Traverse City Record-Eagle


What the cats eat here, not there

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceWhat people eat tells you a lot about their culture, but is the same to be said about what their pets eat?

For the past five years, I’ve been spending Christmas holidays as well as other weeks, taking care of three cats.  They live, with their owners, just outside the village of Roussillon

The cats get fed a packet of semi moist food sprinkled with some hard kibble morning and evening.

The owners are away for a month, so there’s a substantial supply of cat food on hand.   Three cats x one packet of food each x twice daily feeding = six packets a day.  This time the owners are away for 29 days.  That’s a lot of food.

The other day, I was rummaging through the stash.  I’ve always been somewhat intrigued by the various menu items for cats here in France.  The current box contains the following selections: turkey with carrots, duck with green beans, chicken with peas, and poultry à la tomate.  Hummm, I guess the poultry one means that they scoop up all of the leftover pieces of the turkey, duck, and chicken and mix them together.

Another packet that I’m sure would not show up on our stateside shelves is rabbit with liver.  I guess that means the rabbit’s liver, but not sure.  This is getting to be more and more intriguing.  Let’s see:  beef with tomato, chicken with carrots (okay, that’s a switch from chicken with peas).  Then duck again, but this time with spinach.  Spinach?  Cats eat spinach!  And here’s one I seriously doubt would appear on the shelves in Traverse City:  Lamb with the flavor of wild game.

Hey, I know that cats are basically carnivores, but where’s the fish?  Farther down in the bag I found another box.  This one had cod, salmon, tuna and plaice.  Plaice?  I had to go to Wikipedia on that one. Basically a European flat fish.   What no veggies with the fish?!  That’s odd.

In addition to the variety of food fare, each packet is labeled in several languages.  Some have more languages than others.  Interestingly, these are all sold under the Purina brand and the label of Felix, who is hugely popular here.

I’m sure you get the idea by now.  It does leave one to wonder if the cats really care.  How much variety can there be in a bunch of chopped up food and gravy? Oh, I can hear it now, the stories of finicky cat appetites.  I should know better since the three cats I’ve owned have very distinct food preferences.  But, duck vs. chicken?  Or lamb vs. beef?  I’m sure it’s all in the marketing and since the cats do not do the shopping, I guess we know the marketing strategies on this one.

The three cats currently under my care are a lot of fun.  There’s a gray tiger, a female named Frankie.  Frankie spends most of her time out of doors and is pretty much the independent one.  That said, she’s quickly glommed onto my favorite shawl and I usually find her sleeping there.

Next comes Ellie.  Her paperwork says “blue tabby.”  She’s sweet and somewhat shy.  She likes to be brushed, which is a good thing, because does she have fur!  Wow!  She and Frankie just barely tolerate each other.  Must be a girl thing.

Ellie’s best buddy is the third and only male in the trio, Sebastian.  Sebastian, aka Sebby, is a short-haired white cat.  He reminds me of my own Snowy, who went to the great catnip field in the sky about a year ago.  Sebby is affectionate, in his own way.  He allows me to share a bed with him most nights.

All three cats are indoor/outdoor, thus eliminating the need for litter boxes.  They go in and out through the cat flap on the kitchen  door. Indoors, or out, you can be sure that they all show up at feeding time.




  • Cathy Stripe Lester

    I’m sure the flavors are designed to appeal to the humans. In the UK I used to get a brand of cat food that has since gone out of business — when I opened it I thought it smelled absolutely gross, but my cat went crazy over it. However, I’m sure enough cat owners were put off by the smell so it didn’t sell…

  • Jo Anne

    It does make you wonder a little when you read the ingredients.  

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