A raw diet recreates the way our pet’s ancestors ate in the wild for thousands of years. Dogs and cats are carnivores. Left to their own devices, their typical daily diet, like that of their wild cousins, would involve catching and eating another animal. A raw diet returns our pets to this more natural form of nutrition, as if they had hunted and caught their perfect dinner.
When a carnivore eats an herbivore like a rabbit or a deer, the carnivore eats some meat, some bone, some organ meats and a small amount of green vegetation contained in the herbivore’s digestive tract. These ingredients are the four main food groups of a good raw diet.
- Fresh, raw meat
- Some uncooked bone
- Some raw organ meats
- Some green vegetation
Why Feed a Raw Food Diet?
More and more professionals in the world of dogs and cats (not to mention thousands of concerned pet owners), are advocating for a second look at what we feed our animals. There is a growing belief that dogs and cats need a raw, natural diet in order to be healthy, and that commercial pet foods cannot supply the nutrients necessary for good health and a long life. An overabundance of the wrong ingredients may serve to satisfy a hungry pet, but they may also contribute to long-term health problems.
Just like us, our pets are what they eat.
And here’s what raw-feeding pet owners around the world see in their raw-fed pets:
- Shinier, healthier skin and coats
- Cleaner teeth and fresh breath
- Better weight control
- Improved digestion
- Reduction of allergy symptoms
- Harder, smaller, less smelly stools
- More energy and stamina
- Decrease in abnormal hyperactivity
- Increased mobility in older animals
- Reduced or eliminated need for veterinary dental work
Switching an animal with an existing health problem to a raw diet can often produce an improvement in their conditions. Among healthy animals, a raw diet is likely to help them avoid some of the illnesses that are now becoming common in our companion animals. Regardless of the starting point for your pet, a high-quality raw diet will help promote a long and healthy life.
Are Raw Diets Safe?
For You and Your Family: ANY food product that is not processed, stored or handled properly is a potential health problem. A raw diet is no exception, and because a raw diet is based upon uncooked meats, extra care is required in storage and handling.
Do cat’s benefit from a raw diet?
Yes. The domestic house cat is descended from the jungle cat, and still needs to eat like a wild cat. Both wild and domestic cats are classified as “obligate carnivores”, which means that due to their genetic makeup they must eat the tissue of other animals in order to thrive. Obligate carnivores may eat other foods, such as vegetables, grains, or fruit, but they must eat meat as the main source of their nutrients. And cats, like dogs, do not have any dietary requirement for carbohydrates, so grain-based foods are much less than optimal for them. And since the meat contained in most commercial pet foods is most often from diseased, condemned animals, the nutrition value is questionable. A raw diet made with fresh, approved meats and bones provides cats with healthy, natural nutrition.
It can be difficult to switch a cat’s diet. Unlike dogs, who are usually willing to investigate any potential food source, cats often imprint on the specific smell, taste and texture of the food they are used to eating. So, while a few will immediately appreciate the raw food offered to them, most will look at you as if you are trying to poison them. But with a little patience on your part, your cat will make the transition.
The key to success with these finicky felines is to go very slowly. In some cases, you will mix only a finger-full of raw food into their current diet – just enough to let them get used to the slight smell of the new food in their bowl. Very gradually increase the amount you mix in with their food. Over the course of a month, most will make a full transition, and no longer tolerate anything but raw food.
Rabbit and venison tend to be very popular with cats, as are the poultry items. Organ meats are very important to feed at least a few times a week. And while some cats love vegetables, they aren’t really necessary.