The pet food industry is one of the most lucrative groups of businesses in the United States and Europe, continuing to grow exponentially. According to a report recently released by Petfood Industry.com, the extremely strong animal/human bond is responsible for helping to sequester the industry from the ravages of a bleak economy.
Reported in Market Research’s February/March 2013 online survey on Packaged Facts, “83% of pet owners agreed with the statement “I consider my pet(s) to be part of the family,” with 59% agreeing a lot and 25% agreeing a little. This “pet parent” sentiment has never been stronger, putting premium and superpremium products that rise to “human grade” standards at the forefront of the U.S. pet market.
With the almost overwhelming variety of cat foods available on the market today, it’s no wonder that the pet-food advertisers have found so many “creative ways to inspire cat-loving consumers to use their products”. The advertisers are betting on the fact that kitty guardians will make giving their pets what they think is nutritionally sound food and other products a priority.
However, when it comes to advertising pet food, perhaps the words attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson,
“If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor…the world will build a path to his door.”
…sums up the pet food industry’s strategy quite nicely.
What makes these advertisements so appealing to many is the seductive manner in which the manufacturers describe their products. Unfortunately many people take their word to be the “Gospel” truth.
Is it more appropriate to feed a breed-specific cat food than an ordinary high-quality cat food to help keep your purebred pedigree kitty in top condition? Although it is necessary to feed species- specific products to obtain optimum feline nutrition; apparently the pet food industry would like for us to believe that “breed-specific” nutrition is far more appropriate.
One of the prominent cat food manufacturers in both the USA and the United Kingdom describes Siamese cats as one of the most out-going- people loving kitties. But the breed is also depicted as having unpredictable personalities, and sometimes “volatile”; a highly active feline. As a result the company recommends that Siamese cats are better fed with a high protein- low energy diet to help them keep “sane” and maintain their tight, muscular bodies.
The first few ingredients listed in a popular brand of “Siamese-specific” kibble is chicken by-product meal, wheat gluten, corn, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, brewers rice and brown rice.
Compare that with the first human-grade ingredients contained in the cat food that Sir Hubble Pinkerton and Dr. Hush Puppy are fed. They are listed as chicken, turkey, chicken broth, chicken liver, chicken meal and turkey liver. No by-products, no grains, or wheat products; the carbohydrates that cats cannot digest adequately.
What about those products touted to contain aids to better dental health? Chewing the specially designed kibble will give cats cleaner teeth, reduce tartar and freshen their breath. I wonder if the folks involved in creating this food understand that cats don’t chew their food; most cats swallow kibble whole. As far as this writer is concerned maintaining optimal dental health is brushing their teeth and an annual dental examination.
I imagine the Petfood industry has truly built that better mousetrap. These products are being sold at record –level rates. I just wonder about the long-range negative health effect of cats being fed primarily a diet of meat by-products and carbohydrates on a daily basis.
What are your thoughts about inferior-grade cat food advertised as a feline panacea? Tell us in a comment.