An Interview with our very own Cat Nutritionist – Ele Hacheme

Ele Hacheme is our very own Cat Nutritionist Extraordinaire and Human Chief of the Ministry of Nutrition. With a degree in Animal Science and experience in pet nutrition, she is the brains behind our beautiful Republic, and puts her heart and soul into creating tailored feeding plans that help our four legged friends smash their goals. We thought why not pick those brains with all the questions you might want answers to for your feline friends.

Cat Nutritionist is a pretty impressive title, could you share a bit about your background and journey that got you to Republic of Cats?
Ele: Quite simply, YES. I love animals and pursued this love in my degree in Animal Sciences at Nottingham University. I went on to work in a Bear Sanctuary and even observed Jaguars in Costa Rica, which really piqued my interest in the cat world. Our cats really are just tiny jaguars after all! I’ve worked in pet food for 5 years now, where I’m lucky enough to combine my passion for animals and my knowledge of ingredients and their nutritional value, to help create feeding plans for cats to become the best they can be. I’ve seen the benefits with my own pets, and love that I can share this knowledge and make a difference to the lives of our citizens, brighter eyes and bushier tails all round.

World wide knowledge gathering, we love it!

We want to know what makes a tailored diet better than any other for our cats, and why this makes them healthier and happier in the long run?

Ele:
Feeding cats as individuals means they can reach their health goals and thrive at every stage of their lives. We take into account their breed, activity level, age, weight and goals and use all of this intel to give them a plan made just for them, both nutritious and tasty. Health goals can be anything from shinier coats to helping cats reach their healthiest weight – studies have shown that a reported 44% of cats in the UK are overweight, so tailored plans also help cat-humans understand portion control and exactly how much we should be feeding our housemates.

That’s a surprisingly high number of overweight cats, can you tell us exactly what’s tailored in their individual boxes and why?
Ele:
So the Republic has a three step process that we use to ultimately find a feeding plan that’s completely personalised to your cat. 

Step 1 – We start by working out your cat’s nutritional needs using their age, weight, activity level and much more to create a tailored feeding plan with exactly the right energy levels.

Step 2 – The fun stuff. We look at how to tailor a dry food blend to perfectly match your little one. My top recommendation is to include this delicious dry food as a part of your Republic of Cats feeding plan (you’ll get to choose this when you sign up, and can edit it later if you’re already a citizen). If we had a secret recipe, this would be it. The right dry food can provide the perfect nutrition for your cat’s life stage and health goals, as well as being a great source of protein and a tool to help keep teeth and gums healthy and even improve certain skin conditions and other sensitivities.

Step 3 – Last but not least, wet food. Your cat’s wet food recipes are put together to keep them hydrated (for healthy kidneys and a good mood) and to mix up their flavours and textures regularly for a varied diet, I know what they’re like!

And that’s how I do it – creating the perfect tailored feeding plan for each individual cat. 

The cats of the Republic have got it good, so much work goes into each and every box.

We know you’re a champion of the mixed feeding plan, why do you encourage this over just wet or just dry food?
Ele:
Mixed feeding plans essentially mean the best of both worlds.

Our dry food blend is tailored specifically to each cat, as I said, hitting their health goals and providing the perfect balance of nutrients. It’s also easier to feed, in the sense it can be left out daily for your cat to graze on, and whilst they crunch away, they’re also doing wonders for their teeth and gums. 

Mixing this with our delicious wet food recipes keeps your cat super hydrated, preventing any future health concerns – which can often be a tricky task. It’s a great way to keep up the variation so our fussy cats don’t get bored, and wet food provides that meaty texture and great flavours, which we know they love as obligate carnivores and little hunters.

Top tip – Wet food is also super handy for hiding any meds our tricky customers might want to avoid if they’re on a prescription!

Ahh you’ve mentioned that well-known phrase ‘obligate carnivore’ – we use a big variety of ingredients in the Republic, so could you help explain a bit more about these?
Ele:
Obligate carnivores simply means that our favourite felines require nutrients found only in animal products to survive. This isn’t to say that they can’t eat plenty of other tasty ingredients. I’ve made sure our recipes pack a meaty nutritious punch, whilst also including grains and veggies which provide fibre, antioxidants and essential nutrients like amino acids to form a complete diet.

Super interesting! We want to know what makes our Republic recipes the best for our pals?
Ele: Each cat’s plan is tailored to their specific needs – you can’t get that anywhere else!  You can specifically choose their favourite flavours, across 4 different textures, make sure they are hitting their health goals, mix up their meals each month, improve their hydration, have us increase or decrease their portions as they grow and explore, and get all of this arriving at your door without even having to leave the house. I love being a part of the Republic and helping all of our citizens thrive, and can’t wait to see them flourish in all stages of their life!

It’s amazing hearing from citizens like Anna and her cat Tertia – 

‘Thank you, Republic of Cats! We now have a much happier cat, with better skin (she suffers with terribly itchy skin and this food has really helped). Her coat looks glossy. She absolutely loves the fish pate and we have found that not only does this food fill her up better, but it also keeps a little longer- so she’s more inclined to go back for a second helping later on if needed.’

Making these differences each day truly is magic.

A remote interview with Ele Hacheme, working from home in Lockdown 3.0

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