A Study in Nutrition
This surprisingly slim volume is packed with lots of information. Pottenger's Cats: A Study in Nutrition is a fascinating read – and it's also pretty easy to read. Dr. Francis Pottenger decided to do a long-term study on the effects of different diets on cats when he noticed they were responding different based on the foods he could get supplied for them. His conclusions were fascinating to him and lead him to study nutrition in humans and in plants and how they inter-related.
Dr. Pottenger's cats were all fed diets containing various raw and cooked components – milk and meat either cooked or uncooked, and a cod liver oil supplement for all cats. His studies found that universally cats having uncooked meats and milk did much better, and those having some amount of raw food did fair. Those having just cooked foods grew progressively worse, and by the fourth generation of cooked food the cats were incapable of reproduction and manifested various physical deformity.
The book moves on to discuss how Dr. Pottenger found that “modern” foods, foods that have been highly processed, effect humans in much the same way the processed foods effected the cats in his study. He did extensive x-raying of his patients and found that when they were switched to a nourishing diet of traditional foods, including some raw foods, their bone structure improved greatly. Dr. Pottenger found this to be true even with patients in their 20's and 30's.
Pottenger's Cats: A Study in Nutrition has some text examining an interesting phenomenon found in both cats and humans – when fed an overly processed and nutrient devoid diet, both males and females began to move from their normal gender characteristics towards those of the other gender. In other words male cats began to be built more like female cats, and female cats more like male cats. He found the same to be true in humans, with males developing broad hips and a typically female shape and females losing their characteristic female curves and looking more male. Dr. Pottenger found these structural changes could cause female cats to have problems in labor.
The book also details Dr. Pottenger's experiments on plant life using the dung from his experimental cats. Plants fertilized with wastes from the cats eating a raw diet grew lush and sturdy. Plants fertilized with wastes from cats eating a mixed diet grew, but they grew long and spindly. Plants fertilized with wastes from the cats eating all cooked and processed diets didn't grow or had stunted growth.
Dr. Pottenger's thorough and fascinating experiements and his thoughts on them are recorded throughout Pottenger's Cats: A Study in Nutrition. The book also goes into detail on Dr. Pottenger's writing on breast feeding infants (he points out quite a few advantages, including how nursing helps oral development). He details the importance of avoiding processed and denatured foods and wrote of the value of clean raw milk in the diet.
The final chapter of the book covers Dr. Pottenger's dietary recommendations for humans and includes several recipes. His recommendations are sensible and fairly easy to do, even in a busy household.
The book is short but packed with information and photographs, a full glossary, and several appendices. Dr. Pottenger's studies were extensive and thorough, following proper scientific procedures properly. I recommend Pottenger's Cats: A Study in Nutrition for a quick and eye-opening read into the impact of nutrition on your family and the inter-related systems of your whole planet.