There is a shocking news story in The Times of June 21, 2023 which reports that five-year-olds in Britain are on average up to 7 cm shorter than their peers in other wealthy nations. Yes, young British kids are up to 7 cm shorter than Dutch children and I find that very worrying indeed. I think it points to serious societal problems in Britain. And these problems go to the heart of a lot of what we do including the animal-human relationship which is why I’m discussing it on this website.
The commonsense reason why British kids are so much shorter than Dutch kids is because of their diet. That’s the consensus from the experts as I understand it. British kids are not only shorter but fatter too; stunted and relatively unhealthy. The shame of it. It is embarrassing.
Some experts say that the underlying reason is poverty leading to people eating badly, which in turn leads to the underdevelopment of kids. And Henry Dimbleby, the former government food adviser believes that “the way we eat is one of the clearest markers of inequality”. I agree with that in one sense: inequality leads to a poorer education which can lead to a bad diet. But being poor doesn’t automatically lead to eating badly. Post WW2 when Brits were on rationing, we were healthier than today.
It is no more expensive to eat healthy food than it is to eat junk food. The reason why some mothers in Britain provide their children with junk food is because they are lazy. And this feeds through from Britain’s generous welfare system. This is a question of self-indulgence. Serving up junk food is more convenient than preparing decent food from raw products. They don’t want to cook from raw. They’d rather buy convenience, processed foods.
It is not about inequality or a lack of financial resources, it’s about laziness and self-indulgence. Yes, I’m taking a strong viewpoint but I’ve seen it. I can see a gradual breakdown of society in Britain. The Covid-19 pandemic certainly exacerbated the problem of laziness and a lack of self-discipline in Britain. The Anglo-Saxon has become a shirker lacking self-discipline, wanting results instantly without application and hard work.
A mother can feed their child with a packet of crisps and a soft drink or they can feed their child with beans on toast and a cup of tea. That’s probably a bad example but the point is made. There’d be no cost difference between these snacks. I believe that this wanton desire for convenience due to laziness feeds through into many other areas of British life such as our relationship with companion animals.
Feeding cats and kids in a lazy way
The lazy cat caregiver is going to feed their cat with dry cat food all the time because it is more convenient than wet. They can leave the food out in the bowl and let their cat free-graze. But this can contribute to domestic cat obesity and we know that Britain’s vets say that there is a cat obesity epidemic (in parallel with the same problem for humans).
It’s more troublesome to buy wet cat food because you’ve got to buy it more often. You’ve got to throw away the wet cat food that the cat almost invariably leaves behind. This doesn’t apply to dry cat food as it doesn’t go off in the bowl whereas wet does.
Wet cat food mirrors more accurately the classic feline diet of a mouse. Some veterinarians believe that dry cat food contributes to feline diabetes because it is high in carbohydrates due to the manufacturing process. It can contribute to urinary tract diseases such as cystitis because the highly concentrated urine in the cat’s bladder becomes a better medium for a bacterial infection.
There are other domestic cat consequences to a lazy attitude to living. For example, there is a trend to keeping domestic cats indoors full-time. There is a parallel duty upon cat caregivers who do this to ensure that the environment that their cat is then confined to 24-7 is enriched and not sterile and boring.
An added demand is placed upon the cat caregiver if they keep their cat inside the home full-time. You can’t just lock the doors and tell yourself that you’re keeping your cat safe. The implications are much deeper than that. Also, the main reason why cat owners keep their cats inside all the time is for their peace of mind but that’s another topic.
Of course, full-time indoor cats are protected from road traffic accidents or from being attacked by a dog. However, a cat’s health is potentially being undermined in another way, not through injury but by becoming obese through boredom due to inactivity and, as mentioned above, in providing dry cat food exclusively.
Very few cat caregivers ensure that the indoor environment is at least in some way tailored towards their cat’s needs. This is a universal failure and a worrying trend because there’s no way we’re going to eliminate cat obesity with a lazy approach to cat caregiving.