Tips to Avoid Tainted Cat Food

A veterinary specialist gives advice on how to keep your cat safe during pet food recalls.

By Susan Logan | Updated: October 7, 2013, 12 p.m. EDT

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Maine Coon Cat with Outstretched Paw
During pet food recalls, it’s natural to become worried and confused about what to feed your cats. Veterinary specialist Sonja Olson, DVM, of Florida Veterinary Specialists and Cancer Treatment Center in Tampa, Fla., offers these tips on how to avoid tainted cat foods and keep your pets safe during cat food recalls, below.

Visit our cat food recall center for more info and alerts >>

•    Prescription diets generally have tighter guidelines and more controls on their ingredients than other pet foods, so consider switching during a recall.

•    Consider your cat’s lifestyle and medical issues. Pay attention to ingredients on each bag of food. Note the amount of sodium because high sodium levels are harmful to cats with heart or kidney problems. Look at the percentage of protein versus carbohydrates for diabetic cats that need a higher protein-to-carbohydrate ratio.

•    Home cooking is another option. You can find pet food cookbooks online or at bookstores. Cats are very sensitive to having a taurine and vitamin D deficiency and might need vitamins and supplements to ensure their home-cooked meals are complete.

•    Natural foods are not necessarily better than other foods. People should pay attention to every bag of food they purchase.

•    Be aware of what is in cat food treats and apply the same principal to the treats as to the food.

•    Talk with your veterinarian, rather than the salespeople at the food store. Your veterinarian knows your pet’s history and lifestyle and will be up-to-date with the latest on any recalls and the ingredients of concern.
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Christine    Wilmington, DE

11/27/2013 11:41:28 AM

Craig, you are so right about the junk China sells to us and also for our pets' use.

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

11/18/2013 11:29:33 PM

Good tips.

Craig    Las Vegas, NV

11/18/2013 7:36:13 PM

Good article. Recently I went online to the web sites of the pet food companies I buy from. I tracked down the contact page and sent them a question on where they source their ingredients. In particular I was concerned about ingredients from China. They replied with what I believe to be forthright and honest answers.

It is important for as many people as possible to do this because it puts them on notice that we are concerned about the well being of our pets.

Because of unfair trade practices by the Chinese some ingredients are impossible to source anywhere else. My next project is to write my representatives and let them know this is bad for all of us. Why should we have to spend so much at the FDA to test all these imports? It is time we tax all Chinese imports to pay for the cost of weeding out the poisons and defective products.

Morris (not the cat LOL)    Detroit, MI

11/6/2013 4:42:39 PM

All good tips, but I have one they left out! Use a rotating system!

Here's how it works: When you purchase cat food, put it behind the current bag/cans, and built up about 3 months worth. That way, the oldest stuff is used next, etc. That way, you build up a "buffer" of food so that any recalls that are announced will more likely be the most recently purchased items (those way in the back)long before you would reach for them to use them!

For anyone looking for some entertainment for their indoor kitties, you may want to check these guys out. They build cat window patios that fit into the window like an air conditioner. Stove Pipe loves his--we've had one for over two years now, and he's in it every day, rain, snow or shine!
Check them out here: LINK

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