Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that cats must eat meat to meet their nutritional needs. Some people will point out how cats can consume plant matter. However, cats can’t process that plant matter in the same manner as either herbivores, omnivores, or even other carnivores that are less reliant on meat. For proof, look no further than the fact that they have a very short digestive tract relative to their size, which is a sure sign of a carnivore because their plant-eating counterparts need the longer digestive tracts to provide them with more time in which to digest plant matter. On top of this, there are a number of vitamins and other nutrients that cats just can’t get from anything other than by eating meat because their species has long since lost the ability to make them using other sources.
What Does Being an Obligate Carnivore Mean Cost-wise?
Unfortunately, the fact that cats are obligate carnivores makes feeding them an issue for people who are concerned about sustainable living. After all, raising carnivores consumes more resources than raising their plant-eating counterparts for the simple reason that carnivores eat herbivores. As a result, whenever a carnivore is eating meat, it is using up the resources spent to grow that meat as well as the resources spent to keep the herbivore capable of growing that meat. Of course, eliminating cats isn’t the right solution to the problem of inefficient cats anymore than eliminating humans would be the right solution to the problem of inefficient humans. Instead, it is best to come up with various ways to minimize the resource consumption of cats without sacrificing their well-being in the process. One example of these methods would be feeding cats using cat food made from insects rather than more resource-intensive animals.
Why Are Some Scientists Suggesting to Feed Insects to Cats?
Overall, raising insects for food is considered to be a superior choice when compared to raising more conventional species for food for a number of reasons. For example, most people consider factory farming to be a horrific practice, but it continues on because it produces more meat with less cost than less intensive methods. However, the issues of factory farming aren’t a problem with raising insects because it is natural for a lot of insect species to live in large numbers in close confines. As a result, they don’t get stressed out by being forced into small spaces. Furthermore, they don’t have higher chances of contracting infectious diseases when living under such conditions, which is important because those mean higher costs plus reduced productivity.
Likewise, harvesting insects is much more efficient and much more humane than harvesting more conventional species. This is because the one method that sees the most use in the present time in industrial settings involves turning down the thermostat to freezing temperatures, which causes the insects to enter into a state of sleep from which they will never wake. Due to this, there is very little fuss to the whole process. Better still, it comes with a neat bonus in that it is believed that the process causes less pain than conventional slaughter, though our understanding of the pain response in insects is incomplete enough that more research on the matter would be very helpful.
Regardless, the important point is that raising insects for food produces more protein while using up fewer resources as well as putting out fewer harmful pollutants when compared to raising more conventional species for the same purpose. As such, it is no wonder that scientists and other interested parties are now seeking to convince a wider range of cultures to start eating insects on a regular basis, particularly when one considers the sense of urgency that they must be feeling. After all, even without consideing how the effects of climate change are becoming clearer and clearer, it should be mentioned that solutions are sorely needed because the world as a whole is expected to continue eating more and more meat for some time to come.
What Are Some Other Issues to Keep in Mind?
With that said, there is still the issue of convincing people to make the switch when it comes to them as well as when it comes to their pets. There are already plenty of places where people eat insects on a regular basis. However, the developed countries of the west are not counted among them.
Fortunately, what people consider to be gross isn’t 100 percent set on stone. After all, interested individuals can find plenty of stories about how people’s opinions of various foods have changed over time thanks to various factors. One excellent example would be lobster, which was once so despised that people used it as fertilizer as well as fish bait rather than eat it on their own. Eventually, that changed when people living in the interior of the United States developed a taste for canned lobster, which in turn, combined with the increased interconnectedness of the country thanks to the new railways to bring about a rise in interest in the fresh stuff.
Naturally, there are various parties working to change the culinary perception of insects in the west. In the past, a lot of this effort was focused on the pragmatic benefits of eating insects, which hasn’t produced the kind of success that they would have liked. Something that is perhaps unsurprising considering how bad we are at choosing long-term benefit over short-term gratification. As a result, there is now a rising sentiment that the interested parties should be pushing for insects to become the trendy dining option rather than the sensible dining option, which might be a bit scummy but nonetheless sounds much more workable.
Hopefully, something similar will happen when it comes to cat food. People tend to be less choosy about what they will feed their cats compared to what they will feed themselves, but the habitual aversion to eating insects is still something that will have to be overcome in this case. As a result, the sooner that interested parties get started, the sooner that they can start making progress with their desired goals.