Covid supply issues affecting cat food, ‘picky’ felines

Thanks to Covid-19, cat lovers are having a hard time getting their feline’s favorite food.

Because it’s imported, some supermarket shelves are empty of cat food due to Covid-related supply issues.

Wattie’s said demand for cat food in particular was up almost 20% compared to the same period last year.

Steph Redhill of the 9 Lives Orphanage says they struggle with a lot of their usual foods and items that they try to keep as regular foods.

“We’re struggling with the basics at this stage. Even things like the Chef sachets for example. There are a lot of supermarkets that aren’t able to stock it now so we have to look at other options” , she said. noted.

“Changing food on them in the short term can cause gastric upset and potentially even behavioral changes because the animal is not feeling well.

“It’s important for us if we can keep things as consistent as possible.”

Samantha Salmond of Remuera Vets said she struggles to provide food for cats with diabetes or kidney and urinary problems.

Cat owners also have problems. Debbie Eagle said she had to turn to treats such as Temptations to soothe her picky felines.

Breanna Barraclough’s cat, Ellie, normally gets a mix of two different brands.

“When they’re both out, that’s when I start to worry a bit. It means I’m running around town trying to find her food because you have to do what the cat wants.”

Dr Stacey Tremain of The Pet Vet in Rotorua said trying to get your hands on a cat’s usual food is real stressful. He said that Breakfast’s cats are picky and people don’t imagine it.

“You know that look, when they look at you, they look at the food, and they do it five times and walk away. It’s actually evolutionary because cats have developed neophobia or a fear of new things because their range of what they can eat and their range of tastes is so narrow,” he explained.

“The danger of eating something they shouldn’t possibly cause an upset stomach in nature, which puts you at risk. It’s restlessness, but there’s a pretty good evolutionary reason One of the things that sort of puts them in this position, they only have 440 to 470 taste buds, we have over 5000. Again, this restriction of their tastes is pretty narrow.

“The other thing is they don’t have genes that code for anything sweet. They’re hyper-sensitive to bitter things, so we can’t get close to that end of the spectrum either, so we’re stuck right in the middle. It’s a rock and hard place unfortunately.”

Tremain said exposing a cat to just one source of protein, like chicken or fish, is a bit addictive.

“You want to vary those proteins. The other thing we have to remember with cats in particular is that they are obligate carnivores, which is just a quick way of saying they don’t. only need protein and fat.”

He had the following “tips” for cat lovers to help their cats transition to a new brand or diet:

– Temptations can be crumbled and used as a “tasting powder” on the new food

– Make sure if there is more than one cat in a household to separate their feeding areas

– Make sure a cat’s food dish is not next to their water bowl

– Make sure a cat’s food and water are at least 2 meters away from their litter box

– Feed them on a higher surface. They feel safer

– Choose a new brand that has a protein to fat content of about 2 to 1. The energy content cats get from protein should be the same as fat. Fat contains twice as much energy, so 2 to 1

– Feed a cat new foods in small amounts – several “snacks” five or six times a day if you can. Be sure to pick up the dish if they don’t eat it. Introducing a new food slowly reduces the risk of diarrhea

“It’s tough. I’m a vet, I find it tough,” Tremain said.


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