"A one on one interview with the heads of these companies would not happen because you can ask questions that are too difficult to answer honestly, openly, or appropriately that could put them in a compromised position."
That's a quote from Dr. Karen Becker in "Pet Fooled" now streaming WORLDWIDE on Netflix. It's true, there's a LOT of questions regarding pet foods on the market. So I was wondering what companies can answer basic questions when asked.
There are some themes many deem as super important. What degrees are dry foods extruded at? What's the origin of ingredients? What is the quality of ingredients? Are the ingredients even appropriate for the animal to consume.
Cats are obligate carnivores. Purina "Friskies" has several dry foods on the market so I'm wondering how "ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, ground wheat, and soybean meal" are appropriate for an obligate carnivore.
So I decided to chat with Purina "Friskies" to ask these basic questions, but it became clear VERY quickly that Purina "Friskies" has information that appears to deflect the consumer versus answer the question thoroughly.
Buckle up! Here we go!
PHONE CALL WITH PURNA "FRISKIES" REPRESENTATIVE
KOHL: I'm just wondering with the dry cat foods at "Friskies", at what degrees are they extruded at?
JIM (Representative): I don't understand the question, sir.
KOHL: What degrees are the dry cat foods cooked at? Extruded means heated.
JIM (Representative): Hmmm. That's a good question. Hmmm. And why do you want to know this information?
KOHL: Because it deals with the transparency of the company and the heat of the cat food is important with what it's cooked at no?
JIM (Representative): What I'm going to do is put you on a brief hold and try to find this information with you. It's going to take 1 or 2 minutes.
4 minutes 33 seconds pass
JIM (Representative): Thank you for holding sir. Unfortunately I don't have this information.
KOHL: Do you have the moisture content of any of the dry foods? Like, how much moisture is in the dry foods?
JIM (Representative): I have the "Friskies Gravy Swirlers" and the moisture is 12%.
KOHL: Is that appropriate for cats?
JIM (Representative): I don't get your point, sir.
KOHL: Is 12% moisture an appropriate level of moisture for cats to be consuming in a food?
JIM (Representative): As fed is 6.4%
KOHL: What is the the appropriate moisture level for a cat in regards to a food?
JIM (Representative): I don't know.
KOHL: Are cats obligate carnivores?
JIM (Representative): Yes, I can say so.
KOHL: I'm confused because if I look at the foods for "Friskies" it's ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, ground wheat. So I don't know how that is an obligate carnivore food. Are you confirming that cats are indeed obligate carnivores?
JIM (Representative): Yes.
There is is! An admission by a Purina employee that cats ARE INDEED obligate carnivores! So why are there so many grains in their foods for an obligate carnivore? Why is it difficult when contacting Purina to receive information about calories in the foods? Is calories not important to Purina? Even Cornell University states "It means that cats are strict carnivores that rely on nutrients in animal tissue to meet their specific nutritional requirements. In their natural habitat, cats are hunters that consume prey high in protein with moderate amounts of fat and minimal amounts of carbohydrates." .
Expanding on the information pointed out above, cats rely on nutrients in ANIMAL TISSUE. There is no animal issue in "ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, ground wheat, soybean meal." The critisism from many is that ingredients like ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, ground wheat, and soybean meal are cheap ingredients for companies to use. Sure, they can provide you with excuses as to why they are in the foods. But when doing more research, they don't appear to be ingredients appropriate for an obligate carnivore. Allowed by AAFCO, sure. But that's a whole other story.
Again, taking the above information that cats are obligate carnivores, carbohydrates are important to know. How many carbohydrates are in the Purina "Friskies" food? This is important information for every cat owner to ask their pet food companies.
Here is a chat conversation with Purina "Friskies" asking about carbohydrate percentages in their dry foods.
The amount of carbohydrates in a food for a cat is VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION! You would think that a company that "cares about the health of your pet" would have this information on hand at all times.
But Purina "Friskies" doesn't have that information on hand.
They DO have all the excuses for corn, wheat, and by products on hand. Calorie information is more difficult for them to answer.
I give Purina another call at 1800-778-7462 just to clarify if they can provide that information over the phone. Here is the conversation.
KOHL: I'm calling about Friskies cat food. In particular, the Tender & Crunchy combo, I was trying to figure out the carbohydrate content of that food. Or, carbohydrate percentage.
PURINA REPRESENTATIVE: It's not showing it to me. Is it okay for me to put you on a brief hold?
2 minutes 12 seconds pass.
PURINA REPRESENTATIVE: Unfortunately it's not showing the carbohydrate amount and I'm at a loss to explain why.
KOHL: Do you have carbohydrate content for any of the dry cat foods?
PURINA REPRESENTATIVE: Yes we do. This one isn't showing us for I don't know what reason.
KOHL: How about the indoor delight?
PURINA REPRESENTATIVE: That is so weird. For any of our Friskies products, for some reason it's not showing us the nutrient profile for that one.
KOHL: No carbohydrate percentage?
PURINA REPRESENTATIVE: Yeah none of the carbohydrate percentages.
KOHL: Is there a manager or someone I could speak to to try and figure that out?
PURINA REPRESENTATIVE: Yeah, I can transfer you to a supervisor. Give me one second.
3 minutes 44 seconds pass
PURINA REPRESENTATIVE: Thank you for holding. Unfortunately we don't have a supervisor available.
Once again, why aren't Purina representatives armed with information to give callers carbohydrate information? All cat owners should be able to receive clear and concise information in real time about the level of carbohydrates and starches in the foods, since cats are obligate carnivores.
All cat and dog owners should be enlightened enough about nutrition to know what amount of carbohydrates are appropriate for the species. Calling and asking questions is very important. Investigating what you're told is important. Getting various points of view and then researching even further is very important.
All the love,