Is it okay for a cat to live on hamburger alone?
December 1, 2010 3:15 PM   Subscribe

Is it okay for a cat to live on hamburger alone? How can we get her to quit bugging us?

My boyfriend and I have a cat, who is not that old, but has no teeth. Until recently, even into the early days of her notoothedness, she ate dry kibble whenever she felt like from a bowl we'd replenish, and she was slender and generally content and undemanding.

But it occurred to us that it must be uncomfortable to have to gum kibble all day, and figured she'd be happier with wet food, which looks pre-chewed anyway. But experimentation showed that she refused to eat any brand but an expensive yuppie one, which furthermore stinks and is quite expensive is unpleasant to tangle with first thing in the morning; people food seemed cheaper and less disgusting to deal with. Different meats and fishes were presented to her and produced discouraging results.

By and by we discovered the only thing she reliably went for was medium-rare beef, and begun embarrassingly, ridiculously, feeding her two cat-sized (clementine-sized), fresh-cooked hamburgers every day, crumbled into mush.

She is growing fat and outspoken, waking us to demand her hamburger at an inconvenient hour every morning and again meowing herself hoarse in the late afternoon.

What is the story here? How have we come to this sad pass, where we allow a cat's demand for hamburgers to be the structuring force in our days?

Can we just feed her one hamburger in the evening and hope she gets the hint to mind her own business until we wake up? Is it even a good idea to allow a cat to subsist on hamburgers? Should we give her whatever she wants all the time in the hopes she gives us peace?

posted by PersonAndSalt to Pets & Animals (52 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You need to make sure the cat is getting enough taurine, which is quite plentiful in beef but much is lost in the cooking process. You may need to supplement.
posted by zsazsa at 3:21 PM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

No animal will starve to death if presented with edible food. Buy or prepare her decent wet food and leave it out. She may complain and/or turn her nose up, but when she gets hungry she'll eat eventually.

Clearly her diet isn't ideal because she's fat.

Why doesn't she have any teeth?

You can google "cat food recipe" and find all kinds of information. I can't imagine that any mono-food diet would prove, in the long run, to be healthy or even appropriately life-preserving.
posted by goblinbox at 3:34 PM on December 1, 2010 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: She doesn't have teeth because she has poor gums. I guess she had poor gums when she came to us. The vet says it's not uncommon.
posted by PersonAndSalt at 3:44 PM on December 1, 2010

My sister's toothless cat will also not eat wet food but is totally okay with moistened dry food. Cats do a really small amount of chewing in many cases anyhow. Your cat is clearly overeating, though I guess it's good she's eating. I do not know much about the other nutrition stuff but reading this might be a good start.
posted by jessamyn at 3:47 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

No, cats cannot live on plain hamburger meat or any other plain meat that one might buy from the supermarket for humans. As mentioned above, they need taurine, but there are a number of other nutrients that are essential as well. is a good place to start if you want to learn more about cats' nutritional needs. This site strongly advocates for raw food diets, but please don't let that turn you off to the site if that's not your bag. There's a lot of good info there, including this PDF about how to transition cats like yours, who aren't interested in wet food right away, from dry to wet.
posted by kitty teeth at 3:53 PM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I would switch her back to the dry kibble since you said she was fine eating it even toothless. If it's painful for her, she won't eat it. Moisten with some water or a tiny bit of wet food if you're really concerned.

The best way to get your cat to stop bugging you for food in the early hours of the morning is to get her out of the habit of expecting to be fed in the morning. When I switched to feeding my cats when I got home from work they stopped bugging me for food at 5am.
posted by joan_holloway at 3:55 PM on December 1, 2010

We generally feed our cats dry food, and they still meow at us in the morning and try to lead us to their food bowls, but it's only on the rare occasion that we feed them wet food that they get incredibly pushy about being fed.
posted by InsanePenguin at 4:02 PM on December 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! This is really useful, and any more thoughts would help...

