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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got my latest issue of Consumer reports today. I find it highly reliable, not quite a bible, but extremely helpful to me in making buying decisions, in general. Not today. One article this month is six ways to save money on pets.

Tip one is not to pay a premium for "Premium" cat or dog food. That is not what bothers me. Rather, the discussion stated that "any food you see on supermarket and pet-store shelves that's labeled 'compete and balanced,' 'total nutrition,' or '100 percent nutritious' should meet the minimum standards for nutrition set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. That indicates that it's adequate for the vast majority of healthy pets." (bold supplied).

OMG! OMG twice! Are they kidding? If there's one thing that's been drummed into my head here at the Forum, it is how critical it is to feed my Fab Four truly nutritious food, not any food that meets the minimum requirements and probably has all kinds of meat by-products and other unhealthy additives. I am so disappointed in the simplistic approach they took to this subject. They also said forget about buying pet food online, finding it 50 percent more expensive than at Target or Walmart. OK, but Target and Walmart don't sell Evo, Wellness and Weruva to my knowledge, excuse me, and I have found buying them online sometimes saves me big bucks. I do also buy from retail stores, but to trash online buying as they did is ridiculous.

The other warning they issued is to think twice before buying pet insurance. Again, fair enough, superficially, but their data that most pet owners pay more in premiums than they would had they just paid for emergencies is not at all intuitive to me. Sure, if your cat stays perfectly healthy for 20 years, maybe, but how many stories have we read here about health problems and expensive procedures? Even if this Forum attracts an unusually high number of cat owners with cat health issues, this advice seems to me to go too far. It's ok to warn people to think long and hard about it, but CR's suggestion for most people to put a few hundred dollars each year into a pet emergency fund seems highly unlikely to be followed, and thus not of much use.

It's mainly the nutrition issue that's got me steamed, though.

I would hope that one of the many members here who are knowledgable about pet food and pet health--Auntie Crazy and doodlebug are just two who come immediately to mind--might write a letter to CR telling them they are doing millions of pet owners a disservice to their pets with that advice.
 

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Now hold on. Before you work yourself into a tizzy, notice the wording. "Adequate." Not 'best', not 'healthy' or 'life extending', just 'adequate.' And that is true. Friskies is 'adequate' for keeping your cat alive long enough to enjoy.

Is that Okay in my opinion? Of course not! But I wouldn't expect miracles from sources that don't normally deal in pet food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, but....

"Adequate" as a rating for almost any of CR's rated products is in the middle or bottom third. They are dispensing advice here, to millions. Given their normally high standards, I expect more from them when they choose to venture into the world of advising on pet food choices!
 

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Well, if 'adequate' to them means middle or bottom third, then they are correct about their conclusion.
 

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Ya know, not that I agree with what a co-worker of mine was doing, but she had a cat (whom died about 2 years ago) the cat was 21 years old, and I dont know what she fed her previously to me knowing her, but ive known her for 11 years and she fed her cat Alley Cat the entire time, and she probably fed her Alley cat her entire life. To the not so cat crazy enthusiasts/owners, they would probably listen to that CR article
 

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NRD is completely right and you are completely missing the point here. The point is that millions of people read CR and LISTEN to them. With as uneducated as the public is about pet food, CR not only justifying but recommending that will never encourage anyone to learn more about what their animal is eating.
 

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I'm not entirely convinced that even if they reported that most pet food is not very healthy, that it would make a significant change in the pet food industry.
 

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I'm not entirely convinced that even if they reported that most pet food is not very healthy, that it would make a significant change in the pet food industry.
I don't think the goal should really be to make a significant change in the pet food industry by writing one article. That is unrealistic, but if the article brought to light the real issues with commercial pet food, more consumers would want to find out about better choices. That is when the significant change would come in.

If more pet owners were aware that the food they buy at the supermarket is crap, then they might want to change that. I believe this is what happened with each and everyone one of us here at the forum. We weren't born knowing that the average food was unhealthy, we had to be educated and then were inspired to change? You follow?

Most people are easily swayed by the marketing gimmicks and frankly, who can blame them? The ads look convincing enough. The cats look healthy and everyone LOVES the quick and easy fix. This is also why the diet aid industry is so huge. Is it realistic to believe that one little pill or supplement can make us skinny if you weight 300 lbs? So yes, it would be grand if a magazine like CR would responsibly report on this issue as they do with cars, computers, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't think the goal should really be to make a significant change in the pet food industry by writing one article. That is unrealistic, but if the article brought to light the real issues with commercial pet food, more consumers would want to find out about better choices. That is when the significant change would come in.

Most people are easily swayed by the marketing gimmicks and frankly, who can blame them? The ads look convincing enough. The cats look healthy and everyone LOVES the quick and easy fix. This is also why the diet aid industry is so huge. Is it realistic to believe that one little pill or supplement can make us skinny if you weight 300 lbs? So yes, it would be grand if a magazine like CR would responsibly report on this issue as they do with cars, computers, etc.
Yes, dweamgoil and Sinatra-Butters, that was exactly my point. CR prides itself in, and has made its reputation by, educating consumers and exposing marketing for what it is. Here's a case, however, where they appear to have done no research whatsoever apart from the narrow issue on which they were focusing, and blindly, and blithely, give advice that educated pet owners know to be highly misleading at best and unhealthy at worst. It stands out in contrast to the way they report on cars, TVs, washing machines, etc.

So rather than complain about it, I'm suggesting one of the more educated members of this Forum write a letter to the editor. Indeed, one informative article by CR about the pet food industry wouldn't change the habits of the pet food industry, but I'll bet it would change the habits of thousands of pet owners! Just one article.
 

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Indeed, one informative article by CR about the pet food industry wouldn't change the habits of the pet food industry, but I'll bet it would change the habits of thousands of pet owners! Just one article.
I agree. Pet food, like everything, works by supply and demand. If consumers are continuously educated by what they consider to be a reliable source (CR) and they stop buying garbage grocery store brands I think those companies will start to introduce higher quality products.

Grocery store junk food will never disappear, there are too many people who just don't care or simply can not afford anything other than that stuff but companies will want to profit from a wave of people who want good healthy food for their cats.
 

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I can't add much to what Becky and others have said about the food aspect, so I'll comment on the insurance. Obviously, total premiums exceed total vet bills paid by insurance companies. If they didn’t, then the insurance companies would operate at a loss. Since premiums exceed vet bills in total then, by definition, the same is true “on average” for the customers. So, in that sense, Consumer Reports is correct.

However, the real issue is that the insurance company benefits from diversification, whereas each individual customer does not. If you don’t insure, then chances are you’ll save money in the long run, but there’s still a chance that you’ll be one of the unfortunate few who will face a large bill in the future…and setting aside money every month does nothing to eliminate that risk.

Put simply, if you have the financial ability to pay a large vet bill if and when it ever arises, then you shouldn’t bother with insurance, since there’s a much higher probability you’ll save money in the long run…and if the large bill arises, well tough, just pay the bill and chalk it up to bad luck. On the other hand, if that potential large bill would break your bank, then you’re better off with insurance, since you avoid the risk of being put in a position where you are forced to have your pet put down because you can’t afford the vet costs.
 
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