Monthly Musing – June 2024 – You are what you eat

“I’m a big fan of insect food.”

It’s not the usual sort of conversation that I have with our vet, and I should probably clarify that we weren’t talking about the vet eating insects herself, but Astrid the cat.

Astrid had a strange skin disorder at the beginning of the year that the vet eventually put down to an allergy, and as part of the investigations, Astrid had to eat an exclusion diet of hypoallergenic food.  If you’ve ever had a pet on an exclusion diet, you’ll know that this is easier said than done and we regularly found Astrid minesweeping for anything that our other cat Hattie might have left in her dish, crumbs on the floor, tasty morsels of dust and more than a few spiders.

Fast forward a few months.  Astrid had returned to her usual diet of tuna and chicken (with added crumbs, dust and spiders when the fancy took her) when the skin disorder reappeared.  We headed straight to the vet surgery as soon as we spotted it, the vet prescribed the steroids which had done the trick last time and Astrid was back on a hypoallergenic diet.  This time, however, instead of whatever indeterminate protein had been in the last one, the food she is eating contains egg and insects.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure that insect food was the way to go but our choice of hypoallergenic food that wasn’t going to require a re-mortgage of the house was limited and given that Astrid is quite partial to a spider every now and again, I thought we’d give it a try.  It turns out that the insects are the new petfood superfood, a highly nutritious and sustainable source of protein that is sufficiently different to “usual food” to allow an allergy-suffering pet’s system to reset itself.  Our vet even suggested that Astrid might stay on insect food even after the exclusion diet period was over, telling me about a lecture she’d been listening to on the subject and half-apologising for it: “I’m a bit obsessed with cats”.

Actually, that’s how I want my vet to be!  Isn’t it wonderful that there are people in the world whose passion is finding out about things that can keep us well, whether we’re animal or human?  Who on earth discovered that insects were a pet food superfood?  Who discovered that blueberries and red onions were human superfoods for that matter?  Big daughter is studying for a nutritional therapy qualification at the moment, and she’s fascinated to be learning how certain foods can affect us in different ways, and how combining or avoiding certain foods can make us feel better than we might have done for years.

Once a fussy eater, I am much more open to new food ideas than I ever have been, and for our pets too – although I can’t help but hear my Mum’s voice in my head telling me, “You are what you eat”, and wondering if Astrid will end up with eight legs or perhaps a pair of wings and antennae …


A tabby and white cat sits in a cardboard box from a vegetable delivery company

“You are what you eat?”



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5 Responses

  1. Helen says:

    I’ve seen the insect food but I’m completely freaked out by bugs so have resisted letting my cats try it. Can you tell it’s made of bugs?

  2. Susan Rayner says:

    I love the photo of Astrid. But I am not eating any insects any time soon – our cats were however also keen on eating spiders – rather them than me. Astrid looks very well and happy on whatever she is eating.

  3. Chris Bailey says:

    I’ve read of insect based protein being highly nutritious for humans too! Some of the bio-hacking athletes swear by them. So far my cats haven’t taken to their version but in my opinion it smells better than some of the fishy options you 😸

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m not convinced I would be that keen on insect-based protein, so it’s a good job I’m not a bio-hacking athelete 🤣 Both of our cats seem to be quite keen on the hypoallergenic food so I’m going to investigate further! 🙂 xx

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