Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why does cat food contain junk?

Dear George,
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

Dear Whicky,
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 Thanks to the Furry Fighter I can pass on the information that there are dried mice - as treats - available from
So why carbo
hydrates 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.


  1. My human really tries hard to feed me right. He treats me with sardines from time to time. I do love the mice, but I've managed to thin the mice population, so I have resorted to chipmunks, I have an endless supply and they live right at MY back door.

    Sorry I've missed a couple of your posts lately. My humans have been preoccupied for the past several weeks putting up a fence. I don't like the looks of the thing, because it appears it will restrict my movement. I overheard them talking it was for my protection to keep me away from the fourlane road.

  2. George, thank you for such a detailed answer. This was really interesting and I have learned a lot. I didn't know that pica was caused by humans changing our predation sequence, it's wonderful that something so simple as feeding poults stops it. Dried mice sound very good, I must badger my apes into a purchase, as mice and my favourite, moles, are a bit scarce in winter.

    I am so happy that Zealand has found an excellent home and is no longer an unhappy, bitey cat. This is very good news.

    George, the world of cats needs you. Keep on doing what you do so well!

    Whicky Wuudler

  3. Wow! What an informative message!
    We were on both dry and soft food until our humans attended a "cat food forum" with a doctor from States (
    I remember they came home late that night and ...out dry food was gone for ever! We are now only on soft food (ultra, premium, holistic, organic, etc), but I still miss our dry food :-)
    Mommy gives us some treats for teeth health from Wysong but this is way too little. I heard her saying that she's going to cook for us but I don't want any cooked food. I've seen her reading recipes from a book by Dr. Pitcairn. She cooks us fish once in a while; I love that.
    What do you think? Should we accept cooked food or better canned?

    PS. What a joy to hear that Zealand found a good house.

  4. Hi there,
    I don't know why my sister Cayenne gets carried away so easily when it comes to food, but let me just add few things. She is "the eater" between the two of us and the truth is that she is a little chubby (I know she'll be upset if she'll read this). But, we are not diabetics (that dr. with the forum had a diabetic cat); we are two healthy and beautiful girls.
    Cayenne likes dry food very, very much, but I am a fussy eater. I torture my humans with my moods. The only thing I really liked was some treats mommy brought us from London, UK few years ago. I really think you guys have better food over there. George mentioned something about dried mice! Hm! Are they tasty? How can I make my humans buy me some? Any ideas?
    What do you think about raw meat?

    PS. I'm so happy for Zealand. Hurray!

  5. Dear George,
    Although I don't like the way your feline friends eat other furry people I have to agree with them about not being given the things they really enjoy, like mice. My humans never give me enough of my favourite things. I know they buy huge bananas for instance, then give me a measly little slice. The same with carrots and parsley. Why can't I have more? You know how good I am at getting my own way around the house but it doesn't seem to work with bananas and carrots.
    Love to William and to you.

  6. Hello George,

    Whicky is a friend of mine and he advised me I to speak to you about my problem.

    The prolem is my new kitten brother, Alfie. He arrived last weekend (from cat rescue aged 12 weeks) and Mom is trying to settle him in with me. I am 8 months old and a bit of a spoilt only boy until now.

    I've been a bit hissy and growly - and because I am so much bigger and stronger than Alfie, Mom is nervous about leaving us unattended.

    She introduced us behind a glass door (one either side) and I was very hissy & growly!
    Then gradually over the weekend she fed us at the same time (one each side of the door) and now I am comforable near my little brother. BUT Mom closely supervises and I show interest and sniff - and then give a hefty swipe. My claws are usually in ... but sometimes I forget myself.

    Mom is scared that if she puts Alfie down that I might attack and hurt Alfie. I don't mean to be like this ... I can't help myself.

    Mom is giving me lots of reassurance but she wonders if you could advise further. Is there anyhting else she should be doing, or not doing? Thank you.

    Love Milo =^..^=

    My bloggies is here:


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