The current health of the modern domestic cat is in a sorry state. It's a far cry from their healthy, wild cousins. Wild cats are naturally healthy cats, having evolved over millenia. This shows that human intervention is largely responsible in the decline in cat health.
So let’s examine the human influence. To some extent the problem lies at the door of inappropriate breeding, but this mostly comes with pure breeds, rather than your average moggy, who still gets to choose their mates.
Choice of mate is an incredibly important part of reproduction. Animals, including cats, have their own way of deciding who will be a good parent for their off-spring. Normally, it's the female who makes the choice, the male being happy to pair with anyone! The female bears the brunt of the reproduction and she doesn’t want to waste valuable time and energy breeding poorly kittens.
However, this is only one part of the story.
The other, perhaps more significant parts of the story in natural health for cats, are the diet, the health care and the environmental factors.
Bear in mind that cats have been evolving for millenia, whereas humanity has only been creating pet food for the last half century or so - who do you think will have the greatest influence?
Wild cats kill and eat small animals. They are the true carnivores. They don’t scavenge.
They need very fresh food. They only eat what they have just killed. This is why cats have the reputation of being fussy eaters. Their food needs to be good quality and very fresh.
They tend to eat the whole animal, perhaps leaving some fur or feathers, maybe a beak, a tail or the feet.
Meat is expensive, so all the good cuts of meat are sold as human food. Even some left overs are used to make the cheaper meat products, such as sausages. What is left tends to be heads, feet, intestines and fat. These are taken to rendering plants. Rendering plants are not subject to the same scrutiny and hygiene regulations that slaughter houses are. This is why so many pet foods are constantly recalled due to salmonella or other contamination, as these are rife.
Road kill, diseased and dead farm animals, euthanised animals from veterinary clinics and small laboratories also find their way to rendering plants. Storage of the carcasses is usually outside, unprotected.
When there is enough ‘raw material’, it is cooked at very high temperatures and pressures. If you think there may have been any nutrition present, there certainly won’t be much after that treatment. The resulting product is dried and sold to, among others, the pet food industry. Usually this is listed as a by-product on the list of ingredients on the pet food. The rendering plant may add a preservative, which the pet food supplier does not have to list on their end product as they didn’t add it.
Depending on the company and the country of origin as well as of sale, the list of ingredients do not have to be complete and can be misleading. There are few laws defending animals rights and virtually none that are enforceable regarding the safety of pet food. Be assured, that anything can, and does, happen.
So the meat content of typical cat food is unbalanced, is often contaminated, is far from fresh, is often high in fat and has been cooked, which alters protein and kills enzymes at the very least. Can you begin to see the link between diet and the natural health of cats?
The story doesn’t end here. This ‘food’ is bulked out with any cheap source of food, such as grain, now tapioca (labelled as grain-free) or anything in surplus on the world market, invariably plant based. Often this is unfit for human consumption, for one reason or another.
Finally, synthetic colours, preservations, ‘nutrients’ and appetite stimulants are added.
Anything synthetic is toxic to the body, even the so-called vitamins and minerals. Nutrients should come from food, not a laboratory.
Nutrients are never found in isolation in nature, as they co-depend on each other for maximum benefit to the consumer.
Some higher end pet foods may start out with slightly better quality ingredients, but most are still subjected to much of the processes described above.
Do you think your cat will be healthy on such a diet? Do you consider this diet will prevent feline diseases such as kidney failure, liver failure, mouth issues such as gingivitis, stomatitis or loose teeth or auto-immune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, leukaemia or cancer? Do you think, for one moment that such a diet is supporting a naturally healthy cat? Do you think that this is the best cat food?
Never underestimate the importance of a natural, healthy, balanced diet. That alone can resolve many health problems. And quite quickly.
Do you care about the fuel that you put in your car? It's just as important with your cat. Or you. Or anyone.
Commercial cat food, for the most part, is akin to our junk food. It doesn't matter how pretty the packet is, or who tells you how wonderful it is. Check out the ingredients and see for yourself how suitable they are for your cat, a carnivore. Even those that do contain some meat, the chances that it will be of a very poor quality one, a contaminated one, a stale one or an excessively fatty one, are high.
Do you understand what the weird sounding ingredients are? They are likely to be artificial flavours, preservatives, colours. Which are all synthetic/chemicals and so toxic.
And YOU are the only one who can change it.
The current times are undergoing a huge revolution of knowledge, largely thanks to the internet, but the timing is right, too. For too long, we have been subject to misinformation and myths, largely for the profit of small groups of people, such as corporations.
The pet food industry consists of large, highly profitable ones. You know this to be true because of the advertising on television, which doesn’t come cheap. They have infiltrated veterinary colleges and have (largely or completely) taken over the teaching of nutrition. If this wasn’t true, why do you see commercial pet food stacked from floor to ceiling in every veterinary clinic?
I am old enough to remember when this wasn’t the case. When vets didn’t sell pet food.
The pet food industry, just as with every corporation, cares more for its profit than it does for the quality of its product. The money is spent on advertising, on pretty packaging and on buying the recommendations of vets. Very little is spent on the food itself. Cat health is largely ignored, although lip service is paid.
The alternative is to feed a quality, natural, balanced, raw diet, just as they eat in the wild. Well not exactly, but close enough to make little difference.
Although the conversion to a healthy diet can go easily, some 'junky' cats can take a bit of convincing! And there can be a period of de-toxing, which may look alarming if you aren't prepared. However, once past these hurdles, the health of your cat can improve quite dramatically and quite quickly.
It's the single, best thing only you can do for your cat.
For complicated, chronic or stubborn health issues, extra help may be needed.
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