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?


Marilyn said...

Hi, I understand your frustration with these pet food companies, as I am in the same predicament myself. I'm a little confused by something you wrote: "Just check out the list of companies that use Menu Foods (or won't tell you whether they do) at" Isn't a list of companies that do *not* do business with Menu Foods? I think the list shows details of involvement or non-involvement for each company. Just wondering... I may be missing something there, as I haven't seen a good list of the companies that do business with Menu Foods (other than the recall list which, of course, is limited). Thanks!

Riley & Tiki said...

Merrick is supposed to be coming out with a dry food soon, so we are hopeful about that. Right now we are using a combination of NB & SG Katz N Flocken. I hope that using 2 good brands that have some different ingredients might be more nutritionally balanced, especially since they won't eat much wet these days.

Marilyn - does list and identify brands that use Menu for certain foods (usually wet) that have not been recalled. There are plenty of brands on the list that don't use Menu. We agree with Avram and are using nothing from anyone who uses Menu, and nothing with wheat gluten. I don't think either food has menadione. One more thing to look for.

R&T's Mom

faycat said...

I've been going through the same issues with my cat. So far I am happiest with Merrick canned food, for one thing because my cat actually likes it (she's not big on wet food), the food is high quality, and when I called them right after the initial recall to inquire if Menu Foods manufactured any of their foods they assured me that Merrick has it's own plant and manufactures all of their own food. The new dry food for cats is supposed to come out this month, and I will definitely be waiting for that.

I was using California Natural and Innova EVO dry foods, but Natura does use Menu for some canned foods. They are now pledging to build their own plant for wet foods and stop dealing with Menu. For now I have switched her to Natural Balance venison & green pea and she seems happy with that. I even tried frozen Aunt Jeni's raw food that I got at Whiskers on 9th street, she was totally not into that...

johnypaycut said...

Orijen has a distributor now in Nj.
(shipmemts expected by april)
if you write
they have a list of dealers in america. kumpikat also has a good
dry. innova evo is good food, my cat has had a real improvment in
her general health from this dry.
for those of us, in the financial
pound? i'd recomend triumph ,local
in Ny state. a cheap dry, and canned cat food, also dog food.
sigh.. time to go catch native brook trout?
best wishes ,johnypaycut woodstock,ny

the bigpaycut said...

Hi, johnypaycut again..
I'l add a few other wets that' are ok , (least by my estimate)..
Evangers,Fromm,Blue seal,By Nature,
(all these also manufacture a dry,'cepting Evangers). also Artemis,Avoderm,Felidae, Chicken soup for pet lovers soul,Pinnacle,
Evolve, Halo, Eagle, Merrick,
Newmans own organics, Natures variety prairie,Wysong..
their's a lot of foods , i spent
weeks trying to find the one's that
are healthy and acceptable to
my pickyuni cat?

been there, done that said...

I have switched my cats to Innova EVO for kittens and cats and wet food Artemis. Few things to watch out for (and I have NO idea why they use this stuff) is garlic, yucca, alfalfa, gar gum, carrageen, rosemary (which I can't find ANY food that doesn't use this as a preservative), kelp (which has high amounts of arsenic), flaxseed, fish (which should NOT be feed on a regular basis) are ALL toxic (not fish) to cats over time. Garlic specifically had my cats drooling, so I took them off the Aunt Jeni's I was feeding them. Also, I'm going back to feeding partly raw and making my own. Then I KNOW what they are eating. Here is a good place to start if you want to do that: check out their quick start diet, it's a VERY good diet. No grains, no additives, just plain old food.

been there, done that said...

Oh, and Pro Pac is a VERY good kibble choice too, except my cats aren't crazy about it. I feed 3 different types of food and it is always left til last. You can find good deals here:

Sign up for their emails and they send out discounts, usually pays for shipping, sometimes more.

Avram said...

Hi Faycat,

Funny you should mention Whiskers on 9th st, because I often shop there myself.

Elderta said...

I feed my Paikea Natural Balance, mostly the Venison formula and the Chicken, sometimes the turkey. Mostly the ones without grains. She loves the Venison. I rescued a little beauty of a boy recently, and he wouldn't touch Nine Lives. I fed that to him first, as he was a street cat and not use to canned wet food, so I thought the Nine Lives would be good for him to start. He turned his little nose and 13 front toes away from it. (the cutest little polydactyl boy ever!). When I put a can of Natural Balance down for him, he woofed it no problem. I don't feed Paikea dry food; she only gets wet.

I did read that some NB is made by Diamond, but I really think they learned a great lesson from their recall last year. At the least, they handled the recall with class, unlike Menu.

Anyway, just a nod for NB. There's also the raw varieties you can find at Whiskers and such. (Whiskers being my favorite pet food store!) Good luck!

Anonymous said...

