Is a Raw Food Diet Good for Cats?
Yes! Cats are obligatory carnivores and rely on a diet of whole
muscle meat, organs, and bones for optimal nutrition. Therefore, a raw food diet promotes good health and a longer, more sustainable life with fewer vet visits.
Why do we advocate for a raw, species-specific diet for cats?
Cats who eat raw have fewer allergies, obesity, diabetes, cancer, kidney
Cats who eat raw also have beautiful, shiny coats and no furry odor. Bury
your nose in your raw-fed cat’s fur and you will smell a “clean kitty”.
They also use more of the food they consume, biologically speaking, which
results in 50% less poop - often only having one bowel movement
every 24/36 hours. Their poops are purr-fectly formed and rarely does a
raw-fed cat have diarrhea.
On the topic of poop, cats who eat raw also have significantly less smelly poop. No kidding – try it and you’ll see!
What is a raw food diet exactly?
Often called the BARF diet, the raw food diet consists of biologically appropriate raw food. It contains fresh human-grade quality animal proteins that have never
been cooked or overly processed at high temperatures that denature
the protein, after which they have to add chemicals and preservatives to
artificially put the “protein” back in.
That’s why cat food such as kibble and canned wet food have so many
ingredients, many of which you can’t pronounce, or even know what they
Our best advice is to start reading your cat’s food ingredients. Aim for
the fewer ingredients the better. Look for the first ingredient to be the
whole protein such as beef, pork, turkey, etc. followed by things you
“Chicken meal” is not a fresh whole protein. It's often
made from rendered parts of the animal and even diseased parts.
Watch out for corn, soy, grains, too many veggies, and even fruits. Cats
have short digestive tracts and are hard-wired for eating “on the run” in the
desert, so they can't process carbohydrates like dogs can.
How do I buy raw food? How does it come packaged?
Raw food is available in several different ways – the common factor is
that no matter how it comes, it has never been cooked and traditionally
Raw food comes frozen as patties, cubes, nuggets, etc. and frozen is
generally the best value financially. Defrost and later serve when room
Shelf-stable raw food can be freeze-dried, air-dried, dehydrated, etc.
and also coming in the same shapes as frozen options. It is more costly to
produce than frozen, therefore it can be 30% higher in cost for the
consumer. However, the ease of tearing open a bag or pouch will often be worth it for those who don’t want to wait for frozen food to defrost. Freeze-dried cat food will need to be reconstituted with lukewarm water.
Where do I purchase raw food for my cat?
Many independent family-owned pet stores have been leaders in the raw
food movement and will carry various brands and types of raw foods. In
addition, they are there to answer your questions and explain the
various types of raw food and the features and benefits. They will help
you get started!
Big box pet stores are starting to recognize the trend towards raw
foods and are starting to stock some of the shelf-stable brands. These brands can also be purchased online, but can be expensive to ship the due to
weights and freezer-packs.
If you would like to learn more about how to feed “raw” – check out some of our other Food and Nutrition blogs:
HOLISTIC APPROACH TO FEEDING YOUR CAT IN 6 EASY STEPS!
FREEZE-DRIED RAW FOOD IS THE EASIEST WAY TO FEED YOUR CATS RAW