Do gourmet cat foods tempt finicky felines? Our two Oriental shorthair cats, Dr. Hush Puppy and Sir Hubble Pinkerton are to say the least extremely fussy about what they will eat. Trying to figure out what will suit their fancy leaves my head spinning.
What makes this situation even more anxiety-producing is the meager selection of commercial grain-free, high protein cat foods that receives their stamp of approval, causing my fear that by serving them the same food over and over will quickly result in two exasperated felines going on strike; turning up their noses and refusing to eat at all.
What’s a loving fur-mom to do, given such a precarious situation? It was time for me to put on my thinking cap and get proactive. So one day while leisurely strolling down the cat food aisle at our local pet supermarket, I started noticing that some of the higher-end cat food brands were marked “Gourmet”.
“Gourmet Cat Food”! What a concept. It certainly got my ears perked forward; eager to check them out. I figured, “what do I have to lose? Since my fussy felines might be willing to try them, especially if I entice them to taste the food by whispering softly the word “gourmet”. It goes without saying that by now y’all can figure out that our two fussy kitties are beyond spoiled.
The attractively designed label that promised meal-time Nirvana sucked me in. I started pulling cans down off the shelves and feverishly read the ingredients to determine what, if anything, distinguished these products from the more “ordinary’ high-end brands.
A can of grainless Weruva Asian Fusion Cat Food immediately caught my eye. Featured on the label is a picture of a delicate sashimi dish¹ replete with a pair of chopsticks. I nearly went bonkers trying to figure out where I could get kitty-size chopsticks and then teach them how to use them! But much to my disappointment; in spite of the label’s mouthwatering appearance, the first ingredient listed was Tuna Red Meat.
Since cats can quickly become addicted to tuna, and the type of red tuna used in cat food often contains very high levels of methyl mercury, red meat tuna can not only lead to mercury poison, it can also cause Steatitis (Yellow Fat Disease), an inflammation of the liver in kittens and cats.
The second ingredient, Shirasu (baby anchovies in Japanese), while this might seem enticing to some folks, I have yet to meet a cat who’s crazy about anchovies.
Carbohydrates are difficult for cats to digest since their systems are ill equipped to utilize plant protein. As obligate carnivores they require meat protein, not carbs. Cats also require fat in their diet. And even though this Weruva product doesn’t contain grain (according to their label), it contains 1.6% crude fat and a minimum of 0.05% taurine. Taurine is an essential part of the feline diet since it promotes intestinal absorption of lipids (fats) as cholesterol. It also helps prevent heart disease and feline retinal atrophy; a condition that generally leads to blindness.
While it’s not touted as a “gourmet” product, Wellness Core Turkey and Duck grainless formula contains 7.5% crude fat and 0.10% taurine. After reading the labels of several other “flashy” gourmet cat foods and comparing them with the high-end grainless varieties in the same price range, it seemed to me that the word “gourmet” is just another marketing strategy targeted at humans.
So my trip to the store wasn’t a total loss I bought a couple of cans of Wellness Core, crossing my fingers that our two furry gourmands would go “quackers” over it and gobble it down.
Are “gourmet” cat products necessary? Are they truly the cat’s meow? Tell us what you think in a comment.
- Photo credit Flickr user: Klara Kim
- (1) raw fresh meat or fish