Are cat owners responsible for poor quality cat food?

People who are decent cat caretakers realise that ordinary cat food isn’t that good. It is a well packaged poor quality product that is dressed up and flavored. It does not match the classic feline diet: the mouse. Far from it.

By contrast, although wild cats have a stressed out and miserable life in cages or enclosures which are too small, they are often fed far more natural cat food. At least the raw food diet appears to be a norm rather than an exception.

Carnivore diet

You only have to look in the Feline Conservation Federation magazine to see suppliers of carnivore diet. This is beef and sometimes horsemeat. At least it is real flesh and not some dressed up, flavoured substitute.

I don’t understand why suppliers of wild cat food can’t supply the same or a similar product to the domestic cat client. The diet should be the same or very similar. There are many small captive wild cats on far better diets than most domestic cats. Perhaps there are no buyers for it amongst domestic cat owners.

Raw cat food supplement

Another anomaly is that cat owners can easily make up their own raw cat food. Complete Natural Nutrition (US located) do an Oasis Feline T premix which you add to fresh meat protein (cooked or raw) to make up a balanced cat diet. It is $34 per pound and it can be bought online. I suppose the price is off-putting, which is why the vast majority of people don’t make up a raw feline diet. I don’t think it is complicated to make and neither is handling raw meat that tricky. Most people handle and cook raw meat for themselves or at least know how to handle it.

The truth is that the average cat owner supports cheap dry cat food. Not only is it cheap it is convenient. The big cat food manufacturers sell what people want because they are paying for it. The cat, the end user (the actual customer), is a secondary consideration.

My conclusion is that most cat owners (caretakers) support the inadequacy of modern mass produced cat food by willingly buying it. Currently, I am one of these people although I buy the best quality.

The market for raw meat supplements like Oasis from Complete Natural Nutrition is relatively very small.

The bottom line is that the average cat owner does not value their cat highly enough to spend quite a lot more to raise the standard of their cat’s food to human grade levels.

Do you think I am wrong or am I basically correct?

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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21 Responses

  1. mina says:

    i would like to ask some questions about the premix that called osis t feline supplement. is it quality product? i want to do home cook for my cat that i never tried before. where is this product made? can i buy it in australia?.

    • Hi Mina. I have not used Oasis feline T supplement for preparing a raw cat food diet but I’d almost guarantee that it will be good. Just follow the instructions carefully and prepare and store the food you prepare carefully because it is raw. There is a greater danger of bacterial infection and things like toxoplasmosis infections. These should not put you off. It just means working carefully.

  2. Sarah Hartwell says:

    You can buy wild rabbit chunks for cats over here. I used to feed lightly cooked rabbit to feral cats (from farms) when I tamed them as it was closer to the diet their mother had provided.

  3. Ruth (Monty's Mom) says:

    When Monty was getting the runs all the time Dr. Gaskin read about it on my FB page and messaged me to feed him EVO Duck. He said it’s the best on the market. Monty didn’t like the texture. He doesn’t like pâté, it has to be chunks or shredded pieces of meat. But looking at the ingredients on the can and looking at the food itself, it did seem really good. Too bad all their canned food is of a pâté texture. If anyone knows of an EVO flavor that is more like hunks of meat, that would be great. At least it turned out Monty’s poop problem was from chlorine and/or flouride in city tap water. Now he gets bottled like me. I avoid tap water because fluoride is preferred by the thyroid over iodine and your body starts making T3 and T4 with fluoride, which is useless to your body. Fluoride is a poison your body loves to grab and use in place of what it needs like CO is preferred by hemoglobin over O2. Monty’s gastrointestinal tract, always smarter than him and in this case smarter than some humans, just crapped that water right out of his system.
    I also liked the look of that brand called Blue something or another. They have a lot of recalls. My husband said that’s because they don’t process the hell out of the food so there’s no nutrition there, but this leaves them more open to salmonella contamination, which the cats’ shorter digestive tract can handle, but humans can get sick handling the cat food, so they recall it.

    I tried to get away from Purina after hearing bad things, but Nine Lives was horrible. It gave Monty poop so smelly that I could smell it and I can never smell anything. He also threw it up twice. Once again Monty’s GI tract knows more than I did. No more Nine Lives. Monty never gets Purina dry food, but I am still looking for a wet food he likes as well as the Purina. He never gets any dry food. He also gets tuna, salmon or sardines once a week or so.

  4. Martha says:

    Oh and that supplement mentioned by Michael is ridiculously expensive. I buy Alnutrin….much cheaper. Or you can just buy the exact vitamins and such….even cheaper.

