For those who are waiting, I promise that a ton of cat Q and A is forthcoming.

But first, let’s talk a bit about Iams.

Procter and Gamble, the Parent Company of Iams and Eukanuba, recently flew me (and seven other pet bloggers) to Dayton, Ohio to tour the Iams facilities. They treated us very well, and I would like to thank my hosts for their kind hospitality.

I also would like to reassure my readers that I think for myself. A trip to Rio or Hawaii or Vegas would not be enough to turn me into a shill for any company. Dayton is a nice enough place, but I am not now an Iams spokesperson.

During the trip I met several Iams executives. I sincerely appreciate the many questions my readers submitted prior to my meeting with the head of the Procter and Gamble pet food division, Dan Rajczak. During the course of the meeting in Dayton, most of them were answered by Mr. Rajczak or by other representatives.

I intend to pass along the answers to most of your questions, interspersed (of course!) with feline Q and A over my next several posts. But today let’s start with the most prevalent topic submitted by readers of this blog: animal testing at Iams. I didn’t actually ask Mr. Rajczak about this matter, because I toured the Iams animal testing facilities myself.

Iams maintains a large animal testing facility in Louisville, Ohio. Like all animal lovers, I am ambivalent about animal testing. Animal tests generally can benefit pets and humans, but those benefits may not be apparent to the individuals involved in the tests. The ethics are complex, to say the very least.

What I saw in Louisville may have been smoke and mirrors (although it would have been one very complex system of smoke and mirrors). But the facilities I saw truly surprised me. In a good way.

The animals were kept, essentially, in cage-free systems. They had large play spaces, and their social, mental, and physical needs appeared to be well tended to. Veterinarians, behaviorists, groomers, socializers, and play companions were on staff to tend to the dogs and cats. Proper biosecurity measures were in place. It was clear that a great deal of thought had been put into creating a system that attempted to be kind to the animals.

The animals seemed happy. Does that mean they truly are happy? I don’t know. Hopefully they are, but only the animals know for sure.

The Iams representatives claim that animals deemed unsuitable for research are adopted out rather than culled. All animals are eventually adopted into homes. Except in instances of grave medical conditions, the facilities are kill-free.

I specifically asked whether any other research facilities existed where standards were lower. The answer I received was no.

I always will remain ambivalent about animal research. However, for what it’s worth the facilities I saw in Ohio were nicer than the many other animal research facilities I have witnessed in universities and at some other companies.

Next on the Iams thread: the answer to one of my personal questions. Where did the names Iams and especially Eukanuba come from? (Don’t worry, we’ll also talk about some serious questions too.)

But the cat question and answer thread is next in line for discussion.