REASONS TO FEED RAW:
▪ Cats are predators that evolved to eat a diet of raw meat. It is only over the past 70 years or so that we have tried to feed cats a diet based on foods unsuitable for a strict carnivore. Grains, vegetables, plant matter and highly processed/cooked meat products are unsuitable for cats.
▪ One of the many benefits to a raw food diet is the elimination of starch. Starches and sugars in cat foods may lead to health issues such as diabetes, inflammation, arthritis, urinary tract diseases, and obesity.
▪ Cats need Taurine in their diets (about 125 milligrams on average) to achieve maximum heart health. This essential compound is often damaged in the heating process of kibble cat foods.
▪ Cats get most of their energy requirements from the glucose that their livers process from protein, not from carbohydrates. Not only are carbohydrates hard for your cat's system to handle, but they are also detrimental to their overall health.
▪ Cooking degrades nutrients in meat, causing losses of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Cooking also transforms nutrients, changing their chemical composition and making them less bio-available to your cat.
▪ Canned cat food manufacturers add these vitamins and minerals back in after the product is cooked to make up for this loss. This supplementation is not exact, and there are nutrient losses which aren't recognized or replaced.
▪ Many diabetic cats can benefit enormously from a raw diet, greatly reducing or eliminating the need for insulin. It must be done with careful monitoring as diet can dramatically and immediately affect the amount of insulin required, risking overdose.
▪ A cat's digestive tract is short and acidic, and processes a species-appropriate raw diet highly efficiently in about 12 hours. This gives very little time for bacteria to proliferate, so cats are naturally resistant to food poisoning.
▪ Perhaps the best benefit of feeding a raw diet is the peace of mind it can give you. Realizing that cats evolved to eat a diet that is about as unprocessed as it can get, many people have become concerned about the highly processed pet food they feed their pets. Raw diets are different. The ingredients are simple and identifiable, processing is minimal and it's either fresh or fresh frozen. You know what you are feeding your pet.
Benefits For Your Cat:
▪ Improved digestion
▪ Greatly reduced stool odor and volume
▪ Healthy coat, less shedding, fewer hairballs
▪ Increased energy
▪ Weight loss, if overweight
▪ Better dental health (especially if cat is given raw bones, it’s a common misconception that dry food cleans teeth)
▪ Better urinary health
Important Note: We do not recommend a raw diet for immune compromised cats (i.e. cats with cancer, Felv, FIV, etc.). When cats immune systems are already compromised they may have difficulty handling normal levels of bacteria in their food and in their environment. As raw food can have more bacteria than a cooked diet, we do not recommend adding any strain to an already compromised immune system. It's also important to take into account any other health conditions that may require a specialized diet when choosing what to feed your cats.
· Chicken By-Product Meal, Poultry By-Product Meal, Meat By-Product Meal: All by-products are the leftovers after slaughter and often come from diseased, dead, dying and disabled animals. These are very low quality nutritionally, and a cheap filler for the manufacturer.
· Beef Meal, Bone Meal, Poultry Meal, Meat Meal: Most bone meal is heated by the manufacturer rendering the calcium/phosphorous difficult for pets to digest and access. Meat meal is made up of waste materials including animal heads, hooves, bones, and other waste, a low quality source of protein.
· Animal Fat, Poultry Fat: Rendered left overs that are low quality, can cause inflammation.
· Animal Digest: Material resulting from a chemical breakdown of meat,that often contains no actual meat after the process. Used to add meat “flavor”, high quality food doesn’t need to mimic meat flavor.
· Corn, corn gluten meal, maize: Contributes to diabetes, weight gain, allergies, inflammation, and IBD. GMO corn linked to liver and kidney disease. Cheap filler for protein that is not digestible for cats.
· Soy, soy flour, soybean meal, soy protein: Contributes to diabetes, weight gain, allergies, inflammation, hyperthyroidism, and IBD. Cheap filler for protein that is not digestible for cats.
· Rice bran, Brewer’s rice: Rice bran depletes taurine. Deficiency of taurine can cause blindness and congestive heart failure. Brewer’s rice yields no nutritional benefit and is a cheap filler.
· Powdered cellulose: is actually wood pulp (sawdust) and has a tremendous amount of insoluble fiber. Too much of it can interfere with your pet's ability to digest and assimilate important nutrients like protein and minerals.
· Carrageenan: Triggers an immune reaction, prolonged inflammation can trigger diseases like cancer.
