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The Dangers of Most Cat Foods

Updated on February 22, 2015
Rosie writes profile image

Rosie is a library media specialist. An avid reader and life-long learner, Rosie enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise in many areas.

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Why are most cat foods dangerous?

Most cat foods contain a high percentage of carbohydrates. Cats cannot effectively digest these carbohydrates; cats can't produce the enzymes needed to digest carbohydrates. Over time this inability to digest their food properly can lead to serious illnesses. According to the Feline Nutrition Education Society, "A cat's natural diet, usually rodents, rabbits, insects and birds, is usually less than 2% carbohydrate. Dry cat food is generally 25-50% carbohydrate. Not only does this excess carbohydrate promote obesity in cats, but also is implicated in diabetes. Obesity doesn't cause diabetes. Rather, obesity and diabetes appear to have the same cause, too much carbohydrate in the diet."

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Comparing Cat Foods

When looking for a cat food brand that is healthy for your cat, you will want to avoid those high in carbohydrates and low in protein. Your cat also needs fat in his diet.

At Sahja.com, you can see that some of the well-known brands of cat food are very high in carbohydrates. For example, Purina Cat Chow has 37% carbohydrates, Friskies Indoor Delights has 38% carbohydrates, Science Diet Ideal Balance Mature has 34.3% carbohydrates, Natural Balance Pea and Chicken has 38.9% grain-free carbohydrates.

They also state that a cat's favorite food, a mouse, has 55.8% protein and 23.6% fat, which should be an indication of what cat's need to be healthy.

Recommended Cat Foods

Canned cat foods are good for your cat because they are moist and provide water that cats need in their food. They also tend to be higher in protein content than dry cat foods. Below is a list of recommended cat foods based on protein and fat content:

  • Blue Wilderness cat foods are made with healthy ingredients for your cat. Their website is full of information that will help to educate you about reading labels and looking for the right amounts of protein content in your cat's food. Regarding protein, Blue Wilderness states, "Cats are obligate carnivores and have high requirements for meat. All BLUE recipes contain real meat as the first ingredient."
  • Evo cat foods boast the highest protein and lowest carbs of grain free dog and cat food to maintain a strong, lean body, without sacrificing energy levels. Surprisingly, they offer great deals such as "buy 10 get 1 free" and free shipping from their website. I ordered a case of canned food for my cat and have been very surprised how far it goes. He is more content with less food, so we are feeding him much less.

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    • Rosie writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Rosie writes 

      5 years ago from Virginia

      tlmcgaa70, thanks for your experienced advice. Perhaps Purina is a good choice. We had a very sick cat years ago who ended up with a whole host of illness that ultimately killed him, which I believe was due to his poor diet, so we are going a different route this time and have seen positive results.

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image

      tlmcgaa70 

      5 years ago from south dakota, usa

      i have been rescuing cats for over 12 years now. when i first started out i struggled with trying to find a good cat food that was affordable. i went through many brands and always the cats acted like they were starving, and they were throwing up and had diarrhea. i finally asked my vet and he recommended Purina brand. i tried it, and boy what a difference. they have been on it now for 10 years, and they are healthy. they get high marks each year for health from the vets. they have healthy coats that are soft and shiny, good teeth, no diarrhea, and only the odd hairball to throw up. at one time, after reading all the hype over grain free food, i tried some. my cats would not touch the stuff, after spending an arm and a leg over it i had to give it away. i have checked out Purina...they have been in the business of making animal feed for over 100 years now. they are constantly researching what is best for them. you should check this out http://www.purina.com/meet-purina/nutrition/power-.../why-grain. needless to say, i have had up to 20 cats at one time, i have 15 at the moment...and i have never had bad results from using Purina. and it is probably the most affordable good cat food you will find. on another note, consider this. it is claimed cats cannot taste sweet...yet cat owners the world over will tell you their cats adore sweets. just this morning i was checking our wild plums out. i bit into a very sweet one. i had my cat tigger with me and he wanted to see what i had so i showed it to him. he began to lick the sweet juice and went on to lick it til it fell apart. it is claimed they are strictly carnivorous. if my cats are any kind of example, they adore veggies. in the wild, cats get their vegetable matter from the prey they eat and by eating grass (which helps control hairballs as well). back when i had chickens, it was a common sight watching the cats help the chickens eat their crumbles (mixed and pressed grains). they liked they way it tasted. so from my own personal experience, i will not be wasting my money on grain free foods. you know the saying, if it is not broken, do not try to fix it. having said all this i am sure grain free foods work for others, this is just what i have learned from personal experience. too much protein can be as bad as not enough.

    • Rosie writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Rosie writes 

      5 years ago from Virginia

      moonlake, our cat was like that before we started giving him Evo cat food.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      Our three cats want their bowl full all the time or they drive us crazy. They don't like mouse they kill them and leave them. I will have to check brands. Thanks for information.

    • Rosie writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Rosie writes 

      5 years ago from Virginia

      Victoria Lynn, we've been giving our cat Evo canned and dry food. We give him about a fourth of a can in the morning, and about 1/2 cup dry food in the evening and he seems very content. Before Evo, we were giving him at least 2 cups of dry food every day and he still wanted more. I don't think we are spending any more now with Evo because of the quantity changes.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 

      5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      I'll take a look at Sahja.com, Blue Wilderness and Evo. Thanks for providing all of this good information. Voting up, useful and sharing.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Fancy Feast? They have dry, too? Gosh, 22.99 for Evo? My cats would go through 6 lbs. of cat food quickly. I just bought Natural Choice, which is more expensive than the Iams I usually get, for about $28 (on sale) for 16 lbs. That will probably last one month. I could afford a little more expensive, but I think Evo is out of my price range for that many cats. Maybe I could get a bag and mix it in sparingly. LOL. Thanks for answering my question. If you come across anything else that might be good, let me know. Thanks!

    • Rosie writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Rosie writes 

      5 years ago from Virginia

      Victoria Lynn, thanks for stopping by! Wow, 6 cats is a lot to keep track of - you do need something affordable. Evo does carry dry cat food that comes highly recommended.- EVO Turkey and Chicken Cat and Kitten food, 50% protein and 10% carbohydrate. It costs $22.99 for a 6.6 lb bag through Wag.com (free shipping) but it fills the cats up and they are not wanting as much. I've heard that Fancy Feast is pretty good too, but I haven't looked at the contents yet.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great hub! With 6 cats, I struggle with trying to find a healthy cat food that is affordable. I supplement dry food with occasional canned food. Could you recommend a decent, affordable dry cat food?

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