Well-being and animal health are at the heart of the concerns of many cat and dog owners. This is why diets natural have the wind in their sails. Among these is raw feeding. What does this method consist of? What are its advantages and disadvantages ? Food update flood for felines.
The origins of the raw feeding diet for cats
In the 1980s, voices began to rise against food industrial for pets. The presence of additives and preservatives in the composition of these products was considered harmful in the same way as the cooking, which was blamed for the destruction of part of the vitamins and essential elements as well as the production of molecules carcinogenic in food. Faced with this observation, the Dr Tom Lonsdale has developed the raw feeding diet with the aim of getting as close as possible to the feeding ritual of our animals in the wild. The cat being carnivorous, the Australian veterinarian imagined to reconstitute a prey, as faithfully as possible, from pieces of raw meat.
The differences between the BARF and raw feeding methods
Among the natural feeding methods for pets, BARF and raw feeding are most often mentioned. How do they differ?
- The system of government BARF (biologically appropriated raw food) was developed by Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst. Made from raw meat, this eating style also includes fruits and vegetables mashed, as well as supplements such as brewer’s yeast, eggs, seaweed. Chewing bones cleans teeth;
- The system of government raw feeding consists of 100% raw meat (and fish). Cats being carnivores strict, their needs in protein are higher than that of dogs and fiber is not a necessity for them. This diet therefore corresponds more to the nutritional habits of felines.
The advantages of raw feeding for cats
By getting closer to its natural diet, the cat should no longer develop the pathologies that the Australian veterinarian attributes to junk food and cooking food (digestive disorders, periodontal disease, cancer, etc.). For followers of this method, raw feeding is more respectful of feline biology and offers many benefits :
- Healthier teeth (limited formation of tartar thanks to the bones);
- Greater vitality;
- Reduction of joint problems;
- Shiny coat;
- Weaker breath;
- No food allergy.
Another positive point is knowing to the nearest gram what is in the cat’s bowl. You save him all the additives which enter into the composition of industrial foods.
The disadvantages of the raw feeding diet
This natural, do-it-yourself diet presents some risks if:
- The meat used is not fresh;
- The meat is contaminated with pathogens, larvae or other parasites;
- The menus are poorly balanced (problem of overdose, deficiencies, malnutrition).
What foods are found in raw feeding?
The Dr Tom Lonsdale offers a diet of raw meat, bones and offal, supposed to provide an adequate intake of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D.
- The proportions recommended:
- The criteria for a food balanced :
- The muscles or adornments constitute the bulk of the cat’s raw diet. With the exception of pork – which can carry parasites – all meats are recommended: poultry, rabbit, beef, etc.
- The offal – very rich in nutrients – should represent a small amount of the meal;
- The fleshy bones provide minerals and help with oral hygiene. They should be of a size and consistency suitable for the cat. Poultry necks and wings are accepted (beware of large herbivore bones that can cause constipation or fractures to the teeth);
- Of whole preys occasionally (rodents and small birds), carcasses, skin and entrails included.
– About 70% white and red meats;
– 10 to 15% offal;
– 10 to 15% bone.
– A respected proportion between meats, bones and offal;
– The variety in the cuts and types of meat;
– The quality of the meats.
What types and pieces of meat to give your cat?
As seen above, the natural raw feeding diet aims to reconstitute a whole prey from different pieces of meat:
Fish in natural cat food
Source of essential fatty acids including omega 3, raw fish is one of the foods recommended in the raw feeding menu. A ration weekly is sufficient in order not to provide too much thiaminase (an excess leads to a deficiency in vitamin B1). Salmon, trout, tuna, sardines… are served whole or in fillets. Fish will therefore replace meat one day a week. Please note: the flesh may contain parasites that only core freezing for at least 7 days will kill.
Precautions to be taken in the raw feeding diet
As explained previously, raw feeding is not without health risk since raw meat (or fish) can promote the transmission of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc.) which are easily transmitted to humans. In this context, it is essential to:
- Ensure the quality andorigin raw materials, favoring organic livestock products with health certificates;
- Freeze food to destroy any parasites ;
- Apply a hygiene irreproachable on the work surface (handling with clean hands, containers and surfaces);
- Respect the conditions of conservation and cold chain ;
- Don’t keep the meat several days in the fridge or let it thaw too long in the open air.
Recommendations before you start raw feeding
Opting for natural homemade food is not a decision to be taken lightly because this choice implies perfect knowledge food adapted to the cat, its nutritional needs as well as a control of the quality of the meats and their conservation. Owners may, through inexperience, cause a malnutrition in their animal, this is why it is advisable to ask your veterinarian if this type of food is compatible with the state of health of your feline. Also recommended are exams regular (to avoid deficiency or overdose) and compliance with the schedule of vaccination and deworming the cat.