Black fly larvae cat food? Ugh… But disgusting as it sounds to us, pet food manufacturers are eyeing it as a sustainable, high protein ingredient to add to our cats’ diets.
It’s already passed the taste test in one study.
And as unappealing as the thought is to us, insects may be the next big thing in cat food ingredients.
Black Fly Larvae Cat Food: It’s All About Sustainability
Look at it this way. While our planet could probably sustain an infinite number of bugs, that’s not true of the animals who provide food for us and our cats and dogs.
There was a time when pet food was inherently sustainable because it used the leftovers from human meat processing. But many cat food buyers have different standards these days. They want their cats’ food to be of the same quality as theirs. To meet the growing demand for “organic” and “natural” food, the pet food industry purchases over 16.5 billion pounds of meat, poultry, seafood and grains to feed our animal companions.
The jury — or in this case, the Association of American Feed Control Officials — is still out on the nutritional value of insects as an ingredient in cat food. But writing for his PetMD blog, veterinarian Ken Tudor suggests crickets could become a nutritious ingredient for cat food.
Eighty percent of a cricket’s body is edible compared to only 55 percent of the bodies of poultry and pork and 40 percent of the bodies of cattle, Tudor says. And “insects, particularly meal worms, provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are comparable to the amounts found in meat and fish.”
Could be. But I could be a very hard sell when it comes to feeding my obligate carnivores food that uses black fly larvae or crickets as a protein source. While I’m willing to do my part for sustainability by not eating or wearing any animal products at all, I’d want to see a lot more research before transitioning my cats to insect-based food.
And then there’s the yuck factor. Feeding our cats food that contains factory-produced black fly larvae might be too much of a stretch for many of us. It certainly would be for me. If my cats want to eat flies, they can catch them themselves. They’re actually very good at that. And catching a fly and then eating it is a lot more rewarding than chowing down on insects that came out of a can.
Read more about insect-based and sustainable cat food.