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Can't afford canned food anymore... $60/monthly budget to feed 3 cats, help?

Discuss ways to improve the quality of your cat's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your kitty!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster's choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.

  
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Booger

I beg, therefore- I am.
 
 
Purred: Thu Jul 26, '12 8:26am PST 
it'll probably be cheaper to make your own raw food. The main thing you'll need is a good quality grinder and then you can buy some inexpensive meats in bulk like chicken and turkey. You can make large batches, then freeze in ice cube tray.

heres a good how to website
http://feline-nutrition.org/nutrition/making-raw-cat-food-f or-do-it-yourselfers
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Casey

Monkey Face
 
 
Purred: Thu Jul 26, '12 8:32am PST 
I can totally relate with you I am in the same purrd-ick-ament, Some local animal rescues will help out with dry food but I've not found any that donate wet and my Seniors will eat me if they don't recieve there breakfast and dinner portion a quarter can of Fancy Feast each, it's enough to satisfi their cravimg for the gravy. And at this point I going to try and make their wet food I beleive it will be alot more healthy and budget wise. Chicken/turkey/beef boiled down purree some fruit/veggies together & purrlaa wet food. I figure I'll invest in some baby food for the jars, because they will reseal again & again so I can make their wet food. Hope this helps and we all wish you purrluck, Please wish us purrluck. Hope this helps kittyrelieved
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Thu Jul 26, '12 2:14pm PST 
Casey, although it's possible to make your own food it's not as simple as pureeing meat and veggies. That's not a balanced diet. You'll need bones for calcium and organs for other vitamins and minerals. Please research very carefully before you try this. I highly recommend Dr. Pierson's site for more info: catinfo.org. Her recipe is raw ground meat but it's balanced. And you can eliminate the veggies - cats don't need them and actually don't get any value from them.

Edited by author Fri Jul 27, '12 1:09pm PST

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Merlin - An Angel- Forever

*Poof*
 
 
Purred: Thu Jul 26, '12 5:04pm PST 
I agree - homemeade raw food is the cheapest option smile

But as BK said, it's nost as easy as putting down a bowl of raw meat chunks. Raw meat on it's own is not nutritonally complete. It doesn't contain any of the important vitamins and minerals a cat needs. A vitamin/mineral deficient diet can lead to serious health issues.

Before you make raw food, please take the time to read up on to create a nutritionally complete homemade raw diet. Here are some good web sites that include recipies:

http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood
http://www.catnutrition.org/index.html
http://feline-nutrition.org/index.php

If you don't want to go through the hassel of buying vitamins and supplements or buying raw organs and poultry bones and such for a frankeprey model diet, you can use a pre-mix instead. The pre-mix contains everything. You just follow the instructions on the bag and for X amount of raw meat, you add X scoops of the powder. TC Feline, Better In The Raw, Feline Instincts, and Alnutrin are four pre-mixes available.

There is a way to can your own raw food. Here is the info: Home canning raw meat Once you have the meat canned, you need to turn it into nutritious cat food using this recipie: Making cat food with home canned meat

Of course, there are commerically available brands of raw pet food you can buy. It's cheaper than canned or raw food but slightly more expensive than homemeade raw.

You can post on the Raw Forum for more info smile
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Ramsey

Ramsey - The Bedroom Cat- Burglar
 
 
Purred: Thu Jul 26, '12 9:15pm PST 
You are getting a lot of good advice and I'll just throw in my 2 cents. I feel that a majority of any kitty's diet should be of the wet variety but sometimes that is not always possible for some people. If you possibly can, try to stay on as much wet as possible. For a premium dry kibble and/or wet food you might want to look into the Nutro Max Cat line of cat food. It is a decent premium food that is on the lower end of the budget scale. So sorry you are going through this and I sure do hope it improves for you real soon. Hugs and vibes sent. Deep breaths... you will get through this meditate
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Egon &- Astrid

Life is made for- loving.
 
 
Purred: Sat Jul 28, '12 2:26pm PST 
Okay, this is based on averages, and costs that I know of.

The average cat (8-10 pound neutered indoor tom is what I've found companies refer to as "average") needs to eat about 1 5.5oz can of food a day. If you buy a wet food- Special Kitty or Friskies are best for 5.5oz cans on the cheap- in a box, it amounts to an average of .53$ CAD per can. So that will bring your cost immediately down to 1.59$ CAD a day to feed your cats the bare minimum in wet. That's about 50$ a month.

IF you feed them only wet.

Dry food is often harder to decide on then wet food. Nutrition IS important, but so is a loving home. If you rehome them, you have ABSOLUTELY NO GUARANTEE that they will be fed any better. In most cases, they will be fed worse, or at par with what you can actually afford to feed them. We enlightened folk who know how to read labels are in the minority of pet food buyers. Even those buying premium brands often only do it because it was recommended by a vet, pet store clerk, friend, breeder, or they just liked that the packaging said "HOLISTIC ALL-MEAT NATURAL CAT FOOD DIET".

