One of my biggest pet peeves has always been people who treat pets like they aren’t valid beings. Unfortunately, most people do this in some ways. Even I do, but my cat talks to me a lot and I try to listen.
People tend to forget that animals actually have no one to protect their rights, not the way it is for humans. And if you do tend to your pet you are often considered an overly protective pet parent, and even considering yourself a parent of an animal is laughable to some people.
Consider this though. Animals can’t speak or act for themselves in most cases. They trust and love you more than anyone in the world ever will. They can’t tell you they’re sick or need more variety in their food. They need you to pay attention to them and decipher their changes in mood. Most animals will only do bad things because they are upset, feeling neglected or what have you. If your cat poops on the floor she/he is trying to tell you to pay attention. How else can they get you to take notice?
I digress. The point is, even people I love and respect very much seem to fail to realize animals deserve more than just minimum effort. Why?
A) there are little regulation of animal food and cheap products are sometimes ALL filler. This is really unhealthy because cats simply need meat. It is unnatural for them to subsist on grains and soy, and most of these fillers are allergins as well. It has also come to my attention that it is LEGAL to put pets in pet foods. Whether or not this is a wives tale; if you do a google search it comes up again and again that the chemical used to put animals to sleep has been found in various cheap pet foods. So it stands to reason that dead pets are in pet food.
Go here for more information about the pet food industry: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/11/30/are-you-poisoning-your-pet-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-pet-food-industry/
B) Pets love you unconditionally. They trust you to provide them with everything they need and love you even if you don’t. That is reason enough to treat them well. No human will love you like that.
C) Why bring a living being into your home if you don’t vow to do what is best for them within your power.
What I hear a lot of the time is “Well, I can’t afford it.” I don’t understand that. If you want something to cuddle buy a stuffed animal. It’s not fair to bring something into your life if you can’t afford things for yourself…
Besides that, if you do it properly it’s not that expensive. My best tip is buy in bulk when you can.
Ingredients to avoid
- Corn, corn meal, gluten
- Cellulose, dried beef pulp, rice hulls
- Any by-products (could be replacing actual meat)
- Animal fat (shitty reject meat)
- Meat or bone meal
- Chemical Preservatives: BHA/BHT, Ethoxyquin-pesticide (this just doesn’t sound GOOD anyways), propylgallate
- Sugar (means covering up a bad taste)
- Propylene glycol (less toxic anti-freeze! it is a sweet and appealing taste to cats which is why you should always keep antifreeze out of reach. Sweet products are likely used to cover up something animals wouldn’t touch.)
- Artificial colours/dyes (these are for OUR aesthetic appeal)
There’s probably more, but basically watch out for weird ingredients and the first ingredient should always be meat.
Pet Brands to avoid
- Science Diet/Hill’s Prescription
- Fancy Feast
- Royal Canin/Medi-cal
- Ol Roy
- Special Kitty (I never realized/thought about the fact that it is a Wal-Mart brand. This alone causes warning bells. They are always accused of bad practice, over and over again. Here is what some people say about them. http://www.petfoodratings.org/dry-cat-food/special-kitty-walmart-brand/ )
- Anything you can get at Wal-Mart and grocery stores (although wally has ONE wet food I’ll buy.)
I know, this may leave you thining: well what brands are left? Honestly, plenty. You just have to take a trip outside the grocery store. Food that is grain-free is generally a safe bet. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to buy online as well. I have found that in Canada the best place is Amazon, because you can’t beat the free shipping. They have a brand called Natural Balance that is a really good price and it has fairly good ingredients, seems to recieve a four star rating everywhere. If you get the 10-pound bag you save quite a bit. I used to buy some premium and break it up with some Special kitty but since recent knowledge I am going to just bite the bullet and spend what Delilah deserves. Amazon also sells Tiki Cat, another seemingly decent brand.
Another thing I think people should note is that pets should have variety too. It’s not really fair to feed them the exact same thing all the time. Dry food and wet food are essential to their diet as they both give them different things. Cats do not naturally hydrate enough because in the wild they would also get water from their food. It is good practice to put a little bit more water in with the wet food. DO NOT put water in the dry food. It promotes bacteria and mold can form FAST.
In closing, please please remember that pets are not something you just decide to get one day and get bored of the next. Animals deserve your consideration and attention. You should always make sure you have done research about a product before giving it to your pet and pay attention to ingredients. You should understand how to connect with your pet and give them what they need. You may look like a crazy pet person with a bunch of pet novels in your shelf but your pet will thank you for being informed. It’s hard to be healthy as a human, it’s even harder for a pet who isn’t fully in control of their health. Pay attention to your pets habits. If you give them something and their habits change it probably means they don’t like it. One time I got Delilah these treats to freshen her breath and the second time I got a different flavour. I had looked at the ingredients on the salmon and they were fine so I didn’t think another flavour would be bad. Oddly, it had an ingredient on my bad list for some reason. Delilah wouldn’t eat them.