  5. Martha says:

    I make my own raw cat food. I buy the meat already ground and I add the vitamins and stuff. It only takes me an hour to make 10 lb of food including portioning it out in single serve containers and cleaning up. Then freezer my containers and done. Dry kibble is not served in my house.

    But you have to source fresh frozen meat (not the stuff that sits dethawed at the supermarket and is meant to be cooked). And you have to follow a good, proven recipe; no improvising or cutting corners.

    Most people just trust the pet food companies and the government to make food that is “good enough.” We could debate that all day if we wanted to.

    • Michael says:

      I am impressed Martha. You are a rare breed 🙂 I can remember a Bengal cat breeder saying that when she stopped feeding her cats commercial cat food and changed to raw they pooped a lot better! It was less smelly. Not sure we can debate that too much but it does prove a point.

      If more people were like you the pet food manufacturers would have to raise their game and needs to be raised. Thanks for sharing.

      • Martha says:

        I think we could put pet food manufacturers out of business. Old fashioned butcher shops would make a comeback.

        • Michael says:

          Yes, another benefit of making your own raw cat food. It would help rejuvenate the small local shopkeeper and business and weaken the power of big business. This appeals to me.

  6. If you have the time then preparing your own home-made “CAT FOOD” is the best health food for your cat. Both my cats are proof of the pudding.They are fed only a home made mixture of rice +cooked fish+ minced boiled meat.they are getting a bit overweight !

    • Michael says:

      The food is too good 😉 It is nice to know you are not feeding off the shelf pet food. What is pet food like in India? Are the big brands in India?

      • All the “BIG BRANDS” are available in India including “Pet Grooming” centers in certain localities.Only sad part is that till today there is no proper registered “CAT CLUBS” or “CAT SHOWS” in India.Just one Cat show was organized in Bangalore city in April-2013 and hope it is repeated this year and every year,better if organized and not just a one year occurrence.

        • Michael says:

          India will be like Europe one day. Will that be a good thing for India?

          • I am no politician but hope India emerges a monetarily “First World Country” with its traditional life-style,absorbing a best of the West and East cultures.Easier said than done.At present there is a huge Rich-Poor gap in India and while pet shops catering to the wealthy are normal in Metropolitan City’s so also is extreme poverty.

  7. Jo Singer says:

    Michael, I also think that veterinarians receive VERY poor training in feline nutrition. Most of it here is given by the companies that sell Cr*p. They pander to students to sell their Cr*ppy products in their clinics.

    So if THEY cannot educate their clients, and I agree with Harvey strongly- that good nutrition – appropriate diets for felines can be obtained at a lower cost than the very poor nutrition that the majority of commercial manufacturers sell-

    • Michael says:

      Yes, great point Jo. The vets could educate clients. The vets could generate a change in attitude by the majority of cat owners that might force up the standard of cat food. If people were more aware and more critical and more concerned about how food affected cat health, then they could demand it from pet food manufacturers. The majority of cat owners are too compliant, willing and accepting of cheap cat food. They like it.

      I believe the veterinarians have a major role to play in nutrition, cat care generally and declawing. They seem to have abdicated these secondary but important roles. Sometimes, I believe that vets want cats to become ill through eating lots of cheap dry cat food. Perhaps I am being too cynical.

  8. Harvey Harrison says:

    I think providing high protein food for your cat is often cheaper than commercial pet food but entails much more work. These days people don’t have all that much spare time and dry food is quick and easy which plays into the hands of manufacturers. So my solution is a bit of both. A mix of commercial dry food and fresh high protein animal food like chicken liver, hearts, etc. Even canned corned beef is a welcome addition to their diet. Cat and dog food manufacturers have it easy. They get virtually free all the rubbish that is not fit for human consumption and turn it into pet food. Add some cheap low quality grains, and charge a high price for this specially selected premium quality rubbish recommended by veterinarians.

    • Michael says:

      Harvey you are one of the few people I know who makes a raw cat food diet and I admire that massively. You’re right that people like the convenience of dry cat food. It is actually too convenient. But all cat owners could find the time to make a decent balanced raw cat food diet. The supplement I refer to in the article is simply added to raw mince or something like that. That does entail more work and that is off-puttting but I still believe that a lot cat owners don’t want to dedicate some time to preparing excellent natural cat food. I always feel guilty giving my cat cat food even though it is the best quality.

      Of course some cats won’t like proper cat food because they are not used to it.

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