Tuesday, May 19, 2009 3:20 PM

What’s in This Stuff, Anyway?

Here we are back to my favorite subject, cats, and my favorite subjects' favorite subject--food! Cat food, specifically. Speaking of cat food, why did they decide to make some of it crunchy? I really wonder who came up with the idea, since it is really so far removed from the way cats naturally eat.

None of my cats eat dry food anymore. Of course, my cats eat only homemade (by me) food for the past two years, so mine is a special case. I’m not a fan of this dry type of food, as you can probably tell! I do realize, however, that for people who have to be away from home for long periods, this method of feeding is preferred. So, let’s discuss what’s in this product so we have a better idea about what we’re actually feeding our pets.

I’ve already covered some reasons why dry food is not good for cats, such as the high fat and carb content. Well, the truth is, there really aren’t too many good ingredients in the stuff. Most of the protein content (and carbs) come from cereal sources, nice and cheap for the manufacturers but not well utilized by cats. Then there’s the laundry list of additives: dyes, flavorings, fillers, preservatives, antioxidants (not necessarily the good kind), gelling agents, emulsifiers, lubricants, thickeners, anticaking agents, binders, and stabilizers. Cats are very sensitive to certain food additives, more so than dogs. Benzoic acid and propylene glycol are two that can actually make susceptible individuals ill.

Since all the processing of this food results in a somewhat nutritionally inert substance, vitamins and minerals are supplemented in order to meet the manufacturer’s requirements. As you may know, supplementation is fine, but all bodies are better able to utilize nutrients in their natural, i.e., food-based forms.

So, does this mean that feeding dry food is never appropriate? Well, I don’t think it’s the greatest source of nutrition. Next post I’ll talk about when it may or may not be OK to feed cats the crunchy stuff.

What The…: J. decide to dig up a “burning bush” we transplanted from someone else’s yard to ours a few years ago since he learned that it’s an invasive species and, indeed, it is starting to get out of control. As he was clearing the dirt away from the roots, he discovered two pink eggs. They were duck-sized, bigger than chicken eggs and really, really, pink! We had no idea what they were. We showed them to neighbors, but nobody else knew, either! Finally, J. got brave and dug them up. They were plastic! Ha! The previous owners must have had an Easter egg hunt at some point and forgotten about them. We had a good laugh about that.
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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