Saturday, December 31, 2005

What's for Dinner?

I think our understanding of cat health and diet has come a long way since my first cat, Gandolf, about thirty years ago. I didn't grow up with cats, I had a cocker spaniel and a duck and way too many mice. But when O and I had this house framed up and a wood stove installed the first thing we did was go to the shelter and adopt a kitten. There are more stories to come about this one, he was a memorable character.

Anyway, Gandolf was a large, sturdy cat and he loved food. He lived on something like Friskies and Alpo and whatever he could catch. When he was a kitten I would whistle when I opened up a can and when he was an adult all I had to do was open the door and whistle and he would come tearing through the woods as my grandmother would say , "a bat out of hell". He loved that canned food so much he would purr to his bowl, "food, I love you, food, how I love you, yumm oh food, how I adore you." It was, I suppose his way of saying grace.

I then had a short lived and angelic kitten we still mourn and then we got Brendan and Finnegan. It wasn't until Finnegan died of kidney failure that I started researching kitty diet. You would think this subject would have interested me earlier since I am fairly aware of decent human diet. But no, I just took it for granted that those nice people who market cat food were giving us the best possible diet for my beloved companions.

But with Finnegan gone I took a good look at Brendan who was then 14 and 1/2. We wanted a long life for him and a good one. I started reading about cat nutrition and I threw out the Iams. I went down to our local specialty shop which I had not ever shopped in and came home with a bag of Wellness Senior and wellness cans. Shortly after, Brendan's fur changed. He had had a ridge of oily feeling fur along his spine which I read was caused by not being able to get rid of unhealthy things in his food. Now his fur became soft and fluffy. "Fluff city!" one person said on a health and behavior group I had joined.

Then I got the two little guys and I wanted to start off right with them from the beginning. I thought about going raw. A real au natural kitty diet. Yeah, well, I tried it and didn't get far. I tried some frozen pre-made raw stuff, I tried cooking chicken for them with rice and vegetables ( that went over ok sometimes). I had also been giving them Wellness kitten wet and dry.

But Silas was having runny poop and it turns out that Wellness is rather a complicated food, full of things that sound good to people but maybe cats don't really need. So I got a chicken and rice dry food from Sensible Choice that helped.

When he got better I went to Innova dry and that was a big hit all around. But Fergus was doing this worrisome thing where he would groom himself and then chomp on his skin. I asked our vet and she suggested the new Innova Evo with no grain. She said Fergus was probably allergic to grain and after all, cats are not grain eaters. So I went to Innova Evo for dry, which everyone loves. The dry food is available in small quantities during the day because I have two dainty eaters who like to have a small bite now and then but if I put a huge amount down Silas will finish it off and we can see where that is going.

For wet food they like a variety though no one eats huge amounts of it. I buy Wellness ( their favorite is the Chicken and Herring and no one will eat the seafood one that comes in the yellow can). I buy a Tuna from I think, Solid Gold and there is a new company making food with names like "New England Boil" ( a big hit) and Grammie's Pot Pie (not such a hit). The company is called Merrick Pet Care from Texas. I did once get some of Paul Newman's new cat food and that was well received but no one carries it locally yet.

Unfortunately, all three simply adore Fancy Feast which has too many things I don't understand for me to trust it. However, especially with the teenagers I consider a little junk food won't hurt them so I dole out Fancy Feast Tuna on occasional days. However, it will give them very stinky poops.

Brendan, in his elderhood, likes his food like stew or soup, mixed with bathtub warm water and served a little higher. He has a small table for downstairs dining or I will sit with him and hold it. Hey, he is sixteen, he deserves comfort. He will let me know if he wants breakfast, but his general routine is some bites of Innova and then a warm soup in the evening, served with attention. He also gets some Dr. Goodpet vitamins and arthritis mix. Some days he simply doesn't want anything but some times, if something is new and very tasty, he will lick his bowl clean. He has a healthy cat figure with a waist. Brendan has one very important dining rule, "Do NOT touch the cat with a food implement!" This implies that the cat is food. O was told this very emphatically.

Fergus is so excited at life that he doesn't think about food unless I ask him. So I hold out a can and he'll say "Give it to me!" If he has suddenly realized he is starving then he will squawk with sudden awareness of his empty belly. But he is a teenager and he will turn his nose up at what I consider the good stuff and then I will add a spoonful of FF. He is a fish eater, anything that spent it's life in water is fine with him. Fergus is as skinny as a rail and doesn't walk anywhere he can run.

Silas, our Mr. No Trouble To Anybody, will quite happily nosh on Innova. He will also happily finish up anything else lying around so I serve him a small portion of whatever anyone else is getting if he shows up and I limit the amounts of dry available. Of course, this means he can go around and clean up the dry if he wants to and there won't be any left for the skinny ones. Silas is our "full bodied" boy. It's a good thing Fergus keeps him going on explorations in the woods because otherwise he would be larger than he is. Silas also, always leaves a tip in the food bowl, a toy or a bottle cap. Like I said, he's a polite guy.

One other thing that is a big hit is I put a small Midnight Munchie bowl and a bowl of fresh water in the bedroom. This is so popular that everyone takes a bite before going to bed. I don't know why the same munchies that are downstairs are more desirable upstairs, but so it is. I guess it's like getting a hamburger at Top of the Sixes. It's still a hamburger but it's in a special place.

Fergus just came in the kitty door (Whomp!) squawking for food. I let him have some FF Fish and Shrimp. He scoffed down about a spoonful and that did it. At least he doesn't eat a lot of it! And he usually finishes up with a desert of Evo.

So that's the menu here at Caturday. And everyone is healthy with beautiful fur.


Cape Cat said...

Life's Abundance available via mail is very good also.

Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul has good ingredients too - not to the level of Inova, but good.

Zuleme said...

I haven't tried that one, we're in the country so we don't have a Petco near by, however our local place is really nice about getting special order stuff in.

Niobium said...

We feed The Beasts Eagle Brand.