Monday, April 7, 2014

Reader's Digest gets cat nutrition wrong

I picked up the May issue of Reader's Digest* because the cover story is "50 Secrets Your Pet Won't Tell You." Most of the "secrets" were not impressive, but the final two secrets bothered me.

#49: "Did you hear about the hype about grain-free cat and dog food? That's what it is: hype. There's nothing wrong with feeding me grains--they can actually be an important part of a balanced diet. Before you may any change, talk to your vet."

#50: 'If you switch me to a raw diet, I may end up with cracked teeth or a bacterial infection. . . .that's why the ASPCA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other institutions all strongly discourage raw diets."

Now, anyone who's researched cat nutrition knows that cats do not need carbohydrates in their diet. They need a species-appropriate diet, and there's no "hype" about that. I urge any cat lover to read this excellent website about feline nutrition. Also, Connie from tails from the foster kittens wrote this great nutrition post.

As for feeding a raw diet, this tip is just a scare tactic. Cats' digestive tracts are designed for raw food, and process that food about twice as fast as humans. There are endless benefits to feeding raw. (What you should NOT do is feed an imbalanced raw diet. Don't assume that by throwing your cat a chicken breast, everything is good. Cats have complicated nutritional needs.)

I am very disappointed in these "secrets." It is sad when articles like this just spread mis-information. I have emailed Reader's Digest this blog post and urge you to contact them too. Their email is:

*There seems to be a disconnect in their website and magazine. I could find no reference to any of their magazine content, to show you what I'm referring to.


Fuzzy Tales said...

Well, there's massive misinformation and of course it comes from the pet food companies (Hills) who pass it on to vets...who pass it on as gospel. Beats me how any vet can graduate and not understand the meaning of "obligate carnivore."

Old Kitty said...

I remember an anecdote a friend of mine told me the first time she brought her kitty to this new vet. The vet was horrified at the kitty's diet and said how kitty was a little lion and what did she think lions ate? So kitty was put on a sort of raw diet (balanced of course!) and kitty thrived! So there's definitely something to this raw diet for cats! Take care

Tails from the Foster Kittens said...

first off, what my pet's needs are are completely different from the pet's need of the person next to me and we are both different from the person on the other side of us pet's needs.. because I have a cat, my co-worker has a dog, and my other co-worker has a rabbit. To put out such blanket statements is not only wrong but harmful!!

to say pets do not need grains completely discounts the unique physiology of each species of pet, and to not be more specific with this horrible list by saying dog or cat is just being lazy, inaccurate, and is shoddy writing.

Random Felines said... more article showing the general ignorance that certain publishers are willing to push on the public. and the sad part is that so many people believe what they read without doing their own research....

Sparkle the Designer Cat said...

Who WROTE that article? Lame - and dangerous! I hope lots of people complain about this. This writer should not have been assigned this piece if they came up with this type of crap.

The Adventures of Scarlett and Melly said...

That's so frustrating! Thanks for helping to stop the spread of this misinformation! I knew next to nothing about cat nutrition until I got Melly and started blogging--you all have been lifesavers.

Roberta said...

My outside cat eats rodents and birds so she sometimes gets her food fresh and very raw. :-) Of course, I do worry about her but she belongs or belonged to a neighbor and she won't tell me who her mommy is or was. She apparently has adopted me so I've been feeding her nothing but wet food and a few treats. Misinformation about cat food can be very dangerous. I've learned a lot from you, Rene. Thank you.

Stampindamour said...

Rene - Thanks for sharing! Very true that cats need raw many times do we see cats out grilling up a piece of meat on the hibachi? LOL!

Every morning, my Snickers waits for her raw egg yolk {since I just eat the whites}...she has such a glossy coat! ;)


Eileen said...

I'd given up on RD several years ago, as I've found they often print information that is incorrect or biased.

That, along with their incessant chasing my elderly father with their damned Sweepstakes, convincing him to buy one more trinket so would have a better chance. We must cleared out a five drawer dresser full of crap when he moved to the nursing home. Sorry, didn't mean to get started!

I don't feed raw or grain free, but I am careful to buy the best quality food I can afford. I used to only give the cats kibble, but now they get wet food everyday as well. I've definitely seen an improvement in their coats, fewer hairballs, and general health.

My gardening supervisor

Lucy: Hi mom! Are you watering the flowers? I love looking out the windows in the summertime. There are so many good smells and...