At least once a week we are asked what cat food we endorse. And just about every time we say that we like one – bingo – there’s a recall or we learn the company was sold to a corporate giant, or the ingredients changed. For example, Susan recently told us that Science Diet will be adding PLASTIC to their food. Seriously? If you are a long time reader of The Cat Faeries Companion you know that plastic is a cancer cell’s best friend and is otherwise unsafe and toxic.
Susan Thixton is a crusader for truth in cat and dog food labeling as well as she tirelessly stays on top of harmful ingredients, GMO’s, and cat and dog food recalls. You MUST subscribe to her Truth About Pet Food newsletter to stay informed. The world of cat food changes all the time, we need someone like Susan to keep us posted!
Once again, food for our animal friends has been contaminated by harmful additives. This time it’s cat treats. Over 1,000 cartons of “Catswell Brand VitaKitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins” have been recalled by the manufacturer because of contamination by propylene glycol.
While propylene glycol has been approved by the FDA as an additive for dog and human food, it is banned by the FDA for cat food because it can cause Heinz body anemia, a serious disease for cats that causes the destruction of red blood cells. Symptoms include fever, weakness, loss of appetite, reddish brown urine, skin discoloration and pale lips, mouth, or gums.
This is a continuing and serious problem for cats, dogs and our other animal friends – harmful contaminates in pet food which are introduced somewhere in the supply chain. Often these chemicals are being added overseas, where some pet food companies source their ingredients.
Here’s more information:
The manufacturer’s web page with details on the recall
The FDA press release on the recall
An excellent article on the recall by Dr. Karen Becker
You want to shop cruelty-free but it is hard sometimes to remember which products are developed without animal testing. Well, like almost everything in this digital age, there’s an app for that.
The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) is the organization that administers the Leaping Bunny Program and Logo for companies producing cosmetic, personal care, and household products without animal testing (including the companies’ labs and suppliers).
Leapingbunny.org is the site for the Leaping Bunny program and on it you can find the latest on which companies have pledged to develop and make products that are cruelty-free.
Leaping Bunny also offers apps for iPhones and Android phones that lets you get that information while you are shopping.
Fascinating coyote facts:
- There are roughly 2,000 coyotes in Chicago. Chicago is a rare city that actually documents coyote sightings. What this means to you is that there are coyotes in every urban area. We’ve read stories of seeing coyotes casually sauntering down the streets of West Hollywood. Several months ago one was spotted 2 blocks from Cat Faeries office at 4:30am!
- The presence of coyotes are beneficial to any community because a coyote will eat 5 rats a day, they’ll eat even more rats during pup season. (Spring/early Summer)
- Rats and gophers are a coyote’s favorite foods. Next are rabbits. Sadly they will also eat cats and small dogs. Keep in mind, they would rather eat a rat than cat, but being opportunists they’ll eat what they can. To prove that cats are not an important or desirable part of the urban/suburban coyotes diet is this fact: 7 diet studies of coyotes nationwide found that the presence of cat hair/remains varied from only 0% to 2% (Seth P. D. Riley, PhD — Wildlife Ecologist, National Park Service and Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of California, Los Angeles).
- Coyotes and wolves hate each other. When there is a healthy ratio of wolves to coyotes there will never be an overpopulation of either species. Shooting wolves is not only vicious, it’s really stupid because it decreases the natural enemy of the coyote, and therefore the population of coyotes explodes. If left alone, nature will ensure that the populations of both species stays healthy and balanced.
- Shooting or trapping coyotes are a completely ineffective and you cannot “eradicate” them. In fact eradicating coyotes is foolish, impossible (one goes away, another comes in) and worse, it’s just like killing cats during the Middle Ages: disease ridden rats will increase.
- We know of one Northern California golf course which encourages coyotes because they eat gophers. Poisons and traps are not needed – money is saved! The environment is not polluted and is balanced
Keeping cats safe. And important tips for feral colony feeders.
- Coyotes are the most active during dusk and dawn. If you do let your cat go outside for a bit of air and to sniff around do it after 10 am and before 3pm. You should probably not leave the cat unattended. Coyotes rarely if ever attack humans.
- Keep those same hours in mind when feeding feral cat colonies. Stay and collect the food dishes and trays. That’s a good idea anyway, it’s not ok to litter or leave a mess for others to clean up.
- Coyotes are smart predators, and just like a human stalker, they watch from afar and observe the habits of potential prey. Once they establish a pattern of behavior and activity they’ll make their move. It’s a good idea to mix up the routine to throw them off if you let your cat outside and/or suspect there are coyotes in your neighborhood.
This article is dedicated to a very well loved feline named Keystone Wolf. His human daddy is Robb Wolf, author, blogger, CrossFit trainer, and one of the top authorities on the Paleo Diet which your cat faerie follows.
