<<Does anyone know a source of sustainably produced cat food? We'd like to
get away from Purina, etc.>>
My first thought would be to look at your health food store. Ours has a
section for healthier pet products. You can see if there are ones that
might meet your criteria. You can see perhaps if they have organic
(sustainable can be hard to define specifically enough for a label) and if
they have other positive qualities.
There are a whole bunch of natural health food products listed in
"Nontoxic, Natural, and Earthwise", by Debra Lynn-Dadd (a great resource
for this kind of question). This was published in 1990, so there's likely
been changes, but examples she lists include - Abady Dog and Cat Foods;
Cornucopia Dog and Cat Foods; Health Valley Pet Foods; LifeSource Holistic
Pet Foods; Natural Life Pet Foods; Nature's Recipe Pet Foods; Science Diet
Pet Foods; Tyrell's Pet Food.
It's good to be concerned about pet food, if for no other reason the
well-being of the pet. Debra Lynn-Dadd covers a couple of pages discussing
the problems with mainstream pet food, showing the industry thinks they're
"Most large corporations that manufacture commercial pet food are concerned
about providing an 'adequate' product at a low price. They get their
protein from cheap '4-D meats' - from animals that are already dead, dying,
diseased, or disabled when they're sold . Then they add sugar so your pet
will like it and artificial color so you'll think it looks fresh."
She says that pet foods can claim to be "100% nutritionally complete and
balanced" if they have certain isolated nutrients, not necessarily whole
foods, or test them on seriously nutrient-deficient animals, and says this
"ignore[s] important nutritional issues and give both producer and consumer
a false sense of knowledge and security."
She also discusses information on what pets need. She gives evidence
showing that fresh raw meat is important for their immune system and
overall health. She discusses the recommendations of "world-famous
herbalist veterinarian Juliette de Bairacle Levy", who recommends mimicking
the pet's natural diet. For instance, for adult cats, two meals of milk
with uncooked rolled oats or other grains plus a protein meal of raw finely
cut meat or lightly steamed finely cut fish, plus other specifics. She
discourages using canned tuna - studies have shown it harming cats
behavior, probably from the methyl mercury. And she recommends purified
water - "chlorine, fluoride, and other water pollutants are no better for
animals than they are for us."
As I recall, the health food store also has books on less-toxic care for
pets that might also get into these issues more specifically.
In short, pet food has lower standards than human food; so it becomes even
more important to get healthier food if one wants to support their health
Hope this info is useful to you!
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