November 24, 2020
Raw Diet for Cats: How to Feed Your Cat More Protein
Raw Cat Food Diet
In recent years, raw diets for cats have become increasingly popular due to multiple evidence-based claims that cats tend to thrive on raw diets. If you are curious about raw diets and are looking to transition your cat to a raw diet, this article will explain when it is safe to transition your cat to a raw food diet, what nutrients your cat needs from the diet plan you select, and how to transition your cat to a new way of eating.
What is a Raw Diet for Cats?
Raw diets are comprised of natural, protein-driven ingredients, the kind that cats would naturally have consumed in the wild. Of course, it’s not as straight forward as a chunk of raw meat, which is considered dangerous and unhealthy. Rather, it’s both protein and other vital nutrients including:
- Amino acids (taurine and arginine)
- Fatty acids
It’s noted that carbohydrates, though digestible, are not necessary for a cat’s diet, which is why they can be safely eliminated in a healthy raw diet.
Benefits of a Raw Cat Diet
Raw pet food diets have multiple benefits one of which is digestion. Because cats have short digestive tracts that are more acidic, a raw diet works well for them as they can easily digest whatever they consume. Additional proven benefits of a raw diet are:
- Less frequent bowel movements with less odor
- Fewer urinary tract infections and other problems due to increased hydration
- Lower obesity due to higher activity levels
- Glossier hair / fur
- Healthier teeth and gums
It is worthwhile to note that while there are several benefits to this diet and that this diet is perfectly natural for felines, cats that are immunocompromised or that have other health issues should not be placed on a raw cat food diet without you first consulting your veterinarian.
Types of Raw Diets for Cats
Before you begin the transition, decide which method you will approach your cat’s raw diet. There are three common ways.
- Purchase premade raw meals: This method is considered the simplest and the most cost-effective. Not only is everything proportioned in the meals you purchase, but you also know that your cat gets the balanced diet she needs. This method also saves time because you don’t have to grind, measure, and mix ingredients yourself. A great example of this is Wellness CORE RawRev.
- Use a premade powder: This method is a little more time consuming, but it is useful for people who want to do it themselves. This method requires you to procure fresh meat, egg yolks, and a nutritious raw diet powder. These meals can be frozen after they are made.
- Make meals from scratch: This method is the most time consuming but is preferred by purists who want to be involved in every aspect of the process. In this case, you buy all of the meats and supplements. Due to bacterial risks, it’s important to only buy whole meats that you then grind yourself. Use measuring equipment and food scales to ensure you have everything in proportion as the supplements are a vital component to a cat’s raw diet. As with premade powder plans, you can freeze your cat’s food once you’ve made it.
How to Transition Your Cat to a Raw Food Diet
One you’ve decided on a feeding method, you can begin transitioning your cat to a raw diet. Adult cats need to consume 3-5% of their body weight; kittens need to eat 10% of their body weight as they grow and develop. Both adult cats and kittens can safely eat a raw diet.
A benefit of raw diets for cats and kittens is that they will use all of what they consume, which means it takes less for them to become full and to stay full.
The timing and method for transitioning will be determined by your cat’s age and temperament.
- Direct transition: Direct transition is to make an immediate swap from other foods to the raw plan you selected. This method works best for easygoing cats older than six months as they have already been introduced to raw meat.
- Progressive transition: Progressive transitioning involves blending or mixing the two meals. Start by blending ¼ of raw food into ¾ of whatever your cat is used to. If your cat only eats dry food, you may need to transition to wet food before starting the raw food transition. Gradually over the course of two or more weeks increase the raw food until you have phased out the other.
- Start raw: Starting raw is the plan to implement for kittens. Kittens are less likely to have allergies than older cats, so starting them off on a raw diet is usually successful.
Raw diets promote health and longevity in cats; of course, before making a transition, consult your veterinarian and get recommendations for foods to buy or how to make foods if you plan to do it yourself.
There are multiple health benefits to raw diets for cats. An even greater benefit is that there are affordable, natural pre-made options, such as those we make at Wellness Pet Food, which allow you to save time and money while providing your cat a balanced raw diet, which allows for better digestion, energy, and overall quality of life.