Saturday, November 15, 2008
Why does cat food contain junk?
Why does does cat food contain cereals? Obligate carnivores do not need wheat. Why soya protein - and just what benefit does this give to cats? filling up any mammal (but especially neutered mammals) with phyto-oestrogens is insane. Look at the problems it causes in humans! (Human males growing breasts etc) Why do the prescription diets sold only at inflated prices by vets STILL contain the same trash that the foods on supermarket shelves contain. And why this rubbish about "healthy vegetables for cats" Humans may find pretty pictures of peas, carrots and asparagus appealing, but we cats are not going to benefit from this? Oily fish, there is huge concern that oily sea fish have significant amounts of dreadful stuff like PCBs backed up in their muscle and fat. As humans consume more oily fish (for health reasons ho ho) there are more waste by-products from processing going into cat foods - Look at the supermarket shelves laden with salmon, tuna, mackeral, sardine "flavoured" cat food! - the rise in cat food containing this stuff has been linked to the rise in hyperthyroidism in cats (since the 80's ?) Herbs - just no, no, no, no, no and NO. Cats are not herbivores. Time and time again my human sees brands of cat food purporting to be "natural" or " a better way to feed your cat" - on examination, it's just another attempt to plug into the 21st century guilt driven, human desire to return to nature and imbue sham spiritual goodness into every aspect of life by filling up cats with inappropriate food. Essential oils - yeah, just poison us, let us die a horrible thrashing agonising death, because "tea tree oil balances the immune system" why not, it's natural after all!
Whicky Wuudler of http://everycat.blogspot.com
You have really said it all. We should be fed on fresh mouse, or even tinned mouse. The whole mouse, of course, with all the bones and the fur and so forth. One of the rarer cat disorders, among Siamese, is wool eating. It's thought to be a disorder of the predatory sequence - eye, stalk, pounce, kill, tear off skin or feathers, and eat. Modern cat food misses out on tearing off skin and feathers. So cats chew wool instead. If you feed them whole mice or turkey poults (sold dead for reptiles) they stop wool chewing (see www.celiahaddon.com). Thanks to the Furry Fighter I can pass on the information that there are dried mice - as treats - available from http://www.petextras.com/pofdmo21gr.html
So why carbohydrates in cat food? Carbs are cheap. We cats can't tolerate too high a proportion of carbs so cat food has more protein and less carbs than dog food (message - don't feed us dog food, puurlease). Not only do we not need carbohydrates, we definitely need some of the contents of proper animal protein - taurine, vitamin A, and and arachidonic acid.
You can see the difference from looking at a picture of our innards. The digestive tract of the cat has a simple stomach and a relatively short gut - look on the left here. Compare this with the innards of a sheep (lower down on the left) - a really long gut and a complicated stomach to ferment and then digest all that plant material. That explains why we can't manage a vegetarian diet. We just can't process it. We don't have the ruminant stomach to ferment it and the long gut to retain the stuff long enough to absorb it.
We can tolerate (and can get some energy from) carbohydrate in their diet because it has been cooked and processed enough for us to digest it. And carbs are cheap. Just like milk was cheap which was why it was fed to cats - even though it is now known that some cats can't digest it at all. Same with fish. A diet of fish was traditionally fed to us because it was cheap. The history of cat food is the history of human meanness. If it is cheap, feed it to the cat.
The answer, however, is not necessarily a home cooked diet. Most home diets consist of flesh meat without the bones and fur and stuff that we would need in the ideal tinned mouse diet. Flesh meat alone doesn't give us all we need. Some kittens have growth problems because breeders recommend feeding only chicken and rice when a good balanced tin of kitten food has better ingredients. Other cat owners feed us too much liver which is sort of junk food for us. If we eat too much we get vitamin A poisoning.
So, if you can't go out and catch your own mice, I recommend a good "complete" cat food. Mice are better. We all admit that. But at least nowadays those damn manufacturers have done the research and conventional cat food produced by reputable firms doesn't do too much harm. As you say, Whicky, ignore all that stuff about vegetables and herbs. It's just a silly marketing tool designed to appeal to humans. As we cats know only too well, humans are a basically stupid species.
I really ought to add a bit about those ridiculous cat food labels but I haven't time now.
P. Regular readers will be delighted, as I am, that Zealand (see last blog) has found a home. He has settled down happily and has bitten nobody - so far - probably because no longer stressed.
Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.
This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, www.celiahaddon.com This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online VetTechprogramms.org