What Should Be in Your Cat’s Diet?

cat-eating-bowl

This post is sponsored by Balanced Blends

Cats should be thriving, not just surviving. Yet the vast majority of pet food options is filled with species inappropriate ingredients chosen to meet the minimum nutritional requirements, at the lowest possible cost, while sounding increasingly “human appropriate” to appeal to buyers. We’ve domesticated our cats, but we’ve failed to bring the nutritional benefits of the wild in with them.

Cats are obligate carnivores and should be fed a diet that minimizes stress on their bodies. This includes, for example, avoiding plant ingredients such as carrots, potatoes, spinach, chickpeas, and other legumes that require the use of non-primary, inefficient digestive processes, thus introducing digestive stress.

Making a conscious choice to feed appropriately is the first step, but how do you identify what is nutritionally balanced and species appropriate?

Who regulates pet food?

In the United States, nutritional standards for “complete and balanced” pet food are established by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials. ) The organization is charged with establishing and enforcing animal feed requirements across all fifty state governments. Its primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of feed for human food producing livestock.  AAFCO states that “…it is the pet food company’s responsibility to formulate their products according to the appropriate AAFCO standard.” It’s this formulation of products performed by the industry that needs closer attention if we’re going to address the significant increase in cases of diet related illnesses.

Why you should be concerned

How concerned should you be?

In 2007, the contamination of species inappropriate grains used in pet food led to the largest pet food recall in history causing hundreds, possibly thousands of deaths. The true numbers will most likely never be known.

Currently, the FDA is investigating the species inappropriate “grain-free” alternative ingredients (starches, chickpeas, and other legumes) to determine whether there is a link to heart disease (DCM – dilated cardiomyopathy).

High levels of species inappropriate carbohydrates may be contributing to the feline obesity crisis, which in turn, leads to diseases ranging from diabetes to arthritis to heart disease.

You should be very concerned.

Surviving vs. thriving

We see these very same problems in the human food industry. Sure, we could survive on fast food, until heart disease, cancer or any other illness implicated with poor nutrition gets the better of us. But we would thrive on a balance of quality nutritional ingredients. The difference for us is that we can make the choice of what food we buy for us. Since our cats can’t choose, it’s up to us to make the right choice for them.

Like with humans and fast food, there’s a reason our cats often love inappropriate recipes and ingredients. There’s a $1 billion industry creating food attractants that can make cardboard seem as amazing as ice cream, or steak, or whatever you need it to taste like. The same is true for pet food.

You are the advocate for your cat’s health.

You are the advocate for your cat’s health. That means acknowledging that cats are obligate carnivores who require a diet based on wholesome species appropriate foods, without chemical attractants. A complete and balanced diet consisting of meat, organs, and the minimal amount of supplements needed to complete the diet, checks all the boxes.

balanced-blends-cat

About Balanced Blends

Balanced Blends creates species appropriate pet food for cats. Their high-protein Species Balanced™ recipes are 97.5% USDA inspected and approved animal ingredients, combined with a minimum amount of supplementation. No species inappropriate ingredients included: no grains, ‘grain-free’ alternatives, starches, carbs, chickpeas, or other legumes.

Pets are family. Carnivores hunt. Choose to feed appropriately™.

For more information, visit BalancedBlends.com

*FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, which means that I was compensated to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will only see products or services featured on this site that I believe are of interest to our readers.

5 Comments on What Should Be in Your Cat’s Diet?

  1. M
    August 16, 2019 at 11:47 am (1 day ago)

    Previously I had decided to forgo posting any comments due to a run in with another person commenting, however this is an issue that really IRKS me. The canned food being used here for years has been discontinued and the replacement offered is not much different, but only comes in a little 3 oz plastic cup, is difficult to open and is not enough for 11 mouths to feed (usually buy 5.5 oz cans), plus it is way more expensive. In addition, my source for the frozen raw has decided to get out of the business. Both foods were made by the same company and were promoted as 95% meat/bone/organ with limited 5% fruits/veggies. Their raw bites are still available in big pet stores (The frozen raw medallions are hard to come by! You have to find a local small pet store that might carry/order it.), BUT they have reduced the meat in the bites to 85% and added dl-Methionine*. I suspect the medallions will follow suit soon enough. I bought as much of both that I could afford to allow time to transition. It has renewed my effort to get them to eat homemade (see Dr Pierson’s recipe at https://catinfo.org/making-cat-food/) while I try to find possible replacement canned foods that meets MY requirements and that most, if not all, will eat. At this point I would prefer they all eat the food I make. For those who wish to try her recipe, but don’t want to buy a grinder yet, you can try at first by either buying the meat frozen pre-ground from a good pet food source and adding the other ingredients, or buying boneless along with bone meal and use a good blender to chop up the meat (bake per catinfo recipe and probably cut up first, less stress on blender.) IF the cats accept it, then consider investing in a GOOD grinder (most will say not for bone, but mine works on chicken, duck and rabbit bone.) Cost wise, depending on your meat source, is comparable or less to buying it already made (minus the initial grinder investment.) If you can get the chicken thighs on sale, it is even less expensive. Whole rabbit is actually sold at a local grocery here (although lately they are having trouble getting it shipped.)

