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.
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.
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.
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!