December 11, 2018

Veggiepets . . . by Brendon Marks

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As I pointed out in my last column, some of my closest friends are vegetarians; however I’d like to delve into the subject from a different angle.

Personally, I never felt that red meat was bad for you. Gray or green might be a little suspect, but red is okay. I don’t try to convert my vegetarian friends, and they don’t try to convert me. I may make fun of them now and then, but that’s pretty much the norm for my dwindling circle of friends, vegetarian or not. Furthermore, with a couple of my veggie pals, I get as good as I give.

I asked one diminutive veggie friend how long he had been a vegetarian and he replied “All my life.” I then asked if it wouldn’t have been better if he had waited until he was full grown. He responded by pointing out the disparity in our respective height to waist size ratio.

I was curious however, when I heard a radio ad for vegetarian pet food. I can understand if this pet food was intended for rabbits or goats, but clearly, they meant cats and dogs and that’s what puzzled me. The stuff was not cheap either, about $2.50 a pound–almost $20 a pound in dog dollars.

Humans can make a conscious decision about whether to eat meat or not, after they reach the age where older people quit shoving food in their mouths. Pets are pretty much dependent upon what you choose to dump in their bowls, if you can camouflage it enough so that it bears some resemblance to their natural food.

I’m not saying that you have to feed your cat a bucket of mice and moles or slide a slab of zebra haunch across the floor for your dog, but it’s going a little far to feed it mailman-flavored rice cakes.

Just as an experiment, the next time you feed your dog, put down a bowl of lettuce and collard greens, and see how long it sits there untouched. Your dog may stick its nose in and snuffle around looking for the real food, but that doesn’t count. Assuming that the dog hasn’t taken to gnawing on you, or any of your family members, and while it still has strength enough to crawl to the bowl, sprinkle on a few bacon bits and watch the veggies fly.

I was reminded of a Doberman Pinscher trick. His owner placed a raw hot dog across the dog’s nose and told the dog to stay. The dog sat very quiet and balanced the hot dog for several minutes. On command, the dog spun his head, snatched the hot dog in mid-air, and devoured it instantly. What do you suppose would happen if you tried using a carrot? It might work the first time, but I’ll bet the second one would hit the floor.

What would happen if you didn’t feed your pet at all? Assuming you turn it out in the yard, cats are easy to predict. Generally, they’re too small to drag home neighborhood kids, so they’ll probably catch mice, birds, or even a toad. Dogs don’t have much success catching birds, so they’ll resort to cats, toads, or they might get lucky and catch a mouse.

However, I’ll guarantee they won’t eat the lawn. No matter how lush, plush, and perfectly Turf-builder green it is, they won’t touch it. I admit that even a well fed dog or cat will occasionally nibble on some grass, but I’ve never seen enough of a difference so that you wouldn’t have to mow it.

What does that tell you about vegetarian pet food?

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