Recent stories on the ABC and aired on their Lateline program revealedsome recently released research into commercially available cat foods. The stories indicated that the research found that some, as yet unnamed brands of supermarket cat foods were linked to disease.
The media summary suggested that 20 supermarket and pet food store products were tested. Nine did not meet the Australian standards in regards to their ‘guaranteed analysis’ claims on the packets. Eight did not reach the standards laid out in regards to nutrient content for adult cats. This meant they had too much or too little protein or fat. Some of these products were also linked to diseases like lameness, diabetes, obesity and anaemia.
It’s very important to emphasise that the research is preliminary and it’s far too early to draw solid conclusions. These foods are not ‘toxic’ but are better thought of as substandard. The research also highlighted the need to further investigate the requirements of cats to ensure their unique nutritional needs are known and can be met by commercial foods. The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) released a statement clearing up some of the confusion the media coverage created and putting owners’ minds at ease.
The names of the products have not been released and so while none of these foods is likely to be causing direct and immediate harm to cats, this is still alarming news!
Controversy regarding the withholding of names aside, what can we do for our pets today?
The simple answer is – feed a premium quality food. Feed a product that you know does meet the needs of your pet, is based on solid research and contains quality ingredients. There are several companies that produce excellent quality cat foods. At Inner South Veterinary Centre we stock Hills Science Diet®. The research has been done, the transparency in regards to content and quality is there and we have a good longstanding relationship with the company. You can be sure of what you are feeding, and its quality and safety when you feed Hills Science Diet®.
It will be interesting to watch the response to this research. In time the names of the substandard foods are likely to be released and hopefully this will be impetus for the pet food industry to up its game. But in the interim, feed good quality food you know is right for you cat.