Now what do we feed our cats? Here is a subject that has so many pros and cons I could fill up 10 to 15 pages and still not come to a convincing conclusion. It boils down to commercial processed food versus natural foods plus the question do we feed our pets vitamins and supplements, too.
What really is natural pet food? The first thing that comes to mind is raw, unadulterated food. Actually mice and birds with maybe a squirrel or two thrown in are natural foods for a cat. Eating any one of these critters would provide your cat with all the proper nutrition it would need to live a long and healthful life.
According to the Pet Food Committee of the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) “natural” as it relates to pet food is a food or ingredient derived solely from a plant, an animal or a mined source. It can either be in it’s natural state (raw) or processed by several means including cooking. The food per se remains “natural” as long as it has not been subjected to a chemical synthetic process and does not contain any additives that are chemically synthetic. Prophylene Glycol and BHA are two examples of chemically synthesized ingredients. Now don’t you feel smarter?
Commercial pet food manufacturers have set recommendations given to them by AAFCO that set the standards for providing vitamins and minerals for our pets in their food. These standards do not provide the optimum level of vitamins and minerals needed. They only provide enough needed to prevent our pets from having a vitamin and mineral deficiency.
In an ideal world all commercially prepared pet food would provide our pets with a completely healthy and balanced diet. Not even the very best canned or dry sphynx cats for sale food made for cats is perfect. There is not a 100% balanced and complete food to be found anywhere, no matter what the label says. Pet food for the most part is processed by heat and as we know heat destroys vitamins and enzymes. Even frozen and freeze-dried pet foods are not the “100% perfect food” to feed your pet.
The ASPCA believes “if your pet is eating a healthful balanced diet of high quality food, then vitamin supplementation is not necessary.”
I believe that statement is true for the most part, however here in the world of humans, we try to eat right and still find it necessary to take vitamins and supplements to offset the processed foods we eat.
So what is the answer, when it comes to caring for our cats. One
thing I know for certain is that it is very important as a cat parent that you refrain from adding supplements to your cat’s diet without first consulting your vet. The workings of a cat’s internal system is very different than that of a dogs and many supplements and/or people medications can cause serious problems for a cat. It is very possible to “over dose” your pet with vitamins and other supplements. Our motto is “when in doubt” call your vet before you try any thing new.
The purpose of this chapter is not to reform any of you, but to inform and enlighten you to the options open regarding feeding your cat. First of all I will tell you the story of our 3 cats and what they eat. At our house we are very open-minded, we are aware of good nutrition for ourselves and we follow a healthy diet (with no extremes). We work every day and are in very good health. The same is true for our cats (no they don’t work, but are in very good health.) If our physician and our vet had to depend on us for support, they both would have become street people.
Miss Tiger, our 9 year old eats a variety of canned cat food (no one particular brand), she also eats different varieties of dry cat food (small amounts) plus lightly cooked chicken and lean pork, which has to have some garlic on it or she won’t eat it. She does not like beef raw or cooked. Once in awhile she has some milk and cheddar cheese (which I grate). Tiger has maintained her same weight for the last 6 years. Her teeth are perfect, no tartar build up. She gets special treats that help reduce hairball problems, a cat vitamin twice a week (ground up and added to her food) and goes to the vet once a year for her shots and a checkup for parasites (never had any). Miss Tiger is an indoor/outdoor cat.