The Cat Food Diet

I go grocery shopping about once a week. I wouldn’t call it a hassle, but it’s certainly not super convenient. Even with a specific list, I often spend 60 minutes wandering the aisles, trying to figure out what to cook. I usually spend $100 per visit, so it adds up to about $400 a month.

There’s always one part of my grocery shopping that’s super simple: Buying cat food. I buy a big bag of hard kibble ($10) and three cases of canned food. Total monthly cost: $20. And that’s for two cats.

Now, I’m hesitant to admit this to myself, but I actually like the smell of cat food. The dry food smells like cookies and the wet food smells like brownie batter. It’s one of the best parts about feeding my cats–inhaling that sweet aroma.

fancy-feast-B0012KH08MAbout a month ago, curiosity got the best of me. Instead of just smelling the cat food like I normally do, I took a spoon to the wet food and tried a bite. I expected it to be terrible, but…it was actually pretty good. Kind of like souffle.

So I tried the dry food, just a few pieces. It may have smelled like cookies, but a more accurate description of the taste is dry cereal.

At first I thought I’d leave it at that. Experiment over. But the next day, I found myself wanting a mid-afternoon snack, and I didn’t want a piece of candy like I usually do. Rather, I wanted cat food. So I scooped some kibble into a napkin and munched away while watching a clip from The Tonight Show on YouTube.

A few days later, I realized that the sandwich I was going to eat for lunch had gotten moldy, and I didn’t have anything else in the fridge. So I really didn’t even think twice about opening a can of cat food. By itself it wasn’t quite enough to insatiate me, but after adding a glass of milk, I was full.

At this point I started to think I was really on to something. I checked the nutrition labels and found that cat food is chock full of the same nutrients and vitamins humans need. I Googled, “Can humans eat cat food?” and I found all these blogs that not only confirmed that cat food is perfectly healthy, but they even encouraged it. There’s a whole movement of people who eat cat food–there’s even a restaurant in Queens that serves gourmet cat food hor d’oeuvres.

In fact, one of the things holding me back was the idea that I like to cook. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could cook with cat food. So I started experimenting with things like deep fried cat food, cat food burgers on the grill, and cat food stir fry. I loved the variety of textures and flavors.

plated-wet-cat-foodNow, I’m sure you’re wondering at this point: What do my cats think about all this? Well, that’s kind of a silly question, as I have no idea what my cats are thinking. As long as I didn’t eat out of their bowls, they seemed completely unaware of my new diet (though they hang out on the kitchen counter a lot more now when I’m cooking).

Over the last few weeks, 90% of what I’ve eaten has been cat food. I’ve gone out to eat a few times and had regular food, but I found it was disruptive to my digestive system. My monthly food budget has dropped from $100 a week to $15 (though I’m sure that will fluctuate up and down–I’m still trying to figure out the best brand for me). I’ve also lost 10 pounds, and I swear that my sense of smell and night vision have improved. It doesn’t seem possible in such a short amount of time, so maybe it’s just psychological.

I’m not one to impose my lifestyle on others, so I’m not here to advocate the cat food diet (there are other sites like this one that do a much better job of that). All I can say is that it’s a great fit for me, and if you’re “as curious as a cat,” I encourage you to give it a try.