It’s Not Wal-Mart’s Fault: The Pet Food Shortage of 2023 And What You Can Do About It
So I have two cats that live with me in my home, rent free. And on occasion, they demand to be fed. I acquiesce to these demands.
The other day, I went to the People's Republic of Walton in order to procure said felines some kibble food product. Well. I think a lot of you pet owners out there know what happened next. I walked out without any kibble. Almost the entire aisle of cat food is empty. Just plain old wire racks, no food to be had. Now admittedly, I could have bought the super expensive food that they have never eaten, but my point is they didn't have the senior sensitive stomach kind I usually get for these two brats.
Now I'm not a panic buyer, and I never have been, not even during the height of the Toilet Paper Problems of the pandemic. I remember picking up a package of TP one time and the lady next to me said, "Well, you can take two, you know." And I said, "Yeah, I know, I saw the sign. But I only need one." She looked at me like I had two heads. I'm just not a person who will buy more than I need, unless it's on like, a super discount sale or something.
So me not being a panic buyer, I do have some cat food still at home. I hardly ever wait til the last second when it comes to their food. They will have some until I'm able to get more. But WHY are we having this problem? Apparently it's a string of things happening related to meat and aluminum shortages from the pandemic, and apparently the war in Ukraine causing huge amounts of inflation isn't helping. As you know, I'm not quite a certified idiot, but I'm not smart enough to explain all the reasons why there is a shortage.
But what I can do is help you get through it for the next three to six months or so. I reached out to a couple of local Vet clinics (not gonna name 'em, sorry), and they said your best option might be trying to switch out the kind of food you've been giving them to one that is available. And they can probably hook you up with a prescription food if necessary. The nice lady said that it was best to do a gradual transition, and recommended going to this site to get the ratios right so that it's not a huge shock to your pet's tummy to make the change. The site also recommends adding some water to kibble if you can't get ahold of wet food, and they give you some ratios of how to do that, too.
Now a thought I'd had was maybe giving my kitties some tuna or canned chicken every now and then. The lady I talked to said while that would be okay in a pinch if they don't have anything at all, it wasn't recommended. It was better than them going hungry, but again, not recommended. After all, even though it's meat, it's not made for animals to eat, and is basically another way of giving them table scraps, which you really shouldn't do.
Having said all that, I was able to order the cat food I get for the mongrels online, when I couldn't find it in the store. In all fairness, I did not try PetSmart. I probably would have if I didn't get free shipping. Over all, I would recommend that you act sooner rather than later. Don't panic buy, but if you're getting to about half of the bag being empty, start looking for another one. You might have to transition to a new food and you don't want to be putting it off till the last minute.
And if I'm being real.... Kitten is the right weight, but Figgy is a little chonker. I could definitely cut back on her food a little to make it last longer, and I probably should have done it ages ago, or been stricter about it. Maybe now is the time.
What will you do about the pet food shortage? Are you able to get your normal food, or are you having to find alternatives?