Is Your Cat Getting More and More Chubby?

This is Raja, our overweight cat!

Raja started out a reasonably svelte 12 lbs when we got her from a local shelter at age 7. Then, barely 2 years later, she was up to a hefty 15 lbs!

Diet cat foods were no help. Then, I happened to read a book: "Your Cat, Simple New Secrets To A Longer, Stronger Life" and it changed everything.

We invite you to follow our quest for a healthy weight-loss plan for this funny, personable and very talkative cat.

Hopefully, together we can help all our cats live healthier and thinner lives!

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2007-11-11

Even More Healthy, Low Carbohydrate Cat Food Brands

I've discovered some additional lo-carb wet cat foods as well as some canned food you should avoid because of the high carbohydrate content or other unhealthy reasons. (For other cat food choices, please see my prior post for a list of healthy, affordable, low-carb canned foods.)

These are the criteria for a healthy wet cat food (repeated from my prior post: "List of Good-For-Your-Cat, Affordable, Low-Carb Cat Foods"):

Healthy Canned Cat Food Criteria:

  • First two ingredients must be some form of meat, and NOT meat or fish by-products. (by-products are poor sources of protein and should not be the main ingredients in any quality cat food.)
  • No corn or corn meal in the list of ingredients. Corn has a high-glycemic index which means it is too readily converted to sugar in the body... VERY high in unnecessary and dangerous carbohydrates.
  • No rice, or other grains in the first 5 ingredients. (Same problem... too easily converted to sugar & too high in carbohydrates.)
  • No bone meal or bone phosphorous in list of ingredients. (Bone meal and bone phosphorous may contain harmful and poisonous chemicals.)
  • Actual dry-matter carbohydrates 10% or less. (To determine dry matter amounts for all important nutrients, please refer to: How to Read Cat Food Labels to Find Healthy Lo-Carb Cat Foods in this blog.)
  • Ideal Guaranteed Analysis protein: 8.8% or higher; ideal Guaranteed Analysis fat: 5.5% or higher.
    Note: It is almost impossible to get protein and fat in these exact percentages in the same canned food. That's why it's important to mix brands or flavors to be sure your cat gets adequate protein and fat in the long run.
  • Limit feeding of canned food with fish ingredients to no more than 3 days per week. (Most fish contains mercury which is poisonous to your cat.)
    NOTE: Be vigilant when reading cat food labels. I was surprised to find that some non-fish flavors of canned food contained fish somewhere in the ingredient list. This is ok, but just be sure to limit feeding of fish-containing foods to 3 times per week to be safe.
In addition to the Fancy Feast flavors mentioned in my prior post, here are some other brands and flavors that are healthy for your cat:
Innova Evo Cat and Kitten Food
(1.05 / 5.5oz; 1.59 / 13.2oz at Pet Supplies Plus)
Guaranteed Analysis
Innova Evo Cat and Kitten Canned FoodProtein %Fat %Fiber %Moisture %Ash %Total Guaranteed Analysis %CarbsActual Carbs % (dry matter basis)
Cat and Kitten (one flavor)128.5783101.500%

Note: This is a very high-quality food with real meat ingredients, but since there is only one formula, it would be best to feed your cat more variety than just this one brand/flavor.

Trader Joe's Tuna (.50 / 6oz can)
  • Seemingly good ingredients (just tuna, water, vitamins and minerals) and no carbs!
  • Note: Although this cat food has ultra-low carbohydrates, I am reluctant to recommend Trader Joe's Tuna for Cats because of the dangers of feeding this type of concentrated tuna.

