Monday, April 23, 2007

New Food, New Water, Old Problems

This weekend, I started my boys on two new things:

  1. Orijen: My Orijen finally arrived and the results are mixed. Beowulf gobbles down the Orijen just like he gobbled down the California Natural and the Wellness before it. However, Arthur won't eat Orijen, and he won't eat other kibble if it's sitting in the same bowl as the Orijen. I even tried putting tuna flakes or other treats in the bowl and he'll eat these without touching the kibble.

    I am concerned because this means that Arthur is not eating kibble right now. I don't want him to starve, but I do want him to learn to eat the Orijen. At what point should I give up? If I put the Orijen in one bowl and California Natural in the other, Beowulf will probably try to eat them both, because he usually eats kibble as soon as its put down, while Arthur comes back and eats at his leisure.

    When it comes to wet food, however, Beowulf is very picky and won't eat most of the wet foods I feed.

  2. Fresh Flow Waterer: I got a Fresh Flow waterer and set it up yesterday. I have yet to see the boys drink from it, although I have seen that the water level went down over night and some crud got into the bowl. This means that either the water evaporated or the boys drank from it. Because I didn't want the boys to dehydrate, I kept their regular water bowl filled also and I have seen them drink out of that

Both situations are frustrating, because I'm trying to move to healthier food and healthier water and I'm not sure how to make them catch on. Any ideas?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Natural Balance Dry Now Recalled

Is no brand trustworthy? I sang the praises of Natural Balance food just a few posts ago, and now it turns out their food is contaminated too.

It's a good thing I bought California Natural dry food this weekend, rather than Natural Balance, which I almost bought. Let's hope California Natural is not next. Funny thing is that I very nearly bought Natural Balance Venison and Green Pea dry cat food on Saturday.

Ironically, the reason I found the venison and green pea formula attractive is this statement on Natural Balance's site:

No Artificial Preservatives, Flavors, Colors, or Bleached Ingredients. Does not contain Corn, Soy, Wheat, Rice, Eggs, Dairy Products or Sunflower Oil.

I must be an idiot because I thought that no soy, wheat, or rice meant just that. However, Natural Balance's recall press release states:
We believe the source of the melamine is a rice protein concentrate.

How can something which claims to have "no rice," contain a rice protein concentrate? Does that sound wrong to anyone?

The boys took to the California Natural dry food right away. My Orijen is coming in the mail on Thursday, and I pray that it's everything it's cracked up to be.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Weekend Morning with Beowulf

My new job is stess-packed. It's exciting, but there is so much to do every day and so little time to do it. I look at my weekends as a time to decompress, but also a time to work on some of the work projects I can't do in the office, because I'm constantly shuttling from meeting to meeting.

Of course, sometimes I'll sit down on the couch for a minute and a minute will turn into three or four hours after Beowulf comes over and sits with me. It's hard to get up and easy to fall asleep in a situation like this.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Taste-Testing Some Dry Foods

Many thanks to all of you who have contributed your comments and advice on my dry food dilemma.

Here's what I'm doing right now:

  1. Ordered Some Orijen: Thanks so much to the anonymous commenter who turned me on to, a small etailer who sells Orijen cat food online. I just ordered a 5.5 pound bag for my boys to try. With UPS shipping, my order came to $25.

    No doubt, this is a calculated risk. I've never heard of only4pets before so I don't know how quick and reliable they are, but I was able to pay using PayPal, something I prefer over giving my credit card information directly to an unknown site.

    I also don't know if the boys will like Orijen, but I'm eager to feed it to them. As we all know, sometimes cats don't like to eat foods we know they should eat. A couple of years ago, I tried feeding them Evo dry and they wouldn't touch it, even though Evo is grain-free and 52% protein!

  2. Buying Another Dry: I'm sure the Orijen I ordered won't arrive for a few days and I'm almost out of kibble. I'm going to go to the pet store this weekend and get another dry, most likely either Natual Balance or California Natural.

