Helen sent me some links for home-made cat food after seeing the mini-row over cat food. Now this is what cats would eat in the wild (though that second link isn’t working for me today)… and it’s the best option, but wow, would that be time-consuming or what? Some days I barely get round to feeding myself.
So we are talking about commercial cat foods. I know we all fed our childhood cats on Whiskas, but on the other hand, we all grew up on fish fingers, chips and beans but that doesn’t stop us all eating organic foods these days because it’s easily available and we know better. (Apart from Jamie; he of course still eats bread and gruel from his special working-class cast iron pots.)
I looked up what a meat or fish ‘derivative’ is and yeah, it’s what I thought. The rendered leftovers of animal carcasses – the blood, bones, intestines, lungs, ligaments – you know, all the stuff we used to eat before mad cow and we all went ‘that was in those cheap burgers?! That’s gross!’ I couldn’t find a single wet food in Sainsburys that wasn’t a derivative of some kind. *pulls face* That’s gross. They may eat all the bits of mice and birds in the wild, but at least the mice and birds weren’t intensively reared and pumped full of antibiotics.
Cats also need veggies. That’s why cats eat grass (and why Elgar is systematically destroying one of the fosterer’s houseplants). Commercial wet foods contain no veggies.
The Animal Protection Institute has a long article on what really goes into pet food. And it all looks pretty gross. All the major retailers are owned by big conglomerates so the ingredients probably aren’t top notch, and dry foods are steamed and puffed up by hot air (many are then sprayed in fat to get the animal to eat it. Mmm, tasty fat). Dry foods also contain more preservatives than wet foods.
The API also has an article on how to choose a commercial food (you know, if you really must feed your pet anything other than quality organic meat, peasant). And I think I’ve got the basics:
- avoid any meat or fish ‘derivative’ or ‘by-product’ or ‘meal’
- don’t feed exclusively one type of food
- pick a food with a ‘natural’ preservative like vitamin E or C
- don’t buy cheap crap.
I think Hills is the best of a ‘bad’ bunch (though, if I went through this to its logical conclusion it would drive me crazy; I don’t think there’s anything out there that’s perfect). Look, you can see its ingredients list! Actually, the wet looks better than the dry (actual meat rather than meal, though I don’t think I’ve seen the wet knocking around anywhere. Surely, if Muswell Hill is poncy for anything, it can be poncy enough to sell that? So, and bearing in mind that this is still my cat and my responsibility, I stick by my original decision. Mainly dry, with some wet for moisture (though I’ll be damned if it’s Whiskas or Felix or any of the rest of the shit) and try and track down a butcher that’ll sell me liver. I wonder if Abel and Cole would branch out into getting their farmers to supply ‘bits’?