Since we started Best Life Pets 3 years ago, we have promoted the BARF diet which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food as the foundation for a holistic and sustainable long life for us cats.
After this diet rescued me from a “scratchy, itchy and licky” life with big patches of missing fur due to a food allergy, mom and I dedicated ourselves to sharing our raw food experiences via this blog. Since it changed both of our lives, we thought it was a good story worth telling!
Our hope is that through our posts and experiences we can inspire and encourage all pet parents to try the raw food diet with their cats. After all, it is the ancestral diet of all felines.
First, let’s define “raw food” and what it is as well as what it is not!
Raw food is exactly that, it is food that is raw and in this case, 90%+ whole raw animal protein including raw beef, pork, duck, rabbit, turkey, chicken or salmon.
Raw food can be bought frozen, freeze-dried or dehydrated – meaning it has never been cooked. Frozen is the #1 option but all three are RAW food.
Raw food ingredients include whole animal muscle meat, organs and bone. Some raw brands will include a small amount of greens (carbs) which reflects the fact that in the wild, cats will eat the stomach contents of the prey therefore eating a minimal amount of carbs. It will also include any necessary nutrients such as Taurine if not found naturally occurring in the ingredients.
Raw food is not any food that has been processed and cooked at a high heat which denatures the healthy protein and kills all the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. While “limited ingredients” and “low-heat levels” address some of the issues in the commercial pet foods, it is still not raw food. Anything cooked even at low temps is no longer raw.
Raw food will never come in a can. If the ingredients include words ending with “meal” like chicken meal, that means it is processed and cooked.
Raw food will never contain chemicals and preservatives.
I am 6 years old this month and have been on the raw food diet for 4 ½ years now. I have lost weight (from 16lbs to 13.5lbs.), my fur is luxe, my poop has reduced by 50% and it doesn’t smell!
Needless to say, Mom is happy with all the results!
Raw Food & Vets
When we started on our raw food journey, we really did not get support from our traditional vet even after presenting them with the results and the facts of my transition. Eventually, it drove mom to seek an integrative vet/holistic vet who was on board with the raw food diet as the foundation for a healthy cat life!
Many friends and fellow pet lovers had never heard of the raw food diet either.
Fast-forward to today, and things are definitely changing!
The raw food trend has grown an ameowzing amount, especially thanks to the millennials and Gen Z who want their pets to live a healthier life and recognize the benefits of the BARF diet.
Likewise, the trend towards Integrative veterinarian services has grown thanks to the initial boomer vet pioneers but expanding greatly amongst the millennial vets. More and more of the animal medical world is starting to connect the dots that the commercial diets are actually hurting our pets with diabetes, obesity and renal failure to list just a few.
This is the BIGGEST news yet as the veterinarians have been slow to come on board with the raw food diet for a lot of reasons!
If you want to know more and read one veterinarian’s transition from a non-believer to a believer in the raw food diet, check out this post from The Conscious Cat by Ingrid King who mom admires greatly.
They share an article written by Dr. Andrea Tasi, VMD who writes a compelling article for Feline Nutrition Foundation about her experiences with the raw food diet.
Mom said this article was a joy to read as it offers first hand experiences from a veterinarian doctor who covers all the basics and addresses the concerns of all passionate cat parents when it comes to the raw food diet. If you are on the edge of whether to switch your cat’s diet, please click through and read what the vet has to say!
While “raw foods” remain a bit of a specialty, more pet food companies are waking up to the growing demand for a healthier way of life for us pets.
Today, there are many more specialty pet food companies, often started by individual entrepreneurs, in the pet food industry. Many of these companies have stood the test of time to offer a superior raw food product. Some have been around for 30 years, others for less than a decade.
One such company that we want to highlight is FEGNION ™ which is founded by two pharmacists, Dr. Alma Dervisevic and Dr. Joseph Scoleri. They started from the ground up after one of their beloved cats became sick from a commercial diet.
They vowed to create a purr-fect raw diet with no carbs – meaning 100% pure animal protein locally here in Brooklyn, NY. They have a growing following and I can tell you their food is cat-tastic!
Check out their website to find a local store near you or order direct from their site!