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Raw Food Diet for Cats?

April 30, 2015

There are many benefits to be gained by serving raw meat and vegetables. It’s the most natural diet of all for cats. When food is cooked, both vitamins and enzymes are destroyed and the fat and protein molecules can be altered by the heating process making it more difficult for the cat’s system to digest and use them.

Dr. Francis M. Pottenger conducted long-range testing between 1931 and 1942 on animals. The results showed that animals fed only cooked food, even though the diet was perfectly balanced, showed markedly reduced immune response. As the study progressed, heart lesions, allergies, arthritis, hepatitis, irritable bowel, feline urologic syndrome and other illnesses became more and more common in the cats that were fed cooked food. It took only 3 generations to reduce the immune response to zero. Dr. Pottenger’s experiments went on to show that the health of these unfortunate animals could be improved simply by returning them to a raw food diet. When the raw diet is homemade and pure, it also eliminates your cat’s exposure to dangerous preservatives and other chemicals that are often present in common pet foods. If making this diet is more than you can conceive at first, there are great choices from reputable raw food companies available in a variety of good pet supply stores.

Some concerns are passed by veterinarians about germs and parasites regarding feeding raw meat. You should take precautions as you would with preparation and storage of your own meat meals with safe handling. Thaw or buy only what you’ll use up in two days. Organic meats are more resistant to parasites because the animals have not been treated with steroids and antibiotics. Clean the dishes after each meal as you would your own, wipe the counter where prep is done with an anti-bacterial solution.

Rules for Raw Meat Diet to Ensure Optimum Health and Safety

  1. Choose high fat meat (15% or more). Cats require more fat than we do. Choose from raw beef, chicken, duck or turkey, organic or antibiotic/hormone free, and by all means, human grade.
  2. Be sure there is calcium in the meat. It’s very important to balance the phosphorus by adding calcium to each pound of meat (1 tsp.). See recipe below or buy food with the bone ground in. An imbalance, over time, can cause heart and lung problems but it’s quite simple to balance this.
  3. Vegetables. Choose according to your cat’s preferences or health needs. Cooked vegetables are best; it’s the meat that should be raw.
  4. Texture. Texture is important to a cat. If you’re grating carrots use the smallest holes on the grater, so it will blend well with the meat.
  5. Temperature: Add warm water (just a little to warm it up a bit) as cat’s may vomit the food if it is too cold, but don’t heat the meat as it will kill the enzymes.
  6. Always store in refrigerator in a glass bowl, covered.

Raw Meat Recipe

  • 16 oz. meat
  • 2 oz. raw bone, ground
  • 2 oz. organ such as liver, heart, etc. (this is your source of essential Taurine)
  • 1 oz. cooked vegetable
    Vegetables: Steamed broccoli, carrot, zucchini, winter squash, sweet potato, organic canned pumpkin
  • Organic Raw egg (optional). Use one egg per pound of meat. The egg counts toward your meat portion.
  • A good complete daily supplement containing vitamins, minerals, trace minerals.

Changing to a Raw Food Diet

First, remove all other food. Present the raw food in a small amount keeping in your conscious mind the thought of the nutritional soundness of the meal and how delicious it is. Do what’s natural, smack your lips, tell them how delicious their meal is. Leave them with it and start your own dinner or do something other than watch them.

Don’t put too much food on the plates or you won’t know how much they have eaten. Start with 1 tablespoon per cat. You can always give a pinch more if they want it.

Let’s say the cat eats nothing. Not one morsel was even touched. After 45 minutes, cheerfully remove the food and forget the whole thing. If they ask for food between meals give them extra love and attention. Active play is especially good because it will work up an appetite.

Repeat this procedure for a minimum of 4 meals, that’s only 2 days. A fast of two days is beneficial for healthy cats because old wastes and toxins will be excreted by the body quickly. NOTE: no fasting at all for kittens, cats w diabetes, cancer or hyperthyroidism unless carefully monitored by a veterinarian.

If your cats are in the small percentage that has not eaten the new food after 2 meal attempts, they will now be hungry and will jump at any compromise you offer. Use something from the list of “Bribe Foods.” The next step will then be to start gradually decreasing the percentage of the bribe food and increase the percentage of the new food. There is a high amount of sodium in most commercial diets so cats get accustomed to that saltiness. When we introduce the raw (bland, sodium free) diet, they may be uninterested until they get accustomed to it. The list of bribe foods primarily contains some sodium to “wean” them away from the addiction.

Bribe Foods:

  • 1 tsp. seafood flavored cat food
  • ½ slightly cooked chicken liver
  • Canned mackerel or sardines
  • 3-4 drops tamari wheat free soy sauce
  • Canned tuna juice

Here’s how that will look:
First two days. 3 parts Bribe Food to 1 part ideal diet. Feed extremely small meals, about ½ the size of your cat’s usual meal. If he wants more, give him only the ideal diet food.

Next three days. 50/50 ratio. Still keeping the meals very small as before.

Next three days. One part Bribe Food to 3 parts ideal diet.

From then on, he/she will be happy to eat only the ideal diet. Your cat can finally have as much as he likes twice a day.

Herbs for Life, Inc. is a small batch, handcrafted manufacturer in York, Maine USA since 2008. They produce pure, organic herbal pet supplements with no fillers or bulk agents. Their formulas are uniquely developed by a Herbalist/Formulator and Holistic Veterinarians. Joyce Belcher, is an Herbalist-Formulator specializing in organic medicinal formulations for animals, herbal consultant in veterinary herbalism. Visit for more information.

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