Do cat raw food diets have any advantages? For a raw diet, uncooked animal products are required rather than normal dried or canned foods. Choosing cat food can be stressful when we have to worry about recalls of commercial pet foods. In order to know exactly what is in their cat food, some pet owners decide to make it themselves. These home-prepared meals may turn out to be cooked or uncooked. A lot of cat owners select raw food that is similar to a cat’s natural diet.
What Is a Raw Diet for Cats?
Uncooked animal items are provided to cats on a raw diet. This consists of the muscular meat, organ meat, and bones. Another name for this kind of food is the “BARF” diet, which stands for “bones and raw food” or “biologically-appropriate raw food.”
The best raw cat food is made using a carefully formulated recipe. Many cat owners choose to create these diet regimens themselves at home, even though commercial ones are also available. If you choose to feed your cat raw food, be sure it has been certified as balanced and full by a veterinary nutritionist. Cats who eat an imbalanced diet run the risk of developing many different illnesses.
Why Consider It?
To survive, cats need to consume meat. In essence, this means that they must consume animal products in order to survive. Actually, cats don’t need to eat vegetables or carbohydrates. They can only tolerate small amounts of carbohydrates in reality. Cats do best on high-protein, high-moisture diets that are rich in substances found only in meat. This includes taurine and other essential amino acids, as well as fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals.
Advocates of raw foods claim that cooking meat can alter or diminish these vital components. They advocate a diet that is both biologically appropriate and closely reflects what a cat would eat in the wild. Typically, little wild cats would hunt and eat rodents and other small mice, along with birds, fish, insects, and occasionally reptiles. Designing a diet that is similar to feeding your own cat raw food is the goal.
There is a lot of disagreement about feeding raw food to pets. The health benefits of raw diets are often touted by proponents, who also claim that they keep teeth and coats shiny and prevent obesity. These assertions often hold up, notwithstanding the reasonable concerns of the opponents regarding the safety of raw food diets.
Are Raw Food Diets Safe?
It’s critical to understand that feeding raw food to your cat entails some risks. Raw food can include pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli that can lead to serious, even fatal diseases. Humans normally prepare their food because doing so kills the majority of these pathogens.
Cats usually digest raw foods better than people because they have shorter, more acidic digestive tracts than people. A cat may readily survive several infections without experiencing any negative effects. Most cats can eat raw food, however those who have medical conditions (such immune-mediated disorders) sometimes need warm food.
The greatest chance of cross-contamination may occur when handling and feeding raw meat. You and the other people living in your home are exposed to potentially hazardous germs when you consume raw cat food. Pathogens can be found in cat waste, food dishes, cooking surfaces, your cat, and even the surroundings (especially around the face).
Raw food shouldn’t be given to cats in homes with immune-compromised residents. They must also be avoided in households with young children and/or elderly residents.
Even while it’s impossible to totally eliminate risks, there are several precautions you can take to minimize risks when feeding your cat raw food:
- Prepare the food in a dedicated area of the house; afterward, completely clean and sanitize (use a 1:32 bleach to water solution if possible)
- Wear gloves when handling raw meat.
- Handle frozen items with care when you can.
- Use meat that comes from reliable sources.
- Feed your cat in an easily cleanable area (no carpeting or upholstery nearby)
- After feeding, wash the food bowls right away (scrub clean, then work with a 1:32 bleach to water solution, then rinse and dry bowls)
Bones are another worry with raw food diets that raises safety questions. Small whole or shattered bones can cause problems such gastrointestinal obstructions, oral injuries, and breathing obstructions. Animal bones should be thoroughly pulverized before being added to your cat’s diet if it consumes raw food.
Diets that are full of nutrients and based on raw foods
One of the most common mistakes owners make when it comes to raw food diets is failing to ensure that the diet is thorough and balanced. Some people simply feed “all meat and bones” or a wide variety of meats without giving the calories, fat, protein, and vitamin content any real thought. Do not presume that your cat is receiving all they need for good health if you merely offer them “as much meat as asked.” A poor diet can eventually result in serious health problems for your cat.
You could think that eating random raw meat is healthy because stray and feral cats may survive on it. Wild animals, however, typically live shorter lives than domestic pets, so it’s important to remember this. Diet has a part in this. Stick to a recipe that has been approved by a veterinarian to guarantee a complete and balanced meal.
When preparing your cat’s raw meal, consult your veterinarian for recipes that offer sufficient and balanced nutrients. Be aware that many veterinarians will not recommend feeding pets raw meals due to the risks involved. If you are strongly considering attempting a raw diet but your veterinarian is not at all amenable, look for a vet who has expertise with such diets. Instead, seek for a veterinary nutritionist who is knowledgeable about raw diets.
How to Prepare a Raw Diet for Your Cat
Working with a professional is essential if you want to design a balanced diet for your cat that is both complete and nutritious. Your veterinarian may also recommend specific supplements to make sure your cat gets the minerals it needs to stay healthy.
The following items could be included in a Rthew food diet:
- Uncooked forms of the organs and muscles (good sources include poultry, rabbit, and fish)
- Raw bones, ground eggs
- Supplements (often required)
You’ll most likely need the following equipment and supplies to make a raw diet:
- A large, dishwasher-safe cutting board for meat grinder
- Mixing bowls made of glass or stainless steel for chicken shears
- Disposable gloves (latex or nitrile)
- Packaging for storage (some people use ice cube trays or small freezer-safe containers)
- Freezer and refrigerator space
The majority of owners choose to make more than they need and freeze it for several weeks because preparing a raw diet at home can take some time.
Cat commercial raw diets
Try one of the many commercial raw diets available if you can’t spare the time to create recipes and prepare raw food at home. Supporters of the raw diet frequently believe that homemade raw diets are superior to commercial ones. They are said to be healthier than feeding kibble, though.
To prevent pathogens, commercial raw diets are typically frozen or freeze-dried. Keep in mind that these diets still require safe handling practices to avoid cross-contamination. For assistance choosing the ideal commercial diet, see your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist. Make sure it satisfies AAFCO guidelines for being thorough and balanced.
Raw Diet Replacements
Consider homemade cat food if you want to avoid the risks of feeding your cat raw food while still giving it a healthy diet. Still, you’ll need to choose a dish that’s comprehensive and well-balanced.
Alternately, pick a moist cat food with a high protein content and superior components. The majority of veterinarians and experts now concur that dry kibble contains too many carbohydrates to be recommended for cats. Thankfully, many wet foods are typically prepared with little to no carbs. Incorporating less or no carbohydrates into your cat’s diet may lengthen its life. Additionally, a low-carb diet can help cats avoid health problems including obesity and diabetes mellitus.