Sunday, March 18, 2007

Lessons Learned

Tanj and Usch get a new box of food!

Since hearing about the cat and dog food recall, we have been doing a bit of research and have learned a few things that maybe we should have known, but still surprised us. These are our thoughts and opinions, and you may have found better information along the way.

Lesson #1: "Cats may know best!" It may turn out that there is nothing wrong with the Nutro cat food we were feeding the cats, but we did notice the boys showed much less interest in eating their packet food right after we got the last batch in December. They instantly dropped from eating up five packets together a day to two or less a day, regularly sniffing the plates and walking away. We thought that they might be getting "finicky" as they had stopped eating canned Evo Innova when they were kittens. Today we went to our small local cat store to supplement the boy's favorite dry food (Royal Canin). The sales representative recommended that if the boys didn't like a certain food, that we bring the rest of it back and try something different. With hindsight, we could have done something similar with the boy's packet food.

Lesson#2: "Diversify the Diet?" When the boys were little kittens, we tried to give them a pretty uniform diet because we were worried about their bouts with diarrhea (the dreaded "bad belly" some kittens encounter). We have kept up that practice of giving them a single brand of dry food and a single brand of wet food now that they are older. We know with the human diet, several medical and governmental agencies have recommended that humans eat a variety of foods, not just for a nutritional balance, but also to reduce repeated exposure to specific pesticides, herbicides, aflatoxins, and allergens. Cats do have very different digestive systems than humans and have different nutritional requirements, but we wonder if feeding a variety of brands with a good nutritional balance may reduce exposure to particular undesirable chemicals. Now that our boys are older, we are going to try a variety of "good" cat foods, to see if they can tolerate and thrive with a wider brand mix. We'll see how this works.

Lesson #3: "Different Brands often have the same Manufacturer" For some reason, it had not occurred to us that the same manufacturer using the same basic ingredients could be producing different brands of foods at very different price points. We are researching our current cat food choices to learn more about their sources and types of ingredients (local, organic, parts of animal used, etc.).

Lesson #4: "We Adore our Kitties" Well, we already knew this one... We've been feeling guilty all day that we were trying to feed the boys something they clearly no longer wanted to eat. Well, we are hoping to do a lot better!

Tanj investigates the new selection...

Uschi gives the bags a good sniff...

Let's get one of these cans open!

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