If you have ever considered changing your cat’s diet to a raw food diet, this may be the right time try! Cat owners are educating themselves more and more on the benefits of transitioning their pets to a more natural diet: a diet which aligns with how cats have eaten for thousands of years.
The evolution of cats and how domestic cats are similar to their wild ancestors
Whether it is a cute house cat or a lion in the savanna, their mannerisms are extremely similar! They stalk, they play, and they take their time basking in their favourite sunny spots. This is because all species of cat can be traced back to one original family, which historians believe originated in Egypt.
Humans started to breed smaller species of cat fifteen million years ago for companionship but also because they were an effective form of pest-control. The cats were sheltered and fed, and the humans had companions that always kept their villages free of rodents. Since then, the bond has remained strong, and many homes have a precious cat in their family!
Domestic cats share the same behavioural tendencies as their wild ancestors. They continue to hunt, and they roam when they are able to. The downfall of modern house cats is that the care we provide for them is often not what nature intended. These animals need plenty of exercise, which is usually not met when they are in the house all day. They are also commonly overfed, and as a result the most common disease for all house cats is obesity. This can complicate their health as they age, and can be stressful on their small joints.
What’s wrong with many commercial kibbles/cat foods?
Certain pet food corporations have allegedly used poor grade meats to make the kibble. They will use cuts of old meat that are cheap to purchase, and process them into more appealing kibble shaped pieces. These poor practices have resulted in animals becoming ill, some have even died in North America.
Dry kibble is commonly sold for cats, but it is actually not a recommended food for them. When possible, serving your cat wet food whenever you can is the ideal option. This is because cats do not have the same drive to drink water from a bowl like dogs do. They will take drinks as needed throughout the day, but they prefer to stay hydrated through their diet.
The fat content of these foods also tends to be higher than options a cat might find in the wild. This is because the corporations are trying to replace the nutrition that is missing from the kibble after it has been processed. These high fat foods are tough to metabolize, and can increase your pets risk of pancreatitis and obesity.
These man-made foods are also lacking amino acids that cats could get from meat. Missing these specific proteins can be detrimental for your cat’s health and can result in blindness and even heart problems.
What is a raw food diet for cats?
The best diet for cats is a raw food diet which would ideally include meat, organ meats and ground up bones. It can also include different types of fish as well as eggs.
Ideally, the variety of foods and cuts of meat you offer your cat will change throughout the week. This is beneficial for your cat because all meats have different nutritional benefits. The more well-rounded options you can serve them, the better!
The benefits of a raw diet
The first benefit of switching to a raw food diet is the inclusion of natural ingredients. The meat is served as if your cat had hunted its meal in the wild. There are no additives, no missing nutrients, and no sinister ingredients that may jeopardize your cat’s health.
Cats who eat a raw food diet typically have more energy and have been observed to sleep less throughout the day. This is great news, because the more active they are, the less likely they are to become obese.
Their skin and coat also improve after switching diets. It has been document that their fur becomes shinier and softer. Scientists believe this is likely due to the rich amino acids that are present in the meat.
The bowel routines will also change. Pet-owners stated that stools are significantly less odorous, and easier to clean.
Tips of feeding your cat or transitioning it to a raw diet
Transition your cat to a raw food diet slowly. Introduce raw food by preparing some meat in a bowl and placing it beside their regular food bowl as they eat. This will allow the cat to get used to the smell of raw food while it is eating.
After 3-5 days of exposing your cat to raw food, you can layer a small amount into their usual kibble or wet food you’ve been using. It will take time for your cat to try the meat, and they may not eat all of it right away. Stick to your routine and continue to mix the two options until your cat finishes their bowl.
Eventually you will decrease the kibble or wet food, and simultaneously increase the raw food. Do this until the kibble is completely gone, and only raw food is being added to the bowl. Depending on how willing your cat is to transition to raw food, this may take a couple weeks or a couple months. Stay consistent with your routine, eventually your cat will learn this new set-up!
About the author
Melissa Smith is a pet lover, former vet assistant, part time pet-sitter and writes for Raw and Fresh on all things pet-related. She adores her pug, Samson, and chester cat, aptly names Chester.