Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Perils of Pet Food - A Tribute to Venus

Meow! Miss Monique here.  In keeping with my mischievous nature, my first post on the dangers of commercial pet food is going to be fiercely informative, and at times a little fiesty!  I have spent the last week boarding with a friend of Dr Renee's while the human family was away up north, and so have had much time to ponder my first topic - 'The Perils of Pet Food'!  Aaargh!

When I first came home to 'stay' with Dr Renee, I was a sickly kitten.  My mummy cat and my two brothers had been abandoned at a very young age, and luckily we were found by a Vet Nurse who worked with Renee.  The Vet Nurse hand-reared us, but I was not doing so well.  I was not gaining weight, looked very sickly, and had no control over my faecal motions!  You can imagine how undignified that is...

How Cute Am I? Dr Renee thought I looked like a little Ewok!

So Dr Renee took a faecal sample and discovered I had 'coccidiosis' which is a kind of intestinal parasite.  This, together with having been abandoned and then hand-reared on formula instead of real mummy milk was not the best start in life.  She took me home to treat me, but of course I played up my cuteness (despite my constantly runny bottom) and I never left.  While I was recovering from my runny bottom syndrome, Dr Renee kept me in a crate when I wasn't being cuddled or bathed or playing in the garden.  I loved my crate - it was adorned with a pot of fresh grass for me to play with, pounce on, and graze, and a batting toy made from a shell and some hemp cord!

My crate, complete with a pot of fresh grass, and a homemade batting toy!

When I first lived with Dr Renee, I shared the house with a very fiesty feline, Venus.  Renee had had Venus since she was a kitten, and she was quite old, around 15 years I think.  Despite her age, she was still fighting fit!  (Literally fighting, she really was very fiesty!)  I tried to make friends but Venus was having none of it, so I learnt to just keep my distance.

Fiesty Venus with the Family

Venus started out on a comercial pet food diet with lots of fresh meat and fish as a kitten, as Dr Renee had not known any better back then, and as an old dame Venus was still very partial to her 'crunchies'.  So Dr Renee sourced the best possible dry cat food on the market for her.  A Canadian brand, made from lots of high quality ingredients and preserved using only natural compounds like Vitamin C.  Honestly, the ingredients' list read like a gourmet degustation menu, including yummy things like real chicken and salmon, chicken livers and chicken fat, eggs, turkey, whitefish, alfalfa, kelp, pumpkin, and many other fresh whole fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Unfortunately Australian quarantine laws required that the food be irradiated on entry into the country.  Some human foods like herbs and tropical fruits are irradiated on import, but pet foods containing animal products that are processed at low temperatures receive huge doses of irradiation on import - around 5-10x the human dose!  The irradiation process altered the pet food in such a way that it became extremely toxic to cats, and caused irreversible neurological disease.  A number of Australian cats that had eaten the food had to be euthanased.

Luckily for me, Dr Renee knew about the perils of pet food when I came along, and so she started me on a 100% raw natural diet.  The not-so-lovely Venus, however, enjoyed her crunchies so much (like most felines; I can't imagine why?!) that she was eating about 40% of her diet as dry food.
Consequently, she was one of the cats affected with irreversible neurological disease.  A few cats that were affected did recover with full holistic management (using things like acupuncture, nutritional therapy and high doses of antioxidants), but Venus wasn't one of the lucky ones. She lost a lot of weight, had wobbly hind legs, was having trouble swallowing her food, and couldn't urinate or defaecate properly.  She even started to have trouble breathing.  Dr Renee had to euthanase her.

Last Cuddle

Goodbye Kiss

Now Dr Renee is even more passionate about the benefits of preparing a balanced, natural diet for pets and avoiding commercial pet foods. 

Dr Renee has since done a lot of research into commercial pet foods, and has discovered only a very small number that she recommends to her patients, but she always says that real, home-prepared food is the better choice (and I definitely agree!).  Actually, she is available for holistic nutritional consultations online!  See the 'Roar Kingdom' website if you are interested.
Many Vets recommend feeding ‘premium’ processed dry foods over home-prepared diets, and tout these as the best option for your pet, but Dr Renee knows first hand that this is far from the truth.  Many of the commercial pet foods readily available, even 'premium' ones, can be extremely detrimental to your pet's health.
If you want your pet to be as healthy as possible, a balanced, natural, mostly raw diet is crucial.  My diet consists of a variety of yummy things, like raw chicken necks and wings, raw small lamb bones, raw organ meats (beef, lamb or chicken liver, hearts and kidneys), raw fish, tinned sardines, raw eggs, plain yoghurt, and a little cottage cheese, cream or butter here and there.  I get important minerals from seaweeds like kelp powder or nori flakes.  It's also important for me to eat my greens, so I get some finely minced up parsley or sprouts or wheatgrass or broccoli tops, as well as a few other vegetables like corn kernels or finely grated pumpkin or carrot (mixed in with meat as I'm not a fan of vegies on their own!).  I have access to a nice big garden too where I can graze on fresh grass and herbs.  Dr Renee has even planted a few herbs especially for me!  I can highly recommend fresh catnip... mmmmm bliss!

This is me enjoying our luscious garden.

As well as a natural diet, to enjoy optimum health all creatures need to meet our other basic needs.  Dr Renee & I have very similar priorities:

  • Pure drinking water - personally I prefer fresh puddles of rain water
  • Rest and relaxation - preferably in the garden, or in cold weather I prefer a warm closet amongst lots of woolly jumpers
  • Daily sunbasking - sunshine is bliss!
  • Daily exercise - I get mine climbing a bamboo screen trying to get to birds on the perspex roof above, or engaging the humans (especially the toddling one) in a game of fishing frenzy
  • Fresh pure air - we live by the beach so we benefit from clean, fresh sea breezes
  • Time spent in nature - take time to watch the birds, lizards and trees, everyday!

Shiny coat and boundless energy - the benefits of a natural diet!

If you would like more information on preparing a balanced, wholesome diet for your pet dog or cat, just ask Dr Renee!


  1. It was sad that the wobble was not due to old age but the Orijen Pet Food Disaster.

  2. Thanks. Most interesting and informative. Are there any particular plants you would recommend planting for a dog? Penny does tend to eat grass quite often, and I wonder whether there is a list of what species are the best. She is quite picky about which ones she eats, so it's lucky we have lots of weeds, lol.

  3. Miss Monique, that was very informative. I like your list of priorities ;). Venus lived very happy life with Dr Renee, I'm sure, but still so sad she had that problems at the end ...

    Take care,

  4. Great post but i am pet food adviser and Pet food normally sold in pet food supply stores and pet food supermarkets, it is usually exact to the type of animal, for instance dog food or cat food. A big quantity of meat used for non-human animals is a by-product of the human food manufacturing.
    online pet food

  5. if you want your pets looks more beautiful. log on : Online Pet Supplies

  6. That's a really good way to put things together and make it more memorable. We provide owners to create their own pets memorial page, so they can easily share their memorable pictures and video with family and friend.

  7. this is some thing great stuff you have done so far. Lost and found