Aria Persei

Filtering ❣ On the way to Remembrance

Which food for our pets? The appropriate diet for cats and dogs, carnivore and omnivore species

While humans have moved away from natural laws, they have also forgotten what animals do feed themselves in the wild. Today, many brands of kibble do not respect the real nutritional needs of our domestic dogs and cats. The lifespan of our four-legged companions, which I believe is longer than what we think, is being shortened, especially with kidney disease for cats. The logic and critical thinking applied in this article can of course be extended to other animals in farms or horse centers and so on.

Dogs are omnivore and may consume a diet mainly based on vegetables and fruits. They need less meat intake than we might think: once or twice a week might be enough. Wolves, for example, eat berries and apples when preys are rare. As for cats, it’s often the case that the kibble and cans intended for them on the markets contain elements that they would not eat if they were living in the wild: starchy food, rice, it even happens that we find tempeh, coconut oil or wholemeal pasta in “vegan” formulas for cats. However, no animal consumes vegetable oil in the wild or cooked food. Remember that the cat’s morphology is that of a carnivore (with large kidneys to manage the acids produced by meat). Their intestines are rather short: cats frequently eat small quantities. In the wild, cats eat raw meat and certain organs (except the head, legs and gall bladder) of small preys (mice, shrews, birds, lizards), as well as some herbs. This provides them with a diet rich in protein and water with a moderate fat content and very little carbohydrates. Cats chews little and the digestion process begins in the stomach which is small and has a very acidic pH.

Moreover, kibbles intended for our pets are generally made up of downgraded cereals and other vegetable waste of poor quality and a small portion of meat of unknown origin and composition, all denatured by cooking at high temperatures. A high level of carbohydrates is found in most supermarket kibbles, in specialist veterinary shops and in organic stores. This can severely influence the sugar level for cats. Remember that cereals are very inexpensive materials and that brands gain in profit by increasing their proportion. Very often cat and dog kibble is an amorphous food. Our animals survive these living conditions which are far from ideal, but they do not thrive. And even when the kibble we feed them correspond to the needs of our pets, their disadvantage is that they are very dry and require the animals to drink much more. Indeed, in the wild, a prey is composed of about 70% water, whereas the kibble does not even reach 10%.

Where to start?

When we change our cats’ diet (they are the least accommodating when it comes to the transition in their bowls), it is best to make a smooth and gradual transition that spread accross several weeks. The older the cat is and the more encrusted are his habits, the more patience and creativity will be the best allies.

  • The first step is to opt for dehydrated kibbles of fresh meat and fish without cereals and with a low ration of mixed vegetables, herbs and synthetic additives (more difficult to assimilate), such as those of the Orijen brand (which I feed my cats with). I do give them limited kibble and it’s not anymore in access all of the time. My cats do not have additional food available than what I served them throughout the day for 10 hours during the night. That’s when they eat what they were maybe refusing to eat during the day when they were picky.
  • On the other hand, canned food is replaced by a brand that respects the needs of cats. Brushing the tip of cats’ noses with the new food will force them to lick their noses, which may well help them start to eat. I serve a bit of kibble so they will eat their fresh food, and if necessary I mix the fresh meat with some canned food.
  • Finally, a portion of raw (or slightly warmed up) meat is served to them twice to 3 times a day. BARF (bone and raw food, biologically appropriate) consists of uncooked pieces of meat, organs and bones. When receiving frozen products, it is best to plan to be at home to avoid risk for the degradation of the products. Cats can become accustomed to not having an accessible bowl at all times because raw products tend to lose their freshness if they are not eaten directly or in the next hours. It will be necessary to proceed by trials and errors to see what type of meat the cat will accept to eat. It will sometimes be necessary at the beginning to mix with a can, although digestion times vary, or to barely heat the portion of raw meat or to cook it very lightly.

Other remarks

In its natural state, cats are not supposed to eat pigs or cows, so we can pay attention to that as well and opt for quail eggs or (often whole pieces of) frozen rats, mice, pigeons, fish or rabbits. My cats are so picky that I do not bother too much with that. Unlike dogs, cats are not good fasters: their bodies start to destock fat to use it, which is a big burden for their livers. Cats are generally good at regulating their food intake; 30 to 50 grams per kilo of the cat’s total weight per day is generally recommended. I just go by intuition and I do not like to fight with my cats or that they would be frustrated.

– Select a few brands or producers who follow an ethical charter;

– Alternate trusted brands to avoid the risks of allergies;

– Buy from local farms, avoid supermarkets;

– Choose meat with the closest expiry date as it is more likely to be thrown away or wasted. I do freeze them for stock.

Which meat to choose?

Feeding our animals the meat of other animals can be a moral dilemma for some, especially for those consuming a vegan diet for ethical reasons. The source of the problem lies in the fact that humans have domesticated carnivorous species. Most of the products found in pet foods for domestic cats and dogs often come from parts that are not intended for human consumption. Local farms can be asked if they have any leftovers that are unfit for human consumption. Often, however, these leftovers are used to feed farm animals. It is an everyday conscious choice to limit participation in systems that perpetuate cruel treatment of animals. Above all, let’s pay attention to the feelings of guilt and shame that such a dilemna can come from because one day soon we will try to sell us laboratory-grown meat for our pets by manipulating our emotions. And they will disguise it under the label of progress. In its natural state, predation is not cruel. There’s a fine line between guilt and healthy concern. Where can we improve our actions and decisions without going for the transhumanist agenda?

What about parasites?

Because we don’t want to poison our pets, which is a trap of agreement with owners being the ones to buy harmful products and to feed it to their beloved cats, we can substitute chemical anti-fleas for natural anti-parasites such as spot’n’go, based on natural active agents and Margosa oil, to be applied behind the neck. The use of essential oils is to be avoided (hydrolats are preferred) for cats because they lack a specific enzyme that allows them to evacuate them efficiently.

Brands paying attention to a specie appropriate diet for pets:

  • Orijen
  • Carnilove
  • Lily’s kitchen

Look for BARF shops in your area of residency or companies that deliver frozen meats for animals.

Nora Lenz’ e-book on the appropriate diet for dogs: No More Vet Bills.



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