It is our fault that domestic cat food is often of poor quality

One feline expert said “the ideal diet for a modern cat would be canned vole or mouse – mostly meat, with some roughage, and with a little vegetable supplement, all in one neat package”.

Canned mouse in the making

Canned mouse in the making. Photo (edited) by Alan Levine on Flickr who granted the license to publish here.

So why don’t the pet food manufacturers produce cat food which is canned mouse? I am sure that it is possible to manufacture it. The mice could be bred humanely (intestinal worms avoided) and they could be killed humanely and then canned. It sounds ridiculous when you say it but the food would be perfect for a cat. There would be no need to supplement it with additives. All the ingredients are there in a neat package.

The problem is that cat owners wouldn’t like. You can’t even begin to imagine a cat owner opening a can with a dead mouse inside, tipping the mouse into a bowl and wait for their cat to eat it with delight. She’d probably be disgusted. And I mean the cat owner not the cat.

So people open the door to pet food manufacturers to create something which has been described as the “feline equivalent of junk food”. This is a reference to dry cat food. It can be dangerous to cats and cause bladder problems. It’s made tasty with additives and it is high in carbohydrates because you can’t make it without adding carbohydrates. And carbohydrates are just not part of the feline diet. But it is incredibly convenient. It has a long shelf life. It doesn’t go off in the bowl. Cats like it. They like it because it’s tasty. Perhaps the cats have become addicted to sugar just like people.


It’s the convenience element which sells dry cat food and therefore its success must be laid at the door of cat owners. Manufacturers sell these products to cat owners not cats. That’s obvious but we need to remind ourselves of it.

The pet manufacturers spotted a weakness among cat owners and they drove a horse and cart through it. Convenience is all. Even at the expense of cat health. A big percentage of cat owners know that dry cat food is not the best in terms of quality but they accept it because it is convenient. It is also convenient to quietly forget that it is not the best for their cat.

While I am on the subject it is nice to remind ornithologists that the diet of the African Wildcat (the wild cat relative of our pet) is made up of 70% mice with birds constituting 10-20% of the diet which is a little more popular than reptiles at 10-13%. Cat haters forget that birds are not that popular with domestic cats compared to rodents because they are relatively hard to catch. The popular belief is that birds are the number-one prey for the domestic cat. They are not.

FB comments (see below)
This entry was posted in diet and tagged , , , by Michael Broad. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


It is our fault that domestic cat food is often of poor quality — 5 Comments

  1. Sorry,fingers not stylus shaped enough!

    ….going by what I see on the shelves, absence of grain is definitely being used as a USP for all manner of brands now available. Some appears to be good stuff, some don’t appear to be quite what they seem.

    A big yes to packaged, raw ‘mouse’! A line of Rabbit (probably have to be baby bunnies for ease of packaging) would add welcome variety. How about some fresh water fish too? I have been lucky enough to see a cat catch a brown trout from a little nant in Wales. It was a slick bit of hunting, over quickly and took a surprisingly long time for old Teddy to chomp his way through it. I swear he was making it last, really savouring it.

    Although serving up whole animals as pet food would take a bit of getting used to, and getting over any squeamishness, I think it would be a winner as cats would do a lot better health wise and might get addicted to a real natural diet instead of the crack cocaine type addictive cereals.

  2. It’s good to read an article that pulls no punches about our responsibilities and the lamentable standards of pet food.

    There is a glacially slow change happening in the UK goingbywhat I see on the

    • I am as culpable as the next person. A problem is that cats become addicted or prefer the taste of dry cat food. It is like kids becoming addicted to sugary drinks and junk food. It can be hard to get cats to eat wet food if both wet and dry are provided. That’s my experience.

      • Trying to get a carb addicted cat back on to a more appropriate diet can be the longest and most frustrating haul ever.

        We all buy into it in someway I think, very difficult to break free from the pet food industry.

        • I fed my boy cooked fish yesterday (with added water). He liked it and ate the lot. An hour later he sicked the whole lot up. He returned to his dry cat food (Royal Canin Dental) shortly thereafter. He only eats dry at night but he prefers it to all other foods except king prawns (a treat).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please try and upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks. Comment rules: (1) respect others (2) threatening, harassing, bullying, insulting and being rude to others is forbidden (3) advocating cat cruelty is forbidden (4) trolls (I know who they are) must use real name and upload a photo of themselves. Enforcement: (1) inappropriate comments are deleted before publication and (2) commenters who demonstrate a desire to flout the rules are banned. Failure to comply with (4) results in non-publication. Lastly, please avoid adding links because spam software regards comments with links as spam and holds them in the spam folder. I delete the spam folder contents daily.