Joan: Did your cats not eat till you got home from work? They were okay with that?
posted by PersonAndSalt at 4:02 PM on December 1, 2010

Toothless cats can gum their way through kibble just fine. They cannot live on people food alone. Give her more kibble and less hamburger. You may need to do this slowly, as cats who don't eat, even for a day, can get quite sick, especially fat cats. Mix the hamburger with kibble and transition her down.
posted by jeather at 4:04 PM on December 1, 2010

Even good cats can be incredibly pushy.
What about mixing dry food (or a canned food) in with the hamburger, adding more each day? If you did it gradually enough, would she accept this?
posted by Agatha at 4:06 PM on December 1, 2010

Also: it's not crappy ground chuck, but good top sirloin I get ground (still cheaper than yuppie cat food!)

it's mostly raw, just browned a little on the outside-- she won't eat it raw or even room-temperature but only warm

I actually have a jar of taurine in the cupboard i could use to supplement any diy cat food.
posted by Antexit at 4:08 PM on December 1, 2010

Best answer: And I'm sure she'd learn to eat whatever eventually, but she'd make everyone very unhappy during the adjustment period.
posted by Antexit at 4:09 PM on December 1, 2010


As with a lot of cat issues, you might need to go for subterfuge and verrrrrrrry slowly turn that clementine into more of a walnut.

My mother in law had to buy several hundred cans of pre-formula change Science Diet and introduce it to her kitty in barely discernible increasing percentages over the course of a year. She did this because the cat had shown she'd rather starve to death than eat the new gravy formula.

I think you might want to talk to your vet or do some research on whether or not it's okay for a cat to live on hamburger alone. You might find you have to sneak in a nutrient somewhere into the formula but I'd kind of be okay with it. Kitty's already taken a hard hit with no teeth.

If it's logistics that are also a concern (are you dropping what you're doing to grill up a kitty burger?) you might make them up and freeze them.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:10 PM on December 1, 2010

Best answer: Cats don't have molars. They don't chew food for the same reasons humans do. Their teeth are for cutting meat into pieces small enough to swallow, not for making their food into mush. She might gum the kibble a little bit to get it into her mouth, but other than that it's probably OK for her to just swallow it.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 4:10 PM on December 1, 2010

If it's painful for her, she won't eat it.

I'm not sure about this, because I think if I were toothless and presented with a bowl of Go Lean Crunch and nothing else, I'd probably have to go with it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:12 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: PS: The Antexit above is my boyfriend -- the one who cooks the hamburger.
posted by PersonAndSalt at 4:13 PM on December 1, 2010

Response by poster: Also, she doesn't seem to have any pain when chewing the kibble, nor does she approach it with any reticence. It's just what we guessed (that it might be painful / tasteless for her).
posted by PersonAndSalt at 4:15 PM on December 1, 2010

Not only are we dropping what we're doing to grill a cat burger, ATL, we're getting out of bed far before we'd choose to and spending the first moments of the day, before coffee or anything else, standing over a frying pan and beside a hectoring, plaintive cat.

Frozen--if only! We would have to warm up each one anyway, fresh or frozen, or she'd look at it like it was a snail in her salad.
posted by Antexit at 4:16 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My cats actually loved wet food, so feeding time to them = fresh bowl of stinky wet goodness. I always kept a big bowl of dry food out for them as well, and would restock that every week or so when it was down to crumbs. I think that was the key to getting them to calm down. They always knew there was something to eat at all hours of the day, and they didn't gorge themselves on the dry food before feeding time.

I don't know if there's any science behind it, but I always assumed my cats were good grazers and could self-regulate their eating if I left the dry stuff out for them all the time. They never got fat from it, anyhow.
posted by joan_holloway at 4:16 PM on December 1, 2010

She's not lolcat fat or anything; just a plump and rotund silhouette she didn't have before.
posted by Antexit at 4:19 PM on December 1, 2010

Got a microwave? Although, I guess what difference does it make if you have to get out of bed anyway. You might have to just be stubborn about the timing, even if it involves closing the bedroom door and hiding under the covers until 7 (or whatever), because if she's successful in getting you out of bed for breakfast, she'll never stop.

Also, maybe what I said above about subterfuge -- slightly cooler and less done each day (measured by a timer) until at least she'll eat it room temperature so you can leave it out overnight.

Egad. Cats.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:19 PM on December 1, 2010

Joan: Did your cats not eat till you got home from work? They were okay with that?

I won't bother googling back-up documentation for this, but I have a little secret to let you in on... Your cat can go a number of days without eating and be fine. I don't mean for you to do this! I'm just saying that in the wild, it is unusual for felines to be fed as often or as richly as they are when they live in our homes.

