Gotta love ‘em!
(Note: found this when I was looking for information on a flea repellant.)
Gotta love ‘em!
I was curious how a human grade meat diet compares with various canned cat foods.
Here are the costs, per pound:
Fancy Feast $3.00 (based on approximately $14.00/case of 24-3oz cans)
Premium $3.50 (based on approx. $1.20 per 5.5 oz can, Natural Balance, etc.)
Super Premium $4.50 (approx. $1.70 per 5.5 oz can, Tiki Cat, etc.)
Whole ground chicken $2.70 (whole roaster chicken, no antibiotics, veg fed, ground on site with bones and organ meats, Whole Foods)
Then consider the difference in quality of ingredients, even with relatively good canned foods like Fancy Feast, or specialty ones like Science Diet (all ingredients up to vitamin supplements):
|Fancy Feast||Science Diet||Tiki Cat|
|liver||turkey giblets||Sunflower seed oil|
|wheat gluten||Meat By-Products||Dicalcium phosphate|
|meat by-products||liver||Fish oil|
|corn starch-modified||Corn Starch|
|artificial and natural flavors||Powdered Cellulose|
|calcium phosphate||chicken fat|
|soy protein concentrate||corn gluten meal|
|added color||soybean meal|
|chicken liver flavor|
|Brewers Dried Yeast|
|Locust Bean Gum|
. . .
By comparison, a whole prey animal that a cat would normally eat (simulated by the whole ground chicken) contains: chicken meat, chicken bones, chicken organs, chicken fat. A cat might ingest a few feathers as well, but normally doesn’t eat the beak or feet, which are included in chicken by-products (as well as diseased parts and anything else deemed not fit for human consumption at the packing plant). In these lists the calcium phosphate/sulfate is a supplement, and fish oil provides additional essential fatty acids. It is usually recommended that these are added to homemade diets, which would bring the cost per pound up by maybe ten cents.
In 1985 I got a tiger point siamese named Zola. (Named after Olympic runner Zola Budd, who ran very fast and tripped a competitor; kitten had the same habit.) She was an indoor-outdoor cat, and at that time there was not a vaccine for feline leukemia virus (or perhaps it was very new). She caught the virus when she was about 9 months old. She became very suddenly ill with a high fever and did not want to eat, drink or move. I took her to an after-hours emergency clinic nearby where they made the diagnosis. The vet told me it was incurable, and that she did not have long to live. He gave me medicine to reduce the fever, and recommended cold compress on her head to help cool her down.
The following day I went to my old vet in a different part of Los Angeles. She was in her 60’s and had on her wall a picture of her graduating class from veterinary school, in which she was the only woman. I always liked her blunt style, and her fees were well below other vets. She would rail on about how male vets overcharged. It turns out she also knew nutrition. She was irate when she heard the prognosis and treatment given by the other vet. Her plan:
Within a week Zola was herself again and she lived a normal life with the vitamins and liver daily. I don’t know how FeLV is being treated these days, but I wonder if nutrition is now part of it.
The vet Maggie saw yesterday also talked with me about vaccinations. I’ve always been skeptical of anti-vaccine movements, at least with humans, because it can be very dangerous and there is no scientific evidence of harmful effects from routine childhood vaccines. This vet was not recommending no vaccines, but she said that current veterinary immunology is recommending a very different schedule than the standard annual boosters. For cats her recommendations are:
Kittens: FVRCP combination vaccine. FeLV only if cat will be outdoors.
Kitten boosters: normal 8 and 12 week boosters, including FeLV if given.
Rabies: At the discretion of the owner. Not necessary unless the cat will be outdoors where there are raccoons or other wild animals that can attack cats. It is not required by law for cats in California.
FVRCP and rabies can be given every 3 years, or you can have a blood titer done first to see if the antibody level is still high. She said studies have shown that immunity lasts much longer than one year.
FeLV: No boosters necessary after kitten shots. Immunity lasts, and 95% of cases of non-immunized cats occur before the age of 1 year. (My non-immunized cat got FeLV in 1986 at the age of 9 months.) Of the cases in cats < 1 year old, the majority are in cats less than 6 months old. They have done laboratory studies deliberately exposing unvaccinated adult cats and it was very, very difficult to infect them unless they were immuno-deficient.
Why reduce the number of boosters? Besides cost, there is a slightly elevated risk of tumors at the vaccination site with repeated injections.
Today Maggie visited a holistic veterinarian office, the Animal Healing Center, where they practice traditional veterinary medicine, accupuncture, massage and also specialize in nutrition. It was hard to find because it doesn’t look like an office at all.
Our veterinarian was Dr. Katie Kangas who has been practicing for 17 years. She worked with wildlife rehab (birds, raptors, mammals) after she graduated, and was the Director of the Veterinary Medical Department at San Diego Humane Society before she joined this practice. She is also a certified veterinary accupuncturist. The office is so homey I don’t think Maggie even realized she was at the vet. (And it was not stanky!) She is usually uncooperative (fierce!) but today she was very laid back. It was a nice room with comfy chairs, and she got to walk around and sniff while we talked.
I scheduled the visit to get more information on feeding raw foods safely (for all the cats) and also to ask about Maggie’s tendency to regurgitate after eating if it’s more than just a half-size meal. Here’s what we talked about:
I asked about our flea problem as well, and the products she recommended were:
Relaxing in the car on the way home…