Cricket Cat Food – The Next Big Thing?

Is cricket cat food the next big thing?
Could crickets replace meat
as a protein source in cat food?

Okay,
so cats eat bugs all the time. If you were a cat, you’d probably love
nothing more than chowing down on a freshly-caught fly or cricket.
Eeeuuu…

But Tarique Arsiwalla, a co-founder of Protix
Biosystems, a company that markets insects as “the next protein
commodity,” is hoping we humans will overcome the yuck factor and
consider food made of bugs for our cats. Are you ready for ground up
crickets in a can? EEEuuuu…

Arsiwalla will be one of the
presenters at the 2015 Petfood Forum Europe in June. His topic:
insect-based ingredients in cat and dog food. Ugh…
But
while just the thought may give you the creepy crawlies, pet food made
from insects might be in our cats’ not-so-distant future. Although our
planet could probably sustain an infinite number of bugs, that’s not
true of the animals who become food for us and our dogs and cats.


Are We Running Out Of Food?

As
the world population of humans and companion animals continues to grow,
the currently available supply of protein won’t be able to keep up with
the demand, Petfood Industry editor-in-chief Debbie Phillips-Donaldson says in her blog.
But
no matter how hard we try to eradicate them, insects are always in
abundant supply. And they’re far more efficient in food conversion than
farm animals are.


Writing for his PetMD blog,
veterinarian Ken Tudor says crickets require only a half pound of food
to produce one pound of body weight, while It takes 20 pounds of grain
to produce a pound of beef, 10 pounds to produce a pound of pork and
five pounds to produce a pound of fish or chicken.



Eighty
percent of a cricket’s body is edible compared to only 55 percent of the
body of poultry and pork and 40 percent of the body of cattle, Tudor
says. And “insects,
particularly mealworms, provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids that
are comparable to the amounts found in meat and fish.” Mealworms?
Eeeeuuu…



In his blog, Tudor notes that nearly
one-third of the world’s human population includes insects as part of
the daily diet. And the owners of small reptiles and some birds already
feed insects to their pets.



But cats’ nutritional needs are much different from reptiles’ and birds’,
and I wonder if insects would be an appropriate source of protein for
our obligate carnivores, who need meat from animal sources to be
healthy.



I’m all for sustainability, and I don’t eat meat
myself. But for my cats, I think I’ll pass on the next big thing and
continue giving them food that contains meat. If they crave crickets,
they can catch them themselves. It’s probably the thrill of the hunt
that makes them taste so good, and I imagine they’d be less appealing if
they came out of a can.



Could you overcome the yuck factor and
feed your cats insect-based food? I’d love to know, so feel free to
post your comments below.


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8 comments

    • Missy Zane - Reply

      Glad you liked it. This is becoming a very hot topic among pet food manufacturers, so it's something to watch if you're a pet blogger.

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