Feeding a Cat Raw Food on the BARF Diet

When deciding how and what to feed your cat, raw diets may provide the health and nutrition benefits that you are looking for. Also known as the BARF diet, this acronym stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Foods.

Barf Diet Avoids Fillers

Most dry cat foods contain a large amount of low-quality, high-calorie carbohydrates which are unnecessary, empty calories. They are added to your cat or kitten's food as filler. Protein, the most important part of a cat's diet, is often in low supply in many commercial cat food recipes. On the BARF diet, you are providing food in its most natural state. There is no need for diet cat foods, special kitten foods or low-allergen foods. A BARF or raw diet provides a complete and balanced diet for all cats and kittens-in a way that their bodies can digest and process easily.

Cat's Digestive Systems Handle Raw Foods

Your cat's stomach and digestive tract is a very acidic environment, so your cat can tolerate many foods that humans cannot. It is important, however, when choosing and feeding raw ingredients, that you take some simple precautions to ensure the best possible results for your cat.

Raw Ingredients for Your Cat

  • Buy meats from a trusted source. Organic, free-range chicken is often used, and ground chicken neck bones provide a splinter-free source of vital bones.
  • Don't leave portions out for more than thirty minutes. If, after thirty minutes, there is an uneaten portion left, it can be refrigerated and reused within twenty-four hours.
  • Defrost daily. When preparing raw food meals, freeze portions in amounts suitable for single-day use. As you use a daily portion, remove the following day's serving and place it in the refrigerator.
  • Defrost safely. Do not defrost portions on the countertop. Defrost in the refrigerator. Alternatively, portions can be sealed in water-tight bags and placed in warm water to defrost more quickly.
  • Add a probiotic supplement to your cat's daily ration to assist digestion. Follow labels recommendations based on your cat's weight.
  • After preparing or serving a raw food product, wash your hands thoroughly and clean and disinfect all kitchen surfaces.

A BARF or raw food diet is a healthy choice for cats and kittens of all ages. When transitioning to a raw food diet, do so slowly. Your cat will need to adjust to this new food source. Begin adding raw foods to your pet's diet over a one-week period, increasing the proportion of raw each day until the transition is complete.