Cat’s life in balance as resistance develops to latest cat food
The life of Tibby, 7, from Carshalton, hangs in the balance today after she developed resistance to the latest, most powerful cat food last weekend. For months she had been kept alive by one particular brand of luxury salmon-flavoured gunge pieces in jelly from foil pouches, but when on that fateful Sunday morning she turned her nose up at even this concoction, her tearful owners had nowhere left to go.
Tibby is in intensive care on a feline drip, but the minute she recovers any strength she attacks the tube with her teeth, wrestles it from her arm and tangles herself up in it, hastening her demise.
Today almost all cats are resistant to cat food in one or more of its forms, and Tibby’s story is disturbingly commonplace. The accidental discovery of canned cat food by research chemists in the 1930s ushered in a new era of well-fed cats for whom the only defence against starvation had previously been condescending to accept scraps of human food or disturbing their sleep for hours at a time to catch mice.
Indiscriminate cat food use soon led to acquired resistance and the need for ever-improved flavours and textures. R&D departments vied with one another to patent new blockbusters. Container solutions escalated from cans to foil trays and pouches. A proliferation of variants based on fish, meat, in jelly or gravy, and a whole parallel universe of dried food, flooded an unregulated market.
Campaigners failed to prevent the spread to third world countries where owners would starve so they could buy expensive cat food. Unrepentant sales executives said it was more than food, it was a lifestyle experience that people had the right to choose for their cats, but uncontrolled use led to candemics.
Experts recommend a strict protocol, starting on supermarket own brands and only graduating to stronger ranges as resistance develops. With sparing use, the available range of foods will cover any cat’s natural lifespan. But unscrupulous manufacturers get them young. Owners of kittens as young as six weeks approach suppliers when their cat seems a bit picky and insist on a pouch. Once kittens eat specialist gourmet food, they can progress to food for senior cats before the age of one, with catastrophic results.
Scientists say fears that the malaise could cross the species barrier to humans are unfounded. They have yet to encounter a human who could resist chips, even when fruit and vegetable intolerance is complete.Click to send this story to a friend
Posted: Dec 18th, 2011 by Des Custard
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