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  #1  
Old 08-26-2009, 10:35 PM
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Default Cat Food & Litter Questions?

So, I'm considering getting a cat. Now, I've never had a cat before (and I don't really work with them in the rescue), so I was wondering about cat food and litter.

Is any type of litter better/worse then others? And how much litter do you really use?

I'm looking at premium cat foods as well - what should I look for in terms of protein levels, fat levels, etc? What are the best brands/formulas? Are there any ingredients to avoid (like corn in dogs)? I know what to look for with dogs, but this is new to me! I have quite a few local specialty pet food stores around here, and they carry or can order pretty much anything.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:58 AM
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For litter, pretty much whatever your cat prefers to use.

Our cat prefers dirt in a box from outside. Our neighbors use tidy cat, another neighbor uses the wheat kind. I actually really liked the wheat kind when I watched her cats, for smell control and ease of scooping.

Food:

Wet food is the best, because many cats don't drink enough water. They need very high protein diets and when they don't get enough moisture it stresses their kidneys.

Raw is good, and quite cheap to feed since they are so small. If you're starting with a younger cat is isn't hard to teach them to eat raw. Some older individuals are pretty set in their eating habits. You could also go with a premade raw instead of homemade.

For kibble, we found the following kinds work very well:

Solid Gold, Indigo Moon

Nature's Logic: Rabbit formula (the ONLY thing that will keep weight on Sammy)

We also give her a pinch of Solid Gold Seameal with a teaspoon of diatomaceous earth and the contents of a fish oil capsule mixed with wet food once a day, for extra goodness and to keep her from getting worms.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:29 AM
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I use Fresh Step litter.

My cats eat both wet and dry California Natural.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:39 AM
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I use Arm and Hammer super scoop, you can use anything you and your cats like. I tried about three litters, Fresh Step (too much perfume for me), cat's Pride (didn't control odor well enough) and now the Super Scoop which I like.

Get scoopable litter, if you don't the urine builds up in the box and SMELLS.

I change the whole box about once a month so that's when I get a new box of litter. Scoop the clumps out every day so that is doesn't start to stink, if you let it get too messy many cats will go elsewhere.

As Romy said wet food is much, much better than dry food. I don't consider dry food cat food, it's completely inappropriate for a cat and leads to urinary disorders, obesity, diabetes, Irritable Bowel Disorder and allergies due to all the unnatural ingredients. NO dry food is safe, dry food requires carbohydrates to be made, whether it be grains or potato or tapioca, is needs carbs or it would not turn into kibble. Cats cannot handle this carbohydrate at all, they are carnivores. a mouse is 2-3% carbohydrate, dry foods are usually between 25-50% carbohydrates. The cat's pancreas, in an attempt to handle all this carbohydrate (which becomes sugar) is always working at stabilizing the blood sugar with insulin. Eventually the pancreas just gets overused and starts to fail. Then kitty has diabetes. It has been found that diabetes can be "cured" by feeding all wet or raw food(I say cured because all you have to do is feed the cat normal cat food, no insulin or anything, but if you ever feed dry again the cat will be diabetic again).
Cats have a low thirst drive because they are descended from desert animals. Cats on dry food alone will not drink enough water to be fully hydrated, they will be in a state of chronic, mild dehydration for their lives, it's not enough dehydration to be noticeable but it is enough to wreak havoc on the body. Their urine becomes more concentrated causing UTIs, crystals, FLUTD and blockages.
Cats bodies do not tell them that they are full until they have eaten the right amount of protein and fat. It does not matter how much carbs they eat, the body will not say they are full until enough protein is eaten. unfortunately most dry foods have lots of carbs and less protein so the cats have to eat and eat and eat in order to obtain enough protein and at that point they have eaten WAY too many carbs. This makes a fat cat. Then the vet will say "feed this diet food" which is basically a food that takes away fat but not carbs (in fact they often increase carbs and decrease protein by filling the food with more useless calories) so the cat continues to gain weight . The vet will tell you to restrict food but because the cat is not getting enough protein in his small meals he is STARVING and will cry and cry for food because he is not getting what he needs and he knows it. The two most common complaints from people feeding diet foods is it doesn't work, the cat is always hungry and the cat won't eat it (yum peanut hulls).
So that's just some of the problems associated with dry food, i could keep going but I'll give some links instead.

