Greetings confused cat lovers! Skye Blake here with a question… ever heard people say Big Cat Food companies are paying veterinarians to sell their products?
They make it sound suspicious, like something shady and unethical is going on.
But is it true? What evidence is there? Why would anyone want to discredit veterinarians?
Are there other claims like this? Let’s investigate further…
Claims About Veterinarians & Big Cat Food
There are claims made about veterinarians, particularly on social media and various websites, that are damaging to vets and their clients, with no evidence to back them up.
It seems these are perpetuated by people who want to discredit veterinarians because they disagree on various topics.
They set themselves up as experts, especially when trying to sell products or services of their own but have no credentials or legitimate experience to support their claims.
Here are a few…
Cat Food Companies Pay Vets to Push Their Products
This myth is invidious… huh, what’s that?
“Invidious” is something unjust or unfairly discriminating, that creates anger and resentment in people.
This claim is an accusation of ethical and possibly criminal violations with no evidence.
It’s one thing to accuse an individual with actual evidence, quite another to accuse an entire group of people with no evidence simply to discredit them.
Vets have sworn an oath to do what’s best for both animals and people.
While there can be a few bad apples, ethical vets won’t risk their reputations and licenses for shady money deals, especially after working so hard to get them!
Vets sell food products that are backed with food trials and clinical studies because they know those diets are helpful for medical conditions.
They don’t get commissions, kickbacks or any other forms of payment to promote products.
Reputable cat food companies also don’t need to bribe or otherwise compromise veterinarians and other professionals.
Here’s an interesting article about this…”Are Vets Bought By Big Pet Food?“, Doc Of All Trades, July 10, 2019
Discover more about pet food companies at “Cat Food Companies – Which Are Best?“
Prescription Diets Are Just to Make Vets Money
Here’s a related claim…
Sometimes when dealing with specific medical conditions like diabetes or kidney disease, your vet will recommend a special diet.
Some people object and think their vet doesn’t understand that dry food is “bad”.
They claim that vets don’t care and just recommend them to make money.
Ethical vets sell food so patients with specific conditions get the nutrition they need.
A good example is urinary problems where you’re trying to prevent bladder stones.
Your cat needs a low-calcium diet that’s specially formulated in the proper ratios.
Depending on the problem you’re dealing with, these diets can be temporary or permanent.
Usually, you can choose between wet or dry prescription food depending on your vet’s recommendation and your cat!
Watch this important video to learn more about prescription diets and why vets recommend them.
Vets Are In It Only For the Money
Are ya seein’ a $$$ theme here?
This particular myth is especially offensive to most vets and is yet another attempt to discredit an entire group of experts by smearing their motives.
Ask yourself this question…
“Would I be able to spend 8-12 years in college, take on debt to do so, work long hours, be on-call, run an office, and have my heart torn out when I can’t save an animal, without being dedicated to the care of animals?”
Would you do all that “only for the money”?
Vets Don’t Know Anything About Nutrition
This claim seems to be coming from misunderstandings in the general public about what food ingredients have the most nutritional value.
A prime example is the belief that raw food is better than dry kibble.
What people see in ads and on social media about “healthy” pet food is appealing and seems to make sense.
So, when their vet disagrees or tells them to use something that seems “unhealthy”, they think the vet is wrong instead of questioning the information they got from the internet or ads.
The truth is that future veterinarians take courses in nutrition, biology, anatomy, and many other things!
While some vet schools focus more on nutrition than others, they all include it in their curriculum.
If you need a nutritionist specialist, ask your vet for a recommendation or contact a board-certified veterinary nutritionist (see “What’s a Veterinary Nutritionist?“)
Discover more about types of cat food and nutrition at “Cat Food!“
Who Is Skye Blake?
Skye Blake, Cat Info Detective, is a curious cat researcher (not a veterinarian) who sniffs out expert, reliable sources about cats, studies their information, then passes it on to you!
Sometimes there’s not enough evidence for easy answers, so Skye gives you all sides, explains the situation as thoroughly and clearly as possible, and links you to experts on each page.
All sources are given at the bottom of each page so you can do more snooping.
The information here is for general knowledge… always see your vet with questions about your cat’s individual needs.
Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary.
Primary sources are always preferable and have the most reliable information because they’re original and directly referenced.
Scientific abstracts and data are good examples of primary sources.
Secondary sources are weaker because they usually consist of opinions or articles that give no sources of their own. Sometimes they refer to primary sources.
When I use secondary sources, most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.
List of Sources
“5 Types of Veterinarians and What They Do“, VET PRACTICE, December 14, 2018
“6 Things Your Vet Wants You to Know About Cat Food “, by Amanda MacMillan, Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM, April 01, 2018, webmd.com
“8 Things People Don’t Realize About Being a Veterinarian“, PetMD Editorial, Published: April 17, 2019
“AAFCO-Approved Pet Food: Everything You Need to Know”, PetMD
“About AMS | Agricultural Marketing Service” (usda.gov)
“The Association of American Feed Control Officials” (aafco.org)
“Canned or Dry Food: Which is Better for Cats?”, Skeptvet (skeptvet.com)
“The Disadvantages of Being a Veterinarian (careertrend.com)“, Janice Tingum, Updated December 28, 2018
“FDA’s Regulation of Pet Food”, FDA.gov
“Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Definition” (investopedia.com)
“Grades and Standards”, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, usda.gov
“How Pet Food is Made”, Pet Food Institute (petfoodinstitute.org)
“How pet food is made – making, used, processing, parts, components, product, industry, machine”, How Products Are Made (madehow.com)
“Pet Food”, FDA
“WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee: Guidelines on Selecting Pet Foods”, wsava.org, March 10, 2021
Updated November 15, 2023