Some years ago we had a particularly distressing weekend with a much loved cat who had developed diabetes/kidney failure and was dying.
It was an Easter weekend and everyone was away. We nearly went out of our minds trying to find a vet who would put him down (we did find one eventually). To see the poor creature struggling to get off his bed was heartbreaking, especially when we realised it was because he didn't want to wet his bed.
He died horribly!
Anyway, since then it has long puzzled me why this epidemic of cats dying of diabetes and kidney disease started and what caused it, but at that time there wasn’t the internet. However, the flag went up some months ago in line with my interest in low carb, so I went out to see what was in cat food. It was no surprise to see that on the market leader that the first ingredient was 23% cereal. I went out to a another local shop and took ingredient package photos of two of the market leaders manufacturing cat food.
If I have it right, then the situation is worse than I feared - it looks like the meat content in both cases is no more that 8% - the rest, apart from mandatory additives, is all vegetable in origin! I might have the total meat content wrong as the labels were very difficult to interpret, but overwhelmingly the main ingredients were not animal derived.
Now, as there are bound to be people reading this blog who keep cats as pets, there are are probably some whose pets are overweight, obese or even diabetic. And I would bet a pound to a pinch of snuff that they are being fed dry cat food. Now, there is a lot of controversy over the human omnivore diet issue, but I don’t think that anyone would disagree that a cat is a pure carnivore. Remember, you are asking that carnivore to process huge amounts of sugar with a commensurate insulin response - something it is not designed to do. When was the last time you threw bread out for the birds and watched a cat pounce on it rather that the bird? You aren't feeding your cats proper food - you're feeding them biscuits! Is it any wonder cats are developing diabetes? I'm prepared to bet that the feline diabetes epidemic started shortly after dried cat food hit the market!
If your pet falls into the metabolically challenged category then I’d suggest you drop all dry cat food immediately and feed it canned wet food - either that or make sure you’ve got the best insurance you can afford and be prepared for a lot of heartache!
If you do decide to get your cat onto wet food, you might get some resistance (tip - hunger is the best sauce!) Eventually though they will take to it, get to their natural weight and stay there. Don’t worry how much to put out, as the cat will eat its fill and then leave the rest. I will guarantee the animal will lose weight and its metabolism will improve.
Apart from the nutritional issues involved, cats get most of their moisture from the food they eat, as much as 75% and have a poor drinking reflex, and that’s another thing - it’s safest just to give it water only - most cats are lactose intolerant.
At this juncture it’s hard not to draw parallels with the human diabetes epidemic - take an organism and monkey with its natural nutrition and you get trouble.
Here's another cat tale .
When I was working on a farm in Shetland there was a lady who kept a Tom Siamese. It was never fed, but went and caught it's own food - not small birds and rodents, but rabbits. It was absolutely lethal, and watching it was like observing something like a scene from a Northern Serengeti documentary, with this miniature lion as the star. When it caught a rabbit it would consume it over the course of about 24 hours, every bit, bones and all. Then it would lie up with a rabbit sized lump in its belly. It was the meanest SOB I ever saw with an expression to match and no pussy cat. This cat was not a pleasure to pet, as it was like stroking a fur covered python! It remained lean an mean all its life, because it was in its natural habitat behaving as any animal will given the chance.
In conclusion, why would the manufacturers of pet foods make this rubbish? Well, follow the dollar!
Animal protein is expensive, difficult to manufacture and package. On the other hand there is an abundance of cereal, which is easy to process and package. The finished product has huge appeal because it is tasty, convenient and cheap.
Notice the parallel?
Junk food for cats!
You might like to look at the following site.
PS the above applies to dogs as well!