"The best dry food is still worse than the worst wet food"
Has been a lament I have heard many times regarding cats. I am looking for studies on this topic, a) and b) the teeth issue. I know its been hashed out many times here and I've been searching for posts, but I wondered if anyone knew of any actual studies that had been done.
wow.....have never heard that one.......always thought the chrunchies were better for the teeth,anyway....
yes, would be interested in knowing answer
Nah, not really. Kibbles have to use a binder (like potato) to keep the kibble from falling apart. The sticky binder then gets stuck to your (general "your") pet's teeth near the gum line and causes tarter buildup. Imagine throwing out your toothbrush and just eating something crunchy everyday... say, Fritos. Your teeth would get pretty gross fast.
This actually happens with most canned food too, so if you feed canned or kibble than brushing their teeth really helps.
I think it's kind of telling that a quick google search on this topic nets zero university links, links to studies, etc in the first 4 pages that I checked. Just lots of ehow, yahoo answers and various pet groups. That leads me to believe that in all liklihood, it's just a personal preference.
The veterinarians that I used to work for generally told people that unless there was a health concern, there was no benefit to feeding canned, but no harm--you're just paying extra for some water. But there were some cats, especially those who were a little older, who had chronic issues with dehydration and constipation because they just wouldn't drink enough water. So they would go onto canned food. Obviously, if teeth are a concern, canned would be called for too.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
with cats, there are two big problems with kibble: one, it's dry. Cats often don't naturally seek out and drink water, so if they eat dry food they can become chronically dehydrated, and thus more prone to bladder stones, UTIs, and kidney problems. Cats are often plagued by such problems, and simply switching to a wet diet can prevent most of these problems.
The other problem is that all kibble, even the best kibble, has a significant carbohydrate content. Cats bodies aren't designed to eat carbohydrates in any quantity, and daily consumption of such unnatural substances may increase the risk of them developing chronic health problems in middle to late age: kidney problems, diabetes, etc.
Canned food almost always has more meat in it and less carbohydrates than kibble.
yes, there are studies. I posted a few examples below.
Neither kibble nor soft wet food clean teeth, so there's no reason to make any decisions about diet based on teeth.
If you want to help your cat's teeth, you might want to find some mice for the cat to crunch up.
Br J Nutr. 2011 Oct;106 Suppl 1:S128-30.
Effect of dietary water intake on urinary output, specific gravity and relative supersaturation for calcium oxalate and struvite in the cat.
Buckley CM, Hawthorne A, Colyer A, Stevenson AE.
Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Freeby Lane, Waltham-on-the-Wolds, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 4RT, UK.
It has been reported that daily fluid intake influences urinary dilution, and consequently the risk of urolithiasis in human subjects and dogs. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of dietary moisture on urinary parameters in healthy adult cats by comparing nutritionally standardised diets, varying only in moisture content. A total of six cats were fed a complete dry food (6.3 % moisture) hydrated to 25.4, 53.2 and 73.3 % moisture for 3 weeks in a randomised block cross-over design. Urinary specific gravity (SG), urine volume, water drunk and total fluid intake were measured daily; relative supersaturation (RSS) for calcium oxalate (CaOx) and struvite was calculated using the SUPERSAT computer program. Cats fed the 73.3 % moisture diet produced urine with a significantly lower SG (P < 0.001) compared with diets containing 53.2 % moisture or lower. Mean RSS for CaOx was approaching the undersaturated zone (1.14 (sem 0.21); P = 0.001) for cats fed the diet with 73.3 % moisture and significantly lower than the 6.3 % moisture diet (CaOx RSS 2.29 (sem 0.21)). The effect of diet on struvite RSS was less clear, with no significant difference between treatment groups. Total fluid intake was significantly increased (P < 0.001) in the 73.3 % moisture diet (144.7 (SEM 5.2) ml, or 30 ml/kg body weight per d) compared with the 6.3 % (103.4 (SEM 5.3) ml), 25.4 % (98.6 (SEM 5.3) ml) and 53.3 % (104.7 (SEM 5.3) ml) moisture diets, despite voluntary water intake decreasing as dietary moisture intake increased. Cats fed the 73.3 % moisture diet had a higher total daily fluid intake resulting in a more dilute urine with a lower risk of CaOx when compared with the lower-moisture diets.
PMID: 22005408 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
J Nutr. 1998 Dec;128(12 Suppl):2753S-2757S.
The effect of diet on lower urinary tract diseases in cats.
Markwell PJ, Buffington CT, Smith BH.
Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Waltham-on-the-Wolds, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK.
