Cat Food

When considering turning your household into a cruelty-free household, you have to consider everything that is in your home. Including pet food. Why should we eat cruelty-free food but allow our kitties to consume food that was processed by a company that tests their food on animals? Now, of course pet food NEEDS to be tested on animals, otherwise, how would we know if it was safe and healthy for our babies? But the testing needn’t be done in an inhumane manner, such as IAMS does. Animal cruelty for pet food? Now that doesn’t make sense to me at all.

Without going into detail about how horrific these situations are and bitching about how anyone could possibly consider testing animals for ANYTHING, I’ll just post some of my research on pet food. Granted, I only have cats so this won’t apply to families with dogs, but the companies I’ve looked into make both cat and dog food.

We have three precious little monsters. They are all unique in their own way and each one has their own quirks, especially when it comes to food. Ashtoreth won’t eat treats or wet cat food, but needs the wet food due to a colon issue. Bandit will eat *almost* anything and loves rubbing his face on strawberry tops, he has no health issues. Stella is our little scrounger and will hang out under our feet when we’re making dinner in hopes that some cheese may drop to the floor, but doesn’t like certain treats that she needs for her ongoing urinary tract infection. We had four cats, but Pandora passed in January of 2010. She was our most finicky eater – allergic to beef, wouldn’t eat food from a freshly opened bag unless it was slowly added to the older bag of food, and like Ashtoreth, wouldn’t touch treats. It was because of Pandora that we started our research into the perfect cat food.

Some people will say that if you’re going to have a cruelty-free household, you should also hold your pets to those standards, which I fully agree with. However, let me start by saying that we still eat fish and some dairy (more on that in a later post) and also CATS ARE CARNIVORES. We don’t feed our cats beef due to Pandora’s allergy, and even though she has since passed, none of the other three grew up on beef, so there’s no sense in changing their diet in that respect. Our kitties like tuna (straight from the can, of course) and we usually stick to poultry-type cat food. This has seemed to be their favorite.

The previous brand that we were giving our babies was Blue Buffalo Wilderness brand chicken recipe. They LOVED that food – grain free, very healthy, and the first ingredient was chicken. According to their website:

Blue Buffalo does not do any invasive animal testing. Our company was founded on the basis of providing the best possible nutrition for dogs and cats, and we treat our pets like family members. We do conduct trials in which our products are fed to pets, but only under conditions that are healthy and comfortable for the animals.

http://www.bluebuffalo.com/health/faq#question12

However, according to PETA (love them/hate them, either way they have a tremendous wealth of good information) any company that is not on their safe-pet food-list either tests on animals, or has not responded to their inquiries into the subject.

The following companies have assured PETA in writing that they do not test on animals in laboratories. Companies that are not on this list either responded to let us know that they do conduct laboratory experiments on animals or failed to respond to our numerous inquiries and are assumed to conduct laboratory experiments on animals.

http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/companion-animal-food-guide.aspx

From their list on the above linked page, we found Nature’s Variety. When we picked this food up at the pet store, the manager told us that it is one of the best foods out there for pets. He had recently gone to a conference about pet food and learned some valuable information about what goes in the food that we’re feeding our pets. Their most popular brand, Science Diet, is actually a bad food for our pets – not citing anything having to do with animal testing (although, they are not on PETA’s safe list), but purely based on the ingredients. Research is key to keeping our pets healthy and happy. Check to see what the first ingredient on that bag is and make sure that there are no extra ingredients that your pets wouldn’t eat if they lived in the wild. Now, there’s an eye-opener for you. Do you really think your cat is going to go pull a stalk of corn out of Mr. McGregor’s farm and gnaw on it? I think not. Although our Bandit sure does love to eat corn.

At Nature’s Variety, we are passionate about pets and deeply concerned for the emotional and physical health of all animals, large and small. All animals are treated humanely and compassionately throughout their lives. The test facilities we contract with are under federal inspection; all animals are cared for in accordance with established animal welfare rules and sanitation standards. These facilities have a “no-kill” policy, choosing to adopt-out the animals to loving homes after a few years. Moreover, whenever possible, we use in-home testing protocols, recruiting the voluntary services of our employee’s pets and the pets of our loyal customers.

http://www.naturesvariety.com/learning/questions/5

We are currently feeding our cats Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey meal Formula, for sensitive stomachs. So far, they seem to be enjoying it. They’re actually eating less than the last brand of food we were feeding them, not due to dislike, but simply due to getting full faster. YES! Bandit could stand to lose a few pounds.

When considering a new food for our pets, we also have to consider where the meats they PUT in these products come from. Where did the turkey come from? A cage-free farm? I don’t know. I’m hoping that since this company gave their word to PETA that they are a cruelty-free company, that they in turn know where that meat comes from. I don’t want to put food in my body that was treated badly in its lifetime, and therefore I don’t want to put that same type of food in my cats bodies.

What did we do with our old brand of food? We donated our unopened bag to the humane society. While we’re making changes in our own life, and I wouldn’t want to give food made from abused animals to other animals, it was unopened, and the cats at the humane society need to eat just as much as the next cat. It is a very good food, ingredient-wise, and it was better than just throwing it away.

