What We Learned From Cats

In the 1950’s a medical doctor named Francis Pottenger, Jr. was conducting research into the endocrine (hormonal) systems of cats in an attempt to standardize dosages of hormones needed to sustain their lives.

The cats in the study were being fed a seemingly healthy diet of raw milk, cod liver oil, and cooked meat scraps of liver, muscle, and other organs.  Organ meat contains the highest quality nutrition. Cats are strict carnivores (meat eaters) so this diet was considered to be the best for them. However, the cats were not thriving and more cats had to be added to the research, straining the food budget. Dr. Pottenger ordered raw scraps of meat from a local meat plant.

The raw scraps were fed to one of the animal groups. In very short order Dr. Pottenger and his research assistants noticed that the kittens born to the mother cats being fed the raw meat were friskier and better formed than the cooked meat group.

The teeth, skeletal formation, and tone of the musculature of the raw meat group were superior to the cooked meat group. Dr. Pottenger became so interested in the evidence of nutritional superiority of the raw meat group that he began to document his findings and his famous “Cat Study” was begun.

Although Dr. Pottenger never said that cats were exactly like humans, the evidence of the importance of the quality of nutrients in physical health is too startling to be ignored. The vitamins, minerals, and protein quality of the raw meat were clearly of much greater benefit than the cooked meat.

What this says for human health is that paying attention to the source of the nutrients may be vitally important. It is pretty easy to figure out that a well-done hamburger from a fast-food chain might be of inferior nutritional quality to a hamburger from a higher end restaurant. But how about a hamburger from a fully grass-fed cow cooked rare or even served raw? Restaurants used to serve raw meat as “Steak tartare” often.  The Tatars were a warring tribe and legend has it that they did not stop to cook their meat, but preserved it under their saddles as they rode. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/60315/original-steak-tartare/

Some of the healthiest cultures in the world have eaten raw animal products. Sushi is a prime example. African tribes have been known to drink the blood of their herd animals for a meal. Native Americans cut the hearts from animals killed in hunts and served them up to the warriors of the tribes.

Perhaps one of the reasons red meat has gotten a bad rap is because we so often eat it cooked to the point of protein-death, and eat far too much at a time to be able to digest it.

If you do indulge in raw animal foods, you may have a higher number of parasites, since little critters like sushi, too. Strong stomach acid, herbal preparations, and avoiding sugar and processed foods can all help keep down the population of hitch-hikers, but everyone has some in their body. You just want to keep them from getting out of control. So, cleanses, probiotics, and herbal preparations should be part of your regular health regimen. You change the oil in your car, and doing a cleanse is just as important.

Nature does not demand that foods be cooked or processed to be nutritional. Our modern diet of processed and chemical foods is too far from a natural state to maintain the kind of robust health that makes life fun and a body disease-resistant.

Even if the idea of raw meat does not appeal, take a cue from Dr. Pottenger’s kitties and include raw foods every day. Vegetables and fruits, unrefined oils, and raw cheese are all good choices. Even raw honey has benefits, as long as it is used in moderation because of the natural sugar.

Live cells need living food. In Nature, big cats are always sleek and svelte. It is only when domesticated cats eat commercial food that they get chubby and develop Diabetes.  So we can learn something from our feline friends. Play a lot, sleep a lot, and eat plenty of raw foods. Purrrrfect!