One commenter praised Triumph pet food. This formerly good company was purchased in 2006 by Companion Brands, and the product is now being made by Menu Foods. Alas! My female cat spurned all flavors of Natural Balance, although the boy showed some interest in their venison. Both loved Solid Gold, but the chicken blend has a bit more magnesium than the male cat should get. They are now eating Evangers canned food really well, and their coats have gotten glossier as a result. As for dry food, we are still giving them some California Natural, as the manufacturer swears it is taking steps to stop making its wet food with Menu, but we are trying to get them to eat Felidae (so far the girl likes it more than the boy does).

Avram said...

I would love to feed something totally grain-free like Wellness Core or Nature's Variety Raw Instinct, but both Wellness and Nature's Variety use Menu Foods for their wet products and I don't want to give them my money for that reason.

Anonymous said...

Hi Avram

With your continued interest in obtaining a grain-free non-Menu Foods related cat food, don't give up on Orijen. It's a great food (min 45% protein). See johnpaycuts earlier posts ( in NJ), or else purchase online:

I recently switched my 10 year old boy from Hill's Prescription c/d diet to this adult food, and he's doing really great.

I applaud your (and that of your posters) commitment to avoid companies that are affiliated with Menu Food. Can you believe, in responding to a question about whether the company would rebound from this recall, a spokesperson not only confidently asserted that it would, but that all this 'hype' was just an overreaction on the part of the public that would die down eventually (I would've included the link, but the article is no longer online for free, and I've also forgotten the date..feel free to search on

Amy said...

My sister has been feeding her cat dry food from Natura. Please note that Natura brand products are not on the pet food recall list. Although Natura currently has its canned food manufactured by Menu Foods, they have made a statement on their web site indicating that they intend to open their own canning facility so that they can maintain full quality control of their products:

Amy said...

Hmm..that link to the Natura site did not display correctly:

Natura statement regarding pet food recall

faycat said...

The sad thing about johnnypaycut's very inclusive list of wet foods is that I have tried out literally every one of those and she won't eat them. I've gone down the line at Whiskers, getting a couple of small cans of every kind of food they have. Her current favorites are the Ocean Breeze and New England Boil flavors of Merrick. That's it. But she'll eat any dry food I give her.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a good wet food that has a more chunky with sauce type of texture as opposed to pate? She really doesn't like pate. I am also wondering if anyone has tried putting fish oil on non-fish food to get a fish-loving cat to eat it. My vet said that it may be a scent thing that she is attracted to, and adding fish oil does not cause the problems of actual fish food but may entice her.

Artsy Catsy said...

Avram, I feed my cats mostly homemade cat food, but usually mix it with some commercial wet food. Unfortunately I had been giving them the recalled Nutro packets, so I've done lots of research to find a replacement.

Of course, availability had to be a consideration, but the best brand I've found available here in Indiana (at PetSmart) is Spa Select by Blue Buffalo. Their web site offers a very thorough overview of all their ingredients and why they're included:

You can get several flavors in both their canned food and dry kibble. Although they do contain grains (brown rice, barley ...) none of their foods contain wheat, corn, soy or by-products or artificial preservatives. The dry kibble can be mixed with water to made wet food.

One thing I've noticed is when you open a can of their wet food, it smells like REAL food -- like opening a can of tuna, salmon, chicken etc. And my cat love it!


Artsy Catsy said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Spa Select contains NO ingredients from Menu Foods and they have never been associated with Menu Foods in any way.

A.Russ said...

So much for Natural Balance! Guess we're going to have to starve our pets in fear of feeding them to their death. I thought I had done such thourough research and was pleased with my choice of the Natural Balance venision and pea. Now this! They say they don't know exactly what the problem is and that it seems to be contained to one certain lot, but donesn't say which lot specifications or city the reported problems are from. This is serious bullshit. What can I feed our 5 beautiful family member felines?

mary said...

faycat and anyone else out there: stop feeding your cats Natural Balance! They have recalled their venison and green pea dry cat food. Here's the link to their press release:

Sounds like we need to stay away from any kind of food (dry and canned) that uses wheat gluten, rice protein concentrate and corn gluten. Here's some more recalls just announced today:
— Doctors Foster & Smith Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Dog Food. It was sold in containers with net weights of 5, 12.5 and 25 lbs. with code dates best used by Jan. 24, 2009, Feb. 8, 2009, Feb. 26, 2009, April 10, 2009, and April 17, 2009.

— Doctors Foster & Smith Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Cat Food. It was sold in containers with net weights of 3 and 7 lbs. with a code date of best used by March 13, 2009.

— Lick Your Chops Lamb Meal, Rice & Egg Cat Food in packages with a net weight of 4 lbs. and a code date best used by April 29, 2008.

— Bulk Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Dog Food sold to one consignee, SmartPak, in a 2,000-pound tote with a ship date of Feb. 9, 2007.

Anonymous said...