    Amy, a commenter on my original post, changed my mind about buying California Natural, Innova, and other products made by Natura by letting me know that Natura is dropping Menu Foods. I applaud Natura's effort here and would like to encourage other manufacturers to do the same. I think this actually deserves its own post.

    Any thoughts on California Natural Chicken and Brown Rice?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Vet's Estimate: 39,000 Pets Sickened or Killed

I found this little tidbit via Howl911, the best source for food recall news these days. The Associated Press reports that a major pet hospital chain estimates the number of dogs and cats poisioned is 39,000:
Banfield, The Pet Hospital, said an analysis of its database, compiled from records collected by its more than 615 veterinary hospitals, suggests that three out of every 10,000 cats and dogs that ate the pet food contaminated with melamine developed kidney failure. There are an estimated 60 million dogs and 70 million cats in the United States, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

A vet is later quoted saying that this is actually a small percentage.

"On a percentage basis it's not breathtaking, but unfortunately it's a number that, if it was your pet that was affected, it's too high," veterinarian Nancy Zimmerman, Banfield's senior medical adviser, said of the newly estimated incidence rate.

Imagine if 39,000 people all got sick (and thousands of them died) from poisoned food. How do you think that would play?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Finding New Cat Food is Hard to Do

A couple of weeks ago, I resolved to not only get my boys off of any food that is manufactured by Menu Foods (already done), but to stop buying food that is manufactured by companies which do business with Menu Foods in any way, shape, or form. I don't want one penny of my money going to support Menu Foods as it tortures laboratory animals while peddling poison to pet parents.

In an ideal world, we'd all stop buying from companies that use Menu Foods and this morally bankrupt company would become financially bankrupt as well. In the real world, 99% of the companies we want to buy food from do some kind of business with Menu Foods. Just check out the list of companies that use Menu Foods (or won't tell you whether they do) at

I told you a couple of weeks ago, that Wellness wrote back to me and said that Menu Foods is "one of the best." Their opinion is clearly shared by dozens of other companies.

After getting that unrepentant response from Wellness, I resolved to stop feeding my boys their dry food (they never liked the Wellness wet), even though their dry is great nutritionally and is not made by Menu Foods. I figured that there must be another dry food that is at least as good for the boys but is made by a company that does no business with Menu Foods. It hasn't been easy and, as my current bag of Wellness kibble nears its bottom, I haven't found an alternative brand.

I've been reading and perusing my options. I don't have many, unless I want my boys' health to take a backseat to my principles. According to the Pet List, all of these great brands -- Wellness, Innova, California Natural, Wysong, and Nature's Variety -- are all made by companies which do business with Menu Foods, even though the dry foods themselves are not made by Menu.

Right now, I have a couple of canned foods I can feed -- Solid Gold and Merrick -- which don't do any business with Menu Foods, but I need a new kibble provider. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Orijen on this blog, but it isn't even available here in New York state or online.

I also want to avoid any brand that contains menadione, otherwise known as Vitamin K3, because there is some contraversy surrounding it.

So here are the choices I've identified so far. I could use your advice:

  • Natural Balance: I'm considering either their Ultra-Premium Dry or their Venison and Green Pea (which is grain-free). The Natural Balance Company does no business with Menu Foods, but its dry food is packed at a Diamond foods plant. You'll recall that Diamond foods is the company which had an aflatoxin outbreak just last year.

  • Timberwolf Organics Serengeti Herbal Felid Diet: This sounds really good on paper to me, but I don't know much about the company and it's unclear whether they do business with Menu Foods or not. I've sent them a note inquiring.

  • Felidae Cat and Kitten Dry: The protein percentage (32%) is 4% lower than I get with Wellness right now. However, they don't do business with Menu Foods and I don't see Vitamin K3 or menadione on their list of ingredients.

What am I missing here? Which should I choose?