Why I feed My Cat Raw Meat

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.

raw cat food

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?

  1. water content way too low
  2. carbohydrates are too high
  3. 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.

Raw Cat Food

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:

www.catinfo.org

To learn more about my process check out the posts below:

Manual Meat Grinder

Raw Chicken Recipe

Step-by-Step Process

How to Transition to Raw Diet

If you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them. And please share your experience feeding raw in the comments!

 

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23 Comments

  1. January 23, 2015 / 11:35 pm

    That is excellent information. I was thinking of going to more of a raw diet for my rescue dog as she has a bit of a “fussy stomach” with dry foods with too many extra things in them. You’ve given me some good information here to look deeper into it. Thanks.

    LB Johnson (Abby the Lab’s “Mom” From the BlogPaws Community welcome forum).

  2. January 23, 2015 / 11:36 pm

    That is excellent information. I was thinking of going to more of a raw diet for my rescue dog as she has a bit of a “fussy stomach” with dry foods with too many extra things in them. You’ve given me some good information here to look deeper into it. Thanks.

    LB Johnson (Abby the Lab’s “Mom” From the BlogPaws Community welcome forum).

  3. January 24, 2015 / 8:31 am

    Nice to meet you ! Thank you for visiting our blog ! We’re delighted to know another Swiss cat blogger… who is American MOL ! Mom hope she can meet you once. Purrs

  4. January 26, 2015 / 1:29 am

    Nice to meet you. If I was younger, TW might consider raw. She’s also concerned about the bacteria in raw. She doesn’t even like handling the chicken the peeps eat.

  5. January 26, 2015 / 4:50 am

    So nice to meet you! We are just about to start a conversion to raw. Thank so much for the great info and resources!

    • January 26, 2015 / 6:19 pm

      Good Luck! It is well worth it. I will be posting more on each step of the process and what works for us.

  6. January 26, 2015 / 5:07 am

    It’s nice to meet you! Our Allie eats canned plus raw (Primal – frozen ice cube sized pieces I thaw it each week). We’d love it if our boys would agree to eat it, too, but they have proven too finicky. Although I plan to try again at some point. It’s encouraging to hear that making it only takes two hours a month. Definitely doable!

    • January 26, 2015 / 6:19 pm

      Thank you, nice to meat you too! Yes I was worried in the beginning it would be very time consuming. But with two people, for one cat takes about hours a month, very doable :-)

  7. Shum
    May 14, 2015 / 9:47 pm

    Hello I will soon be adopting a kitten from rescue. It will be my first pet. He or she will be around 8-12 weeks and I am planning on introducing small amounts of your raw recipe with the usual dry it’s being fed. Either mix it up or morning give dry and another time give raw? Do you think it’s ok to feed a kitten a mix of dry, wet and raw or should I stick to one type? I hope that makes sense! Thanks for such an informative blog!

    • May 15, 2015 / 6:06 pm

      Thanks for visiting and congrats on your new kitten! Feeding both raw and wet or canned food is okay. However feeding raw food and dry food at the same time is not okay. The stomach processes dry food as carbohydrates and raw food as protein. Therefore when you feed them together the digestive system can get confused and not process raw food in the correct way. Kittens are the easiest to feed raw too, they take to it right away. If you give them the option of dry food or raw most will choose the dry, just like children would choose candy over vegetables. Dry food is made to attract cats and be addictive. So I would really recommend sticking to raw food and wet food. Please do not hesitate to ask any other questions :-)

  8. Naz Gul
    January 9, 2016 / 11:42 am

    Hi. Thank you for the detailed information you have on raw food diets. It’s hard to get taurine where I live. Would it be ok to leave it out?

    • January 9, 2016 / 12:27 pm

      Including the meat, bone and organs is the most important. There is a lot of taurine found in muscle meat and especially chicken hearts. Basically the harder working the muscle the more taurine. The added taurine is to replace any taurine lost from freezing the food over longer period of times. Taurine is one of the most important vitamins cat’s need to survive which is why we add more because a cat can not have too much taurine, they will just pee it out. Have you tried iherb ? They have low cost international shipping. Please don’t hesitate if you have more questions.

      • Naz Gul
        January 9, 2016 / 9:32 pm

        Thank you for the quick reply! I do add in bones, organs and muscles. I’ll check out iherb as well. :) I’m just not too fond of online shopping hhehe. You mentioned you feed them 180 gms per cat. That’s the whole feed per day or per meal?

        • January 9, 2016 / 10:15 pm

          Yes about 180 grams a day split between 2-3 meals per cat. But it will vary depending on the cat. Kittens eat much more then adult older cats. The size and activity level affect how much your cat eats as well. Good luck to you, and let me know how it goes!

          • Naz Gul
            January 10, 2016 / 9:55 am

            Thank you! I have a feeling I have been feeding them a lot haha. I hope they appreciate all the work we do for them hehe. My cats are loving the raw diet for now. I gave them some mutton (goat) today and they loved it. Will try beef hearts now and start measuring before freezing.

  9. Debra
    January 30, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    Grateful to find your blog! I have a very sick 8yr old male cat with IBS. Our holistic vet recommended Dr Peirsons catinfo blog and I am waiting for my supplements to come in before I begin. I’m just happy to have a small amount of hope to help my cat. One question I have is whether I need to change the meat I use? Planning on using chicken thighs and livers as per catinfo recipe. We are also using a chinese herb tincture as well as acupuncture. Thx for anything you can tell me as I start this journey.

    • January 31, 2016 / 8:14 am

      Debra, Welcome to raw feeding! When I first started making raw I only used chicken. After a few months and felt comfortable with the recipe I started using alternative proteins. In the beginning its just fine using just chicken, especially with an older cat. I’m here if you have any other questions. And please keep me updated on the progress of your kitty. Is he already on wet food? It’s much easier to transition from wet food to raw than it is from dry to raw.

      • Debra
        January 31, 2016 / 3:35 pm

        Thx for the response. He is on dry kibble now, but he loves canned food. Because of his IBS he isn’t getting nutrients, so he is always hungry. I’m thinking he won’t have an issue with it. He has gone from 12lbs to 9lbs, so im hoping this works. If it doesn’t, we may have to investigate further testing to see if he has something more serious. Great site! Encouraged by all the wonderful info! Will definitely let you know how it goes.

        • January 31, 2016 / 9:29 pm

          I would get him on 100% wet food now and then switch to raw. Its okay to mix raw and commercial wet food but it can be very bad to mix raw and dry.This is because the digestive system processes the two very differently. Raw is processed as a protein and dry is more carbs. My fingers are crossed for your kitty.

          • Debra
            January 31, 2016 / 10:26 pm

            Thanks for the tip! Ill do that!

  10. S Idrus
    June 28, 2016 / 7:13 am

    I was reading your comments to other commenters and saw your link to iHerb, Thank you so very much for that ‘cos I had been looking for the supplements for my cats’ raw food. You’re a life saver! Thank you!

    • July 8, 2016 / 7:09 pm

      iherb is great. I buy so much for my cats as well as for me. they have the best international shipping ever.:-)

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