THEY SAY IGNORANCE IS BLISS – and so it might be, but it is also lethal. Buddha said we suffer because of ignorance, and I sure can’t dispute that. He also said to question everything, even every word that he said. But we are taught at such an early age to believe the “authorities,” whoever they are, that we seldom question, especially if that authority has some kind of D—after his or her name. MD, DVM, even PhD makes us think that person has ALL the answers. Having accumulated a few of those letters myself, let me clue you in – the smarter the person truly is, the more they realize they don’t know… they MAY have a lot of the answers, but not ALL the answers. And Buddha said, “Question, question... question everything, question everyone. Question yourself.”
No, this is not a religious post, nor am I getting into lies told to us by politicians or would be politicians or anyone else… and some may think this is a frivolous post… but if you are even half way intelligent, you will know that if you learn one thing, you can bet it is related to 10 more things, if you but think about it. So, this post is about pet food. Well, that and believing in things. I considered calling this post Ignorance is Lethal, and indeed, it often is. We as a nation are poisoning ourselves with unhealthy diets and we poison our pets, as well. But then, it is all related.
OK, where did all this start? It started with a cat with a problem. First, Hadji started wetting the bed. My bed! We still do not know why. He showed no signs of bladder disease… all the vet could figure out was that it must be an emotional problem. No, we have not introduced a new animal into the house… not even new furniture. It happened before our schedules got all screwed up. All seemed status quo. All we can think of is he was still grieving for Snuffy, his little SPCA friend and bunk mate for the last 11 years. So, Hadj was put on diazepam. I was not happy about doping the cat, but the tinkle problems stopped. The vet also put him on a diet of c/d… a Hill’s Science Diet for cats with bladder problems – even though none of the tests said there was any bladder problem. But, well, even after a second opinion which stated – “It can’t hurt him” – we started on a full diet of c/d.
At the beginning of all this, Hadji weighed in at 15.5 lbs.; he is a BIG cat, long, tall… and used to feel like a ton of bricks when I picked him up. Then one day I noticed he was like a feather. He stopped playing, running thru the house with Rascal, jumping up and down off the window shelves. He even became less vocal. Originally I picked Hadji out from the other kittens at the SPCA because he yowled when I walked in the cat room. “Hey!” he yelled, “Pick me!” and so I did. That was almost 13 years ago.
What do you feed your pet(s)? We fed the boys whatever they seemed to like, a can of wet food, often with gravy on it, and a cup of dry crunchies to graze on all day or night, whenever they wanted a nibble. If you have read any earlier posts, you will see that I try to do the best by my animals, heating pads for the outside cats, heated water bowls, even a heater for the birdbath since the last 2 winters have been brutal for this area. In other words, anything that would give them comfort. Or so I thought.
Have you ever considered that what you are feeding your pets might not be in their best interest? “What?” you say? If it is not good for them, surely they would not be selling it. Really? Remember a few years back all the pets that died from Iams dry dog food, and some other brand, I forget what it was now. Seems the dry ingredients were prepared in China and shipped in huge barrels to Canada where water was added, probably a few other chemicals, a little fish or chicken flavor, then the food was dried and crunched into kibble size, packaged and sold. There was no mention made that the ingredients were originally prepared in China until dogs started dying. I think it was the next year the Chinese, in order to increase their profit margin, added some other chemical crap to baby formula. Thousands of Chinese infants died. Remember the lead paint problems in toys? They don’t care… it is all about the money.
In the name of greed, billions of tons of pet food, baby products, and who knows what else gets produced in China (and a few other countries) so the American owners of the companies can make billions of extra dollars in profits, (not pay any taxes), share holders are happy, and the public no wiser.
Where am I going with this?