Because dietary ingredients and feeding patterns influence the volume, pH and solute concentration of urine, diet can contribute to the etiology, management or prevention of recurrence of some causes of lower urinary tract disease. Most research assessing the effect of diet has focused on the latter two aspects, primarily because of interest in struvite urolithiasis. Manipulation of urine pH through dietary means has proven an effective tool for the management and prevention of struvite urolithiasis; acidification of urine, however, may be a risk factor for calcium oxalate urolithiasis, which now appears to occur with approximately equal frequency in cats. Prediction of urine pH from dietary analysis would thus be a valuable tool, but considerable further research is required before this can be achieved with commercial canned foods. With the growing importance of urolith types other than struvite, alternatives to the measurement of urine pH are required to assess critically the likely beneficial (or detrimental) effects of manipulation of nutrient profile. Measurement of urinary saturation may permit the development and fine tuning of nutrient profiles aimed at controlling lower urinary tract diseases in cats that are associated with a range of different mineral types. The majority of cats with signs of lower urinary tract disease do not, however, have urolithiasis; indeed, no specific cause can be established in most of these cats. Recent observations suggest that recurrence rates of signs in cats classified as having idiopathic lower urinary tract disease may be more than halved if affected animals are maintained on high, rather than low moisture content diets. J. Nutr. 2753S-2757S, 1998
PMID: 9868257 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free full text
Cats are strict carnivores that rely on nutrients in animal tissues to meet their specific and unique nutritional requirements. In their natural habitat, cats consume prey high in protein with moderate amounts of fat and minimal carbohydrates in contrast to commercial diets, which are sometimes moderate to high in carbohydrates. This change in diet has been accompanied by a shift from an outdoor environment to an indoor lifestyle and decreased physical activity, because cats no longer need to hunt to obtain food. This transformation of the lifestyle of cats is thought to be responsible for the recent increase in incidence of obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes mellitus in domestic cats. At first, an overview of the evolutionary physiological adaptations of carbohydrate digestion in the feline digestive tract and of the hepatic carbohydrate and protein metabolism reflecting the true carnivorous nature of cats is given. Secondly, this literature review deals with nutritional modulation of insulin sensitivity, focusing on dietary macronutrients, carbohydrate sources, and dietary fiber for prevention and treatment of insulin resistance.
PMID: 22059962 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Vet Ther. 2001 Summer;2(3):238-46.
Use of a high-protein diet in the management of feline diabetes mellitus.
Frank G, Anderson W, Pazak H, Hodgkins E, Ballam J, Laflamme D.
Heska Corporation, 1613 Prospect Parkway, Fort Collins, CO 80525, USA.
A study was conducted to evaluate the clinical response of diabetic cats to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Adult cats with diabetes mellitus of at least 4 months' duration were recruited and fed a high-fiber, moderate-fat canned diet for 1 to 2 months during the standardization period. All cats were then transitioned to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate canned diet for a 3-month treatment period. Analyses of treatment effect included hematology, serum biochemistry, fructosamine, lipid profile, and postprandial glucose curves. Cats were also monitored for changes in body weight, appetite, activity level, urinary habits, and insulin requirements. Nine cats completed the study protocol. All cats remained generally stable throughout the treatment period, although there was a slight overall improvement in activity. Insulin levels were decreased in eight of the nine cats when transitioned from the high-fiber diet to the high-protein diet, and insulin injections were completely stopped in three of the cats. Results of regression analysis indicated that exogenous insulin could be reduced by over 50% with no loss in glucose control, as measured by serum fructosamine. Results of this study support the use of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet in the management of cats with diabetes mellitus.
www.catinfo.org has extensive information on the subject. I do believe that our standard dry food diet does contribute greatly to our high rate of cat obesity and diabetes.
Thank you Marshfield for citing this website. She is wonderful and I have emailed her about a question regarding shampoo, cats and tea tree oil and got a response within a half hour. Of course it was also late at night.
If you're worried about dental health, raw meat is far better for teeth than dry kibble. (Try eating a bunch of pretzels sometime and tell me YOUR teeth feel clean!) You can give cats a whole raw chicken wing or a chunk of stew beef a couple of times a week. Wild feline species have fewer dental issues because their diet is whole raw animals.
There are three reasons for feeding canned over dry. First is that cats are obligate carnivores, which means their digestive systems are not meant to handle grains, fruits or vegetables. Even most grain-free dry foods contain binders like potato or peas. You do have to read the labels on canned foods, but there are plenty of options without any kind of plant products in them. These are the ones cat owners should feed. Feeding cats grains is like feeding a horse a big fat steak-completely species inappropriate..
Second, because of their natural diet, cats don't metabolize carbohydrates well, and no more than 10% of a cat's diet should come from carbs. Most dry foods have more than twice that, with well over 20% and sometimes over 30%. Even dry foods marketed for diabetics are too high in carbs. There are one or two brands under 10%, but even there you have the third issue. Gravy style canned foods are also high in carbs and contain plant glutens, so pate-style is the ideal way to feed.
Third is water. Cats are designed to get their water needs met by the food they eat. That water content some people see on the can and think is a waste of money? Your cat NEEDS that. Cats have a very low thirst drive, meaning that the majority simply do not drink enough water. A fountain can encourage them to drink more. Fill your cat's water dish to the top one day and see how much is gone by the end of the day...it's likely to be less than an ounce. Cats on dry food need even MORE water than those on wet as a daily requirement, and most won't drink that much. Lack of water in the diet can cause severe constipation, urinary blockages and long-term kidney damage. The reason so many older cats have at least some loss of kidney function is diet-related.
