Sunday 20 July 2014

History of Cat Food

History of Cat Food | PoC

The history of cat food as shown in the spreadsheet above tells us that just after the Second World War things started to take off. It was during the Second World War that the concept of dry cat food was first tried. It was successful because it was convenient and then during the era 1950 to 1970 and beyond there was a proliferation of pet food lines and products. The manufacturers of human food jumped onto the bandwagon.

A major development was to create extruded dry cat food which although first developed in the 1950s is still the same today. The great deficiency in this process, which makes attractive looking albeit inappropriate cat food, is that it requires carbohydrates to work. The high level of carbohydrates in dry cat food is not there by choice but by necessity and only because the process demands it. That is not a good reason why dry cat food is high in carbohydrates.

Domestic cats cannot taste sweetness and therefore they have no concept of the sugary taste. The domestic cat is unaware that the dry cat food that they may be fed full-time is not a replica in terms of constituents and ingredients of what they would be eating if they were preying on mice.

Not only is the high carbohydrate level potentially damaging to the cat's health, so is the lack of water which can leave a cat in a state of permanent mild dehydration.

The natural food of the domestic cat is as stated: the mouse and the mouse contains 70% water whereas dry cat food contains, as I recall, something in the order of 10%. It is known, these days, that the domestic cat does not compensate for this lack of water in his food by drinking more. No doubt the domestic cat drinks more than normal but not enough to completely compensate.

Although I am going on a bit about dry cat food, after all these decades of manufacturing it you would have thought that the manufacturers would have placed more concern upon the appropriateness of the food rather than focusing on the method of manufacture.

The 1950s was a time in America when there were the greatest number of new cat breeds. It also seems that this time, let's say about 10 years after the Second World War, when the domestic cat became more popular and an the cat fancy was at its height in the twentieth century. Just after this period the wild cat hybrids were first developed indicating an active cat fancy in their desire to expand the number of cat breeds.

An interesting development was the idea of marketing dry cat food as a food that can improve health with respect to certain illnesses. You will see from the spreadsheet that pet food to ameliorate health problems occurred for the first time in the 1930s. This was canned wet food for dogs.

Ultimately for cats this concept evolved into primarily Hills dry cat food for a range medicinal purposes.

It is interesting because, as mentioned, dry food is not particular healthy so the motivation in part to create this food appears to have been a desire to mask that fact.

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