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As a proud cat mama of the orange fella above, I’m happy to share my experiences and insights into the many cat foods out there on the market. It can be hard to make a decision when you’re standing in the aisle. Do you go for the great price? What about the shiniest packaging (there’s one out there that shimmers)? Are the expensive ones really better than the cheaper ones? Does your cat need grains?

The questions go on and on to the point where you start to feel embarrassed for how much time and effort you’re putting into something as simple as cat food!

Add a pushy salesperson and you’ll go red in the face, grab the nearest bag, and dart out of the store. Maybe you’ve tried to do some research online, but felt bogged down by all of the great reviews tempered by terrible, awful stories. If you want to find the best foods for the best values, you’re finally here.

I highly recommend depositing your email address into the Subscribe box to the right. Anytime I publish a new article, you’ll receive the first copies, hot off the press.

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  • TorontoSandra

    I have also been researching cat food for my kitten Trixie who I adore and want the best for her…. I came across this information regarding pet food makers… I have indicated the colours above the groupings. I see that Orijen is in your list and will try that one next. Trixie has only had the Go! All stages varieties in her 8 months of life and loves both dry and occasionally wet but her daily dumps are quite stinky… made me think that this is normal for a healthy diet as most vegetarians and healthy humans have a slightly smellier stool…. Thought I would share this list with you all! SG

    note it was posted in June 2010 so the issues may have been resolved….

    ————————————————————————————————–
    I thought I would provide a list of the “quality” brands of foods for dogs & cats that are considered “natural/holistic” products.

    People are learning about better foods, reading labels and knowing the names of the good brands.

    Unfortunately some “quality brands” have been “acquired” by the “not good” ones or by private equity/investment firms (for sheer profit to shareholders)!

    Sometimes reputable brands eventually cheapen their quality and ingredients for the sake of increased marketshare and profits, relying on their “reputable name-brand” — ie: Eukanuba/Iams.

    Learn to be better informed and educated about the various brands and companies, do not always believe what is advertised.

    For instance, the Merrick brand: How can they claim to be proud makers of such “fine quality” brands such as B.G. and Merrick, yet sell a horrible product known as “Beef & More”? Most recently the FDA has stepped in to force Merrick to do a recall on their treats!

    Avoid brands I’ve highlighted in RED…..I don’t trust them and do not recommend them to any one, since I suspect they will eventually cheapen the quality and its ingredients…..

    Any brands highlighted in GRAY…..please be cautionary, these brands experienced at least one recall (or more) which the company resolved without gov’t intervention

    Unfortunately things have been changing (not for the better) in the pet food industry, and most recently, Natura Pet was bought by Proctor&Gamble (no surprises).

    Champion Pet Foods: Acana, Orijen
    Fromm Family Foods: Four-Star, Gold Nutritionals, Fromm Classics
    Grandma Lucy’s: Artisan Freeze-Dried/Grain-Free
    Horizon Pet Nutrition: Complete, and Legacy Grain Free
    Mulligan Stew:: Mulligan Stew Premium Baked Kibble
    Nature’s Variety: Prairie, Instinct, Instinct RAW
    ***GREY
    Petcurean Pet Nutrition: Now! Grain Free, Go! Natural, Summit Premium Holistic
    Performatrin Ultra: Pet Valu house brand ranging from dry to canned
    Wysong: Various lines ranging from dry to “Raw”
    ***RED
    Merrick: B.G.(Before Grains), Merrick, Beef & More –>absolutely horrible! **Aug.5/2010: There is another new recall on Merrick treats, please read their press release here**
    Natura Pet: (owned by P&G) California Natural, Innova, EVO, HealthWise, Mother Nature and Karma
    WellPet: (owned by Berwind) Wellness, Holistic Select, Old Mother Hubbard, Eagle Pack — There is currently a class-action lawsuit against Wellness, filed in California alleging Wellness does not use human grade ingredients (as advertised), and uses by-products in their products. *Wellness is now in PetSmart USA — this means soon into Petsmart Canada too.*

