Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

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Myopic squirrel
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Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by Myopic squirrel » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:45 am

Rather than our son's 6 year old cat being exiled to a shelter, we decided to take it. Today took the cat for a rabies/distemper nail clip, and based on the cat's overall health & coat, the Vet recommended Science Diet Optimal Care cat food. Any suggestions for a lower cost source, other than the usual Petco/PetSmart, etc? Thank you in advance!

Spirit Rider
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by Spirit Rider » Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:48 am

First thing you need to do is scratch Hill's Science Diet. It really is not that great a cat food. There must be something like a cabal of Vets who secretly own the company or something. They all want to recommend sell either Science Diet or IAMs both of which are at best mediocre cat foods. They are certainly better than the familiar brands that you can buy at grocery stores. Those amount to animal abuse.

However, cats are carnivores. They need protein (30%+) and fat (~= 20%) with minimal grains especially corn. You really want to look at the ingredient list. You want protein and secondarily fat sources high in the top six items listed.

Here are the values for Science Diet Optimal Care Adult Cat Food - Chicken:

Crude Protein 31% min, Crude Fat 19% min, ok so far. Now the top six ingredient list.
Chicken, Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Pork Fat, Chicken Meal, Dried Beet Pulp. Wheat and Corn as the 2nd and 3rd items, you have got to be kidding me!!! Also, Dried Beet Pulp in higher quantities can be hard for some cats to digest.

Personally, I have found that All Life Stages Cat Formula from the 4health house brand at Tractor Supply is the best trade off of qualify and cost ($22.99/18 lbs.) Here is the ingredient list.

Crude Protein 34% min, Crude Fat 18% min, pretty good.
Chicken, Chicken Meal, White Rice, Peas, Chicken Fat, cracked pearled barley. I would prefer Brown Rice or Whole grains before the White Rice, but the rest of the top five are on target.

I also like, Chicken Soup for the Soul Adult Dry Cat Food ($27.99/15 lbs. @ Amazon)

Crude Protein 34%, Crude Fat 20%, better.
Chicken, chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, turkey meal, chicken fat. I really have no objections to this.

You can certainly get better quality when to get to $3-$4/lb. So if you want to go that way, do your ingredient comparison at PetCo/PetSmart and after you have transitioned with a small bag and the cat likes it, buy bigger quantities online at Amazon, Chewy, etc.. just Google for sources.

The bottom line is that animals are different and some cats will like/thrive on one brand and others on other brands. Whatever you do though, feed them something better than typical grocery store cat food. If you want to see what animal abuse is feed your cat Purina® Friskies® Indoor Delights Adult Cat Food

Crude Protein 30%, Crude Fat 12%, low fat content
Ground Yellow Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken by-Product Meal, Meat and Bone Meal, Soybean Meal, Beef Tallow. Let's put the carnivore on a high carb diet (diabetes anyone). There isn't any real protein. Just by-products and meat and bone meal.

I feel sick to my stomach that I feed my previous cat, food like this before I knew better. No wonder he died of kidney and liver failure. I never even knew to look at the ingredient list. I feel Like I am going to have to serve penance in the next life.

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JMacDonald
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by JMacDonald » Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:37 am

My vet sells Science Diet. I don't use it. Just read the ingredients. I buy my cat food from Costco. I feed them half can and dry food each day. I also put some water in the food each time I feed them. One of my cats had a urinary problem because she was not drinking water. My ten year old cats seem to be doing well with this food.
Best Wishes, | Joe

JDot
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by JDot » Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:42 am

I've read that pet food is something we should be buying on Amazon Prime. We have prime, but traditionally my wife has been the only one who orders. Lately, I've been looking for everyday stuff and making out like a bandit: soap, tooth paste, sonic toothbrush heads, etc. So far I've stuck exactly with the brands I'm used to so there's been no sacrifice on my part. I just thought I'd mention it.

HoopDiddyDiddy
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by HoopDiddyDiddy » Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:57 am

Spirit Rider wrote:First thing you need to do is scratch Hill's Science Diet. It really is not that great a cat food. There must be something like a cabal of Vets who secretly own the company or something.
It's not exactly a secret cabal, but close.
Most veterinarians trained in the USA receive approximately two hours worth of instruction in nutrition, and all of the study materials they receive are provided for by.... you guessed it, Hills.
And, being human, they only know what they have been taught.

I would recommend any of the higher end grain free foods if one insists on using a dry kibble.
Many manufacturers make them- I use Taste of the Wild.

Woodshark
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by Woodshark » Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:23 am

Our cat is on a prescription cat food due to severe allergies. Normally we would purchase it at our local vet. We have recently moved and now purchase it via Chewy.com I have found them very pleasant to deal with.

bogleenigma
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by bogleenigma » Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:59 am

The optimal food source for a cat is a mouse. The closer whatever you provide is to that, the happier your feline friend will be and the longer he/she will be with you. As for the sad state of affairs in terms of nutrition training for veterinarians, this same reality sadly extends to physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. At least NP's are required to have a compulsory 3 credit undergraduate course during their RN programs but even that is woefully insufficient. The trend does appear to be changing in medical schools across the country, however, and I expect this to be different over the next decade. Let's hope the same happens with vets.

