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  • Andrea Williams

Quick Guide to our Favorite Cat Food and Supplements

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Every cat has their own unique needs. Through fostering I have learned the digestive challenges some cats face. We've discovered a variety of foods, supplements and other essentials to help us improve our knowledge and care. Our primary goal is to find the best options that use high-quality ingredients, ensuring each cat thrives.


I've compiled a list of our healthy cat favorites! Whether we have a cat with digestive issues, kidney disease or just plain pickiness, here are our picks!



Fresh Raw Balanced Cat Food

As with any cat food, choosing one that is balanced and follows AAFCO guidelines is a must. Consult your veterinarian for the best food for your cat.


Darwin's Cat Food: Offered in chicken, turkey and beef, Darwin's is our top pick! Their ingredients are clean and whole. Darwin's chicken recipe starts with: Chicken (including bone), chicken gizzard, chicken livers, chicken hearts. The recipe is ground and very easy for a cat to eat, no matter how many teeth they have. Just defrost, scoop and serve! Darwin's is packed in 8 oz vacuum sealed packs to prevent oxidation. The Darwin's Cat Food trial offer includes 10 lbs of food for only $14.95. Shipping is free! Use code: CHICAGO for a free gift.

Darwin's cat food

Bonus: Darwin's has an Rx kidney diet line! We've incorporated it into Darwin's regular food for our foster cats with kidney disease. I much prefer this over canned Rx diets since Darwin's ingredients are so fresh and healthy. When I use fresh food with selective supplements over canned Rx food, I see fewer kidney disease symptoms (like diarrhea and vomiting).




Viva Cat Food: Offered in chicken, turkey, beef, duck and rabbit, Viva is another great option that ships to your door. They carry novel proteins which I often use for cats with protein sensitivities, IBD or in any situation where I've needed to be very selective with proteins. Their ingredients are well sourced, whole and pricing is transparent. Their 1 lb packs are vacuum sealed for freshness making it easy to defrost and divide for meals. Use this Viva Cat Food link for $15 off your first order. Code: CHICAGO.


If you prefer to go the pet boutique route, other brands I've used and would buy again: Small Batch, Quest, and Stella and Chewy's.


Canned Cat Food

In cases where I need to incorporate canned food I look for whole ingredients like chicken, chicken liver and avoid by-product meats. I also try to avoid fillers like wheat, corn, peas, potatoes, tapioca starch, etc. as well as thickening agents that can cause GI upset, like carrageenan.





Koha Limited Ingredient Cat Food: Foods that are marketed as "limited ingredient" can be misleading so read the ingredients! Koha lives up to it's promise. I discovered this cat food while trying to find a higher calorie canned food to replace the expensive high-cal Rx cat food I had been feeding our foster cat, Clyde. Koha Limited Ingredient is better quality and cheaper. Their Paté line is simple, high in animal protein and a little higher calorie than some of their other foods. I like that this line also incorporates New Zealand green mussel as an Omega3 source. They use whole meat ingredients instead of by-products. Koha offers single ingredient recipes and novel proteins which is great when you need to be selective or want to exclude certain proteins.





RAWZ: I've used RAWS every now and then when I need a good quality canned food to entice a cat or to use while I transition them to raw food. RAWZ carries novel proteins and foods to target specific needs. They focus on whole ingredients as well as formulating some foods to target specific needs. They also donate 100% of their profits.




Other brands I've tried and liked are:

Tiki Cat After Dark focuses on whole meats including organs. They use a lot of chicken which is a bummer. They do have other proteins so be sure to include those for variety. I don't love that they mix most of their proteins but I do appreciate their use of quality ingredients.


Weruva has always come through as being palatable as well as using a lot of whole ingredients. They tend to add more gums and tuna than I'd prefer and have too many, in my opinion, lines of food, but this is still one of my go-tos to entice. I try to stay away from tuna whenever possible since it is a large fish at risk for containing a heavy load of toxins. Still, I often prefer these ingredients over the cheaper canned foods.


