Pet Age recently contacted Dr. Gerald Buchoff, founder of Longevity, to discuss balanced diets and to learn more about the popular raw cat food segment.
Q What is your background in terms of cat nutrition?
A I have been a veterinarian for nearly 40 years. I am the director of Holistic Pet Care in Little Falls, New Jersey, and have been honored to serve as president of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) in the past. My presence on the holistic veterinary medical stage exposed me to the benefits of a raw diet. I attended many lectures at AHVMA and took nutrition courses to hone my skills of formulating raw foods for dogs and cats, which I have been doing since 2005. Pat McKay personally gave me her recipes when she disbanded her raw food production company over 12 years ago. I have employed the services of Dr. Barbara Royal, Dr. Ihor Basko, Dr. Jean Dodds, Dr. Robert Goldstein, Dr. Susan Lauten, and have consulted with Steve Brown, Dr. Karen Becker and many others on the formulation of raw pet foods.
Q What research did you conduct to perfect Longevity’s raw cat food formulas?
A As a veterinarian, I know what is nutritionally important for sustaining cats. However, in formulating my own Longevity Raw Pet Food, I wanted to develop food for cats that goes far beyond basic nutrition to support the immune system in an effort to address the sad increase in autoimmune diseases and cancer that we have been seeing. My research on nutrition led me to include a number of unique ingredients in our formulations. By using only the highest-quality ingredients and adding medicinal mushrooms, lycopene and garlic, Longevity Raw can help to stem this tide and give our pets the tools for wellness. Longevity Raw is also unique because we add bovine grass-fed green tripe to cat food, which is rich in digestive enzymes and good bacteria. Last, but certainly not least, Longevity Raw is also distinctive because we utilize Glandular Therapy, which is based upon the theory of “homostimulation” or “like cures like.” By including animal organs and glands in our food, the materials needed to address any organ or glandular imbalance are included in the food, thus helping the body to achieve a state of health.
Q What are the top nutritional needs of a balanced diet for a cat?
A Cats and dogs each have unique nutritional requirements. Cats are obligate carnivores; their natural diet is higher in protein than canines and they require adequate taurine levels. Cats often do not get enough water in their lives to maintain wellness. Many cats suffer kidney and urinary tract diseases because they literally live their whole lives partially dehydrated because of their dry, extruded diets of kibble. Longevity Raw cat foods recognize this and provide a significant amount of biologically active water content. Also, in the wild, cats would consume not only the meat and organs of their prey, but also the contents of their prey’s gastrointestinal system, meaning that they would eat nutritional fiber, phytonutrients and vegetable matter. We recognize this balance at Longevity Raw and include it in our cat recipes for balance and health.
Q Is a cat’s life stage important in a cat’s diet?
A All pets have different nutritional needs. A pet’s life stage can definitely impact their nutritional requirements. For example, kittens and puppies have much higher caloric and nutrient needs due to the rapid growth they are experiencing. Older, less active cats and dogs will need less energy through their food. For all animals, our Longevity Raw food is not just to support your cat’s health but also to maximize the potential of your pet’s own immune system. With that said, I have carefully formulated Longevity Raw cat foods to provide all of the nutrients for growing kittens as well as adult cats, not only meeting AAFCO guidelines but far exceeding them to meet the European FEDIAF requirements.
Q How do you achieve transparency with cat owners?
A We believe that all pet owners have a right to know what is in their pet’s food, where their ingredients are sourced and made, and why their food is formulated the way that it is. We are proud to say that there is nothing on our Longevity Raw pet food labels that you can’t identify or pronounce, and no vague ingredients or “artificial flavors” of any sort. Our food is all locally sourced and made here in the Northeastern U.S. In addition, I make myself as available as possible to answer nutritional questions regarding your cherished cats. Please feel free to ask myself and my knowledgeable staff through our website. Also make sure we have your e-mail address in order to keep you informed about news from the cat nutrition field or Longevity Raw updates, both through our newsletter and social media.
Q What dietary advice do you have for retailers with a customer that has a finicky feline?
A If you are just getting started on a raw diet, your cat may be familiar with flavor-enhanced food and the change may take time. While cats tend to love our Longevity Raw food, many cats are indeed finicky. My quick advice for retailers to share with their customers is to “start low and go very slow.” By this I mean to start off with a small amount of raw food to introduce your cat to it and to take it slowly over time. For example, you might start off with a half teaspoonful of our Longevity Raw cat food twice a day, and keep increasing each day by a half teaspoonful, twice daily. It may take anywhere from three weeks to even three months to make a full transition—and that’s OK. Each bit of raw that a cat eats is vital nutrition. Every bite counts!