Cat Feeding Myths

I admit, it really irks me when companies who know nothing about feline nutrition give bad advice to their customers. This is the case with Assisi Animal Health, which manufactures a device called the Assisi Loop. Now, the product is a good one and I’ve heard great reports about it. But they should stick to what they know!

Here are a few of the things they got wrong in a recent article published by Business Insider.

“Your first look at a bag of cat food should ensure that it has the American Association of Feed Control Official (AAFCO) approval stated on the bag. While this does not mean glamorous or high end, it is proof of sound nutrition.”

AAFCO (they even got the name wrong, it’s “Association of American Feed Control Officials”) does not approve anything; it is even not a regulatory body. It publishes standards for minimal nutrition in pet food, but meeting those standards does not necessarily mean the food is adequate for all pets, as witnessed by the many recalls for things like excessive Vitamin D or insufficient thiamine that have killed many cats and dogs.

“Dry food is the common “go to” for feline owners, because it is easy to feed, and can stay out in a bowl all day without spoiling. The act of crunching dry food is good for teeth and gums and is a pleasing act for your cat. Additionally, dry food is frequently the most cost effective option for feeding your feline.”

If I had a nickel for every time someone said dry food is good for teeth, I’d be rich. Very rich. Dry food does nothing for teeth and gums (see “Does Dry Food Clean the Teeth?”). The only “advantages” to dry food are cost and convenience for the humans. It does not benefit the cat in any way, and actually causes many, many health problems. (See “10 Reasons Why Dry Food is Bad for Cats and Dogs”) 

“[Cats’) forefathers were jungle cats!” Nope. They were African wildcats from the Sahara Desert, quite the opposite of a “jungle” environment!

“In truth, a mix of dry and canned food is ideal, where there is a balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.” Sorry, there is absolutely ZERO truth to that statement!

Dry food is not appropriate for cats. Adult cats have no physiologic need for carbohydrates. Carbs only provide calories. They are the major contributor to the feline obesity epidemic, which is getting worse every year thanks to dry cat food. Canned food is far better, though not ideal.

The “truth” is that thirty million years of evolution have structured the cat to eat a diet comprising 65% moisture, with a dry matter composition of 50-55% protein, 35-40% fat, and <10% carbohydrate. Canned foods and properly supplemented raw and homemade diets are fairly close to this balance, and will help keep your cat healthy and lean for a long and happy life.

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