Raw food diet?

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Mollysmummy
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Raw food diet?

Post by Mollysmummy » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:00 pm

Just wondering if anyone here feeds their cats on a raw meat based diet? I've seen loads about it recently, it seems to be the 'in' thing! obviously this is what cats are born to eat, cat food is a human invention but I wonder what are the pros and cons? Cost versus cat food?

I'm very interested to hear opinions on this as I don't know anyone who does it but magazines seem to be full of it at the moment!

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by Marla » Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:30 pm

We fed a raw diet for years and stopped very recently. We started because of Flo's health problems. She had frequent diarrhea and blood and mucus on stools. We were spending tons of money on tests without any answers. When we started feeding a raw diet, her symptoms disappeared overnight, probably due to the fact that it was grain free.

Pros:
- IMHO, a raw diet is extremely beneficial for cats if you follow a recipe like this one and source the correct supplements:
http://www.catinfo.org/makingcatfood" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
- Relatively inexpensive. You choose how cheap or expensive it is by the chicken you decide to buy
- Small, odourless stools

Cons:
- Potential exposure (both us and the cats) to Campylobacter bacteria in raw chicken
- Time-consuming: With 3 cats we had to make a batch every weekend.
- Messy to make and feed. Has to be defrosted. Special cleaning required after every meal.

We recently stopped feeding raw because:
- We were concerned about the high incidence of Campylobacter found in raw chicken
- We finally found an excellent grain-free wet food that the cats love (Meowing Heads)

They've been eating Meowing Heads for about a month now. The cats love it and are doing as well on it as they were on raw. An added benefit is that their stools aren't as dry and hard, so our old cats aren't straining like they occasionally did with raw.

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by Cussypat1974 » Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:12 pm

Great post Maria! SMS up the pros and cons very well!
I feed some raw to my cats (I have a sanctuary with 30 cats). Like Maria, I discovered raw through illness, and the BARF diet literally have my dog 3 extra high-quality years when I did it as a last resort (he had Crohn's disease, and eventually lymphoma at 7 years old).
I give the cats here chicken wings or necks once a week or more, to clean their teeth. A few simply don't like anything raw, so 5euro is enough to give all the takers a wing to chew on.
I would say however, that it depends on the animal, and that while commercial complete diets contain all the nutrients necessary, a raw diet needs thought an planning. I did it for my dog, and it was a lot of work and research and help from the vet to get it right!
Yes, it is more natural, but then e-coli, salmonella and cancer are natural too! It just depends on your cat, yourself and what suits you both. Don't do it because it is fashionable..... Do it because you have researched it thoroughly and are willing to put yourself out in a major way to get it right, and are convinced that it is the best diet for your animal.
Mine all get commercial food, supplemented with healthy treats. They are all doing well on ordinary cat food, mixed wet and dry. If someone gets sick, they get whatever the vet recommends, because I trust my vet.bshe would not be happy with feeding the raw chicken I am sure, as she is very cautious and I have FIV cats, but they all hunt anyway, and human grade chicken is less bacteria ridden than a wild mouse/bird carcass...... A least that is how I see it!

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by meriad » Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:01 pm

I have tried more than once to get mine onto a raw diet; sadly with no joy (although reading Marla's post maybe I shouldn't be too upset)

Mine will eat it the first time I give them a bit but then turn their noses up at the 2nd portion. I think one of the big issues for me was (and maybe there is a way around it) that the blocks of the raw food (bought not home made) are delivered frozen and you have to either try and hack a small piece off it or defrost the whole lot and hope and pray that your cat loves the food. But because they don't need as much raw as they would 'ready made' I found that I'd have it in the fridge for two / three days and they just didn't like it. Also texture wise it was too mushy and mine don't eat mushy food.

So now I feed mine on a wheat free dry food (Arden Grange) and as wet they usually have Felix As Good as it Looks. They're all doing well on that and I'm not going to try and mess around any more - given up ;) .