Totally break your cat of demanding food by adopting a new routine and sticking to it.

I would go back to the dry food if I were you. Maybe hit it with a water spritzer to moisten it a bit at mealtime?
posted by jbenben at 4:21 PM on December 1, 2010

Great idea! I was thinking a Super-Soaker, though, kept by the bedside to "moisten" it when it comes around to tell us it's mealtime.
posted by Antexit at 4:24 PM on December 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Kitty played you.

Like a violin. Like a game of chess. Like three creased cards sitting on a street-corner cardboard box.

First: admit defeat. Kitty has won, and you are but a placating minion.

Second: assuage anxiety. Continue preparing kitty delicious (cheezless) cheezburgers.

Third: provide nommable alternative. Is kitty dairy-positive? Soak a bit of kibble in milk (but cats are lactose-intolerant blah blah blah whatevs a little cream doesn't hurt a cat). If not, moisten with water.

Fourth: now work the long con. The bait-and-switch. Gradually replace delicious cheezburger with kibble.

Fifth: feign deafness if Steps 1-4 are ineffective.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:26 PM on December 1, 2010 [21 favorites]

Sixth: Ask Metafilter if there's anyone willing to trade a cat for a goldfish or a few guppies.
posted by Antexit at 4:32 PM on December 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

Seconding BitterOldPunk: cat is playing you, big time!

Don't cook the hamburger; you can just zap it in the microwave for about forty seconds. That'll warm it up and make it smell appealing, but won't mean you have to stand over a pan in your pajamas.

We have three cats: two senior (of which one is superfussy) and one semi-toothless. They all eat regular kibble, even the toothless one, although she tends to swallow it whole and puke it up later.

They also get chopped raw chicken (bought frozen in ten-pound bags from the supermarket) with taurine and other magic cat-necessary vitamins sprinkled over the top. Sometimes we nuke it to make it smell tasty, but they seem to prefer it raw.
posted by vickyverky at 4:37 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think you may be doomed. My dad got this kitten I found into eating canned salmon. She refused anything and everything else. We tried mixing dry food back into the salmon with the idea of gradually reducing the amount of salmon. She refused to eat it. Long story short, cat's 17 years old now and still getting canned salmon every day.

But I think BitterOldPunk's plan is worth a shot.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 4:38 PM on December 1, 2010

Your cat can go a number of days without eating and be fine.

Everything that I've read says if your cat stops eating it can get Really Sick Really Fast. I would not try to push this angle.

Also my readings say people food alone is not an okay diet for a cat, because of missing taurine, calcium and other minerals. There are people who make their own cat food and there are recipes for what needs to be in there. I would call up your vet and ask if they can recommend a book on feline nutrition, if you want to pursue making your own cat food.

I would probably say: just get the cat back on dry food (gradual transition, she might complain but she'll probably come along), or start her on supermarket wet food if the yuppie food is too expensive. Prepared cat food should say "nutritionally complete" with a seal from whatever the pet food council is, and it will be a lot easier to deal with than cooking her human food, or preparing nutritionally complete raw food and dealing with the raw/contamination angle.

If you can't take her whining in the morning or don't want to be handling cat food in the morning, I would also switch her feedings to 2 a day, right when you get home and then right before you go to bed.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:38 PM on December 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

Also, you can get salmon oil in a pump dispenser from pet stores. That moistens the kibble and makes it smell super-tasty. (Worked with our fussy cat, anyway.)
posted by vickyverky at 4:39 PM on December 1, 2010

I was just reading in the Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook (which I found through a cat question here on AskMe) that cats should only consume 15-20 calories per pound, per day. So if you cat weighs 10 pounds, she should only be eating 150-200 calories per day.

Ground beef, 80% lean, pan fried, is 278 calories for 4 ounces. So I would bet she really does need a reduction in the amount she's getting.

I used to give my cat her scoop of kibble right before I went to bed so she had it to entertain her until I got up (theoretically.) Then she got a little wet food at dinner-time.

Now she's very old and has very few teeth and a tiny appetite, so she gets to free-feed on good quality kibble at any time, and I'm currently bowing to her insistence that she only eats turkey breast for dinner.
posted by Squeak Attack at 4:41 PM on December 1, 2010

I had a cat who died from stopping eating (fatty liver). Cats are perfectly happy to starve themselves in general, and the relevance of how often non-domesticated felines eat is close to zero. Feral cats don't get as much food as house cats -- they also don't live as long. Do not let your cat starve herself.