· Menadione Sodium Bisulfate: Evidence this causes liver toxicity, and damage to cell membranes.
· Sodium hexametaphosphate: Used to prevent tarter. In animal studies, the following effects were reported: pale and swollen kidneys, increased kidney weights, bone decalcification, muscle fiber size changes, hyperplasia and severe skin irritations.
· Sodium Tripolphospate: A preservative, can be harmful if inhaled and is a skin irritant.
· Propylene Glycol PG: A supposedly pet friendly form of antifreeze, can cause toxicity in long term consumption.
· BHT, BHA, Ethoxyquin: Chemical preservatives, and are carcinogens. Known to cause kidney and liver damage.
· Artificial Colors (Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6): Known to cause cancer, hypersensitivity, behavioral issues. Caramel color conain 4-methylimidazole (4-MIE) is a known animal carcinogen.
· Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), guar gum, locust bean gum and citrus pectin: They are too high in fermentability and can cause gas, diarrhea and loss of nutrients
· ANY Grains (including but not limited to wheat, wheat mill run, wheat middlings, rye, barley, oats and their respective glutens): Cheap fillers that contribute to diabetes, weight gain, allergies, and IBD.
A word of caution about including fish in the diet: Avoid feeding too many fish flavors as fish is high in magnesium, thiaminase, and heavy metals, all of which may be detrimental to your cat’s health.
We understand that for differing reasons, not everyone will choose to feed raw. If you do not feed raw, please avoid the above ingredients list when choosing your cats food.
These ingredients should be avoided because the animal derived ingredients are low quality and from parts of the animals that offer little nutritional value. Grains are detrimental to your cats health, and are only used as cheap fillers. Manufacturers are able to falsely show a higher protein content when using corn or soy, and it's not usable for your cat. The other ingredients are chemicals, that can cause conditions such as cancer.
Wet food is less processed, less damaged by the heating process and more hydrating than dry food. If you choose to feed conventional cat food, please opt for wet over dry and always grain-free.
Fancy Feast (Chicken Feast in Grilled Chicken Flavor Gravy):
Poultry Broth, Chicken, Liver, Wheat Gluten, Meat By-Products, Turkey, Corn Starch-Modified, Artificial And Natural Flavors, Soy Flour, Salt, Tricalcium Phosphate, Added Color, Potassium Chloride, Natural Grilled Chicken Flavor, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Mono And Dicalcium Phosphate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source Of Vitamin K Activity), Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Potassium Iodide.
Fancy Feast (Chunky Turkey Feast):
Turkey Broth, Turkey, Meat By-Products, Liver, Fish, Wheat Gluten, Chicken, Artificial And Natural Flavors, Soy Flour, Soy Protein Concentrate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Added Color, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Minerals [Potassium Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Guar Gum, Salt, Carrageenan, Locust Bean Gum, Taurine, Vitamins [Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement], Choline Chloride. D-6652.
Friskies (Classic Pate Mixed Grill):
Meat By-Products, Water, Poultry By-Products, Liver, Chicken, Rice, Artificial And Natural Flavors, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salt, Guar Gum, MINERALS [Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Added Color, Carrageenan, Choline Chloride, Taurine, VITAMINS [Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement]. F605518.
Friskies (Prime Filets with Chicken in Gravy):
Water, Chicken, Liver, Wheat Gluten, Meat By-Products, Soy Flour, Corn Starch-Modified, Artificial And Natural Flavors, Tricalcium Phosphate, Added Color, MINERALS [Potassium Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, VITAMINS [Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement]. G611318.
Small Batch (Chicken):
97% humanely raised and harvested chicken, 1% organic produce, 2% natural supplements
chicken, skinless chicken necks, chicken backs, chicken livers, chicken hearts, chicken gizzards, salmon oil, organic dandelion greens, organic apple cider vinegar, organic kelp*, organic bee pollen, organic barley grass, organic cranberries
Turkey, Turkey Necks, Turkey Hearts or Turkey Gizzards, Turkey Livers, Organic Collard Greens, Organic Squash, Organic Celery, Organic Cranberries, Organic Blueberries, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Sardine Oil, Taurine, Organic Quinoa Sprout Powder, Dried Organic Kelp, Organic Cilantro, Organic Coconut Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Organic Ginger, Vitamin E Supplement.
Instinct Nature’s Variety (Chicken):
Chicken (including Ground Chicken Bone), Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Apples, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Montmorillonite Clay, Tricalcium Phosphate, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Yeast Culture, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), DL-Methionine, Blueberries, Spinach.
