CAT PARENTS SPEAK UP
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp
Making smart choices for feline companions isn’t always as easy as it sounds. It is easier to understand this based on the experiences of long-time cat parents, so I sat down with cat parents Claire Gan and Jay Sarmiento for them to share their thoughts. Question: What do you feed your cats? Claire: I feed them different brands of wet cat food but only two brands of dry kibble. Jay: It depends on which is the healthiest based on their animal protein ingredient. Q: What are the qualities that you look for in pet food? Claire: For dry kibble, I prefer brands with high protein content, fewer grains or grain-free, and it has to be enriched with taurine. For wet cat food, I prefer something with high moisture content. Jay: I look for ingredients that are made from pure and high-quality meat and not made of animal by-products. Q: What should pet parents look for in a cat food brand? Claire: Quality cat food should have high protein content, because cats are carnivorous. It should contain the type of meat they’re used to, like chicken, beef, tuna, lamb, or mackerel, and it should be free of grains [or have very] little additives of corn, wheat, or rice. I’m wary of cat food that [claims to have only] meat derivatives, because you know, [it’s] another term for animal by-products not fit for human consumption. Price is also a factor, because we do know that we pay a premium for quality ingredients. Jay: I select high-quality cat food based on the ingredients list, and the first ingredient must be made of real meat. Q: What made you choose the brands you use now? Claire: Orijen has the highest protein content in all cat kibble I have ever seen that is also grain-free. Royal Canin may have additives, but it’s the most recommended brand by vets and has a wide range of variants, and I like that it has a lot of declared vitamins. I have never heard any cat ever get sick with this brand. My furry companions love Royal Canin, too. Q: Tell us about your wet food of choice. Claire: I feed them wet food to help them with their moisture intake, since we all know they are not heavy water drinkers. It’s to prevent them from being dehydrated and helps in lessening the chances of getting UTI. Q: Do you have plans of feeding them something other than commercially available food? Claire: I am planning to feed them raw protein very soon, such as raw chicken or beef. I’m still doing careful research on it. Jay: Yes, I feed my feline companions boiled/ raw chicken. Q: Have your cats had health issues while eating cat food? Claire: No, because I decided a long time ago to feed them quality cat food, though [they tend to be] more expensive. Better this than pay for future vet bills due to UTI, liver, or renal problems. Q: Does your cat’s veterinarian recommend a specific brand of cat food for your pets? Claire: I have a yearly vet visit for all my furry friends for vaccinations, deworming, and physical checkups. They are always deemed in perfect health. Q: How do you transition from one brand to another? Claire: For dry food, what I’d do is mix a little of the new brand with the old, then I gradually increase the [amount of the] new brand each day. But for now, I just like to mix Orijen [for their protein content while I haven’t started my raw feeding yet] with Royal Canin [because they enjoy eating this brand a lot]. Jay: I would transition their pet food slowly in a span of several days and observe any reactions to the new diet. Q: Any other advice for pet parents out there? Claire: Please invest in your animal companion’s food, because it helps with their overall health and development. It’s better to pay more for premium brands than risk their health with the cheaper alternatives, [especially those that] are deemed salty [or have a high presence of ash, because those] may cause health concerns in the future. Also, remember that cats are obligate carnivores: Though they can get certain nutrients from veggies, it is unnecessary in their diets but may be given as treats from time to time. Jay: As a responsible pet parent, you should always choose premium quality pet food made with real meat.