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by Cussypat1974 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:33 pm

I reckon that if what you are doing works, don't fix what is broken! Yes, raw is more natural and in some cases it can be life saving. But for the average animal, commercial food is just fine. It has everything they need in terms of nutrients. Sometimes the cheaper ones are better than the expensive ones. You have to learn to read labels like a vegan lol! My olðest cat was Jimi Hendrix and he lived to be 28 on tins of wiskas. He got very lucky with his genetics I reckon, as he had FIV!

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by Mollysmummy » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:12 pm

Ours currently eat Aldi gourmet wet food plus we keep a small bowl of dry food available all day if they want to nibble while we're at work/asleep. Nutritionally it's virtually exactly the same as whiskas and felix.

One of ours is an indoor only cat, and both are neutered so I try to watch their calorie intake as I had a very tubby kitty as a child and I now know he had health problems because of his weight.

It's interesting to hear all the different diets cats are on, and I guess the bottom line is as long as they enjoy what you're giving them and it's healthy then each to their own.

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by Cussypat1974 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 3:39 pm

The Aldi dry food gives loads of cats here the runs, so I avoid it! But the Lidl stuff is fine. I have it available all day, and they get tins mixed with hot water in the evenings. It warms the food so they eat it all up, and increases water intake. Felixstowe tins give them the runs too, so I stopped buying those. Felixstowe pouches seem fine, but with 30 cats pouches are reserved for sick cats or as extra meals for the ones I want to gain weight!

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by Mollysmummy » Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:30 pm

I always put extra water in the food but I'd never thought to warm it up, do they seem to like it better warm?

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by Alice » Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:39 pm

I've always understood that cats like their food to be at blood heat, as anything they hunt for would be, so I always put some warm water from the kettle on their wet food, making it quite sloppy - it helps to bring out the smell of the food for them, too. They often lap up the liquid without eating much of the food, then I put more water on, but at least I know they're getting some water, whereas I can't always tell if the level has gone down in their water bowl. Mine certainly seem to prefer it slightly warm, but then we know that not all cats are the same! :roll:

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by Cussypat1974 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:08 am

Most cats prefer warmed food as it brings out the smell. Mine go CRAZY every evening when I come with the bucket of tinned food mixed with boiled kettle water! Alice, yep mine love the "soup" bit, and drink it all up first. There is usually loads of actual food left over till the next day. Then the hens come and finish it all off lol. (I mix it all in a bucket and pour it into litter boxes I use as communal food bowls lol. Saves on washing up!). I started doing this last winter as I thought a warm meal would warm them all up in the cold weather, and now I can't stop or they would bring me down like a bison with frustration! They LOVE it and if I am late feeding them, they queue up at the front door screaming at me!

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by Crayon » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:55 am

I am researching the topic and will start soon I wonder why it’s not more popular because I can see only plus sides but it is more time consuming in terms of research and hassle preparing I suppose

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by booktigger » Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:13 pm

Crayon wrote:I am researching the topic and will start soon I wonder why it’s not more popular because I can see only plus sides but it is more time consuming in terms of research and hassle preparing I suppose
The reason I have never gone down that route is the danger of not getting the balance right - if you don't get enough taurine it can cause serious issues.

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by brittanymarshel » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:38 am

Have to ask - sorry - Please be gentle - I am sure that this is a stupid question .....

After reading this forum, I am thinking of introducing raw food into my cat's diet. I just wanted to clarify by raw food, I take it you mean just take the uncooked chicken out of the fridge and let them eat it?

What about the skin and bones etc. or should consider these raw foods https://www.geekwrapped.com/guides/best-raw-cat-food Sorry for the obvious question, we often feed our cats cooked chicken but it just feels weird to give them an uncooked chicken wing or something ! (yes, I know it is silly as outside they would not cook a bird before they ate it !).

What do others do ?

