My cat's breath will smell like cat food.
October 5, 2014 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Yes, it's kitty food question #1,628. I'm wondering if any of the good quality cat foods mentioned in previous threads have gone south of late. (It's too bad that cats don't eat beans because I plate up a lot of them.)

I am seriously mulling picking up a couple of kitties from my local shelter sometime soon. (If I do so, there will be pictures.)

It's been six years since I had a cat and I'm not confident that the foods I used before were all that great.

I will do some homework on foods before I leap into the fray. Many people have asked and answered questions on the cat food issue on the green.

My question is this: has anyone recently had to STOP using a formerly good cat food because you're no longer confident that the quality is what it was? Since entropy due to corporate greed marches on, I would like to rule out any brands/lines that may have fallen victim.

Would also like to hear from people who are satisfied with what they're feeding their cats.

Thank you for your patience. Oy.
posted by Sheydem-tants to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If anything I think cat food has gotten better in quality over the years. Well, dry anyway. I used to buy my once feral cat a small can of wet, which she used to eat when she was a kitten, and put it in the same bowl as the dry and she eats around the wet, chomping the dry. Friskies is the brand I feed Jo Anne Squirrley.

Let the enthusiasm of the cat inform you.
posted by vapidave at 9:00 AM on October 5, 2014

I've been very happy with Evo and Wellness canned offerings for my two youngsters (they just turned 2 in August). They both have a good deal of variety, which was critical when I still had my older cat, Hero, who was dreadfully allergic to anything with beef or sheep.

Neither brands have any wheat or corn included, although Wellness does include some rice and vegetables.

I haven't really dropped anything due to ingredient changes. When we had three older rescue cats, we were feeding them unadulterated raw minced rabbit, which helped keep our kidney cat with hyperthyroid healthy for quite some time while walking a tightrope between two antagonist treatments.

Once she'd gone, and I'd moved, the expense and difficulty in finding raw rabbit didn't make sense anymore and I transitioned to canned.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:01 AM on October 5, 2014

We used to love Merrick, because they had a variety that was chicken free, which helped with our allergic cat. We stopped feeding it and switched over to Tiki Cat when it's consistency started to become irregular. The gravy ratio, meat texture, and meat chunk size seemed to constantly vary, and I think that's why he started turning his nose up at it.
posted by Cecilia Rose at 9:07 AM on October 5, 2014

I buy Acana (which is the very slightly cheaper version of Orijen -- I'll probably go up to Orijen next October when other expenses decrease), which my cats are very fond of (though they won't eat the fish version). I haven't noticed any difference in the food quality in many years.

I also occasionally give high quality raw meat pucks (more often in the winter, less often in the summer) and cheapo kitty treats or wet cat food.
posted by jeather at 9:18 AM on October 5, 2014

Kibble is not a proper diet for cats (they need most of their water from food), but can be used as a complementary food. Good brands are Orijen, Taste of the Wild (both are available worldwide pretty much), I also feed Applaws sometimes.

Maybe there is a good local food where you are. In any case, cat food should be grain free and the list of ingredients should be short. The first ingredient listed should be a particular type of meat (same as flavor), not meat meal and not "by-product". The food should contain little to no veggies and absolutely NO sugar or artificial flavors.

To get some ideas about what is out there and if people noticed any irregularities regarding quality, I like the reviews over at petfoodtalk.
posted by travelwithcats at 9:35 AM on October 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

We still feed Orijen dry food (as a supplement to Tiki Cat and Weruva wet food). However, they did recently change something because the product looks slightly different. I haven't noticed any ill effects in our cat, but it might be worth researching (I have been meaning to, but haven't gotten a round tuit yet).
posted by primethyme at 9:50 AM on October 5, 2014

Around here, we're big fans of Orijen and Acana dry food and Merrick and Weruva wet food. Neither cat will eat Tiki wet food for some unknown reason.
posted by janey47 at 10:05 AM on October 5, 2014

Dick Van Patten recently changed the label design for canned mature food, but it still tastes the same, and pretty-fussy-eater likes it okay, so that's the main thing. Yeah, I taste their food before I serve it to them, and it just drives them crazy when they're hungry.

For dry food we've always switched around brands. Right now we're trying Taste of The Wild, which definitely has the best packaging art of any cat food. I'd like to get a poster.

We've had more challenges finding the best clumping litter, and the brands that I've liked the most often tend to get discontinued. The latest one that I liked that I don't see anymore is ProNature Eucalyptus.
posted by ovvl at 11:06 AM on October 5, 2014

Best answer: Tiki Cat chicken varieties are fantastic and make me so very happy when I feed them to my cats, particularly because I am excited about being queen of the zombie apocalypse and having tons of potted chicken when that day comes.

I have pulled back on Weruva because they have changed their formulas and now have three separate lines at varying price points. My cats' favorite, Peking Ducken, was nixed from the original line and moved into the "TruLuxe" brand, which is much more expensive. (One of the folks at the pet supply store said the TruLuxe stuff is better because it can be fed in three ounce portions twice a day, and you don't need any extra to make up for the missing calories in regular Weruva. I have not yet followed up on whether this is accurate.) Point is, I'm still buying some Weruva varieties but have been pushed to look for other solutions by the constant shuffle of available products.

