The British have a peculiar relationship with their pets, whom they often treat, and feed, better than themselves. The idea of keeping an animal purely for companionship rather than to work or to be eaten is in itself a first-world luxury. But of the UK’s 8 million cats, who’s eating what?
Self-actualisation – Royal Canin
You’ve arrived in the icy world of cat breeders and their highly-strung pedigree cats. This isn’t about folksy hand-drawn packaging, but an expectation you’re prepared to get your head around the correct nutrient measures to the nearest mg. While other products cater to age and obesity, Royal Canin can provide you with a food specifically tailored to your breed. If you can’t stand the heat, step down to Lily’s Kitchen.
Esteem – Lily’s Kitchen
One urban farm shop located in a particularly MC London borough told us that this organic pet food is their top selling product – more popular than their food for humans. Cats who eat Lily’s generally refer to their owners as ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ (yes, these cats can talk). The company website is as cute and cuddly as your fluffy feline friend, inviting owners to post pictures of their pets and comments. When Innocent get round to tapping the lucrative pet food market, this will be their template.
Love/Belonging – Hills Science Plan
Follows a high-end distribution model requiring a trip to a specialist pet shop to make the purchase, but if you do manage to get your dirty paws on a packet, it shows you are giving your cat’s diet the same consideration that you would your own. While at the pet shop, you can indulge in your favourite hobby of talking with the owner about your cat’s funny habits, in the way that other people talk about their children. Please allow time for the vet’s spiel about cats needing high protein dry food, which naturally costs more and which, coincidentally, they sell at the surgery.
Safety – Iams
When, about 10 years ago, middle class pet owners started switching in large numbers to dry cat food (a result of both marketing and the fact it doesn’t stink your kitchen out), Iams was up there as a premium brand. But it has since been superseded by more exclusive products that increasingly feed on our love of specialty. Nowadays a bag of Iams is only bought as part of the weekly shop – which is fine (read lazy), we are all busy, but it doesn’t earn you many MC pet-foodie points.
Physiological – Go-Cat
Almost retro, Go-Cat is the pet equivalent of feeding your offspring frozen pizza. It’s easy, and they’ll wolf it down, but it’s also a tad common. (Just between us cats: the food itself is multicoloured). Oh. The. Horror.
Bubbling under – The Campaign for Real Pet Food
Right now on a trading floor somewhere in the City there’s a bored banker dreaming of quitting the rat race and making a go of an artisanal pet food business. The Campaign for Real Pet Food already lists Pet’s Kitchen (from TV vet Joe Inglis) and über-cute Meowing Heads. Expect first sightings at your local farmers’ market.