Keeping Perspective on Pottenger's Study

In recent years, poor Dr. Francis Marion Pottenger, Jr. has been maligned, and abused by people who have misinterpreted and prevaricated the results of his study with felines for their own biased agendas, such as book sales, and I think it is time more people recognized his real contribution to the world of nutrition in general, and to felines in particular, as well as correct the misconceptions put out there by those who reinvent the results of his study.

Back when Dr Pottenger set up the criteria for his study, little was known about feline nutrition, including the since established fact that cooked meat has less taurine than the requirements for feline health, first explored by Jacobson and Smith, 1968, a year after Pottenger's death in 1967.

If one is dealing with reality, this flaw in the ingredient list Pottenger created for his study eliminates all cooked meat formulas in his study, and leaves the other formulas all containing raw meat. From this point, of course, Pottenger does a wonderful job of proving that the ingredient list in any formula, PLUS the proportions, are what have importance when feeding any species as most of the raw meat formulas also failed as can be seen at the official Pottenger site listing study results.

You may note at the above Pottenger site, there were two major divisions in the study, one of which strictly compared equal formulas with one cooked, and one raw meat difference in ingredients. That study, as I mentioned, is flawed due to the lack of taurine supplementation and can't clearly define that processing method is an issue.

Of the remaining information, all under the heading of "Milk Study", ALL containing raw meat, ONLY ONE of five categories, (differing ingredients), were not considered "deficient". What this study proved was not a matter of raw vs. cooked, but of ingredient proportions, based upont the information on the site, and clearly shows that not only the right ingredients, but also the right proportions matter when addressing nutritional needs.

Aside from the taurine issue, our own sedentary house cats can't handle the fat content found in raw food diets as the caloric count is too high. Our choice is to pick rendered "meal", and in particular a feline appropriate source, which is chicken. Most people who do choose to feed raw chicken, do not request that the meat be "extra lean", which is what my boys would need in order not to end up overweight. Also, when one is running down an ingredient list for comparison, raw always has to have water content in the measurement, by default, which is why equal cuts of turkey breast (cooked #020), at nutritiondata.com contain 30.1% protein, and the same cut in raw (#148) form only contains 24.6% protein. This reduces the protein content of the raw meat based upon 100 gram servings, while calories are high.

When you add to the above facts the information one learns in Food Safety courses around bacteria, I am just not willing to subject my immune compromised, or healthy cats to the risk. The educated feline professionals on line suggest "searing" the chicken before grinding or serving for use. Have you seen the shape of a chicken piece? As there is no scientific evidence to suggest raw is better than cooked, I am happy with my choices, and my boys are healty.