Should I feed my cat raw?

When you are researching cat diets and the best options for your fur baby, you are sure to feel your head spinning. Moist food, dry food, raw diets, and the list goes on and on. Deciding the best option for your cat, in the end, will be a mixture of your personal cat’s needs, veterinarian input, and your preferences and ability to source foods. That being said, we will lay out some raw food options, but in no way are we condoning this diet, just as we don’t recommend dry food diets or a specific moist brand. Readers need to be informed to make the best choices for themselves and their sweet feline companion, and our job is to lay out everything you might find on the market, the manufacturer’s claims, and the expert medical opinions. We strive to start constructive conversations on pet health to help our fur babies live the most productive lives possible. 

Feline Raw vs. Human Raw 

When you talk about raw food, for feline’s, this includes unprocessed animal proteins. A cat’s dietary needs are very different from the vegetables and such that a raw diet for humans might include. Raw diets for cats must have uncooked meat, fish, and internal organs as staples. Additionally, components to these diets can include bone for calcium and phosphorous. A raw diet must be monitored by medical personal and meticulously followed to ensure that everything a feline requires is included in this diet plan. 

Benefit of Raw

Due to a raw diet being closest to the diet they would have eaten in the wild, there are many documented benefits of this diet style. Stronger immune systems, nicer-looking coats, and even more energy are benefits owners using raw meals documented they have witnessed in their felines. This is due to the nutrients packed into these diets, and additional oral health improvements have been noted from eating these styles of meals. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t note that handling raw meals has a higher risk of contamination from bacteria commonly found in raw fish and chicken. Therefore, the handling, preparation, and feeding of these diets require much more regimented routines to help ensure no bad outcomes for your pet. 

Homemade Raw Diets?

Raw diets to meet your cat’s dietary needs are tough. Not every feline’s needs are the same, and good, quality balanced raw recipes can be hard to come by even online. Then you have to stick with it and avoid cutting corners that might directly impact your cat’s overall health. The best raw diets should be commercially produced using the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Additionally, remember that not all raw ingredients are the same, so you still need to ensure that the ingredients are high quality and can be sourced consistently before you start down this path. 

Top Contenders  

There are several raw cat food producers, though not as many options as standard dry or moist foods. For example, Darwin’s makes a raw cat food that comes pre-portioned, vacuum-sealed, frozen, delivered right to your door. Thaw, open, and serve these responsibly sourced, quality ingredients with no hormones, steroids, antibiotics, grains, vegetables, or fillers. Another great option is Stella and Chewy’s Rabbit Dinner Morsels, Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food, which, being freeze-dried, helps cut down on some of the safety and handling concerns. In addition, this type of foot can be reconstituted with water to help provide the moisture needed by your cat. Finally, Wysong Archetype Chicken Formula Freeze-Dried is one of the best raw foods listed for picky cats. The ingredient list is primarily chicken, chicken organs, and chicken bones but has trace amounts of other ingredients like blueberry, barley grass, chia seeds, broccoli sprouts, carrots, plums, whey, dried kelp, yeast extract, and probiotics to help with digestive concerns. This one is lesser known than some we found but had solid reviews and a little different take on raw than many we found.

Raw diets are an option for your cat, as it is the closest form of food to what they would eat in the wild. Teeth, coat, energy, and other benefits have been noted from this style of diet. On the other hand, ensuring you get non-contaminated raw foods, quality ingredients, and from reputable sources is critical for your cat’s health. 

Making your own at home is feasible but consult a veterinarian or other nutritional specialist to ensure the ingredient mix meets all your cat’s health needs. Be sure to do your research and read both pro and con blogs and articles on both sides of this subject to arm yourself with the best data possible. Knowledge of these and all nutritional aspects of your cat’s wellbeing is your best defense for a wonderfully fulfilling, long life with your feline companion.

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About the Author: Cathy Prater