I'd start by leaving dry cat food out all the time and making smaller catburgers, then only one catburger, then an occasional catburger as a treat, because that seems like it would cause less complaining.
posted by jeather at 4:45 PM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

She doesn't eat ground beef proper, but a lean roast ground up to fine paste. And it's more a golf-ball-sized portion than a ping-pong ball. I'd guess each is about two ounces.

But this all started because we were concerned it was painful for her to eat the dry cat food, or bad for her in some other way. People here seem to be saying all cats swallow their kibble whole, like a vitamin regiment. That's hard to believe, but if it's true, that's wonderful news for everyone but the cat.
posted by Antexit at 4:50 PM on December 1, 2010

Also, you can get salmon oil in a pump dispenser from pet stores. That moistens the kibble and makes it smell super-tasty. (Worked with our fussy cat, anyway.)

Good idea. Fish-oil capsules, the ones you take to boost your omega-3s also work in a pinch.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:51 PM on December 1, 2010

Re: waking you up. I successfully transitioned my cat from morning wet food to evening wet food a few months ago because he was driving me crazy trying to get me up to feed him. (He has dry food all the time). It took a month or so, but he now politely waits until 6:30ish to wake me up (vs. 2:30 at the low point). I never did the two-a-day feedings, but I imagine if you just stop the morning feeding, she'll figure it out (with the help of the water gun).
posted by parkerjackson at 4:58 PM on December 1, 2010

I am not a vet. Going the not eating route puts your cat at a significant risk for hepatic lipidosis, which can be irreversible and fatal. Gradual food changes are your friend in this case, if you in fact need to change from dry food. (Cats generally don't chew, they just swallow.) Feeding solely cooked hamburger is without a doubt going to leave your cat with serious nutritional deficiences and at risk of pancreatitis. If you do continue with ground beef, buy the lowest fat you can find, feed it raw but warmed (by that I am not talking left out overnight), and use a quality supplement like Feline Instincts.

Not sure what "yuppie brand" you tried, but Merrick makes quality canned foods that are highly recommended. Canned is also preferred for overall cat health.

Please either feed a canned food that is balanced and nutritionally complete or talk to a holistic vet who has knowledge of nutritional requirements (most vets don't, by the way). I'd also suggest anyone with a cat do some reading at the catinfo site linked above -- good information there.
posted by vers at 5:05 PM on December 1, 2010

We (I) don't have any ideological objection to yuppie cat food. It's just too expensive. And really horrible to have anything to do with from a human perspective.

I'm with everyone here who suggests holding our ground against the bullying of the cat, but I'm here to tell you that's not going to happen. She can outlast me for the five seconds of patience I have in the morning every time.

But dried food is ideal! No feeling ridiculous in its preparation, not too disgusting, and not delicious enough to inspire anxiety in the cat, I don't think. And no feeling really bourgeois when I ask the butcher to grind the good meat I'm buying for the cat I'm going to feed it to. Thanks so much from both of us! The cat doesn't care.
posted by Antexit at 5:22 PM on December 1, 2010

Response by poster: A plate of dry food was just placed before her and she is eating it. That plate of food will always be there. We don't feel sorry for her. Problem solved.
posted by PersonAndSalt at 5:39 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Please either read the information at catinfo or talk to your vet about whether a decent canned food may be better for your cat's health.
posted by vers at 5:51 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Antexit, my cat has ... oh maybe eight or nine teeth left? I was worried about the same, whether eating dry would be uncomfortable for her, but she inhales the Temptations my partner gives to her doesn't even chew them! And, grazes on the kibble (Royal Canine) we give her throughout the day. Every so often I hear a crunch, but mostly it gets swallowed whole too.
posted by squeak at 6:15 PM on December 1, 2010

I want to put in a plug for not feeding your cat kibble (unless you're buying the super-super premium stuff, they're all heavily grain-laden, which is really not good for cats) and instead trying a frozen raw diet.

