What do I feed my cat?


"I was alarmed. And I was nowhere near home. 'Don't die!' I yelled as I stepped on the gas."

I try not to be silly about my cat, Rosie. Instead of my baby, she's my buddy. I don't tell too many stories about her. I refrain from talking baby-talk to her—at least when other people are around.

Kristi Reimer

However, the truth is that I'm besotted. She's the nicest, prettiest cat I've ever had, and when I heard about the recall, I wanted to cry. She'd eaten some of the "cuts and gravy" canned food in between bags of her therapeutic dry diet. So I, being the over educated veterinary-journal-editor client that I am, immediately called my veterinarian to schedule a blood test. Turns out her kidney values were fine. Whew!

Deciding what to feed Rosie has never been easy. She first went on a veterinary diet when she developed struvite crystals and a UTI. She got monstrously fat on the anti-crystal diet, so she went on a similar formulation for overweight cats. Better, but this one made her constipated, with the result that she left small, lovely gifts all over my apartment—everywhere but the litter box. The most recent diet had seemed to be the answer. She didn't gain weight, she stayed regular, and she used the litter box. All was well—until it was recalled too.

My veterinarian and I decided to switch back to the low-calorie, high-fiber food. I could deal with the constipation—I thought. Rosie's not too picky, and she chowed it down.

The next day I left to go to my hometown for the Easter weekend, a 3.5-hour drive away. I packed up Rosie in her carrier, and away we went. Unlike most cats, Rosie often uses the litter box en route, so that went in the back seat.

When I was about 30 minutes from home, Rosie started straining in the litter box. In and out she went, several times, but the box stayed empty. She started crying, a low, guttural, "I'm in pain" kind of yowl. Then she sprawled out flat on the seat, her eyes glazed over, and she started panting.

I was alarmed. And I was no where near home. "Don't die!" I yelled at my baby as I stepped on the gas. The gravel flew, and I tore down the narrow country road going far faster than what was safe.

Once I got into town, I squealed into the parking lot of a veterinary clinic owned by a family friend, who had been put on the alert and was expecting us. He took an X-ray, did an enema, and everything came out fine. "But," I asked him once the crisis was over, "what do I feed her?"

He didn't really know. And based on the comments of the veterinarians we've talked to for this issue, he's not alone. This recall has everyone flummoxed, veterinarians and clients alike, even if their patients and pets aren't going into renal failure.

In case you're wondering, Rosie stayed on the high-fiber food, and her system seems to have adjusted. But the issues surrounding pet food, how it's produced, and whether it's safe—those are nowhere near resolved. In the meantime, the question remains: What do we feed our pets?

Kristi Reimer, Managing Editor


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