Catfood is just fine *SEE DISCLAIMER*

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Balboa

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**DISCLAIMER**

I'm bored and feel like debating something for my own amusement. Its been far too long since we discussed anything controversial in an adult manner.

What I present here is theory, not fact and should be taken as such. This is not suggestion for new keepers, this is food for thought for the experienced. Read and respond at your own risk. (If you do choose to respond please do keep it civil, thanks :) )

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It's an established "fact" in tortoise keeping that cat and/or dog food is bad for tortoises. We often hear about some poor tortoise that was fed cat food and see pictures at times of horribly disfigured animals.

I would suggest that this fact is actually fiction and that cat food in and of itself only plays a small part with the animal's poor condition with environmental and behavioral issues playing a larger role. This is not to say that cat food is an ideal food for tortoises, and definately not that it should be an exclusive diet. Over the long term I expect that cat food would prove harmful as an exclusive diet.

First if we look at the ingredients of Mazuri:

http://www.mazuri.com/PDF/5M21-5E06.pdf

Which is an accepted primary dietary component for many successful tortoise keepers and compare it to the ingredients and analysis lists for cat and dog foods they turn out to be similar. Typically the dog and cat food contains animal matter, more protein and fat, and less fiber than Mazuri Tortoise diet, but not in extreme proportions. (IE 30% protein versus 15% protein, 10% fat versus 3%, 5% fiber versus 18% etc.) Obviously, this shows Mazuri Tortoise Diet to be a superior product by common "standards" to cat food, but cat food is FAR better than a slab of bacon for example.

Assuming a tortoise fed either diet has full access to additional greens and grasses in a warm outdoor environment full of sunshine and mental stimulation I would fully expect that tortoise to be healthy and happy.

Same tortoise on either mazuri or cat-food deprived of additional dietary items (and even possibly on a "perfect" diet of natural weeds, grasses and greens), crammed in a small, dark, cold, (or too hot, end yes to wet or too dry) container indoors will assuredly experience terrible health problems.
 

Tom

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Sorry man. You didn't give me anything to argue. Guess you are going to have to make up something that is NOT right, or just remain bored.
 

B K

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I think you are way wrong putting that smiley face in your post it has no place in debate.( how’s that)
 

John

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so exactly what kind of mammal food are we talking here brett?during your scientific analysis of dog and cat food what excact brands did you analyze?i mean in the markets here there is a full isle dedicated too cat foods which range in price from .20 to 3.00 a can and the bag food forget it.and on the flip side of this i guess you are saying i can feed my cat mazuri as long as he bags afew mice or shrews here and there.

also there are different sources of fats and protiens some come from animal and some come from plant matter,i think a better topic here may be does the producer of mazuri use anything different too produce this product than it uses in the production of its other animal food products or is it just smoke and mirrors? john

and furthermore take that disclaimer off and fight like a man! lol
 

Madkins007

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Dr Mader has a handy chart in the "Reptile Medicine and Surgery" book showing the ratios of where the calories should come from- fat, proteins, or carbohydrates.

Carnivore- 50% protein, 45% fat, 5% carbs
Omnivore- 50% carbs, 25% protein, 25% fats
Herbivore- 75% carbs, 20% protein, 5% fat.

Mazuri is compounded mostly with the Herbivore ratios and cat food generally follows the carnivore, thus using cat food as a significant food source is a LOT of fats for a true herbivore to deal with. I don't know what the consequences of excess fats in an herbivore's diet would be- how they would affect the digestion process, but this is exactly the sort of thing the Improper Diet Cascade (IDC) (http://www.avianmedicine.net/cam/04nutrition2.pdf) theory discusses- things that throw off the natural processes and create small but real problems that accumulate. Combine that with too little fiber and I think you can have a real problem.

Certainly, you can offset the cat food with good graze... but then why would you need the cat food at all? If you are trying to build a good diet for an INDOOR tort in which cat food is a major element, what will you feed to offset the fats? What will you offer to provide the fiber? By the time you add those elements, what is the value of the cat food?

When Dr. Harrison suggests in the article on the IDC to feed about 1/2 of the diet in a quality prepared food designed for the animal in question, I don't think he would agree that something like cat food would fulfill the criteria.

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to Mazuri or other tortoise chows, why not look to chows used for other herbivores as a base- sheep, for example?

