Pottenger's Cats Book Review

Published on Sat, 03/19/2016 - 00:00

Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., MD was dedicated to the prevention of chronic illness. In childhood he suffered from an array of illnesses which fueled his passion for becoming a doctor. He was convinced nutrition was the key to health and in 1903 he opened the Pottenger Sanatorium and Clinic for Diseases of the Chest. Food was grown and prepared on the premises. Here he treated patients and conducted his famous 10 year nutrition experiment with over 900 cats. Pottenger’s research is preserved by the Weston A. Price Foundation and the Price and Pottenger Foundation, please visit their sites for more information on healthy diets:

Below is a summary of Pottenger’s findings and facts sprinkled with advice and notes from my personal experiences. There is also a DVD of this book which can be purchased here:

Cats Experiment

For over 10 years, Pottenger fed more than 900 cats a diet consisting of ⅔ meat, ⅓ milk and a supplement of cod fish liver oil. Meat was a mix of bone, muscle and organs. Meat and milk were from pasture raised, beyond-organic animals from reputable sources. The only differing factor in the cats’ diets was the preparation of food which greatly affected a cat’s health.

Normal Cats

Normal cats were fed raw meat and raw milk. These cats were extremely healthy: excellent bone and facial structure, pleasant temperament, soft beautiful hair that didn’t shed, reproduce easily with healthy kittens and no disease or other health problems.

Deficient Cats

Deficient cats were fed cooked meat and pasteurized milk. These cats were very ill and were no longer able to reproduce/survive after 3 generations. Poor bone and facial structure, nasty temperaments, dull shedding hair and other skin problems, perverted sexual behavior, infertility and deformed sick kittens, disease, poor senses, organ failure, slow to mature and many other health problems.

Regeneration Cats

Deficient cats from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generations were put back on a normal cat diet. Cats become fully normal after roughly 4-6 generations.

Normal Cats on Deficient Diet

Normal cats were put on a deficient diet for one year and unable to have healthy kittens. Then they were put back on a normal diet. Even after 4 years on the normal diet, their kitten’s health was better but not 100%. If these kittens were kept on a normal diet their offspring would be 100%.

Cat Conclusion

All cats lived in nice outdoor pens with ample sunlight and shelter from the weather. Cats did not receive any veterinary care, sink or swim. Different groups of cats were in different pens. Pens were cleaned and cats documented regularly. All cats were treated the same the ONLY variable was whether their food was raw or cooked. Something about cooking food made cats sick.

Pottenger found through later studies that over cooking foods destroys valuable vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, etc. which makes food hard to digest. Inside the book, there are countless examples of evidence supporting this.


As humans become malnourished their bodies lose their secondary/sexual traits. Men lose their masculine muscular build and broad shoulders while woman lose their feminine curves and child bearing hips. They start to look the same hard to tell girl from boy, asexual. Other symptoms of malnourishment of humans are similar to cats. Poor bone and facial structure, mental disorders, nasty temperaments, skin rashes, misshapen nails, poor senses, balding, infertility, stillbirths, premature babies, crowded/misaligned teeth, tooth decay, organ failure, disease, slow to mature and many other health problems.

Mother’s Milk

Before conception, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding it is extremely important for the mother to be eating a “healthy diet”. A mother must be in good health in order to produce quality breast milk and healthy offspring. Pottenger treated a number of infants at his practice and observed the following:

Mother’s Health Babies’ Milk Babies’ Health
Good Breast Milk Best
Poor Raw Cow Milk Good
Poor Breast Milk Poor
Poor Past. Cow Milk Poor
Poor Formula Worst

A colleague of Pottenger, Oscar Erf, observed that twin calves raised on raw milk from the mother but one from the teet and other from bucket. The one that drank from the teet was always healthier. It is well known among dairy farmers that cows often hold off cream and other valuable nutrients when being milked. Maybe exposure to air changed the milk. It is also believed that act of feeding from the teet develops an array of muscles.

Pottenger observed if a breastfed baby had health issues then treat the mother for the nutritional deficiency. For example, baby has a rase, skin issues are usually a sign of Omega-3 deficiency and high body toxicity. So he would supplement the mother with Omega-3’s and her baby’s skin would become healthy again.

