I was at Whole Foods today getting some ear oil to soothe my yearly ear infection and had an interesting encounter. In the pet products aisle I was perusing the wet cat food for Kovu since we need to be careful with what he eats (no grains, no chicken) as he has either food allergies, a sensitive stomach or both.
While reading the ingredients list an interesting woman interrupted me and asked what I was looking for in a food, and I offhandedly told her what I just stated. Her reply was that I should feed raw. Okay, I really have no issue with that as I fed the dogs raw for a while and both did wonderfully on it. However, feeding cats raw is a bit more complicated and I advised her of such. Her reply was that I should buy frozen prefab food. Politely, I responded that if I were to feed raw I preferred to feed completely raw with no preservatives and something akin to the Prey Model Diet for dogs. Not to mention that the prefab food is excruciatingly and prohibitively expensive.
I began to get one of those zealot-like vibes off of this woman and tried desperately to extricate myself from what would most likely turn out to be an awkward conversation.
I didn’t succeed.
She latched onto the fact that I had fed raw to my dogs, and made a comment that she had heard that dogs could be converted to a strictly vegetarian diet. I glanced quickly down at her cart to see it full of tofu in all of it’s glorious fake-meat forms. Everything said Vegan this and Vegan that. I sighed inwardly. She was one of THOSE..You know what I’m talking about. There are people that exist in the vegetarian/vegan movement who think that instead of killing animals we should be killing plants. I’m all for not being forced to eat meat if I don’t want to. I mean, I am an omnivore after all. However, the fact is that dogs are carnivores and I believe very strongly that they should be eating a diet that closely matches what they would eat in the wild. If my husband would allow it, Sen would be on a raw diet.
Anyways, she made her comment about vegetarian dogs and I literally bit my tongue and then said, “Is that so?” Which, in hindsight, was probably the most stupid thing I could have said. She got this freaky, beatific smile on her face and grabbed the bag of frozen prefab cat food from her cart and asked me if I knew anything about feeding cats raw. I cringed, and trying not be rude simply stated that I knew nothing other than it was a bit more tricky to convert them over and that they required meat.
Blissfully unaware of my response to her, she read the list of ingredients to me and paused at Beef, and stated, “I really can’t stand feeding this to them. I can’t stand having meat in any form in my home. I want to switch the cats over to an all vegetarian diet.” You could have heard a pin drop in that aisle, but she continued, “I’m a foster home for the Nevada Humane Society, and I have a nursing mama kitty who I think would be healthier if she were a vegetarian.”
I couldn’t keep my mouth shut… I just couldn’t do it. “You do realize,” I stated. “That cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they lack the appropriate amino acids and enzymes to digest carbohydrates and such. Also, Taurine is only found in meat. They need meat.”
“Oh, they’ll be fine as long as you give them supplements,” was her response.
I ended the conversation very promptly after that, purchased my items, and left the store. The entire drive home I thought about how this woman wanted to torture her animals by converting them to a diet that went completely against what those animals were designed to handle. Seriously, offer a cat the ability to choose between meat and vegetables and he’ll take the meat each time.
What is it with the human race and the desire to force their ideas and ways of life on everyone and everything else? Humans are opportunistic omnivores, and as such, have a high rate of survivability, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone.
I just don’t understand people… does it make this woman feel powerful to force her ideals on an animal that has no choice in the matter. Eventually, the cat will get so hungry that it’ll eat whatever is put in front of it, but it won’t live a healthy life. Not to mention what would happen if she put a nursing mother on a diet like that! She would waste away in a nanosecond.
I don’t really know where I was going with this, but it just really irked me. How can people be that ignorant?