Sunday, April 13, 2014

The post where I get on my soap box and rant.. again


Rene over at ATC contacted me regarding an article she saw in the May 2014 issue of Reader's Digest. She wrote a post about it, asking people to write to RD and tell them what we felt about the last two "secrets" they shared..   Yes, I was a little bitter when I wrote to them.  Rene encouraged me to share my words here since I told her I sent her an email
So in the May issue of your magazine you have an article "50 Secrets Your Pet Won't Tell You".    I take extreme exception to this article.. as none of them are really secretes, and worst of all you started dabbling in something you had no business dabbling in, pet nutrition.
"Secret" 49 regarding 'hype' about grain free food.  Who told you it was hype?  Pet food makers?  Maybe you went to an actual vet who told you this, but were they ever trained in nutrition?  Did this vet tell you that dogs and cats have COMPLETELY different nutritional needs (and the same goes for every other pet species, rabbits, birds, etc so making such a blanket statement regarding pet food is not only lazy reporting it is incompetence) Cats are "obligate carnivores" and if you do not know why that means cats shouldn't have grains in their diets, let me hand you a dictionary..
http://dictionary.reference.com/
How about you talk to a veterinarian nutritionist, one who has actually studied feline nutrition like Lisa Pierson DVM over at http://catinfo.org or Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM who wrote the book "Your Cat"  and then go consult one who studies canine nutrition.  I don't know any off the top of my head as I am an a feline advocate, but I'm sure you can find one rather easily.  http://lmgtfy.com/?q=canine+nutritionist
Lest you think I'm ragging on vets, please note that if YOU have a question of nutrition beyond 'eat more fruits and vegetables' your own doctor will refer you to a RD or an RDN (which if you aren't careful will land you in the pocket of big food - http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/10/how-ada-are-manipulated-by-food-industry.aspx )


As for #50, yes, raw diets MAY cause cracked teeth or bacterial infections, but you do know that more 'cooked' and 'processed' foods have been recalled for bacterial issues then raw right? How about all of those foods that have been tainted http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/2007-04-19-pet-food-usat_N.htm
I personally had a problem with a commercial treat product I purchased. Getting the company to accept any responsibility for the issue is impossible, and most companies dismiss individual claims using the excuse that anything could have caused it..  Just as GM did with their cars for 14 years..

Do you know why the ASPCA, the CDC and the great and awesome "Prevention" discourages raw diets? The ASPCA follows the JAVMA, which follows the money.  The major pet food companies donate a lot of money and do a lot of 'research' that supports their food products as being the best alternative (why wouldn't they, they have a financial stake in the outcome.  It would be like if PepsiCO studied the healthfulness of Pepsi and then spent millions of dollars to convince the RDs of the world that their product is fine in moderation - oh wait.. they did http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/10/how-ada-are-manipulated-by-food-industry.aspx )  The CDC is against it because of their absolute fear of salmonella and ecoli.  While it is appropriate that we are aware of these and other bacterial contamination, using basic sanitary practices and being aware of where you source your food - something we should be doing anyway because I don't know about you but I am not all that interested in eating killed ecoli or salmonella.
Pet food companies believe they can provide food that is 'complete and balanced' for your pet.  I find this claim fascinating in the fact that we still don't even know everything there is to know about nutrition in general.  The more the 'experts' dabble in our own health the unhealthier we are getting as a society.  Back before we had "health experts", most of the human population was thin and relatively healthy.  Moves to reclaim our health harken that we need to return to traditional foods turning away from processed foods and food like substances that were invented in the last 100 years..

it is not nearly as difficult recreating a pet's natural diet as you might thing.  Some meat, some bone, some organ.  Try to keep the bone size down to something akin to what the animal might actually take down in the wild.  A cat would never take down a cow, so giving a cat a cow bone is silly.  Yes a cat would eat dead cow if it came across it in it's travels since a cat is not above being a carrion, but on the whole if you stick to smaller prey, the cat's teeth and digestive system were designed (either by design or evolution) to rip flesh from bones, crack bones and consume them.  You will not find a wild cat who breaks into grain stores or hunts down wild corn.  Although you will find them frequently hanging out in those areas to catch the mice and the birds that feed off those grains - which is how cats became domesticated in the first place.
I have a feeling you don't really care if these 'secrets' are accurate or not, but I in good conscious could not let this go with out saying something..

Connie
Webmaster of kittyblog.net
foster home for kittens since 2002
owner of 7 raw fed cats - several of which are alive simply because they are on a raw diet.

