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In a time where pet owners have a plethora of food options to choose from – we are often spoiled for choice. When it comes to our feline friends, cat owners are often faced with the same dilemma – do you feed raw cat food or processed cat food? Should you mix both types of cat food? How do you ensure that your cat has a balanced diet? Isn’t raw cat food dangerous? Today let’s start by debunking 5 misconceptions about raw cat food.
Misconception #1 – Feeding Raw Cat Food will cause smelly poop
While raw food may come across more pungent than their processed counterparts, the poop that it ends up being is the opposite. In fact, a 2002 study by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis found that kittens fed a raw cat food diet (in this example they used ground-up rabbit) had better stools than the group that wasn’t fed a raw diet. Another study on African Wildcats (one of the closest ancestors to the domestic cat and believed to have similar nutrient requirements) showed that kibble diets caused more faecal output.
Misconception #2 – Raw cat food might make my cat crave it and beg more
While it is true cats are carnivores by nature, it does not mean they will crave for raw cat food more once they are introduced to it. In fact, considering that raw meat is almost entirely comprised of protein and healthy fats it also means that feeding your cat a raw diet may result in your cat feeling more satisfied while providing it with more protein. This in turn will mean that they are less hungry as the day goes by and will beg less. This is especially helpful for cats who are struggling with obesity considering that obesity affects around 50% of cats.
Misconception #3 – Raw cat food will cause health problems in my cat such as urinary tract infections
A common disease seen in cats is that of Urinary Disease. However, there is mounting evidence showing that dry cat food contributes to urinary disease. Generally cats lack drive for thirst, given that they have desert-dwelling ancestors. This means that they get most of their water from their diet. Typically, prey is made up of 75-80% of water compared to dry diets that have around 10% which require cats to drink more water to remain hydrated. Raw cat food diets as well as wet cat food can help stave off cystitis and urinary tract infections considering their higher water content levels.
Misconception #4 – Feeding my cat raw food can potentially poison it
The biggest risk of feeding your feline friend a raw cat food diet stems from cross-contamination. Pathogens can remain on surfaces where you prepare your cats’ food, food bowls, in cat faecal matter, and even on your cat (especially around its face). However, when prepared correctly, we can minimise risks when feeding our cats with a raw cat food diet. This includes handling food frozen when possible, feeding your cat in an area that is easy to clean (e.g. no carpeting) as well as sanitising their food bowls immediately after feeding. It's interesting to note that commercial cat foods like kibble or canned foods are routinely recalled because of the presence of toxins, pesticides, salmonella and foreign objects.
Misconception #5 – Raw cat food will cause my cat to have smelly breath
Raw diets have very little role in the formation of dental diseases or bad breath. Genetically, cats have teeth which are pointed – specifically to puncture, shear, tear and crunch small bones, unlike flat teeth that herbivores and omnivores have to chew on food like humans. In fact, dental diseases in cats are mainly due to its genetics – some cats are simply more inclined to develop dental diseases than others. Genetics aside, dental diseases start from the buildup of tartar (hardened food residue) that eventually leads to infections of the gum and tooth roots when not taken care of. Hence it is important to help your feline friend clean off any food residue from its teeth regularly so as to prevent dental diseases.
With this knowledge in mind and 5 misconceptions debunked, it is important to note that raw cat food diets are not harmful for your feline friend and are in fact, more beneficial than dry cat food in keeping them hydrated and well-satiated as long as it is prepared carefully and part of a well-balanced meal.
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