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Cereal in cat food.

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by ameliajane, Apr 7, 2011.


  1. ameliajane

    ameliajane PetForums VIP

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    Please forgive my ignorance but why is cereal in cat food so bad? I've read some of the A-Z food list and it seems the advice is to avoid cereal. Never thought about what to feed my cat before - like so many people i just buy the usual brands from the supermarket.

    It seems the brands i buy are high in cereal. My cat is overweight (i would love him to lose weight) but always hungry - if i buy one of the high meat type foods wont he just be even hungrier? Does the cereal help to make the cat feel full up? Does the type of food really make a difference to the cat's health? :confused:
     
  2. Nicky10

    Nicky10 PetForums VIP

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    Cats are the only obligate carnivores in the world that means they can only digest meat. So if a food has a high level of cereal say you're basically paying for most of the food to be wasted as it's of no benefit to your cat. It is just a filler and some pet food companies use it because it's cheaper than meat. They can also be linked to allergies
     
  3. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Ameliajane, just to add to Nicky10's post, it is the protein and the fat content that will fill your cat up, not carbs. I presume you are talking about dry food, where cereals as cheap fillers are more prevalent than in the wet food. Do you feed wet food at all?
     
  4. Vampyria

    Vampyria PetForums VIP

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    Adding to everything that has been already said - there are some very good points here already :D

    I have heard that due to cats not being able to digest high-carb foods (grains, cereals), some gets stored as fat reserves as the cat's body cannot make use of it. This is quite scary seeing how many brands add cereals to their food, and the quantity of cereals in some. As Hobbs has mentioned, carbs do not fill up cats, so some will eat more just to get the nutrition they need.

    Cereals and grains are also used as a binding agent to help dry kibble pieces keep their form and not just crumble and break apart.
     
  5. ameliajane

    ameliajane PetForums VIP

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    I give him both wet and dry (separate).

    When i first had him (7 years ago) the rescue place told me to feed him Science Plan which was ok at first but once he'd settle in he started eating more and more. Stupidly i fed him adhoc and of course he gained weight. In the end the vet informed me that the bag that was lasting me a week should have been sufficient for a month!

    I tried restricting to the advised amount divided into 4 meals but he just hoovered it up 2 seconds and looked at me like: ''OK, that was nice... now, where's my dinner?'' He meowed constantly and looked genuinely very hungry. I couldn't sleep as he meowed and banged the kitchen cupboard doors all night and i had to hide the bag of food in the tumble drier - he could get it out of any cupboard no matter how high (and the oven) and even an unopened bag (very thick plastic) would be just be chewed through.

    I gave up eventually and just bought the 'normal' supermarket foods.

    He's still overweight and I'd like to feed a better quality food but don't they all have to be fed in tiny quantities?

    Edited to add: I had no idea the cereal might actually be causing weight gain...
     
    #5 ameliajane, Apr 7, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  6. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    The good quality food tends to have smaller daily feeding recs compared with the other not so good food. It all has to do with the digestibility and usage of the nutrients . However, the good quality ones tend to contain more protein and fat compared with the other food, so in theory, he should feel fuller for longer.

    Initially, his eyes might be bigger than his stomach, so you might need to start him off with slightly more daily and gradually decrease it over time.

    I personally would try to wean him off dry food, or keep it as a treat (say in treatball that he has to work for) and i would try to make wet food the mainstay of his diet (mainly for the moisture content but also because wet food contains fewer carbs compared to even the "best" dry food).

    You could also feed him some raw food a couple of times a week - because he needs to chew, he cannot just gulp it down.
     
  7. ameliajane

    ameliajane PetForums VIP

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    Thanks for all the replies.
    So, a good quality wet food with some raw food might fill him up and help him lose weight. I will give this a go but will the lack of dry food not affect his teeth? I thought wet food alone was bad for the cat's teeth? (i'm not trying to be awkward, honest...)
     
    #7 ameliajane, Apr 7, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  8. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Nothing awkward about it - honest :D

    Neither your bog standard dry nor your wet food have any dental benefits. For dry food to be of any dental use, it needs to be the special dental formulated kibble, which is bigger amongst other things, than your normal kibble, which is more often than not just swallowed whole or split into two. However, that is not chewing or any abrasive action that would be needed to reap dental benefits.

    The occasional raw chunk of meat (not cut too small so that he still needs to chew and tear) or raw bone of appropriate size will do more for his teeth and gums than either dry or wet food.

    However, as I said, wet food is infinitely preferable to dry food imo because of its moisture content. Yes, cats drink more when fed dry food to make up for the lack of moisture but studies have shown that they do not take in as much moisture as wet fed cats take in from their diet, which in turn leads them to have more concentrated urine etc, which is bad for the bladder etc. The old saying is that dry food also contains more sodium than wet food to make cats drink more - whether that is still true, no idea. Something to follow up one day me thinks....

    For him to lose weight, well tbh it isn't just a dietary thing. You will also ideally need to up his activity level. Is there any way that you can set some time aside to play with him - say with a dabird or a laser toy, up and down stairs, across rooms etc?
     
  9. ameliajane

    ameliajane PetForums VIP

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    You're right about the dry food - he does mostly just swallow it whole - so it wouldn't be cleaning his teeth anyway - I never thought of that! :eek:

    He is an indoor cat which probably doesn't help with the weight problem. I do play with him and he will also race around by himself but I will make more effort with the playing - i probably have got a bit lazy lately.

    Anyone have any idea whether FIV cats are OK eating raw meat? I forgot to mention he is FIV positive.
     
  10. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Ah, he is FIV positive? Opinions are a tad divided - those who support raw feeding would say that the risks are minimal and that even FIV cats benefit from the more natural diet; those who aren't proponents would tell you to stay clear of it. Tough one and I am not sure what I would do in your situation. Perhaps have a read around and see what side you are coming down on.

    If you are at all worried about his teeth on a wet diet, you could consider brushing his teeth (you would need to start this slowly and gently and not just attack him with a pet toothbrush and some pet toothpaste one day) or you could look into products such a plaque off.

    Dougal22 is a good one to talk to re dental issues.
     
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