Cats and the Raw food Diet
Cats and a raw food diet has been contested online and throughout the years for a few reasons, including the risk of disease and digestive concerns. However, through thorough research and advice from Dr Renee, we are confident feeding your cat our House Lion Blendand other raw foods available on our website. So, what makes us, and you, feel safe feeding your feline furbaby?
Raw food is overwhelmingly a healthy choice; raw food reflects the diet that your cat would eat in the wild. Tigers and lions eat on freshly killed animal carcasses in the wild: those animals are the ancestors of our fluffy, sometimes temperamental, feline friends. Though cats have evolved a lot throughout the centuries, their teeth, jaws and gut are still reminiscent of their time in the jungle and African plains. This means they are biologically prepared, and preferable, to raw meat rather than cooked, dried or synthesised food like kibble. With raw meat, they can increase their water intake, improve dental health, balance their diet with the right nutrients and maintain weight – plus, it just tastes better!
Disease is a concern for people who denounce raw food, but the risk is VERY low. In fact, as Dr Renee mentions on her website; there has been no links of human illness to cat food. So where does the worry of disease come from? Raw meat is a hazard in our human kitchens due to the risk of diseases like E. Coli and Salmonella. It is why we are encouraged to wash our hands before and after touching raw meat and to use separate, clean utensils as we transition from raw meat to vegetables or cooked products. This practice should be applied to preparing food for your pet, regardless of if it’s raw or cooked. Though raw meat does run a small chance of containing these pathogens, it is VERY unlikely to cause any problems for your cat. With smaller, more acidic digestive tracts than humans, the pathogens will pass through without any cause for concern. The raw meat poses more of a risk to the humans in their environment, but with mindful and proper cleaning of their waste (don’t let the elderly, children or immuno-compromised people clean their litter boxes) and appropriate maintenance of feed areas (including putting it away from where humans eat, sanitising bowl when empty, and wiping eating area); the pros of feeding your cat raw food outweigh the con of a (very small) risk of disease.
There is also a risk of parasites found in raw food, which can be found in prey in nature (this is one reason why you shouldn’t let your cat kill birds, lizards or rodents, as they run the risk of getting infected) which can cause congenital disabilities in the babies of those pregnant. This risk is nearly completely eliminated when you purchase high-quality meat with safe farming practices, like the farmers who work with Bella and Boots.
If you’re concerned about disease or parasites, the surest way to remove the risk is to freeze the cat food for a day or two and feed after defrosted in the fridge. The parasites that might be found in raw meat are killed after 24 hours under -12 conditions. As a bonus, your cat would enjoy a cool treat in the hotter months1.
There are also concerns about injury when feeding your cat bones and hard meats, due to broken teeth or trauma to the throat/intestines. This is why it’s very important to be informed about what is the right thing to feed your cat. Each cat is unique, so it’s best to talk to your vet or book an appointment with Dr Renee, but basically: ensure the bones are NEVER cooked as they are brittle and splinter easily, and feed them non-weight bearing bones, like necks or wings. It’s also important to be mindful of the weight and size of the cat and ensure you’re feeding them an appropriate portion. Other concerns like vitamin A toxicosis and yellow fat disease can be eliminated by being educated about the right portion, type and quality of meat.
Do you want to hear the best thing? With Bella and Boots, you don’t have to worry about any of this! Dr Renee, alongside the owners and in-house Chef, has formulated the perfect food packs for your cat. Bones are present for their important nutrients but are ground up to remove the risk of breakage or splintering. All the meat used in our food packs is human grade meat, which means it’s clean, safe and tasty. All of our food is appropriately cooled and sealed to stop the risk of airborne infection. We have done everything we can to provide you with the tastiest, healthiest and easiest food to feed your cat. With proper care and practice when preparing the food, you and your cat will be safe from disease, infection or accident.
You can learn more about cats and raw food on Renee’s website, including the episode of her podcast about it.
If you have any more questions, concerns or feedback, you’re welcome to come in-store or contact us from our website.