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”.
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.