Captain's Cat Food Log, Day 7:
The Natives are restless... but in a more-active-than-usual, not-as-sloth-like way. We've switched them to an all-canned food diet - no more kibble.
So far, no complaints, though they still don't speak English, so how would we know?
We do know there's been no more cat puke since making the switch and we've also noticed they're not constantly visiting the water dish like they just got off a long bus ride from Arkansas.
As of last night, one native in particular was up at all hours playing Raccoon. This could be an unfortunate side-effect (for us) of having more energy and being more cat-like than sloth-like. On the plus side, Raccoon Boy needs to burn off some pudge, so, good for him, bad for my beauty sleep.
Why put everyone through this experiment? I was tired of cleaning up cat puke (not hairballs, just puke) and worried about why one of our cats kept doing it, no matter how I fed him or the quality of the food, which is always the best I can find.
After reading countless cat food labels I kept wondering, would a cat naturally hunt down barley or boil up a pot of rice? I would love to see my cats trying to cook rice.
I did some digging and found information about cats developing diabetes or pre-diabetes, possibly caused by the excess carbohydrates in typical dry food formulas. I wondered if Ninja's puking and repeated trips to the water bowl could be signs of serious trouble. He was getting up repeatedly throughout the day to get a drink.
Neo, the Bowling Ball, aka Raccoon Boy, needs to lose a few pounds but reduced-calorie kibble has more carbs, less protein, and has never worked to help him slim down.
I'd always thought kibble would help keep their teeth healthy, but after watching them inhale the bits and rarely chew them, that theory wasn't holding up. Every time Ninja puked up his kibble it was mostly un-chewed bits that could go right back into the bag.
So, I started reading Do Cats Hear With Their Feet by Jake Page. He includes some of the same info I'd found online (and much more - great book). Cats are designed to eat meat, not carbs. Also, very important - they need to get their hydration from their food, not the water dish.
His book mentions a website, catinfo.org, full of nutrition and feeding info for cats, written by a veterinarian. Another book he recommends for good nutrition info is Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life.
Since we made the switch, Ninja hasn't gotten sick and isn't constantly visiting the water cooler - very encouraging signs. Litter box output all looks normal - no change in the size of clumps, no diarrhea. They still sleep a lot, but now they're up & playing in the early afternoon - not out cold from breakfast until dinner time. I'm also hoping to see the dandruff clear up, something the boy cats have had for years.
Some folks worry that too much protein is hard on their kidneys, but what I'm reading cites the lack of hydration as the main problem leading to kidney stones or kidney failure. If they're designed to eat meat and only meat, I suspect their kidneys are designed to manage that properly.
I'm not ready to start grinding up tubs of raw chicken just yet, so I'm using the canned food I've fed them for years - Wellness. It's pretty good quality though still has some ash in it, which I really don't like.
Catinfo.org mentions a couple of options - Feline's Pride and Nature's Variety - they're expensive. Wellness has come out with a new canned formula - Core - that has more protein & less starch.
Overall, all signs point to this working out well, unless they're all up and playing throughout the night, then they might be getting canned-food dinners with valium dust sprinkled on top.