TareNeko
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by TareNeko » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:30 am

First of all, thank you for keeping your son's cat. :thumbsup

For dry food, I use Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. I buy it from Amazon. With their "subscribe and save service (which saves 5%) it comes down to $39.84 for 11.3lb bag. Or $3.5/lb. I choose this one because of high protein content, and no grain/corn/soy/filler etc. This is for breakfast.

For dinner, I use Nature's Variety Instinct Grain-Free Canned Cat Food. Again, very high quality food. I buy 5.5oz cans. Each cat gets quarter of a can (I have 2 cats).

There is no question in my mind. A little extra for the food, longer life expectancy for my cats and less vet visits..

Carson
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by Carson » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:37 pm

TareNeko wrote: There is no question in my mind. A little extra for the food, longer life expectancy for my cats and less vet visits..
I do have to say this has been our experience. Granted our pets are well cared for and the cat is indoor. But we made the decision to use super-premium food (Innova Evo Dog/Orijen Cat) and though it has been expensive, our pets have had pretty much zero health issues. Once my cat got a UTI, and my dog is on Puppy Prozac, but that comes with the breed. They are well on in years at 12/13 and still very young at heart. It's pretty amazing.
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

joebh
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by joebh » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:45 pm

Since talking about pets is like arguing about politics or religion, I'm not going to go there.

But just to add another viewpoint, I offer this: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/maga ... ood-ov.htm

Luke Duke
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by Luke Duke » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:14 pm

HoopDiddyDiddy wrote: Most veterinarians trained in the USA receive approximately two hours worth of instruction in nutrition, and all of the study materials they receive are provided for by.... you guessed it, Hills.
And, being human, they only know what they have been taught.
I was going to post the same thing.

joebh
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by joebh » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:26 pm

HoopDiddyDiddy wrote:Most veterinarians trained in the USA receive approximately two hours worth of instruction in nutrition, and all of the study materials they receive are provided for by.... you guessed it, Hills.
Hmm, I think you are exaggerating quite a bit.

http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2012/07/what-d ... nutrition/
http://avetsguidetolife.blogspot.com/20 ... iracy.html
And, being human, they only know what they have been taught.
I reject your apparent conclusion that vets cannot learn anything once they leave school.
Do you hold the same opinion of physicians? Most of them, after all, are human too.

TareNeko
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by TareNeko » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:53 pm

joebh wrote:Since talking about pets is like arguing about politics or religion, I'm not going to go there.

But just to add another viewpoint, I offer this: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/maga ... ood-ov.htm
There is common sense, there is scientific evidence. Just because there is no scientific evidence, it doesn't mean low quality food filled with grain and corn is good for a carnivorous animal.

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Stewie
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by Stewie » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:02 pm

From what I have read, dogs evolved eating whatever humans ate, so giving them grains is not really problematic. Dogs have the proper enzymes to digest these foods. Cats are less domesticated and it is more important to be careful about what you feed them. Also, many people do not realize that cats can't process salt the way humans do, so you shouldn't give them too much tuna, salted lunch meats or other human food treats of that sort.

SamB
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by SamB » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:10 pm

I used to drive 25 miles to our old vet to buy Science Diet until I got interested in my own nutrition and then my cat's. I read the label on the bag and could not believe what I was reading. Start doing some research. Your cat is a carnivore. The only reason farmers feed their livestock grain is to fatten them up for slaughter. Basically, that is what a lot of cheap pet foods do. Your cat needs fat and protein with a mix of vitamins and minerals. It does not need grain of any kind.

The first thing a lion or tiger goes after in the body of their prey is the body organs - high fat, and high micro-nutrient content. That ought to tell you something about what your cat should be fed.

Youngblood
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by Youngblood » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:38 pm

I have to laugh at most of the postings because, if OP has a cat like mine, he/she will decide whether or not to eat a particular brand, type or flavor.
Therefore, my advice is to buy small amounts until you are pretty sure your cat will eat it. If my memory serves me well, Science Diet has a return policy that I had to use.

Just when I think I have found a food she likes, she changes her mind and won't touch it. LOL

Good luck, cats are wonderful little friends.

YB
"I made my money by selling too soon." | Bernard M. Baruch

merlin9
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by merlin9 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:47 pm

I think you've got good references and recommendations here.

I feed my two elderly cats Taste of the Wild dry food and Fancy Feast (classic) can food. They are a balance of inexpensive and high protein/low carb food source. I add water to the dry food as my cats had problem with urinary blockage in the past. It's common and dangerous especially for male cats, so you'll want to watch for that.

Have fun with your cat!

