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Myths About Dry Cat Food

1. MYTH - High protein diets are hard on your pet's kidneys, especially as they age.

The truth is that high PLANT protein diets are hard on your pet's organs. High animal protein diets aren't only healthy for your aging pets, they are essential.

Poor quality, mass produced pet foods are packed with protein from soy and corn. Unfortunately, your dog and cat are unable to properly digest and assimilate these sources of protein. It lets the food manufacturer boost the protein content of the food without actually offering your pet any substantial protein they can use. High plant protein diets put added strain on your pets because their bodies aren't designed to process those ingredients. As they try to assimilate protein from these sources, their organs need to start working overtime.

2. MYTH - The better foods are the most expensive foods.

A survey of dry cat food for sale at a popular internet pet site found a huge variation in the price and quality. As expected, generic and grocery-store type dry cat foods were less than $2.00 per pound, while “organic” and many “grain-free” foods were more in the $3.00/lb. range. But the most expensive foods were not grain free, organic, or natural; but rather were those most massively (and expensively) advertised. Science Diet’s Feline Indoor Maintenance rang up at an astonishing $3.96 per pound, despite containing not one single shred of real meat (mainly poultry by-product meal, rice, and corn). And Hill’s Prescription Diets— their “hypoallergenic” z/d formula is over $6.00/lb.

3. MYTH - Ash Content is an important guideline in choosing your cat's food. Concern about ash content in pet foods came about as veterinarians and cat owners were looking for the cause of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD - formerly known as FUS). In the 70’'s & 80's, veterinarians thought ash was a factor in causing crystals in urine. There are, however, a variety of causes and ash is no longer considered a factor in causing FLUTD. The main problem was the formulation of commercial pet foods: most pet foods were creating a more alkaline urine (higher pH) which leads to an increase in struvite crystals. Most dry kibble diets are formulated with a high vegetable and grain content which creates a more alkaline urine. An all meat diet such as a cat would eat in nature creates a more acidic urine. A high MEAT protein diet is the best way to maintain a low urinary pH naturally. Cats eating canned diets have fewer problems with FLUTD than those eating primarily dry kibble diets. This is due both to the higher meat content of canned diets as well as the higher moisture content; increased hydration also prevents crystal formation. A frozen raw food diet is ideal for maintaining a lower urinary pH and providing proper hydration. Focusing on low-ash foods will not solve FLUTD problems, but a healthier diet and proper hydration will.

4. MYTH - Changing formulas or brands of pet foods is hard on your cat's digestion.

Katznjamr Kitten enjoying supervised outside time.

A healthy cat can eat a different food at each meal without issue as long as they are high-quality foods. Variety provides a wider range of nutrition for your companion. Even though a food may be formulated to meet AAFCO standards, that does not mean it is quality. Many foods meeting AAFCO standards cannot be tolerated by cats due to the heavy use of grains or grain by-products.

5. MYTH - Dry Food Helps Clean My Cats Teeth.

The myth that dry food cleans teeth is one that just won’t die. Most cats don’t chew their kibble long enough for any of the scraping action that is the theory behind this myth to kick in.

What little they do chew shatters into small pieces. Dry food actually leaves a carbohydrate residue in the cat’s mouth that actually encourages growth of tartar and plaque.

The shape of the kibble is generally small in size which makes it very difficult for a cat to chew on, so they generally swallow the whole pellet as presented. This has zero polishing effect on the surface of the teeth. Moreover, when in contact with the saliva, the high content of carbohydrates, or polysaccharides, in the pellet is released and adheres on the surface of the teeth causing the first stage in the formation of tartar and periodontal disease: the formation of dental plaque.

A small test with dogs conducted in Australia showed how quickly dry foods can affect the teeth. Four dogs, who were all raw meaty bone eaters, were fed only dry kibble for 17 days. At the end of the experiment, the dogs had developed stinky breath and yellow teeth. Some of them lost weight. All of them had behavioral changes, itchy skin, bad breath and intestinal disorders including larger volume of stools, offensive smell and runniness. Even though this test was with dogs, not cats, the effect is the same for carnivores that evolved to eat a prey-based diet.

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