Many of you have heard us say (and write) the term “species appropriate” when speaking of feeding your cat. This is, however, a new term to many cat parents so let me take a quick moment to help you better understand.
Species appropriate means, quite literally, appropriate for the species. In terms of food, we believe that each species should be fed accordingly (or appropriately) as nature intended. Animals need to consume the food that they were designed to eat in order to thrive and live a healthy life.
An easy way to understand this is by using Dr. Karen Becker’s analogy from the film Pet Fooled. In the film she talks about how hummingbirds cannot survive if they don’t eat nectar. If you try to feed them something else, they simply die. The same goes for rabbits. Rabbits are vegetarian animals. If you try and feed them a piece of steak they won’t eat it. Why? Because it is inappropriate for their species’ diet.
Common sense tells us that if we treat our animals as nature intended, nature will treat our animals as they deserve. But we’ve somehow been able to nutritionally abuse cats and dogs over the past century and are now seeing a drastic decline in the overall health of our companion pets.
Cats are obligate carnivores. What this means is that a kitty’s species appropriate diet consists of mainly animal meat. It means that they need this meat in order to thrive. In the wild cats hunt their prey and eat it. Their teeth are made to rip and tear flesh. Their digestive systems are very short and made to be resilient to bacteria and pathogens.
Yet, over the past 80+ years, we’ve managed to neglect the species appropriate diet for cats. We now feed them dry, highly processed, pieces of kibble that are full of carbohydrates and fillers – and call it nutritious. It’s our belief that a non-species appropriate diet cannot be nutritious. Nor can a kibble only diet be exciting for our feline friends. After all, wouldn’t you get bored if all you ever ate were crackers? Not to mention the health problems you’d have…
So to sum it up, species appropriate feeding for cats means feeding them in such a way that closely mirrors what they would eat in the wild, left to nature. There are many different economical ways to feed a species appropriate diet to your cats. Feel free to reach out to us if you are ready to give your kitties a longer healthier life!