As I've mentioned before, probably far too much for some, I make my cats' food. I buy meat from the grocery store, grind the meat, grind poultry bones, and add supplements, so I have total control over the making and mixing of the food. With cats with multiple dietary issues, this has solved most of their problems.
But I don't control what goes into the meat while the animal it comes from is still alive.
Honestly, I never expected that I would have to be concerned with what the cow was fed before it became steak. My expectations and reality seem to be different now.
Robbie has allergies and intolerances to poultry and canned food. So, he gets raw pork, beef, lamb, etc. He still scratches some, but not as much, and I had assumed this was from environmental allergens. And then I ran out of beef. In an effort to clean out my freezer, I pulled 3 pounds of buffalo out to make his food. Well, even discounted, it's $6 per pound so he gets it and mostly no one else does, so it lasts a week or more.
And then it struck me -- he was barely scratching!
That got me thinking what the difference was between beef and buffalo. I know cattle and buffalo are genetically similar because they can interbreed. Thus, I assume the actual protein structures are very similar. So it had to be something else and the only thing I can think of is how the animals are raised.
Beef predominately is raised in large feed lots. Because of the crowding and because of the desire to get them to market weight as soon as possible, most cattle are given a variety of antibiotics and growth hormones. Also, one of the main feeds for the cattle is corn, which may or may not be GMO corn.
Buffalo on the other hand are grass fed without added antibiotics or hormones.
I wonder if Robbie is very sensitive to the traces of antibiotics, hormones, and/or "corn" in the normal beef? Would he stop scratching on organic grass fed beef? Is this why he's marginally better on lamb, since a lamb is exposed to less of this? Is this why when I buy venison and feed it to him every other meal he seems a bit better?
For now, Robbie will get buffalo, venison, and rabbit. After a month or so, I may try the organic beef.
It's things like this that make me stop and wonder. How safe is the normal food we buy in a grocery store? I understand Robbie's body is much smaller than a human's so the effects are easier to see, but still. Makes me glad I'm a vegetarian.