Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Iams Okay, Youms Okay

Tater Cat, here, eats Iams Proactive Health Healthy Adult Original cat kibble in the bright orange bag, and don't you be slipping her anything else. She will think you're trying to kill her. Actual chicken? Actual fish? Pet store cat-candy? Wet food? Ice cream? Don't even try.

We keep her bowl of kibble in the kitchen. Same general vicinity as all the rest of our food. We're not super tidy. There are food bits around to be found, if you're in the entrepreneurial vermin class.

So this winter, in the midst of the Rat Capades, I discovered a neat cache of cat kibble in the kitchen, under a sofa, in a throng of rat turds. Not grain, not beans, not bread crumbs or fruit from the basket. Kibble.

And yesterday, an enthusiastic parade of ants discovered the kibble and sent word back to the nest that the Promised Land had been found.

All of which leads me to wonder: would Iams Proactive Health Healthy Adult Original cat kibble make a good crunchy topping for a 1950s casserole in the absence of Durkee canned fried onion rings? What's in this stuff, anyway?

Well!

That would be your chicken, your chicken by-products, corn meal, corn grits, beet pulp (why not), Natural Flavor, eggs, yeast, thirty unpronounceable nutrition bombs, and rosemary extract. I've always wondered what Natural Flavor was.

Well!

That would be your essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. In other words, it's what you use if your Bark 'n' Bean Bake could use a little extra barky flavor punch. It's chemically identical to artificial flavoring but has a fancier provenance; fortunately for consumers, it costs more.

So, on to the chicken by-products. That's got to be eggs, right? No. It's any part of the chicken that people don't want to eat because they think it's offal. White people, anyway, with the possible exception of Norwegians, who probably still revere some ancestral recipe for tusk as a delicacy (as long as there's butter). Chicken feet, backs, spleen, brains, lungs, things like that there. It would also include hen's teeth, which do in fact exist and can be created by turning on a gene pathway discovered in a mutant toothy chicken, which is probably something the pet food industry wants to know about.

A lot of these things are also legally considered fit for human consumption, of course, as long as they are ground into sausage. Sausage is sort of defined as a tubular parcel of things you don't want to know about.

Speaking of things you don't want to know about--are you still here?--if you see something generically labeled "meat by-product," you might have road kill, dead zoo animals, or euthanized pets in there. I'm all for reducing waste, so now I have a new plan for my own earthly remains. Cat food. Tater won't touch it, but how bad could it be?

31 comments:

  1. I follow a vlogger who expounds on voluntary simplicity and living in a self-sustaining manner. She never buys "pet food" for her dog and cat. All the food that the kids don't finish at meals as well as various leftovers go on a special plate in the kitchen, and they're fed to the animals at the end of the day. Makes sense to me. I mean, how happy would I be with every single meal being extruded pellets?

    I feed my parrots pellets, but they also get a dish of veggies plus whatever we are eating at mealtime. Needless to say, they prefer the "people food". Since I cook real food and stay away from the processed crap, I don't have to worry about what's in their food... or my own.

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    1. We bought a small bag of doggie kibble for our dog Boomer when she was small and I do believe we were still scooping out of the same bag 17 years later. Boomer was also self-sustaining, climbed fences, and had a whole neighborhood route that included biscuits sausage and gravy. Everyone felt compelled to feed her from their own dinner because she was just that cute.

      I guarantee you, though, Tater is happy ONLY with the same extruded pellets every day.

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  2. We used to have a Siamese who was the same way. All he wanted was his dry Friskies beef flavor, and turned up his nose at anything else, including milk, cheese and fish.

    Then he discovered crab meat. Who knew he was just holding out for the good stuff?

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    1. Tater doesn't like crab either. We've tried.

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  3. I eat a meat product which is fairly popular with German based families, it's called Fritz and is a smoked sausage type of meat, large in size, sliced and served cold in sandwiches, or it can be sliced thicker and fried along with tomatoes as a breakfast food. The ingredients are pork, but mostly all the left over bits after the hams and bacons are made. A lot of people look at my sandwich with disgust and ask if I know what I am eating. "Lips and arseholes", they sneer. I tell them it is affordable protein and I'm eating in the style of my ancestors who used the entire animal with nothing being wasted. Fritz, properly made, is a little spicy and quite tasty. Google Bung Fritz and find out more if you wish.

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    1. Well golly, I don't know where you live, but growing up here on the East Coast of the US, we were raised to eat "Scrapple" -- which was basically 'every part of the pig, except for the squeal'. It was held together with some sort of mush, and unless fried up properly, the slices would look grey. Its considered a 'Southern' food, particularly when served with a splash of pancake syrup. So it sounds like the Germans and the Southerners were on to something, if at the very least, wasting not one ounce of food.

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    2. We have a similar product here (Nova Scotia, Canada) called oatmeal pudding. I guess there's probably *some* oatmeal in it, but it's basically pork leftovers made into a fat sausage. It's spicy too and very tasty.