Although foods like Fancy Feast and Friskies are cheaper upfront, in the long term feeding cats a low quality diet leads to future health issues and steep veterinary bills. Some special health conditions benefit further from a homemade raw diet, which is very easy to prepare
There are so many ways to feed raw to your cats, and it really depends on the time you have, your budget and your cats specific needs. The easiest way to feed a raw diet, is to go to a pet store and buy the frozen, pre-made food. If your store does not carry the brand you'd like, most will be willing to special order it.
Brands that we have used or currently use: Primal, Nature's Variety, Small Batch and Stella & Chewy. Primal and Nature's Variety have frequent buyer programs, currently offering every 13th bag free, be sure to ask your store about this!
Transitioning Your Cat to Raw:
There can be some trial and error in discovering what flavors (aka proteins) your cat prefers. If you cat does not accept raw food right away, we recommend slowly adjusting your cats diet. To do this you would add the raw food to their current food, upping the ratios as your cat tolerates the change. Start with a very small amount of raw in relation to the diet your cat is currently eating. When your cat accepts this ratio, you can then start to feed less of the old diet and more raw. You keep adjusting until you no longer have any of the old diet and it's entirely raw. Another option is to add some grain-free fishy cat food as either a topper or mixing it in to the raw. This is especially helpful if your cat has an upper respiratory infection and having difficulty with his or her sense of smell. Raw food doesn't have as much odor, and adding a pungent fishy flavor can help boost palatability.
If your cat refuses to eat wet food or you need to travel, the freeze dried raw can be a good choice. If the cat insists on dry, be sure plenty of fresh water is available. Having a water fountain is an extra bonus, as it encourages your cat to drink more. If using for travel, the freeze dried can be rehydrated with a small amount of water.
Cats with different medical issues (such as Irritable Bowel Disease, Motility Disorders, Allergies, Renal Disease, and many others) may benefit from a homemade diet. Each case is different and proteins, feeding schedules, and supplement needs may vary case to case.
We recommend buying premixes that make any protein used complete and balanced nutritionally. When using a premix, it is easiest to buy ground meat. There are some premixes that do not account for calcium, this is done to allow for purchasing of ground meat with the bone in. Ground meat can be purchased from your local supermarket, but the selection will usually be limited to turkey, chicken, beef and lamb.
If your cat has allergies or food sensitivities to the more common meats, exotic proteins can be purchased from Hare Today https://hare-today.com/ Hare Today sells a variety of regular and exotic proteins (such as rabbit, venison, buffalo, elk etc.). They have the option of ground meat with or without the bone, and whole prey. The sizes for ground meat are 1lb chubs and 5lbs chubs, and a premix is needed to make the meal nutritionally balanced. They package their products very well for shipping, and everything arrives completely frozen.
Food Fur Life is a good option for a premix https://www.foodfurlife.com/#/ They use egg shell powder instead of bone for calcium. This is an added benefit for cats with kidney disease since egg shell is lower in phosphorous. Their mix can be used with cooked meat as well.
If your cat has allergies to eggs, Balance It makes a premix that has no animal derived ingredients. The premix is called Carnivore Blend, but they also have other varieties that could be helpful for different situations. One blend requires a veterinarian prescription, but is specially formulated for cats with renal disease. Their website is www.secure.balanceit.com
Making the food is super easy! Choose your protein of choice, make sure it is thawed and follow the instructions of the premix. Food Fur Life has measurements per meal or per 2 lbs of meat, just add the their premix, some water and stir it up. Depending on your cats metabolism and weight, divide the food into days and freeze what will not be used within 2 days. Ziploc bags can be helpful in separating the food, and a food scale is necessary. Most cats eat between 4 and 6 ounces per day.
Don't be surprised if your cats gobble up their food and seem to want more. As long as they are maintaining a healthy weight, they do not need additional food. If you are unsure of whether or not your cat is a healthy weight, a veterinarian can advise you during an exam.
Note: In our experience, cats that have any kind of constipation issues may need a diet tailored to help them with their bowel movements and/or supplementation (i.e. miralax, lactulose). Bone and bone powder (which is a good source of calcium) can worsen the condition in cats who are prone to constipation issues. These cats may require higher fiber in their diet which cannot be accomplished with meat alone. Consult with your veterinarian if your cat has constipation issues.
If you have any questions, please contact us and we can try to help! If you would like to formulate a diet without the use of pre-mixes, we recommend consulting with a veterinary nutritionist.
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