    Here are a few brands that are not recommended:
    Freshpet: Delifresh — too high in sodium, farmed proteins (supplied by Tyson)
    Hagen: Nutrience
    Elmira Pet Products: Nutram
    Canisource — I don’t trust this company due to their misleading claims. In earlier marketing they proudly proclaimed their food comparable to the RAW diet which was not the case. They now have this statement on their website now: “This is why we can say it has the benefits of RAW with the convenience of a kibble!” How can they make such a claim? There are no grains in any raw diet, plain and simple. The company uses at least 3 grains, and for the longest time did not provide a complete guaranteed analysis (to ensure consistency of their ingredients, and breakdown of percentages).
    Oven Baked Traditions — Another company which I don’t trust. The company features several lines which all use at least 4 varieties of grains in their dog & cat foods! I’m concerned with the fact they all have an ingredient listed as “Natural Flavour” and this warning: (This product may contain trace amounts of peanut)

    OBT’s new Parallel grain-free line contains Ocean Fish Meal (Ethoxyquin), and Mineral Oil (dangerous for dogs!), Natural flavor (which is questionable), and again this warning: (This product may contain trace amounts of peanut)

    Their cat formula of Parallel has Vitamin K which more than likely is Menadione Sodium Bisulfate Complex (source of Vitamin K activity)… a known carcinogen.

    ** The companies noted below are the ones that I strongly stress you stay away from. They are traditionally known to be bad brands due to the poor quality ingredients alone, and if anyone needs information, simply google and find out for yourself!:

    Colgate Palmolive: Hill’s Science Diet, Hill’s Prescription Diet
    Del Monte: Kibbles ‘n Bits, Milk Bone, Pup-Peroni, Snausages, Gravy Train, Nature’s Recipe, Meow Mix
    Diamond Pet Foods: makers of Taste of the Wild, are private label manufacturers for these brands: Canidae, ***** Van Patten’s Natural Balance, Kirkland Signature, Solid Gold, and others….
    Mars: Cesar, Greenies, Medi-Cal, Nutro, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Whiskas
    Proctor & Gamble: Eukanuba, Iams, and now recently acquired –> California Natural, Innova, EVO, Healthwise, Mother Nature, Karma **Aug.5/2010: There is yet another new recall on IAMS/EUKANUBA, please read their press release here**
    Purina: Alpo, Beneful, Cat Chow, Dog Chow, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Kitten Chow, Purina One, Pro Plan, Puppy Chow

    There are many other brands not listed above, usually sold through mass merchant/big box chains, supermarkets and of course Petsmart & Walmart! If you do end up shopping at those places, or even Global/Ryan or Pet Valu, be aware they may have good food, but also sell alot of the BAD foods, because they are catering to the masses — so educate yourself prior to shopping there!

    I forgot to mention that I DO NOT RECOMMEND this website: http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com

    Why? The people who run the website do not have any formal pet nutrition background, and they do not go far enough in their analysis to rank the foods properly. There are foods that contain harmful ingredients such as Menadione, and they are ranked high!?!? DFA doesn’t factor in any past recalls, nor the actual background of the manufacturer of the brand of foods…

    Example: Costco Kirkland-brand pet food (so many people swear by it because its cheap), an average at best food which does not deserve its high ranking. Its manufacturer is Diamond, which has traditionally recalled foods on a seemingly regular basis! And yes the Kirkland Signature brand dog food has been recalled before….for melamine.

    Serious about foods and ingredients? I recommend this site for starters: http://www.dogfoodproject.com
    The site is run by an actual certified/trained pet food nutritionist, and the site deals with in-depth information on ingredients, labels, nutrition and continually monitors food and recalls.

  • Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you
    knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Well, since this is a free site from WordPress.com, they comment settings are whichever automated ones they offer. If you’re self-hosting through a WordPress.ORG site, I’d install Disqus!

      I actually blog about this stuff elsewhere: http://rachaelmcleveland.com. Email me if you need more help!