We're sorry you are having so much trouble. I think I can solve your soft stool issues if you are willing to consider that your cats are eating too much. Based on your purchases the food is lasting you 46 days and it should be lasting you about 65 days. This means that your five cats are eating 40% more than they should.
With thirteen years of experience in feeding our food to thousands of cats, we know for certain that overeating a food that contains high amounts of meat protein, will cause soft stool in cats. If your cats overeat our food, they will overeat every food out there. The difference between overeating a high starch food (more than 10% starch) and a carnivore diet (less than 6% starch) is that high carbs always produce solid stool and overeating a carnivore diet will produce a soft stool. Stool the consistency of mashed potatoes is common for a overeating cat on a carnivore diet, is not harmful and is not diarrhea. This is the main reason most companies will not produce a carnivore food; they don’t want to deal with having to train cats to eat correctly. We don’t mind since the end result is a healthy, fit and trim kitty.
It may be nice to just feed a high starch/carb food and have firm stool, but the underlying problem of over eating is still there. Over time your cat will gain weight and be more likely to develop diabetes. When cats overeat they are also over consuming excess minerals, like phosphorus and that can lead to kidney disease. The higher the starch content of a diet the less water the cat will drink and this can lead to crystals or stones. High starch/plant protein diets also tend to produce a more alkaline urine pH vs. a carnivore meat based diet, which tends to produce a more acidic urine pH value. Proper pH is critical in maintaining urinary tract health
The majority of people would say that soft stool is bad. We would agree with you if you could not teach your cats to eat properly. At least the soft stool alerts you to the fact that there is an eating disorder that needs to be corrected. Otherwise you continue feeding the high starch diet thinking all is good, only to have serious medical issues plague you and your cats ten years down the road.
Cats were never meant to overeat. It is a learned behavior that has developed partly due to putting many cats into a confined space. In the wild, cats are loners and do not live in packs. They are not good about sharing food and if they are forced to, they often try to eat all the food before the other cats can get to it.
This is why our instructions on free choice feeding are so important. One full bowl of food and water for each cat in the house, with each placed in a different room. Because each cat can eat in private and no one cat can guard all the bowls of food at the same time, they settle down and stop overeating. Many people insist that this method is silly because they believe their cats get along beautifully and food availability is not an issue. Then why is your cat overeating? Why are over 60% of house cats obese? We have thousands of examples of our feeding method correcting overeating behavior. Yes, there is a small percentage of cats that can not adjust to free feeding, but they are rare and tend to be rescues that were found in appalling conditions.
If you have one of the rare cats that cannot be fed free choice, you will need to go to a restricted feeding schedule which would be true no matter what food you are feeding. Feeding three times a day works well and fits into most people’s schedule. Feeding a carnivore diet will keep them satisfied and allow you to sleep through the night without having to deal with a hungry cat.
A little extra work now can go a long ways to keeping your cat healthy and happy.