Cat food budget decisions...

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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Purred: Sat Apr 25, '09 7:36pm PST 
Hi everyone,

I was wondering what people would do in my situation. I'm a college student with two part-time jobs, financing my university education (housing too) all on my own, and I send money back home each month for my mom. OK on to the cat stuff...

I would love to feed Brody an all wet diet but that is not within the means of my current budget. I currently feed him Evo Ancestral Diet twice a day, but I replace four usually dry meals a week with a high protein, grain-free wet food (so I go through 2 cans of wet a week). So Brody gets fed twice a day, 4 out of his 14 weekly meals are wet. I usually buy Evo 95 or Best Feline Friends. He also gets treats a few times a week as well.

I could afford to feed Brody more wet but it would be a lesser quality wet food with grains and fillers, etc. So should I continue to feed him a higher quality wet only a few times or switch to a lower quality wet so he can enjoy the benefits of wet more frequently? I guess I'm worried about dehydration and kidney stones forming. My sister had a cat suffer through urinary crystals and the operation to fix it cost $3000, not to mention that the cat endured a lot of pain. I do have a bowl of water in every room of my apartment (living room, kitchen, and bedroom). I do see Brody drink at least twice a day from these watering holes.

Thanks for any input. This forum is so helpful, I already have a list collected from previous threats about decent wet foods that cost less. Thanks again!

Edited by author Sat Apr 25, '09 9:15pm PST



Education is the- Key
Purred: Sat Apr 25, '09 9:18pm PST 
Hi Brody I would go for the lower costing wet food, just make sure that it has no wheat gluten in it, or corn gluten, and no corn, and if there is rice, make sure its whole rice, not ground rice. If you could feed dry in the am then wet at night that would be the best situation to have next to an all wet diet. You can however look into raw as it is cheaper than dry or wet. Have you seen the list of cheaper foods that I have listed on this site? If not let me know and I can give them to you.
Purrs and Meows kitty


Purred: Sun Apr 26, '09 4:23am PST 
Thanks Shadow! I'm going to aim for 1/2 wet and 1/2 dry like you said. I have collected the list of cheaper foods from your other postings/responses, thanks so much!


Adore me - OR ELSE!
Purred: Tue Apr 28, '09 2:29pm PST 
Brody, how do you feel about raw?

Most of the commercially available raw products are quite pricey, but haretoday.com has several meat/bone/organ blends that are very affordable. For example:

Ground Chicken (including bones/organs):
2 lbs - $3.38
5 lbs - $7.95

Ground Beef (including bones/organs/tripe):
2 lbs. - $4.18
5 lbs - $9.95

Ground Duck (including bones/organs):
2 lbs - $5.58
5 lbs - $13.45

Ground Goat (including bones/organs/tripe):
2 lbs - $5.98
5 lbs - $14.45

Ground Rabbit (including bones/organs):
2 lbs - $8.18
5 lbs - $19.95

Ground Mutton (including bones/organs):
2 lbs - $5.98
5 lbs - $13.95

** Just as a comparison, I pay $29 for a 3 lb. bag of Nature's Variety Raw Medallions.

I haven't ordered from this company yet, but I am planning to put in an order next week, and I know several people who have ordered from there and have been very happy with the products. So just wanted to throw that out there as an option.

Also, for the better canned foods, Avoderm is usually a good deal. I can often find it for 89 cents for a 5.5 ounce can. Fancy Feast is about that much, from what I've seen.


Purred: Tue Apr 28, '09 7:14pm PST 
Hi Oliva,

I feel raw would probably be the best way to go in terms of feeding Brody, but I don't think I have enough time in my schedule to start up or upkeep a raw diet yet (5 days a week at school, work on weekdays & weekends, study time, going out, etc). I'll also need to save up for a nice meat grinder too. I'm hoping that I can have enough resources, time (mostly) and monetary wise, to start up raw in the summer (although I have school/work then too) haha. Thanks you for the suggestion. Yeah, pre-made raw is also very pricey sadly.

Thanks for the Avoderm suggestion as well. I went to Petco yesterday and the prices of the canned foods were pretty high, even the ones with fillers/grain/ meat by-products. My neighborhood pet store sells Evo 95 and Wellness for $1.29 and $1.50 respectively. I think going to Petco put my financial concerns in perspective. It does not cost me that much more to go for higher quality wet foods, especially when Fancy Feast is like 89 cents or more at supermarkets/Petco. For now, 50/50 high quality wet/dry food everyday works best for me.


Adore me - OR ELSE!
Purred: Wed Apr 29, '09 7:11am PST 
Hi, Brody!