Dry food can reduce your costs, period. I am only feeding two cats, but if I were to purchase a 12 pound bag of Whiskas (Which I find to be on-par with IAMS, which is probably one of the better quality commercially available non-premium foods) it would feed my cats for two months. That's about 13$ CAD for the bag of Whiskas. With about one half cup of dry a day, I can split one can 5.5oz can between two cats. That reduces the cost of wet. So for a bag of dry food and the new wet food cost (About 25$ CAD a month) you're spending 38$ on the cats per month, instead of almost 90$.

Three cats are going to be hungry mouths. You can, of course, reduce your costs further, but it's at your own discretion. You can also decide to buy the cheapest wet food and the best dry you can afford, or some very good wet food to supplement the cheapest dry food you can afford.

I don't know how able you are to do so, but my suggestion is to go to a local Petco, Petsmart, or Walmart, and look at the food offerings. Take a note book and pen and jot down names, weights, prices, and ingredients that matter to you. I usually look at the first four or five, and for menadione. Be aware of tricks like "chicken" as the first ingredient, which will actually end up farther down the list as exclusive-of-water ingredients follow it up. I made an entire little chart one day of which foods were the best price per pound and had the best ingredients, and found the one that was right smack-dab in the middle. Maybe you'll find something you like if you "math" it out.

You CAN reduce your cost, maintain their health, and keep your lovies in your home. Don't give up!
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Memphis

World Domination- Is Easier With- Thumbs
 
 
Purred: Sat Jul 28, '12 3:45pm PST 
I feed my girls Soulistic and Wellness Core (when it is on sale). I order the 5.5 oz from Petco online. My latest order was $57 for 48 cans, with free shipping. You do get discounts if you use their card. Also, check other online sales sites -- if you buy in bulk, you beat the store price any day because they deliver to your door and normally have some sort of plus for autoship or a $5 off coupon or something.

Since you have 3 cats, you can buy 12 oz cans from Evo or California Naturals or even from Instinct. The bigger the can, the greater the value, but the trade off is that sometimes animals will turn up their nose at it after it's been in the fridge, like mine....with 3 cats, you can probably have them gobble it all up in a single meal, so no waste.

Keep in mind, cats eat until they get what they need. They may eat more cans of Friskies and Fancy Feast per day than if you feed them the quality you already do. This is a variation of another study I've seen before, but keep this in mind if you do switch foods. Going on the cheap ain't so cheap, always, because you have to up the number of cans the cats receive per day to get their nutrition.

http://catcentric.org/nutrition-and-food/raw-feeding/how-much-do es-it-cost-to-feed-my-cat-or-i-can-afford-to-feed-commercial-raw/

There are tables attached, so that might give you some inspiration. You can do this! I'm a master's student, perpetually broke, but I love my fuzzies too.
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Baltster- 1990 ~ 2011

Winks, to the- ladies, Iz still- got it
 
 
Purred: Sun Jul 29, '12 12:48pm PST 
Out of curiosity thinking If you get stuck and you only have dry food. If the cats want wet and you need food with moisture can you soak their daily food in warm water and then put it through a blender?
I know they are filled with junk but I've seen many cats live into their very late teens on cheap cat food.
To be honest Balty was fed for many years on cheap cat food/biscuits before the human realised there was better food out there. He lived to 21 and he never suffered from urinary problems. Funny enoughlaugh out loud Raza ,Sam, and D all DO have urinary problems and are on restricted diets and they have been feed the best food we can find here for them all their lives. Sam and D are Raza's kittens so I assume it runs in families. Sam and D only eat dry food but Raza eats wet (their preferred option). But it doesn’t seem to make a difference to them on how susceptible they are to urinary problems. What I've noticed it seems stress is a major cause with these guys.
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Merlin - An Angel- Forever

*Poof*
 
 
Purred: Sun Jul 29, '12 5:02pm PST 
Dry food and water mixed together = bacteria growth = tummy issues shock

I suppose if the cats eat the food right away and you don't leave any of the mixture lying around all day for bacteira to grow in it might be ok but I still wouldn't risk it shrug

If you run out of canned food and only have dry available, then short term feeding of dry food (no water added) isn't going to hurt the cats. Just remmeber to buy more canned food as soon as you can before the cats get addicted to the dry food (they're coated with an irresistable animal digest coating). It's long term feeding (ie years) of dry food that may cause health problems.
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Ramsey

Ramsey - The Bedroom Cat- Burglar
 
 
Purred: Thu Aug 2, '12 11:29am PST 
Wetting the food will not hurt anything *if* you don't free feed it. Wet kibble sitting there will be prone to bacteria growth as Merlin pointed out. This can lead to all kinds of issues you probably don't want to deal with.

Feeding an all kibble diet will not hurt anything in the short term, if your cats drink water, but do not wet it if you are going to leave it down or free feed them. I don't like an all kibble diet because kibble is calorie/carb dense which can lead to obesity, diabetes etc.

If you have to feed all kibble, try to get them back on wet as soon as you can.
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