Cats are carnivores, meaning they need to consume animal flesh to survive. This includes meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and other foods that contain protein. While there are health benefits to feeding your cat a raw diet, there are also risks involved. Read on for more information about the pros and cons of feeding your cat a raw food diet.
What Is a Raw Food Diet?
A raw food diet is one in which all or most of the food eaten by an adult cat consists of fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, and grains that have not been cooked. The term “raw” refers to the fact that you serve unprocessed food, uncooked, and untreated. Some people use the terms “natural” or “organic” when referring to their diets. These terms mean different things depending on who you ask, but generally speaking, they refer to foods that are free from artificial ingredients.
Why Should I Feed My Cat a Raw Diet?
There are many reasons why cats should be fed a raw food diet. Here are some of them:
1. It helps prevent certain diseases
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, feeding a raw food diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, kidney problems, allergies, and even dental issues. Cats that eat a raw food diet tend to have healthier teeth than those that eat commercial dry kibble diets. They also tend to have fewer gastrointestinal disorders like diarrhea and constipation.
2. It promotes good digestion
Raw foods are easier for cats to digest than processed foods because they contain enzymes and nutrients that promote healthy digestion. In addition, raw foods are high in fiber, which aids in proper bowel function.
3. It keeps your cat lean
Because raw foods do not contain any preservatives, they will keep your cat leaner than if he were eating canned or frozen foods.
4. It provides optimal nutrition
The USDA recommends a minimum daily intake of 25-30% protein for cats. However, a raw food diet contains approximately 50% protein. This means that your cat gets twice as much protein per serving as if he ate a conventional dry kibble diet.
5. It reduces environmental waste
When you feed your cat raw food, you avoid throwing away pet food packaging and cans. Instead, you can compost it or recycle it.
Are Raw Cat Food Diets the Same as the BARF Diet for Cats?
The raw cat food diet is similar to the BARF diet, except that it contains meat instead of vegetables. Both diets are high in protein and fat, and both require a lot of chewing. However, the raw cat food diet has less fiber than the BARF diet.
How Much Protein Do I Need to Give My Cat?
You don’t need to worry about giving your cat too much protein. According to the National Research Council, adult cats only need between 15-20% of their total calories coming from protein. That’s roughly 1/3 of what dogs get.
Can I Mix Dry Foods with Fresh Meals?
Yes! There are plenty of ways to mix dry foods with fresh meals. For example, you could add a few pieces of chicken breast to your cat’s dry food every day. Or, you could combine half of your cat’s dry food with half of his fresh meal. Just make sure that the amount of dry food you give him doesn’t exceed 30%.
Is There Any Risk Involved with Feeding a Raw Diet?
It’s important to remember that there are risks involved with feeding your cat a raw food diet. These include:
1. Salmonella poisoning. Some raw meats carry salmonella bacteria. To protect yourself against this problem, wash all fruits and vegetables before feeding them to your cat. Also, wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.
2. Bacterial infections. Bacteria such as E. coli and Campylobacter jejuni are found in raw meat. Because these types of bacteria cause illness in humans, they pose a serious health threat to your cat.
3. Parasites. Parasites such as tapeworms and roundworms can be passed through raw meat. Make sure that you regularly check your cat’s stool for parasites.
There are many problems associated with raw diets for cats. Here are some common ones:
Diarrhea occurs when your cat eats too quickly or eats large amounts of food at one time. Try to slow down your cat’s eating habits by mixing his dry food with fresh meals.
Constipation happens when your cat eats too little food or doesn’t eat enough fiber. Feed your cat raw foods that contain lots of fiber.
Vomiting occurs when your cat eats something he shouldn’t have eaten. Be especially careful around Halloween and other holidays, because cats often become overenthusiastic during these times.
4. Skin allergies
Raw meat can trigger allergic reactions in cats. Avoid feeding your cat any kind of meat that comes from animals who were raised on antibiotics.
Can Cats Eat Too Much Raw Meat?
Cats are carnivores. They naturally prefer to eat meat rather than plants. This means that they should never be fed a vegetarian diet. In fact, if you feed your cat a vegetarian diet, she will probably suffer from malnutrition.
However, there are certain situations where a vegetarian diet might be appropriate. For instance, if your cat is pregnant, she needs more nutrients than those provided by a plant-based diet.
What About Fish?
Fish isn’t a good source of nutrition for cats. It contains high levels of mercury, which can harm your cat’s nervous system. If you decide to feed fish to your cat, do so sparingly.
If you want to know how much food your cat needs to stay healthy, consult your veterinarian.
How Do I Transition My Cat to a Raw Diet?
If you want to transition your cat to a raw food diet, start slowly. First, gradually increase the amount of raw food in her daily ration. Then, try adding more and more raw food until you reach the maximum recommended level.
You may also want to consider giving your cat a special treat called an “introduction period.” During this time, your cat will get used to eating a new type of food. Harmful bacteria usually take several days to grow. So, give your cat a few extra days to adjust to the change.
When Should I Start Feeding My Cat a Raw Diet? How Long Does it Take?
It’s best to begin feeding your cat a raw diet about six months of age. However, most cats don’t need to be transitioned to a raw diet until they are two years old. Feed your cat a raw diet every day. The only exception to this rule is if your cat has diarrhea.
Some people believe that their cats won’t benefit from a raw diet. These individuals think that their cats are already getting all the vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health.
In reality, however, a raw diet provides your cat with additional benefits. These include:
- More energy
- Better digestion
- A healthier immune system
- Less hair loss
- Fewer skin allergies
- Stronger teeth
- Improved coat quality
Things To Consider:
Do I Need to Buy Special Equipment for Cooking Raw Meals?
No, but it’s a good idea to invest in some equipment. Here are three things that you should buy:
1. A blender. This device allows you to blend dry ingredients into liquids. It’s especially helpful when making homemade dog treats.
2. An airtight container. The best way to store raw meals is in an airtight container. Make sure that the container doesn’t contain any plastic or metal objects.
3. A dehydrator. Dehydrators allow you to make dried foods without having to use the oven.
Can I Give My Cat Too Much Raw Food?
Yes, you can give your cat too much raw food. In fact, many veterinarians recommend that owners feed their pets up to twice as much food as they normally would eat. This is because raw diets provide your pet with extra calories.
The problem comes when your cat eats too much. Cats who overeat often become overweight. They also tend to develop digestive problems, such as constipation. However, keep in mind that your cat’s metabolism changes throughout the year. For example, during winter, your cat’s body burns less energy than it does during summer. Therefore, it’s important to adjust the amount of food that you feed your cat based on its activity level.
Why Not Just Use Dry and Canned Cat Foods?
Dry and canned cat foods aren’t always ideal for your cat. Some manufacturers add preservatives and other additives to these types of foods. As a result, they may not meet your cat’s nutritional requirements.
Also, dry and canned foods usually cost more than raw foods. If you choose to feed your cat dry or canned food, make sure that you purchase high-quality products.
A balanced diet includes both wet food and dry food. Wet food includes fresh meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, and honey. Dry food includes grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
What About Bones?
Many people worry that bones might cause blockages in their cats’ intestines. Fortunately, there isn’t any evidence showing that bones pose a risk to cats. In fact, some studies have shown that bones actually help prevent intestinal blockage.
Are There Any Toxic foods?
Raw foods do contain toxins. However, these substances are harmless to humans and animals.
For instance, the main toxin found in raw meats is botulism. Botulism occurs when bacteria grow inside the meat. When this happens, the bacteria produce a toxin that causes muscle paralysis.