We've been feeding our two this stuff since we brought them home from the shelter two years ago and they've really thrived on it. We chuck a couple of nuggets (four or five per cat, depending on how their appetites have been lately) in a plastic container and put it in the fridge overnight to thaw and then they snarf it up for breakfast and dinner the next day. We've tried several of the flavors, and they seem to prefer the beef. (I like to think it's because they're having fantasies about their ancient ancestors, the sabertooth shorthairs, who ran in packs together to take down aurochs.)
posted by Lexica at 6:26 PM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just to be clear, if anyone adopts the "cat won't starve itself" mantra, you stand a great chance of letting your cat develop Feline Hepatic Lipidosis which is incredibly serious.

Your cat will starve itself to death rather than eat food it doesn't want.

Re: toothless cats and kibble - the cat will crush the food on its hard palate.

Sounds like your kitty is good with the kibble. We had to STOP feeding wet food except in completely random circumstances, as treats, because ours got obnoxious about it and would not. shut up. ever. They're over it now, and we're using up our stock pile in random bursts.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:34 PM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah, your cat really really really needs to eat cat food that is nutritionally balanced for a cat, not human food and not anything else. It should say something like 'nutritionally balanced' or 'complete diet' on the packaging. If you can make it yourself so you are 100% sure it is correct (throwing in some taurine doesn't count) then that's fine, but buying correct pre-made food is a lot easier. Not having teeth doesn't matter, if she can get the kibble in to swallow it, she's good.

Feline nutrition is different from most other animals. They're obligate carnivores, designed entirely to eat meat, and have some quirks like hepatic lipidosis thrown in just for fun(jenbenben's "secret" has already been covered and her advice was terrible). You really want to get it right. (I study nutrition-related stuff and considered specialising in feline nutrition, so have read a lot in this specific area)

I'd also suggest at this point that you take her into the vet for some general health check up blood tests because if she was on the diet long enough to get noticeably fat then she could also be having blood sugar issues (cats get diabetes), liver problems, or other general malnutrition problems. It's better to know and sort it out now than assume everything is OK and leave long term damage. The vet can also suggest a type of cat food if you're wanting to be sure she's getting adequate nutrition and can check her gums if you're worried about how eating the dry stuff is affecting her. But I know several toothless cats that eat hard food just fine.

You can also just feed her once a day if she lets you. Alternatively, if you can leave dry food out all the time and have her eat an appropriate amount than that also stops your morning whining problem. You might need to restrict her access to food for a while though so she loses the extra weight, cats aren't supposed to be round bellied. Otherwise moving the feed until later in the morning might help, don't give her food until you leave for work rather than as soon as you get up. You'll have to break her of the habit but be persistent. But I bet quite a lot of the whining was because she wasn't satisfied by what you were feeding her, it wasn't providing adequate nutrition, and now she's eating proper food again it might just go away on its own.
posted by shelleycat at 6:42 PM on December 1, 2010

Realize I'm late to the party, but what about feeding her kitten food -- kitten kibble? It's smaller and softer. Not sure on the nutritional angle though -- i.e., if it has different nutritional content than adult food.
posted by unannihilated at 7:00 PM on December 1, 2010

Leave out the kibble. Ignore cat's wailings. Once cat gets hungry enough, cat will eat the kibble.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 7:32 PM on December 1, 2010

Not sure on the nutritional angle though -- i.e., if it has different nutritional content than adult food.

It does, more calcium and higher calories and possibly some other stuff. Kitten food isn't appropriate for an adult cat, particularly one with a bit of a weight problem.
posted by shelleycat at 9:10 PM on December 1, 2010

Best answer: Just wanted to chime in on the "she refused to eat any brand but an expensive yuppie one" part: cats are incredibly adept at being fussy. If they ever, once in their life, are served a dish they like a little better than the stuff they're served at other times they will almost starve themselves in an attempt to get it again. They will ignore the other food, they will attempt to bury it, they will look at you and telepathically send the message "no, I want food", they will meow pathetically and ask what they have done to deserve this. Only if it becomes apparent that the new, better food won't be forthcoming they will slink back to their food bowls, give a last, resigned "ok, I'll eat it but I won't like it" look and then devour the food.
It's just a good thing they can't read labels - our cat once had a phase when he would only eat the cheapest, no-brand cat food from the discount supermarket because we had bought one can of it when he had run out of his usual name brand, high-class food.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:19 AM on December 2, 2010

