Pet Food. That’s one of the missing items from this list of 10 Unexpected Places Gluten Lurks ( www.mindbodygreen.com/0-
). I think I was aware of most of these EXCEPT for imitation crab meat. Sayonara, California Rolls.
Seamus, our foster cat ( wp.me/p1N36Q-8a
), has returned to us after a month away. When we left for Minnesota (the day Kirbi, our other cat, escaped - wp.me/p1N36Q-b1
), we brought him to his more permanent home – my husband’s parents. However, they are off on a jaunt in Ireland for the next 10 days and Seamus has returned.
4 lbs heavier.
You might not be able to tell from this photo, but that’s about a 20% increase in weight in less than a month.
When we brought Seamus to his new home, we told his new parents what we had been feeding him – Purina Pro Plan (both dry and wet) – over the past few months so that they could continue his diet without much digestive distress to him – and if they wanted to change his food, that would be fine, but they should consider gradually mixing in the new feed until he was completely switched over.
Seeing him in this state just a few short weeks later concerned me, so I checked the stash of food his parents left us with. Same brand – Purina Pro Plan – only a different variety of “flavors.” Chicken & Rice Entree. Beef Entree with Carrots. Turkey & Vegetable Entree.
Now, the last I checked, cats were not omnivores. Do you think lions eat their gazelle with rice? So when I select wet food for my cats, I always go for the ones that sound the most “meaty” – it’s either Tuna Entree or Beef & Chicken Entree for Kirbi. Nothing with vegetables or rice. I initially assumed that must have made the difference for Seamus’ weight gain.
But then I thought more about the word “Entree” that seems to accompany all Purina Pro Plan wet foods – it broadens the description of what you are getting in your cat food quite a bit. I checked the top three ingredients of all the flavors we had on hand, and was surprised to see they were all the same:
3. Wheat Gluten
Yikes. So even though I swear by Tuna over Turkey & Vegetables for my cat, it really makes no difference. And it certainly wouldn’t explain the weight gain in Seamus.
He’s also been fed the same Purina Pro Plan Dry food that we had been giving Kirbi before, although recently we switched to Nutro.
The only reason I switched was because I had a coupon for Nutro (I’m a coupon fiend). At first glance they look the same – both are a meat and rice blend – but Nutro is Wheat Free.
I’m thinking I should probably stick with Nutro going forward, but I’m not 100% sure it matters. After all, Kirbi still seems to be in good shape, and she has eaten the gluten-containing Pro Plan for most of her life. I consulted one of my favorite sources – Mark’s Daily Apple – and he recommends raw food over any commercially produced cat food. I’m not quite ready to make that leap yet. I think I should probably try to get my husband off of wheat before I worry about getting my cat off of it.
So what gives for Seamus? I’d chalk his weight gain up to overfeeding and will talk to his new parents about it when they get back – and see what their thoughts are about hidden wheat in pet food.