Feeding your cats a raw diet can be a slightly daunting prospect at first, but it is also an extremely rewarding one. Many people would consider feeding their dogs a raw food diet but for whatever reason, cats sometimes get lost in the fray.
It’s true that cats have slightly more stringent dietary requirements than dogs. While many people consider dogs to be carnivores, they’re technically omnivores- dogs in the wild do eat some grasses and other plants, including the stomach contents of their prey. Domestic dogs, as many dog owners can attest, also seem to enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruits. Many raw food dog diets include ground vegetables and fruit because they seem to be part of a healthy canine diet.
Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores. Lacking the dogs’ tendency to scavenge, they hunt, kill, and eat their prey. Rarely will you see a healthy cat snacking on grasses in the wild if there is any sort of meat product around for consumption.
Because dietary requirements are slightly stricter for cats, the raw food diet should be well planned to assure that there are ample nutrients. Generally, making large quantities of food at once and freezing it is a good way to ensure quality control. Supplements such as B vitamins, salmon oil, and taurine can be added to an acceptable proportion of organ and muscle meat (about 15-20% organ meat and very meaty bones such as chicken legs) and then ground together to form a sort of mixture which resembles wet cat food. An electric meat grinder makes this task a pretty easy and quick one, and all that remains is to freeze the mixture in containers and defrost as the cat eats. All supplements can be purchased from any well stocked health or grocery store and are relatively inexpensive.
If your cat is not used to eating a wet diet, you may be in for a transition period. Cats who, in particular, have been “free fed” dry food- that is, allowed to eat whenever the mood strikes them- should be put on a feeding schedule before you even attempt to change their food. This means that you should make food available for about ten minutes twice a day (making sure that the cats are aware of the food) and then remove it. If the cats have already been fed wet food, simply gradually replace the wet food with the new raw diet.
While cats are more finicky about their diets and the raw diet is slightly less flexible than a dog’s equivalent, this only means that the benefits to a cat when fed a biologically appropriate diet are much greater. You’ll quickly notice that your cat’s fur will shine, they will have more energy, and will be much healthier overall than when they were fed a standard diet full of fillers. And a healthy cat is every owner’s goal, after all.