If it moves, it dies.
By JIM ALABASTRO
CAT lovers will naturally gravitate toward Neko Atsume, an addictive game available free for Android and IOS devices.
The object of the game is simple enough: get cats to visit your home by setting out food and toys for them. In this strange universe, the cats say thanks by leaving you silver or gold sardines, with which you can buy more food and toys for them.
When you’re starting out, it’s easy enough. Just offer some free cat food (Thrifty Bitz) and photograph the felines that visit. In this way, you’ll gradually fill up your cat album. But there are almost 50 cats to collect, and some of them are choosy in terms of what they will eat and the toys they like. Once you’ve accumulated enough sardines, you can buy the fancier foods (Frisky Bitz, Ritzy Bitz, Bonito Bitz, Deluxe Tuna Bitz, and Sashimi) to attract the rare cats. You can also buy toys that appeal to them. For example, Conductor Whiskers obviously goes for the Cardboard Choo-choo.
If you’d like to speed up your quest for those rare cats, here is what we know about their toy preferences. Generally, all of them like the more expensive foods.
* Joe DiMeowgio likes the Baseball.
* Senor Don Gato likes the Mister Mouse.
* Xerexes IX will only go on the Zanzibar Cushion. Hang on to the cushion even after you’ve taken his photo. He’s a big tipper.
* Chairman Meow likes the Earthenware Pot.
* Saint Purtrick likes the Silk Crepe Pillow.
* Ms. Fortune likes the Cardboard House.
* Bob the Cat will go to the top of a Cat Metropolis.
* Conductor Whiskers needs the Cardboard Choo-choo to be happy.
* Mr. Meowgi loves the Scratching Log.
* Lady Meow-Meow gravitates towards the Luxurious Hammock
* Guy Furry loves the Heating Stove.
* Kathmandu likes the Lacquered Bowl.
* Ramses the Great likes the Tent (Pyramid). Strangely enough, he is said to like anything but sashimi.
* Sassy Fran likes to occupy the Cardboard Cafe.
* Billy the Kitten, of course, needs his Cowboy Hat.
* Frosty likes any of the cushions or the Bureau with Pot.
That’s about it. Good luck with your cat collecting!
By ALMA J. BUELVA
A startup dog food company, Escuin Pet Food Manufacturing, is making a strong pitch for raw feeding with its fresh line of frozen uncooked meat with vegetables and dog treats made from natural ingredients.
Its brand, Natural Goodness Real Food for Dogs, hit the ground running at the start of the year with two ready-to-serve raw dog meals (chicken or beef) and three varieties of dog chews – pumpkin biscuits, chicken strips and sweet potato chips.
Necessity is the mother of invention and for Donna Escuin, a self-taught canine nutrition expert, she built Natural Goodness from the ground up to save her little dog Audrey from obesity due to unhealthy diet.
Back in 2012, Audrey, a Pomeranian that should ideally weigh 2kgs max, tipped the scales at 4kgs. For a year, Audrey would see a vet every three weeks for check-ups and x-ray tests. As the dog got heavier, Donna's purse got lighter.
Fast forward to 2016, Donna not only got her dog healthy again after putting her on a natural diet, she also left the corporate world for the kitchen where she developed her first batch of Natural Goodness products that are “homemade, human grade dog food that the consumers can trust,” she said.
Aside from ground meat of fresh raw chicken or beef, every pack of frozen Natural Goodness Real Food for Dogs contains nutritious and calcium rich meaty bones such as necks, wings, and backs for chicken and ribs, necks, tail for beef. It also contains organ meats like liver and muscle meat such as thighs, tenderloin and hearts. For added nutrition and flavor, a cooled slow-cooked vegetable stew is added to the mix along with fresh eggs, virgin coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, turmeric and malunggay.
“We have four resident testers (two Pomeranians, an Aspin, and a cross-breed) plus dogs of breeder friends who tried our products and they loved them,” said Donna.
A 2-kilo bag of frozen chicken doggie food costs P570, and P710 for beef. Donna gives discounts for bulk orders.
For treats, Natural Goodness' sweet potato chips (with malunggay flakes) and pumpkin biscuits are both priced P120 each for a small bag, and P370 each for a big bag.
