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Food for Felines

November 4, 2009

All of the research I completed for this entry was done via simple Google searches.

The diet of my cat is similar in importance to me as the diet of a child to a parent. As such, Patch’s food has been carefully looked into to form a better understanding of what my ‘child’ is consuming each day. Currently Patch eats Hill’s (TM) Science Diet (R) Adult Original dry cat food. It is described by Hill’s as having “everything your cat needs to stay strong, healthy, and happy. Hill’s super antioxidant formula helps maintain your cat’s immune system.”


Hill’s (TM) Science Diet (R) Adult Original dry cat food

Hill’s Science Diet adult original ingredients:
Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Brewers Rice, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Iodized Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

Pros:
The first ingredient listed is a protein! Protein is soooo important to your cat’s energy levels (primary source of protein). In comparison, Whiskas’ first ingredient is ordinarily a starchy product.
Contains a Vitamin A supplement. Cats cannot produce their own Vitamin A (unlike, say, dogs) and need to obtain via another source. Vitamin A is linked to normal growth, reproduction and sight.
Contains a Vitamin E supplement. Vitamin E can stop body fat inflammation in cats, which sounds horrible and I don’t want happening to my Patch. And considering it is mainly found in foods that cats cannot eat often/much of (like vegetables, green plants, cereal products and eggs) I think it’s important for my cat to have.

Cons:
Contains “Chicken By-Product Meal.” Anything that is a ‘by-product’ is made up of the parts of an animal that are unfit for human consumption. This isn’t always a bad thing (heck, Patty loves chicken necks!) but it has been found in the USA that by-product meat can also contain road kill, deceased zoo animals, euthanized animals and so on. Do I really want to be feeding my cat these things? Not really! However, I haven’t been able to find any information (one way or the other) regarding by-product meat sourced in Australia. I am fairly certain that Hill’s is imported from the USA, which ain’t so good.

Neutrals:
Contains Vitamin C. In fact, Hill’s goes so far as to use it in advertising the product (via Key Benefits). However, it has been discovered that cats make their own Vitamin C in their liver. So does Patch really need a supplement of it? I don’t know.

Observations:
Without all of the scientific mumbo-jumbo above, we have witnessed Patch becoming a mellow, decent mannered cat while eating this product. We had previously been feeding Patch a variety of Whiskas products. A pet store clerk recommended Hill’s to us and we decided to test the product (if the cat refuses to eat it, you get a full refund – what did we have to lose?) One day we ran out of the kibble and not having time to go to a pet store that stocked Hill’s, we decided to resort to our backup supply of Whiskas. OH what a surprise was in store for us! Suddenly Patch was hyperactive and acted similarly to a small child on a sugar high. He was very hard to deal with shortly after he had eaten and for quite a time after (see this forum for other accounts of Whiskas and hyperactivity). His heart raced and he ran around a lot more than usual. We also noticed he started getting a skin irritation on his chin/mouth area (may or may not have been linked to the Whiskas – uncertain origins). After a brief trip to the vet we returned Patch immediately to the Hill’s Science Diet and noticed a change right away. Patch calmed down and didn’t act out quite so much. He still has kitten periods of play, but they are much more controlled and his attention is easily drawn away from things/places he is not meant to be concerned with (like, say, the pile of cables behind our TV or the stove top). The skin irritation also subsided (he still irritates it by scratching the area, but it is nothing like it used to be).


Patch (on R.’s computer)

Overall:
We are maintaining Patch’s diet of Hill’s dry kibble. I am not totally convinced that it’s everything it’s made out to be, but anything is better than Whiskas!

Future:
I plan on organising a homemade diet for Patch. However, this requires some further research and planning, as well as the sourcing of ingredients. Most cat websites also recommend variety in the diet. I therefore hope to add more to Patch’s diet than simple dry kibble. I will let you know how it all goes!

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