| Potentially edible!|
Cat food refers to commercially available meal preparations for cats. These come in either dry or wet formats. Or cheezburger.
Cat food is really meant to appeal to human consumers, since they're the ones buying it, so a lot of effort is put into making the stuff look and smell good to humans.
Contrary to the opinion of some cats, touching the fishy is not OK.[note 1]
Vegan/vegetarian cat food
Some of the more zealous vegans and vegetarians promote meat-free cat foods out of the belief that they're healthier and/or more ethical. Though some necessary nutrients not available in meat-free diets can be supplied by synthetic supplements—one study found that cats fed fortified vegetarian pet foods or home-made meals with taurine supplementation were not deficient in taurine—there are other health problems associated with vegan cat diets. A diet composed primarily of non-meat substances can, in cats, lead to alkaline urine, which can cause kidney problems. In addition, plant-based cat diets usually have too many carbohydrates and not enough protein, which can lead to obesity.
Cats cannot synthesize taurine; they must consume it in their diet. Taurine deficiency in cats can cause macular degeneration leading to blindness, reproductive, and heart problems. Those die-hard individuals who want nothing to do with animal products or synthetic chemicals may want to get an herbivorous pet instead, as inflicting taurine deficiency on a cat isn't ethical either.
Cat food and human consumption
In the UK during the 1950s and 60s, stories were spread that immigrants, particularly West Indians, were living off cat food. Of course, there is no way to confirm this story one way or the other, but it is a particularly vicious one. Many of the new immigrants were not well-off, so the stories might be seen as a way of simultaneously dehumanising them and emphasising their poverty. In his autobiography, Memoir of a Fascist Childhood, Trevor Grundy mentions how one of his friends in the British Union of Fascists complained about Oswald Mosley using this myth in the wrong circumstances:
When he [Mosley] talks to Irish ladies with niggers in the basement, he discusses Socrates, Euripides and Plato, and when he has an audience which includes half the Roman Catholic Church, Colin Wilson, and the reporter from the Times, he tells people about Lassie for the dogs, and Kitty Kat for [the] wogs.
A similar meme involving senior citizens on fixed incomes consuming cat food is prevalent in the United States, but the intent is usually to incite pathos rather than revulsion. The role-playing games Cyberpunk 2. 0. 2. 0. and Cyberpunk RED play with this with the "Kibble", a mass-produced, low-cost, synthetic food based on stuff as algae and soy, stated to taste and smell as the cat food of the same name[note 2].
- See the Touch da fishy — GIF on Imgur
- Not that there are many cats left in the game's setting. In the second game, however, it is said to have other tastes
- Meatless Meals for Dogs and Cats, PETA.
- Wakefield, LA; Shofer, FS & Michel, KE (2006). "Evaluation of cats fed vegetarian diets and attitudes of their caregivers". Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, JAVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association, AVMA) 229 (1): 70–3.
- Vegan Cats, Armaiti May, VeganHealth.org.
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, Pets.WebMD.com.
- Feline Obesity: An Epidemic of Fat Cats, Lisa A. Pierson.
- Vegetarian Cats?, Little Big Cat.
- 7 reasons why your cat cannot be vegetarian, Essential Vegetarian.
- Why do vegan cats need white canes?, Ida Korneliussen, ScienceNordic, July 2, 2012.
- Trevor Grundy, Memoir of a Fascist Childhood, p190, Random House, 1999
- "My Strange Addiction" Exposes Woman Who Sniffs Mothballs
- Black man eats cat food