Throughout my extensive research, I have concluded and currently using Evangers dog food, canned and dry. My dogs do more than love this and I must say that they seem healthier, more alive, better coat and everything in between. They are a private label cannery that has been making their own dog food since 1935. I called the company and talked to the owner who gave me vary helpful information and i must say very knowledgeable. Evanger's is NOT part of any recall and has never been and has no affiliation with menu foods. I think I just found the dimond in the rough.

Anonymous said...

Orijen has a solid product and they design it for what your cat needs (referring to species appropriate) so they dont fill it full of grains like everyone else... also I haven't seen them under any recalls for anything... they are made by champion pet foods out of Alberta Canada and have their hand in the manufacturing process from start to finish unlike natural balance...
( is their site) I don't think they have a wet cat fod but their dry product is quite good and my cats love it compared to UNnatural Balance

Anonymous said...

I just put my cats on Orijen dry and Merrik wet, They won't eat it. I had them On HIlls TD huge nuggets, and they are even off that since I oppened the new bag. I don't know what to do! they are hardly eating at all - old or new food. and I am worried. They just had their blood work done. so I know they are OK- but this is strange that they both went off the hills TD when I opened the new bag. Do they know something I don't? How do I get them to eat the Orijen and Merrik? I have tried everything. HELP! (BTW I switched my 2 dogs to Orijen, they ate it like they have never seen food before, they won't even touch the old food since they tried the Origin)

Anonymous said...

I am Chippy by the way!

I forgot to mention, as far as safety goes, I also researched Champion pet food - makers of Orijen and Acana, All of their ingredients are from Canada. no imports except lamb from New Zeland and Rice in the Acana brand from California. Origen has no grains at all! lots of herbs and botanicals, but no grains AT ALL! Every other ingredient is harvested grown or farmed in Canada. they only manufacture these 2 foods brands, and nothing else, and they don't use any other facilities or contract out any of the manufacturing. this is why there is no wet food. they don't have the facility for it. so as far as the recall is concerned, this is absolutely safe, Same goes for Merrik, all ingredients are from the USA. Now my only problem is to get my little buggers to eat it!

kiraness said...

Thanks for this. I mentioned your post in my blog.

Anonymous said...

I'd lik to suggest a raw food diet to any of you who haven't tried it on your pets. do your research; I have two young cats (1 year) and an older male (7) years, all of whom I picked up from the animal shelter in terrible condition. they're all gorgeous, healthy cats now, thanks to not feeding them crap in bags and cans that contain preservatives, poisons, grains, vegetables, and other things not found in a eline's natural diet. For a good brand, I'd suggest Feline's Pride, I mix it half-to-half with raw chunked turkey or ground chicken for more protein and bulk.

Meisha said...

I myself like Innova's food. It works for me. My friend does Orijen and he seems to like that. Just food for thought.

Info-66 said...

My name is Roger Baillargeon .

Just a short stop by, to let You know that I created a Cat Blog not long ago.
I wanted to get in touch with You after I started reading Your Blog, which I got hook to. I enjoy the content and it looks very professional.

My new Blog consist on featuring People's Cat Pictures on the ''Picture of the Day ''page.

Here is a sample link to show You what I'm talking about( )

Also the Blog feature CAT Articles and CAT Resources...

If You like the Idea Yourself, I'm inviting You to send me a Cat Picture.
I would Post the CAT Picture plus Your Blog Link with it.

For sure I would Appreciate very much if You could tell your readers about my new set-up.And feel free to mention to Your fans that I would be glad to post a photo of their Cat on my BlogSite.
Hope we stay in touch,
Regards, Roger B.

Roger Baillargeon


Higher service - Lower fee said...

Gourmet Pet Chef by Kitty's Caterer is made only from highest quality meats that are tender, fresh, and are the finest cuts even a human can desire. They feel cats should have fresh grade A meats, fish or foul(hen, ostrich, emu). No additives and made fresh and frozen immediately. From Cherokee of York in Manhattan, so many NYC super models and movie stars feed their pets Gourmet Pet Chef. Among those in the know it is the very best a cat can eat, unless you want to raise pure mice and birds, then go ahead, a cat's natural diet is that of raw meat with already digested greens, like a filed mouse with grass in the tummy or a bird with same. Aside from that, Gourmet Pet Chef has raw menu choices, cooked menu choices and tapas for cats, small meals, that they recommend two equals a dinner. Supplying over 1100 pet food boutiques across USA, they also FedEx frozen to islands outside of USA.

Anonymous said...

The best cat food that I have found is Eagle Pack. My cats love it, and it was even 'vet' approved for my cat prone to urinary blockages. It is a great food, never a problem, never a recall.

Anonymous said...


Barb Bruce said...

We feed all of our pets, fresh food. We choose to bypass the pet store food altogether. We use a LitterHouse to put our food dishes in. That way they are protected from other animals