Personally, I would have saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars in vet bills if I had read the studies years ago. A urinary blockage requiring a hospital stay and catheterization to save the cat's life and one insulin-dependent diabetic later, dry food will never again pass one of my cats' lips.
HenryisBlaisin', I will not be feeding raw as a complete diet although I offer it as a treat occasionally. I dont feel comfortable being completely responsible for meeting all of my animals dietary needs in purchasing for a raw diet when compared to just buying high quality but commercial. Thats just a personal preference, I dont have a million dollars to do the research and studies on a raw diet I've prepared so my cat will have to settle with whats available to him on shelves.
Specifically though, all of the things you're saying (raw is statistically better for teeth, no more than 10% of a cat's diet should be in carbs) are exactly what I"m looking to find studies to back. I don't believe youre incorrect in saying them as I've always heard the same thing, but I'm trying to pin down the origin of the thought.
In personal observation as a clinic that does looots of PU surgeries, dry food is the choice for those owners across the board. Thats enough for me to have been motivated to going totally wet over the past year or so, but I really wanted to do my research.
Thanks tons for that link, Marshfield, will pick through that site tonight too.
Somebody not in the veterinary field shared the link with me a year or two ago and I've found it to be a treasure trove of information. There's also great stuff on that website about dealing with potty issues which is such a common reason for cats to come to the vet's. I used the information on Dr. Lisa's website to make the jump to raw feeding my two cat's this week. This has been a gradual change, the boys were on Evo 95% meat before. The best thing I can say about the Evo and now raw is that the decrease in litter box odor is unreal. The size of the "pee" clumps is nuts if you've been looking at the "pee" clumps of a dry food eater. I keep meaning to check their urine specific gravity so that I can figure out what is normal for a healthy cat on this type of diet since it's clearly not the uber concentrated urine of a dry food eater.
I've taken to recommending the switch to canned food for any diabetics I treat. I find that getting them onto to quality canned food is essential for getting them well regulated.
I've taken to recommending the switch to canned food for any diabetics I treat. I find that getting them onto to quality canned food is essential for getting them well regulated.
I wish more vets were properly educated about proper feeding for diabetics. Mine prescribed a dry prescription food for my cat when he was first diagnosed and wanted to try that before starting insulin. I regularly test his glucose levels (and can't believe how many vets not only don't recommend but actually discourage home testing!) and the rx made no difference (he'd been on dry before). A change to low-carb wet made a dramatic difference in 48 hours. His glucose levels dropped by over 100 in that time. He still had diabetic numbers, but much better than he had on the prescription stuff. I took that info to my vet and she now recommends a low-carb wet diet as well. All three of my cats are now on a wet low carb diet and are shinier, trimmer, and have more energy than ever before.
Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, which she chaired from 1988-2003. She also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. Her degrees include a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition, both from the University of California, Berkeley.
She has held faculty positions at Brandeis University and the UCSF School of Medicine. From 1986-88, she was senior nutrition policy advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services and managing editor of the 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health.
Her research examines scientific, economic, and social influences on food choice and obesity, with an emphasis on the role of food marketing.
Malden C Nesheim is Professor of Nutrition Emeritus and Provost Emeritus. He joined the Cornell faculty in 1959. In 1974 he was named Director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences, a post which he held until the summer of 1987. Prior to becoming Provost of Cornell University in September 1989, he held the position of Vice President for Planning and Budgeting. As Provost, Dr. Nesheim was the chief educational officer of the University under the President and was responsible for overseeing all academic programs other than those at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.
He has received the Conrad A. Elvehjem Award for public service from the American Institute of Nutrition and in 1995 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was elected a fellow of the American Society of Nutritional Sciences in 1997.
He earned a B.S. in agricultural science and an M.S. in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois followed by a Ph.D. in nutrition from Cornell. His research interests have been aspects of nutritional biochemistry and more recently, the relationship of parasitic infections to nutritional status.
The one thing about feeding cats canned food that I think people forget is how finicky cats are about food. They get accustomed to one diet and one diet only for 15 years of their life and when they get chronic kidney disease or diabetes and we need to feed them canned food - they refuse to eat. It's good to offer cats a variety of food and offer them canned, even if it isn't their whole diet, just so they have that texture and taste in their fickle palate. It may make a huge difference late on in their life!
University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2012
Member of the Asthmatic Riders & "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" cliques
Sounds kind of gross, but I've noticed that if my cat vomits after eating kibble, an awful lot of the kibble comes up intact (dogs are the same)... binders and stickiness arguments aside, I wonder how much actual chewing is taking place when the cat eats kibble or wet food - they don't have grinding molars, do they? Would think that they'd have to have something big enough to gnaw parts off of to make them "chew"...
the bones are eaten, broken down, and passed as very small fragments in the feces. You would only find bones around the house if (a) your cat wasn't eating the meat off the bone and then hiding the bone (b) you gave bones as rec toys (like some people do with dogs).
Some cats take to raw very well but for others it can be an arduous battle. It depends on how important nutrition is to you and how much time you are willing to dedicate to researching raw thoroughly before you start.