The Ins & Outs of Passover Pet Food: L'chaim, Fido, Mr. Whiskers, Lizards & Gerbils
Photo illustration by Monica Fuentes Oy, whose leg do I have to hump to get some kosher kibble around here?
On Passover, it's customary for the youngest child in the home to ask The Four Questions, including, "On all other nights, we eat either leavened or unleavened bread; why on this night only unleavened?"
The answer has to do with Charlton Heston and the parting of the Mississippi or something -- we can't ever remember -- but what really burns us is that there's no role at the seder for a very important member of the household: the pet. Which is why Hair Balls was glad to find a plethora of Web sites listing Passover-friendly pet foods. We like www.kashrut.com in particular. Read more to get the whole menu.
Dogs: Evanger's gives you the most choices, including its "100%" line -- beef, buffalo, pheasant, sweet potato and venison, as well as its freeze-dried wild salmon, whole mackerel with gravy, and chicken chunks in dinner gravy. Strictly forbidden is the "beef & bacon." Feed that to a Jewish dog at a seder, and you're risking a plague of locusts -- which, by the way, are not kosher for Passover.
Cats: First, the good news: Science Diet offers a bounty of choices. But the bad news is, the choices sound wholly unappealing, such as Adult Hairball Control, Adult Hairball Control Light, Adult Optimal Care Original, Mature Adult Active Longevity Original, and Adult Oral Care, which we're pretty sure is the name of a porno we saw as a kid. Your best bet is to stick with Evanger's again, which doesn't have as much of a selection, but at least includes freeze-dried beef tripe, which is what the astronauts eat.
Birds: First of all, fuck you. You own a bird. Okay, now that that's out of the way, keep in mind that these apply to parrots, parakeets, cockatiels and macaws. Apparently, there are no Jewish canaries. Go figure. You're going to want to stick with millet, sorghum, peanuts, safflower seeds and pure alfalfa pellets. In other words, it sucks to be a bird on Passover.
Lizards: Here's where it gets tricky, because, according to kashrut.com, things that lizards like to eat, such as mealworms, "are commonly sold in a bed of wheat flakes or oatmeal," which aren't Passover-approved. Fortunately, "live crickets are permissible," which is actually something we've always found to be true, regardless of the situation. Also, "whole insects (live or dead) with no additives or other ingredients are permissible." That last one seems to raise more questions, though, namely: Who's injecting additives into insects, and what additives are they using? Moreover, what if one of the "other ingredients" you wanted to add to your dead horsefly is a live cricket? Is it permissible? You know what you've got there? A fucking enigma, that's what.
Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, Gerbils & Rabbits: These poor bastards probably have it the worst. It's basically alfalfa, or alfalfa spiced up with tasty things like dry corn and cabbage. Note: "Can also give some matza." That actually might be the best route, since then your Jewish gerbil can reflect on the trials and tribulations of his Hebrew slave ancestors, who escaped Pharaoh's bondage but had to wander through the desert for 40 years. Another note: "Jewish Gerbil" is an awesome name for a band.
Well, there you go. Now your pet can take part in the Passover feast without incurring God's wrath. Shalom!
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