IAMS CAT FOOD
Iams Cat food has been around for many years. Iams was the first cat food that I fed to my own cats when I became an adult, and Iams pet food for cats was the food I fed for 30 years after that. Of course, it has been around longer that that. Iams pet food was first manufactured in the 1940's. I've used the regular adult formula Iams cat food, Iams kitten food, Iams weight control, and several of the Iams prescription diets.
Since that time when I first starting feeding Iams pet food, the number of new cat food brands that have come on the market is overwhelming. With each one claiming to be better than the others, how can a cat owner know what to feed their cat?
I began using Iams because my veterinarian recommended it many years before I became a veterinarian myself. At that time, there wasn't a lot of competition for high-quality, top-of-the-line cat food. Iams pet food was far more expensive than other brands. At that time, it couldn't be found in supermarkets. It was available at select pet supply stores only.
Despite the extra expense, I had high regard for my veterinarian's opinion and liked what I researched about Iams food. I, therefore, started feeding Iams food to my 14 cats (yes, 14, which made it quite expensive) and very quickly became hooked.
Why did I like Iam's pet food more than other cat diets? Well, shortly after starting to feed my cats Iams cat food, I noticed their hair coats becoming soft and shiny. I also saw a change in the contents of the litter boxes. Their stool was well-formed and much less malodorous than prior to feeding the Iams food.
The food was hard and crunchy; I could hear it when they ate and I started to see that their teeth stayed cleaner for a longer period of time resulting in fewer dental cleanings and lower vet bills.
There were also few to no hairballs produced. However, one of the most important things that I witnessed over more time was the lack of urinary problems, even though almost all of my cats were males and male cats are known for having urinary issues. Over the years, the nutritional value of Iams cat food continued to amaze me. My cats all lived through their late teens; not one of them had even a single illness along the way. And in spite of 95% of them being males, there was not one urinary tract infection or blockage. Unheard of!!
I have had other "cat families" since the original 14 and the results have been the same. Long lives without illness, luscious haircoats, healthy teeth, urinary and GI tract health, and much more.
In addition, I have been recommending Iams to my patients for the last 18 years and have seen similar results. When a cat gets on the exam table and I see and feel his fur I can tell immediately that he eats Iams cat food. Really!
Over the years, many different companies have come out with many different types of cat food. There's been lots of research done and many new recommendations made. The current trend is a move toward less processed, fresher, organically grown ingredients with no grain or by-products.
In spite of that, I continued to feed my cats Iams exclusively. Until about a year ago. Why did I change?
For the first time in my life, I found myself living with a diabetic cat. It came as quite a surprise. My kitty, Calvin, had not exhibited any signs and I was just doing routine blood work on him in preparation for cleaning his teeth. He was not overweight, a characteristic possessed by close to 100% of the diabetic cats I had diagnosed in my practice over the years.
Regardless, his laboratory results confirmed that he was indeed diabetic. You can read Calvin's story if you want to learn more about feline diabetes.
As I started Calvin on insulin and began to manage his diabetes, I began to rethink my strong convictions about the diet my cats were eating. It has, for many years, been recommended that diabetic cats be fed a special prescription diabetic cat food. Hills, Royal Canin, and Purina all offer their own version of diabetic cat food.
I started Calvin on Royal Canin's diabetic diet, but decided to once again research the effect of diet on feline diabetes to make sure I was doing the right thing for Calvin and for all my diabetic patients.
The result is that I have come 180 degrees away from my original thinking about nutrition for diabetic cats and cat nutrition in general. Unfortunately, what most of the world hasn't been told yet, including a great number of veterinarians, is that we have been feeding cats the wrong diet since the beginning of commercial cat food.
We have created diabetic cats in this country in much the same way we have created adult onset diabetes in people. How? Too many carbs.
Think about it. What does a cat in the wild eat? Corn? Wheat? Vegetables? Obviously not. They eat meat. Cats are obligate carnivores. They have difficulty digesting plant material. A mouse, quite honestly, is their perfect meal. Not corn or wheat or potatoes or any of a long list of ingredients that are in most commercial cat foods, especially the dry ones.
So it turns out that all dry food, even the prescription diabetic dry foods, have far too many carbohydrates in them. Even more mind-boggling is the fact that even the canned prescription diabetic cat foods are too high in carbs to feed your diabetic cat.
Dry food shouldn't be fed to any cat, diabetic or not. Even the ones labeled organic or grain free or all natural. Your cat, every cat, needs the water that is in canned food and doesn't need the carbs that are in dry food.
So I don't feed Iams anymore. I feed my cats an all canned diet that is low in carbs. Even the non-diabetic cats. And they have never looked healthier. One of my kitties was quite over-weight all his life and since changing the diet, he is now a normal weight and at age 14 is playing like a kitten for the first time in his life.
I don't pretend to have all the answers. Honestly, I still wonder how all my cats for decades were so healthy when all they ate was dry Iams if dry food is really not good for them. It's hard to make sense of sometimes. I just know that feeding a cat a diet that is more like a mouse makes total sense to me.
I also know that feeding canned food instead of dry is absolutely essential for cats. If you don't change anything else about the way you are feeding your cats, please change at least that.