Spirit Rider
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by Spirit Rider » Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:06 pm

TareNeko wrote:
joebh wrote:Since talking about pets is like arguing about politics or religion, I'm not going to go there.

But just to add another viewpoint, I offer this: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/maga ... ood-ov.htm
There is common sense, there is scientific evidence. Just because there is no scientific evidence, it doesn't mean low quality food filled with grain and corn is good for a carnivorous animal.
I might buy the argument if they were saying that you don't need to be driven by marketing and buy the most expensive food. However, there are moderately priced alternatives to grocery store brands.

First, the title of the page is Vets weigh in on Fido's food. There is a big difference between a dog's nutrition needs and a cat's. Second, the eight stated they had 11 dogs and at least 6 cats. What they don't know how many cats they have???

Quite frankly if some the so called experts at top veterinary schools think you should feed cats grocery store brands, no wonder vets who graduated from those schools don't have the slightest clue about cat nutrition.

Myopic squirrel
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by Myopic squirrel » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:05 pm

Thank you all for your replies! Had only dogs for 60 years, so this cat has been a very interesting learning experience. Especially appreciate the emphasis on proteins & fats, and the warnings on high grain content.

whonoze
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by whonoze » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:22 pm

Cats evolved in the desert eating small rodents and lizards and drinking virtually no water. They shouldn't be fed dry food.
If you want to read about cat food based on science and not marketing, check out this website written by Dr Lisa Pierson, a veterinarian with a strong background in nutrition:
http://www.catinfo.org
Good luck!
Just my two cents | Worth about what two cents can buy nowadays

travellight
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by travellight » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:35 pm

Great info! Thanks

EvelynM
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by EvelynM » Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:13 pm

I've found terrific prices at Chewy.com, and additional savings if you subscribe on a regular basis. I have food and litter delivered every 6 weeks. My elderly cat eats Wellness Core Indoor Cat Grain-Free wet food: http://www.chewy.com/cat/wellness-core- ... r/dp/37143 and also Wellness Core Indoor Grain-Free dry food: https://www.chewy.com/cat/wellness-core ... AmmS8P8HAQ

BTW, I've tried all kinds of litter, and I think World's Best Cat Litter is amazing and is made from corn: https://www.chewy.com/cat/cat-325?query ... ton=Submit

Lacrocious
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by Lacrocious » Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:35 pm

Ignoring the pros & cons of Science Diet cat food that others are bringing up, the cheapest place we have found it in the past is a Farm & Fleet store.

- L

drawpoker
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by drawpoker » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:01 pm

I can second the chewy dot com motion for endorsement. They are lower priced on most cat items, no sales tax (unless you are in PA or FL) and free shipping on anything $49 or more order. I spend around $150-$180 every month with them and have been well pleased.
Am surprised no one has mentioned the Huge Sales Commissions the vets make on pushing the Hill's brand of prescription food. (Of course, now that wouldn't affect their professional advice, now would it :wink: )
For cats with true medical issues who actually need prescription food to treat serious conditions like UTI, renal insufficiency, etc. then expensive special food is the only way to go. Still, Hill's has gotten a lot of competition in recent years. For ex, Purina Veterinary Pro Plan NF is much cheaper than Hill's KD. Also, Purina Pro Plan makes a non-prescription canned UT health formula that works every bit as well as Hill's CD for about one-half the cost.
As a general rule - cats are much better off with a diet of primarily canned food. Keep in mind, dry cat food was invented for the convenience of the OWNERS, not for the best interests of the CATS. Dry food is loaded with carbs and has way too many calories. In fact, dry food has been linked to increased obesity, and all the serious health problems that go along with that, with diabetes at the top of the list, along with the increased strain on the heart and other organs.
Novice cat owners often believe (erroneously) that feeding dry food will prevent tartar and tooth decay. There are other ways to deal with plaque and tartar on kitty's teeth !

daveatca
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Buy better

Post by daveatca » Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:08 pm

Purina Pro Plan is 40% protein. Recommended by our vet 10+ years ago.

I buy it via Amazon as Mr UPS brings it to my door for less than Petsmart charges.
(I just looked at Amazon pricing and they have jacked the price up by 22%. Me unhappy.)

curmudgeon
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Re: Cheap source of Science Diet Optimal Care cat food?

Post by curmudgeon » Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:17 pm

For quite a few years we gave our cats pretty generic grocery store kibble (supplemented by the occasional mouse, rat, or canned food treat), without any noticable negative effects during their fairly long lives. We avoided sticking to any one brand in particular, though, on the thought that at least they wouldn't have a lifetime of accumulating any particular issue from the cheap formulations.

The last few years we've been usually going with a Costco Kirkland brand kibble, which seems to be a good balance of cost/quality. It looks like a more appropriate formulation (probably better than the science diet stuff), with higher levels of protein/fat, and more rice than other grains. The current cat is 18 years old, pretty healthy, and turns up her nose at canned food.

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