Commercial cat food for domestic cats should replicate natural cat food.
Does commercial cat food promote cat overpopulation and irresponsible cat ownership? This sounds an odd connection but I’ll explain what I mean and lets see if you agree. These are entirely my thoughts as there is nothing on the internet regarding this that I know of. They are potentially controversial. For the sake of clarity, I am talking about the domestic cat and feral cat, which are of course closely linked. And I argue that the domestic cat population is too high whilst we are unable to properly care for the domestic cat as evidenced by the extremely large number of euthanized cats.
We know or should realise that a lot of strange things go into pet food (http://www.naturalnews.com/012647.html). One of the raw material sources of cat food are euthanised cats. This source, I believe, is much bigger than is given credit for.
Lets think about it; millions (how many, we don’t know but it could be 14 million) cats are euthanised in the USA every year. These euthanised feral and domestic cats are (by the pet food manufacturer’s standards) excellent sources of raw material for cat food. Of course it is not perfect material as, for example, a euthanised cat contains the chemicals that euthanised it and these chemicals, I understand, are not destroyed by the high temperatures employed in pet food manufacture (note: not all cats are euthanised with chemicals). Incidentally, I don’t see that talked about much but we know that the pet food manufacturing world is murky, smelly and evasive.
In terms of raw material for pet food, euthanised cats are better than diseased livestock or road kill, I suggest, so a lot of these euthanised cat are sent off for rendering (lovely euphemism that, isn’t it). The cat rescue world deals with the supply (the over-creation of cats) and the demand (rehoming or death..to cat food).
Supply and demand need to be in balance, which it is, and this is the problem. There is a three way formula. Supply = demand + pet food prices are low = balanced market.
If euthanized cats were taken out of the supply chain as a raw material for cat food (& indeed other poor raw materials) and a better raw material was substituted to improve cat food, prices would rise. High cat food prices would deter cat ownership. Less cat ownership would gradually reduce domestic cat populations. It would certainly help to cut out of the equation irresponsible owners who tend to be people who are unfortunately less well educated and as a consequence potentially on lower incomes. I think this is important. The key is education. (note: not all low income people are irresponsible, obviously).
So lets think of a better world for the cat of more expensive cat food but cat food that uses proper raw materials that promotes cat health and good weight. This, I argue, would not only reduce the number of abandoned cats (due to the lower number of cats that would be “owned”) but also reduce the number of sick cats that are put down and it would also lead to cats living longer, which in turn would also dampen demand and therefore supply (i.e. no need for a new cat). The effect of commercial cat food on cat health is unquantified but it is well argued that it can cause ill health (Your Cat by Dr Hodgkins).
To go back to the argument that commercial cat food promotes cat overpopulation and conclude this post. One assisting factor would be to make better quality cat food and only better quality cat food (this would require government intervention as it would damage pet food manufacturer’s profits), which would reduce cat ownership, which will in turn would reduce feral cat numbers and abandoned cats over time, by which I mean at least a generation. One form of government intervention would be to impose tighter regulations on pet food standards, making the standards at or close to those of human commercially prepared food.
One last point. The big cat food manufacturers favour making cat food that is not that good as it is cheaper, it promotes greater cat ownership, which in turn promotes cat food sales.
The feral cat problem and irresponsible cat ownership is, in part, fed by the cat food manufacturers and legislation needs to be enacted to control them. As usual business (not government) runs our lives.
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