Should You Feed Your Cat Raw Food?

Feeding a cat raw foods is beneficial to his health. However, you must balance the raw food diet with fiber, taurine, vegetables and fruits to make sure the cat's raw food diet matches what it would be if the cat were in the wild. It is important to make sure essential fatty acid and taurine needs are balanced carefully.

Cats thrive on raw food diets, and you don't have to worry about harmful ingredients making their way into your cat's food. You control exactly what your cat eats. A raw food diet does require some preparation and safety measures to make sure the cat's dietary needs are met.

Nutrients a Cat Requires

One of the reasons pet owners and veterinarians suggest high quality canned or dry cat foods is because taurine is added to the foods. Cats require taurine for heart and eye health. A taurine deficiency can be devastating. If you feed your cat a raw food diet, make sure your cat takes taurine supplements or eats extra organ meats to gain the essential taurine.

You'll also need to add fiber and essential fatty acids when feeding a cat raw foods. Most people feeding their pet a raw food diet use psyllium husk powder to boost fiber intake. Digestive enzymes should also be added to help with digestion.

Understanding the BARF Diet

The BARF Diet, Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, uses a diet plan that is 60 to 80 percent meat and bones and 20 to 40 percent fruits and vegetables. Some feel the inclusion of vegetables isn't necessary, but many cats will eat vegetables if given the opportunity and vegetables offer cancer fighting properties that make them worthwhile.

Choosing Safe Raw Meats

When feeding your cat raw foods, make sure you are using meats that are safe. Never serve a cat raw ground hamburger unless you've ground the meat yourself and have sterilized the meat grinder first. Cats have a higher acid content in their digestive system, but they still can contract salmonella and e coli if you are not careful.

If possible, stick to free-range meats when feeding your cat raw meats. These do not add growth hormones or chemicals making them safer choices for your cat.

Recipes for Feeding a Cat Raw Food

If you simply cannot stand handing your cat pieces of raw meat and listening to the bones crunching, you can make the raw food diet in a meat grinder and package it into bags or containers and store in the freezer.

Start with an entire roasting chicken and include the package that includes the organs like the giblets, heart, kidneys and liver. Chop it up and run the bones and meat through a grinder. If you can't find organ meat, you will need to add taurine, vitamin A and vitamin D.

To this ground mixture, you'll mix in:

  • 16 ounces of purified water
  • 200 milligrams B-complex
  • 4 raw egg yolks from free-range chickens
  • 4 tsp psyllium husk powder
  • 4,000 milligrams of cod liver oil
  • Digestive enzymes (read package directions for proper amount)
  • Vegetables or fruits as desired

The mixture can be frozen into individual servings allowing you to make large batches during your free time. Thaw portions in the refrigerator for 48 hours.