Feline Nutrition 03 - Science Is On Our Side
Published on Friday, November 26, 2010 01:34 PM
Written by Margaret Gates
Our primary goal at Feline Nutrition is to get people to feed their cats a healthier diet. Ditch the dry and feed a biologically appropriate raw diet. We have thought long and hard about how to accomplish that goal. There isn't a single answer and we never expected there would be. The key though, is knowledge. Knowing what questions to ask, finding the answers and making the knowledge available are all necessary. So is making people aware that they should be questioning what they think they know. Letting them know that this isn't just about what to feed the cat, this is about life and death.
In the last edition of Feline Nutrition, our e-mail bulletin that goes out to members, we generated a flurry of e-mails when we stated that "science is on our side" with regard to the issue of raw diets. Many people feel that science has been used as an enabling tool to promote poor nutrition. You need only walk down the aisles of a grocery store or visit your local kibble-selling vet to understand where this animosity originates. A pro-science approach to solving our problem can be a bitter pill to swallow – we get it.
Much of the scientific literature and research about raw diets and felines relates to the more than three dozen species of cats – particularly large cats such as lions and tigers. People commonly accept that raw meat is what a big cat should be eating, but disconnect from that understanding when thinking about our smaller companion cats, felis silvestris catus
. We are moving to connect the dots between the science of large and small cats. If one establishes that a raw diet is best and most natural for a tiger or cougar, it follows that it is also best for a tabby or calico. Cats are cats, with fundamentally the same bio-design, scaling up or down based upon their particular ecological niche as predators.
People didn't start feeding dry food and bad canned food because they made a choice based upon science. They chose it because someone else said it was okay, their vet sold it to them, it was what everyone did, it was what was available and a host of other reasons. Now, in order to change that behavior, we must have the hard, direct, scientific evidence that there is good reason to change – evidence that the status quo never had to present to get people to make their initial choice to embrace grain-based food. We in Feline Nutrition have to work a lot harder in order to change made-up minds.
When you read articles on the Feline Nutrition site, you have undoubtedly noticed that we footnote or endnote everything. We are letting people know that not only do we think feeding raw diets to cats is a good idea, but also we can demonstrate it in the scientific literature. Science is on our side, and having the research to back up real-world experience is critical.
As those of you who are members know from the last Feline Nutrition e-mail bulletin, we have been busy setting up the Feline Nutrition Foundation. Part of the Foundation's mission is to facilitate hard scientific research and specific studies concerning raw diets and their appropriateness for kept cats. We will ask those questions and look for the answers.
To further the Foundation's goal of expanding the knowledge about feline diet and health, we have been gathering input and ideas from people involved in all aspects of raw feeding for cats: veterinarians, retailers, manufacturers, writers and all of you, our members, who are dealing with feline diet and its consequences on a day-to-day basis. We want your input
. We want you to be involved in the Foundation's work. This is science that you can have a say in.
If you aren't already a member, we ask you to join
Feline Nutrition. There is no membership fee to join and as a member, you will receive our regular updates. We need to be backed by a large membership base to be taken seriously by mainstream media and make reaching out to a general cat-owning audience easier.
That general audience is the group that doesn't know any better yet. Those are the people that we need to reach. Those are the people who rarely give what to feed the cat a second thought. The people who are unwittingly making their cats ill, shortening their lives or yes, even killing them by feeding them meat flavored cereal. We need to open some eyes here. Put your voice with ours in changing how cats are fed. Do you have friends with cats? Get them to join, too. Spread the word that Feline Nutrition needs to grow.
Help us to connect the dots.
Margaret Gates is the founder the Feline Nutrition Foundation.