I used to have 6 cats. Now I have 4.
Feeding 6 cats a strict diet was really hard, and most often resulted in chaos and injuries, so I switched to open feeding. Predictably, they gained weight. Like, a lot of weight.
So, I decided that I should switch from the cheap walmart stuff…
Science Diet science diet science diet sciiiiiiiencccccce diiiiiieeeeeet.
OR prurina pro plan. Those are literally the only two foods I feel comfortable feeding my animals: my two dogs are on canine sensitive stomach, and my cat is on Hair Ball Control (all dry, I’m not a fan of canned foods.)
It is more expensive, but they’re not going to kill your pet. There are so many pet-diet myths that lead to people making this same decision, and I’m going to go through the top few off the top of my head:
1) Pet food is simply not regulated that well. Most of the governments’ time and money, as far as pet/livestock food regulations go, is spent on the animals that we’ll be consuming. They’re not worried about our pets. That means that all you need to start up a pet food business is the money to do so. There’s no special licensing required, nothing. For example, Blue Buffaloe is one of the worst foods on the market. Their low fat diet has more calories in it that science diet’s PUPPY food, not to mention that it’s perpetually on recall for various reasons (cough cough salmonella.) but they’re super successful because of their advertising campaign (pet food companies can say ANYTHING they want about their food online on tv or in pamphlets, their advertising is not help to the standard of honesty that our food or medicines are,) and a neat bag that lists meat near the top of the ingredients list.
2) companies pretty much lie on their ingredient list. They don’t have to list the ingredients post dehydration, which means they can put meat at the top of the list, but the ratio of meat to other ingredients after being processed and dehydrated and actually made into food probably lands in the middle or end of the list. This is perfectly legal and there is no way for you to know the actual amount of meat in the diet.
3) grain, especially corn, is not some evil filler to be avoided, and gluten free diets are not good for your pets. About 10% of all dogs in the world have a grain or gluten allergy, and 90% of those dogs are Irish Setters that developed a weird gene from inbreeding. Dogs don’t digest corn the way that we humans do, it is an integral and healthy part of their diet. Corn is also very expensive, it’s one of the most expensive grains available. A brand of food marketed as Corn Free or Gluten Free is purely a promotional trap for you the consumer, and a way for a company to save money while hopping on to the latest trend. Removing corn from your dog’s diet is not doing them any favors.
And 4) Read the back of the bag. If there’s no mention of a food trial having been performed, put it back on the shelf. This is one of few claims a pet food company must obtain legal rights to make, it’s solid. A food trial lasts between 30-60 days, and guarantees the food performs as promised: that the low fat food actually helps dogs lose weight, the senior food contains the proper vitamins and nutrients to keep elderly animals healthy, and so on. They’re not cheap either; if a food trial fails it has to be redone, with a fresh pool of animals. A company that hasn’t done a food trial basically came up with a recipe, contracted the production of it out, and put it on the shelves. There is no way to know what’s in it or how much or if animals even like it. Don’t buy a product that’s never been tested!!
Finally, if you only skimmed this whole text block please pay attention to this next part: bowl train your pets. I have three animals, and we are able to free feed— now— because each has their own individual bowl. This is such a simple thing and can save you so much time and energy! When you feed, your pet should eat their food immediately. If they don’t, pick it back up. If they try to snif someone else’s bowl, move them back to their own. And if someone misses a meal or two from stubbornness, so it be it, just stick to your guns. It is so worth it in the end!
So, I guess that’s all I had to say. My heart breaks for the two kitties that fell prey to some unscrupulous money hungry company that doesn’t have the decency to admit it. And my thoughts go out to the owner: it’s not your fault. You trusted the store to not stock poison, a very reasonable thing. Someday soon, I hope, we’ll be better equipped to protect our furry family members from these sorts of disasters.