Showing posts with label grain-free cat food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grain-free cat food. Show all posts

Thursday 26 May 2022

Commercial cat food does not need to be entirely grain-free

For years now there has been an ongoing discussion about the quality of commercially prepared cat food and how it is ostensibly stuffed with grains to pad it out and make it more profitable for the manufacturers. Cat lovers want to see their canned cat food to be 100% meat because domestic cats are 'obligate carnivores'. The phrase 'obligate carnivores' is constantly used and it conjures up an image of flesh-eating. Cats can only eat flesh and nothing else. This is a misconception.

It is a misconception because the paradigm prey animal for the domestic cat is the mouse. The mouse eats 10% of its weight every day and it feeds off grain, seeds and fruit. When a cat eats a mouse, they eat the whole animal in my experience. My cat can eat a mouse in about 60 seconds and he certainly eats the stomach contents. He therefore eats grains. Perhaps commercial cat food should contain 10% grains but no more. Perhaps they put more than 10% in.

It is actually more pronounced than that because in the video on this page, which is a YouTube short, he clearly likes to eat bird seed which is grain. The seed was put into a birdfeeder and chucked onto the grass by the birds. My cat wandered in and decided to eat it. Grain contains nutrients. It is a source of protein and carbohydrates. Perhaps there is roughage in there as well. The point that I am making laboriously is that domestic cats eat grain one way or the other and therefore it is not so bad that it is in commercially prepared cat food. It is normal.

RELATED: Reduce domestic cat hunting by feeding them grain-free food and playing with them.

It is an argument that cat food should not be entirely free of grain as it is part of their natural diet. "YouTube Shorts" are designed to be very short videos made with a smartphone and therefore they are in the vertical format. TikTok works on this format and method. YouTube reformat the embedded video to a horizontal format. I'm not sure why. I think the video makes the point.

I had to make the video because YouTube told me that unless I made some more videos, they would stop monetising them on YouTube. I have not made a video for about 10 years! At one time they were highly successful with one of my videos being viewed 11 million times. They made many thousands of pounds in advertising. Advertising is far more profitable on YouTube videos than it is on websites in my experience.

I do not expect the video to be in any way successful. If it achieves a thousand views over five years I will be delighted!

Friday 12 February 2021

2 ways to reduce your cat's hunting behaviour

There are two ways to reduce your cat's hunting behaviour and they are: providing your cat with the highest quality wet cat food which is grain-free and playing with your cat as much as possible. The advice emerges from the conclusion of a sensible study by scientists of 335 participating domestic cats in 219 households.

Feeding domestic cats wet food which is grain-free and which derives protein from meat plus play reduces predation on birds and mammals
Feeding domestic cats wet food which is grain-free and which derives protein from meat plus play reduces predation on birds and mammals. Image: the scientists who conducted the study and reproduced here under an implied license.

The cats were split into two groups and strategies to curb their hunting behaviour. They discovered that feeding the cats with a high quality commercial food in which the protein came from meat and not plants, i.e. it was grain-free reduced the number of prey animals that the cat brought home by 36%.

Also, playing with a domestic cat for between five and ten minutes daily resulted in a 25% reduction in the same behaviour. The study is published in the journal Current Biology.

Martina Cecchetti, a PhD student of Exeter University, who conducted the study, said that despite some foods claiming to be a complete diet, they might leave the cats with a nutritional deficiency in micronutrients which compels them to hunt.

Another member of the study team, Professor Robbie McDonald, of the same university, said: "Our study shows that with entirely non-invasive, non-restrictive methods, owners can change what the cats themselves want to do."

They also concluded that when a domestic cat wears a bell on their collar to warn birds that they were being stalked by the cat, there was no discernible reduction in the birds brought back home. Further, they decided that the brightly coloured collars that you can purchase for domestic cats to reduce predation on birds were effective by 42% but they did not have any impact on predation on mammals such as mice. In other words, there was a 42% reduction in the birds brought home when the collars were worn. I have an article on that you can read by clicking here.

The study is important in two respects (1) it possibly highlights an issue with high quality complete diet wet foods, which needs to be further investigated and no doubt will, (2) there is, it seems, a connection between appetite and hunting desire.

We have constantly heard the mantra that a domestic cat's hunger is completely dissociated from their desire to hunt. But this study indicates that there is a connection between what a cat eats and the desire to hunt. And essentially it seems to say that if you provide a cat with the highest possible wet cat food they will hunt less.

It is thought that some cat foods contain protein from soy which may leave a micronutrient deficiency which the cats try and make up through hunting.

There is a general concern from both sides of the divide i.e. from cat lovers and cat haters about the predation by domestic cats on wildlife because the environment and the protection of wildlife has become a priority in the minds of many people. 

Therefore, the domestic and feral cat is under fire from environmentalists, nature lovers and ornithologists, and indeed animal lovers of all kinds. The common advice is to keep your cat inside at all times, but this also produces a deficiency in their lifestyle because cat owners tend not to substitute the natural behaviour they enjoy by hunting with play.

This is borne out in the study because one third of the cat owners participating in the study indicated that they would not continue to play with their cats as they did in the study but they will continue to feed them with premium cat food. There is therefore a reluctance to play with domestic cats. That's because it is boring for the person. Notwithstanding that, it is highly enjoyable and necessary for the indoor cat.

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