Ziwi Peak uses a lot of whole animal proteins. They make a good quality, although expensive, canned food. They also offer novel proteins. I like that they include New Zealand green mussel as an Omega3 source. The only thing I always found odd is that they include chickpeas in their recipes. Regardless, their foods are high in quality meat content.


Freeze-dried Cat Foods

I love the option of freeze-dried cat foods because they're so versatile! I use them as meal toppers, healthy treats and as an alternate protein option. They're most healthfully served rehydrated in water or broth, but can be given dry too. There are a lot of good freeze-dried foods available but here's the one we use most.


Stella & Chewy's: Their freeze-dried foods are single ingredient which is great for protein rotation and monitoring food sensitivities. I keep the rabbit on hand to have as an alternate protein because we should always be rotating! For a cat who needs extra calories, these nuggets are perfect to toss down a few between meals. Not to mention the ingredients are whole so they're getting better nutrition than treats with fillers.


Other brands with good freeze dried products include Northwest Naturals and Primal. Novel Primal proteins here.



Supplements

There are so many supplements on the market! It can be overwhelming so I try not to add where I don't have to. That being said, I am always open to trying something new if it fits. Typically when adding supplements I prefer to add one at a time so I can pay close attention to any changes in stool, vomiting etc.


ION* Gut Support For Pets: I tried this product because I needed something new to support my IBD and kidney disease kitties. I was not expecting such quick results, but within a couple weeks I saw chronic vomiting and diarrhea diminish almost to the point of resolution. This may not be every cat's case but ION* Gut Support For Pets has a permanent spot in my cabinet. This soil-derived supplement works to strengthen the gut's lining, essentially creating a good foundation. This helps defend against environmental toxins while improving nutrient absorption. They make human products too! Use code: FURASSIC20 - 20% off until 6.30.2024.




Fera Probiotics: I like these because not only does this probiotic contain 12 strains of good bacteria, it also has prebiotics to support those bacteria. Not to mention it's flavorless, making it easy to work into food. Still, I like to start with a small amount and work my way up because cats often notice even the flavorless stuff! I prefer Fera probiotics over the commonly vet suggested product, FortiFlora for three reasons. FortiFlora has only one strain of bacteria, it contains unnecessary flavor enhancers and it's twice the price! ForrtiFlora contains yeast as a flavor enhancer. There's nothing wrong with this, but it's unnecessary in a product you're paying a lot for! Did you know you can sprinkle some nutritional yeast on your cat's food to entice? It's a food product for humans often used to give a cheesy flavor in non-dairy recipes. Personally, I love it and use it all the time for myself!




ProDen PlaqueOff: Brushing your cat's teeth can be hard. We do our best but we also incorporate ProDen PlaqueOff into the dental routine. We just sprinkle it in the food once daily. It works to help prevent new plaque from forming and softens existing tartar. Together with brushing and regular dentals, we're doing everything we can to help keep our cat's teeth in good shape! If you're looking for an easy addition to your cat's dental hygiene, definitely give this one a try.









Treats

Just like food, I am specific about how I choose treats. Whenever possible I serve up some freeze-dried treats. If I am working on socialization or want to offer something a little fun, I'll grab a meat tube. Here are my favorites.



PureBites Chicken: These might be my favorite treat because they're crunchy, every cat loves them and they can be crumbled as a meal topper. I ALWAYS keep the chicken on hand but alternate with some of their other proteins like, PureBites Salmon and PureBites Turkey.









Rabbit Dream Treats: Adding a novel protein as a treat is a great way to incorporate variety into a cat's diet. These treats contain more than just one ingredient but I like that they're freeze dried and very easy to break apart. They crumble exceptionally well for a tasty meal topper!











Inaba Churu: Most cats go wild over meat tubes so I always keep these on hand as an occasional treat. They aren't exactly the healthiest option but they do provide some hydration. Something cats need! They're great for gaining trust, working on socialization with other cats or just to have something a little fun to offer! This is one of the exceptions where I allow a small amount of tuna in my cat's diet. If you prefer to stay away from tuna, Churus come in sever flavors.






I hope you found our favorites helpful! We love finding new options for our cats as we always want to ensure we're providing them with healthful options. Give your cat a big hug and huff that amazing smelling cat fur!

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