Sweet Geek

Thoughts on Health and Nutrition

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Nutrition for Pets

What does the Primal Crazy Cat Lady’s kitties diet look like? I call it Catkins (Atkins for Cats), The Paleo Pet Solution or the Primal Kitty Diet. As I have learned more about my own health and the effect of nutrition, like the crazy cat lady I am, I’m putting the cats on their own ancestral diets too. When two of my cats became obese, besides feeling like a failure (it’s not like they are sneaking out to McDonald’s) and being terrified that they would develop diabetes (can you imagine holding down a 16lb Maine Coone to test his blood sugar and inject insulin?) I made the mental transition of applying some of my new found knowledge to my cats.

Cats are carnivores, they eat small rodents, birds and maybe some fish in the wild, so why was I feeding them dry kibble? Granted it was expensive, organic kibble but across the board all kibble is basically the same thing: carbohydrates. Last time I checked, field mouse is pretty low in carbs. The cheap stuff uses mystery “by-products” and the expensive stuff uses more consumer friendly filler like potato starch or rice but it’s really all the same. The carbohydrates is the essential ingredient, without it kibble couldn’t exist.

It really came down to this: I was sacrificing my cats’ health for the convenience of leaving out a bowl of kibble all day. My cats are my children and thinking about it this way was the uncomfortable motivation I needed to try something else.

My cats diet has been a long slow de-evolution:

  1. I instantly rejected the standard affordable cat food brands. The more expensive stuff must be better for them, right?
  2. Very early on I switched them to grain-free kibble, because the littlest one had unspeakable gas which was fixed by going grain-free.
  3. Then when the boys starting packing on the pounds, I tried low-calorie kibble (I didn’t know better). They actually liked this kibble more than the old but gained even more weight on it! Turns out that there is less protein and fat in low-calorie kibble, so I had unintentionally just put them on the standard low-fat high-carb diet that had failed for me.
  4. A few months ago, I switched them to the highest protein kibble available. It was a herculean task finding, high protein, grain-free, low-GI, kibble and ultimately a waste of time because again they did not lose weight.
  5. Currently they are on 95% protein wet food. It’s mostly meat with a bit of carrots and whatnot as well. I tried the 100% canned food but after years of feeding them kibble, I had created “kitty carb addicts” who had no clue what cats were supposed to eat.

So far they have both lost some weight, at a safe pace. However I’m still not satisfied because a) there is still more kitty chub to lose and b) quality wet food is an expensive pain in the ass. If it were just the expense maybe I wouldn’t care. However the portion size isn’t right, so I always have leftovers in the refrigerator, each cat likes something different and Big Red usually neglects to tell me before I open the tin that “he’s not feeling like duck today”. It’s a lot of work, epensive and ends up being very wasteful.

Crazy cat lady that I am, I’m now considering making my own cat food. Why pay $1.30 for 3 oz of “pet grade” meat when I could buy human grade for $1/lb and cut it myself? As long as I made sure to get the right mix of essential nutrients (like taurine) then it should be safe. Which actually isn’t difficult because wonder of wonders, if you feed them the entire animal (not just the muscle meat) then all the essential nutrients are pretty well taken care of.

Which if you think about it, is the final step in the de-evolution of my cats’ diet. From highly processed grains to whole animal. Short of setting them free to chase mice and birds, feeding them fresh meat and organs is their ancestral diet, though that wasn’t my intention starting out.