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pottenger’s cats




Photo by Jake Berzon



Photo by The27thmaine

Because of all our pharmacological research and medical technology, we are much smarter and healthier than people used to be —- aren’t we?  Although forgotten by his modern brethren, Dr. Pottenger’s ground-breaking experiments still provide a strong scientific basis for using diets of raw or whole foods to effectively “cure” (whoops, the FDA says I cannot use that word) sickness and disease.  Pottenger’s work reminds us just how far off target the vast majority of modern day-to-day medical practice really is.

Francis Pottenger Jr (1901–1967) was the son of Francis M. Pottenger Sr (a famous Medical Doctor who co-founded the Pottenger Sanatorium in Monrovia California for treatment of tuberculosis) was incredibly interested in the relationship of food and health .  After completing his residency at Los Angeles County Hospital in 1930, he began working full time at the Sanatorium with his father.   It was during this period (1932 to 1942) that he conducted what has come to be known as the Pottenger Cat Study.  Being a contemporary of nutritional pioneers in the field of whole foods, WESTON PRICE and ROYAL LEE, Pottenger wanted to study the comparative nutritional value of raw foods to cooked foods, as some people believed that nutritional value was destroyed via cooking and high temps.

In 1940, the junior Potenger bought some of the Sanatorium and started the Francis M Pottenger, Jr. Hospital.   Dr.Pottenger applied the principles of WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION and ENDOCRINOLOGY from early on in his professional life.  Like Royal Lee, Dr. Pottenger was a pioneer in using adrenal gland extracts and “glandulars” as nutritional supplements (similar to Standard Process’s DRENAMIN).  He used these to treat things like allergies and exhaustion.  (i.e. ADRENAL FATIGUE, which is today called FIBROMYALGIA / CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME).  In his treatment of lung conditions, he always emphasized proper diet based on the Whole Food Principles promoted by men like Drs. Price, Lee, and the famous cancer doctor, MAX GERSON.   At his hospital, he broke all of today’s nutritional rules by serving copious amounts of real liver, butter, cream and eggs to sick patients.

In a decade-long experiment that would certainly be illegal today, Dr. Pottenger used donated laboratory cats to test the potency / efficacy of the adrenal gland extracts he was creating in his lab.  For his experiment, Pottenger removed adrenal glands of these cats, and then fed them a supposedly nutritional diet consisting of things like raw milk, cod liver oil and cooked meat scraps.

As the number of cats grew, he found himself running out of ways to feed them.   So Dr. Pottenger began ordering raw meat scraps from a local meat packing plant (organs, meat, and bones) to feed his cats.  Dr. Pottenger fed a separate group of cats from this supply of raw meats, and noticed that within months this separate group appeared in better health than the cooked meat group.  Not only were they more healthy, but their kittens were more energetic and healthy as well.  And on top of all this, most interestingly, the Raw Foods group’s post-surgical mortality rate was significantly lower.

At a certain point, Dr. Pottenger made the conscious decision to run this part of the experiment in a scientifically controlled fashion.  Over the course of a decade, Dr. Pottenger studied approximately 900 cats (three generations).

One group of cats was fed a diet of two-thirds raw meat, and one-third raw milk with cod-liver oil, while the other group was fed a diet of two-thirds cooked meat, and one-third raw milk with cod-liver oil.  The cats who ate the all-raw diet were healthy while the cats fed the cooked meat diet developed various health problems that got generationally worse.

  • By the end of the first generation the felines had begun to develop degenerative diseases.  Dr. Pottenger noted that they became lazy as well, displaying decreased energy levels.
  • By the end of the second generation, the cats were suffering with degenerative diseases —- by mid-life.  They also showed a decrease in their coordination.
  • The third generation of cats were developing degenerative diseases while still very young, and it was not uncommon to see this group have offspring that were born blind and weak.  This generation did not live as long as previous generations, and many were sterile.  On top of this, the third generation of cats had problems with parasites, fleas, and other “vermin”, while skin conditions and allergic reactions jumped from five percent to over 90 percent. According to one source, “Kittens of the third generation did not survive six months. Bones became soft and pliable and the cats suffered from adverse personality changes. Males became docile while females became more aggressive.”
  • By the fourth generation there were no more cats.

For those of you who understand the difference between WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION / SUPPLEMENTS and the synthetic, processed stuff; this will come as no surprise.  As far as the amount of Degenerative Diseases taking place in the cooked food groups, I would strongly suggest that you take a quick peak at Dr Weston Price’s Magnus Opus, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  In this book, Dr. Price chronicles his trip around the world, while observing the devastating health problems that quickly overtake indigenous peoples as they are introduced to processed foods.  If you are interested, you can actually purchase the book written by Dr. Pottenger about his study called, Pottenger’s Cats.


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