Last Monday, Hadji was diagnosed with diabetes, the current new epidemic in cats and dogs. Why would this be considered an epidemic? What is happening that has made so many animals diabetic? First, let’s look at what they would be eating in the wild. Protein. Sure, they would have a few carbs from the stomachs and intestines of the mice, rabbits, voles, birds they would be having for lunch, but mostly, it would be protein, some natural fats… but the carb count would be zero. Now, do your homework, look up the carb count of the food you are feeding your pets. It is easy, just google it and read. Dry food is usually between 40 and 60% carbs and sugars. In other words, it is basically poison. Not quick poison, but the slow nasty kind that slowly destroys the animal’s organs’ ability to function.
Essentially, it is said that a cat with diabetes has only a year to a year and a half to live. A few live a little longer and occasionally there is a miracle. But not very often – ‘dismal prognosis’ comes to mind.
Now I am not finding fault with the vet and the food he put Hadji on even though I firmly believe it is what set off the diabetic reaction. He was just doing what the text books say to do and feeding Hadj what the supposed scientific food company said to feed him. After all, the entire company, Hill Science Diet, was founded for this purpose. But, god bless the internet! Now I know there is a lot of crap on there, and anyone can post any lie they want. And I suppose people can claim to be vets and post information, too, though I can’t imagine why. But I have spent this week doing research, lots of research.
One site you might want to check is http://www.catinfo.org/?link=felinediabetes . Based on the information you find there, you will know how to do some research on your own. After doing a lot more research, I kept returning to this site, finally printing it out to add to my growing notebook on feline diabetes. She (Lisa A. Pierson, DVM) also has numerous links that are just as detailed as the main section. Even if your cat is healthy, it is a good site to bookmark in the event… well, you know what I mean.
Another source of excellent info for all kinds of cat diseases is Elizabeth Hodgkins (DVM) book, YOUR CAT, Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life. It has become my new Bible on cat care. Totally readable, yet with enough technical information, it is a good reference for those with some animal care training as well as those of us who have “learned” thru years of pet ownership or even the new owner. The index is in real small print (my only complaint) but it is 7 pages long. An interesting confession – Hodgkins once worked for Hill’s.
The long and the short of it all is, animals should not be eating foods with gravy, corn syrup, grains, rice, potato starch fillers, or any of a number of other things they pack into the can to make up the weight of the product without all the protein, and to make the animal LOVE it, crave it, like the MSG used in fast food places to make you come back for more poor diet choices. Learn to read labels. Chicken by-products, for example, means things that are not edible – beaks, feet, feathers ground up and pulverized and gravy-ed into cat or dog food. Most labels are too small to read (for an old lady like me) so I look them up on the internet. For some unknown reason, the ‘adult’ version of most pet foods is the least healthy of all with higher grain and starch content than any animal would ever eat in the wild.
The best foods list an actual protein source first, water is often next. If you see corn anything, put it back on the shelf. A quick rule of thumb is to look for the words flaked as being safer, with gravy being most poisonous. Sure, you can say I am full of beans because you have fed your cat XYZ prime filets and gravy for the last 7 years and he is doing just fine. All I can say to you is, the clock is ticking.
Avoid any dry food. In a nut shell – that is my new rule of thumb. The dry food is held together with starches or else it would be almost a powder. The carb level is enough to shut down a cat’s ability to handle the food over a period of time. Most all animals fed nothing but a diet of dry food get diabetes at a much younger age than those fed a mix.
Hopefully you will do your own research. I learned from a friend that did her homework and taught me. Then I checked out everything she said hoping for even more information. Statistics in hand, I went food shopping. Sure, Fancy Feast is more expensive, but if it is healthier for the animal, then it is what I have to do. But, be careful, they make stuff with gravy, too. READ LABELS. EVO seems to be about the best there is. But the nearest place I can find it is 65 miles north of here in Salisbury, MD.
I also have a philosophy that will not please some of you. I think people who own pets should be able to afford to feed them healthy food, not just the biggest bag that is the most for your money. Can you truly say you love your animals and then feed them poison? Feeding them food that is not good for them is like raising your children on nothing but jelly beans. You wouldn’t do that, would you?
Research… change. The life you save may be our own precious pup or kitty.