Friday 12 November 2021

Taiwan's silkworm cat food for less smelly cat poop!

Miaoli Agricultural Research and Extension Station have created a cat food from a waste by-product of the silk producing industry. They use silkworm pupae (grubs) with added immune protein as the raw material for this novel cat food.

Silkworm cat food
Photo: Miaoli Agricultural Research and Extension Station

A Café owner, Rosa Su, said:

"They have more energy and less smelly faeces, which is more than I expected."

She should know because she's looking after a lot of cat on a daily basis. She will know cat poop very well. 😉

There could be no better endorsement. You can buy the food in a variety of flavours. The research team say that the feedback has been positive.

It's an example of improving sustainability in manufacturing. It is also an example of a modern trend in trying to improve the ingredients and nutrients in cat food while also minimising waste in manufacturing processes. 

The world has changed. There is greater focus by consumers on the environment and in this instance on cat food ingredients. Also pet food manufacturers damage the planet.

Cat owners are more demanding because they are more knowledgeable thanks to the internet. A lot has been written about the, often, poor quality of many cat foods based as they are on poor raw products.

Silkworm pupae is an excellent raw product because it is high in protein, fat and minerals. And, in any case, domestic cats eat insects naturally. Pupae are part of the life cycle of an insect; the silkworm. The silkworm is economically important insect as it is the primary producer of silk and it is clever to use it to create cat food as well.

The scientists who created this food say that it helps eliminate harmful intestinal bacteria which in turn reduces the odour of cats' waste products i.e. the poop smells nicer!

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Why is cat poop so smelly?

Quite a lot has been written, also, about smelly cat poop. It's a target of informed cat owners to reduce the odour of cat poop as it is indicative of a healthy gut and improved gut flora. This should benefit the health of the cat. Homemade raw cat food is a tool used by some cat owners. IBD is an increased cat health problem ostensibly because of poor quality foods.

ASSOCIATED PAGE: Venezuela: pet food costs €44 while average salary is €5 per month

Silkworm grubs live inside silk cocoons. The grubs are high in the kind of nutrients which are healthy for domestic cats. And they boosted the quality of the food by stressing the silkworms to make them think that they are in danger. This technique boosts the content of immune proteins in the grubs which kills harmful bacteria inside the cat who has eaten the food.

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One motivator for silkworm cat food is that it is no longer economically feasible, apparently, to cultivate the insects for fabric production alone. The cocoon can also be used in cosmetics. If manufacturers are able to use every part of the silkworm life-cycle there is an economical benefit. They can keep the costs down and be more profitable and sustainable.

Apparently, a can of silkworm cat food sells for US$2.43 which is a bit more than average canned wet food in Taiwan (NT$68). They believe that the product will be accepted even though it's more expensive because it is environmentally superior and arguably the ingredients are better.

In a crowdfunding campaign they reached their fundraising preliminary goal within 24 hours, indicative of the potential for this novel cat food.

In comparison, China has plans to turn industrial exhaust waste from gargantuan factories into animal feed which I will presume includes cat food eventually. It looks ghastly by comparison but if they can make it work so much the better provided the food is of decent quality. We don't want to go backwards in terms of food quality because it's often bad enough already.

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