As of today, a conservative estimate of 39,000 pets in North America have died of renal failure due to contaminated wheat gluten in commercially prepared kibble. This has been particularly devastating to cats.
Pet owners are collectively decrying this outrage and wringing their hands. What to do? Is any commercially prepared pet food safe?
In a word, "no."
Based on my understanding of the commercial pet food industry and the needs of cats, in particular, contaminated semi moist and dry food is the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Yes, tainted wheat gluten caused immediate symptoms and death. But this merely accelerated a process already in motion. Cat owners who feed only grain-based kibble to obligate carnivores - strictly meat eaters - are setting them up for killer diseases.
Chronic renal failure. Diabetes mellitus. Hyperthyroid disease. Thirty years ago, none of these diseases existed in the cat population who lived on a diet of table scraps and prey.
So pet owners who rely on commercially prepared pet foods kill their companion animals slowly, but just as dead.
How interesting that when I said so, and cited an authoritative source for an easy, biologically appropriate alternative, not one single person acknowledged it. Not one person asked for more information. Not one person bothered to address the notion.
It was like I farted in the room; everyone pretended not to smell it.
Far be it from me to judge, but I have to believe that most Americans are like children - willing to believe anything and eager to be reassured by so-called authorities rather than get the answers and trust themselves.
If the president says, "weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," then we must go to war. If the vet prescribes it, it must be right. If the pet food manufacturers say, "nutritionally sound," then it must be so. God forbid we think for ourselves.
I admit, it's much easier to place my trust in others. It's just not always wise.
This ostrich-like approach permits veterinarians to over-vaccinate our pets and prescribe pharmaceuticals with killing side-effects. Indeed, many vets prescribe Hills Science Diet for diabetic cats despite the fact that it is largely grain based and therefore ultimately deadly to them.
Of course, I've probably gone to the opposite extreme. I question everything, study everything and reject 90 percent of what's published as "conventional wisdom." But I take comfort in the fact that I am not wringing my hands in this crisis.
I made some mistakes with Aimee for which my she paid the price.
Now I know better.
Matisse has been eating raw meaty bones for over a year. Once we figured out where to purchase them and integrated his menu into ours, feeding him safely and cost-effectively was never easier.
Menu Foods adds to pet food recall list
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The Cats are Talking... About Chronic Disease
by Will Falconer, DVM
Certified Veterinary Homeopath
Feeding your cat: Knowing the basics of feline nutrition
Diet is the brick and mortar of health. This web page lays out some often-ignored principles of feline nutrition and explains why cats have a better chance at optimal health if they are fed a quality canned food diet instead of dry kibble.