15 comments:

  1. Splendid email email Connie,I have to say that if I had a cat now it would be fed on a raw food diet or home cooked meat by me( because not all cats will eat raw food),simply be cause I then know exactly what the cat is eating,keep up the good work Connie,xx Rachel

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  2. Great message. Very well said! Before switching my boys to raw diet, in my research I encountered many articles talking about dangers of salmonella and ecoli on raw food. But as well-processed commercial food get recalled, danger can be anywhere. Not to mention, low-quality grain-filled diet is much more threat to kitty health.

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  3. As a Registered Dietitian, I have to say that I'm both insulted and sad about your comments about dietitians. While AND's main financial backers ARE big food, that does NOT mean that my underlying education and experience are colored by this at all. In fact, NEVER during my education, internship and then registration exam was I bashed over the head with big food information.
    I enjoy your blog, I support what you do for cat nutrition, and what you do in supporting & fostering kittehs. However, when you're going to talk about a specialty you're not familiar with please quote a credible source, not one written by some shady doctor who says he's the expert but in fact only MAYBE had one class in nutrition. Note: I've had SIX years of in-depth biochemical education related to how nutrition affects our bodies.
    If you ever have questions about how my world works, please contact me!

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    Replies
    1. Jamie,

      I am sorry you felt insulted, I guess I could have done a better job at saying not all of them are in the pocket of big food.. but I do stand by what I said about some of them, and about the move to corrupt the information put out by RDs by big food. I went to a RD myself during my recent exploration of my own health - as well as reading blogs from several others RDs and seen what advice is being dispensed.

      You are right in that I am not as familiar with RDs as you are, but I spent several years being told what to eat by 'experts' who told me not to eat pork because pigs do not sweat. Who told me that soy was a good source of protein - even though it is very high in estrogenic compounds and most of it is GMO. And that skim milk is good for me, despite the fact that it has MSG, and damaged cholesterol from the skimming process. I had one tell me to drink water till my urine ran clear to make sure I was well hydrated, even though doing so flushed most of the electrolytes out of my body and caused my heart to have PVCs.

      Just as I fully believe there are competent non-corrupt vets out there, I fully believe there are competent RDs out there - ones that have not been influenced by big food - but since big food is working directly with the government to influence what is appropriate nutritional information it can be confusing, I assume for everyone.

      and if you can explain to me how I could have a 500 calorie deficit every week from eating less (and healthy according to the current experts) and exercising more and still gained weight, we could have an interesting conversation :)

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  4. The only reason Tynan won his battle against his first cancer diagnosis was because of a raw diet. And guess what? A proper diet (read: real and not processed foods!) is the only reason two of my human friends beat the odds and survived battles against very high stage cancers. Where are the splashy RD stories about these FACTS?!?

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    Replies
    1. You are right, I should have been clearer about the 'splashy' rd stories.. but yes, there is a move by big food to corrupt what the public knows to be healthy..

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  5. Wow, that was a great reply to this story - and I'm sure WAY better than the story itself (which we haven't read).

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  6. We tried our two on raw for the first time today. Neither of them touched it. :(
    Any suggestions on how to make the transition? Maia is 8 and Barney is 3. Just curious if other people have made the transition with 'older' cats! Ta!

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    Replies
    1. it is very hard to transition a cat who is so used to one type of food.. Going very slowly and continuing to offer the raw along with the regular food generally helps.

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  7. Nice response. Readers Digest, like many media sources that aren't pet-specific, probably doesn't check facts when someone presents them with an article like that. Good job letting them know that they need to do more fact-checking on health-related articles.

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  8. Good response, Connie. It will be interesting to see if you get a response back from them!

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  9. I have a scientist rabbit with a PhD in grains. So, my calico can't eat Science Diet or Iams. Too many grains. Her skin itches and she pulls out all her fur. And I do mean all. Naked belly, naked legs, naked everything she can reach.
    And the scientific house rabbit gladly eats Science Diet and Iams when no one is looking.
    So I switched to Blue Buffalo and voila--Miss Calico started growing in fur again. She began looking like a cat and less like a naked mole rat! And the bunny wouldn't go near the bowl. Of course, that was a year ago. Since then, the Professor Thistle Von Furrybutt is once again sneaking cat food and Miss Calico is losing fur. Someone has changed their recipe to inexpensive grains, huh, Blue Buffalo?
    As for raw food, they won't touch people food, they think it's gross. Canned food is kinda iffy. They like the conquest of the opening of a can but then it's not exactly their favorite once it's in the bowl. Raw chicken? Oh, you MUST be kidding! LOL They were horror struck at the idea, at the very audacity of raw finely diced bird in their bowl! What did I think? That they're animals?

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  10. Three raw fed cats here and a raw fed dog! I Wholeheartedly support this and wish more people would realize that crappy diets make cats sick, just like crappy diets make people sick, too. This whole country's food system is going south and the sharing of information like this is one of the only things that will help make it better.

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