I write a blog about happy food–that which is organic, sustainable, humane, and local whenever possible. And, I’m a pet owner. All my life I’ve had pets: dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and gerbils. Just a couple of months ago, Bill and I adopted two new cats from the humane society after our three geriatric ones all died of kidney disease. It’s a rough way to go but our vet said it means we took very good care of our cats. The kidneys simply wear out by age 20, or even 18, which are the ages our kitties lived to be.
After mourning the last old kitty, who died about a year ago, we are back to buying cat food for 2-year-old Fredsy and 5-month old Little Moo.
I keep thinking: Shouldn’t we be feeding our new kitties some form of happy food–chicken that doesn’t come from a factory farm, and fish that’s raised in the wild? I know there are some happier pet food products out there but I haven’t done my research yet.
An article appeared in yesterday’s The New York Times called “A Sniff of Home Cooking for Cats and Dogs.” It says that Barbara Laino, a pet owner in Warwick, New York, makes her own pet food for Orion, the Alaskan malamute, as well as another dog and three cats. Her approach is to provide for her animals what she wants for herself: a healthy diet of unprocessed organic food. “We know processed foods are wrong for us,” Ms. Laino says. “It has to be wrong for them. If you can feed yourself healthily and your children, then you can feed your pets healthily, too. It really isn’t that hard.” (Isn’t that what I’m always saying about making food for ourselves, rather than buying processed food?)
Even Cesar Millan of “The Dog Whisperer” agrees. “Organic has become a new fashion, a new style of living,” he said. “And if the human becomes aware, if he eats organic, he wants everyone around him to be healthy, too, especially the one that is always there for you.”
That’s what I was thinking….that I’d like to feed my pets in line with the way Bill and I eat. But is it as easy as Laino says?
Some people are concerned with how to maintain a balanced diet for their pets, but there are many examples in the article of increased demand at butchers and meat markets by people who are making homemade food for their pets.
I think if I consider homemade pet food, I would do my research and talk to our vet. Or maybe I can find an adequate pet food in the store that at least has organic ingredients. After all, according to The Times, sales of organic pet food were $84 million in 2009, and have grown more than tenfold since 2002.
For starters, I could offer Little Moo garbanzo beans. Or falafel and hummus. Yesterday, after draining a can of them in the kitchen sink, I found her there lapping up the juice.