My cat is healthy and fine on dry food

Lisa Pierson DVM makes a very good point on her website She decries dry cat food for several reasons, the most important of which is that it “does not come close to resembling a bird or a mouse”. It is contaminated with all kinds of nasties: bacteria, fungal mycotoxins, storage mites and their feces etc.. It is stored for long periods unrefrigerated yet is coated with fats. It can be dangerous but looks benign.

My cat is fine eating dry cat food
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

My cat is fine eating dry cat food

We know that if we were buying food for ourselves we would not contemplate buying it. We don’t live off crappy biscuits so why should our cat companions?

The point she makes is that cat owners who decide to feed their cat exclusively dry cat food proclaim that their cat is doing fine on it. They say their cat has no outward signs of illness so what is all the fuss about?

The supporters of dry cat food continue to use it until their cat falls ill and they find out that the underlying reason is quite possibly dry cat food. One problem is that some vets won’t tell them that because they sell dry cat food at a commission.

Lisa Pierson writes that cats with cystitis were fine on dry cat food until they developed cystitis (feral cats have a much lower incidence of cystitis than domestic cats). Cats who develop urinary tract diseases such as a blocked urinary tract are fine until the cat struggles to pee or at worst dies due to a ruptured bladder. Cats who spent their lives feeding on dry cat food are fine until their owners see the signs of Type II feline diabetes.

Cats look fine even when they are constantly mildly dehydrated and hypoglycemic because many cat owners can’t see the signs of the development of a full-blown illness. Outwardly they are difficult to spot but the high carbohydrate levels and lack of moisture in dry food can cause “havoc” with a cat’s blood sugar levels and urinary tract health.

Cats have evolved to drink water in their food (mice are 70% water) rather than drink water from a bowl. They don’t have the hard-wired drive to drink more water if their dry food diet is dramatically low on moisture content.

So the point she makes is that it is not good enough to say a cat is fine on dry cat food. She believes in preventative nutrition as all concerned cat caretakers should.

Good nutrition promotes good health. There is a ton of information for humans, by humans on good nutrition and how it can benefit long term health. Why isn’t there the equivalent for our cats?

The reason is clear: in general the cat is undervalued. That is not to say all people undervalue the cat but enough people do including the pet food manufacturers.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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23 Responses

  1. Harvey Harrison says:

    Hi Dee. I need to get photos of them anyway so as to have a record of Demet’s family tree. ASAP.

  2. Harvey Harrison says:

    She is a black/red torbie and white. Yes she has some stripes especially on the back of her head. A very nicely-behaved sokak kedi who has everything going for her now. Today I saw her mother who is a bushy-tailed grey tabby and white. She has 2 more nice kittens, one just like her and an interesting Van-patterned cutie. One ear is black and the other white and the tail black and no body spots at all.

  3. Harvey Harrison says:

    Demet is doing a lot better now. She eats the good food too. She seems to have too much of an appetite but is also a lot ;livelier and playful than when I first got her.

  4. kylee says:

    Thats interesting Harvey is my kitty Jasmine steals food from table too esp cereal and milk. sometimes its hard to get her to move away. She looks geogerous. Looks skinny too. You do an amazing Job with those Cats/Kittens

    • Dee (Florida) says:

      So funny, Kylee.
      I have 2 cats that will take my Cheerios out of the bowl if I let them.
      I walk around the house with my bowl, them following me, just to get a few spoonfuls myself. Then, it’s all theirs.
      I could, easily, starve to death here.

  5. Harvey Harrison says:

    Hi Kylee. Lightly cooked chicken liver and hearts are high in taurine as well as vitamins and protein but lack calcium. That’s why they should get it mixed with canned food and a wide variety of other stuff like roast chicken with the soft bones. I notice that my newly rescued TA kitten Demet (Bouquet) steals bread from the table. That will give you an idea what she has been surviving on until I found her.

    • Dee (Florida) says:

      Oh, Harvey,
      This is Bouquet? So sweet.
      Here, we would call her calico.
      But, I love all of her white, and her tail is awesome.

      A darling little carbohydrate eating girl. So lucky now, baby.

  6. Michael says:

    A P.S..There is a lot of information on the internet these days about problems with dry cat food yet it remains popular. Are people ignoring the advice for the sake of convenience? It looks like that.

    • kylee says:

      I guess its just people believe what the advertisements say to them and that it sounds so convincing. Esp when they say with Whiskas “Cats know the Difference and Taste”. I’ve Noticed, Jasmine is eating the Dry Vet food she got when i got her fixed Royal Canin for Neutered young Female. When she first started it she hated it but now she seems more interested.

  7. Harvey Harrison says:

    Hi Kylee. You can try them with only wet food and added chicken, chicken liver, fish, etc. If I give my Kahraman just a little bit of dry food of any kind he immediately gets diarrhea again. The same with Isadora. I can imagine that it can’t be good for any of my cats although I don’t see any ill effects. Like the article says ” They do well on dry until they get sick (from it).
    It’s more work preparing the wet food but there is a lot less cleaning and changing litter boxes, not to mention the health improvement, and that’s what counts the most.

    • kylee says:

      Aww shes beautiful. Yea I’m starting to realize that. Have just found out down the road from me. There is a Pet Shop Food. Which I think I might have a look at see if they would eat some of it. They look like they offer raw meat so might be a good time to get them some better food.

    • Sweet and interesting looking cat. Slightly different appearance to what we are used to in the West.

    • Dee (Florida) says:

      Oh, how precious.
      Those ears, those ears!

  8. Harvey Harrison says:

    Several of my cats developed diarrhea which did not respond to any kind of treatment. I switched them to only wet canned food with extra protein added and they were “miraculously” cured overnight. Most of my cats get that food now and there is an unexpected benefit. the amount of fecal matter is reduced by about 70% They are no longer eating indigestible carbohydrates which just passes through without providing any nourishment. . it’s rather like person eating a roll of toilet paper every day with their normal food.

    • kylee says:

      Thats amazing Harvey!! I did notice when I gave the Cats esp Rebel when have a mix of dry and Wet food he wasn’t as Sick i.e Vomiting. So maybe that’s whats needed. I Give mine Dry Whiskas with water and wet pouches. Sometimes give them some raw meat

    • Michael says:

      Impressive that the amount of waste is so dramatically reduced. This must be confirmation as you state of the amount of indigestible and/or filler material in dry cat food.

  9. Dee (Florida) says:

    Yes, I had read what Lisa Pierson DVM had to say about a totally dry food diet at one time.
    She may have been instrumental in converting some people into considering a wet food diet.

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