I had heard him knock the bag on the floor. By the time I got there, he'd already attracted an accomplice:
Snalbert: Something in here smells really good. Possum: Mine!
The cats only eat canned Fancy Feast and Science Diet kibble reliably. People who study cat food and feline nutrition say that both of these brands are bad to mediocre in their quality of ingredients: by-products, artificial colors and flavors, corn, etc. So I keep searching for better foods my cats will eat. They often snarf up samples of better-quality foods, including Wellness and Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul. But as soon as I invest in a case, they turn up their noses at it.
We've tried Innova, Evo, California Naturals, Indigo Moon, Instinct, Halo, Triumph, and Taste of the Wild. They rejected most of those; I had to reject the rest because they are too high in calories or protein for some of the cats. So when Mindy at Brookline Grooming offered us samples of Stella & Chewy's freeze-dried, very pure raw food, I became the starry-eyed optimist once again. According to the label, this food is just ground-up, "raw, naturally raised meat, poultry, or fish. No grains, added hormones or antibiotics, artificial preservatives, sugar, salt, or colorings." I was intrigued.
So were Snalbert and Possum:
Snalbert tries to chew a hole in the bag.
Possum batted Snalbert's head. Snalbert retaliated.
And I realized I need a better camera.
Never mess with Snalbert. He may be fluffy-wuffy and beige, but he's fierce.
I took mercy on the boys and opened a flavor called "Chick, Chick, Chicken."
Nom, nom, nom...
They ate like starving ferals off the streets who had never seen food in a bowl before.
Possum eats with his paw.
I let all four cats try a second sample packet. They were slightly less enthusiastic, but that's probably because it was chicken mixed with salmon this time. None of us is wild about salmon.
Snalbert's technique is to stuff his face deep in his bowl;
Possum prefers to eat off the floor or his paw.
I went online to try to see how much this stuff costs. I can't tell; it's very new. But it's probably expensive. We also need to ask our vet about it. Vets tend to dislike raw food. But I looked online, and this food uses a patented, freeze-drying process that seems advanced and safe. And they add all the nutritional supplements that are in commercial food, as well as probiotics and other healthy stuff.
On their site, I found out that you're supposed to soften the pellets with plenty of warm water to help hydrate your cat. You should only give the dry pellets as treats. Oops. I still have two more samples, so we'll see how that goes. But I think we have a [temporary?] winner. If it's insanely expensive, we can feed it to them some of the time. Maybe its purity and wholesomeness will turn them off from Fancy Feast. That never worked for me — I'll take cookies over veggies any day. But cats are wiser than us humans.
Update: Stella & Chewy's is available in a 12-ounce bag for $31.99! That provides about six meals, or not quite enough to feed four cats twice in a day. I love my cats but can't spend $1,000 a month feeding them (sorry, Possum!), so we're back to the drawing board again.