Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cat Food

Deborah Duchon's Modest Proposal: The Best Cat Food

As a cat lover/owner, I'm obsessing over the cat food scandal. Luckily, I don't use any of the implicated brands or flavors - although I have tried them in the past. The source of the poison cat food is in wheat gluten from China. The amazing thing, to me is, why are pet cats eating so much wheat gluten? Have you ever seen a cat beg for a piece of bread? I have, but only stray, starving cats who will eat anything. Cats are carnivores. They don't need wheat or corn or "garden vegetables". My cat's favorite veggie is catnip, which he eats until he passes out in a happy stupor...

After ruminating about it for a few days, it finally hit me. The best meal for a cat is a mouse. After all, that's why they were first domesticated about 5,000 years ago. It wasn't because they make great lap warmers, or for their quirky personalities. It was because they were hunters - and rodents were their preferred prey. By that time, humans had made the dietary shift to a grain-based diet, and huge stores of wheat and barley were endangered by ravenous, multiplying hordes of rats and mice. The rodents attracted cats and the cats saved the day. People started leaving scraps of food out for the wild cats and eventually cats became part of the fabric of society ... One of the good things about those early domesticated cats was that they did not compete with humans for their grain...

I have to admit that I've thought about this before the cat food scare, but it was more abstract. Why, I wondered, are we feeding cats the meat from animals that they wouldn't eat in the wild - beef and chicken, especially? There is a rat problem in this country - why not trap the rats and make them into cat food?

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