Last night though Wendy and I were talking about this and the idea of cat food came up. Cat food is advertised as being high in protein and is cheap on a dollars per gram metric. What could go wrong?
Comparing cat food to normal human food is tricky though. Cat food doesn't have the same nutritional information panel that most human food does so I have to make some guesses about what I would get out of it. The first thing that struck us when we started evaluating the cat food bag for weight lifting consumption was that the protein content was *really* high. 36%, in fact, which is higher than beef, pork, or chicken. That seemed a little bit ridiculous but then I realized it must be due to water, or lack thereof. Slabs of meat have a ton of water in them but the dried cat food doesn't so even though it has all kind of random stuff in there like corn the protein content is still fairly high by weight.
The ingredients in cat food read kind of sketchy though. I don't know what "chicken by product meal" actually is but I bet it is all the worst parts of chicken that humans would never eat ground up into a paste. One of the ingredients is salmon though, without any modifying words like "meal" or "by product" so maybe I can think of it as a fancy fish meal. I could pretend that the crunchiness is like tempura coating!
I am not actually going to try to gain muscle mass by eating cat food, even though it is the cheapest protein I have been able to find.
I know that cat food has stuff in it that isn't good for humans in large quantity, particularly the high Vitamin A content that apparently can cause "nausea, vomiting, irritability, headaches, and blurred eyesight" and eventually death. Good for cats, bad for people.
It does seem like there is a real market possibility out there though. There are people like me hunting for cheap protein who are willing to eat whatever gross parts of animals nobody else wants, and if you don't put toxic levels of cat specific vitamins in the food I would totally eat it.
Now if only the invisible hand of the market would supply this particular need!