Cat owners are unknowingly feeding their pets poor quality food and giving them scraps of their own meals, including chocolate and cheese, research has found.
A study of 2,000 cat owners revealed that many owners don’t what foods could be harmful to their moggy’s health – with some even sharing takeaways and leftovers.
A fifth of owners don’t know their cats are carnivores – with one in 10 feeding them raw vegetables and another one in 20 serving up salad leaves.
The research, commissioned by Lily’s Kitchen, to coincide with the launch of its new Suppurrs Stew cat food range, also found nearly four in 10 cat owners never check the label when buying cat food, with 64 percent being baffled about what they should look for.
One in 20 simply buy the cheapest cat food on offer, and a further 15 percent swap from brand to brand depending on what’s the best value. Four in 10 Brits give food items to their cat despite not being sure it’s healthy for them while almost a quarter still give their pet treats knowing it won’t do them any good.
A further 40 percent said they were happy to share their own meals with their cats, with a third of pet owners giving them cheese without realising large amounts can be dangerous. One in 20 have offered their cats a piece of chocolate and almost a fifth are happy to let their cat lick from a bowl of cream, which can be unhealthy for them.
One pet owner even claimed their cat loves nothing more than to nibble on a piece of leftover fruitcake. Furthermore, a fifth of cat owners admitted that they had to take their pet to the vet after it ate something which disagreed with it.
A further 28 percent admitted their cat has been diagnosed with either being overweight or other medical conditions such as skin problems and diabetes due to its diet.
It also emerged that despite not being clued up on feline food needs, two thirds of British cat owners believe the food they buy covers all of their pet’s nutritional requirements.
And while 67 percent of owners would not be prepared to feed their cat carcasses of other animals, hides and skins, pigs’ bristles, heads of poultry and feathers, experts have warned this can be found in some cat foods in supermarkets today.
Veterinarian Rodney Zasman said: “It’s alarming that many of the nation’s cat owners are oblivious to what constitutes a healthy diet for their pets, particularly when healthy eating plays such a big part in modern day living for the owners themselves. One of the biggest dangers to our cats’ health is actually poor quality, mass produced pet food.
“In some instances these foods contain as little as four per cent meat and, as a result, cats aren’t getting the nutrition they need to keep them healthy. But many cat owners are largely unaware of this fact and only find out when they take their poorly or overweight moggy to the vet.”
Henrietta Morrison, founder and CEO of Lily’s Kitchen which commissioned the research via OnePoll.com added: “We want to help educate cat owners about what constitutes a healthy diet – including proper meat and natural ingredients – which will keep the nation’s cats purring happily and healthily. What concerns us most is the amount of ‘nasties’ that are contained in some of the mass-produced cat food available in UK supermarkets, including cheap bulking ingredients such as cereals, which cats can find difficult to digest.
“Cat owners don’t stand a chance when the labelling is so misleading and doesn’t state clearly what the packet or tin contains.”
PERCENTAGE OF OWNERS WHO DON’T REALISE THESE FOODS ARE HARMFUL TO CATS
- Cream – 73 percent
- Cheese – 73 percent
- Custard – 70 percent
- Milk – 66 percent
- Raw chicken – 70 percent
- Grapes – 60 percent
- Raisins – 60 percent
- Garlic – 58 percent
- Onions – 56 percent
- Coffee/tea – 49 percent
- Alcohol – 39 percent
- Chocolate – 38 percent