Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cat Food Revisited

Possum in wider times, a couple of years ago.

Possum recently, pounds thinner but not exactly bony. But his head looks bigger, doesn't it?

It's been a while since I've written about what we feed our cats, and it's because we've had a successful routine in place for many months now. But I'm remembering what a tizzy I was in a year ago, as I struggled over online research, trying to figure out a healthy diet that we could handle and they would eat.

And we did it by feeding foods I picked from an excellent, periodically updated list from the Natural Cat Care Blog. The owner of this site, Liz Eastman, did all the heavy lifting to find the safest, healthiest, best commercial foods, so we don't all have to wear ourselves out trying to do the same thing. I special-order our picks by the case from our local pet store, Fish + Bone, and they deliver them for free. 

Last January, when Possum went to the vet for a weigh-in, he was 16 pounds and needed to lose at least a pound and a half. He was down from his all-time high of 17.5 pounds, but he hadn't lost any weight in a very long time. He'd lost that pound and a half after we stopped free-feeding our cats dry food. When we switched to feeding only canned food, his weight still held steady. It was only after we switched again, to low-carb, low-starch canned and frozen raw food (all grain-free, obviously) that he slimmed down nicely, over the course of several months.

When he was at the vet last September, he was 13.9 pounds, an ideal weight. Wendy is 9.5 pounds, down from a pudgy high of 13 pounds. As long as they hold steady and don't get any skinnier, we're golden. We've won the obesity battle that plagues so many cat owners. Possum may still look like a flabby tabby, but I can feel some ribs under that fluffy coat. And Harris and Toffee are both sleek and healthy at around 10 pounds each.

Each cat gets the equivalent of one 5.5- to 6-ounce can of food per day. We feed four different foods each day, over four meals, for four cats. So each cat gets 1/4 of each can (or a whole raw medallion), unless he steals some from his fellow dinner guests' bowls. Everyone loves Tiki Cat chicken and frozen raw chicken. They also gobble up all the other brands in all the flavors — except chicken. They sometimes get picky about the other brands of chicken, so we seldom order those anymore.

To provide Omega 3 fatty acids, we give all the cats one can of water-packed, unsalted sardines (Trader Joe's) about once a week. Usually there are four sardines in a can, so it's easy.

For the record, our current brands and flavors are: Nature's Variety Instinct canned and raw (chicken, duck, lamb), Tiki Cat canned (grain-free chicken only), and Hounds and Gatos canned (rabbit, lamb, chicken), and occasionally some Nature's Logic canned (rabbit, lamb).

Reading back over this, I realize that having four cats makes feeding everyone very easy. Even the frozen raw chicken medallions come in bags of 48, easily divided up into 12 bags of four patties to thaw in the fridge for each meal.

If we had a fifth cat, the math would get much trickier. But I'm pretty good at math... hmm. Stay tuned!

2 comments:

  1. Possum has had and still has the best, most fluffiest, most temptingly snugglabel tummy around! And he knows it! And he flaunts it! I bet it is as soft as it looks. Does he let you snuggle that tummy? One of mine will, one won't.
    They seem to be thriving on all you do for them, despite Toffees attempts to do himself in ;)

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    1. Hi Anne, that belly is extremely soft and he loves being petted everywhere. I can stroke his teeth! When Wendy's planets are in the correct configuration and she's in the right location and mood, we can pet her everywhere, too. The boys are not into tooth-petting but have nice little bellies, too....

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