Things I hear a lot:
- “I don’t know which food to choose–such conflicting information out there”
- “My cat is too stubborn” “My cat only likes dry food”
The goal of this page is to help you with these problems so you can prolong your cat’s life and keep them out of the doctor’s office.
I’m a believer in the power of food choice to do this because:
- I hear so many stories of cats’ health problems disappearing, coats getting silkier, and energy and playfulness brightening after a food change (I have seen this with my own cats too)
- Before I realized how important cat food is and how to convince my cat to switch, I lost a cat to intestinal lymphoma, which I later learned often originates from undetected intestinal bowel disease that may have been prevented by food choice
Getting Your Cat onto the Healthiest Food You Can Afford
- Start by selecting from the Today’s best cat foods list. I carefully researched these foods (they are not sponsors or affiliates!) and list them by cost from least expensive to most expensive.
(Note: In a pinch, picking a low-carb, grain-free dry food to use on occasion or in rotation with wet meals is a decent compromise.)
- Gradually introduce the food, with enticements, as diagrammed in Introducing new foods. Understand that cats instinctively reject food that has unfamiliar smells. That doesn’t necessarily mean they inherently hate that food, they are just following their biology. That’s why the gradual mix-in with enticements works in so many cases–they get used to the smell with something they trust.
Sometimes, even when you properly gradually introduce the food cleverly, your cat still says “no, that’s not right for me.” For example, some cats won’t eat beef ever. In those cases, you’ve got to just try a different food. Tip: Often pet food stores will let you return packages your cat rejected.
Wondering how on earth I selected food for the “Today’s best” list? I synthesized the best cat food advice I could find from Jean Hofve, DVM, Dr. Karen Becker, TruthAboutPetFood.com, PetsumerReport.com, Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins’ leading-edge book, Your Cat, the Feline Nutrition Education Society, and others. Based on that research, I went through just about every natural cat food I know of and checked it against specific criteria that I list here.
Saving Money by Making Your Own Homemade Cat Food
A reader just sent me a follow-up to a conversation we had earlier on the blog.
After spending 45 days of trying to resolve her 3 shelter kittens’ chronic diarrhea (included vet visits), she finally bought some raw cat food and fed it to them. She was astounded by the results–they had normal stools by the end of the day, and the diarrhea disappeared for good. They regained weight they’d lost while they’d been sick, and developed softer coats.
The food she feeds them actually costs less per day than good canned food! But the shipping adds cost, and you can often can save even more money by making homemade cat food.
Homemade cat food is a topic I plan to blog more about soon, but until then my best tips for getting started are these resources:
- Easiest way to get started making homemade cat food is to use a good supplement product like a Feline Instincts mix: You just order one of their mixes (scroll to middle of their page–we use No Bones About It, plus liver powder) and follow the instructions and recipe included with them. Freeze raw cat food for 3 days before serving to eliminate potential parasites.
- If you want to start even more from scratch and grind your own meat, Dr. Lisa Pierson’s site is probably the best free resource on that.