We love the internet so much because we can share vital information with each other. Please pass our article on to your friends for it may save the lives of countless cats – and coyotes – who while they may be scary and creep us out (well, me anyway!), they are here, they are part of our world, and they serve a purpose. These two links will tell you more about Robb and Keystone.
The information in this article came from Project Coyote a very noble organization, and the folks who sponsored a lecture that I attended a few months ago at the San Francisco SPCA.
We found this image on Facebook the other day. We thought you’d like to see it and perhaps be as surprised as we were.
Here is a link to PETA which lists brands and companies which test and don’t test. They also provide contact information so you can let them know what you think. While we don’t agree with many of PETA’s policies and tactics, they do provide many useful resources and information – http://www.peta.org/living/beauty-and-personal-care/companies/default.aspx
Your dollars are very powerful. And when you feel animal testing is not ethical, proper or necessary, let them know!
On an all too brief get-away recently your cat faerie bumped into Matt Snyder and this very good and well written article. Matt has a shop for animal companions in Buellton, California which is in the heart of California’s beautiful central coast (if you saw the movie Sideways you’ve seen the area)
Matt’s advice for deciphering labels is a treasure. He’s done excellent research with an uncommon viewpoint. The only aspect of this article which we disagree with is corn. We at Cat Faeries are grain free for many reasons. It’s probably good to assume that any commercial corn is genetically modified and we believe this to be very dangerous.
Great nutrition leads to happy and healthy pets!
By Matt Snyder
When we talk about nutrition there are many factors that we need to think about when deciding on what food is best for our pets. Most foods you find on the market are foods that our pets should survive on but 80% are NOT foods that our pets will thrive on! We need to remind ourselves that our dogs and cats are domesticated. That process changes them dramatically in what they need as our companion animals verse what they would need out in the wild as wolves, coyotes and forest cats.
There are so many foods available and so many recipes that could be made at home, most of these are not nutritionally balanced. I hope to clarify some myths and rumors that run rampant in the pet industry and give you some tips as a pet owner on how to provide a great foundation of nutrition for your four legged family members.
First we should probably get this out of the way; Corn is not bad for pets. This rumor started in 1979 when an up and coming dog food company wanted to get into the pet food market. They decided to start the rumor that corn was bad and used as cheap filler or causes allergies. Corn contains: highly digestible proteins, carbohydrates for energy, linoleic acid, beta carotene and Vitamin A. There are different grades of corn available for use in pet foods. The highest grade corn has a very low moisture content and little to no dust; If ground down properly to the right micron size corn is a great ingredient and highly digestible. The two lower grades of corn are not a good ingredient and they are defiantly used as fillers or help keep a food low in cost.
Next let’s talk about how to read a pet food label. I know this is going to be a huge insight into how lacking our current regulation of pet food labels here in the US. AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) is the regulating association for pet food here in America. The last update they had to their regulations was almost 20 years ago. Since then information regarding our pet’s nutritional needs has changed dramatically. The tips below will allow you to critically think about and decide what food is best for your pet.
- True or False: The first ingredient listed is what the pet food contains most of?
False – AAFCO regulations state that ingredients are to be listed in order of precooked weight. This is incredibly misleading to the consumer. Since meats like: chicken, lamb and beef contain high amounts of moisture they are place first on the ingredient panel, when in all reality after they are cooked and processed they are lucky to be 5% of the total diet. That being said make sure when reading the label to keep in mind that the first ingredient isn’t always what they say it is!
- True or False: If a label states 100% Beef then that is exactly what is in the can?
False – Yet again a loop hole in the system. It is required by law that at least 95% of what is list on that can is that single protein. Make sure to check the moisture content. Too much moisture decreases the amount of protein in the can.
Here are a few other useful hints: If a label states dinner, formula, recipe or entrée it is required that there is between 25-94% of what they are listing in that food. Then if a label states “with” only 3-24% of the “with” is required to be in that food. Now most misleading of all is when a label says “Flavor”. That term requires that 3% of the pets that eat this food must recognize that “flavor”. My question to you is how do we know when a pet can recognized a specific flavor?
I think it is time to look at what factors we as consumers should look for in a pet food. Questions I would ask about a brand would be:
- Do they use quality ingredients – where are they sourced from? Are they made in the USA?
- Does the company own their own manufacturing plant and/or cannery? If so where is it located?
- Does the company do feeding trials to provide the best quality product to the consumer and their pets?
- How is the food packaged for storage on the shelf? Has it been nitrogen flushed? What is the quality of the bag used?
- How long has the company been in business for? Do they have veterinarians and nutritionist on staff?
I know this article has given you a huge amount of information. The goal is to allow you as a pet owner to be knowledgeable about what you are feeding your four legged family members and how to sort fact from fiction. Remember we want to feed foods that allow our pet the THRIVE rather than just survive! Till next time…enjoy your pets!