I was only introduced to raw meat cat food diet just over a year ago. I have become such a believer and so grateful for the change. My cat is celebrating one year of a raw diet this month and I wanted to share our journey.
I am not a Veterinarian. I am simply a cat owner and I have spent an extensive amount of time researching the most healthy, cost-effective and easiest way to give my cat the best diet I could afford. When I first started reading about raw diets it made complete sense to me and the benefits seemed to good to be true. However the whole process seemed so complicated. There are different models, whole prey, frankenprey, grinding bones, and supplementing bones, premixes. I was over-whelmed. So I am here to simplify things for you as well as go into detail about raw cat food.
Why raw meat?
Cats are obligate carnivores which means they need to eat 100% meat. They have zero need for grains, fruits or vegetables. All types of cats in the wild eat raw meat. Domestic cats typically eat mice, small rabbits, rodents and birds. These prey animals contain about 70% water. Cats do not have a strong thirst drive and are not good about drinking water. Most if not all of their water should come from their food.
Whats wrong with dry food?
- water content way too low
- carbohydrates are too high
- the protein is often plant based and not high enough animal based protein
4 the food is heavily processed with many unnecessary additives
Basically a dry fed cat is in a consistent state of dehydration and it is believed that many health issues that affect cats are caused by a dry diet such as: obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, food allergies, hairballs, IBD and crystals.
For more information on the dangers of dry food and these diseases please take a look at Dr. Peirson’s website.
While commercial wet food is of course much better than dry food, there are still some concerns with wet food. Including: use of grains, fruits and vegetables, over-processed, and low protein. However wet food is a great step to transition cats from a dry food diet to a raw diet.
I was hooked on the idea but I was concerned about the practicality of it. I am 90% vegetarian so the whole process was a little difficult to imagine.
My main concerns were:
– the mess
– sanitary issues
– the cost
– the inconvenience
The three main methods for raw feeding:
Whole Prey – this most naturally resembles a cat’s true diet in the wild. Give your cat whole mice, birds, chicks, and that’s it. It can be agreed that this is the easiest, most natural and beneficial diet. However it can be emotionally difficult for the person to store frozen little animals in their kitchen and then watch their cat eat pieces of them. This can also be quite messy and the cats need to be confined to a small area so they do not play with their food all over your house. Kittens are the easiest to adapt to this diet. It can be very difficult for an older cat to accept this and learn to chew on bones. For the above reasons this just wasn’t an option for me.
Both grinding and Frankenpray follow the below guidelines:
80 / 10 / 5 / 5 rule – that’s 80%-87% meat, fat, skin, sinew, connective tissue and heart, 5%-10% edible bone, 3%-5% liver, and 5% other secreting organ
Frankenprey – a variety of animal parts(bone, muscle, organs, tissue) are measured over a period of time (usually a week) For example in the morning you may give chicken hearts with a small chicken wing, for lunch a drumstick and some liver, etc. The exact proportions are not equal at each meal but over the course of a week they should be 80/10/5/5. This has many benefits as the cat has the opportunity to work for its meal and chew bone. However it is possible that cats refuse to chew on bone and certain parts they just won’t eat. While you don’t have to go through the food making process that you do with the grinding method. You have to buy different meat sources multiple times a week and keep a daily and weekly record of what you are feeding. It could also be a bit messy.
Grinding – This follows the same 80/10/5/5 ratio rule. The meat, bones, organs are all grinding up and then mixed in a mixture of water, egg yolks and essential vitamins. The final mixture can then be put into small containers and frozen. Each day you can remove one container to the refrigerator to defrost then use.
This is my chosen method because it address all of my concerns listed above. I can make a batch of food to last one month in under 2 hours and that is with clean up. My cat eats his food neatly on his plate and there is very little to pick up after, really the same as wet food. Yes it is raw meat but normal precautions should be taken just the same as when you cook or handle any raw meat.
The side effects:
– drastically less hairballs
– poop is dry, hard and almost orderless (I know it sounds unbelievable, but its true, and amazing for those of us who live in small apartments)
– beautiful shinny coat
– my cat drinks very little water if any (this is because he is getting enough water in his food)
– high energy
– Health Benefits – because he is only 1 year old only time can tell if he will be able to avoid many of the common diseases that affect cats.
This is just a summary of why and how I feed raw. If you want to read more please check out Dr Lisa Pierson’s website:
To learn more about my process check out the posts below:
If you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them. And please share your experience feeding raw in the comments!