Roland Dürre
Monday August 10th, 2015

Complexity & Cat Food.

Between September, 10th, and September, 12th, I will be in Berlin. Why? Because there is another PM Camp! This is already the third of them. The Berlin PM Camp is about Complexity. To be more precise: this year we ask the question: “Complexity – should we reduce it or increase it?”

Here is my contribution to the Blog Parade of the Berlin 2015 PM Camp – and it is especially for Heiko!

20150810_150437_resizedCats are well off.

They need not work and can do what they want all day long. Consequently, they stroll all over the place or sit at their favourite spot enjoying the sun while looking around. Once in a while, they play “bad cat” with a mouse or a bird. As soon as they start purring, there will always be someone to stroke them. They get their food in the morning and in the evening. Without having to do anything for it.

The “cat mother”, too, has a better life than formerly. Because today, the cat food comes in sacks or cans. Once in a month, you buy a sack or a crate full of cans. That is it. Or if you want to be very modern, you buy baggies, as you see on the left picture. That is the typical contemporary cat food. Even if nobody actually knows what is inside. To make up for it, they are a little more expensive. But then, our cat is worth this extra money, isn’t it?

Let us analyse what “people” did for the cat in order to make it possible for cat-mom to just take the bag and thus make her beloved cat happy.

Let us start with the wrapping.

It is made of extremely thin sheeting, as produced, for instance, with the technology provided by Brückner of Siegsdorf. It is quite impressive to see how these kinds of sheeting are pressed into huge machines to become extremely thin – and then how, during the production phase, both the machine and the product become broader and broader. And how much effort and, above all, brains, the quality control and control mechanisms in general require.

To make this sheeting capable of becoming a container for the food, you need several steps for metallically steaming and further layering and treating it. You need enormous and very special engineering competence in order to do this. Subsequently, the sheeting is printed in many colours. That, too, is a special technology. Incidentally, the image processing for the pictures is done with graphics software. But then, gluing or welding the sheeting together so that you get a water-proof bag is the next sensational thing. Like much of the filling process, it often looks rather unbelievable.

Now let us look at the content.

The world of chemistry makes it possible: it makes both humans and animals believe that something precious is inside. The stuff has a surprising consistency, a very special smell and it even retains its shape for a time. Well, this is all science. It also has a surprising best-before date and a setup of many ingredients will guarantee that the cat, regardless of all this, will not immediately become sick but instead look healthy at least from the outside. It is a miracle – also only possible due to enormous scientific efforts.

This is how they do the mixing, brewing and filling at automated animal food stations. In fact, the entire process is computer-controlled, always with the same quality and with no variations. As an input, the containers with the raw material will be brought to the plant. The output is standardized cartons. And still, mostly our German middle classes are parties in charge, because our “hidden champions” have exactly the right know- how. They build the best machines in the world for exactly these kinds of processes.

Marketing and logistics

The entire affair can only be sold if a world-wide marketing machine is activated. You will see the happy cats enjoying this food on the internet, on TV, in colourful magazines. It is a truly fabulous manipulation, a mixture of emotional images and digital marketing. We understand the message – the right brand will make the cat, and consequently the human, happy.

The logistics are not bad, either. Because, naturally, the modern cat mother will buy the heavy sacks with the dry food and the cartons with the many colourful bags online. With a single click. Because only old-fashioned and mostly elderly persons who still drive their cars will carry the heavy sacks home from the “Fressnapf” in their SUVs, the trunk of which will, however, open and close after just a slight foot gesture, seemingly by itself.

Consequently, Amazon will do its job. They drive the products to their delivery centres with their heavy trucks that dutifully pay their polls in one of the best poll systems of the world. And if the customer orders in the evening, then DHL or the like will deliver on the next day and the cat will have her breakfast on time. How easy to live in the world has become…

And basically, it is all for nothing.

In fact, the cat would very much prefer eating cooked heart or lungs from the butcher. But then, a cat life, too, is not perfect, is it? And we all have to subjugate ourselves under the modern world – humans as well as animals.

(Translated by EG)

Now don’t say the bag with the wet cat food is not a complex product…

5 Kommentare zu “Complexity & Cat Food.”

  1. Blogparade: "Komplexität - in Projekten und darüber hinaus ... (Monday August 10th, 2015)

    […] Komplexität & Katzenfutter – Roland Dürre […]

  2. Joachim Schnurrer (Thursday August 13th, 2015)

    Das Beispiel mit der Katze, resp. Haustieren, ist natürlich die Metapher für den Menschen. Er kauft sich Tütchen mit Mikrowellengerichten, da zu faul, oder schon nicht mehr in der Lage selbst zu kochen. Beim Menschen nennt man das Convenience Food, manchmal auch Fast Food. Vorgefertigte Lebensmittel, die schnell verfügbar zum Verzehr sind. Das ist das Ergebnis der Konsumdemokratie. Lebensmittel werden degradiert zur Commodity, die beliebig verfügbar und verschwendbar ist. Als Mensch wäre man allerdings in der Lage zwischen verfügbar und verschwendbar zu unterscheiden. Aber genausowenig die Isar in München vom Abfall der Grillnomaden frei bleibt wird Lebensmittelverschwendung vom “angeblich mündigen Bürger” betrieben.
    Man kann das alles auch so betrachten, als sei jegliche Aktivität oder Inaktivität gleich wieder Grundlage einer Geschäftsidee, die dafür sorgt, dass bestimmte Ziele wieder erreicht werden. So wird bei der Mülltrennung das Katzenfuttertütchen anders behandelt als der übrig gebliebene Inhalt, der nicht gefressen wurde. Der Müll, den man an der Isar hinterläßt ist Arbeitsgrundlage für prekäre Beschäftigungsverhältnisse. Wir zahlen doch einen Haufen Steuern dafür, oder nicht? Und schon ist das “grüne Gewissen” wieder rein. Wir danken stellvertretend Meister Propper und Mc Donalds für die Unterstützung.

  3. rd (Friday August 14th, 2015)

    Danke Joachim! Ja, das ist eine Parabel für den Menschen. Nur beschränkt sich dann die Metapher nicht auf die Ernährung, sondern auf unser gesamtes Leben. Auch zum Beispiel auf die Mobilität 😉

  4. Celine (Monday August 17th, 2015)

    Ich finde nicht, dass gutes Futter etwas mit Verschwendung zu tun hat. Meine kleine Süße hat ein Problem mit der Bauchspeicheldrüse und kann nur spezielles Futter fressen und vertragen. Wenn ich mir Convenient Futter anschaue, schockieren mich die Zusatzstoffe. Eine Zumutung auch für gesunde Katzen, finde ich.

  5. Update zur Blogparade: "Komplexität - in Projekten und darüber hinaus ..." (Tuesday September 8th, 2015)

    […] Komplexität & Katzenfutter / Complexity & Cat Food (english version) – Roland Dürre […]

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