Normal Humans

In Pottenger’s practice, he observed healthy children at 9 months perform chin ups! Later in life, it was common for individuals that followed the optimum diet excelled in sports, excellent job, resilient, beautiful, strong, smart and revered member of the community.

Deficient Humans

Pottenger observed that his patients that did not eat an optimum diet often were sick, weak, ugly, poor school grades, unemployed and had a bad reputation within the community.

Regeneration Humans

When Pottenger’s patients switched to an optimum diet he always observed positive results. X-rays of children from before and after optimum diet for a year show vast positive changes in skeletal structure and density. Overall health improved as well.

The Protective Human Diet

Pottenger recommends 3000 calorie diet, one-part protein, one-part carbohydrates and one-part fat and 10% of fat should be unsaturated fatty acids. The average composition of a human is 10% fat, 9% protein, 8% carbohydrate, 3% minerals and 70% water. Breast milk from the teet of a healthy mother is the best diet for an infant.

Important guidelines:

  • Animal products are non-gmo feed, pasture raised, hormone and antibiotic free
  • Plant products are spray free, organic fertilizer and non-gmo
  • Food is cooked as little as possible
  • Vitamins are obtained naturally in food
  • Minerals are supplemented thru mineral salts
  • Eat gelatin with every meal for it aids digestion
  • Drink 1 pint of spring water for every 20lbs. in body weight
  • Eliminate all corn, soybean and other vegetable oils
  • Eliminate all sources of added sugar


  • Products should be made from raw milk
  • Cows should be pasture raised
  • Cows should be free of hormones and antibiotics


  • Yolks should be deep orange color, not sickly yellow
  • Only buy pasture raised eggs from the grocery store. Free-range is bad. More info on labeling. Organic Egg Scam
  • Book said to cook eggs in a variety of ways. There are many debates on whether eggs whites should be cooked or not. It is widely accepted that egg yolks are most nutritious raw.
  • Eggs shells should only be washed with water
  • Add egg shells to stock pot

Note: Books says to use fertile eggs of hatching quality because they contain natural estrogenic substances. Not really sure what that means and it is not elaborated…


  • Eat whole grain bread and cereals
  • Use whole grain flour over white
  • Use 1 teaspoon of 100% unprocessed wheat germ with breakfast cereal.

Note: This information is conflicting to me. Grains should be sprouted and fermented, for example sourdough bread, for maximum health benefits.


  • Restrict coffee and tea to once per day, eliminate if recovering from digestion issues
  • Good coffee substitute is dandelion coffee actually really good!
  • Sweeten drinks with raw honey or/and diary
  • Drink one glass of milk with each meal
  • Eliminate all soft drinks replace with kombucha or kevita


  • Eat ⅓ organ and ⅔ muscle meats.
  • Eat beef and lamb rare
  • Smoke from cooking meats is bad. It creates indigestible chemical compounds.
  • Eat properly prepared liver 3 times a week
  • Eat fish roe, fish and poultry often
  • Does not specify on how to cook chicken

Note: I highly recommend to eat fish roe and fermented cod fish liver oil with high-mineral butter daily.

Organ Meats

There are a variety of recipes for organ meats for brain eggnog, stuffed heart and raw liver tonic. I personally take freeze-dried organ pills. I wish for my health’s sake I could eat organ meats but my palate can’t take it and they are usually hard to purchase. I find it easiest to buy freeze-dried organ pills and take them daily. Bone-marrow, skin and liver are easy to obtain, easy to cook and quite tasty organ meats.


Gelatin from a reputable source should be used in every meal. There is gelatin in your soup stock but more never hurts. It is also extremely easy to prepare.


  • Consider fresh weekly co-op food share
  • Eat one leafy green vegetable a day
  • Eat one yellow vegetable a day
  • Sprout/soak seeds, beans are other starchy vegetables
  • Frozen vegetables are much better than canned
  • Eat vegetables with fat this will better assimilate nutrients
  • Vitamin C is extremely sensitive to heat
  • Fermented vegetables are extremely nutritious

Note: I’m not a fan of vegetables. It doesn’t matter how much butter I put on them, still taste bad. Weston A. Price observed many healthy populations that did not eat vegetables or only ate them rarely.


