Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Here kitty kitty..

The past couple of days I've been pondering my new commitment to Riot 4 Austerity. As I go about my daily routines I've been thinking about how they fit into the commitment and what about them (if anything) needs to change in order to reduce my consumption.
An interesting thought occurred to me yesterday, what should my kitty eat to consume less?

I love my companion cat. Her name is Rienne, she's smart, she's affectionate, she's clean and she plays fetch! Currently I feed her Science Diet dry cat food. My vet recommended it. She seems to enjoy it, she eats well and appears healthy, but I've noticed she's a tiny tiny bit overweight. I didn't think much of it because like me, she's been living in confined quarters for the past year. I did some research this morning and now I'm starting to wonder if her diet may be unhealthy for her. I'm a big believer in proper diet.
That begged the question, what's a proper diet for a cat? Cats are obligate carnivores. I am not. Come to think of it, as of this posting I haven't had meat in a few days. So my first step was to figure out what an obligate carnivore needs for diet requirements. Apparently, it means not only do they need meat, grains are mildly poisonous to them because they don't have the enzymes to digest them. The Science Diet dry cat food I've been feeding her has "Chicken By-Product Meal" followed by a whole host of grains. Eek! The lack of meat is made up with a lot of additives and supplements. To make matters worse in my mind, the "food" is stored in warehouses and shipped all over the country, in who knows what temperature, degrading the nutrients even more before it ever gets to me and Rienne. Completely unacceptable.
Frustratingly, a lot of the resources I found online were unsubstantiated claims, often contradictory to other unsubstantiated claims. This made it difficult to find accurate information on how to go about a whole foods diet for Ms. Kitty. Eventually I did find a site up to my standards. Footnotes referencing studies and research papers backing up logical intelligent claims. This page has all their articles including 12 chapters explaining the hows and whys of a raw meat diet. They even have an article on how to can the cat food. :-D I was immediately enamored with the site.
The cost of a whole foods diet works out to the same price as or a little cheaper than a store bought diet. This site works out some of the math so I'll spare you the calculations here. There is a weird formatting error on that last site, so I lost the last sentence of every third paragraph, but the information was still really good.
This site was written by a lay person, not a vet, but I really liked her straightforward way of presenting her findings on switching her cats to a raw food diet. She even has a pictorial of how to make the food. :-D
There are a couple of books I want to check out before embarking on this journey with my cat, including Michelle Bernard's book, "Raising Cats Naturally." And it's definitely going to be something we ease into so it's happy for everyone involved, but I think it'll be healthier in the long run. She's been exposed to meat, all of her obedience training was done with raw meat. So I'm hopeful the transition can be accomplished with a minimum of fuss.
I see a whole, raw food diet being much simpler to keep up in the coming era of limited energy. Instead of her diet being dependent on the giant oil driven transportation network and petroleum based supplements it'll be dependent on local healthy meats just like my diet.

Links from above:
http://www.catnutrition.org/foodmaking.php
http://www.catinfo.org/makingcatfood.htm
http://www.felinefuture.com/nutrition/

2 comments:

Fake Plastic Fish said...

Hi there. Thanks for commenting on Fake Plastic Fish about cat food. I don't know if I'm ready to go the raw route yet. You have to have a meat grinder, right? At least that was one of the things I read. Also, my cats are under a year old, and a nutritionist I contacted said she wouldn't advise a homemade diet for cats that young. How old is Rienne?

I do plan to look into this more, and I'm sure your links will help.

Jennie said...

Fish,
Rienne is 4 this month.
I don't plan to have a meat grinder. I plan to just cut the raw meat off of the larger bones, cut it into chunks to make portioning easier, add the supplement powder from here: http://www.felinefuture.com/cat_food/
and call it good. :-)
I saw those sites where they recommended grinding the meat, I think they are just being overly cautious. Cats have pointy teeth and claws, something tells me they can handle meat chunks and small bones without the grinding. :-D