THE FINICKY CAT By arden moore
Just a generation ago, not much thought was given about what to feed the family cat. We’d grab a bag of cat food off the supermarket shelf, and it wasn’t uncommon to pour a mountain of kibble into a large
bowl so the cats in the house could munch all day and into the night.
Terms like freeze-dried, raw, organic, and grain-free didn’t exist on cat
food labels. Neither did GMO-free.
But the 21st century cat is doggone lucky. With the evolution/revolution
of the multi-billion dollar pet food industry, today’s tabbies can now deal
better with diabetes, hypothyroidism, and other medical conditions by consuming therapeutic diets. Quality proteins like salmon or chicken now top
the ingredient list in many commercial cat brands, replacing grains or meat
“What a cat eats plays a crucial role in his overall health,” said Arnold
Plotnick, D.V.M., whose practice treats about 7,500 cats each year at
Manhattan Cat Specialists in New York City. “I’ve seen cats fed generic store
brands come in for exams with dull coats, flaky coats, and dull-looking
eyes as compared to cats being fed quality nutrition who sport shiny
coats and bright eyes. People are definitely paying more attention to what
they are feeding their cats who are, on average, living longer today. When
I opened my practice in 2003, it was rare to find a cat at age 15 or 16. Now,
it’s not unusual to see cats coming in for yearly physical exams who are 17,
18, and older.”
Yes, we now have many food options to dish up for our favorite felines.
But with so many choices, how do you decide what’s best to feed your cat?
To find out how people stand on feline nutrition issues, I recently conducted an informal survey among feline friends on Facebook. Admittedly,
this is not a scientific study, but let me share some of the responses to
1/ Do you buy cat food
based on price or what’s
listed on the ingredients?
“I shop by ingredients, not by price. I do
read labels for many reasons. I want to see
where it was made. I want to make sure
that the first ingredient is meat. I’m a registered dietitian, and that’s just what I do.”
— Christine Hale Vertucci
“Yes, I read the label. I want to make sure
that there are no ‘no-no’ ingredients like
corn and that named meats are at the top
of the list.” — Melissa Klett
“I do read labels. It is so difficult to find
foods without tons of additives. I’m looking for the same quality organic food that I
would put in my body.”
— Shawn Brockhoff Maxwell
Cats are obligate carnivores,
so meat should be No. 1 on
their shopping list.