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by Mollycat » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:29 am

brittanymarshel wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:38 am
Have to ask - sorry - Please be gentle - I am sure that this is a stupid question .....

After reading this forum, I am thinking of introducing raw food into my cat's diet. I just wanted to clarify by raw food, I take it you mean just take the uncooked chicken out of the fridge and let them eat it?

What about the skin and bones etc. or should consider these raw foods https://www.geekwrapped.com/guides/best-raw-cat-food Sorry for the obvious question, we often feed our cats cooked chicken but it just feels weird to give them an uncooked chicken wing or something ! (yes, I know it is silly as outside they would not cook a bird before they ate it !).

What do others do ?
it's not a stupid question :)

A cat's nutritional needs are quite specific, unlike dogs who can get away with a lot more variety and junk. If you mean switching to a raw diet it's critical to follow good recipes or buy specially formulated foods with all the right nutrients in the right proportion. For example taurine is essential for heart and eye health and you won't provide that in prime chicken breast. Organs, skin and bone all need to be included.

My boy was raw fed for at least three years before I adopted him aged 9 (he was a stud so had at least 4 different owners before he retired) on a prepared diet that you buy frozen. Unfortunately with me he refused point blank to touch it. He lived to 15 but his last 2 years were full of kidney failure, possible thyroid issues, and what really killed him was digestive issues, we never knew if it was lymphoma, inflammatory bowel disease, or something else.

I would say two things to bear in mind before feeding raw. The cat has been domesticated for 9000 years and progressively eating more cooked meat and vegetable matter, with canned cat foods appearing in the last 100 years. The cat's gut has evolved for these changes, and lengthened from 5 feet to 7 feet. So is a fully raw diet still the optimum nutrition for a domestic cat? Lots of opinions, very little hard research. Secondly, a cat's natual lifespan is around 10-12 years and in our care this can easily become 15, 18, 20+ years. The cat's weak spot is its kidneys, loaded up dealing with high levels of protein that it needs as an obligate carnivore. A cat with renal failure still needs high levels of protein but all that time it's loading the kidneys more, making a raw diet for an ageing cat even more critical to get just right.

Introducing a little raw like chicken wings as part of an otherwise commercial and balanced diet is fine, the total calories from non-balanced foods should be no more than 15% - 20% of total calories depending who you believe and chamming on a wing beats dry food for keeping teeth strong and clean any day. There is no right and wrong, just a lot of strong feelings, fashions, new evidence, biased food manufacturers and very little real scientific research to weigh up to make your own decisions.

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by fjm » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:30 am

I have cooked for my animals for years, with occasional meals of raw chicken wings for their teeth. The cats in particular prefer raw, but I have some concerns about the safety issues (I use mostly balanced minced meat prepared for dogs and cats, and mince is more prone to contamination with bacteria than chunks). Raw food also deteriorates very quickly if left out, especially in warm weather, which can be problematic if your cats like to graze. I mostly buy from DAF Petfoods, as their quality is good and they deliver in my area, but have recently needed to buy bone free because of Tilly's CKD, so am getting more from supermarkets.

If you do decide to feed a home made diet research it carefully. Balancing phosphates and calcium is essential, as is including a small amount of offal, which contains nutrients and trace elements not in muscle meat. The more a muscle is used the more taurine it builds up, so chicken thighs are better than breast, but I still add a pinch per meal to be certain.

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Re: Raw food diet?

Post by brittanymarshel » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:04 pm


My boy was raw fed for at least three years before I adopted him aged 9 (he was a stud so had at least 4 different owners before he retired) on a prepared diet that you buy frozen. Unfortunately with me he refused point blank to touch it. He lived to 15 but his last 2 years were full of kidney failure, possible thyroid issues, and what really killed him was digestive issues, we never knew if it was lymphoma, inflammatory bowel disease, or something else.
Sorry to hear that, really didn't know I could feed my cats them. Will give them a go. Thanks

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