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Food On A Budget

Sarah WhetselSarah Whetsel Member Posts: 1
edited 7 May, 2013 in Food & Nutrition
I've poked around some "cat websites" and I have to say, snooping around Catster, it's become my favorite. So hello! Some background: Kitty was a adopted 2-ish years ago from a local shelter and he is probably about 5-6 years old. He is my first cat as I was never allowed to have a cat growing up. I asked for one every year for both christmas and birthdays for years and years to no avail. Being my first cat, nutrition-wise we were off to a rocky start. I got not so great kibble from the drug store and what not. In the past year or so, I've tried to better educate myself. So we moved past the yucky kibble and tried to find the best thing drug stores had to offer. He is currently eating Purina One Beyond as it appears to be the only dry food that has actual meat as the first ingredient. He also gets wet food on occasion, but not nearly as much as I would like to give it to him. I knew there are better options out there, but It seemed as if the best drugstore food was the only thing a young college kid was going to be able to afford. But even the price of the Purina seems absurd considering the amount you get for your money and the nutritional value, or rather lack there of. After doing some more research and looking more in depth into the "higher end" foods I'm definitely willing to spend a little more in return for higher quality. I even stopped in the pet store today after work to get an idea of price range and I was honestly shocked, I thought it would have been a lot more expensive. I'm ready to make the jump, but I'm not sure in which direction. So long story short, what I'm asking you guys is what would be a good food to try. I want higher quality, but I still need it to be a little on the less expensive side, if that makes sense...? I made a mental note of the brands I found online and was happy to find several of them at the pet store and also some others that looked promising. Help me weed out the bad ones and let me know if these are a hit or miss! ~Wellness "Core" and "Complete Health"?? ~Blue Buffalo "Healthy Living" and "Wilderness" ~Natural Balance "Alpha Cat" and a more standard looking bag ~Taste of the Wild ~Natures Variety "Instinct" and "Prairie" Id also be interested in some wet foods that wont break the bank. Thank you!


  • Laurel KowalskiLaurel Kowalski Gateway to the WestMember Posts: 486
    edited 26 April, 2013
    Most on the forum will say do all wet. Friskies pate style will get your cat an all wet diet without breaking the bank. They sell it in big cans too. Petsmart has a really good Black Friday sale on it, Fancy Feast & Tidy Cat litter. I buy a ton of stuff on that sale & save a ton of money. (Buy the litter one bucket at a time & the $5 coupon comes out. Then I use it on the next order until I get enough litter for the entire year. I use the final $5 coupon on my Friskies canned.) So save every dime for the Black Friday sale at Petsmart! The cheapest Grain Free kibble is Taste of the Wild. My cat did not like it. I got samples & tried it before buying it. Call Diamond for samples. Places like Tractor Supply Co. or Rural King sell it to at a cheaper price. Got a feed store nearby? Diamond pet food has other dry foods if you are looking for cheap, Diamond Natural or Chicken Soup for the Soul. At one time the Kirkland brand at Costco was made by Diamond pet food. Got a friend with a Costco card? I search the Petco ad every month for the deals during their adoption weekend that I can stack a sale price with a manufacture coupon & the Petco adoption. Yes, they let you use a manufacture coupon with the Petco Adoption coupon. I'll paste the link at the bottom to be printed every month! The $25 you must buy is the full price before the sale price & before the coupons. My sister bought $28 of kibble & paid $13 for 7.5 lb during the April Adoption weekend. Petco has deals on Nutro Max sometimes too which is better than Nutro Natural. Canyon Creek Ranch kibble give coupons too. It is made by Nestle Purina. If you pick a brand like Instinct or Wellness, sign up for emails. They send coupons. Make sure you use the perk cards at Petco & Petsmart. They mail coupons based on your brand loyalty. Facebook has coupons too like Petsmart. Even has monthly coupons. Target lets you stack a manufacture coupon with a Target coupon. Follow people like to help you save money for your & your pet's needs.
  • Karen LeeKaren Lee The kingdom of Mer-lotMember Posts: 89,020
    edited 26 April, 2013
    Grain-free is ideal =; Many inexpensive big name brands contain by products and other cheap filler things :-/ These are typically sold a big box discount stores (Wal Mart, etc), dollar stores, supermarkets, etc. I suggest sticking with better quality brands sold at pet stores, both the chain stores and non-chain independent stores. All of the brands you listed are good =; Are you planning to feed both dry and canned? An all canned food diet is best for reasons you can read about at If you plan on feeding both, try to limit dry food to no more than 80% of the diet. Maybe feed a small portion of dry food twice a day (like 1/4 cup or less) and offer small canned food meals (with extra water added to make up for the lack of water in dry food) in between. If you need to feed some dry, use a grain-free brand that has real meat (not meat meal or some other lower quality form). Nature's Variety Instinct is good =; There's the regular Instinct dry food and the Raw Boost one. There's also a Limited Ingredient one for pets with food allergies. I posted some good quality brands of canned food here: Some are only found at non chain independent pet stores. Some brands are pretty expensive, close to $2 for a can or pouch :-O The web sites for many brands have a store locator that you can use to find a local store that sells the food. Some pet food companies have coupons you can sign up for. Nature's Variety is one :) You can sign up on the Nature's variety web site to get coupons vial email. The current coupon is buy 4 cans and get 1 free :) If you buy food from a chain pet stores (Petco, etc), check the monthly flyer for sales. Non chain independent pet stores may have a monthly flyer so check that for any sales =;
  • Rebecca NowakRebecca Nowak Orange County, NYMember Posts: 1,397
    edited 27 April, 2013
    If you go to and click on the food tab you will get to lists of recommended dry and canned foods. These are not all expensive foods and she lists the wheat gluten free flavors of Fancy Feast and Friskies.