The cat likely preferred the "expensive yuppie" food because it had better ingredients than the supermarket crap - cats are obligate carnivores and most cheap foods contain grain and other non-meat fillers or meat by-products that simply aren't what cats need to eat. Canned food is better for cats than dry, especially older cats, it has more meat, less carbs, more moisture and fewer preservatives, why couldn't you just find a canned food that your cat likes and that you can stand to feed her? Cats should not be fed human food exclusively. And yes, you should not assume that a cat will eat if it's hungry enough, that way lies expensive vet bills and a very sick kitty, and you will end up feeding her what she wants anyway. Cats are not trying to control you, they just want to eat what they want to eat, please try not to look at it as a battle of the wills as some people seem to, and try to look at it as the cat wanting to eat what the cat wants to eat. I am sure you can find a decent compromise canned food that you can both agree on,
posted by biscotti at 6:41 AM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the very sensible advice, everyone-- but it's hard not to see it as a battle of wills when our greatest dispute comes at the time of day when I am at my most emotionally and constitutionally fragile and least prepared to take a philosophical view of a long bout of incessant meowing and when she has a strong personal motivation to keep it up until she makes her position understood. I guess it's not a "battle" if the outcome is always known before the first volley. This morning, despite having plenty of dry food available, she came around voicing her usual disapproval of my cavalier attitude toward the demands of her schedule, and when she cleared her throat I gave in more or less immediately.

I'm sure the reason she prefers one food over another is because it has less charcoal or shredded newspaper or sand or whatever in it than the cheapo stuff does; i appreciate that she wants to eat good food (although I tried to give her caviar this summer and she pooh-poohed it. What kind of cat wouldn't like caviar?) it just doesn't make sense to me why it costs as much as it does and how something of such supposedly good quality could smell so heinous. The idea with experimenting with food was to come up with something of comparable quality to the premium stuff but that would be cheaper to make and do less damage to my soul upon having first thing in the morning to smell it, look at it, and hear the sound of a spoon slurping in it as I dish it out.
posted by Antexit at 8:21 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I guess it's not a "battle" if the outcome is always known before the first volley.

That's the spirit!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:47 AM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Two things:

First, hamburger or any other meat by itself is a wildly unbalanced diet for a cat to live on. The phosphorus to calcium ratio is severely skewed toward phosphorus, which results in a depletion of the body's calcium stores, damaging heart function, kidney function and leading to osteoporosis. You shouldn't be making any changes without making sure that you're feeding a nutritionally complete diet.

Secondly, feeding raw foods is only appropriate if the meat source is one you know you can trust. Just because you've never noticed problems with what you get from the supermarket doesn't mean that it's okay or safe. There are documented cases of animal deaths from eating contaminated supermarket meats, and the only time that I've ever seen problems in pets fed raw is when their owners feed meat from the supermarket. As an emergency veterinarian, I see this as a reasonably common occurrence. The rule of thumb is that if it's being marketed for human consumption, it's sold under the assumption that it will be cooked thoroughly and cannot be considered safe otherwise.

There are any number of commercial raw pet diets on the market these days that have a good track record with respect to quality control. I switched my dog to a commercial raw diet for a variety of health reasons and have been very pleased with the results. That said, you have to make sure that it's a diet your pet is doing well on. One of my cats gets diarrhea on anything other than Iams kibble, so that's what the cats get. There may be "better" choices, but that's what works best for them.

And a third thing:

Don't assume that a cat with no teeth won't eat the kibble enough to stay healthy. Cats don't really chew their food to any extent. Have you ever seen what comes up when they "scarf & barf" their kibble? Unless it's x-shaped kibble or otherwise has lots of "arms", most of it is going down completely intact.
posted by drmel94 at 6:24 PM on December 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

Antexit--your excuses are starting to sound like someone enabling an addict. Yes, it's easier to keep giving in on the morning feedings, but you're making a decision not to change her behavior. You have the tools to stop this--QUIT REINFORCING HER BEHAVIOR--and if you choose not to use that tool for whatever excuse, then you'll just get more of the same from her. Not that difficult to understand.
posted by parkerjackson at 7:24 PM on December 2, 2010

I don't think there is any way you can change back from hamburgers without coming up against at least one of the objections you've stated (to the food price, smell, content, sound, "yuppieness",to your sleep schedule, the list goes on. . .). If these things honestly bother you that much, you should consider finding a new home for the cat.
posted by ninekinds at 2:32 PM on December 4, 2010

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