Over the years, the commercial pet food industry has come under fire for frequent recalls and substandard ingredients. We hear horror stories of Salmonella, antibiotics, and worse. And we also have a growing awareness around fillers like corn and other carbohydrates that are overloaded into pet foods. As a Persian owner, sometimes it's difficult to know what to feed. Many members of Persian-Cats.com feed their Persians a raw diet with great success, but we realize that approach may not work for everyone depending on lifestyle, accessibility, and budget. So we decided to survey our members to learn about which commercial foods they feed their Persians, hear how they supplement the diet, and understand their perceptions around pet food in general.
Cat Food Brands
Here are the top 15 most common cat food brands (listed alphabetically) being fed by our members:
- Blue Buffalo
- Earthborn Holistic
- Fancy Feast
- James Wellbeloved
- Natural Balance
- Nature's Variety
- Purina Natural
- Royal Canin
- Science Diet
And of course raw, raw, and more raw!
Let's take a sample of five cat foods mentioned and look at what people claimed to like about them.
Cats keep a good weight and nice coat
Pieces are small enough for kittens to eat
Nature's Variety Instinct Raw
Already measured out into 1 ounce medallions
Persians seem to like the taste
Convenient to store and doesn't smell if not eaten quickly
Competitively priced online
Variety of flavors, textures, and sizes
Grain-free and little to no veggies
*Examples include Royal Canin Persian, Royal Canin Digestive, and Royal Canin Exigent Aromatic Attraction.
We were also interested in getting the skinny on habits around cat treats:
Roughly 60% of respondents do not feed their Persians any cat treats. The most common reasons provided were either because the cats do not like them or because the treats cause stomach upset.
Of the 40% who do feed cat treats, some examples included:
My Little Lion
Many people supplement their Persians' diets:
About 20% of respondents give their Persian a probiotic to help with immunity, digestion, metabolism, and overall wellness.
Also around 20% of respondents give a Lysine supplement to support healthy tissue as well as respiratory and ocular health.
Additional supplements mentioned:
On Ebay today
Salmon oil (or other fish oil)
Vitamins, especially if on raw, such as E and B12
And only about 10% of respondents mentioned feeding "human food" to their Persians occasionally.
Purr-ceptions of the Pet Food Industry
One thing is for sure... few people are enamored with the industry as whole:
66% of our respondents provided negative feedback about the industry.
5% had something favorable or encouraging to say.
27% had no opinion one way or the other.
Common complaints cited were:
Controls and monitoring: The number of recalls is alarming.
Quality: Some cuts of meat/fish are not fit for human consumption. And there are too many grains and other additives in many cat foods. As one member stated, now "the big push is 'grain free', so they use lots of peas or potatoes in the food as fillers."
Availability: One of our members commented, "Some of the big-name foods are harder to find in the smaller towns." And ordering online can be costly.
Expense: One respondent lamented, "I have been wanting to switch to a higher-quality cat food for quite some time, but I can get 20 lbs. of Iams for about $35 as opposed to only 12 lbs. of Wellness for the same price."
Here is one person's perspective about commercial raw food in particular:
"The commercial pet food industry, with regards to canned and dry foods, is out to make money and will cut corners whenever they can ... Even the commercial raw food companies have dubious methods and products. To assure safety, they use high pressure pasteurization, which partially 'cooks' the food. I have one cat that can eat raw food only -- give him HPP raw food, he gets sick. Their raw isn't raw really. Other companies love to dump things like garlic or blueberries in the food for consumer appeal -- not for the benefit of the cats."
So it's definitely a jungle out there, and most cat food companies have plenty of room for improvement. In the meantime, we can all do our best to educate ourselves, stay informed, and share our experiences with one another. After all, we want only the best for our cobby-bodied friends.
Thanks to all who participated in the Commercial Cat Food Questionnaire!