  • Romeo RhettRomeo Rhett Member Posts: 25
    edited 28 April, 2013
    I've found that Evangers in the 12oz cans is cheaper than any other comparable brand such as Wellness and NV Instinct. I pay $1.95 per can at Go Pet Go. Fancy Feast is relatively cheap but it takes 6 cans a day to feed my 2 boys so it costs more in the long run.
  • Universal WhispererUniversal Whisperer Member Posts: 595 ✭✭
    edited 29 April, 2013
    Dry food is best for most cats. Dry food helps keep a cat's teeth cleaner and in better condition whereas cats on wet foods tend to build up tartar and develop dental problems much more rapidly. Also wet food is mostly water, why pay for a food that's mostly water. If you really want your cat to have moist food, you can soak dry food in hot water and serve the dry food soaked much more economically than buying canned food. Using hot water to soak dry food works best because dry food soaks up much faster and better when soaked in hot water than if its soaked in cold water.
  • Paula K-Paula K- New YorkMember Posts: 2,244
    edited 29 April, 2013
    Righty, you couldn't have packed more bad advice into a single post if you tried, mol. Dry food does NOT clean a cat's teeth. This is a myth and it's the equivalent of your dentist telling you to eat cheese doodles for dental health. The reason that canned food (with all that water) is better than dry is because a cat's body is built to get all its moisture from their food. They can not physically drink enough water to hydrate themselves. What you end up with is a chronically dehydrated cat which leads to kidney and urinary issues. In addition, dry food is full of ingredients that a cat can't digest, like grains and carbs, which lead to obesity and diabetes. Dry food is also full of bacteria. Adding water to it - especially hot water - will just increase the bacteria and could make your cat very ill. You may want to do some research on feline nutrition. One of my favorite sites is - written by a vet.
  • Laurel KowalskiLaurel Kowalski Gateway to the WestMember Posts: 486
    edited 29 April, 2013
    The Memorial holiday will bring more sales. I'll post for you the dry food super deal at Petco during the adoption weekend. You did not post your location so I could not see if some of your local store run deals too. Pet Supermarket has coupons $2 off $10 & Pet Supplies Plus has a $5 birthday coupon. I feed both dry and wet too.
  • Kimberly BoydKimberly Boyd ErieMember Posts: 58
    edited 29 April, 2013
    Meowma gives my brudder and me Blue Wilderness dry in the afternoon (it's done incredible things for my fluffy coat!) and Friskies wet pate´ in the morning and at night with extra water. We like it nice and soupy! We know kibble isn't the best, but Meowma does her best to keep our diet full of moisture. They also sell water fountains and she wants to buy us one because we LOVE playing in our water dish. |^||^||^|
  • Laurel KowalskiLaurel Kowalski Gateway to the WestMember Posts: 486
    edited 5 May, 2013
    Here one of the post from today that can save you money. $2/1 Arm & Hammer cat litter 18-lb. or larger Target Coupon x6/8 -$2/2 Arm & Hammer Clumping Cat Litter 1-20-13 SS x7/31 -.50/1 Arm & Hammer Cat Litter on Facebook or share for a $3.50/1 x12/31 -$2/2 Arm & Hammer Clumping Cat Litter The top line is a Target coupon that she has a link all you have to do is click and print. The last three are from the newspaper or where online you can print. If they are online she adds the link like the last two on this one. So think you can get $5.50 off a box of Arm & Hammer cat litter. If you get the weekend newspaper, a good ref. source is The new Petco ad is out. 10% of AvoDerm weight management There is an online $5 coupon plus the $5 off Petco adoption weekend coupon $3 off 5-7 lb Blue Buffalo Spa or 10% off BB Longevity Take the Blue Buffalo Challenge for a $5 coupon at Blue plus the $5 off Petco adoption weekend coupon There is also Nutro Max on sale for 10% off From Facebook: At this time we are not aware of coupon offerings. You can contact the Customer Relations Team for more information at 1-800-833-5330 during the weekdays. plus the $5 off Petco adoption weekend coupon Hill's Science Diet Idea Balance 10% off $5 coupon at print two plus the $5 off Petco adoption weekend coupon Buy 2 @ 13.99 minus $10 manfacture coupon & $5 adoption coupon = $12.98 for 7 lbs There is also a Nature Recipe coupon of $5 off but no sale in this months ad. Also $1 off 3 wet foods. Wellness Weight Management 10% off $3 coupon - Google "Wellness coupon", pick the one @ plus the $5 off Petco adoption weekend coupon Remember, let say your bag is 21.99 at the full price. You will need to buy 3.01 more you use the Petco adoption weekend coupon. So this month only Science Diet is a super sale. Ugh.... Hope for a better sale next month. PS, Purina One was $3 off on the 6-7 lbs bags & has a $1.75 off coupon with two free 3 oz cans of wet food. More is on sale but I could not see a coupon fast & easy to match up. So hunt & look for yourself. Good Luck! Now, I need a nap!
