Picture this, a beautiful wild, African cat is roaming the Savannah in search of its next meal. Birds are flying by, little rodents scurry back into their holes and antelopes prance away. The cat hones its sight on something in the distance…it takes one, two and then three quiet steps towards it. It takes a swift leap onto a bag of kibble and devours it from the outside in!
WAIT…..WHAT!? This doesn’t exist in the wild, a cat doesn’t have access to bags of kibble in the wild. And that is EXACTLY how it should be for your domesticated cat – they should NOT have access to kibble. But why you ask? Don’t the pet food manufacturers make complete and balanced food for cats? The short answer is, yes. They do make “food” that is formulated with the vitamins, minerals and sometimes protein they need in order to “survive.” However, this mirage of perfect nutrition for your cat is simply that, an optical illusion that is an impostor of biologically species appropriate nutrition.
Let’s take a quick step back in time to the origin of the cat. According to National Geographic, “The earlier ancestors of today’s domestic cats spread from southwest Asia and into Europe as early as 4400 B.C. The cats likely started hanging around farming communities in the Fertile Crescent about 8,000 years ago, where they settled into a mutually beneficial relationship as humans’ rodent patrol. Mice and rats were attracted to crops and other agricultural byproducts being produced by human civilizations. Cats likely followed the rodent populations.” See how they ate mice – not the grains, just as it should be today! Cats are welcome in corn and grain bins because they eat the mice, the cat has no interest in the corn. Then why do pet food manufactures put it in those pretty little convenient bags of dry pellets?
Corn (and other grains) are cheap fillers that “bulk up” the protein content of the food so manufactures can save their pennies from spending it on real, animal meat. While corn may have some nutritive qualities, your cat should and needs to get its protein, vitamins, minerals and more importantly moisture content from actual animal meat.
Speaking of moisture, your cat descended from a desert environment. Water was scarce and all the moisture they needed was from the animals they killed and ate (prey can be 60%+ moisture). As cats can concentrate their urine because of their ancestry, their kidneys depend on a high moisture diet for proper digestion, keep toxins out and maintain homeostasis to name a few. Bagged diets contain at most, 10%. That’s a big moisture gap. Always provide fresh water for your cat, but if you’re feeding a species appropriate diet, you won’t see them hanging around the water dish very much.
Up until the 19th century, it was very common for owners to feed their cats horse meat. In 1876, a company called Spratt’s, who was the first to produce dog biscuits, began manufacturing dry cat food. The rest, as you may say, is history with the convenient bags of brown pellets available to pet owners for their felines. Convenience is the key word here – readily available dinner to pour from a bag and you can go on with your life. Trust me, I get how nice it is to rely on convenience to feed our four-legged family members. But we must take into account their biological makeup and feed them to thrive, not just survive – the way nature intended.
My reasons to not feed your cat dry kibble:
- Kidney disease and urinary tract infections are abundant in cats these days due to dehydrating diets. In order for your cat to live a long, healthy, comfortable and disease free life, they need high moisture diets which they would get from a canned or raw diet.
- Dental disease is claiming too many veterinarian visits. Despite what you may have heard, kibble does NOT clean their teeth as is high in carbohydrates and starch which sticks to teeth. Unless you are brushing your cats teeth daily, your cat is susceptible to plaque and tartar build up. Unkempt dental hygiene can lead to bacteria being leached into the bloodstream and causing a number of health issues including heart disease, liver and kidney issues.
- Obesity is on the rise and if you’ve seen or have an overweight cat, it’s not cute – it’s cruel. An estimated 59% of American pets are overweight. High carbohydrate dry diets affect cats much in the same as they do to humans. A buildup of calories from carbs and no exercise is trouble. Pet food manufactures have to make those brown pellets stick together somehow, so a nice starch or grain is what does the trick. If the pet is free-fed as well, that just adds fuel to the fire. Cat’s need to allow their digestive systems to fast a bit (much like they would in the wild). Spreading out their meals to two or three a day is easier for their metabolism and pancreas. Obese pets are prone to diabetes, pancreatitis, arthritis, liver and kidney disease among others.
- Addiction is not just for humans. Cats can become addicted to dry diets thanks to the fat manufactures spray on after the kibble has been cooked beyond oblivion. The fat is just so tempting to their noses and they can’t resist. Much like a greasy, pepperoni pizza is to us! Cats can form their taste and smell preferences from an early age and if you want to transition to a wet diet later on, you may face a picky, finicky cat who doesn’t trust what you have just put down in front of her. To me, bagged kibble for a cat is like a bag of chips for a human. It’s addicting, mouth watering, mildly nutritive but internally causing more harm than good.
- Overly processed, fried, extruded brown dry circles are the end result after fresh meat, organs, fruits and vegetables have been cooked at high temperatures. All the natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes have died. Synthetic vitamins and minerals need to be added back and fat sprayed on to make the pet even think of going near it or smell appetizing. This isn’t natural, it’s unhealthy and it’s killing our cats way too early.
I can talk for hours on how feeding your cat a wet, natural diet is the best thing you can do for them. If you want your kitty to live a long, healthy life without factors of kidney disease, obesity, dental disease, urinary tract infections and so on, please reach out to me. I am honored to help you and your furred family members find a diet that works!
Paws to you,