Feline Nutrition

Canned Cat Food May Not Contain Enough Thiamine

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When you buy canned cat food – any brand of canned cat food – you will see a statement on the label that says that the food is “complete and balanced” according to AAFCO standards. This would lead you to assume that the food has all the nutrients your cat needs, right? This is not necessarily true.

What does “complete and balanced” really mean?

AAFCO, the American Association of Feed Control Officials, is the organization which 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.  The AAFCO statement on most pet food labels indicates that the food has been tested and approved as “complete and balanced for the life of a pet.”   This is sadly misleading. Continue Reading

Benefits of Digestive Enzymes for Cats

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Enzymes are tiny protein molecules that are found in every living cell. They are responsible for vital chemical reactions in your cat’s body, including proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. A lack of enzymes in your cat’s system will result in digestive upsets and a less than optimal immune system.

Benefits of Enzymes

  • Aid in the digestion and absorption of the vitamins and minerals in the cat’s diet
  • Promote normal body weight
  • Support healthy cell growthContinue Reading

How to Get Finicky Cats to Eat

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If you’ve read The Conscious Cat for any length of time, you know that cats should be eating a species-appropriate diet of raw, grain-free canned or properly balanced home-prepared food. Cats should never eat dry food, and the money you invest in high-quality, premium food will result in better health and lower vet bills for your feline family members. I’m always delighted when I hear from readers who have switched their cats from a low quality and/or dry diet to a healthier diet because of something they’ve read here on my site.

Sometimes, switching a kitty off the human equivalent of junk food can be challenging. Understanding why cats are finicky, and knowing how to safely make the switch to a healthier diet, or encouraging fussy cats to eat, is an important step toward better health for your cats.

What Makes Cats Finicky?Continue Reading

Feline Hyperthyroidism and Cat Food: Exploring a Possible Connection

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Hyperthyroidism is a common disease that typically affects middle-aged and older cats.  It is caused by an excess production of thyroid hormones, which are produced by the thyroid gland, located inside the cat’s neck.  Thyroid hormones affect nearly all organs, which is why thyroid disease can sometimes cause secondary problems such as hypertension, heart and kidney disease. There has been much speculation about what causes hyperthyrodism in cats. One of the culprits may be your cat’s food.

University of Georgia study looks at whether cat food ingredients play a role in disease development

Researchers at the University of Georgia are examining whether cat food ingredients play a role in disease development. In a study funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, researchers treated feline thyroid cell cultures with various cat food ingredients to determine whether these ingredients stimulate normal thyroid cells. From the foundation website:

Researchers learnedContinue Reading

5 Tips on Picking a Quality Raw or Canned Cat Food

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Guest post by Joseph J. Wakshlag, DVM

For the cat parent looking for commercial raw and ultra premium cat foods, there are plenty of choices, and lots of claims to wade through.  Since these foods are often more expensive, how do you read the labels correctly and make sure you’re getting the right food for your extra cash?

Too often manufacturers throw out the terms “holistic” or “natural” which have little to no regulated meaning. “Holistic” has no definition in the pet food industry and can be used by any manufacturer, while “natural” has limited value since it only means that there are no synthetic preservatives in the food. (Synthetic preservatives are uncommon in the organic and ultra premium market.)Continue Reading

Natura Pet Food Expands Recall To Include All Dry Foods

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Natura Pet Food, the makers of Innova, EVO, California Natural, Healthwise and Karma brands,expanded its previous recall of multiple lots of several of their dry cat food brands due to possible contamination with salmonella.

The recall now includes ALL Natura dry cat, dog and ferret food and treats that have expiration dates on or before March 24, 2014.

Click here for the full recall notice from Natura.

For more information, and to find out how to return affected products, contact Natura at http://www.naturapet.com/about/contact-us or (800) 224-6123.

Weruva Cat Food Review

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If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m passionate about species-appropriate nutrition for cats. Cats are obligate carnivores, and they need meat not only to survive, but to thrive. The optimal diet for a cat is a properly formulated raw, home-cooked or grain-free canned diet. Cats shouldn’t eat dry food; even the grain-free dry varieties are too high in carbohydrates.

You can find many of the articles I’ve written about this topic in the Feline Nutrition section right here on this site. I also provide one-on-one consultations if you need help with transitioning your cat to a healthier diet.

What I look for in a food I feed and recommend

  • Protein is listed as the first ingredient on the label, and the meat/poultry used is fit for human consumption. If the meat is organic, that’s even better.
  • The food is grain-free (no rice, barley, or any other grains. Even though these are considered healthy in human nutrition, cats’ digestive tracts are not designed to digest the unnecessary carbs).
  • The food does not contain by-products, corn, soy, or any other fillers.Continue Reading

Bravo! Recalls Three Frozen Raw Products

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Bravo! issued a recall for three frozen raw food diet products for cats and dogs because of possible salmonella contamination.

The affected products are:

•    5 lb. Bravo! Chicken Balance frozen raw diet chubs (tubes) with “best used by” dates of 3_6_15 and 3_12_15 imprinted on the side of the plastic casing. Only 26 cases with the 3_6_15 date were distributed nationally and 36 cases with 3_12_15 date were distributed nationally.

•    2 lb. Bravo! Chicken Blend frozen raw diet chubs (tubes) with the “best used by” date of 3_21_15 imprinted on the side of the plastic casing. Only 67 cases with 3_21_15 date were distributed nationally.

•    5 lb. Bravo! Beef Blend Burgers bags with the “best used by” dates of 3_21_15 and 3_22_15 imprinted on the back panel of the plastic bag. Only 47 cases with the 3_21_15 date were distributed nationally and 55 cases with the 3_22_15 date were distributed nationally.Continue Reading

Prescription Diets May Not Be a Good Nutritional Choice for Your Cat

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You’ve probably seen them on the shelves at your local veterinary hospital, or maybe your cat is currently eating one of these foods: so-called prescription diets that are formulated for cats with specific health conditions ranging from allergies to gastro-intestinal problems to kidney disease. Also known as therapeutic diets, you would think that these diets are high quality diets that are good for your cats, right?

You couldn’t be further from the truth. The majority of these diets are very high in carbohydrates and contain wheat, corn and soy – ingredients that have no logical place in the diet of an obligate carnivore like the cat. They also generally contain a high amount of by-products.Continue Reading

Natura Pet Food Recall Includes EVO and Innova Dry Cat Food

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Natura Pet Food, the makers of Innova, EVO, California Natural and Healthwise brands, is recalling multiple lots of several of their dry cat food brands due to possible contamination with salmonella. The recall also includes a number of dry dog foods. Click here for a complete list of the recalled products.

Natura posted the following on their website:

Dear Natura Family,

As pet parents and dedicated pet health advocates, it pains us to inform you of the first recall in our company’s 21-year history.

During a recent random sampling, the FDA confirmed the presence of salmonellaContinue Reading