27th December, 2004 Cats don't like swimming, so why feed them fish? -

Dear Sir,

Have you ever had one of those “What the...!” moments? One of those moments where the brain sort of blows a tyre and careers off into the bushes. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and look around. You are in totally new territory, everything looks different from the different angle.

It happened to me recently. I was lying on the couch, digesting Christmas lunch and for some reason, possibly for no reason, the following thought tumbled through the bushes of my mind and stopped, some what embarrassed, in a clearing:

The cat is not the natural enemy of the tuna.

So why do we feed tuna to cats? This was the obvious question. I started having images of cats in sou'westers rowing longboats but it was unconvincing. Then, as is often the case, a tangent took me elsewhere on the cat food menu and I found myself grappling with the notion of a cat hunting down some beef. The image I was left with was with a cow grazing serenely in a green field, semi-oblivious to a cat wrapped around its right rear ankle, every so often lifting its leg to give it a shake to dislodge the cat. Undaunted, muddied and bloodied, the cat leaps back on.

So why do we make cat food from things that a cat would never dream of hunting au natural? I include peas and carrots in this list, by the way. Why don't you make cat food from the things that cats seem to like: mice, rats, small possums, the occasional small bird, the neighbour's guinea pigs?

Yours in need of help,

J Cosmo Newbery.

Out of interest and holiday mischief, I have sent this to three different catfood manufacturers.

Reply #1, from the makers of Dine:“Thank you for contacting us recently, with your idea for DINE pet food. We appreciate our customers taking the time to contact us with their ideas, as it shows you are as interested in your pet's happiness as we are.”