For a really long time, I avoided Nature's Variety Instinct canned food because I wanted the rabbit formula, and the rabbit itself was supposedly from dodgy sources. The company has since found a rabbit supplier in North America, and their Feline Pride Rockstar Rabbit is a favorite around these parts, almost always sure to elicit mewls of excitement.

Re: Wellness. My cats have never liked it, not even Wellness Core, and it really smells like cat food in a very cat food way. A similar option with regards to price and composition is Blue Buffalo (either Wilderness or Freedom varieties), which has my picky eaters' seal of mild approval and does not offend my sense of smell.

Here is a link to a chart with exhaustive info about the contents of various canned foods. The whole site is very worth reading, particularly this primer on feline nutrition. It really drives home the reasons to stay away from dry food and stick with low-carb canned or raw diets.

Good luck!
posted by brina at 11:11 AM on October 5, 2014 [7 favorites]

All three of my cats stopped liking Evo at exactly the same time a couple of years ago. I don't know if I just got a bad batch, or what, but for whatever reason, they just stopped being willing to eat it. I've wondered if there was some change in the formula around that time, but don't know for sure.

So I'm feeding mostly Tiki Cat these days, with the AvoDerm tuna/crab flavor as well because they all think that is the very best thing ever.
posted by Stacey at 12:17 PM on October 5, 2014

We're happy with Wellness. Our cats love it and it has maintained their weight well over the years.
posted by trillian at 12:56 PM on October 5, 2014

We feed a combination of Wellness, Tiki Cat, and Weruva - chicken flavors only, for all three brands. Of these three, it's clear that Tiki Cat is the superior cat food, but it is just so. freaking. expensive, that we limit them to one can a day.

One of our three cats, who previously had no problem with Wellness, has started to object, sulk, and threaten to starve, or eat my toes, when I put it out. This concerns me, I do think there might have been a formula change recently, and I'm not sure what cat food to replace it with in the rotation. They go off the Weruva if I give it to them too often. They will not eat a Taste of Wilderness at all, are not fans of Blue Buffalo, and dislike almost everything that isn't chicken, unless it is tuna, which we only like to give them as a treat.
posted by instead of three wishes at 1:01 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sorry but I cannot abide Taste of the Wild. They were acquired by Diamond, which makes some shit food along with this. Two years ago one of the plants shut down due to contamination. The high end pet stores in Canada stopped carrying this brand after the acquisition.
posted by crazycanuck at 2:56 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm currently feeding Evo dry with Canidae wet food and my 15 year old boy with kidney failure has actually gained weight for the first time in 3 years. Very pleased with both.
posted by kattyann at 4:41 PM on October 5, 2014

That's a good point about the recalls. There are so many of them, it's crazy! For example Evo was recalled three times in 2013.
Undoubtedly, we all should keep a close eye on those developments.
posted by travelwithcats at 4:35 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

We used to feed Blue/Blue Buffalo kibble, and then shortly after they changed the shape of their kibble a year or two back, our younger cat developed urinary problems. We switched to Halo's Spot's Stew for the kibble after that, and he's had no problems. We were also feeding Canidae wet in the mornings.

Aaaaaaaand then our older cat developed urinary problems so we're currently on the vet-supplied special urinary food for both wet and dry. I am hoping that the Canidae is not the problem because it's the only wet food that our older cat recognizes as actual food, and I'd like her to eat wet food to ensure that she gets enough water.

Our vet says that she's been seeing more of the urinary crystal problems in cats being fed the Blue/Blue Buffalo food, and recommends EVO, Wellness, and Halo. She hasn't seen enough one way or the other about Canidae to give a recommendation for or against it.
posted by telophase at 1:19 PM on October 6, 2014

We've been feeding our two lovelies Primal brand frozen raw diet since we brought them home from the shelter six years ago. They've thrived on it — their coats are amazing, their energy is good, their overall health is excellent, and they have ZERO cat breath. Having lived with cats eating kibble and canned food all my life, that part is amazing to me, but it's true. Their teeth are tartar-free and their breath is sweet and healthy. (I spend time nose-to-nose with them whenever I get the opportunity.)
posted by Lexica at 9:10 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Looking at recalls is helpful. Well-publicized voluntary recalls are usually a sign of quality control. If the recall doesn't seem to be associated with complaints and has a line like "not aware of any harm" then the recall is probably based on a process failure rather than frantic phone calls from pet owners.

The number of Evo recalls is way out of line with the amount of production and IIRC, were based on contamination. (That is, testing turned up spoiled food rather than someone noticed a lot had been stored at an incorrect temperature. )

You are so right about entropy from corporate greed. At last half the boutique brands don't even make food - they design labels and an ad campaign and then pay someone to make food. It's depressing.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 1:41 PM on October 7, 2014

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