California company sells cat food with mouse meat in it

California company sells cat food with mouse meat in it

When Tom Radcliffe owned a few Carmel-region pet shops, buyers would generally complain about how finicky their cats ended up. “They’d say, ‘My cat does not like tuna, my cat does not like chicken,’” explained Radcliffe. “I imagined, ‘Why really do not they make cat food items out of mice?’ Cats take in mice. Question Tom and Jerry.”

Now, immediately after selling his suppliers and enlisting some expert support – such as friends’ cats and animal nutritionists with Ph.D.s – Radcliffe is making cat food stuff out of mice. In the approach, he catapulted himself through a shaky pandemic financial system to the forefront of what appears to be a burgeoning business enterprise option. And his canned item, Mouser, has just grow to be available around the Bay Spot.

A thirty day period immediately after its industrial start, Mouser is for sale in pet and feed stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, and Radcliffe expects to grow to Oregon, Washington and Idaho as early as up coming thirty day period.

CAMPBELL, CA – APRIL 21: A mouse is photographed on a can of Mouser cat food items at the Pets and Far more retail outlet on Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Campbell, Calif. Mouser, a new cat foodstuff contains mouse meat paired with possibly duck, rabbit, hen or turkey. (Aric Crabb/Bay Space Information Group) 

At Pets and Far more in Campbell, a single of numerous Bay Region suppliers that have just commenced carrying Mouser, supervisor Erin Lee said customers have reacted to the solution with surprise – and desire. “They decide up a can or two,” Lee stated. “Right now it’s more of a novelty, but I don’t imagine which is a poor issue. Their cats like it.”

Radcliffe, 55, started out setting up his self-funded organization just prior to the pandemic and has experienced to navigate regulations and nutritional criteria, together with distribution and provide chain concerns. “I experience like a mouse in a maze,” he explained.

The four variations of Mouser are Discipline Hunter, with chicken primary the substances Forest Hunter, with turkey main Pond Hunter, with duck main and Brush Hunter, with rabbit primary. Whilst Radcliffe thinks the mouse meat has really wide charm amongst cats, shoppers may possibly have to serve different flavors of Mouser to their animals to recognize individuals they like best, he said.

The total of mouse in each individual can is a trade key, Radcliffe reported. But he included that mice are “ridiculously high-priced,” with the meat costing about 10 occasions much more than hen, turkey, duck or rabbit. Due to the fact the U.S. Food items and Drug Administration classifies mouse alongside with other meats as a products that does not demand pre-approval to enter the current market, Radcliffe’s regulatory journey involved conference condition specifications overseen by the Association of American Feed Regulate Officials symbolizing regional, state and federal businesses.

He does not use lab-research mice, but purchases from specialty producers breeding the rodents for uses these kinds of as feeding pet snakes and injured owls at wildlife rehabilitation facilities.

To build the recipes, Radcliffe started out mixing ingredients at household. “I manufactured take a look at batches and shared them with friends’ cats,” he explained. “To no one’s shock, I realized that cats actually like the flavor of mice.” Animal-nutrition consultants, and the personnel at the Chicago cannery wherever Mouser is now built, aided him excellent the recipes, Radcliffe stated.

At Aptos Feed & Pet Supply just south of Santa Cruz, Mouser is setting up to turn out to be a hit among the customers trying to find canned food that picky cats like, stated operator Damian Delezene. “The palatability aspect is large,” he claimed. Delezene rings up a person or two Mouser customers a day, and the number is developing, he stated. “They’re stating the cats like it.”

In the store’s canned cat meals aisle, Alan Stocklmeir was shopping for his girlfriend’s a few cats, who “for some reason” experienced made the decision not to eat their standard food items. 3 flavors of Mouser ended up sandwiched between cans of Flavor of the Wild’s trout-and-salmon and AvoDerm’s rooster-with-avocado-oil. Stocklmeir, 74, picked up a can of Mouser’s Pond Hunter. “I’m likely to attempt a single of these and see how it goes,” he reported.

Wally the cat eats Mouser cat food items in Pacific Grove, CA on Wednesday April 20, 2022. The cat food stuff capabilities mouse meat. (David Royal/ Special to Bay Space News Group) 

Retail charges for the 5.5-ounce cans of Mouser change. Pets and A lot more fees $2.39. At Aptos Feed & Offer, it’s $1.99, which is triple the cost of Friskies at a major box retail store but however puts the model in the ordinary selection for premium-priced canned cat meals, Delezene claimed.

“In the sector, we’ve talked about it for years: Why do not they have gopher, rat, mouse, lizard tails — all the issues that cats eat?” Delezene reported.

Radcliffe pointed out that the pet meals marketplace “isn’t accustomed to doing the job with mice.” He experienced the kind of mice he utilizes tested in a lab for pathogens, and he visited the canning facility to notice the manufacturing process, which consists of heating canned pet foods less than tension to all-around 250 levels Fahrenheit to make certain security. “This has all been quite vetted and investigated,” Radcliffe claimed.

After determining the cannery that could mix and can the cat food stuff, Radcliffe cleared a key hurdle when he secured a distributor keen to acquire a possibility on Mouser. But pandemic-associated challenges keep on to plague his cat food stuff enterprise, which he named Muridae for the household of small mammals that includes mice. “For a whilst there was a problem having cans,” he said. Now the canning process has hit a slowdown mainly because desire for pet meals skyrocketed soon after thousands and thousands of locked-down men and women introduced in animal organization to mood their isolation.

Radcliffe does not appear to deal with present levels of competition in the mouse-meat cat food organization, but that may possibly alter soon with the opportunity market debut of Frankenmouse selections. A business co-established by a Stanford College microbiologist – referred to as Because Animals – plans to launch lab-developed meat foodstuff for pets this calendar year. The startup’s Harmless Hunt Mouse Cookies for Cats, designed with “cultured mouse,” are currently readily available for preorder.