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So maybe after reading about cat food and how it’s related to your cat’s health, you’re thinking about becoming your cat’s personal chef. Good on you! We’ve not been able to manage, but if you succeed, do share your secrets.
But before then, here’s some info that may prove useful.
Home-Prepared and Commercial Raw Meat Diets
Many people have a strong negative reaction to the idea of feeding their carnivore raw meat but this is what a carnivore is designed to eat. Keep in mind that there are no hibachis or stoves in the wild. Also, wild cats do not always consume their prey in its entirety immediately upon killing it so the meat that they eat is not always from a fresh kill.
Cats are very different from humans with respect to their susceptibility to ‘food poisoning’. Cats have a much shorter transit time through their intestinal tract than humans do (about 12 hours, or less, for the cat versus 35-55 hours for the human). This is a very important point because the more time bacteria spend in the intestines, the more they multiply, eventually leading to intestinal upset.
Cats are designed to eat raw meat.
A properly handled and prepared raw meat diet has much less bacteria in it than many commercial dry foods. Commercial pet foods may also contain high levels of mold toxins from grains which are never a danger in a grainless raw meat diet.
There are several ways to feed a raw meat diet. One way is to prepare the diet yourself using a very simple recipe. This is my preference so that I can control the ingredients that go into the diet. My cats are thriving on a raw meat diet that I prepare using either ground whole carcass rabbit from a reputable farm, or whole meats (usually chicken thighs) from Whole Foods Market that I grind myself. I add just a few supplements to complete the diet.
In addition, the article goes on to say:
One common mistake people make when feeding a home-prepared diet is thinking that a cat can live on meat alone – without bones as a source of calcium. While meat must be the primary component of a feline diet, there is not enough calcium in meat (without the bones) to ensure that a safe calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is achieved. Always remember that calcium is not an optional “supplement,” but a very critical component of the diet. The bones must be ground with the meat (preferable), or bone meal must be added to the recipe.
This is pretty much what I said, in discussing the health of Didi Boy, a 20-year old cat who was fed a primary diet of raw meat (The importance of nutrition)
I did do some readup on preparing kitty grub myself. Here’s a list of references from the about cats site for your convenience:
Many concerned cat owners have turned to home-prepared food for their cats in an effort to provide the very best diet. If you are interested in feeding your cat “naturally,” these articles, recipes, and features will pave the way toward an understanding of home-prepared food for cats.
- Turkey Surprise –
Thanksgiving turkey recipe especially for your kitties
- Before You Try a Raw Food Diet for Your Cat – What You Need to Know
Cats are obligate carnivores and their systems have evolved from thousands of years of eating a raw food diet in the wild. A raw meat diet supplemented with grains, vegetables and fruits, taurine, certain enzymes, and essential fatty acids will closely approximate the food your cat would get in the wild.
- Natural Raw Food Diet for Cats – The Hows and Whys of Feeding Cats Raw
A carefully home-prepared raw food diet closely approximates the diet cats would get in the wild; the diet to which their physiology is naturally attuned.
- Raising Cats Naturally by Michelle T. Bernard
Although this book encompasses the whole scope of raising cats as Nature intended, a large portion of it is devoted to the raw food diet the author feeds her cats.
- Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets
This book offers a plethora of information about diet related to health, and over 200 recipes for dogs and cats, but I found it a bit tedious to separate out the cats-relevant material.
- Cats Top Picks – Raw Food Supplements
The recent emphasis on cat food ingredients has caused many concerned cat owners to turn to a home prepared raw food diet for their cats. However, finding the necessary supplemental ingredients to round out the nutritional requirements can be daunting. These raw food diet supplements take out the guesswork and save time, in addition.
- Product Review – Instincts TC from Feline Future
Instincts, from Feline Future, was in the vanguard of promoting raw diets for cats, after a decade of research and analysis of cats’ natural diet. Mixed with raw meat, Instinct forms a complete and natural diet for promoting optimal health in your cat.
- Product Review – Sojourner Farms European-Style Cat Food Mix
Mixed with raw meat and fruit or vegetables, forms a tasty, complete and natural diet for your cat.
- Kitty Is What Kitty Eats – Guest Article
You have heard the phrase, “you are what you eat” and that applies to animals too. You can’t take a package of “dead” cat food and keep “life” in an animal. Guest writer Donna Watkins shares tips for herbs, fruits, and vegetables you can add to your cat’s diet to bring it alive.
- Making Cat Food
Noted veterinarian, Dr. Lisa A. Pierson, DVM, describes her experiences with raw feeding, and shares sources for protein such as chicken and rabbit, along with her notes on why certain ingredients are added or eliminated. A very worthwile read for someone interested in feeding raw.
Here’s other sites and pages worth checking out:
- BARF Diet: Information about the Bones And Raw Food Diet, with recommendations and sales of foods, supplements, publications and videos.
- CatNutrition.org: Feeding cats for health. Note especially the very meaningful “an open letter to veterinary professionals“
- All About Raw Food (from the Archive of Natural Pet Care Articles, by the Only Natural Pet Store)
(Created: 8 Dec 06)