What Cats are Designed to Eat?
Christina Chambreau, DVM
“I don’t believe it is possible for cats to be truly healthy when living on commercial foods for a long period of time. This belief came about after contrasting the condition of house cats with feral cats who have access to adequate prey.”
Miss Kitty is a Carnivore
DID YOU KNOW…?
Cats have no need for grains. (In ancient Egypt, cats guarded the granaries against the grain-eating rats!)
Cats fed only dry food can become chronically dehydrated and it can negatively impact their kidneys. Their ‘thirst drive’ is not high enough to fully hydrate the dry food.
Cats are not designed, physiologically, to eat cooked (tinned or bagged) food.
Many veterinarians are seeing the benefits, & are recommending the ‘raw prey’ diet for maximum health in dogs & cats.
What are Cats really designed to eat??
Cats are true (obligate) carnivores (physiologically/anatomically), designed to eat & digest whole, raw prey.
“If we want to understand the dietary needs of cats, we must look at cats as they live in the wild, & not at how they live as part of human civilization.” — Feline Future
LET’S LOOK AT THE NATURAL FEEDING HABITS OF FERAL (WILD) CATS IN MAURITIUS
Excerpt from Cat News Number 28, Spring 1998
The best cat food is that which most closely mimics what cats would eat in their natural habitat.
FROM COOKED TO RAW: THE BASIC STEPS
Find a meat (rabbit, pheasant, ostrich, etc.) your cat likes,
Introduce new food slowly, and
In small, small portions, and
Mix in well with the current food.
Start with 1/4 (or less) of the ‘new’ food, & mix with 3/4 of the ‘old’ food. Slowly increase the percentage of the ‘new’, as you decrease the ‘old’. Remember, your cat’s digestive system has spent years dining on over-cooked, dehydrated ‘fast foods’ – give it time to adjust. Every cat is individual. Patience, persistence, and ‘creativity’ will pay off in health dividends!
Feel Like You’re Losing the Battle? – Here are Some Suggestions:
Slightly cook the meat (without bones!) , then gradually decrease the cooking time until it is ‘raw’.
Include raw meat, but mix in some enticement – a bit of tuna perhaps? Slowly decrease the enticement over time.
Fast your cat for a day or two (always have water avaiable) before serving the ‘new’ raw food. (Only if your cat is in good health & not overweight)
You’ve tried everything to no avail? Our staff will be happy to assist you with other suggestions & ideas.
SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF FEEDING RAW:
• Reduced shedding
• Fewer to no hairballs
• Improved temperament
• Reduced litter box odor
• Less stool
• Healthy gums
• Clean teeth
• Fresh breath
• Fewer or no fleas
• General health improvement
• Less food consumption
• Happier cats!
WHAT, HOW MUCH, & HOW OFTEN TO FEED
• 80-90% muscle meat – of which 10% would be organs
• 5-15% bone – try chicken wing tips or necks
• cold-pressed fish oils & natural vitamin/mineral supplements
The average adult cat eats about 1/2 to 3/4 cup (100-150 grams) of food a day. Allow kittens to eat as much as they want, 3-4 times a day. (For improved hydration, add & mix in water.) Remove food between feedings.
Healthy adults – twice a day. Kittens and older cats: 3-4 times a day. Kittens can start on solid raw food between 4 and 5 weeks, however, they’ll continue to feed on their mother’s milk until 3 months of age. (Whether feeding kittens, old cats, pregnant or nursing queens, adjust the number of times a day you feed, not the ingredients.)
FEEDING YOUR FELINE A RAW FOOD DIET IS VET RECOMMENDED