You know your little feline is a relative of some of the fastest and fiercest hunters in the animal kingdom. Before cats were our spoiled, domesticated in-home companions, they were predators who had to hunt if they wanted to eat.
Is a raw diet still necessary?
Cat behavior has adapted over the centuries, as their lives have become easier and they no longer need to struggle so much for survival or to get enough to eat.
But even though taking down prey is not a requirement for most anymore, are our cats missing out on key nutrients by not doing so? Can our typical generic, processed foods that contain preservatives and can sit in our pantries for months without going bad be sufficient? Let’s find out!
The raw food revolution
Cat owners have long accepted at face value that food sold by pet food companies is the way to go and is sufficient to meet all their cat’s dietary needs. However, the raw food revolution is causing some pet parents to question that.
It has become trendy to either prepare your own cat food, using raw ingredients like meat and eggs or to order it from companies that make it as such. Here we’ll explore the pros and cons of serving a raw diet to our little modern-day feline companions here on the Space Coast, and everywhere else.
Pros of a raw diet for your cat
As we’ve already mentioned, a cat diet that includes raw meat may be closer to what your pet’s ancestors ate, and therefore what your cat’s system was designed to digest best for optimal health, energy, and performance. If you’re looking at straight-up nutrients, a raw diet will probably deliver high-quality nutrients more efficiently into your cat’s system than kibble or canned or pouched food.
And because raw food when done right is so packed with nutrients, more of those nutrients will get absorbed into your cat’s system, leaving less waste, which means less work at the litter box for you! Pet parents who feed their cats a raw diet will consistently tell you that their cats produce less waste, and the waste they do produce smells noticeably better than it typically does.
Though it can be expensive, there are ways to do it on a budget. Similar to when we humans decide to switch to as much of an all-organic, fresh, unprocessed diet as we can, a common fear is that it’s going to be terribly expensive. However, there are always ways to make it not so. Do your research. Look for coupon codes and discounts. Buy raw food that can be frozen and kept for later so you don’t have to buy it as frequently. Look into freeze-dried options that you can just add water to that don’t contain the fresh raw meat that is often the source of the expense.
Cons of a raw diet for your cat
Cats are notoriously finicky. If you’ve ever tried to transition your cat over into any kind of new food, you know that the undertaking can be hit or miss, and may include vomit. Raw food is drastically different from processed food, so the transition can be hard to do without upsetting your cat’s stomach. Transition slowly, incorporating the raw food into your cat’s current diet little by little. Best of luck to you! You may want to consult your vet about whether your cat has any food allergies.
Another factor is the very specific and unusual nutritional needs that cats have that are unlike any other animal. If you are making your own raw food, you’ll want to make sure that you have really done your research and are delivering everything your cat needs in their new diet. Processed foods—quality ones anyway—have been precisely crafted to include exactly what your cat needs, as have raw foods that are pre-prepared. You may want to trust the experts rather than try to make it yourself, though there are ways to do it. Buying all your own raw ingredients can also get very expensive.
And lastly, it can be hard to avoid bacteria from a raw diet. Though cats do have the necessary components in their digestive systems to process raw food (when integrated slowly), handling the materials can make you sick, and keeping the raw food in a way that will preserve it can be tricky. If feeding raw food, you’ll need to take great precautions to make sure your hands are clean before handling it, so as not to introduce anything foreign into it, and afterward obviously, to keep from transferring the raw material to your body or other surfaces.
You’ll want to also be very careful to store it in a proper way, like in your refrigerator in a very tightly sealed container, and not keep it for any longer than you’re supposed to. Raw meat is a hotbed for growing bacteria if you’re not very careful, and the last thing you want is to introduce an infected material into your furry friend’s system.
Consider your individual cat and make a well-informed decision
A raw diet can be a great option for cats. Hundreds of thousands of pet parents have transitioned to it with great success and results. However, it can be complicated and introduce certain dangers if you don’t know what you’re doing. Consult a great local vet.
So there you have it! We won’t make the decision for you, but weigh these pros and cons and take your cat’s individual lifestyle and sensitivities into consideration, and choose what you think will be best for your furry family member.
At Space Coast Pet Services, our knowledgeable staff is experienced with cat feedings of all kinds, and should you ever be away and need someone to dish out and store raw food or any other kind, get in touch with us.
Tell us in the comments: do you feed your cat a raw diet?
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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