Discussions around whether or not it’s safe to feed our cats a homemade raw diet is a conversation that’s always worth having.
Those on the pro side of the argument believe raw animal meat is one of the best sources of protein available; a nutrient-loaded powerhouse that will boost your cat’s health.
The anti-raw group believes the threat of cross-contamination, coupled with the risk of nutritional imbalance, is a good enough reason to stay well clear.
What this article will do is provide you with all the facts – as well as some of the best raw food options available – so you’re able to make an informed decision.
Is there a risk to making homemade cat food?
Regardless of your stance on raw food diets, there is no doubting the fact they do come with an element of risk attached.
Uncooked meats are a haven for parasites and/or bacteria like salmonella and E. coli.
While the majority of cats are able to digest raw food due to their shorter and more acidic digestive tract – when compared to ours – there will be some who experience an upset stomach, or even serious illness. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, tiredness, and a loss of appetite.
Dealing with large quantities of raw meat in the kitchen also increases the very real risk of cross-contamination, and with it the possibility of food poisoning.
What types of food can cats eat raw?
- Chicken. As unappetising as it may sound to human ears, raw chicken is undoubtedly a very good staple for any raw food diet. It’s naturally low in fat, contains high-quality protein, and is rich in vitamins and minerals such as B6, B12, D, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. As with any other raw animal meat, you should only feed your cat raw chicken in moderation, and as part of a complete and well-balanced diet
- Beef. Packed with protein, beef, which is also an excellent source of iron, B12 and numerous other vitamins and minerals, can help to promote heart health, good eyesight and strong muscles. Lean cuts of beef are considered the healthiest option; just ensure the meat is unseasoned, so you won’t aggravate your cat’s stomach.
- Organ meats. Some experts refer to organ meats, such as liver, kidneys and heart, as feline superfoods. They’re brimming with vitamins and minerals, they’re lower in calories than muscle meat, and they contain a variety of amino acids. Fed in moderation, they can definitely bring a different taste and texture to a cat’s diet.
- Bones. Bones aren’t just a culinary canine delicacy, they can be a firm feline favourite, too, due to all that protein and calcium content. If you are going to be feeding your cat bones as part of their diet, always make sure they’re raw, as cooked bones run the risk of splintering and harming your cat’s throat.
- Fruit. Cut into small, easily digestible chunks, cats can eat a whole range of fruits. Apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon; adding any of these tasty treats to your cat’s complete and well-balanced diet will boost the amount of vitamins and minerals they’re receiving.
- Vegetables. Not every cat is going to be a fan of veg, but for the ones that are, it’s a good way of getting a little extra vitamins, minerals, fibre and water into their diets. Some of the most nutritious, and safest, vegetables cats can eat include spinach, carrots, green beans, asparagus and broccoli. Like with fruit, chop into small pieces, and serve as a healthy treat.
Alternatives to homemade raw cat food
At Encore, we believe in delivering a diet that boasts as many essential nutrients as possible. Proteins, carbs, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre; every one of these boxes should be ticked in the quest for nutritional perfection. That’s why we would always recommend serving up a complete and well-balanced diet that combines high-quality dry and wet food, made with natural ingredients, and contains absolutely no unnecessary cereals, fillers or additives.
More importantly, they’ll be tucking into nutrient-rich foods that will nourish their body and mind.
If you have been feeding your cat a raw food diet, but would like to try them on an alternative menu, it’s imperative the switchover is a gradual one.
Begin by replacing small portions of the old food with the new food, slowly increasing the ratio over the course of two weeks.
This may seem like a long time, but the more patient you are, the less problems you should encounter.
Don’t be afraid of research
We’ve given you plenty of food for thought around the topic of raw diets, but the truth is you can never digest enough information when it comes to your cat’s health.
Whenever you’re thinking about changing the food your cat is eating, conduct thorough research, weighing up all the pros and cons of the choices on offer.
One non-negotiable; food should always be safe and suitable for your feline, and for your household.
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