I’ve heard a lot about raw meat diets for cats, but admittedly am a bit squeamish on the idea. Intellectually, it makes sense that raw meat is closer to a feline’s natural diet than processed pellets. However, the idea of feeding raw meat to my cat triggers a lot of doubts and fears. I decided to consult with a friend who has been feeding her two cats, Cocoa and Stanley, raw meat for several years. After all, most fear is based out of ignorance, so if I could understand what feeding a raw meat diet to cats was really like, I could better decide if a raw meat diet was something I wanted to pursue for Furball.
One of the challenges with raw food is that if you don’t live near a store that sells it, you might be wondering where you can get it. Ordering cat food online is something to consider, especially when there are dehydrated versions of raw food available.
Aileen feeds her two cats, Pets 4 Life’s “Home Made Pet Cuisine”. It’s a Canadian brand (she’s in Canada) made from premium human grade ingredients such as chicken, beef, turkey, duck, rabbit and wild salmon mixed with vegetables, seeds and grapefruit seed extract. The food is purchased frozen and is defrosted as needed. I asked Aileen some general questions and here’s what she had to say.
1. Were your cats on dry or canned food before the raw meat diet? If so, did you have to transition them to raw food or did they take to it right away? Any digestive issues while they were transitioning?
Both cats previously ate dry and wet food. Stanley was a kitten and he took to it right away. Cocoa didn’t at first. I didn’t push. After a week, I tried again and she just ate it. She’s been eating it since. I think she was curious what Stanley was eating.
2. How do you feel the raw food is contributing to your cats’ health?
Stanley’s health improved from the time he was a kitten. He was little and sickly, constantly with diarrhea and sinus problems. The raw food is easier to digest and it’s what cats naturally eat. Within a year on this diet, together with homeopathics, Stanley became a different cat. He became a stronger little guy. Cocoa relaxed and turned into a completely different cat after arriving at our home. Both of their stools are well formed and barely smell.
3. How do you feed it to them if it comes in a frozen package?
I defrost the entire package. The package looks like a mini ice-cream container. It feeds one cat two meals per day. My cats eat twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
4. Do the cats eat it all at once or do they graze throughout the day like they do with dry food? If they graze, are you concerned about raw meat sitting around in your house for several hours?
If my cats don’t eat it within 20 minutes, the food gets taken away. If they’re hungry, they have to wait until dinner.
It’s raw meat, it shouldn’t be left out for longer than 20 minutes. I treat the meat the same as I would for the meat I prepare for human consumption. I trained my cats to eat at certain times. I quickly got them out of the grazing habit.
5. Do you wash their bowls right away in case of bacteria?
Rinse them and soak them. I do what I’d do for human hygiene.
6. Do you feed them anything else?
Freeze dried meats – chicken, chicken liver, duck liver, turkey, livers, etc. Sometimes they eat the dog’s raw food…
Thanks Aileen, Cocoa and Stanley!