The ideal cat food is a little baby bunny…
Cats should not be forgotten in the whole fresh feeding conversation. On top of all the usual issues we find in a dry fed carnivore, dry fed cat’s suffer far a shocking amount of kidney and pancreatic disease than their raw fed counterparts. Clearly cereal based dry food is not working out for this little carnivore. If you’re wondering what do cats eat you simply have to look at what they’re eating when left to their own devices. We all know the answer to this. Birds. Mice. Little rabbits. They are cat food.
Cats can and do eat the whole prey (head to tail) as dogs will but should the prey be a bit bigger than the usual mouse then they tend to only select the best bits, that is muscle and organ meats. So feed them like dogs but ideally with more boneless meat and no vegetables (for more on how to raw feed dogs see here). In fact the ideal cat food would be a baby bunny in a tin. Everything else is a poor substitute, most certainly the dry, cereal based crap recommend by your vet. That food exists only to benefit a handful of shareholders your cat will never meet.
I strongly recommend you follow the advice in this article, if just for a week. You have nothing at all to lose by giving it a go, and they have everything to gain.
What do cats eat – the debate…
In a heated online exchange, between a pro-dry vet and a vet that had studied both sides of the argument, the former boldly stated “there is not a single study that links dry food to illness in pets”. A typical statement from someone that has never looked into the subject. Within minutes, the latter vet posted up 70 independent scholarly articles linking dry food to disease in pets, most of these were in cats and most of them were about kidney disease.
“67% of healthy cats display signs of pancreatic deficiency by 7 years of age”
As pancreatitis, one of the most painful diseases, involves the body slowly digesting itself, this statistic is particularly alarming.
Just like in dogs, high salt, low meat, low protein, high carbohydrate, high cereal and chemical riddled products are effectively poison to carnivores. When the actual per kilo cost of cat food (smaller packets make way more money) is factored in, it is clear that cat owners would be far better off picking up some fresh pacific salmon from the supermarket shelf. Which do you think they’d prefer?
Making them prefer it is a different thing! On that note here’s what we have picked up over the years, but being non-cat owner’s and knowing that there’s a fair few folk here raw feeding their cats, we would really appreciate any and all tips and thoughts, so we can add them to the below!
The ratio of 3:1:1 is about right for cats:
3 parts boneless meat (chicken, duck, rabbit, turkey, lamb, fish from frozen or a tin, etc.)
1 part meat with bone
1 part fresh organ (liver, heart, kidney, with the most important being liver)
Cooked vegetables are even less relevant to cats than dogs, as they are total and utter carnivores. They really don’t need it.
Raw Egg: Feed now and again
Oils: For example nut and salmon oils.
Herbs/Seaweeds: Cats and dogs are both massive self-medicators and any herbs/seaweeds we talk of for dogs are generally fine for cats too, but a quick google search of the herb in question is always advisable.
Never Feed a Cat
Dairy Goats milk is fine though
Fat As in do not feed too much fat.
How Much Should I Feed my cat?
Get the weight of the cat (stand on a scales and pick them up), and then start by feeding them 3% of their body weight per day, but, like dogs, this can range from 2% to 4% depending on their activity levels and size.
Top Tips For Changing Cats To Raw Food
Cut out the Grazing: Constant grazing makes zombies out of them and they’ll never be hungry. Aim to feed them a few times a day. Allow them to graze for 30 minutes, then remove it for 30 minutes, 28 minutes and remove for 45 minutes etc. Aim to have the food presentation down to 10 minutes (or whatever they need) and the gaps to once or twice a day.
Changing Them Over: During an interim phase, over the course of a few days, move them from dry food to canned cat “food”. Canned cat and dog food is just dry food made look like meat, but the fact that it looks like meat is a good start!
Picky cats (hooked on salt): Cats can get very food fixated, and they can be hooked on the salt content of their feed, so move them over to fresh meat very slowly. Start with sardines in brine. Use a little of the brine first to flavour, then a little meat, building up the meat quantity over many meals.
Include Minces: It can be week 2 before it is possible to include some minced meat in with the stuff they like, once included build the quantity up over time – Meat 5%:95% Whatever, Meat 10%:90% Whatever, etc.
Start with meats and minces: If necessary, cook them slightly at the start (as they are used to cooked meat in dry food). Cook the meat less and less over time.
Feeding Cats Bones: Cats can be fed minces containing bones or meat on the bone. To feed them bone, simply introduce it gradually, like everything else.
Feed the Food Warm: While dogs diets consist largely of cold dead animal carcass, cat’s don’t, as they are much more efficient hunters, due to this they prefer their meals warmer. Heating their food is a top tip: Add a drop of hot water or put in the microwave on power or dip the bag in hot water. Whatever works for you!
Never use tough love or starvation: Cats can get quite sick from a period of starvation as this causes fat to be moved to their liver to be converted to energy. This should be avoided. Bottom line, if they don’t want to eat something, go back to the last thing they were comfortable eating. They need to eat something.
Feeding Kittens: Kittens, with their tiny tummies, need regular feeding. Give them as much as they like – they apparently self regulate to a point but to what degree we are not sure.
Do Cats Need Extra Taurine?
Taurine is an extremely common concern of cat owners, luckily though fresh meat and organ feeders do not need to concern themselves with it. It’s like the “too much protein myth” in dogs. The reason taurine is a hot potato is because during the 1980’s cats (and likely dogs) that were being fed dry dog food were dropping dead.
They found out it was because there was no taurine in the food. This was a direct result of manufacturers not putting any meat in the dry food, as meat is full of taurine. That’s when they started adding “taurine” to their food (not in the form of meat mind you as that would be a bit expensive), and the benefits of this newly added taurine is all over the front of their packets, normally citing some “ground breaking research” from their science arms.
Taurine is a protein, commonly found in all meat and certainly organ meat, specifically liver. The 3:1:1 ratio will provide all the taurine a cat (or dog) will need.