Our Himalayan Cats - Feeding Them Kangaroo

[Cats]

September 1998

I've been asked whether we really do feed them on kangaroo meat. Yes, we really do feed them on kangaroo meat.

We often refer to it as feeding them Skippy, after a television show about a small kangaroo. And we often make the clicking noises when we give it to them.

In Australia, we have many species of kangaroo. The rare ones are untouchable and all effort is made to keep them safe and breeding. But there are a few species that are doing extremely well, and they are like rabbits: vermin. They are regularly culled. Sometimes the carcasess are just left to rot. This is a waste. More often, the carcasses are brought in and used. The skins make lovely supple leather. I have a kangaroo skin wallet. It's a very soft leather and doesn't last long, but it has a lovely feel. The meat comes in several grades. Meat that is checked for parasites and worms and found clean is kept for human consumption. This mostly goes to restaurants where kangaroo (and emu) meat is served as a special dish. The meat is very lean, with practically no fat. It has a gamey taste, and is very pleasant. Fillets of kangaroo are usually grilled, and served with a light sauce. Kangaroo tail is often made into an old Australian recipe, kangaroo tail stew or kangaroo tail soup. This is more fatty (a bit like ox-tail stew) but extremely tasty. In some Australian states, kangaroo meat is available at specialist butchers. A lot of people are squeamish about eating game, some are squeamish about eating an animal that is on our national coat of arms, and a lot are squeamish about eating such a cute and cuddly animal. (They have no problems with cute and cuddly lambs and calves, but kangaroos are a sensitive issue.)

Lesser quality meat is sent to pet food shops. The meat is supplied in kilo bags as either chopped roo or minced roo. Our cats love the meat. We used to get chopped roo, but the chunks proved just a little too large for Ruffian. She would gulp them down, then run around and stop and bring up the whole meal again. Usually where it would stain the most. So we switched to minced roo and that is fine. She can eat that without bringing it back up.

We've been told to feed them raw chicken wings to help with their digestion and with their teeth. They won't eat it. They like cooked chicken, but not raw. And not wings. But they love fresh red meat. Their staple diet is kangaroo, but as regular treat, I bring home beef kidney and liver, and sometimes a cheap cut of beef. It works out about the same as tinned food, but they love it and it's better for them. After a bowl of kangaroo, they run around like mad things for a few minutes.

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