Monday, January 17, 2011

Primal Pets

Cats are obligate (strict) carnivores, relying on nutrients from animal tissue to satisfy their nutritional needs (protein and fat).  They lack specific enzymes to properly digest carbohydrates (grains/vegetables).  Most commercial cat foods are loaded with carbs in the form of brown rice, barley, wheat and potato and corn.  Dry foods make up the bulk of carbohydrates, but several canned food brands also add these as fillers, mostly to bulk and keep the cost down.

Nami is a 2.5 year old black and white female cat.  She has had digestive issues since day one resulting in occasional episodes of both diarrhea and constipation.  She loved her dry food and had a can of wet food once per day.  She didn't particularly care for the wet food but steadily ate her dry.  Her weight was average at 11 lbs. 

Nami being ADORABLE

We took her to the vet numerous times to discuss her digestive issues only to be given a new brand of dry for her to try.  After several brands of her either not liking or not reacting well, we finally found a Hypo-Allergenic brand that she was okay with.  It cost $35 for a small bag.  Yikes!

In October 2010, we introduced kitty number 2 to the family.  His name is Mushi.  He's a healthy, hyper and a typically destructive but loveable kitten.  If you are interested, you can read about their introduction here.  My concern at the time with introducing him was that we were going to upset Nami's special Hypo-Allergenic diet.  The kitten wouldn't be able to eat her specific dry food, so I did some research to try and figure out a solution.

Mushi at 3 months

My research got me thinking.  After such incredible results modifying my diet and eliminating sugar and grains, I became concerned about some of the ingredients listed on the cans of food I purchased for Nami.  I always figured I was treating her well with only the finest "organic" brands of food featuring an animal product and some brown rice and vegetables.  Realizing that I didn't need grains to survive, I thought about what I was doing to my cats health.  It dawned on me that some of the digestive issues she was going through may have a lot to do with the brown rice and extra veggies in her diet.

I removed the dry food immediately from her diet and switched to wet food only.  After some more research, I came across a brand of cat food called Before Grain.  These are cans of 96% meat and are grain and vegetable free.  It was perfect for both cats and kittens so I didn't have to worry about separating anyone's dish.  They also provided a grain free dry food, but I considered the amount of processing it had to go through probably wasn't that good, so decided not to purchase it.

The cats loved it and Nami went through a bit of a digestive transition with the food resulting in a couple of episodes of diarrhea.  This most likely happened because of the sudden change in her diet (and also the stress of a new kitty in her territory).

It has been three months since the food has been introduced and I'm proud to say Nami has transformed.  Not only have her digestive issues completely vanished, but her fur is super soft and shiny and her eyes are so much brighter.  She lost 1 lb and she is so fit, lean and incredibly energetic (some credit should probably go to Mushi for giving her a regular run around the apartment).

Other brands that we've come across over the months are Wellness Core Grain Free and Merrick.  The Merrick brand, which also makes Before Grain, does contain some fruit and vegetable, but is free from grains. 

Of course, the ideal way to feed your cat would be to make your own.  For more information on this and switching your cats to a more "Primal" diet, please visit

Play Time


  1. Good to hear that the digestive problem of the cat was solved easily with a bit of alteration in the food.

  2. I remember asking my mother when I was little "why do we feed cats, and dogs corn, and wheat and stuff? They wouldn't eat that in the wild!". She never could come up with a good answer for me, but was stunned by my thinking so deep into it.
    You cats are so adorable, and I am so glad that the tummy issue is solved.

  3. That's pretty insightful for a child! I remember asking my mom as to why we had to bathe and wear clothes and other animals didn't. It never made sense to me :)


    Start Raw Feeding that cat!

  5. Thanks for the link. is also a great source.

    For now, it's more of an affordability issue and a lack of freezer space. The meat we purchase is expensive already, and I do give them raw meat scraps everytime I cook as well as the occasional egg. They go crazy for it :)

  6. I use BG, too, for my plethora of adopted cats. All tolerate it well, and it's not expensive, which is a big plus when you have a hoard. lol.