I understand that you are suggesting that cat food is not as evil as often portrayed, and I would agree in principle that people who used cat food also often used poor husbandry as well, but you almost seem to be arguing that we can throw anything in there and as long as the husbandry is OK, the tortoise will be OK. That reasoning would not work for a human or cat, why would it work for a tortoise?


(Is this the sort of stuff you were hoping to hear back? :) )
 

Balboa

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squamata said:
so exactly what kind of mammal food are we talking here brett?during your scientific analysis of dog and cat food what excact brands did you analyze?i mean in the markets here there is a full isle dedicated too cat foods which range in price from .20 to 3.00 a can and the bag food forget it.and on the flip side of this i guess you are saying i can feed my cat mazuri as long as he bags afew mice or shrews here and there.

Actually, I think you could feed your cat mazuri with little ill effect, so long as they do bag a few small animals here and there. :) For my comparison I just looked at some of the cat and dog food in my home and some online. You're right, there are a gazillion brands to choose from, all with slightly different ingredients and nutritional analysis (which actually plays into my point).

also there are different sources of fats and protiens some come from animal and some come from plant matter,i think a better topic here may be does the producer of mazuri use anything different too produce this product than it uses in the production of its other animal food products or is it just smoke and mirrors? john

That's it John, Mazuri is made from exactly the same stuff most cat and dog food is made of, just in a different balance so as to be more "ideal" for torts. The animal product content is the biggest issue, in that mazuri more closely resembles really cheap cat food which has less animal matter than more expensive kinds (usually)


and furthermore take that disclaimer off and fight like a man! lol



LOL I need to just make the disclaimer part of my sig really, I have frequently been reminded in the past of how my delving into discussions can mislead or confuse the new keepers.
 

John

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o.k i got no fight left in me on this one.lol
 

Balboa

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Madkins007 said:
Dr Mader has a handy chart in the "Reptile Medicine and Surgery" book showing the ratios of where the calories should come from- fat, proteins, or carbohydrates.

Carnivore- 50% protein, 45% fat, 5% carbs
Omnivore- 50% carbs, 25% protein, 25% fats
Herbivore- 75% carbs, 20% protein, 5% fat.

Mazuri is compounded mostly with the Herbivore ratios and cat food generally follows the carnivore, thus using cat food as a significant food source is a LOT of fats for a true herbivore to deal with. I don't know what the consequences of excess fats in an herbivore's diet would be- how they would affect the digestion process, but this is exactly the sort of thing the Improper Diet Cascade (IDC) (http://www.avianmedicine.net/cam/04nutrition2.pdf) theory discusses- things that throw off the natural processes and create small but real problems that accumulate. Combine that with too little fiber and I think you can have a real problem.

The Diet Cascade Theory would be the best argument against cat or dog food. This is basically what I am alluding to by suggesting over the long term cat food may show detrimental effects. By looking at Mader's ratios there we can then see that Mazuri is spot on (no surprise), but the "typical" cat and dog foods I've looked at fall FAR short of ideal for those species, being in fact closer to omnivore diet.

Certainly, you can offset the cat food with good graze... but then why would you need the cat food at all? If you are trying to build a good diet for an INDOOR tort in which cat food is a major element, what will you feed to offset the fats? What will you offer to provide the fiber? By the time you add those elements, what is the value of the cat food?

When Dr. Harrison suggests in the article on the IDC to feed about 1/2 of the diet in a quality prepared food designed for the animal in question, I don't think he would agree that something like cat food would fulfill the criteria.

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to Mazuri or other tortoise chows, why not look to chows used for other herbivores as a base- sheep, for example?

I understand that you are suggesting that cat food is not as evil as often portrayed, and I would agree in principle that people who used cat food also often used poor husbandry as well, but you almost seem to be arguing that we can throw anything in there and as long as the husbandry is OK, the tortoise will be OK. That reasoning would not work for a human or cat, why would it work for a tortoise?

Actually I think that is the crux of the argument. In the case of a human or cat it does appear you can throw about anything in there. (I know you already know this, we've discussed it before, but for the others :) ) Its amazing the horrible diets both can survive on and still remain in APPARENT health for a long time. Very few vertebrates on earth (though there are some, like the Horned Lizard) have stringent dietary requirements. Tortoises as survivalists are built to make due on whatever they can find. In reality of course this is a poor action to take, just like you may survive for quite some time on a diet of twinkies, and a tortoise may survive for quite some time on cat food, the smarter course in both cases is to eat a balanced, healthy diet suitable for your species.

