Have you have recently discovered raw cat food diets and are thinking about transitioning?
When you mention the idea to family or friends or even a vet (that’s another topic for later) you may be met with some skepticism and resistance. Or people may even think you’re crazy. Before making the switch or even telling family and friends, I suggest first doing your homework and understanding the process yourself before explaining it to others I explained the biological needs of cats and the nutritional differences between raw and commercial dry foods you can read here.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions or critiques I hear from people who are unaware of a raw diet.
“I fed my cat dry kibble his whole life and he was fine.”
My grandfather smoked for 45 years of his life and lived to be over 80. That doesn’t mean that smoking was good for him or improved his overall health. It’s true that cats can survive on dry food, but there is a difference between surviving and thriving. Cats are very resilient animals and can survive on a diet of inappropriate foods; sudden death does not occur however organ degenerating diseases are common in cats fed a biologically inappropriate diet.
“Raw meat is dangerous and can contain salmonella, parasites and other bacteria.”
- Parasites are found in the guts of animals and we do not feed the guts. In the wild, cats would naturally avoid eating the guts
- Toxoplasmosis can occasionally be found in meat, but this can be killed by freezing the meat for 3 days.
- Salmonella contamination of human grade meat is rare but can certainly appear. Even if the meat is contaminated with Salmonella your cat’s digestive system is designed to be resilient enough to handle the amount of naturally occurring bacteria in the prey they consume. However salmonella can be dangerous to humans so the same precautions should be taken as when you prepare chicken for your family’s dinner.
- It should also be noted that commercial pet food can also carry bacteria and many of the pet food recalls are due to contamination that can be dangerous to humans.
- The same precautions should be taken regardless of your cat’s diet: wash your hands when handling food or cleaning the litter box
“Dry food helps keep their teeth clean.”
This is a complete myth. Eating cookies or biscuits will not clean your human teeth just the same as dry kibble will not clean your cats’ teeth.
“It’s way too expensive to buy fresh meat.”
A homemade raw food diet is more expensive than a cheap commercial dry diet. But you will likely pay for it in the long run in terms of disease, dental care and vet bills. The idea is if you spend a little more money now on your pet’s diet you will save money and improve the quality of life in the long run. A home made raw diet is significantly less expensive than a commercial raw diet. The cost will vary depending on where you live and your available meat sources. I spend about $35 a month to feed one cat a 100% raw home made diet.
“Dry food is much more convenient.”
This is true. There is no denying this. Just like only eating potato chips and supplement bars would be very convenient for you. But convenience does not equal a better diet. Preparing a raw diet does take more time but can be a very efficient and clean process as well.
“But our cat loves his dry food”
It’s also true cats love dry kibble, I would even say they are addicted to it. But just like children love candy and fast food, that doesn’t mean it’s good for them.
Lastly, cats are obligate carnivores and when you look at any wild cat their diet is 100% raw fresh meat. It is nature’s recipe and their bodies need it for optimal health. This diet isn’t about spoiling your cat its about giving them the food their bodies need to live a healthy life.
It’s natural that your family and friends may be skeptical of the idea. We have been trained to believe cats need to eat commercial cat food and nothing else. Do your homework, be patient and do the best you can from where you are.