pet food industry

Report Sheds Light On Serious Problems in the Pet Food Industry

cat-eating

I’m passionate about species-appropriate feline nutrition, and have written extensively about the topic. I maintain a small list of brands of raw or grain-free canned food that I’m comfortable recommending after doing thorough research. These are brands that I either currently feed Allegra and Ruby, or have fed them in the past.

The pet food industry, like the food industry in general, is not known for its transparency, so it can be difficult to obtain accurate and current information. This is why I’m so appreciative of organizations like the Cornucopia Institute, whose mission is to provide information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement. While their focus is on promoting justice for family scale farming, the work they do benefits the health of all living beings, from humans to animals to plants.Continue Reading

Book Review: Your Cat – Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life by Elizabeth M. Hodgkins, D.V.M., Esq.

Elizabeth Hodgkins, a successful veterinarian for more than twenty years, formerly served as Director of Technical Affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and as such, has had an insider’s view of one of the giants of the pet food industry.  In her book Your Cat – Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life, Dr. Hodgkins raises the alarm regarding the dry pet food we feed our cats and the degenerative diseases that result from a diet that is completely contrary to what an obligate carnivore like the cat needs to thrive.

From kitten through adult life to the senior years, Dr. Hodgkins explores the full spectrum of proper cat care, and offers a closer look at the common chronic diseases that afflict so many cats – diabetes, kidney disease,  thyroid disease, allergies, heart disease, and more.  The underlying cause for many of these diseases, as well as the key to managing or even curing them, is nutrition.

I’ve been passionate about feline nutrition for a long time, and I’ve done a lot of research and reading about it, but I have not found a book that presents the reasons why cats need protein and not carbohydrates as the mainstay of their diet as succinctly and convincingly as this one.   Going back to the cat’s origins as a desert-dwelling predator, Dr. Hodgkins explains why cats cannot thrive on dry food, but need a high protein, low carbohydrate, moisture-based diet.  She examines the problems with today’s pet food industry with an insider’s view and explains in detail why dry food is so harmful for cats.  She offers her recommendations for what we should feed our cats, including how to choose the best canned food, or how to safely prepare raw food for cats.

She also takes a thorough look at many common feline diseases, sharing case histories of cats she has treated in her practice.  The stories are convincing and provide a wonderful resource as well as hope for cat owners who may be dealing with these conditions.

This book should be required reading for all cat parents – in a way, it’s almost like an “owner’s manual” for cats.  It should also be required reading for veterinarians.  Sadly, most veterinarians receive very little education on nutrition in veterinary schools, and what little they do receive is sponsored by the large pet food companies.  The science presented in veterinary school nutrition courses is based on limited in-house studies by the pet food companies that typically only test their products with an eye to proving what they want the studies to prove.  Dr. Hodgkins explains the limitations of these studies in detail in her book.

This book will change the way you view what you’re feeding your cat.  It will also change your view of the pet food industry and what you may have considered good cat nutrition.  Your cat will thank you!

Coming on Monday on The Conscious Cat:  learn more about why dry food is not a good choice for your cat.