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Mon Sep 9, 2019, 12:16 PM

Cat food

Until about 10 years ago we were a dog family. All dogs all the time. For more than 20 years.

Then a kitten adopted us, and that was the beginning.

Since then, it's been cats and dogs (or dogs and cats, depending on who's in earshot). (In more than 30 years, we're on dogs numbers 10, 11, and 12, and cats numbers 9-13.)

So, now we have three at home and two feral cats at the barn. Feeding them is pricey since they eat dry and wet food, and we feed the barn cats as well. BTW, the pair at the barn have been together now for 8 years. They are soooo cute. And still feral. And although they seem to get their fill of rodents, we still feed them.

We've been feeding all the cats Friskies. We've tried more expensive wet foods for the house cats, but they seem perfectly fine with the mass market stuff, and I'm okay with that as well, as they are 60 cents for a 5.5 oz can.

So, I'm at Petco last week, and there's no Friskies (which is fine, since I buy the cats' canned food at the grocery store), but they had a sign up saying that they have dropped Friskies and Fancy Feast because they contain artificial flavors and colors, and they have a new "no artificial anything" campaign. The cashier said I should try Petco's Wholehearted brand, which is at the same price point. So this week I popped in to buy some. Not at all at the same price point. It's 69 cents for something like 2.8 oz, and $1.29 for the 5.5 oz can. That's actually more than double the per ounce price.

Sure, it was the least costly of the the premium name-brand foods, but, still, it was definitely not at the Fancy Feat price point. The other canned foods ranged from $1.59 per can to more than $2.50 per can.

I'm feeding five cats, and those $1.29 and up prices are absurd. And, yes, I'm skirting the question of what might be best for them in terms of health and nutrition.

I "splurge" on the dry food for both the cats and dogs, but even there the prices are bordering on the ridiculous - Science Diet for the dogs and Purina Pro Plan for the cats. And even at their prices they're still cheaper than the premium options.

Is there anything close to a consensus here on affordable options?

Any recommendations?

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Cat food (Original post)
matt819 Sep 9 OP
Kali Sep 9 #1
SWBTATTReg Sep 9 #2
Sanity Claws Sep 9 #3
silverweb Sep 9 #4
TreasonousBastard Sep 9 #5
Karadeniz Sep 9 #6
matt819 Sep 9 #7
Evergreen Emerald Sep 11 #8
matt819 Sep 11 #9
tencats Sep 12 #10
matt819 Sep 12 #11

Response to matt819 (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 12:22 PM

1. only that in the long run, money spent on nutrition is almost always saved on vet bills

personally I would ditch the Science Diet and get something else at the equivalent price. Even a high end Purina. I buy spendy food for the pets from learning the hard way, so no help with other brands. I feed various Wellness products.

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Response to matt819 (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 12:38 PM

2. Affordable options...

I am sorry, but I don't have any suggestions other than not to feed them any 'wet' food / canned food. I feed mine just dry food ... I dropped the 'wet' food since my dogs were ignoring the other food (dry) and going solely for the 'wet' food (and going nuts for it). I have heard that the 'wet' food isn't good necessarily for them, so I now stick solely with dry food (had to wean them off of the 'wet' food, they were going nuts for it). I do rotate the brands of dry food to give them variety.

Good luck in finding a 'happy' spot for feeding your babies and affording it. I too, have noticed that the treats I used to get my animals are all going up in price too, so much so that I reduced the amount of treats I used to get my animals.

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Response to matt819 (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 01:21 PM

3. Check the online prices

Perhaps the cans would be cheaper if you purchased them online. Check out Chewy.com, Petsmart, and some others.
I agree with the poster above who said that better nutrition saves vet bills.
Cats do not do that great with just dry food. They may seem to do well for many years but they can develop diabetes on dry food since it is so high in carbs. Some wet with dry food seems to be fine. As for the barn cats, if they are catching and eating rodents, you could probably cut back on the canned food for them.

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Response to matt819 (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 01:53 PM

4. The best deal I've found:

There's an employee-owned Winco grocery store in Sacramento, as well as several others in neighboring towns. I buy 4-packs of Purina 5.5-oz cans for $1.59 each, which is $0.072/oz before tax. That's considerably less than the next best price and better than any other store I could find or anywhere on line.

Purina is another Nestle company, like Friskies and Fancy Feast, and ordinarily I'd be boycotting it; however, I have to go with the best price for this. I'm feeding three cats of my own plus three (and maybe more) neighborhood strays. Each cat gets 1/4 can every night, which is more like a treat than a meal, and they all have 24-hour access to a grain-free dry food.

If you have a Winco in the area, check it out. If you don't, you might check the discount/low-price grocery stores to see if any of them carry the Purina 4-packs.

Good luck!

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Response to matt819 (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 02:06 PM

5. I have been thoroughly confused by pet food nutritional claims. Even vets don't seem to agree...

on what's best.

I haven't bought anything since my last cat died, but I had ended up buying mostly from Mars and Purina brands. Those were the two I rarely heard anything bad about. And back in the day I knew some Mars employees who told me John Mars would actually taste the food before letting it out.

