Cat Food-How bad can it be?

- Advertisement -

Virgil Evetts

I once met a man who from time to time ate cat food. He was neither crazy (well, not dangerously so)  nor destitute, he just liked the flavour of a certain brand of cat-sardines better than their pricier human-aimed counterparts. He also claimed jelly meat wasn’t bad…

I wasn’t convinced and have not, and probably will not, put these endorsements  to the test anytime soon (although we live at sea level, about 100 metres away from the water’s edge and are woefully ill prepared for a tsunami, or similar, so wait and see…).

But what I wonder is, apart from a rather laid-back approach to food hygiene standards on the production line, is there any reason why we shouldn’t eat cat food? Cats are fussier than most people when it comes to food, so you have to assume the stuff tastes ok.  Most of the expensive little cans my cats favour are full of intriguingly lurid ingredients (many of which I quite like too), such as duck, shrimp, chicken liver, “flaked white-fish”, “wild game,” various vegetables and even cheese…quite a bit better than most of what I eat.  You might well say I’m falling straight into the marketers’ trap by buying for my cats with my own tastes, but even if these seemingly ‘haute cuisine’ products are mostly bulked out with horse meat I’m still interested (I don’t trust horses – too much snout – but I’m very happy to eat them, and have done so on several occasions.  That is to say I’ve eaten horse meat on several occasions, not whole horses).

When I think about it all that really puts me off eating cat food is the way it looks, the horrid, wet shucking noise it makes when it slides out of the can and that pervasive bully-beef odour. Oh, and the whole social taboo thing too I guess.

Dog food, however, I wouldn’t go near if you paid me. (Well maybe if you paid me.).  Dogs are classless, crass and indiscriminate creatures. They will just as happily eat a pool of vomit as a nice piece of sirloin, so any food aimed at their dubious tastes should be approached with caution.

So. Am I the only person who has glanced at the ingredients in  Señora  Cat-o’s dinner and thought… could I?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 thoughts on “Cat Food-How bad can it be?

  1. I try not to train my cat to be too fussy with variety and trial of new brands from time to time. Sometimes I have been known to comment that a fancy tin does looks good enough to put on a piece of buttered toast though I haven’t yet. I once saw a chap doing a radio station challenge to eat a can of jellymeat for $100 about 20 years ago. He arrived in Manners Mall, laid a table cloth and cutlery, wine and a glass etc – then finally the tin. He proceeded with ceremony to open and empty it onto a plate and then started to eat. The station had a running commentary, the crowd (inc me) were there in total fascination. He got the $100 and the whole of Wellington discussed and debated it for ages afterwards…

  2. Thank you Virgil, to protect my sources and expose my biases I will only say that I’m an ex-food technologist and the owner of two cats who are fed primarily on locally made canned cat food!

    In terms of Tuna processing, pet food tends to use the red meat tuna rather than the white meat – the white meat is more desired by us humans and therefore more expensive. You will now find that many of the more premium cat food brands will specify ‘white meat tuna’ – more for the benefit of the human than the cat, a bit like feeding a cat chicken breast in preference to chicken thighs. Interestingly these pure tuna products, unlike most other forms of cat food, are not complete and balanced and also tend to be very much liked leading to the cat rejecting other, more nutritious foods.

  3. Wow Debbie
    That’s a very informative reply… By chance are you in the pet food industry?
    Very interesting about the tuna processing. I wonder if they simply use a lower grade fish for the cat food lines. Thanks for some fascinating food for thought!

  4. Laid-back approach to food hygiene standards on the production line?
    Absolutely not. There are rigorous standards in place in pet food factories, just as in human food factories. All properly processed canned cat food is essentially sterile and would pose no food safety risk to humans as far as I am aware and the taste profile is not too bad, if not a little bland through lack of salt.
    Chilled fresh meat products with long shelf lives I personally would be a little wary of – I figure that if I were to slice meat up and store it in the fridge for a month or two it would be pretty high so there must be some pretty intense preservatives at work.

    Cats are fussier than most people when it comes to food
    Absolutely – cats will actually starve in preference to eating something they don’t like. Fussiness in cats however is, to some extent, trained – if your cat never experiences hand filleted ahi ahi it isn’t going to develop a preference for it.

    Are ‘haute cuisine’ products are mostly bulked out with horse meat?
    Arguments aside as to whether it is acceptable to eat horse, major canned food producers in NZ do not use horse meat. Some chilled fresh meat products do use horse – it even says so on the label. Most tuna based products are made in Thailand in factories which also produce products for human consumption. Some of the most expensive products are bulked out with gluten made to look like meat.

    Dog food, however, I wouldn’t go near if you paid me.
    Fair enough but in case anyone does feel like it though rest assured that there is nothing more scary in dog food than in cat food. Dog food however can, in general include more grains than catfood as dogs are omnivorous opportunists (potentially incorporating both vomit and sirloin?) whereas cats are obligate carnivores. Dogs can eat cat food but cats should never be fed dog food.

  5. No,never been tempted for two very good reasons: The smell for one; it’s just a smell too far to be at all tempting. And number two: my own cat won’t touch tinned cat food. If served up, he approaches the dish with caution, gives a long-distance sniff and then looks at me reproachfully, as if to say ‘What? What on earth is this?’ He then turns away disdainfully and goes on a hunt for something more acceptable, such as a mouse that was drowned three days ago in the deep well of a garden ornament but which he can reach with his paw stretched to its limit.

    When the tsunami comes, he will have to live off dried cat biscuits, which he eats readily for breakfast, or catch his own from where-ever.

  6. We have two moggies who eat standard cat food (wet and dry) and I have never ever ever been tempted…. Once in my youth we put cat food on crackers and served it at a 21st as a joke, not very funny really…..