Our customer asked:
I wonder if you can give me any advice on cat food. I was thinking of switching my cats to Orijen, but now have concerns. I have 8 cats now. 4 over 12 years old and 4 under 4 years old in the eldest ones, 1 (Sylvester) has kidney failure and hypothiroidism, 1 (Sapphire) has hypothiroidism, and 1 (Sydney) has just gone into remission after being diabetic for 9 years, however, he is now being treated for early signes of CRF. Sylvester, will NOT eat the renal diets. Sydney, has been on the diabetic diets, but is really fed up of them and we have recently introduced 'normal' food back into his diet. What should I do?
As a general rule, I would say that most cat foods contain far too much carbohydrate. This makes the food very palatable and helps to ensure cats enjoy eating lots of it, so it is popular with cat owners. These foods are also cheaper to manufacture, even if they use only high quality ingredients. The high protein, higher fat and low carbohydrate foods are much more natural for cats (such as Orijen and Ziwi Peak) so for young healthy cats, I personally always recommend these. They do get good reviews, though not all cats eat them very keenly. They are also more expensive. Diabetes and a variety of other health problems are much less common I believe in cats fed on these diets. Cats are less prone to obesity on them too.
There is a fly in the ointment though. High protein diets are probably not as good for cats which have developed kidney trouble. This is still slightly controversial, but probably is true. Therefore for your cats with kidney trouble, I would have to recommend the renal diets (such as Hills k/d and Royal Canin Renal Cat Food) which contain more carbohydrate. Cats with kidney problems are usually poor eaters whatever you do, so it is really not easy. Eating anything is much better for these cats than not eating, so there is an argument for mixing foods for these cats to encourage them to eat. Try to keep as big a proportion of renal food in there as you can.
Hope this helps. There are many opinions on this and a lot of the information we have is provided by diet manufacturers, which is anything but impartial. Most vets would probably go along with the above, but some have very different views...