Chicken Neck For Dinner: Image by Chispita_666, FlickrChicken Neck For Dinner: Image by Chispita_666, FlickrDry cat food is convenient, but it might not be the best thing for your cat. What your cat really needs for optimal nutrition is a raw diet. Give it a try, your cat will thank you for it!

Why Try A Raw Diet?

One of the primary reasons to switch to a raw diet (primarily consisting of meat) is because it's more akin to what a cat would be eating in a natural environment. Not only that, but many dry foods contain ingredients that aren't nutritionally sound for your cat and should be carefully looked at.

The Cons Of Dry Food

  • Usually contains low-grade proteins and animal by-products with little nutritional value.
  • Many dry foods have a high percentage of carbohydrates that can lead to future health problems.
  • Usually contains essential amino and fatty acids derived from plants instead of animals. (Cat's have a hard time absorbing plant-based nutrients) 
  • Does not contain sufficient moisture to keep your cat hydrated.
  • Some dry foods are linked to a higher risk of kidney disorders, urinary tract disorders, bowl disorders, and feline diabetes. (Source: Dry Cat Food vs Wet Cat Food, by Happy Moggy)

The Pros Of Raw Food

  • Improved availability of naturally occurring nutrients and enzymes.
  • Improved digestion.
  • Healthy coat, less shedding, and fewer hairballs.
  • Weight loss.
  • Improved energy levels.
  • Better dental and urinary health.
  • Less smelly breath and stools.

What To Include In A Raw Diet

You might be wondering if raw meat is safe for your cat. The answer is a resounding "yes!" In the wild, a cat's diet consists primarily of raw meat, often higher in bacterial content than what you might serve them. Cats can handle raw meat because of the high acid content in their stomach. Put most simply, cat's bodies are designed to digest raw meat without any problems. Cooking meat will rid of most of the naturally occurring nutritional content that your cat needs, which can cause health problems in the future. Here are some raw foods that you can feed your cat.

  • Meat Cutting Vigorously: Image by Riebart, FlickrMeat Cutting Vigorously: Image by Riebart, Flickr1 pound of raw, ground turkey, chicken, or beef.
  • Roughly 1/4 cup of raw organ meat, consider using liver, heart, giblets, or kidney.
  • 1 tablespoon of raw ground bone, preferably from chicken necks.
  • 1 tablespoon of fish oil or cod liver oil.
  • 1 tablespoon of grated vegetables, carrots are a good choice.
  • Vitamin C and fatty acids. 

Give your cat about 1/4 cup of this mixture, served at room temperature, twice a day. (Source: The Feline Raw Meat Diet, by Will Falconer, D.V.M.)

How To Transition To A Raw Diet

It might be best to get your cat used to his new diet slowly, so his digestive system can adjust without any problems. To do this, try one of these transitional methods.

The Fasting Method

If your cat is overweight, this is not the right transitional method for him. However, if your cat is at a healthy weight, the fasting method comes with a number of benefits, including: ridding the body of toxins, rejuvenating the digestive system, helping your cat develop and recognize hunger, and helping your cat accept new foods.

When you're ready to transition your cat to a new diet, begin by decreasing the amount of food you give your cat by half for about two days. For two or three days after, feed your cat all-natural meat broth and water. Once the fast is over, offer your cat half-portions of the new, raw food for a day or two. Once he's used to eating the new food, you can proceed to feed him full portions. 

The Gradual Method

This method is better for overweight cats, though you may run into problems if your cat is picky. Simpler than the fasting method, it involves gradually incorporating the raw food into your cats regular diet. Do this by gradually increasing the amount of raw food and decreasing portions of dry food over a 7 day period, or until your cat is completely accustomed to eating the raw food.  

With a raw diet, your cat will be healthier and happier than ever before. Have you ever tried a raw diet? If so, what were your thoughts? 

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