The thing about the HareToday products I posted the prices of is that you don't need a grinder. The meat, bones, and organs are already ground for you. Like I said, I haven't ordered anything from them yet, but I'm going to place an order here soon, because I've only got about another week to two weeks' supply of Nature's Variety raw medallions, and I have heard such good things about HareToday. As far as time-wise, it doesn't take me any more time to feed the cats their raw medallions (or, I assume, the ground products from HT) than it does for me to open a can. For the raw medallions, I take them out of the freezeer and put them in the fridge at night before I go to bed, then I run them under warm water (in their baggie) for a few minutes till they come to room temperature, and throw them in the bowl.

If you want to stick to a quality canned food, that's fine, too, but the HT, at least as far as I can tell, is going to be a very affordable option for me, and will actually save me quite a bit of money. I'm glad you went to PetCo and compared. It does put things in perspective when you see how much money they are getting for foods that are really terrible for the cats. Doesn't cost much more, and definitely saves money in the long run in vet bills, etc.

Brody is a lucky cat to have you caring for him! applause


Purred: Wed Apr 29, '09 8:01pm PST 
Wet food is extremely important to a cat's diet. I am much more willing to sacrifice ingredients for a more affordable wet food. Some of the least expensive wet foods that have ingredients I am happy with are: Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul, Natural Balance, Authority, and Eagle Pack Holistic Select.

Some of the higher end dry foods still end up being more $ per feeding than those wet foods I just mentioned. I feed 50% dry and 50% wet (they each get about 1/4 cup of dry food in the morning and then 3 oz of wet food at night). I buy the 6 oz size cans and split them to save $ (for example, I can buy a 6 oz can of Natural Balance here for $0.99, but a 3 oz can would be $0.74. The two cats who don't eat leftovers share a can, and the third cat who will eat leftovers (refrigerated, of course), gets the leftover portion in the can the next day.

If I were you, I'd feed a more affordable dry food so that I could increase the wet food to at least 3 oz a day. The dry food I am feeding now (Taste of the Wild) is grain free and has pretty good ingredients, and it's really inexpensive compared to other similar brands.


Purred: Thu Apr 30, '09 6:03am PST 

As Henry said, Taste of the Wild is a grain free dry food that most cats seem to love. As far as I know, it's the least expensive grain free on the market.

It may be hard with one cat unless your cat is happy with leftovers, but if you buy Wellness grain free in the 12 oz cans, it's so much more affordable.

As far as the raw goes, the only time consuming part is figuring out what your cat will eat. I have some raw mixes that I add to chicken and liver that my cats like a lot better than commercial. I use a food processor to mix it all up. I have some extra 'flavor's that they didn't care for and am happy to send you some to see if your cat would like it.

Olivia, I'm happy to send you some too!!!! It's Feline Future's instincts. I probably have about $80 worth of the mix and would love to share with someone!


Purred: Thu Apr 30, '09 6:23am PST 
To Oliva:
Thank you for following up. Ah, I have to read more carefully (embarrassed). I did not realize the prices you listed was a commercial raw, I just thought that's how much regular meat cost at the grocery store (haha I only buy chicken so I don't know how much anything else costs). I'm definitely going to place an order with HareToday soon since they have such affordable prices. I just need to read up on transiting kitties to raw (part-time). Thank you so very much for the information!

To Henry:
Thanks for the response and suggestions. Yes, I will definitely just buy bigger cans in the future, it's a much better deal like you said. I was totally thinking of switching to Taste of the Wild after my bag of Evo runs low! (Cat lovers think alike?) I agree that TotW is a great grain free food at a great price ($24ish for 15lbs), I just haven't found it anywhere near my house yet. frown I'll bum a ride from a friend/sister eventually though to great it from a nearby city.

To Dino:
Thanks for responding. Yeah, I hope Brody likes Taste of the Wild when I introduce it to him down the road. Wow, I did not even know that wet food came in 12 oz cans! Brody is such a brat cat though, he gives me a hard time about eating one day leftovers even though I microwave it slightly for room temp and tried other suggested tricks. Thank you for the offer sending me raw, but won't the food go bad in the mail (raw newbie)?


Adore me - OR ELSE!
Purred: Thu Apr 30, '09 7:22am PST 

If you email Taste of the Wild, they will send you a really nice box of samples for free. I have a foster dog that has some skin issues, and I was trying out some different products for him. They sent me some dry cat food samples as well, and I've used them for treats, because I am just not comfortable with feeding dry food as actual meals, although I know that sometimes due to budgetary constraints, especially in this economy, it unfortunately becomes necessary. Anyway, the cats did seem to really like the food and enjoyed "hunting" for it on their cat trees, and such.

One thing I did want to mention is that you may want to avoid the Pacific Stream flavor, because TOTW (which is owned by parent company Diamond Foods) does not guarantee that the fish used in that recipe are ethoxyquin free. Ultimately, that made me decide that I wasn't comfortable buying any of their foods, and that, added to the fact that I would have had to order them online because I could not find a local distributor, led me to try some other foods for my foster dog, and fortunately I have gotten his issues mostly under control, thank goodness.

Anyway, send them an email - a nice box of samples couldn't hurt, right?

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