So no, tortoises should not generally be maintained on cat food. No, I'm not looking for a cheaper alternative to Mazuri. (In fact I can still come up with plenty of arguments against mazuri that will of course apply to cat food). I'm saying that its not likely the problem with historical keeping practices that its cut out to be. The idea that it could be used instead of mazuri when selected for with care has merit (IE, read the ingredients and get the one closest to mazuri, and only feed that sparingly to help supplement the diet as is already practiced by many redfoot keepers).


(Is this the sort of stuff you were hoping to hear back? :) )

LOL Yep and thanks Mark.
I appreciate all the remarks posted, even if it was just for a laugh.
If I get some time today I may post up some more in depth comparisons to illustrate since there does seem to be some interest.

squamata said:
o.k i got no fight left in me on this one.lol

Darnit John, I still have more ammo, lol

Not really, but thanks for trying bro, I appreciate it.
 

Madkins007

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We can loop this discussion back to Tom's 'thriving vs. OK' thread. If you took a human, dog, or tortoise and fed it nothing but clean water and sardines, along with vitamin tablets, but gave it a great home otherwise it would probably live for a decent amount of time- but would it be REALLY healthy the entire time? Would they reproduce correctly? Would blood tests come back healthy?

They have tried this with many people in many situations. The guy behind the series '30 Days' did the documentary "Supersize Me" where he ate McDonald's solid for a month. In other experiments, people have tried to live on candy, potatoes, and so on for extended periods. In every case, their doctors were unhappy with the final results- bad blood work, poor overall health, etc. Some of them do amazingly well, but none are thriving by any real definition. I think our obesity epidemic is another example that you cannot really 'just throw anything at them' and get good results.

Of course, I am exaggerating for effect here. If you change the rules from 'throw ANYTHING at them' to only include things they would normally find in the wild in their native range- or reasonable substitutes, then the victims are much more likely to do well in the experiment... but neither cats nor tortoises would find cat chow in the wild... unless they were loose in the processing plant!
 

Terry Allan Hall

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Cat food is OK, I suppose, but let's talk about Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls!

little-debbie-swiss-rolls-12-cakes-13-oz-369-g.jpg
 

Mean Guy

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All my torts have lived well on little debbie cakes, and Elvis told me that I can start introducing pepperoni pizza in small amounts.
 

dolfanjack

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I heard somewhere that cats can eat dog food but dogs shouldn't eat cat food, cat food is hard on their kidneys. In that regard when I occasionaly feed my boxies a canned product I make sure its dog food and not cat food. Since this thread mentions cat food so much I must disagree and say dog food is better.:D
 

Madkins007

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Hold it... let me see if I have this straight. Tortoises can eat cat food, but dogs can't. Cats can eat rat food but not bat food. Hogs can eat dog food, but not in a box with a fox. If you feed a cat fish food it turns into a dogfish, but if you feed a cat bird food it turns into a catbird? And what exactly do we do when the nice mice lice rice dice rolls snake-eyes?
 

Terry Allan Hall

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Madkins007 said:
Hold it... let me see if I have this straight. Tortoises can eat cat food, but dogs can't. Cats can eat rat food but not bat food. Hogs can eat dog food, but not in a box with a fox. If you feed a cat fish food it turns into a dogfish, but if you feed a cat bird food it turns into a catbird? And what exactly do we do when the nice mice lice rice dice rolls snake-eyes?

When in doubt...Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls are always a safe choice! :D :tort: :p :tort: :D
 

Saloli

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zoomed has a pretty good and relativly cheap food for grassland tortoises like Herman's and Russians. it is part of their natural series. thought on the same note you can buy alfalfa, timathy hay, barn yard or orchard grass, which are very good for grazers (animals that eat grasses primarily). though Adalbras are browsers which means they (in the wild) eat primarily broad leaved herbs, though they don't exactly fit because they eat gresses as well. so on that note i don't think it is a good idea to feed a herbivore an animal based diet.
 

Yvonne G

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Except alfalfa has too much protein and is not good for tortoise's kidneys.
 

Saloli

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alfalfa ranges from 15-21% crude protein. which is a little high for most tortoises. i was mainly suggesting it because it is high in fiber and calcium
 
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