    The disturbing part that irks me is that most of the canned foods offered today LOUDLY pronounce “grain free”, yet add potatoes, rice, peas, blueberries, starches and other foods CATS DON’T NEED and cannot process properly. The grains were added to cut their costs and keep protein counts up, but caused so many problems. Now they are most/all on board with the grain issue, BUT, they are still cutting costs by adding these vegetables to keep their protein count up. I read all the ingredients listed on commercial cat foods and am certainly am NOT going to pay premium prices for these so called “premium” foods that are anything but. If anyone knows of a brand of canned food that does NOT include fruits, veggies, starches, dl-Methionine, etc, PLEASE let us know!

    I have not finished checking out the BalancedBlends, but the shipping cost is a killer. I did follow the links to check the homemade recipe, but am perplexed as to why they use pumpkin, along with Zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, kale… Dr. Pierson’s recipe has no veggies in it. Meat, bone, organs, eggs, water and vitamin/minerals/fish oil. The other recipe also seems rather complicated. Not so for Dr Pierson’s recipe (BTW she has been feeding her cats only this since 2003.)

    So now, in addition to ensuring our cat foods have no grains and proper balances of protein, vitamins, minerals, hydration we have to check the ingredients used! Reading those ingredients on Rx foods showed most of them have this garbage or worse and I will not use them (many cats won’t eat them, esp the CKD foods.) While each cat has to be evaluated/treated individually, and what works for my kitty may not work for others, I can say that my 20.5 yo kitty was identified as starting down the CKD path in July 2015, identified hyperthyroid issue March 2016, Radio Iodine treated April 2017 (medication kept the numbers in check, but she lost 5#) and we found lower lung spots in April 2018. She gets WHATEVER she wants to eat! Still chugging along, but add some cognitive issue (dementia) with some coordination issues sometimes, she may not have long left – meanwhile, I give her whatever she wants to keep her fed and happy!

    *dl-Methionine is a synthetic form of Methionine, something that occurs naturally in MEAT. The only reason I can think of to require adding this synthetic is that they are skimping on the meat. I will NOT buy anything with that in it as it is one of the suspects in the cause of idiopathic hypercalcemia. Something in dry food caused this in at least one cat here and eliminating dry food cured the problem (we had tested for all the usual causes, none applied.) After that, I eliminated dry food for everyone and cleared up BM issues for 3 other cats, two who came from the shelter with their issues and which continued until the dry food was taken away (could not wean them off it – they were all eating both canned and dry, so it was just taken away one day and so far no one has complained!)

    Reply
  2. J Thom
    August 13, 2019 at 8:10 pm (4 days ago)

    Such an important article! Thank you for sharing. I have thought about these vegetables now being added and questioned them. Peas and carrots are not something cats would eat in the wild. For that matter, feral cats are not catching fish either. Thanks for this reminder. I had been making a raw chicken food for my cats some years ago, but at the time was taking care of 13 cats and it was too much work. I have gotten a little lazy about choosing a better food lately and need to check them out again. I know there are more and more healthier options each year.

    Reply
    • M
      August 17, 2019 at 12:00 am (14 hours ago)

      “Peas and carrots are not something cats would eat in the wild.” I don’t think they dig up potatoes or pick blueberries either!
      “feral cats are not catching fish either.” Last I checked they are not into cow-tipping either… Fish (esp tuna I think) is or can be highly addictive too. Too many cat foods mix tuna into their GRRRRRreat foods!

      Do you have a source for the “recipe” you used for the chicken? I would prefer to make more chicken and less duck/rabbit as it is definitely less expensive (I would continue to try to get everyone eating the duck and rabbit too – variety.)

      “I know there are more and more healthier options each year.” – commercial? don’t hold your breath. I have checked soooo many canned cat foods and most are adding this garbage into the food, but screaming “GRAIN FREE”!!! I have been trying the few that have little or no fruits/veggies, but only a couple will eat those – the rest? Snobs.

      Reply
  3. Darlene
    August 13, 2019 at 5:50 am (4 days ago)

    How do you get a cat too eat chicken or fish? I have one cat that eats the chicken I cook and fish then the other one doesn’t like any table food. When I make them chicken or fish I don’t put any seasoning or anything on them and I make sure what ever I bake is boneless.

    Reply

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