The “Pottenger’s Cats” study is a well documented scientific research study of 900 cats conducted between 1932 and 1942. This research project scientifically proved the degenerative effects a diet of cooked or bio-actively “dead” foods has on cats (and by inference, other organisms) whereas, eating a raw food diet maintains general good health.
Dr. Francis Pottenger was a research scientist who worked with laboratory cats performing operations to remove their adrenal glands. Cats will die without their adrenal glands. So product manufacturers at that time used cats to calibrate the strength of their adrenal extracts – determine how much of the product was needed to keep the cats alive.
Dr. Pottenger fed his cats a diet of raw milk, cod liver oil and cooked meat scraps, which was considered the optimum diet. However, he was concerned by the cat’s poor postoperative survival rates and by health issues he started noticing in the offspring.
At one point, Dr. Pottenger began ordering raw meat scraps from a local meat packing plant as a means of feeding his large cat population. Ever the scientist, he decided to separate a group of cats and feed them the raw meat scraps instead of the cooked meat to see if it would have any effect on their health and vitality. It did.
Intrigued by the initial results, Dr. Pottenger then devised a series of controlled experiments along with Dr. Alvin Foord, a professor of pathology at the University of Southern California and pathologist at the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena. In the first experiment, the cats were divided into two groups. A control group of cats was fed a raw food diet composed of raw meat, raw milk, and cod liver oil. A second group was fed a diet composed of cooked meat and processed milk plus the cod liver oil.
Can you guess what happened? The following results occurred over four generations of cats:
Control Group Cats Fed Raw Food Diet – 1st through 4th Generations
Cooked Foods Diet (CFD) Group Cats – 1st through 4th Generations
The CFD cats gave birth to healthy appearing offspring in the first generation. However, they developed diseases and illnesses near the end of their lives. These diseased conditions developed midlife in the second generation of offspring. The third generation began manifesting unhealthy conditions in the beginning of their lives and many died before six months of age. The following conditions were noted in these cats:
There was no 4th generation of CFD cats. No CFD cats of the 3rd generation could give birth to healthy offspring. Either the third generation parents were sterile or the fourth generation cats died before birth!
A second experiment was conducted on the surviving CFD cats. The cats were fed the same raw foods diet being fed to the control group of cats to see what would happen. It took about four generations of the cats eating a raw food diet for the first offspring to be born normal and healthy.
What do these first two experiments tell us?
Conclusion: An exclusively cooked foods diet causes degeneration in body system functions. Much or all of this degeneration is reversible…over time.
Additional supporting studies
So, it appears that different animal species, eating different foods, have different rates of degeneration and regeneration due to the introduction of processed foods. But all of them degenerated when fed cooked food diets. That is the one constant, the degeneration of the body, the mind and emotions with introduction of processed foods.
Can We Correlate These Studies with Human Health?
It’s unclear how many generations it takes for human body functions and systems to degenerate and fail to the degree of Pottenger’s cats. And of course, the average human diet is far removed from that of an experimental study group with controlled variables.
But we do already see signs of this happening in the general population. Each new human generation being born today has more complications and health issues at younger ages than previous generations. Children are developing diseases that were previously only seen in older people. And most of us have heard the statistics on the rising infertility rates in both men and women.
Dr. Pottenger himself said, “While no attempt will be made to correlate the changes in the animals studied with malformations found in humans, the similarity is so obvious that parallel pictures will suggest themselves.”
I find my own conclusion echoed in an ancient Essene passage translated from the Dead Sea Scrolls written 2,500 years ago:
Live only by the fire of life, and prepare not your foods with the fire of death, which kills your foods, your bodies and your souls also.
Some Final Thoughts…
Having been an animal rights activist for many, many years, it's still troubling for me to write on the topic of animal research. After all, some of my very best friends over the years have been fur-friends. And so, writing about the misery and death these hundreds of animals suffered at the hands of man in the exalted names of scientific research, progress and capitalism is not an easy task for me – especially when I know that many more continue to suffer today. My heart-felt wish is that the lives of all those blessed animals were not given in vain. May we learn the lessons they teach not only for our own sakes, but for that of our children and our children’s children as well.
Living Raw Foods > Raw Food Diet - What Can We Learn from Pottenger's Cats?