Shortly after we came to realize Abby was going to be staying with us for the foreseeable future, we decided to switch things up in her diet. She had been on a diet of supermarket cat food, largely the sort that you can buy in large quantities for an extremely low price. I’m not knocking the food based on the price but what we went on to discover made us wonder about our former cat food choice.

Our roommate Chad and I were in a pet store on the Lower East Side of Manhattan one Saturday evening, close to nine o’clock, and we were perusing the various choices they had as far as more holistic cat foods. We were pretty sure that the reason that Abby’s litter box was so stinky had much to do with what she was eating — and that perhaps, if we got her better food, she might not make such a smelly mess a few times per day.

We went over many of the choices available and came across the one we decided to get — a product called Wellness. Specifically, we got the one geared towards indoor adult cats. The product has a few claims on the package.

  • Less shedding, fewer hairballs : olive oil & ground flaxseed support healthy skin & coat
  • Promotes Lean Muscle Mass : only animal protein sources — chicken and chicken meal
  • Weight management : formulated to support a less active, indoor cat
  • No meat byproducts, corn, wheat, or soy

All of these sold us on the food and we snapped it up right away even with a biting price point of nearly thirty dollars for a five pound bag. We filled Abby’s cat food dish and waited for a reaction. In fact, there was no reaction for over a day — she didn’t seem to be interested in eating the food. She would sniff at it and then walk away. Finally, on the second day, she started a most peculiar habit which she continues to this day. Instead of eating the kibble right out of the bowl, she swats a piece or two out and then eats those.

Within a few days the results were superb. Abby went to having the stinkiest output in the neighborhood to having relatively neutral smelling litter droppings. As weeks went on we noticed that her fur was softer and she shed far less often. It really was worth switching from a cheaper food to one that is more healthful to the cat’s well-being.

One Sunday morning, I woke up and found that her bowl was empty and that there was bagged food left. I walked over to a neighborhood pet food store and looked for the Indoor Health formula but didn’t find any — though I did find a different variety made by the same company. I wondered how easily Abby would adapt — would she take awhile to transition to this new food?

I brought the food home and was greeted at the door by Abby. She carefully followed me as I brought the bag over to her dish and cut open the bag, filling up her bowl. She took about half a minute to sniff the contents and then immediately started her swatting routine.

This made me wonder if it is going between one poor line of cat food and another or going from one poor line of cat food to a more holistic one that makes a cat hesitate to change eating habits. Changing from a holistic line to a different holistic line didn’t seem to faze her at all. We shall see how it goes when we try out the Trader Joe’s line of holistic cat food — it is $7 for three pounds, which is significantly better than $27 for five.


  1. Fantastic article, Gordon!

    I’ve always felt food is — and should be treated as — medicine; and I love it that you are applying the same sort of philosophy to Abby’s diet, and that you are getting quantifiable good changes in her physiology!

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