A holistic feeder’s sharing

It’s always good to keep learning, especially on nutrition for our pets. They are what they eat! And one of the ways to learn is to hear from caregivers with healthy and happy pets!

I was chatting with a holistic feeder, who is also a new-found friend with the kindest of hearts for her cats as well as other humans.

Here’s what I learnt:

A disclaimer first: This is just a sharing and does not constitute any professional advice on nutrition for your pets. Kindly consult your pet nutritionist for expert advice.

Her food base for all her cats is raw food and she doesn’t make her own. She buys commercially-prepared raw food including Cubgrub. But she doesn’t go overboard with raw food too. She does give them what she calls “garbage” too (haha!) and this includes canned and kibble. Hmm…that sounds like me too – semua ada jugak! Her reason for giving them “everything” is to train their digestibility.

She cites street cats who have “iron stomachs” because they eat everything and they do reasonably well on the street. Variety is key, she says.

This is true.

But for our pets, of course we will do a bit more research and give them what we understand as the most biologically appropriate and “best” food for them. At the same time, we feel there’s no harm with a little “junk” (or “garbage”) once in a while too. Some raw feeders will not agree with this concept, but it’s okay. There’s no right or wrong. Just what we think is best, or what we can do within our own limitations. For example, when our cats have a tummy upset and don’t feel like their usual raw food, I’m going to let them starve. I will give them canned or kibble, whichever works.

This reminds of an old friend who was so careful with her son’s diet that she only gave him the cleanest foods and he only drinks distilled water and it’s not the store-bought distilled water, mind you. She distilled the water herself with a machine at home. She says you don’t get healthy by eating rubbish, so it was only the cleanest foods for her son.

On the other hand, I also know of a really chill grandmother who chides her own daughter for only feeding organic foods to her baby (that’s her grandson, by the way). She said, and these were her exact words: “Don’t worry if he picks up cicak poo and eats it, it’s protein!” And this grandmother used to work in the hospital too. Haha…will you let your young ones eat cicak poo? No, as chill as I think I am, I will stop before I let my grandsons eat cicak poo!! I would not let my cats eat cicak poo either!

There are grandparents, who after having brought up their own children, are really relaxed with their grandchildren now. Let them eat some dirt, it’s okay and might give them more immunity!

So there you have it – to each their own, right?

There are no hard and fast rules, especially when it comes to what’s best for our pets. They know best and we try to give them what we know as “the best”. The other problem is also this: Will they eat what we think is “best”? Sometimes, junk works, doesn’t it?

I know of an Alsatian who thrived on the cheapest colourful kibble all his life. Whenever his parent gave him “better food”, he couldn’t tolerate it! And I met a cat parent with a 21 year-old cat who was climbing and jumping all over like a young kitten. I asked what she fed her and she said “just kibble”.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the strict NRC feeders (NRC stands for National Research Council). They are textbook feeders and they use a spreadsheet to plan the meals and diet for each of their pets. The NRC also work supplies their research data to pet food companies. These feeders ensure that every single meal they feed their pets is “balanced”. Kudos to them!

On the other hand, I go with the concept of ensuring our cats get “as balanced a meal as possible” in a 48-hour window. This means, they need not have a balanced meal for every single meal. For example, if they only eat raw chicken meat (definitely not balanced, high on protein) in this meal, I try and ensure that within the next 48 hours, they have other meals that balances this high-protein meal out. Sometimes, I even stretch the window to 72 hours. I’m flexible. So all our cats eat raw, canned and kibble and now, homemade too! Furthermore for our cats, I have godmothers will take them over if I should die before them, so I need to expose them to various kinds of the commonly-used foods.

The street cat is now probably saying, “Duhh…I eat rubbish every day and I’m none the worse for it!”

Misty and Gerald get the “best” foods, ie. Coco&Joe’s and Cubgrub, both of which are raw foods. But they also get Cindy’s Original’s and Back2Nature’s canned foods for variety. They just don’t get kibble because they don’t seem to want it. Maybe they get kibble from other houses that they visit?

The cat knows best!