food until we found out that it was basically the equivalent of feeding it Macdonalds every day. I would imagine it is the same for cats.
Not sure about the health side but my cat is very picky and changes his preferences all the time so I alternate. He won't eat something one day but will the next. Quite a lot of waste and it is quite expensive !
The biggest thing I notice is the smell and consistency of their poop. I feed raw and the cats do firm, practically odourless poops as it is high protein, carb free. When I feed cooked or biscuits that are carb free the poop has a slight smell.
Any food with filler carbs or veg creates stinky poop that you know when they've been. Anything with gravy or jelly makes soft stinky poop.
As an indoor cat keeper I don't want rancid poops.
It's fine to give cheap wet food generally. In fact some cheap food - Butchers Classic tins - are better healthwise than pouches probably.
Cheap dried food though - and that includes Go Cat, Whiskas and the like - is dreadful stuff and positively dangerous if your cat is male (linked to urinary blockages). If you must give dried make it a very good one (Arden Grange or Applaws for example), or alternatively just feed wet. And if money is an issue then you can't do better than Butchers Classic.
I wouldn't count Felix as particularly high quality, but obviously there's far worse. The actual meat content of some of these tins/pouches is appallingly low, as Sacred points out, they're packed with carbs that cats don't need and a lot of cats have digestive problems from them. Our cat farted like crazy fro cheap food!
And pouches are far more expensive than tins anyway - perhaps you could convert to higher quality larger tins like Butchers that you use up over a day or two (and store in the fridge in the meantime).
I've also noticed that our cat tended to eat far more quantity of the low-quality stuff. When he has a higher percentage of meat in his food he eats far less, presumably because he can digest it better. So the cheap food was a false economy too because we had to buy more. We started off with rubbish-quality pouches (because we didn't know any better) and he was wolfing up to 4 or 5 a day, but now with the higher meat content he has 200g a day tops. And he's a big cat!
Feeding raw can be surprisingly cheap if you go for meat specifically sold for cats and dogs (often via the Net), but you'd need to add your own taurine.
Natural instincts online is a great raw feed company, taurine and meat to offal ratios are all balanced out. It's minced and frozen ready to use. Not as cheap as doing it yourself but as Archfarchnad said the quantity they eat is much less (my cats eat about 100g a day of raw each, 90p a day) and the condition of their coat and lean muscle is impeccable.
I've found that my cats' health is maintained by feeding better quality food. My elderly cat in particular is doing very well for her age.
I'm giving them Gourmet Perle which is made by Purina, Iams biscuits and Hills dental care - mixed with the Iams.
I have to say it was for me. Granted, the cat in question has a very sensitive system due to being a panleucopenia survivor, but we were always at the vets about her colitis flare ups until I got her onto Nature's Menu. Now we go once every few months instead of a few times every month. However, my other cat who was a pampered pet from birth can eat anything (but won't).
I'm not sure about cheap wet food (ours eat Gourmet Perle or Sheba) but don't give them cheap biscuits. We learnt this the hard way - we used Go Cat and our male cat ended up with a urinary blockage that nearly killed him. He spent five nights at the vet and cost us over £800 in bills and medication.
He's now on urinary biscuits from Royal Canin and thankfully there's not been a problem since. The vet said the "danger period" for re-occurance is two weeks and it's been four months now so hopefully he'll be okay, but we're always on the look-out for symptoms. It was horrible and really worrying for us - he was really sick and not himself for a couple of weeks after coming home.
Please please don't give them cheap biscuits. I wouldn't want anyone to go through what we did with ours.
I give my cats Harringtons dried food, as they are quite fussy about their dried food. They didn't use to like wet food, but as they have aged, that has changed. They are quite fussy about the wet food, and loathe Felix with a passion. I tried them on Tesco's own and they like it a lot and it is cheaper than Whiskas. Last week, i bought a box of Lidl's Coshina wet food and they gobbled it down. It works out at £1.75 for a box of 12 packets, so guess what my boys are going to be eating for a while (they'll probably get tired of it, but I hope not).
potap123 I agree ideally. Some cats are terrible getting their dry though. Zara (fussy princess) eats a good amount of wet but can produce an ear-splitting nasal nehhhhhh sound to demand dry: it's a really weird noise, hard to represent, but she's half Abysinnian and it's a real nasal whinge that clearly says 'give me thaaaat one! I can't eat ever again if I don't have thaaaat one now!'. We compromise with a smalll amount of Thrive in addition to her wet (90% chicken, no grains).
I changed my cat onto Millies Lionheart yes it's dry but it's high quality dry 75% meat or fish, 25% veg no grains or additives. First thing I noticed is his poos are a lot smaller, firmer and a lot less smelly, he's 15 and his coat is gleaming.
Isn't all-wet meant to be awful for their teeth?
TheBunnyOfDoom (love your name!) the jury seems to be out on the teeth question and vets do seem to disagree.
However Butchers Classic (honestly - i don't work for them!) is recommended by our vets as it seems to help with gingivitis and mouth problems generally. It is also cereal free and seems to help with sensitive stomachs too.
I can't stress this enough - Butchers Classic is fabulous!
Thanks Ours turned their nose up - we have two tins of Butchers lurking in the cat food cupboard from over a year ago! Occasionally I try them on it again and get looked at with much disgust lol.
That's a shame! My many, many cats don't get given a choice. They eat Butchers or starve. It's a tough regime in my house
One of ours was underweight when we got her and it was Sheba/Gourmet or nothing. I'd rather she ate something - although since being neutered she's turned rather chunky!
When I was younger and didn't know any better my first cat ate wet pouches with a few biscuits sprinkled on top. With my second I've looked into meat content and the majority of cheaper wet pouches/tins are only 4% meat!! The rest is water and veg derivative.
Having dome some research I settled on science plan biscuits which are 62% meat. The recommended portion per day is small (and I initially thought too small) but I went with it and am very happy. It fills my girl up, she tends to graze over the day and never asks for her food. Compared to my first cat who was always hungry on wet. It is good for their teeth as prevents plaque build up.
I worry my girl gets bored having the same (only one flavour for long haired) to eat so will occasionally offer her some wet pouch/cooked chicken/ham but it goes uneaten. When a tin of tuna is opened though then she'll ask!
My two won't touch Butcher's Classic either, I ended up donating the tins to a wildlife rescue.
I've found it hard to find good quality complete wet food, we need pouches as DS feeds them and he can't manage tins. At the moment the two of them share a pouch of Felix twice a day and have a small amount of no-cereal dry food. A lot of the better quality wet foods are supplementary not complete.
Great thread, have two 9 week old kittens with very smelly (and lots of) poos so am interested to know if this could be affected by their food. Does anyone know of a good kitten food or can they just eat normal cat food? Is it a marketing ploy to have kitten food in the first place?
Natural instincts do a raw weaning food and then by 14 weeks they can go on adult. At 9 weeks kittens would usually be feeding off mum and only exploring food so I would definitely give kitten food if they aren't nursing anymore as they will be lacking mum's goodness.
I assume the kittens aren't nursing anymore?
I would feed them kitten food because at nine weeks they're still very young and have more specific requirements than adults. Try and make sure it's not a cheap brand though - what are you feeding them at the moment?
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