We are avid raw feeders and feed our cats with nutritionally balanced "prey model raw"diet. Cats are obligate carnivores which means their diet requires nutrients found only in animal flash. While obligate carnivores might be able to ingest small amount of plant matter, they lack the necessary physiology required to digest it, which can lead to numerous health issues. As cats are predators, their natural diet consists of birds, rodents and even small rabbits. Cooking degrades nutrients in meat, causing the loss of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Meat used in highly processed pet food is cooked at high temperatures and lost nutrients must be added back using synthetic supplements but some nutrient losses aren't always replaced.
Some benefits of feeding raw:
* Healthy gums
* Glossy coat with minimal shedding
* Optimal weight with visible muscle tone
* Improved digestions
* Better overall health as issues such as food allergy, obesity, diabetes, urinary infections and kidney disease can be prevented by feeding BALANCED raw diet.
Read more about the benefits of raw food for cats here: https://feline-nutrition.org/.../the-benefits-of-a-raw...
IS "RAW" DIET SAFE?
Firstly, ask yourself if commercial pet food is safe? Numerous pet food recalls occurred over past few years and many pets died from eating commercial pet food contaminated with melamine and other toxins. Some pet food recalls involved salmonella in their dry foods.
Secondly, cat's anatomy and physiology were designed to eat and digest raw meats. Cats have high acid stomach pH and shorter gastrointestinal tract, making them less vulnerable to many types of food borne bacteria.
Third, it is not difficult to feed a BALANCED diet. The easiest way is to feed pre-made raw food, purchased from reputable (and DAFF registered) raw food manufactures. These manufacturers have in most cases certified animal nutritionists and veterinarians working closely with them, to make sure the food is balanced and contains all necessary minerals, enzymes, vitamins, fatty acids etc. Making homemade food is not difficult either, provided you're following a balanced recipe (correct ratio of muscle meat : organs : bones with additional supplements).
UNBALANCED RAW DIET can cause SERIOUS health issues. Feeding beef mince or chicken breast with few liver treats on the side is definitely not balanced, please make sure you know what you're doing if you want to feed with DIY diet as you can essentially risk your cat's life due to nutritional deficiencies such TAURINE DEFICIENCY. The symptoms of taurine deficiency can take several months before they become apparent and can cause feline taurine retinopathy or feline central retinal degeneration (causing blindness). Deficiency of taurine will also lead to weakening of the muscle cells in the heart, causing dilated cardiomyopathy which can lead to heart failure and death.
CALCIUM (found in bones and organ tissues) is another essential nutrient for cats. Calcium levels need to be balanced with phosphorus (ideally cats should get 1.2 parts calcium for every 1 part of phosphorus). Calcium regulates the fluid concentration in the cat's cells and helps to conduct energetic impulses within their body. Cells use calcium for sending signals, contracting muscles (including heart) and sending / receiving neurotransmitters. Calcium deficiency leads to rickets (soft and brittle bones), muscle twitching, stiffness, lethargy, panting and convulsions.
Feeding too much liver (this includes liver treats!) can cause vitamin A toxicity which can cause abnormal bone growth. The vertebrae of the neck is usually affected first but it can extend to the rest of spine, ribs, elbows and other joints and can lead to partial or complete paralyses.
Balanced raw diet also must contain all essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
So, although a raw diet is the best one you can offer your carnivore, it's absolutely crucial it's a BALANCED DIET.