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Foods & Litters

Q: What do you feed your cats? What do you recommend feeding a new kitten?

A: Cats are obligatory carnivores, needing meat as their primary source of protein. Most commercial cat food has had grain added to raise the protein content and to make the food easier to process. Cats eating these grain-filled foods as their primary diet are showing up at vets' offices with degenerative, dietary-related diseases in much larger numbers than fifty years ago: diabetes, congestive heart failure, feline urological syndrome in males, obesity and related arterial blockages. For more information on feeding cats a high-meat-protein diet for their health, I recommend the book Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life, by Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM, Esq.

I feed my cats mostly raw meats. I started out with the recipe and suggestions at Cat Nutrition.org, and modified them to suit my cats. In addition to my home-prepared raw diet, I feed Eureka, a pre-mixed frozen raw diet which was developed by a state wildlilife biologist in Alaska. It contains chicken, beef, bone meal, green tripe, and vitamin-mineral supplements, and is free of grains, fruits, and vegetables which are not species-appropriate for cats or dogs. At this time, Eureka is only available from the packing plant which handles their products, through local co-op groups such as Denver Raw Feeders. Contact Eureka for more information about the possibility of a raw-feeding co-op group in your area.

The cats are also fed some grain-free canned foods, and a graiin-free dry food such as Young Again Pet Food, a group of high-protein, low-carbohydrate dry foods uniquely formulated to mimic the nutritional content of species-appropriate raw prey. Use the link to find out more about Young Again foods or to order online. Orders over $25 are shipped free.

I also recommend the Wysong family of dry foods, particularly Wysong Fundamentals, a limited ingredient 40% protein dry food, and Wysong Epigen or Epigen 90, containing 60% and 90% meat protein respectively. The Epigen foods are free of plant-based starches. Use link to find out more or to order Wysong dry or canned foods. I do not recommend any dry food, even Wysong or Young Again, to be fed as the primary diet, though it can be used to supplement a wet diet. It should never be fed at the same time as a raw meal, because the foods digest at different rates and can cause severe indigestion if fed together. If you do not wish to feed a raw diet, you should use a canned food, preferably grain-free, as the main diet morning and evening, supplementing with dry food as a secondary food source.

Some canned foods with no grain:
1. Evo canned foods. Evo's parent company, Innova, also makes a line of foods with some grains -- these should be avoided.
2. Wellness Core canned varieties (all of these are grain-free)
3. Wellness canned foods (look for yellow "grain-free" triangle on label)
4. Taste of the Wild canned foods
5. Merrick Before Grain (BG) canned foods
Many more good canned foods are now available at specialty pet supply stores and in the large pet-only stores such as PetCo and PetSmart. Try to avoid foods with blueberries and cranberries, which are anti-oxidants and will promote urinary tract health in humans, but are toxic to cats, and are difficult for the cat's digestive system to eliminate safely.


Q: What kind of cat litter do you use?

A: The litters I recommend are clumping litters containing no sodium bentonite, which is known to be dangerous to young kittens. It can be ingested as they lick it from their fur and can cause fatal blockages in the intestines. I also avoid scented litters of any kind, as most cats find these difficult to tolerate and will avoid the litter box if scents are used. A list of recommended products is below.

  • Swheat Scoop (wheat, medium small granules, clumps HARD, sometimes sticks to bottom of pan, not much odor except an occasional wet wheat smell)
  • Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh (walnut shells, medium small soft granules comfortable on cat's feet, clumps well)
  • Cat's Pride unscented scoopable litter (clay, small granules comfortable on cat's feet, clumps HARD, sometimes sticks to bottom of pan, not much odor)

I mix Swheat Scoop, Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh, and occasionally a clay clumping litter such as Cat's Pride, using equal amounts of each. The combination prevents any odor problems, provides good clumping without sticking to the bottom of the pan, and gives a comfortable surface to walk on. I no longer recommend World's Best Cat Litter, because it is made from "Roundup Ready" GM corn. Roundup has been linked to kidney toxicity and a myriad of other health concerns. The effect on cats and kittens of GM corn used as a litter has not yet been investigated.

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