To recap: Watch what you’re feeding your pets. Not only their food, but the treats as well. Where does it come from? Is it a company that participates in animal testing? Or a company that makes pet food for pets out of love and understanding? Also, quit trying to force your pets to be vegetarians. They eat meat, it is entirely unfair to force them to live by the same dietary standards as you do. Cats are highly allergic to onions and garlic, think about that, and think about what you’re trying to feed your pets. Consumption of certain human foods could lead to death. While I would love to feed my cats an entirely raw diet that consists of meat that I went out and hunted for them (they’re not allowed outside to hunt for themselves) I can’t and have to stick to the best foods that I can find for them. So far, Nature’s Variety seems to be pleasing them greatly. Their coats are still shiny and soft, and they actually seem to be much more energetic.

YAY for healthy, happy kitties!

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About alohastephsmile

I made a decision in the summer of 2011 to live a healthy, cruelty-free lifestyle. This is my journey.
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12 Responses to Cat Food

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve recently made the switch to a cruelty-free and mostly organic lifestyle. I have been feeding my cats Iams for years and had no idea… I’ll be switching to Blue Buffalo Co. or Nature’s Variety a.s.a.p.!

  2. Rhonda says:

    I just found your page… thank you thank you thank you… I have recently been chaning my daily life and things that I use to the cruelty free way ;-) makes me feel SO much better knowing that I am NOT buying/supporting any more purchases with companies that are still doing animal testing… you would think at this point in the world.. that could certainly be avoided !! I also WAS an Iams user… no more…on to Blue Buffalo ;-) appreciated the reading on your page!

  3. Pingback: On Veg Pets | Meatless Malcontent

  4. J says:

    Great article. I’m confused though because it mentions that the nature’s variety brand was found on peta’s list above in the link, but nature’s variety is not on that list or their site. How was it found through the link, and how can I be sure its cruelty free if it was not promised by the company to peta? I’m trying to find the best pet food for my animals that is not tested on animals, and don’t want to risk supporting any companies that do.

    • Thanks J, that is a good question. It is possible that they have updated that list since I wrote this particular blog post, as I don’t see Nature’s Variety listed now either. I have double checked the Nature’s Variety website and they do still hold their claim that I quoted above. (http://www.naturesvariety.com/learning/questions/5)

      Natural Balance is listed on the Peta website (http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/companion-animal-food-guide/) as a good company to consider for your pet’s food. Since writing this particular post, we have adopted a dog and he eats Natural Balance dog food. They are a good company, but I am having a hard time locating a quote directly on their website in regards to animal testing. I’ll have to do a bit more research…

      • J says:

        Hi, I checked nature’s variety site as well and I see that they still have the claim of no cruel testing, which is good, but it was a bit too pricey for me at the one store I found to carry it. I looked into Natural balance myself before because I found it at local pet stores and it was the more reasonably priced, and cruelty free according to Peta. I also noticed however that they have no information on their site about animal testing, so that was a little concerning to me, but figured at least they confirmed in writing to Peta that they are cruelty free. I was actually excited to start giving this brand to my cats and dog, unfortunately, on further research I found out that natural balance was bought up by del monte in may of 2013, and is now the owner or parent company of the brand. The issue with this is that del monte who also own other pet products like meowmix and kibbles n bits, do conduct terrible animal testing, from my understanding. And so my concern is that natural balance may have started doing this as well, because they are now a del monte company, and not run by dick van patten.
        I hope they have maintained their integrity and quality, but I’m just not sure at this point. I was quite disappointed to read about this merger because as I said I was looking forward to switching to this brand because of quality, price, and being deemed cruelty free by Peta. But I decided I didn’t want to risk supporting this company’s possibly bad practices now since being bought up by a big commercial company. Its really a shame when these big guys buy out the little guys that seemed to really be a good brand. Fortunately though, in my research and checking the local stores I found a brand performatin I think I really like and was assured it does no testing and its super healthy and my cat loves it! I’m going to continue to look until I’m positive on my choice, but this seems like a good find. Thanks so much for your information, the article was a good help!

      • Hi J,

        The further I walk down this path, the more I’m finding good companies that have been purchased by larger companies with no integrity and who flat out test products and ingredients on animals. Pet food, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, almost everything a person needs in their home, and the results are disheartening and frustrating to deal with.

        One brand of pet food that we have tried and is listed on the Leaping Bunny and Peta website is Halo, Purely for Pets. We only stopped purchasing this brand because it was no longer available at our local store, but we are on the search for it and if we can’t find it locally we’ll just order from them online. I really need to dedicate an entire post to that brand of pet food. :)

        http://www.halopets.com/

  5. Mars says:

    I find it very ironic that Nature’s Valley supports No Kill and that they were on PETA’s list as PETA is very ANTI No Kill. Possibly that is what got them taken off.
    However I too have concerns about Natural Balance getting bought out- quality concerns for the future. I use to buy it for my fosters but switched. Same concern with EVO/California Naturals.
    I considered Fromm but I am not a fan of weird combos like lamb and duck. I like just straight chicken or fish formulas.

    • Mars says:

      Oh and on Halo, I am not a fan since animals NEED meat and they have canine veggie formulas. Also Ellen is a spokesperson and it looks like she may be buying in further and pushing the company to make a veggie cat line. Nothing new since I read that, but better safe…

      • Hi Mars! We were just at the pet store yesterday buying, of course, more cat food. ;) It is so hard to find the best foods for our pets (high protein content for one) made by good companies. I don’t agree with vegetarian food for cats and dogs either, because they eat meat – it is natural for them to eat meat and I don’t believe that we should force them to follow our lifestyle. I have considered making my own food for our cats and dog, but that’s just another thing to add to an already busy lifestyle. Plus, our cats are such finicky eaters that I would fear they would never make the change. We won’t know until we try it and I would like to see how they take to fresh, natural, homemade pet food at some point this summer.

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