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What is considered fresh food for a cat’s diet? We often ask ourselves whether the canned food we feed them is healthy or not. At times, we neglect to understand what nutritional value does these pet food provide for our cats.
As we continue to feed them the same processed food every day, it is only a matter of time until they begin showing clinical signs of illnesses due to their poor diet. However, we can prevent our feline friends from encountering this unfortunate fate by changing the type of food they eat.
For a start, we can improve what we feed them by balancing their dietary intake between canned food and fresh food. It’s even better when the fresh food is cooked as cats can eat most of the cooked food that was made for human consumption.
Your cats should not be eating food that has preservatives in them. Some off the shelf cat foods are highly processed and contains fillers, plus chemicals that extend their expiration dates. Feeding your cat regularly with these would lead to health issues in the long-term.
Cats by nature, are obligate carnivores which compels them to have a diet that mainly consists of fresh meat. Most of the time, they would hunt mice and birds and ingest them freshly raw right after killing them.
Although we encourage feeding your cats fresh food, this does not mean you should start feeding them live mice. On the contrary, rodents such as mice and rats could contain pathogens that may cause more harm to your cat’s body at times.
Even when these rodent creatures are considered to be raw food fresh off the ground, they are often overlooked as our cats seemed fine with eating them initially.
Their main meals should consist of a mix of mushed meat either from human grade canned food or freshly cooked meat. They should have a slushy tenderness that a cat can easily chow down and digest in their stomach.
Most protein-based foods that we eat are acceptable for cats consumption. Fresh meats such as chicken, fish, beef and lamb are high quality digestible proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins that provides a healthy cat's diet.
Another fact is that a cat’s stomach is different from us humans as they have stronger digestive acid for breaking down a raw meat’s molecule and a shorter digestive tract that enables pathogens to move through it quicker.
Feeding raw cat food has many health benefits while giving your cat a delicious meal all the time.
A cat's natural diet is centered on protein-based consumption. This means they will eat just about any type of meats that are rich in protein. Fish and chicken meat are favorable options for fresh food.
Feeding fresh cooked food is even better for keeping your cat healthy. As cooking is guaranteed to kill all the bacteria in the meat, this provides a safe diet for your cat’s consumption of fresh meat.
If preparing the ingredients takes up too much of your time, you can opt for canned food. These products are ready-to-serve pet food and are considered to be healthy alternatives for pets. You can find them plentiful in pet shops or buy them online at Petcubes.
Cats need to eat water-rich foods as their body biology is designed to consume a meat-based diet in order to survive. Because they are carnivores, feeding them mainly vegetables, fruits or carbohydrate foods will not fulfill their nutritional needs.
Chicken, beef and fish fresh from your local supermarkets are especially healthy for cats as these are protein-rich food that they would love to chew on.
You can consider making a chicken or beef stew to provide some of that meaty goodness with your cat. Since cats don’t usually drink a lot of water, making a meat stew could help keep them hydrated.
First off, do not feed your cats garlic or onions as these foods are toxic to their body and will damage their red blood cells which leads to anemia. If you want to give them a bread treat, make sure it does not contain any garlic paste.
Food that contains alcohol is especially dangerous for cats as their liver is not strong enough to break down the alcohol’s chemical compounds. The cat will try to vomit out the alcohol contents and the residue of the alcohol left in their body may cause disorientation in their movements.
Chocolate and coffee should also be avoided at all costs. These heavenly treats for humans are often poisonous to most pets and cats are no exception to this rule.
Chocolate and coffee contains a natural substance called methylxanthines which creates a drug-induced state for most pets, potentially causing high body temperature, abnormal heart rate, increased thirst and seizures. As a general rule of thumb, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it becomes if your cat eats it.
You may also think that cats love to drink milk due to popular beliefs. However, this is quite far from the truth as most cats are lactose intolerant during their adulthood.
While they’re a kitten, their bodies can still accept milk as it is an important source of calcium and protein for growing their bones and muscle. But once a cat’s body has grown enough, they will begin to reject dairy products in their system, prompting them to transition their nutrient consumption to a meat-based diet.
This means you should not feed your cats dairy products after they have reached a adult age as it may cause more harm than good. They will likely face a bad case of diarrhea and may be puking if their diet transition is not properly taken care of.
If you choose to feed your cat a raw diet, you should prepare them carefully. Not every type of raw food can be fed to your cats even if they have no problems eating them. As wild cats would eat their meat raw, the idea is to create a similar diet for our domesticated feline friends.
Raw meat such as chicken and fish are always a good staple for cats. If you wish to reward them with a feast, you can treat them to some raw beef or lamb. Some cats love duck meat and if you have one in the house, feeding them raw duck meat can also be a treat for them on special occasions.
Preparing a raw meat diet for your cats simply requires your time in finding these right ingredients. Do ensure you have a clean environment when preparing your homemade raw meat for your cat. Make sure to sanitize your kitchen area after you have finished preparing the raw meat.
If making a raw meat diet for your cat is not worth the trouble, commercial fresh raw food for pets would be a good idea. There are some pet food suppliers that sell high quality raw meats that are specially made for cats such as Petcubes.
If you are not keen to feed your cat any raw food due to health safety concerns, you can try preparing some homemade cooked foods for your cat that only requires simple ingredients to make. We can start you off with one of our favourites, The Sardine Oat Meal!
In summary, feeding fresh food to your cats can keep them actively well for the long term. However, be mindful when it comes to finding the right ingredients for your cat’s raw diet as fresh ingredients are the key essence in keeping them healthy.
Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.
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