  • Use fresh seasonal fruits
  • Eat raw, Vitamin C is extremely sensitive to heat
  • Frozen is always better than canned


  • Use raw honey and maple syrup for sweetening
  • Eliminate candies
  • Fruits satisfy sweet tooth

Importance of Fat

If you are on this website chances are you already understand the importance of fat. Fat is present if every living cell and is essential to all life. Every organ, ligament, muscle, nerve, everything in the human body is reliant on fat. Many vitamins and minerals cannot be utilized by the human body if fat is not present.

Fats are either saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fats are very stable chemically, resilient to high temperature. If a fat is solid at room temperature then it is saturated examples are coconut oil and butter. Unsaturated fats also know as essential fatty acids (Omega-3, Omega-6, etc.) are very unstable chemically and become rancid and toxic to the human body if exposed to too much heat or air examples are fish oils and vegetable oils.

Saturated fat should be 90% of your fat intake such as butter, cream, lard, bacon, tallow and coconut oil. Unsaturated fat should be 10% of your fat intake. Good sources of unsaturated fat are cod fish liver oil, fish eggs and oil olive.

Avoid vegetable, corn, soybean, sunflower and seed oils at all costs. Unsaturated oils are extremely fragile and go rancid just thru extraction. Also, note quality olive oil is hard to come by it can do rancid simply by sitting in sunlight and should be in an opaque bottle.

For more information on fats visit:

Importance of Raw Food

Raw foods consist of mainly of hydrophilic colloids. A colloid is simply a mixture of something. A colloid can be gas, liquid or solid. For example, dust is a colloid of wind and dirt. Salt water is a colloid of salt and water. Hydrophilic means mixes well with water. So a hydrophilic colloid is a substance that mixes well with water. For example, salt mixes well with water but oil does not.

Over cooking foods lessens the hydration capacity of these colloids which interferes with the digestive process. Certain foods will withstand more heat than others. The stomach digests food by mixing it with acid. This mixture of food and digestive acids slowly turns from solid to gel to liquid. When food is overcooked, food does not absorb digestive juices.

When a cube of gelatin is dropped into a bowl of hydrochloric acid or water first the gelatin cube expands and then the acidity of absorbed acid becomes neutral. When gelatin is overcooked the gelatin does not absorb any water or acid.

Over cooking food also destroys many beneficial enzymes and probiotics. Milk one of the best superfoods is extremely sensitive to heat. Even when only exposed to temperatures above body temperature for a few seconds proteins start to denature and pretty much all enzymes and probiotics become exterminated.

Fermentation is a method of “cooking” food without destroying nutrient content but enhancing it! Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz is a must read for anyone serious about fermentation.

Cooking foods destroy the enzymes in your raw foods which result in your body having to spend more energy and resources to digest the food. This puts a tremendous amount of stress on your pancreas. A study from Dr. Edward Howell's book Enzyme Nutrition compares two groups of rats one of cooked food and the other on raw. The rats on cooked good had a huge pancreas and other organs like the heart and the brain shrank dramatically in size.

Cycle of Life

All living things are part of a cycle. In order for humans to be as healthy as possible, we must maintain this cycle. The foundation of the cycle lies in the soil and the bacteria that inhabit it. Bacteria is eaten by the earthworms then plants consume humus aka earthworm poop. Then the animals consume the plants. Finally to bring things full circle animals poop and which nourishes the bacteria in the soil.

Pottenger fertilized different groups of plants with the different groups of cat poop and what do you know the plants fertilized with poop from cats that ate raw milk and meat were superior in every way.


Pottenger’s Cats is a must own book in my opinion. It is also a great book to give to friends and family interested in learning about proper nutrition. It is short, small and has a beautiful cat on the cover. Much more inviting and concise than Weston A. Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

The biggest takeaway from this book for me is to properly cook your food. Eat raw or fermented as often as possible. Before reading this book I was overcooking all of my meats. It also enlightened and stressed the importance of gelatin in digestion and how overcooking food makes them indigestible.

Big takeaways for people new to the Weston A. Price scene. Would be all disease and illness is caused by malnutrition. This book is filled with indisputable evidence in the form on charts and photos.

I hope you enjoyed this summary. I tried my best to extract important information while adding insight from my personal experiences. I still highly recommend reading the book yourself. I learned a lot from rereading and analyzing this book. It also leaves me with questions I would like to further explore.

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