I would feed at least 75% wet (or raw or a mix of the two) and no more than 25% dry (less is better). canned is expensive but if you make your own raw it's much cheaper. I do that for one of my cats (I'm trying to transition Neko, it's a pain for picky adults, kittens are super easy). both are good options, canned is a bit easier but raw is cheaper and unlike any commercial cat food raw actually cleans teeth. raw should not be fed ground, it should be fed in the form of whole meats or even whole animals (you can buy frozen mice, rats, guinea pigs and chicks). no veggies, grains or fruits are added to raw. that is why I don't recommend pre-made raw and I prefer making my own.
If you are interested in learning how to feed raw send me a PM and I'll help you. It's not hard.

There are tons of good wet foods though, look for foods without grains or at the very least without a lot. Corn, Wheat and Soy are off limits. It's like with dogs except grains, fruits and veggies are even worse for cats.
My favorites are EVO and Wellness (CORE and the other ones). I also feed Nature's Variety, California Natural, Innova, By Nature, Felidae and other good ones are Ziwipeak, Merrick, Blue Wilderness and Evangers. There are more I'm sure I'm missing, some foods with "okay" dry foods (say they are grain heavy or something, like wellness) will still have really good wet foods. I would rotate between several wet foods so kitty does not get bored and try not to feed too much fish, it has possible negative health repercussions.

Here are some links on diet (if you go and explore the sites I want to keep in mind that I don't agree with their method of feeding raw by grinding and supplementing):
Diet and Disease
Feeding Your Cat** Know the Basi

For information on raw feeding:
Raw Fed Cats

Sorry to bombard you with all of this, cat nutrition is a passion of mine, especially raw feeding. Good luck with your new cat or kitten, are you looking on petfinder? Do you have any in mind on there?
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:54 PM
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Wow, I never knew that feeding raw was that much more beneficial in cats!

How much does raw cost (approximately) a month, for an average-sized cat? I don't need specifics, just an estimate, as my budget is limited.
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Old 08-27-2009, 02:25 PM
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It really all depends on where you go for your meat. One cat is really quite cheap. For my 9 pound cat (so a bit small) I could make 24 meals (12 days since he eats 2 meals a day each at about 1.5 ounces of food per meal) of chicken thigh for $7.50 or so. Now obviously feeding only chicken would be harmful for health, variety is important so you'd but more than that but once you buy some chicken, beef, turkey and whatever it'll last a while. I forget how many chicken wingettes I got, 10 at least, for about $5.50.
A cow liver and a cow kidney for one cat (the animal must eat liver and one other organ, I use kidney because that is all I can find, heart does not qualify as organ for raw feeding, it is muscle meat and is a great source of taurine) should last MANY months, perhaps a year so I don't really factor in that cost.

Remember cats need smaller bones, chicken thighs or rabbit ribs are about as big as they can go. Buying cornish hens and using the whole thing gives great bones, buying chicken breasts with ribs attached instead of just regular breasts will provide nice rib bones for the cat.

I get all my meat form the grocery store which is probbaly one of the more expensive routes but if you post on craigslist asking for freezer burned meat you can get cheap or free stuff there. Finding butchers in your area is useful for cheap meat that is not commonly sold to people. If you live in areas with a high population of other cultures you can often find stores selling "different" stuff which is useful for organs and variety. If you know any hunters they might give you stuff when it's hunting season. So look around and find what you can. From what I've heard it's about $12 a month for most people.
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:39 PM
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Okay, cool, that's not extremely expensive then.

However, this whole cat thing is being re-thought, as I've been told by the other people in this house that the cat will not be staying here when I leave for college, which means I'd need to find somewhere for it to go, or an extremely affordable apartment, and I don't know if that's possible...
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:47 AM
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Arm & Hammer scoopable litter is FANTASTIC. Five stars, would use again!

As far as food goes, I feel Kirklands (Costco's brand) which is surprisingly good quality. (Real meat is the first ingredient, etc.)

I also supplement my cats' diet with canned cat food. I bought some little cans of Sheba brand and I am AMAZED at the quality. I mean, I think I could heat this stuff up and eat it if I wanted. The chicken and duck flavor is real strips of recognizable chicken and duck meat, not ground up stuff.
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:30 PM
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When I had a lot of snakes we ordered pre-killed whole frozen rodents from this company:

rodentpro

Because of the cost of shipping I would buy 2-3 years worth of rodents at a time, or split a shipment with another local reptile owner. You might advertise on craigslist to see if anyone in your area is interested in splitting a shipment. Right now they are having a sale on x large adult mice for $0.40 each. Sammy loved them, if someone wasn't feeling hungry she always got their leftovers instead of throwing them in the garbage. Now that our snakes are gone she's finishing up what's left in the freezer. I'll probably get another big shipment for her once she finishes them off.
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