Benefits of a Raw Meat Diet for Cats, Part 1
My cats’ diet used to be 100% canned, but now it’s 90% raw/10% canned. I was inspired to change their diet to what nature intended after heavily researching the benefits. I have noticed major improvements in their health since making the change!
Gutenk wrote in Raw Food: Just What Nature Intended: Since a cat is a predatory carnivore, they need a diet of fresh meat for their body to run at peak capacity. It’s easy to assume that a cat is healthy if you provide it with food, water and give it lots of attention: Unfortunately they need raw meat, since that’s what their body is genetically made to accept. Raw cat food that’s available on the market gives a cat all of the ingredients they would eat if they live in the wild: quail, turkey, duck, rabbit, eggs, honey, fish and a variety of vegetables.
While I concur with the majority of this information, the final sentence is not fully accurate. Cats do NOT naturally eat fish and a variety of vegetables. This is a common misconception perpetuated by cat food companies who cheap out on their products by adding fish and plant material. Fish can predispose felines to hyperthyroidism, although more information is needed. Seafood also does not provide high-enough quality protein for cats. Protein from meat and eggs is much higher grade.
Commercial cat food is marketed to humans, not cats. Since cats are not the ones deciding what to buy, manufacturers appeal to what humans typically view as healthy. That includes meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, cats are designed to eat meat. They do not need, nor do they benefit from, a diet of grains nor greens. In fact, including such may harm them. The digestion of grain and plants is extremely stressful on a cat’s intestines, liver, and kidneys and may zap essential moisture from these desert-originated creatures that they need for healthy functioning.
Rad Cat, a manufacturer of commercially prepared raw cat food and the primary diet of my own cats, explains: Grains are truly not a part of a cat’s evolutionary diet and can often lead to health problems. Historically, cats were the guardians of granaries – they would eat the mice and rats and leave the grain.
Eating grains tends to stress the pancreas and can lead to digestive problems. It has been suggested that this is a possible cause of pancreatitis in cats, especially if they are overweight. Also, there is a link between the high carbohydrate intake and diabetes in cats. The pancreas not only has to work harder to produce enzymes but also releases more insulin to counteract rising blood sugar levels.
Grains also play a major role in many allergic reactions we see in cats. Dermatitis is a common problem seen in both cats and dogs and these conditions are often improved when grains are removed from the diet. Often, irritable and inflammatory bowel conditions can be linked to grains and diets that aren’t easily digestible. When the digestive system is compromised, nutrients aren’t optimally absorbed. Also, allergic responses to grains cause a low level of inflammation in the body, which can strongly tax the immune system, making it “work overtime”. The result can be a general overall immune deficiency, which can leave cats open to contracting other forms of disease, including viruses and infections. This is the very same response that is seen in humans, as well.
My cats have now been eating raw for five months. There was a “detox” period of a couple weeks while their eyes and noses dripped as toxins left their bodies. Their runny poop has firmed, their allergic response is about 95% less, their coats are softer, their energy is higher, and their personalities are pushier. I’m very happy with the improvements, as are they!
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