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    3. Ed, One of our local phone company guys flew back to Philadelphia for something and he brought back a couple of pounds of scrapple for me. It was the most thoughtful gift I had been given in years. No one here in Minnesota understood.

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    4. Jeez, Jono, they eat potato klub in Minnesota--they got no room to talk. And River? I was interested until you said Bung Fritz.

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  4. One suggestion to get rid of ants, that is ecologically sound and won't hurt pets or create cancer (as talcum powder does), is cream of tartar. Our sugar ants try to enter through the back door threshold, and they won't cross a barrier of cream of tartar powder. You can get it in a pound container at Cash & Carry, so you don't have to use those expensive little containers in the spice aisle. So if you know where they are entering, you can often head them off at the pass.

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    1. I'm starting to have misgivings about this particular army of ants. They're coming in at a window, but when I go OUTSIDE I see no ants. So I'm wondering if they're in the walls somehow. It does not bear thinking about.

      I have a routine now of Windex (to instantly halt the visible ants and clean them up) followed by a tiny blob of Raid Ant Gel, which they swarm on and take back to their nests. It has worked splendidly, but this particular batch keeps coming back. Sometimes after taking a couple weeks to regroup.

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  5. Boric Acid for the ants (and any roaches), if you can find it in bulk these days.
    Since I am amazingly intolerant of rats, I suggest "Farnam Just One Bite" Rodenticide bait, in those nice secure black bait boxes. (I refresh the bait boxes periodically by donning disposable latex gloves.) I was concerned about pets around the rat poison, but research revealed that even if a dog were to eat a dead, poisoned rat, it would be safe. Not so sure about cats, though.

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    1. Bit of a worry for cats. Ditto those cockroach bait stations.

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    2. When we had the Rat Guys out to muck out our attic, they wanted to put out the bait stations too, but I held them off until I googled it. They said the same thing: no problem with secondary poisoning. But when I went to Page Two of Mr. Googles, and checked the OSU research, I discovered that that was just what the manufacturers said, and in reality the product was quite capable of harming hawks or other animals that prey on rats. So it was a big fat lie.

      We do not have cockroaches, praise Jeebus.

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  6. I wouldn't mind becoming cat food, either. As long as the cats didn't know beforehand. I wouldn't put it past them to do a taste test ahead of time. . . . Wait, maybe that's what they're doing now when they bite . . .

    Toothy chicken - seriously? I need to Google that!

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    1. You go ahead on! I'm standing by it!

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    2. That is uber cool. Here's a link for anyone else who might be interested: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mutant-chicken-grows-alli/

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  7. Sausages are known as suprise bags here for just that reason.
    And hooray for meat eaters eating the whole animal. Though if I am speaking honestly I don't eat all of every vegetable either. Some peel, but not every peel.

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    1. I haven't quite gotten the knack of getting everything eaten before it goes bad. There's always something lurking in the back of the fridge, and as the man once said, if you can't tell if it's meat or cake, throw it out.

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  8. Woman, thou cracks me slam up. With you, there are no questions that aren’t good questions, no thoughts that just sit idle. All that makes for a take on life that beats all I’ve ever seen, and I am thankful.

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    1. Why, thankee. I'm pretty sure a lot of my thoughts are idle, though. I have a little recliner up there just for them.

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  9. I count composting as using 100%. Big bones can be difficult, but you'd be amazed what a 5'2" woman can do with a 12lb hammer wanders off singing "John Henry had a little woman..."

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    1. Really? You smash bones and compost them? Hats off. We are allowed to put bones in our "Yard Debris" cans that are picked up curbside.

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  10. Feline longevity tip: variety. Feed them 3 or more different foods in separate bowls. Whatever is good but lacking in one may be in abundance in another brand. Whatever is bad for cats in one brand may be absent in another. Furthermore... Give them lots of freshly-prepared finely-chopped fish, chicken, rare steaks, and various kinds of livers. Third: some cats are so damned finicky they'll sabotage my efforts. Will eat the same damned stuff every day and nothing else.

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    1. Y'all already know what Tater allows to pass her little black lips. And if there is a healthier cat out there I haven't met it. She's around 12 now and nothing slows her down.

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  11. My cat likes only dollar store cat nibbles. Her wonderful expensive bag of cat food lies open, untouched. She'll take a taste or two of canned cat food, on occasion, but then walks away in disgust. As for human food - Yccchhhh! She catches mice, but never eats them, just leaves them around for me to take care of.

    I read her the label of her dollar store junk; "So what?" she says. "So I'll die young, but I'll die happy."

    (How come, 'way down at the very bottom of the ingredient list, after all the vitamins and preservatives and chunks of zinc, they include "dried cheese"? Would that be nano-cheese?)

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    1. I think, in cat terms , that would be NoNo cheese

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  12. Well, it must taste good to a lot of beings. Have you tried it yourself? I mean besides on a casserole.

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    1. I'm plotting to get Dave to try it. He's adventurous.

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