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Dry Cat Food – The Big Easy

Updated: Saturday, June 01, 2019 06:00 PM
Published: Saturday, April 18, 2015 02:08 PM
Written by Margaret Gates

The hook that gets most people snagged into feeding cats dry kibble is that it's easy. Okay, it's extremely easy. You can feed the cat in under five seconds. She seems to like it, too. It's hard to fight against that. We are all busy, some of us ridiculously so. Easy is a big deal.

Once people understand their cat shouldn't be eating plant-based kibble, their first worry, whether they admit it or not, is that feeding kitty will become a lot of work. Almost everyone at this stage has realized there's no going back, no matter how convenient it is. When we outline transitioning to a raw cat food diet from dry kibble, we always recommend an intermediate step of going to canned food first. This helps to get kitty accustomed to mealtimes and used to a diet with a completely different consistency. But, there is an ulterior motive to this step. We want to get the cat owner used to the new diet, too. Get the pet parent used to spending a little more time with feeding. They realize it isn't really time-consuming at all. Feeding ground is almost as easy as canned. Just thaw and serve. People realize what they thought might be a big hassle, messy or complicated, is really pretty simple.

When we created Feline Nutrition, we knew from the start that easy was going to be a big issue. If feeding raw food was seen as being a lot of work, it just wasn't going to happen. Simple as that. Only the most dedicated or desperate would do it. For this reason, we knew commercially-prepared meals were going to be an important part of turning things around. Our goal has always been to get folks to feed their feline companions bio-appropriate diets. We mean all people, not just those paying attention to the issue. We want raw food for cats to be the norm. To accomplish this, premade meals would have to be easy in two ways: easy to feed and easy to find. That's the raw cat food reality.

At first, I made all of it myself using "Feline Nutrition's Easy Homemade Cat Food Recipe." When life got busier, I began to depend more on commercially-prepared frozen meals. I still make homemade, but also feed a lot of different brands and types of frozen meals, and of course, whole, raw-meat cuts. I'm grateful for the choices I have now. I need easy, too. Most of the pet parents I know started out making their own at home, but ended up feeding at least some prepared meals. Easy isn't just important, it's critical to our cats getting the natural food they need as obligate carnivores. For many, making all your own – all the time – just doesn't work. Another raw cat food reality.

Feline Nutrition encourages folks to try making their own at home. There are advantages to homemade food: you know exactly what's in it and it costs a lot less. Both of these are important. One or both may be the primary reason for going the homemade route. But, it's a bit more work. For many people, that's a hurdle they can't get past. We emphasize that homemade isn't hard or that time-consuming – we think it's fun – but it's still is a daunting task for many.

Many people feed commercial raw food for this reason. It's much easier to buy a complete frozen meal. There are many more choices, and they're easier to find. When you see a freezer in a pet food store, even a big box store, you know what's inside! This was unheard of just a few years ago. Not only are there more brands, but also they're easier to find.

Perceptions have changed as frozen raw cat food has become more visible. It's a subtle but important shift. We've always pushed for raw food for cats to be viewed as the "normal" food, with canned an acceptable second choice and dry food a relic of the past. We are moving towards that goal. Someday, diet-related diseases in cats such as diabetes or IBD will be rare again. I look forward to that new reality.

Margaret Gates is the founder of the Feline Nutrition Foundation.