A raw species appropriate diet is beneficial to both cats and dogs but cats are less tolerant to a sub par diet and are at higher risk of disease and shortened lifespan.
Cats Are Carnivores – What Now?
Cats are true carnivores just like dogs and they will benefit greatly from a raw species appropriate diet.
But there are some special guidelines that need to be taken into consideration when feeding a raw diet
First and foremost if you are feeding a free-choice dry kibble and planning on switching to a raw food diet you need to stop the free-choice feeding and switch your cat to two or three small meals a day. This will make them hungrier at mealtime and make the switch to raw go a little more smoothly.
The second thing to consider is making sure your cats diet has plenty of taurine in it.
What To Consider
Taurine is an essential amino acid that cats need in their diets, they cannot produce it on their own. Without sufficient amounts of taurine cats are at high risk for blindness due to retinal damage, tooth decay and heart failure.
GOOD NEWS!!! Taurine is found naturally in raw meat. The highest and best sources for natural bio availability are dark meat chicken, organ meats such as liver and heart and some fish. Heating destroys taurine making it less available for cats to use so raw or rare would the optimal source.
Another important element that is required by cats is a bone source. Raw chicken legs, chicken thighs, game hens with bones and even rabbit are great sources of bones. It supplies them with calcium and other important minerals and nutrients.
Making The Switch
Some cats will take to a raw diet very easily while others are so addicted to dry kibble that they are not going to want anything to do with raw meat.
If your cat takes to the raw meat and readily eats it then the switch should be quick and painless, but if you happen to have one of those cats that really don’t want to give up that kibble then you’ll have to work a little harder to persuade them to make the switch.
Adding a small amount to each meal and slowly increasing it over time is usually a simple way to convert your cat to a raw diet.
Cats Are Finicky
Have you ever wondered why cats are finicky? It is likely due to them not being able to tolerate old or spoiled food.
So be sure that you are always offering your cat fresh meat that is not old or spoiled. You can use previously frozen meat as long as it is thawed and slightly warmer than room temperature, cats cannot tolerate cold food.
The best way to thaw it is in the refrigerator for a day or two and then slightly warmed by sitting in a warm bowl of water. Try not to use the microwave to thaw or warm up because that will decrease the available taurine.
Make Your Own Or Use a Ready Made
So we’ve discussed that raw is best but what if you can’t tolerate preparing the raw meat or your cat just won’t take to it.
One thing to remember is that your cat cannot go without food, they cannot tolerate fasting like dogs can. So you will have to offer them some kind of food if they just won’t eat the raw food. It is ok to give them their regular food and try to give them the raw again the next day, it may take several tries before they will actually eat it.
There are several ready-made raw diets available on the market today and they come in many varieties of freeze-dried or frozen.
So before you decide feeding raw is not for you or your cat check out some of the many ready-made varieties. They offer convenience for you and a proper species appropriate diet for your cat.
You and your pet will be glad you gave it a try.