Is there a raw pet food diet for cats?
June 23, 2017
Mention a raw pet food diet and almost immediately the image that will come to mind is of a dog chowing down on meat. This is, in some ways, attributable to the same thought process that causes most people to think raw diets are only for large, athletic dogs. But did you know that a raw diet for cats has many benefits for our feline pets. In fact, cats are known as “obligate carnivores”, meaning that they can not survive without meat. So in some ways, a raw diet is even more appropriate for cats than dogs.
Similar to domestic dogs, the evolution of cats is important to consider when thinking about their proper diet. Cats are predators that were accustomed to consuming a raw diet of prey. Cats in the wild often eat the entire prey animal if it is small and will eat nearly everything except the intestines of a large prey animal. This includes the bones of their prey, as raw bone is highly digestible and is their primary source of calcium.
The problem with serving cats highly-processed, dehydrated kibble is that cats do not require carbohydrates and actually have trouble digesting carbs. Because their natural diet for thousands of years including almost no carbs, they only have one enzyme to handle this digestion. Compare that to humans or dogs, that have multiple enzymes to help break down carbohydrates.
BENEFITS OF A RAW DIET FOR CATS
Like dogs, providing a diet that is natural to your cat will have many benefits:
- Improved hydration (supports kidney function)
- Better digestion
- Less poop (and less odor!)
- A shiny, soft coat
- Less shedding
- More energy
- Weight control
- Clean teeth
- Improved urinary health
One of the first things our cat owners notice when switching to a raw diet is less poop in the litter box and less furballs due to reduced shedding.
PUTTING A CAT ON A RAW DIET
Like dogs, we recommend that cats eat 2-4% of their ideal body weight on a daily basis. This will help ensure they’re getting the right amount of nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight. Adult cats only need to be fed once per day, but you may want to have two feedings. Especially when transitioning, this will likely be easier for your cat that may be used to “grazing” at their own leisure. Kittens, like puppies, need to eat more regularly due to the small size of their stomachs.
Iron Will Raw’s blends are all double ground and fine enough for cats to consume. If looking to feed whole pieces we recommend taking care in allowing your cat to build up his jaw strength by portioning the raw diet into smaller pieces. Eventually they will be more comfortable handling larger pieces and raw meaty bones. If the thought of a cat chewing on a bone seems foreign to you, remember this is what they’ve been doing in the wild for thousands of years.
If you’re thinking of switching your cat to a raw food diet, we’d love to help you! Contact us about the specific needs of your cat and we can recommend a meal plan and transitioning steps for them. We love seeing our feline friends on raw diets and you’ll start seeing the improvement in their physical and mental health immediately. And, as an owner you’ll have the comfort of knowing you’re giving your cat a natural, species-appropriate diet.