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Are cat food companies sending the wrong message?

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The choice of good quality, nourishing, cat-formulated food has never been so varied. The knowledge that kitty is getting a safe balanced diet, even if kitty is eating the cheaper products, is comforting. Some of the ingredients might raise an eyebrow and corn can be an issue but all-in-all canned food and cat kibble are good and convenient products. But are cat food manufacturers sending a potentially dangerous message?

The manufacturer’s aim is to sell their product; cat food. What better way than to make kitty’s dinner sound appetizing to the person purchasing it? It probably occurred to cat food companies quite early on that mouse-flavored cat food (containing real mouse and mouse by-products) would not be a product shoppers would eagerly throw into their baskets. People would be much more likely to buy cat food with chicken, fish or beef flavor on the label. Soon there were no holds barred; exotically named, organic, guaranteed corn-free cat foods, and some with very odd ingredients, appeared on the shelves. The names are harmless fun designed to attract: Sweet Salutations Chicken and Tuna, Nautical Nirvana Tuna and Skipjack, Catatouille Stew, and Life’s A Beach Pate. What sounds tastier than Grammy's Pot Pie?

Some of the ingredients though give pause for thought. In this instance not the wheat, guar gum, corn starch-modified or sorbic acid but the people foods splashed across the label. Carrots, green peas, cranberries, yams, blueberries, spinach and green beans, garden greens, tomato, peppers, (cheddar) cheese, zucchini, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, squash? When was the last time a cat was seen wearing a sweat band and munching on a carrot stick or stalking a zucchini? Although not a cat’s natural food and harmless in the quantities added to kitty’s canned or dry dinner, some of these ingredients are on the do not feed kitty list.

It is fine for a cat to eat these limited and processed quantities added to cat food but what message is this sending? “My cat food brand has tomato in it so it must be fine to give tomatoes to my cat.” No it is not. Just because cans of Seafood and Tomato Bisque Chunks in Sauce, or Turkey with Cheddar Cheese are available doesn’t mean it is fine to give kitty tomatoes or cheese. Some of the other ingredients touted for their efficacy are debatable too. Continue to avoid the temptation of giving kitty table scraps containing tomatoes or cheese or any people foods on the bad for kitty list. Remember; tomatoes are poisonous to cats and milk products can cause lactose intolerant kitties to have some really messy gastric upsets.

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