While many believe that pets are lucky we choose them, it is truly we who are lucky, but we also must take our great fortune in being a part of their lives seriously. Just like we need to take care of ourselves, our house, our car, our clothes, etc. in order for them to continue to look nice and work their best, the same must be said for how we treat and feed our pets. They are not disposable or a matter of convenience. They are , like all other members of the animal kingdom, sentient beings; living, breathing, eating, feeling and communicating beings.
We know we are blessed to have the presence of Tyler in our lives. Tyler is a once feral 7-week-old tiger cat found huddled under an abandoned farm porch in Upstate New York with his momma and a handful of siblings by a wonderful woman who has made it her life’s mission to save abandoned or helpless animals. We have always wanted the best living conditions and food for him, we didn’t really think about catfood in depth until reading Sarma Melngailis’ book Raw Food Living.
As Melngailis points out, cats and dog are predators just like tigers and wolves, respectively. They are fast and flexible. Their body is equipped with sharp claws and fangs, and short, straight digestive tracts that are further equipped with acids that kill food bacteria so that combined these enable the meat they would eat in the wild to pass through their digestive tract quickly providing them with nutrients and energy, and allowing waste (what their body does not need) easily pooped out.
We changed Tyler’s nutrition to a raw food diet in 2011 just before his fifth birthday. He continues to look and acts like a big kitten full of energy and lots of fun to play with. His eyes have a golden sparkle and his fur is so shiny and soft you just want to snuggle into it – and he appreciates the extra scrunching! We’ve also noticed that his claws and teeth are bright and clean, his gums healthy, and his poop is less stinky and he actually poops less – which Phoebe is grateful for because she’s the head of poop patrol. Tyler is lean, spry, purrs a lot; and is both happy and handsome. Everyone else’s cats seemed okay, but, at the same time, they also became fat and lethargic after a few years when they should have been at their most active. Our thanks to Sarma for including pets in her book because Tyler is reaping the benefits and so are we.
We lost a wonderful cat named Quiet in 2001 to a deceptively reoccurring and deadly urinary tract infection. Though we were feeding him “the best” commercial “food,” that “food” was high in ash and other unnecessary byproducts that clogged his digestive tract by slowly building up toxins that were trapped inside his little body until he eventually couldn’t pee or poop. One $1,200 surgery when he was 18 mos. old and a new dried food later; we thought he was healthy and happy. Unfortunately, despite the diet change, and although this time the symptoms took a couple of years to surface, he ended up with the exact same dis-ease in his body. Quiet literally died because of his diet. I only wish I’d known then, for Quiet’s sake let alone ours, that diet was so important.
Animals in the wild live long, healthy lives, balancing the ecosystem and living among and contributing to the circle of life (thanks Lion King) that includes the indigenous plants and other animals they are surrounded by in their natural habitat. Now, compare this with zoo animals, or those we domesticate: farm animals, and animals that we take on as pets. When they enter our world they are fed essentially junk, our sloppy seconds or thirds or fourths. This includes lots of fillers, byproducts, and residues that were essentially and collectively human waste (in this case “waste” is all the stuff we humans choose not to eat or use and throw out).
Wild animals simply do not suffer from human dis-eases because they are not eating processed “foods” (which is what we are feeding domesticated animals and ourselves) and they are not being pumped, or fed, masses of medications that are foreign to their body.
Consider also that the animals that share our homes and the farm animals that are being “raised” for “food” are now ailing with many of the same dis-eases humans are. Could it be what they are being fed? Of course! Why buy man-made chemicals and waste to feed to them? Why feed these to yourself? And, in the case of farm animals raised for “food,” consider that what they eat and what they experience from birth through death, is ingested by anyone who consumes them. Why buy these “foods” and feed them to yourself?