Home Opinion and Features Feeding cats is a fishy business

Feeding cats is a fishy business


Since the price of my usual cat food sachets went through the roof, I’ve been looking for a cheaper alternative

File image

Where did humans get the strange notion that cats like fish?

Cats are carnivores. If they have a choice and the opportunity, they will live on mice, birds and other small animals.

They do not enjoy getting wet, so they are unlikely to be natural fish eaters.

Since the price of my usual cat food sachets went through the roof, I’ve been looking for a cheaper alternative.

They seem to enjoy anything based on beef, chicken or lamb, but the price of these snacks now makes them about as expensive as high tea at the Mount Nelson.

I have, however, found several cheaper cat sachets in budget stores and have offered them to my two feline fuss-budgets.

The results have been discouraging.

The first sample was labelled “Salmon chunks in Gravy”. Lucy and Phi-phi dashed into the kitchen when they heard their bowls being set down, then skidded to a halt, sniffed the food and sat back, looking at me accusingly.

I explained that times were hard and we all have to make sacrifices and left them to deal with the salmon.

When I returned some time later, all the gravy had been sucked off the salmon and the bowls held only dry chunks of what I suppose was dehydrated fish.

From time to time I’ve bought fish-based cat food for them to try, always with the same reaction – the resentful looks and the untouched fish.

I suppose it’s stupid of me to expect my cats to eat anything as unnatural as fish, but I wonder why the cat food producers persist in making the stuff.

Are there really cats out there who eat fish willingly?

In the readers’ letters to a science magazine, someone recently asked whether cats and dogs could be trained to live on a vegan diet. The long and detailed reply was “no”.

You can make up a kind of vegetable-based food for carnivores, and even add fake meat flavouring, but to keep the pets healthy you need to add all sorts of stuff like taurine amino acid.

It’s apparently quite difficult to create a healthy vegan diet for natural carnivores, and my immediate question is: why would you want to do that anyway?

It seems pretty obvious to me that if you want a vegan pet you should opt for a goat or sheep.

When I was in my preschool years, I had a pet piglet called Penelope, and that was probably an ideal arrangement because Penelope and I had identical tastes in food.

This meant my mother had to prepare only one menu for the two of us, which was very convenient. Eventually I was sent off to boarding school where pigs were not accepted, so we had to part company.

I’m sure Penelope would have eaten fish quite happily.

Last Laugh

A parish priest was invited to stay overnight with one of his parishioners. Before breakfast the next morning, he was surprised to hear the hymn, “nearer my God to Thee”, coming at full volume from the kitchen.

“I never realised you were such a devout family,” the priest remarked.

“Oh we’re not,” said the host. “That’s our egg-timing song. One verse gets them soft boiled, three verses for hard-boiled.”