Have you ever wondered if your cat might be getting bored of her kibble? A raw diet could be just the thing to make her meals exciting again.
Pet parents are becoming increasingly interested in feeding their cats a raw diet, but they often have a lot of questions about this new cat food craze. We’re here to tell you what a raw diet is, what benefits you can expect your cat to get from it, and how to transition her to her new food if you decide to make the change.
What is a Raw Diet?
In the context of pet food, a raw diet is a diet of raw food that is as close as possible to what the animal in question would eat in nature. For carnivores like cats, this means uncooked meat and organs (especially the nutrient-rich liver) as well as powdered bones.
You can get raw food straight from the source if you hunt or have access to a butcher shop that will sell you bones and organs. However, most people buy their raw cat food from a pet supply store. You can find raw food in tubs, bags, pucks, pellets, individually-portioned packages, and many other forms at your local shop. These raw foods will also often add small amounts of fruits, vegetables, and other natural ingredients for added nutrition.
Don’t worry about your cat getting sick from the raw meat – cats’ stomachs are designed to digest raw meat, and as long as the meat is fresh and has been stored properly, there is very little chance that it will make them ill.
Benefits of a Raw Diet
Cats fed a raw diet usually receive the following benefits from their food:
- More energy. Raw cat food is packed with protein, vitamins and nutrients with very little filler material. All of these things contribute to your cat’s energy levels, giving her the nutrition she needs to get moving again.
- Better oral health. Tooth decay and gum disease fueled primarily by carbohydrates, which are almost non-existent in raw cat food. Feeding your cat a raw diet therefore helps keep her teeth and gums healthy for as long as possible.
- A healthier coat. A cat’s fur texture is greatly influenced by its intake of vitamins and nutrients. Cats who are fed a raw diet tend to have smooth, shiny coats that are very soft to the touch.
- Better digestion. Cat are obligate carnivores, which means they must eat meat to live. Their digestive system is optimized to process raw food, so they usually do very well on a raw diet.
- Less smelly stools. The easier digestion mentioned above also helps reduce odors from stool, making cleaning the litter box a slightly less unpleasant task.
Transitioning your Cat to a Raw Diet
If you decide to try feeding your cat raw food, you’ll need to make the change slowly. Raw food may be good for cats, but it can also be hard for them to get used to such rich fare when they’ve been eating kibble or wet cat food for a long time.
It’s best to start feeding your cat a raw diet while she is still a kitten. However, it’s never too late to try transitioning your cat to a raw diet. To do this, start adding some raw meat and a little bit of bone to your cat’s meals for a few days and see how she reacts. If she readily eats the raw food and doesn’t seem to be feeling ill from it, substitute even more of her regular food. After about two weeks of successful raw feeding, you can start adding organs into the mix.
Most cats eventually make a smooth transition to a fully raw diet, but some resist the change or consistently have trouble tolerating the raw food. In these cases, it may be best to stick with a traditional diet.
The Choice is Yours
Raw diets for cats have many proven benefits and are inarguably closer to what a cat would eat in nature than the kibble and wet foods that most pets subsist on. Even though it might take a bit of work to get your cat to accept the change, it’s worth your while to at least try feeding her raw food if you are interested in the idea. Doing so could significantly improve her quality of life, and that’s what every pet parent ultimately wants.