Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Raw Cat Food Companies

Preparing and selling a raw food diet for cats has become a big market. Last week I heard of a company called Brothers Blend. I checked the web site to see what they were selling and was quite appalled at the ingredients of their food: raw muscle beef, blanched vegetables (any combination of carrots, broccoli or green beans), steamed brown rice and chicken necks. This is supposed to be a complete and balanced diet? Where’s the variety? This is the only "flavor" they offer. Where’s the liver? The web site says that cats are carnivores. PERIOD. So why the vegetables and steamed brown rice? It seems like just about anyone can start up a company preparing raw cat food these days.

Another new company was brought to my attention over the weekend, Wild Kitty Cat Food. This company, at least, is adventurous in their variety of food offered. Look at this blend, Tuna and Conch: fresh tuna, conch, clams, chicken liver, apples, beets, broccoli carrots, cod liver oil, dried kelp, dried yeast, flax oil, flax seed, lecithin, mushrooms, oysters, peas, rice bran, spinach, water sufficient for processing, wheat germ, wheat germ oil. I’m sure cats love this food, but they should not eat tuna over an extended period of time, not to mention the risk of urinary tract disorder from eating a high fish diet. All of their formulations contain clams, which are high in Taurine, but not part of a cat’s natural diet, anymore than conch is.

The Wild Kitty food is expensive: a case of 36-3.5 ounce containers is $100.00 plus $30.00 shipping. Brothers Blend is much less expensive, but only available through retailers in Florida. Their food comes in "chunks." A three ounce pouch contains six "chunks." Their specified feeding amount for a 8-10 pound cat is one chunk, hmmmm, I'd like to tell my 8-10 pound cats that they are only getting a half an ounce of food per meal.

If I had the energy, I’d go into the cat food preparation business, well, I guess I already am in the cat food preparation business. Feeding eleven cats a raw diet is a business, I don’t need to be making any more than I already am.

If I were going to prepare a special raw food diet for cats though, I’d do something really neat and natural. Let’s see: whole ground rabbit excluding digestive organs, feet and hide. I'd roll the ground meat into meatballs, freeze it and call it rabbit balls. You could put it down for your cat in its frozen state and let the cat roll it around the floor for exercise and prey stimulation while it was defrosting. Once the meat defrosted and your cat had lots of fun playing with its food, he could eat it. What fun is food in pouches or containers?

I was recently hired by Animal Wellness to write another article. This makes at least four I've written for the magazine. This one is to be on hairballs, something I have little experience with. It will be fun to read the ingredients of the hairball formula cat foods.

There have been a lot of commercials on lately by Iams for their new multicat formula, not only is it designed to feed all of the cats in your household, it also helps prevent hairballs. The irritating thing about all these different formulations is that the ingredients are all essentially the same, rearranged a little and a few extras added here in there (for example, for multicat, they added the amino acid L-Carnitine ("a proven fat burner"). Marketing, that's all it's about.