Cat Health · Human & Cat · Nutrition

The Truth About Cat Food

I just watched the recent documentary on Netflix, “What the Health” where it exposes how bad processed meat is and how it contributes to diseases such as diabetes, all various cancers and more and I started thinking about where cat food comes from. We all know that cats are carnivorous and require all of the necessary vitamins and nutrients that come from animal-based protein. In our household, we feed our cats the highest tier of cat foods on the market, but we know that they are most likely the extras and all the bad bits from the slaughterhouses and processing plants. So what are the good brands? What foods on the market come from good, quality meat? Comment below on your thoughts and recommendations on what you think is the best cat food out there.

cats, cat food, pet food nutrition

Litter Time · Nutrition

Kitty Soft Poops

I’m going to talk about a topic that may be a little uncomfortable, but completely necessary in the world of cats and that is: soft stools.

When you look inside the litter box, what do you see? If you see soft poops (stools that are soft, almost diarrhea like and not solid), your cat’s health may be telling you something. So what are the characteristics you look for and what are the tall-tale signs of poor health?

The color, texture, smell, and the frequency is important to note when your cat goes number two. When I was a cat sitter, I would be amazed on the things that I would see when cleaning the litter boxes. Cow patties, a light brown hue, runny and on the side of the box, I would make sure to inform the cat parent that this was not normal. Cat poop should be a medium-to-dark brown in color, semi-solid, but not too hard because that could mean that kitty is constipated/dehydrated, and should not be offensive in odor.

If you see soft poops, there could be a variety of things going on. Firstly, I would suspect the food that kitty is eating. Poor food choices, especially those that contain high fillers such as wheat, soy, and corn, just to name a few, can cause the poop to be soft. A diet of limited ingredient protein or a raw food diet will allow the poop to be in it’s natural state. If it’s not the food, it could be an intestinal parasite or gut issue. Bring the kitty to the vet and have them take a stool sample and do a regular check-up to ensure that it’s not a more serious issue. From there, they may put kitty on a prescribed diet, provide medication and/or recommend healthy gut probiotics such as FortiFlora from Purina.

Offensive odor and very runny poop could be the food or an intestinal parasite, as mentioned above. Typically, recently adopted kitties from the shelter or rescue group can carry intestinal parasites (multiple cats living together type situation) so it’s a good idea to make sure to follow-up with a veterinarian after adopting kitty to rule out any giardia, coccidia, or worms such as hookworms or tapeworms.

Also, the frequency of bowel movements is important. Is your kitty going at least once a day? Every other day could mean a variety of things so if your kitty is not going daily, I would talk to the veterinarian. It could indicate a health issue.

If your cat has soft poops, this is NOT NORMAL. I cannot stress this enough. I put together a checklist below to help you determine if your kitty’s stools are a-okay.

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Kiki and Messi trying to use the bathroom at the same time. What did you think I was going to show you, a picture of poop!?

Cat Poop Health Checklist:

  • Color
    • Is it medium-to-dark brown?
      • If it’s another color, check for intestinal parasites or try changing foods to see if this is the culprit.
  • Shape/Texture
    • Is it long, short or in little pieces?
      • It should resemble tiny human poops or tootsie rolls.
      • Little pieces can indicate dehydration and/or current food.
      • Feeding dry food in the morning and wet food in the evening can give your cat’s poop the right flow. If you can do wet for both meals, constipation should not be an issue.
    • Is the stool hard, semi-hard, soft, or runny?
      • Normal poops are semi-hard. Not too hard, not too soft.
  • Smell
    • Does the smell stink up your house soon after your kitty goes?
      • If so, it could be the food! Try another brand and/or protein and you may see a difference.
  • Frequency
    • Is kitty going at least once a day?
      • Daily bowel movements means good kitty health. Anything less than that may indicate a problem.

Any insight, comments or tips on the above? Post below to join in on the discussion about Kitty Soft Poops!