    Yes, this is a very high-quality food with real meat ingredients, but since it contains only tuna, water and some vitamins and minerals, it would be best to avoid this food. Please see the comments below this post for a detailed description of why feeding your cat tuna is a really bad idea.
Eukanuba canned cat food (Petco, Petsmart)
  • Very low in carbs, if not a little expensive. However, all varieties of the canned cat foods were recalled a while back and are not available as of this post. If they become available again, I will check them out and list them in a future post.
Purina Pro-Plan Adult (.72 / 3 oz can @ Petco)
  • Some OK, but avoid rice in the flavor name. Read labels carefully!
Max-Cat Gourmet Classics (.55 / 3 oz can @ Petco)
  • Some OK, but not many. Read labels carefully!
Friskies, 9 Lives and cans of the inexpensive Sophisticat brand from Petsmart
  • Very cheap, but poor ingredients. For instance most have meat by-products as 1st or 2nd ingredient, even though some varieties have decent carbohydrates. Not recommended.
Iams, Science Diet and other readily available so-called "life-cycle" and "diet" canned foods should be avoided.
  • The ones I checked were all way too high in carbohydrates and many had corn and rice in their ingredient lists. I know, we were shocked too, since we thought with Science Diet we were feeding Raja a high-quality food! Not recommended.
Hopefully, your cat will find enough food in the lists here and in my prior post to satisfy his/her palate. If not, there are other brands like Evo (see above) and possibly Eukanuba that are harder to get and cost more that are OK.

To view the most up-to-date list of low-carb wet cat food, please visit my post: Major Brand Lo-Carb Wet Cat Food - 2011 Update


I am now searching for a dry cat food that is lower in carbohydrates than the major brands. We don't intend to feed this to Raja instead of canned food, it's only in case we go on vacation and leave her in someone else's care.

Even if we go away for a day or a night, she'll need food in her bowl that will last more than a couple of hours, so it would be nice to know if there is a dry cat food that is low in carbohydrates and still healthy in all other respects.

I'll let you know what I find out after checking low-carb dry cat food products online and visiting some specialized pet food stores in the area...

2 comments:

  1. My vet told me not to feed my cat tuna as it would weaken her bones. Does this not also apply to cat food that is just tuna & water?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Suze, for your important question!

    I did some research and apparently there are a lot of reasons to limit your cat's intake of tuna. For example:

    ** Although it is high in protein, tuna lacks sufficient amounts of certain amino acids, mainly taurine, to maintain feline health. There is insufficient calcium to balance the phosphorus; the ratio in canned tuna is 1-to-14.8. This results in bone disease.

    ** Cats can get addicted to tuna, whether it's packed for cats or for humans. They can quickly develop a taste for tuna and refuse any other foods. The term "tuna junkie" has been used to describe such cats.

    ** Some tuna now and then probably won't hurt. But a steady diet of tuna prepared for humans can lead to malnutrition because it won't have all the nutrients a cat needs. And, too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning.

    ** Any fish (raw, canned or cooked) if fed exclusively or in high amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death.

    ** Also, any canned tuna made for humans will have a very high salt content which is not healthy for any pet.

    ** Finally, feeding too much tuna can result in a condition known as Steatitis.

    What is Steatitis?
    Also known as Yellow Fat Disease or Pansteatitis, steatitis is caused by feeding a diet high in unsaturated fatty acids and deficient in vitamin E. Oily fish, especially red tuna are the cause of this condition.

    Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, and unfortunately tuna is an inadequate source of Vitamin E. Therefore the overabundance of unsaturated fatty acids (which also oxidize and destroy Vitamin E), combined with the deficiency of Vitamin E causes damage to body fat, which results in a painful inflammatory response.

    What are the symptoms of steatitis?
    >> Greasy, dull coat & flaky skin.
    >> Severe pain when touched.
    >> Anorexia (loss of appetite).
    >> Fever.
    >> Reluctance to move.

    What's the difference between human grade tuna and tuna flavored cat food?
    Human grade tuna is just tuna and salt; whereas tuna flavored cat food is not 100% tuna, and usually contains other meats and nutrients which are necessary in the cat's diet.

    Bottom line:
    Only feed your cat canned tuna made exclusively for cats. And limit feeding canned fish made for cats to at most three times per week.

    Because of this new information, I am revising this blog post to caution against Trader Joe's Canned Tuna for Cats. Since tuna is the main ingredient in their formula, I'm afraid there is just too much tuna to be safe.

    PLEASE NOTE: I got the above information from various online resources, including Pets.WEBMD.com. I am not a vet, just a concerned cat owner who likes to research what's best for our feline friends!

    Remember: Always check with your vet before following any information you get from the Internet!

    ReplyDelete

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