  • Lee Ann KoffinasLee Ann Koffinas OrlandoMember Posts: 346
    edited 5 May, 2013
    Righty, I'm wondering if you either work for a vet or for a big pet store, because if I had a dime for every time I hear the "dry food is better for the teeth", I think I'll scream. If this were so, as my vet pointed out last time, then why do so many cats who are SOLELY on dry food have awful tarter on their teeth? My 10 year old cat has been on canned food only for about 5 years now, and her teeth were not bad at all for a cat her age. My vet was very happy to see that, as it confirmed his belief that dry food is not best for the teeth. I do love it, every time I go to to buy food and I hear some 19 year old telling a customer how dry food is better for the teeth....actually, I cringe. My vet told me that I should gently lead people to the catfoodinfo website for an education on this. Personally, I would rather have to get my cats teeth cleaned than to have it die young of kidney failure from eating an all dry diet it's entire life. Not trying to pick on you Righty, I just hope that you will read up on how wet food is much better for a cats overall health. All of us on here love cats, and just want what's best for them after all.
  • Romeo RhettRomeo Rhett Member Posts: 25
    edited 6 May, 2013
    I adopted 2 cats from a rescue organization that were in great health when I got them. Their age was unknown but they were estimated to be about 1-2 years old. I fed them Natural Balance Ultra for about 5 years with a bit of wet food once in a while as a treat. Fast forward a few years later- I started feeding them the cheapest food I could find due to financial problems. Their health declined in a slow but steady pace. One of the cats lost a lot of weight and the other became obese. Things started looking better financially and I started looking for better food. I discovered that my cats didn't need dry food at all and started feeding them food such as Merrick's and Wellness. They settled into healthy weights soon after but their teeth....what they had left were horribly decayed and they had severe gum disease. Even though I tried to make it right by taking them to the vet for treatment it was really too late. They deteriorated over the next couple years until I felt the only humane thing to do was to put them to sleep. :( I blame myself for not knowing better. I should have researched and taken better care of them. I will always have to live with this. The lesson is...better nutrition leads to a better and longer life. You can buy better food on a budget. Just cut coupons. Join clubs like Petco Pals. Shop around for the best deals.
  • Kat WhickerKat Whicker ToledoMember Posts: 1,695
    edited 7 May, 2013
    I have spent years researching "the best" cat food and came to this conclusion: all dry food is basically the same, and its all junk. At this point many will stop reading but i ask for you to look into it for yourself. But, set aside anything that is funded by a petfood company, and try not to get lost into the fads. I have an entire bookcase on cats, including vet textbooks. I also studyed feline nutrition with a vet, and read many books on the subject in the college library. i worked as a vet assistant, and have done rescue for over 6 years. Trust me, i have looked into this matter extensively.I hope to encourage people to do that same. I use to believe in dry food because vets said i should. I think differently now. My cats are both 8 years old and are in super health. I almost lost my cat to diet dry food. It made her stool hard, twisted up her colon, and i spent the next year trying to save her life. It cost me 3 grand and much heartache. This was the final push to convince me to switch to canned and then from there i moved on to making my own all meat food. How, do you ask, did diet dry cause all this? by putting wood fiber in the food to cut back on calories. Cats cannot digest this well. It isnt food, after all! I know that all meat homemade food can be super expensive, so i would encourage you to buy Friskies pate style. do not get chunks, slices, special diet, ect. JUST pate. Turkey and giblets pate, ocean fish pate, chicken pate, ect. This food is cheep, and is one of the only catfoods that have mostly meat in it. Some do have small amounts of rice, which in my option, is the best grain if you have to do grain. Avoid potatoes and other starches. those are NOT good for cats. Feel free to compare labels on every style, brand and type of canned catfood. you will see that not all the expensive ones are better.
  • Danni BDanni B Member Posts: 123
    edited 7 May, 2013
    Sammy eats Earthborn Holistic, both dry and wet. It is by far her most favorite food. We have tried many other brands (TOTW, Wellness, Nature's Variety, etc) but this is THE brand for her. I pay $28 for a 15 pound bag and $.99 for a 3 oz can. 5 oz. cans are $1.49. EH sends a $3 off coupon by email every month. I highly recommend this brand.
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