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More Adventures in Pet Food

April 5th, 2007 · 7 Comments · Business, Cats, Factory Farming, Food, Health, Kiwi, Mr. Blue, Pet Food, Politics

Kiwi & Mr. Blue in 2005So, in the comments to my previous post on the pet food issue, I promised I’d provide a progress report on transitioning my little monsters over to the Newman’s Own organic cat food. And the short version is, so far, so good. (See this comment in particular for why I chose Newman’s Own over other natural/healthy brands — mainly it comes down to the food being based on organic and free-range chicken.)

The day after I made that post, I did indeed head over to the neighborhood pet shop here in Andersonville. But I hit a little bump in the road there: apparently the “Store Locator” listings on the Newman’s site are a wee bit out of date, because the nice lady at the pet store told me she stopped carrying Newman’s Own a couple of years ago. More distressingly, she told me that the reason she stopped carrying it was because people kept returning it, saying their cats wouldn’t eat it (although she said she did have some canine customers who liked it OK).

I took that with a grain of salt, though, because a lot of people don’t understand how slowly and gradually you need to transition finicky cats over from one food to another, especially if you’re going from a “regular” food to a prescription or “healthy” food. It’s a little like taking a kid who’s used to eating Big Macs and fries every day, and trying to convince him he’s just going to love brown rice with tofu and broccoli.

Dragon Lady (my previous feline companion) started to develop kidney disease in her last couple of years, and was put on prescription “kidney-friendly” food. The first couple of times I poured some into her bowl, she looked at me like I was crazy. Her expression said, and I quote it exactly, “You appear to have placed some wood shavings in my dish. What do you expect me to do with them? And when can I expect some actual food?”

(If you’re on the home page, click the “Read the rest” link for the rest of the story … )

Eventually I had to take the vet’s advice, and start by mixing just a few kibbles of the prescription food into her regular chow, and then gradually increase the proportion of new food to old food over a period of two weeks. So after a couple of days she was getting about 25% new food, then 50-50 a few days later, and at the end of the two weeks she was used to eating the prescription food and had forgotten all about it being wood shavings.

So, I was already planning to take a leisurely 2-3 weeks to transition Kiwi and Mr. Blue from Science Diet to Newman’s Own, and I figured I should go ahead and give it a shot. The nice pet store lady told me she’d heard that Newman’s Own was available at Whole Foods these days, so I made a beeline to the WF in Lakeview and sure enough, there it was on the shelves.

I picked up a 3-lb. bag of the Adult Cat Formula dry food and a 5.5-oz. can of the Chicken and Brown Rice Formula. The dry food cost me $10.99, which is about what I’m used to paying for a 4-lb. bag of the Science Diet. So, call that about a 30% markup in cost. The can of wet food cost me $1.19 — I’m not sure how that compares to the Science Diet canned food in terms of cost, because the SD cans I buy are a smaller size and I don’t remember how much they cost exactly — but I can tell you that the Newman’s Own contains 100% LESS POISONED WHEAT GLUTEN!!! (That was sort of a joke, if any nice lawyers from Science Diet/Colgate-Palmolive are reading this. Sort of.)

At any rate, I’ve already decided I’m willing to pay more for organic food at this point, so I’m fine with that cost increase.

But the big question is: how are the kitties liking the food? Well, despite the fears raised by the pet store lady, they seem to be taking to it just fine. I gave them a sample of the canned food as soon as I got home from Whole Foods, and they tucked right in. They definitely did not mistake it for wood shavings.

Of course, that’s wet food — dry food is the bigger challenge, right? I know these days lots of cat people say you should ditch dry food altogether and just feed them wet food, but my feline terrors are really into their dry food, and there’s a limit to how much wet food I’ve been able to get them to eat. Mr. Blue especially is a kibble maniac.

At any rate, the first time I measured out some of the Newman’s Own dry food, I dropped a kibble on the floor, and Mr. Blue pounced right on it and gobbled it up looking very pleased with himself. Good sign! Since then I’ve gotten them up to about 25% Newman’s Own and they don’t seem to be thrown by it — I’m not finding that they’re eating around it or anything.

So I think the Newman’s Own is going to work out just fine for Mr. Blue and Kiwi. Which is good news for the Peace Roosters and other free-range fowl.


7 Comments so far ↓

  • Aaron

    Is Newman’s Own the Paul Newman brand? If so, I just love his pesto sauce! I got some last week, and before I used it I actually found myself eating a spoonful right out of the jar…yummy and fresh-tasting.

    I guess I’m lucky that Sophie only eats dry food. I usually get her the Purina One Adult Formula, but I may have to try the Newman’s Own.

    And feed it to her, too!

  • Ocelopotamus

    Yes, it’s Paul Newman’s line. Well, Paul and his daughter’s — she’s the one who really got him interested in the organic thing.

    His pet food Web site, where you can see pictures of Paul and his daughter covered in a small pile of cats and dogs, is here:

    I haven’t tried his pesto sauce, but it sounds good. I might check that out. I love Paul Newman’s cookies!

    I mean the kind you get at the store.

  • Aaron

    Why, that must be “Nell Potts” who was in the TV version of “The Effects of Gamma Rays on…Marigolds” with her mother back in the day…

    I haven’t tried his cookies (either kind), but I’ll have to check them out (either kind)!

    Your little monsters are adorable, by the way! (The ones in the picture, I mean…)

  • Sonya

    Newman’s Own also gave $100,000 to 10 animal shelters/animal rescues ($10,000 each) when they launched the pet food line. Generosity like that should be rewarded. I’d love to try Newman’s Own, but no place near me seems to carry it. Our Whole Foods here in Oak Park doesn’t have it. :(

  • Ocelopotamus

    Oh, that’s a shame that the WF in Oak Park doesn’t have it. Might be worth slipping a note into their suggestion box. I read an article somewhere that said demand for organic foods is mushrooming because of the recall, and it quoted someone from Newman’s saying they were ready to ramp up production of their food if necessary. So … if the Oak Park Whole Foods doesn’t carry it yet, maybe they will soon — especially if they get customers asking for it.

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