By Franny Syufy
Along with veterinary care, a nutritious diet is critical to your cat's health and longevity. Learn why the right food plays such an important role in responsible cat care. You'll find covered here material on the history of commercial cat food, the story behind the recent revolution in cat food manufacturing, and reasons why you need to be very selective in choosing the kinds of food that make up your cat's diet.
You can do a service to your cat by learning what he would eat if he foraged in the wild, then approximating that diet as closely as possible in his daily food choices.
It's possible that you will consider leaving this particular book unread. On the other hand, you couldn't perform a more loving act on behalf of the cats and dogs who share your home and trust you to do what is right for them, than to read this book and take to heart its admonishments.
Some people are confused by the distinction between carnivores and obligate carnivores. There is a fine, but extremely important distinction between the two terms as related to cats. Let's start with the definition of "carnivore." The simplest definition is: "an animal which eats flesh."
So far, so good. However, consider that fact that most humans eat flesh, in the form of hamburgers, chicken, and seafood, for example. Is that all we eat? Hardly. Most of us also eat vegetables, fruits, and grains. Many humans are vegetarian, or even vegan - those folks don't consume anything of animal origin.
Take a look at your cat's teeth - they were made to kill, then rip and tear the flesh of their prey - a sure clue to their carnivorous needs.
Many cat caregivers have come to the conclusion that there is no perfect commercial food for cats. What is a concerned cat owner to do, then?
Raw food diets have been around for over a decade. Probably the first one was the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet, originally intended for dogs. To my knowledge, the first commercially-offered raw food diet for cats was Instincts TC developed in Canada in 1996 by Natascha Wille and Scott Baker. Instincts TC is sold on the Feline Future web site, now managed by Natascha Wille.
Today, we have options for feeding raw:
If you've read the previous articles shown here, you understand the compelling reasons why your choice of foods for your cats is so important. For those of us who do not have the time to prepare raw food for cats, the option is to buy the most healthful commercial food possible, which most closely resembles a raw food diet. But weeding out the junk from the best foods requires study.
A survey disclosed that many pet food consumers do not know as much as they think they know about the food their cats and dogs eat. Many did not really know how to read labels, nor the meaning of the ingredients. Now you can learn how to read cat food labels, why some foods are better than others, and what those mysterious ingredients are.
Cat food recalls were relatively rare until the massive Menu Foods Recalls in early 2007, which blindsided both consumers and some of the pet food companies involved.
Since 2007, there have been a few cat food recalls which bear mentioning.