A small pack of chicken strips costs P150 while the big pack sells for P450.
The raw meals can be frozen for four months from manufacturing date, while the treats are good for one month when kept in room temperature not exceeding 30ºC, and two months in a refrigerator. She also keeps her products fresh by preparing them based on demand. Most of her initial customers are dog breeders.
Donna arranges meet-ups at BF Homes Parañaque with customers who order the frozen doggie food. The treats, however, can be delivered to customers from Metro Manila for a minimum P60 shipping fee.
A popular local online pet store is interested to carry Natural Goodness products, said Donna, adding that supplying to other retailer pet stores later may be the way to go to give her more time to focus on product development and marketing.
WHAT'S (not) COOKIN'?
With Natural Goodness now in the market, Donna plans to enroll herself in an online course in Australia to formalize her education in canine nutrition to boost her and her products' credibility.
To date, she has relied on her own intensive self-study on raw feeding and advice from veterinarians to come up with her own carefully balanced dog food close to the “natural prey model” of eating that is intrinsic in every dog.
“I came to fall in love with the Biologically Appropriate Feeding method...I kept sharing my recipes in groups on Facebook. The only thing that saddened me was too many people I talked to would say they could not continue the diet because it was too much work. So, in my head I was like, okay I'll do it then,” said Donna.
She believes raw feeding is gaining traction among local pet owners though misconceptions such as how bones will choke dogs or raw meat will turn them into blood-hunting monsters continue to dissuade others from trying it.
Raw feeding advocates like her believe that switching a dog's diet of kibbles to raw food should be second nature.
“All dogs are designed to consume raw so it should be natural for them to love this diet. However, when a dog is too accustomed to over processed kibbles or canned food, it may find it strange at first. If you are feeding cooked, try mixing some raw little by little. However it is not recommended to mix raw to a kibble because these two foods require a different level of acid to be digested and may confuse the dog's digestive system which may lead to upset stomach,” said Donna.
The suggested amount of raw feeding is 3 percent of the dog's ideal weight, but Donna said it is best for a dog owner to first seek a veterinarian's expert opinion before changing a dog's diet and for how much more or less.
“Feeding dogs raw food can start with one meal once a week. One natural meal a week is better than nothing,” she added.
Meanwhile, she plans to move Natural Goodness' kitchen out of her house in the coming months and to open a Natural Goodness store next year.
“We are a very small company—so small that the owner who answers the emails also does the cooking, packing and arranging shipping and meet ups,” Donna revealed.
But she's not complaining because advocating raw feeding and offering alternative dog food is what she really wanted to do ever since she saw how it helped improve her dog Audrey's health.
“I decided to go into this business to spread awareness and knowledge. To be able to offer much better option for pet owners to better care for their loved ones. If there are any Audreys out there suffering, I hope to help them through our product,” said Donna.
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RESEARCHERS in Chapman University in Orange, California in October 2014 discovered that a lot of commercial dog and cat food are being mislabeled based on their DNA analysis of food samples.
The tests, which were initially conducted to find out if horse meat was being used in pet foods, showed that of the 52 food samples almost 40 percent had a meat, usually pork, that was not listed on the label. While 31 have been labeled correctly, 20 were mislabeled and one with an unidentifiable meat substance.
TODAY interviewed assistant professor Rosalee Hellberg, co-author of the study, who said some products even claim to have beef as a number one ingredient but had no no beef in the product at all. Hellberg said the issue of mislabeling occurs less in wet pet food.
Giving manufacturers and resellers the benefit of the doubt, the researchers claim the mislabeling could be either accidental or intentional. Still, Hellberg said it could be a form of economic fraud considering the billions of money people spend on pet food every year. In addition, the mislabeling of pet foods could have dire consequences to a pet with food allergens.
TODAY said the Chapman report did not include a list of the products tested or those that were found to be potentially mislabeled as it was supposed to be an industry study that is not meant to single out particular pet food brands.
In reaction to the Chapman report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued this statement: “Consumers should be able to trust that what is on the label is in the product. Pet foods do not require the FDA’s approval before being marketed; however, all ingredients are required to be listed on the label using their common or usual name. The FDA has taken action in the past when ingredients are not properly listed on the label or when one ingredient is substituted for another ingredient.”
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