Originally Answered: What is a good Kitty food?
I like City Classic litter for Longhaired Cats and Kittens. Its dust free and doesn't stick to fur, and has a baby powder scent. You change the litter completely about every three weeks and scoop the poop each day. Also, don't use a clumping litter, since when wet it expands... and kittens like to nibble litter, so you don't want it to expand in their throats or stomach.
Here's all I know on kitty nutrition. And a lot of this stuff even applies to dogs in terms of ingredients and nutrients, though dogs need a little less protein and a few more carbs. However, dogs don't need grains at all, though they do benefit from fruit and veggies.
We have to remember that cats in the wild only eat meat, and that is the ideal diet. Meat is high in protein and fat, which are the primary energy sources for cats. Try to follow this natural rule when you pick foods.
Generally, any brand you've heard of on TV, magazine ads, and even from a vet are low quality. They spend money on making advertisements, not on good ingredients. Vets also don't have to take nutrition courses, and they might cover nutrition for maybe 4 classes- and these classes usually have a person from a big brand like Hill's or Purina come in. Vets are also -sponsored- by these companies to sell their foods, even though they are full off crap. The sad part is, vets are actually extremely uneducated in that area- and thats where we need the most help.
So cats eat meat, which is protein and fat. Those are its primary sources of energy, and your food probably doesn’t have enough to keep your cats satiated. Remember that fat is good- it doesn't promote obesity- carbs do. We have to remember that they are carnivores, and are not human. Please read on.
Things to avoid:
Grains (corn, wheat, oats, barely, rice) and their by products (gluten, hulls, etc) are bad for cats. They are high in carbs, which cats do NOT need for energy. A cat's body recognizes carbs as sugar, and then transforms it into fat. Most commercial cat foods are way over 35% carbs and are mostly grains- thats why a quarter of pet cats are obese, not because of fat. Most cats also wouldn't have diabetes if it wasn't for grains.
Grains also have proteins, but they are plant proteins that cats can't use.
So if a food has grains in it, that adds to the protein percentage- but your cat won't get the amount labeled on the bag.
Why are grains in there? Simple. Its cheap and a profit for the companies that make them.
Rule:NO GRAINS and UNDER 20% CARBS.
By-products are cheap bits of meat that are unsuitable for human consumption- heads, feet, organs and intestines, etc. They are usually the only 'meat' in most pet foods. Cats do eat these in the wild, but they do eat NICE meat too!
Rule: NO BY-PRODUCTS.
This rules out almost every brand you've heard of, sadly. Even 'Science Diet' . If you look at the ingredients, its filled with crap!
What to look for:
-High protein/High fat/ Lots of meat
Look for more than 40% protein, so that he can have proper muscle and a shiny coat.
Look for over 16% fat.
Make sure that there are lots of nice meat ingredients.
Cats don't drink because they are meant to get water from the raw meat they should eat, which is 65-75% water. Because of this, they don't have a thirst drive. Even if a cat drinks a lot of water, it only gets about half of the water it needs.
When cats are dehydrated, their urine becomes concentrated and forms painful crystals- this is Urinary Tract Infection. Dry is too dry :(
Canned foods are about 78% water, and so imitates raw meat well. While they look like they have less protein and fat, that is because its diluted by water. To calculate the real protein, here's the formula and an example.
moisture: 78% and protein: 10%.
Remove moisture from the 'total' (100%) and you get the percent of dry matter, which is 22%. Turn this into a decimal (0.22). Divide the protein content (10%) by this decimal (0.22). You end up with 45% protein!
The average can (5.5 oz) feeds about 6-8 pounds of cat for a day. Since you have a kitten, you should feed at least 60% canned. Also, kittens have to constantly eat, so always leave food available, or just have very frequent meals. When she's older, feed about 1 can a day, with maybe an 1/8th of a cup of kibble.
Good dry foods are: Orijen, Innova EVO, Wellness CORE, Horizon Legacy, Artemis Maximal, Nature's Variety Instinct
Good canned: Innova EVO, Wellness, Nature's Logic, Natural Balance, Evanger
Go to their websites and use their store locators. They may cost more, but your cat will eat less (which mean it lasts longer) and be healthier- no 'fat cat' or 'diabetes' vet bills.
www.catinfo.org is a good site, and www.pets.ca's Bulletin Board has a colony of awesome nutrition fanatics.