Over the years, I’ve owned five cats. Each lived long lives on a steady diet of Meow Mix. The only exception was when daughter Laine’s cat Figgy went into renal failure at age 13. He was put on a special food that cost a million dollars a day, which he enjoyed for two weeks before he died.
Indy—our son Harrison’s cat—lived to be 150 years old eating Meow Mix and whatever critters she would scavenge.
When Little Mister came into our lives eleven summers ago, I figured what was good for the others was good for him, too. However, for the past year, an increasing number of hairballs have been hacked about the house. Maybe it was time to upgrade his diet.
A month ago, I went to Fort Bragg Feed and Pet to buy Lucy her gourmet dog food. What about Little Mister? asked the voice of my conscience. Lucy’s nuclear Catahoula puppy energy has probably given him an ulcer.
I wandered the cat food isle and found Science Diet Age Defying cat food for Senior 11+. The writing on the package claims: “Precisely balanced, easy-to-digest nutrition to fight 4 important signs of aging in 30 days.” Maybe my husband Gary and I should also eat it.
I bought the food, eager to help Little Mister defy aging. Returning home, I filled his bowl, and he started gobbling it. (I wish this could be a testimonial to Science Diet, but he also enjoys eating gophers and rats.)
What exactly are the “4 important signs of aging,” I wondered. The writing on the Science Diet Senior 11+ bag isn’t very clear. One bullet point states: “Defends the body and brain against aging.” What does that mean? Will my cat lose his flabby tummy? Will eating this food stop him from hallucinating that my legs are monsters that must be attacked?
The bag also states: “Nutrition to improve skin & coat in 30 days*.” The * makes reference to “vs. previously fed U.S. grocery foods.” Does this mean that European grocery foods might be on par with Science Diet or even superior? Since Little Mister refuses to travel abroad, I won’t be able to contrive an experiment to measure this claim.
“Supports long-term heart & vital organ health.” At the age of 11+, is long-term considered 30 days? And how am I supposed to determine if Little Mister’s heart and vital organ health has improved when I’m not certain it was compromised in the first place?
I searched the back of the bag hoping to gain additional insight.
Under the banner of “The Precisely Balanced Benefits of Age Defying” there’s a claim that I found especially intriguing: “Precisely balanced nutrition…to fight litter box accidents….”
What, pray tell, is a litter box accident? I’ve never been fond of litter boxes, but now that I know they can cause accidents, I’m even less so. Little Mister has never had one. He’s exposed to enough danger fighting off cats who attempt to overthrow his hold on the vacant lot next door. He must also be highly vigilant to avoid Lucy’s attentions. I won’t add the potential of litter box accidents to his already hazardous life.
Thirty days have passed and I’ve discovered:
Before starting this diet, Little Mister could barely do one crunch. He’s now up to almost five before viciously attacking me. His brain function also seems to have improved. When he sees me coming at exercise time, he turns and runs like a cheetah. This food has defended him well against his aging body and brain.
The claim Science Diet makes that this food is made of “natural ingredients & high-quality proteins with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in a smaller kibble that is easy to chew & digest” appears to be true.
I’m happy to report that in the past month, I’ve only discovered two hairballs and not one pile of puke. (Those of you with elderly cats know this is a true miracle.)
Since I don’t own a stethoscope or MRI machine, I cannot prove the Science Diet claim that this food “Supports long-term heart & vital organ health.” After 30 days, Little Mister is still alive. We’ll consider that success.