Monday 4 June 2012

Kibble Kats

There have been three recent cases of famously obese cats: Meow, SpongeBob and now Garfield. Meow was 39lbs. SpongeBob started off at 33lbs and Garfield is just 40lbs in weight. He's the latest in this line of large cats. He is a big boned cat anyway so that extra size puts him above the other two. Both Garfield and SpongeBob are New York state cats.

Garfield weighing in at 39.75 lbs.

The interesting bit for me is what the shelter people say. They believe that Garfield was fed a diet of kibble constantly. I suppose that means there was always a large bowl of dry cat food on the ground for him to graze from. It must have been very tasty kibble. As you know it is the high level of carbs in kibble that causes weight gain - and potentially other health problems such as urinary tract problems and diabetes. Garfield, though has been checked out and is in good health, except for his weight which could cause bad health.

Another interesting thing to come out of this is that some cats simply can't regulate their intake of food. They eat like humans, for pleasure. That is not a wild cat trait. It is a domestic cat development. And it does point to the fact that dry cat food is designed to be very tasty. Although cats can't taste sugar (sweetness) they perhaps can be addicted (is that too strong a word?) to a taste - the pleasure of eating. Boredom may also play a role in cats becoming obese. The experts say 30% (or is it a third - 33%?) of American domestic cats are obese.

The shelter people who cared for SpongeBob also mentioned the health risks of dry cat food. There seems to be a consensus. Are vets coming around to the idea that kibble does carry health risks if not managed properly? What are vets doing to manage this? They have a role to play too, I believe.

Garfield's caretaker sadly died. That is how he was discovered. Perhaps the elderly "owner" had difficulties engaging Garfield and exercising him etc. Dry cat food is incredibly convenient. That's what makes it so marketable. From the standpoint of profitability it is the perfect product. It stores for a long time without any particular requirements and stays edible in the bowl for a long time too. The ultimate convenience food: cat fast food.

Kibble Kats are modern cats. I don't want to over do this. But these famous Kibble Kats are a nice bit of promotion for wet food manufacturers and raw diet makers. Both products are better than dry cat food. Kibble has a place in cat's diet as part of an overall varied diet of mainly wet food that mimics a cat's prey better but let Garfield and the Kibble Kats be a warning. Full-time kibble is not suitable as a cat diet.

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