A Lesson from Cats

Most of us have heard of Pavlov’s dogs (the marvel where dogs learn to salivate to a bell ringing after having been conditioned to the bell always being associated with being fed)….but have you heard of Pottenger’s cats?

Francis Pottenger stumbled upon this experiment accidentally while trying to help his father with a disease.  He began to notice a difference in the cats’ physical and mental health when fed different foods.

He took 4 groups of cats.  All groups were fed raw meat to act as a constant.  Group 1 was fed raw milk.  Group 2 was fed pasteurized milk.  Group 3 was given evaporated milk.  Group 4 was fed sweetened condensed milk.

This lesson was introduced to us at NTA very early on and it was one that really blew my mind.  Watch the video of the study here.

What did he find?

The group of cats were by far the healthiest group.  He compared physical structure as well as mental health and emotional health.  He also noted the level of deterioration increased among the groups fed processed milk.  So the group fed the pasteurized milk displayed relatively minor deterioration, but those given the processed milks with the addition of sugar began showing moderate to severe damage, both mentally and physically.

The big lesson

One of the common rebuttals/questions today is “Well I ate this food growing up, and I’m fine. Why can’t my kid eat it?”  Enter: Pottenger.  Dr. Pottenger’s cats are teaching us a very profound lesson.  These cats eventually reproduced.  Their offspring were fed the exact same diet as their parents respectively.  Those offspring were born with degenerative problems already, and were worse off than the parents.  The cats in the processed milk groups began having fertility problems, where the third generation couldn’t reproduce at all or experienced stillbirths.

Why are these cats important?

There were problems among the cats such as allergies and asthma, dental decay and cavities, social stress and anxiety, as well as previously mentioned fertility problems. Do these problems sound familiar?  Perhaps a lot like our current society?  How many people do you know with allergies, asthma, trouble reproducing, etc?  How many people have poor dental health, braces, cavities?  How many people are on anti-anxiety meds, anti-depressants, ADHD meds, etc?  What about the level of anger and violence?  Please know I’m in no way judging any of these people.  I want you to think back to your own childhood…how common were any of these ailments?  Were they as common as they are today?  Did you hear about all these things all the time like you do today, in a time where the majority of the diet is processed, damaged, denatured?

Also if you watched the last few minutes of the video, you can even see the effects they had on the environment.  The pen that kept the cats fed raw milk flourished.  Weeds and navy beans were able to grow and thrive there.  This was not the case for the other pens, where less and less plants were able to survive.  What does this mean for today?  Much of our land today is unable to grow plants.  Many are blaming the meat industry, but that’s only half valid.  The problem isn’t caused by cows out on the pasture feeding on grass.  The problem is coming from the factory farms where the animals are fed an unnatural diet.

Basically thanks to the Big Food industry, our species is on a bit of a downward spiral here.  Pottenger’s cats were able to reverse much of the damage done once they were switched back to a whole foods diet…however the degenerative effects remained until the fourth generation thereafter.  It’s kind of scary if you think about our kids, and grandkids, and great grandkids.  This is why what we eat matters so much!

In good health,



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