Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Reviewsday: The Honest Kitchen

I know this comes as a surprise to you all, but occasionally I travel on the weekends.  (Sarcasm, sarcasm!)  I try to make my "away-weekends" as easy as possible on my husband, but there is only so much I can do when we feed raw meat to our pets.  He's not as raw-savvy as I am, especially when it comes to the cats.

To give you an idea of the unique challenges of packing up raw meat for someone else to feed, take a look at the photo below.  This is what I come home to... in addition to a garbage can full of stinky, bloody ziploc bags.  When I do raw, it's clean and beautiful.  When Steve does raw, it looks like a crime scene and smells like we have dead bodies hidden in our walls.  Yuck!

For small trips, there has simply got to be a better solution.  However, for me, the answer is not kibble.  Kibble is the ultimate convenience food, but leads to huge piles in the backyard for me to scoop when I get home, and sometimes even vomit for my husband to call and complain about! It means the dogs have nasty coats and need baths when I get home. It means I have to worry about one of the Dobermans bloating.  With the cats, it means cow-pie poops everywhere except in the litter box.  Also, they like to hork up kibble on the bath mat, which leads to stepping in cat vomit while getting out of the shower.  Eww eww eww.  Kibble is not the answer.

So... what could I leave for the dogs (and cats) that would be easier, less stinky, and less messy?  The folks at The Honest Kitchen sent over some stuff to see if it would fit my needs (and the needs of my raw-feeding-traveling-readers-with-busy-or-possibly-absentminded-or-basically-just-dumb spouses.)

(Oh yeah... this too.  But the cats decided they were going to test these haddock treats on their own, before I got home.  They went through three layers of cardboard for these. Jerks.)

Just like the Wishes treats that the cats destroyed, the Quickies (for dogs) and the Smittens (for cats) have a strong fishy odor, presumably because the only ingredient is dehydrated haddock.  This may bother some people, but I've found that most dogs (and cats) prefer stinky treats.  If you don't mind stinky pockets, they're a perfect size to carry with you on walks.  The Quickies and Smittens are heart-shaped and exactly the same size. This surprised me as I expected the Smittens to be smaller, but the size didn't stop my cats from devouring them with gusto.  Obviously, Dart thought the packaging was edible as well.

Random Fun Fact:  The haddock is a type of whitefish. They aren't "junk" fish, but extremely tasty, and often used in fish 'n' chips.  They also have big googly eyes that give them a surprised-yet-confused expression that make them one of the most adorable fish species I've ever seen.  Seriously.  Google them. Google them and laugh at their little fish faces.

The 4 oz trial sizes of cat food (retail price $3.50) were more than enough to feed the cats for a long weekend.  I imagine the next size up (2 lbs for $28.99) would last quite awhile, especially if only fed on weekends when I'm away.  The cats loved both formulas - Grace and Prowl - but my husband discovered that they didn't know what to do with it when too much water was added.  When the appropriate amount of water was added, however, the cats went nuts for it!

Now, for the dogs! I portioned out the dogs' dry mix and added their pills directly to the containers.  Kaylee gets glucosamine, Jayne gets an immune booster, and both get probiotics.  In the past, I've had to package each group of pills separately for my husband to add to the raw meat.  Being able to add the pills directly to the dry mix is a huge convenience.  When I asked Steve which type of food (raw vs. Honest Kitchen) was easier, he did admit that "that powdered green glop" was much more convenient.  After a show weekend, I simply came home to a sink full of empty plastic containers instead of a smelly trash can and a bloody fridge. There was a bit more poop in the yard, but less than I had expected.  Honest Kitchen poops are much more similar to raw poops than kibble poops.  (Be happy I didn't take pictures.  Public sharing of dog poop photos is one thing I can't bring myself to do... yet.)  Also, there were no farts... amazing!

I was sent 4 lb boxes of Embark and Love, which retail for $45-$47. The formulas with grains and more common protein sources are cheaper. If I was going to be going out of town for more than a weekend, I might consider buying a box to make my homecoming a bit less stressful.  The cat food is a much better deal, in my opinion, simply because three cats don't eat nearly as much as several large dogs.

The only downside I can see to The Honest Kitchen is more of a minor annoyance than an actual problem.  When it dries, it sticks to the bowls and it can be difficult getting it off without having to resort to a lot of scrubbing.  Otherwise, this food really fits the need for which I had hoped.  The cost is a higher than what I pay for raw, but to me it's worth it when I'm planning an out-of-town trip.


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