Human & Cat · Nutrition

The Wonders of Human Baby Food

Baby food is such a wonderful, hidden secret in the cat world. I came upon it when I needed to help alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowl disease (also known in the cat world as IBD) for my cat Ginger. She was losing weight fast and could not hold an appetite. I went onto Facebook and asked my IBD support group if they knew of a food that would help her. They recommended Beechnut’s baby food line – meat only, to help my poor kitty.

Made up of chicken meat and water, the two ingredient cure-all helped her GI tract and also gave her back her appetite (with IBD, cats with inflamed small intestines can lose their appetite and contribute their current diet as the cause for the pain – which in turn decreases their want to eat that specific food). This also helped our other cat Peloo, who had GI issues that could not be diagnosed and treated by the local veterinarian. Three days of eating the chicken baby food, her inflammation went down and she was back other normal self. this was another example of the wonders of human baby food.

beechnut

Baby food can also help with constipation by providing the cat with additional water needed to pass a bowel movement. This miraculous tool has helped our cat family tremendously and we hope this can help you too!

Tips: We highly recommend the Beechnut brand of baby food since the other brands add ingredients that can do more harm than good. The chicken flavored has been the best and we have several cans in our pantry just in case we need it!

Nutrition

What Should I Feed My Cat?

Cat nutrition is insanely crazy, but it’s also very simple at the same time. It’s always good to talk to your veterinarian before switching your kitty to a new food. Just like people, cats react differently to the ingredients found in cat food. There are many different types of proteins, vitamins, grains and starches, veggies and fruit found in cat food. Trying to figure out what is best for your cat can be overwhelming, but here are a few things to keep in mind in finding the right cat food for your felines:

  1. Type of Protein
    • Look for proteins that would be a typical meal if they lived in  the wild. Examples: Duck, venison, and rabbit are good meats. If you can avoid chicken, turkey, and fish, try to. These meats are not typical of a cat’s natural diet and many felines have develop allergies and ailments over time from these proteins.
  2. Additional Ingredients
    • Fillers. To keep costs low, companies put the least amount of animal protein in wet and dry foods. In place of what’s supposed to be 100% meat, these mega companies will pump our cat’s food with corn, potatoes, low-cost veggies, and pretty much anything that is considered a filler. Cat’s obtain their energy from proteins, not starches and carbohydrates.
  3. Fruits & Veggies
    • Just like humans, cats need their daily dose of kale, cranberries, sweet potato and peas… NOT! Cats are obligate carnivores which means that they don’t need fruits and veggies in their diet. In fact, high consumption of fruits and veggies can be harmful to our felines. Their bodies need the nutrients and vitamins from animal protein to make amino acids. These acids are needed to survive!
    • Find a food that has limited amount of fruits and veggies and if possible, buy a product that has absolutely none. There are a handful of cat food companies that are limited ingredient and are much better for your cats.
  4. Wet vs. Dry
    • I like to give my cats a mix of both each day. Dry food in the mornings and wet in the evenings. If I could, they would be eating raw meat at each meal, but that can be costly!
    • Giving your cats wet food versus dry is the better option. Cats draw their daily water content from wet food and do not depend on a water bowl as much as if they were strictly on a dry food diet. If you were to strictly give your cat dry food, they can develop issues such as kidney/urinary diseases and weight issues. Dry food is very concentrated and contains for calories than wet food. Also, there are many fillers and fruits/veggies in dry food. If you were to buy a dry food, go for the dehydrated limited ingredient like Stella and Chewy’s that needs to be hydrated before giving it to your cat.

Always read the ingredient label when choosing the right food for your feline. You may go through may different brands before you find the right one, so buy one can/bag at a time. If your kitty doesn’t enjoy the dry food, you can simply return it or donate it to a local rescue group or shelter.

cats; kittens
Two kittens eating a high protein diet.

It’s also important to do a proper food transition process. Don’t feed your kitty the whole can, but just a small little taste to see if they like it. You can read more about food transition in my upcoming blog post. Stay tuned and happy shopping!

Nicole @ Just Cats