“The only dried food my cat will eat, and she needs something like this to control the plaque she gets when eating her favorite food, wet cat food. What the ____ is Purina thinking by stopping producing it?!!!!”…Derek C Wylie, Amazon comment
This dry cat food is manufactured for the North American market. On shopwiki.com (a online shop) it is listed as if it was for sale today, 2nd February 2011. However, the link on this website to the online shops where it is meant to be sold do not have Friskies dental diet cat food on sale.
Friskies dental diet cat food is claimed to reduce plaque & tartar build-up by 25% on the shopwiki.com website. This statement is tagged with an asterisk but the site does not explain what the asterisk means. It is probably a disclaimer, a statement that says they can’t promise that this is case i.e. a true statement that this product does indeed reduce tartar build up.
For the sake of complete clarity, “tartar” is part of the beginning of periodontal disease, which is an infection of the teeth and gums. Periodontal disease “begins when plaque and calculus are deposited on teeth and gums near the gum line” (Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, Fully Revised and Updated page 173 – 1995 edition).
This condition can occur in cats over 2 years old. My personal experience tells me that periodontal disease is in part dependent on genetics. Some cats are more susceptible than others.
Plaque consists of organic and inorganic material plus bacteria and calculus (tartar) is a “mixture of calcium phosphate and carbonate with inorganic material”1. Tartar enhances deposits of plaque. Calculus and plaque are a good medium for bacterial growth leading to bacterial infection of the gums.
The idea behind Friskies dental diet cat food is that is reduces the build up of tartar. It does this through the abrasive action of the food on the teeth. The ingredients of the dry cat food rub against the teeth to remove the tartar. It is trying to replicate the prey diet of a wildcat (Homemade Cat Food). When a wildcat eats prey the mashed bones of the prey rub against the teeth and gums and clean them; that is the natural concept!
The trouble with dry cat food – called “kibble” – is that the manufacturers are highly commercial enterprises and they make the food for profit. In order to make dry cat food a high level of carbohydrates is required. Carbohydrates at this level are not natural to a cat and they can promote the formation of tartar and plaque and predispose to feline urological syndrome and possibly feline diabetes. There is, therefore, a conflict going on. The truth is that, although, your cat might like Friskies dental diet cat food, its main purpose is to sell the idea that you won’t need to take your cat to the vet for teeth cleaning, a relatively dangerous operation, or clean them yourself (a difficult task to do well). It is a commercial product. The claim that it is good for your cat’s teeth could, I would have thought, be disputed. Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM (author of Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life) would dispute it and she would dispute the existence of dry cat food generally – see Cat Food Recipe.
The authors of Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, Fully Revised and Updated say that dry cat food is best for the cat’s teeth because it is abrasive.
I think I have gone on enough. The consumer wants this product back on the market but Friskies want if off. The true reason may not be that there is a lack of demand but a lack of complete transparency in its efficacy.
1. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook page 173.