I have this pet peeve. (Oh no, here we go again.) It’s to do with how we humans so transparently anthropomorphize our pets’ food and feeding — as in, "I wouldn’t want to eat the same thing every day so why should they?" — yet relatively few among us are willing to actually taste what we feed them.

According to family lore, I was an uncharacteristically food-driven toddler. Bicycle lock on the fridge and everything. As proof of my aberrant behavior, the frequent attack on the bag of Purina Cat Chow was held up as exhibit A.

My mother: "There’s got to be something wrong with this baby, Doctor!"

My pediatrician: "It’s just cat chow, lady. It’s not going to kill her."

He might’ve missed my mother’s point by a smidge, but his take on pet food was not wrong. Just as there’s nothing magical about "human food" that renders it unfit for animal consumption (reference the "no people food!" finger wag attributed to the modern veterinarian), there is nothing about pet food so singular that we humans should avoid it so assiduously. Yet we undeniably do.

We cringe when fictitious hungry people resort to pet food on screen. We accept the otherness of the aliens in the 2010 Oscar contender, District 9 more readily based in part on their penchant for cat food.

What’s up with that?

Sure, some of you have the dedication (and, undoubtedly, the luxury) of feeding your pets home cooked foods you’re happy to consume en famille with your pets. But most of us? Not so much. That canned, pouched, machine extruded stuff? "I will not eat them, Sam I Am!"

Still, I wonder: What would it take to get YOU to try your pet’s commercial food? And if you did, would it change you? Hmmmm … maybe that’s why we avoid even the tiniest spoonful.

Just a thought.

Dr. Patty Khuly

Pic of the day: Now we know why Laura is doing do well on the growth charts. by Robert S. Donovan

 baby eating dog food, people eating dog food