Can you give raw meat to cats? A home diet based on raw meat is the choice of many cat owners who want to get as close as possible to a diet that reflects what the cat would eat in nature, both through the preparation of raw meat at home to give to the cat, and through commercial forms of raw meat. But is raw meat bad for the cat or can it be given freely?

A raw food diet for cats contains meat, organs and bones. This type of diet is also called the BARF diet and we talked about it in this article.

In a feline diet based on raw meat, however, nothing can be left to chance, raw meat can be given to cats, but not by chance and not all of it. If you decide to feed your cat with raw meat, you must also have a balanced diet formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, who will formulate it according to your cat’s specific needs and will give you all the information to avoid making mistakes. Cats who feed unbalanced are at risk of a whole range of health problems.

Why Choose To Feed Raw Meat To Cats

Felines are obligate carnivores. In short, this means they have to eat animal protein to survive. Cats don’t actually need vegetables and carbohydrates in their diet. In fact, they can only tolerate carbohydrates in small amounts. Instead, cats live healthy and strong on high-protein, high-moisture diets that are rich in substances found only in meat. This includes amino acids such as taurine, fatty acids and other essential vitamins and minerals.

Proponents of raw meat diets believe that cooking meat can alter or decrease these vital substances. They advocate a biologically appropriate diet that closely mimics what a cat would eat in the wild. In general, small wildcats hunt and eat rodents and other small mammals, birds, fish, insects, and even reptiles. When it comes to feeding your cat raw food, the idea is to create a similar diet.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding giving raw meat to pets. Those who advocate raw meat diets have a lot to say about the health benefits: coats are shinier, teeth stay cleaner, obesity is prevented, and overall health is improved. While these claims tend to ring true, the opposition has valid concerns about the safety of raw food diets.

Is Feeding Raw Meat To Cats Bad?

It’s important to know that feeding raw food to your cat carries some risks. Raw food can contain pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli which can lead to serious life-threatening infections. Cooking food removes most of these pathogens, which is why we humans tend to cook our food.

Cats often digest raw foods better than humans because they have shorter, more acidic digestive tracts. Many pathogens will pass through a cat without causing any problems. Most cats tolerate raw food, but those with health issues (such as immune-mediated diseases) may need cooked food.

Perhaps the greatest risk of feeding and handling raw meat is due to cross-contamination. Feeding your cat a raw meat diet can expose you and other people in your home to pathogens that can stay on prep surfaces, dishes, in cat feces, and even on your cat (especially around the face). ).

Raw meat-based cat diets should not be fed to cats living in homes with immunocompromised individuals. They should also be avoided in families with young children and/or the elderly.

While it’s impossible to eliminate all risks, there are a few ways you can try to be safer when feeding your cat a raw food diet:

  • Prepare food in a contained area of ​​the house; clean and disinfect thoroughly when finished (use a solution of bleach in water if possible)
  • Wear gloves when handling raw meat
  • Use frozen food whenever possible
  • Use meat ingredients from a reliable source
  • Feed your cat in an easy-to-clean area (no carpet or upholstery nearby)
  • Sanitize food bowls immediately after feeding (scrub, then use a bleach-in-water solution, then rinse and dry bowls)

Bones are another cat safety concern when it comes to raw meat diets. A few whole small bones or pieces of bone can cause complications such as gastrointestinal blockages, oral lesions, and airway blockages. If animal bones are included in your cat’s raw food diet, they should be well ground.

If You Choose To Feed Your Cat Raw Meat

One of the biggest mistakes owners make with raw meat diets is not making sure the diet is complete and balanced. Some people just mix up “all meat and bones” or a wide variety of meats without actually paying attention to the calories, fat, protein and nutrient content. Don’t assume that your cat is getting everything they need for good health by simply giving them “all the meat they want”. Over time, an incomplete diet can lead to serious health problems for your cat. However, this can very well also happen with diets based on croquettes and wet food, because the doses indicated on the package refer to an “average” cat and do not take into account the real needs of your cat.

You might think random raw meat is healthy because feral and stray cats can survive on it, but it’s important to remember that wild animals have shorter life expectancies than pets. Part of this is due to diet. That’s why it’s important to follow a recipe formulated by your vet that is complete and balanced.

When starting to feed raw meat to your cat, consult your vet about recipes that offer complete and balanced nutrition. Know that many vets advise against raw diets due to the risks. If you are convinced about trying to feed your cat raw meat and your veterinarian is not sufficiently knowledgeable or trained, consult an experienced veterinarian, such as Dr. Valerio Guiggi.

Raw Meat To Cats: All Ingredients

It is essential that you find an expert to help you develop a complete and balanced diet that will truly benefit your cat. Your vet may also recommend special supplements to ensure your cat is getting the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Ingredients typically used in a raw meat diet can include the following:

  • Raw meat from muscles and organs (good sources include poultry, rabbit, and fish)
  • Raw, ground bones
  • Egg
  • Supplements (often required)

You will likely need the following equipment and supplies to prepare raw meat:

Preparing a raw diet at home can take some time, so most owners prefer to make enough servings to have them for several weeks and keep them frozen.

Commercial Raw Diets For Cats

If you are unable to spend the time developing recipes and preparing raw foods at home, you may want to try one of the many commercial raw diets available. Raw diet proponents often view commercial raw diets as inferior to home-prepared diets. However, they are considered healthier than kibble feeding.

Commercial raw diets are usually frozen or freeze-dried to reduce pathogens. Remember that safe handling precautions should still be taken with these diets to prevent cross-contamination. Ask your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist to help you find the right commercial diet.

Raw Meat Alternatives For Cats

If you want to eliminate the risks associated with raw food, but still feed your cat an optimal diet, consider home-cooked cat food. You will still need to find a recipe that is complete and balanced.

Or choose a wet cat food high protein content made with high quality ingredients. Most veterinarians and experts now agree that dry kibble contains too many carbohydrates to be considered optimal for cats. Fortunately, many wet foods are prepared with little or no carbohydrates at all. Reducing or eliminating carbohydrates in your cat’s diet can increase longevity. A low carbohydrate diet can also prevent health problems such as obesity and diabetes mellitus in cats.