Cats Over-fishing? Give me a Break!Published September 12, 2008
What cat doesn’t relish a fishy snack? Many of our felines enjoy fish-themed meals, straight from the can. And my kitty Seren drools after the koi but probably wouldn’t have a clue what to do if one answered her prayers and leaped out of the tank at her feet. But now Australian scientists point fingers at cats, blaming our pets for a reduction in world fish supplies. Are they serious? Calculations by Deakin University researchers show an estimated 2.48 million tons of forage fish are used each year by the global cat food industry. In the US, more than 1.1 million tons of small forage fish, including sardines, herrings and anchovies, go into cat food. Across Europe the figure is close to 870,000 tons, while almost 34,000 tons are imported into Australia each year for kitty dinners. Fish nutrition researcher Giovanni Turchini believes the study shows Australian pet cats eat better than their owners, because the kitties imbibe 13.7 kilograms of fish each year compared to humans who consume on average 11 kilograms of fish and seafood. Now wait just a minute there! How many humans eat krill? And does your cat slurp down lobster and trout? I can’t speak to the Australian gourmet sensibility, but in my house I’m not a huge fan of anchovies and sardines. And Seren could care less about shrimp. Could it be that humans eat less fish and seafood because it’s (wait for it…) more expensive?! Turchini wants more research to see how much of the fish in cat food could be replaced by fish offal and other meat by-products. "I think giving a nice chunk of fish to a pet is important to satisfy the personal hedonistic needs of the owner, not the nutritional need of the cat," he said. "Cats will be very happy to eat the offal from a trout." I’ve a feeling if that ever happens, there’ll be a lot of Australian kitties immigrating to a more fish-friendly environment.
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