Is Raw Food Healthier For Cats?
Raw feeding has become a popular diet for cat parents. The diet of raw meat, organs, bone, vegetables, and fruits is said to have various benefits to a feline’s health. In this article, let’s look at raw cat food and why it is the healthier diet plan for your cat.
Why feed raw cat food?
Cats are carnivorous animals, which also means that vegetables and carbs are not required in a cat’s diet.
This is why cats thrive on high-protein, high-moisture diets rich in compounds found exclusively in raw diets. A raw cat meal consists of essential amino acids and fatty acids, and other vitamins and minerals, which are helpful in keeping your feline’s body healthy.
Moreover, most of the ingredients used in a raw diet are natural. So you won’t have to worry if your cat is consuming food that contains substances that can be detrimental to its health.
Is raw food good for cats?
Yes, as a matter of fact, there are many benefits of feeding your cat raw food. They are:
Boost water intake
Every day, the average healthy cat requires around 30ml of water per pound of body weight. So, if your cat weighs eight pounds, they need about 1 cup of water each day.
Some cats don’t drink enough water, resulting in concentrated urine and the development of urinary crystals. So, cats have to get their daily water intake from their food.
Since raw meals have high moisture content, you are killing two birds with one stone by ensuring your cat is well hydrated and gets all the nutrients it needs with one diet plan.
It's a well-known fact that cats on a raw diet defecate less. This is attributed mainly to the meal being easier to digest. They digest more of the food that goes in, resulting in less food coming out. Poos from pets on a raw beef diet are often tiny, dry, crumbly, and odourless.
Helps with UTIs
As explained earlier, cats have a low thirst drive, so they should get their water intake from the food they consume. Unfortunately, most commercial cat diets such as kibble, are deficient in animal protein and lack moisture, both of which can contribute to your cat getting a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Since raw diets have high moisture content and are rich in protein, it will help your cat reduce the risk of getting UTIs, or if it already has one, this meal can help soothe its pain.
Improves dental hygiene
Raw cat food can help your feline's oral health substantially. Utilising raw, meaty bones as part of a raw food diet is critical for a cat's good dental health.
Natural enzymes found in bones break down plaque, preventing food from sticking to the teeth and hardening. Raw diets tend to be very low in carbohydrates which also preempts any new plaque from building up.
This is good for your cat as plaque hardens into tartar and causes gum disease if not removed regularly.
Making raw diets safe
When feeding raw cat food, the risk of contracting germs such as Salmonella and E.coli are serious concerns for pet parents. However, you don’t have to worry about this that much as cats are less vulnerable to these risks due to their shorter gastrointestinal tract systems
As a result, many viruses will pass through a cat unharmed. The majority of cats can eat raw food.
Nevertheless, one thing you should keep an eye out for when feeding raw is cross-contamination. You and other people in your household may be exposed to hazardous germs if you feed your cat raw food. Pathogens may be found on cutting boards, food dishes, cat faeces, and even on your cat.
However, this problem can be easily fixed. You just have to learn how to handle raw cat food properly. Here are some tips:
- Always wash your hands after handling raw meat.
- Disinfect every surface of your kitchen countertop to avoid cross-contamination.
- Wear gloves while preparing the raw diet.
- Buy meat that is fresh and from sources that adhere to safety standards.
- Keep the meat frozen until you serve it to your cat.
Best raw food for cats
There are many options of foods you can choose from to include in your cat’s raw meal. However, the meat should be ideally of human-grade to limit the possibility of getting raw meat that is contaminated as these products usually adhere to safety guidelines.
Here are a few examples of the best raw food for cats:
- Chicken: Raw chicken is excellent for cats as this protein is rich in amino acids, which is vital in aiding the body to create protein needed for the body to function correctly.
- Beef: Beef is high in minerals such as iron, manganese, zinc, and selenium, which are essential for a cat's health and nutrition.
- Venison: Venison is a high-protein food for your kitty. It contains essential vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6.
- Duck: This protein will be perfect for cats with skin problems as it is rich in omega fatty oils and glycine.
- Broccoli: Broccoli is also high in roughage, promoting regular bowel motions and a healthy digestive tract in your cat.
- Carrots: Carrots are a good source of vitamin A, which is necessary for your cat's health.
- Spinach: For cats, spinach has an anti-inflammatory impact in addition to supplying vitamins and minerals.
- Raw egg: Eggs are rich in protein and amino acids for cats, but they should be fed as a complimentary dish.
How to start a raw diet for cats?
If you're switching to a completely raw diet, take it slowly. When you introduce raw food to your cat’s diet, it might cause stomach distress.
Don’t be stressed when this happens as this just indicates that your cat’s body is detoxing itself from the previous diet. However, if the problem persists, do visit the vet.
Start by introducing a tiny quantity of raw food and gradually increasing the amount over one to four weeks. You might speed up the process if your cat is adapting well to the new diet.