I rarely bought anything from Petco-- they pushed the house brand and had less variety and no price advantage. PetSmart was always a better buy and they seemed to care more. Neither of them were big on sales.

Sometimes I found the large cans (12 oz?) of food at a great price and bought them. For that many cats, the net savings could be worthwhile. For the smaller cans, and dry food, I would stock up when the supermarkets had a good sale. Don't forget those coupons!

Local shelters may be of some help finding bargains, although they may pitch you to donate. If you have any livestock in the area, feed stores may have deals on pet food. The big one around here had some good stuff, but it wasn't that "local". Agway wasn't much help.

There might be deals online, but then there's shipping, grey market, and the lack of buying power for many of them. Personally, I try not to buy any type of food online.

And it would be a good idea to avoid the dollar stores.



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Response to matt819 (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 08:15 PM

6. #1) in general, dry cat food is not healthy.

#2) do you live near a Tractor Supply? I buy their 4health
Brand. It comes in a 13.2 oz. can for about 70-75 c. Each. I feed mine the chicken and brown rice. I feed about 35 cats, so I buy it by the case. They special order 20 or so cases for me. It has to be picked up at the store.

#3) all canned foods are not alike. In brands like friskies, if it has fish, don't buy it. They throw whole fish into the vat and pulverize everything. Fishy food can have unhealthy levels of minerals which can ruin the teeth, mouth, kidneys.I called the mfg of 4health and got the numbers on minerals not printed on the label and everything was well within healthy limits.

#4) no cat food has the protein equivalent of a rodent; it's all too low. Since you have a barn, maybe you have chickens! If so, you can mix egg yolks into the food...about a half egg yolk per cat...a few days a week. Don't believe the protein amts on the label. It's crude, so it might as well be shoe leather.

#5) 4health isn't the mfg and it took me a few calls to locate the mfg. The info on my can says, "for customer support, call 1-888-376-9601." that's for tractor supply. Someone there should be able to locate the mfg. The mfgs typically sell the same food under different labels, so the mfg could find out if there's a brand/Supplier near you.

Good luck! It's hard to find good food. Mfgs are more interested in profit than health!

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Response to Karadeniz (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 09:48 PM

7. Thanks

I get horse feed from tractor supply sometimes. Iíll check out the 4health. Thanks.

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Response to matt819 (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 08:10 AM

8. No one eats the expensive food in my house

I purchased only the best, and it would go uneaten. When I buy the cheaper stuff, they gobble it up.

My kitty was losing weight and after extensive testing at the vet, determined that there was nothing wrong with him. He did not like the food.

We tried everything at the high-end pet stores, and the vet's recommendations. Nothing worked until I brought home Fancy Feast and Purina (hard food). He loves it.



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Response to Evergreen Emerald (Reply #8)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 10:25 AM

9. Same here

On the one hand, I more or less accept the fact that the more expensive food is better. But a) it's expensive and b) the cats are thoroughly indifferent and as often as not give it a pass. Would they eat it if that was the only option? Well, once it's been out for a while, it's really not all that desirable to eat anyway, to say nothing of possibly unsafe, esepcially in the summer. So, that leaves them with dry food only. Which leads us to the debate of dry & wet vs dry only.

My wife tells me to stop overthinking it. The cats eat the Friskies. The Friskies are cheaper. We've never really had cat illnesses or conditions based on food-related issues.

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Response to matt819 (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 03:04 PM

10. Feeding something like upwards 14 feral and 8 home cats.

Last edited Thu Sep 12, 2019, 03:45 PM - Edit history (1)

I'll keep feeding the outdoor cats the cheap Friskies Pate. I don't like the look of it much but its likely way better that what the feral cat can forage on the city streets and allies. I pay typically $.46 per 5.5 oz can in the 24 can case. When I buy the 13 oz sized can the cost is a few cents less per oz. And I don't like how the ingredients of the Friskies looks either, so I add gobs of my own sourced fresh chicken leg or thigh meat at $.79 to $.89 a pound that I pressure cook and then refrigerate in quantities that last 5 - 6 days. The outdoor cats also get some steamed chicken livers and boiled eggs also most nights. Feed the cats 4 - 5 cans each night. My home cats, OMG the cost lately is way up. I seemingly have to get the Primal raw that's near $7 pound. Wellness canned pate formulas is lately reg $3.49 for the 13 oz. can by the case and the cats really don't like it that much. I have to buy the Instinct Ultimate Protein kibble in the 11 lb bag which I lately get the best price from Amazon. Then recently I'm giving Tiki Cat kibble a tryout but the cost OMG. Fussie Cat kibble formulas has been a good buy lately also and is well accepted by all the cats. I just hope its all good ingredients. Recently I'm really pleased with Kirkland's 25 lbs bags of cat Maintenance Chic & Rice Formula kibble for $20. That's the best in my opinion for cost and quality. The Raccoons n Possums sure come a running over to the cat shelter for that kibble there. Always on the look out for online special cat food offers. Have some good cost saving offerings switching from Chewy to Pet Flow to Petsmart to Petsuppliesplus to Amazon Prime. Petco, I quit going to them because of their pricing is higher.

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Response to matt819 (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 03:06 PM

11. Lots of into

Thanks.

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