Buying Raw Food For Your Cat? Here’s What You Need To Know.

February 17, 2010

in Cats

The raw food pet industry is in full bloom.That is a wonderful thing because raw food can help your pet thrive in ways you could not imagine. A raw diet can help your pet get off insulin, heal their inflammatory bowel disease and we could go on for a week. But…before buying what you believe is a “balanced” diet for your pet, especially if it is your cat, you need to get just a bit educated. Cats and dogs have vastly different dietary needs. Feeding your cat raw food designed for a dog, (and many manufacturers will not make the distinction) can be harmful to your cat.

Therefore, when purchasing raw food for your kitty, (and we applaud you for doing that!) You do need to look out for a few things:

1.Calcium/Phosphorus ratio. Cats, as opposed to dogs, have quite a narrow range of the calcium to phosphorus content of their diet. The ideal range for cats is 1.2 – 1.4:1 Calcium is found in bone and phosphorous is found in muscle meat and organs. Various types of meat will have various levels of phosphorous. When purchasing a raw prepared diet it is a must that the food has the correct ratio of calcium and phosphorous. If the information is not readily available on the manufacturers web site, nor on the package, you will need to email and call them. Make sure you get a definitive answer with the exact numbers including how they arrived to them. An imbalance of Calcium and Phosphorous can cause a serious imbalance. Next is the:

2.Amount of Vegetable matter. Adding some vegetables to a feline diet is OK as long as it is a small percentage. 3-5% is OK. The food you feed should contain max 10% veggies. The percentage may not be available and you may need to contact the manufacturer. Garlic and onions can cause anemia in cats and should never be used. Tomatoes can exacerbate arthritis and most vegetables will raise the urinary pH which can cause urinary tract issues. Herbs should never be used long term and are frequently added to raw prepared diets.

3.Organ meats. Does the food contain organ meats and at what proportion? What types of organs are included? Feline diets should contain approximately 10% organ meats. Organs provide important vitamins and other nutrients vital for the cat.

4.Taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid to the cat. In the wild, cats get an abundance of Taurine from mice. (But how many domestic cats get fresh mice routinely?) While all meats contain Taurine to some degree, handling and freezing the meat diminishes the amount. Some meats, like rabbit have a dangerously low amount of Taurine. chicken have a various amounts with chicken hearts having a high amount. We recommend you add Taurine to ALL raw food you give your cat. It is not only easy, but also inexpensive. A big plus is that even the finickiest of cats will notice! Add about 1000 mg per pound of raw food. A deficiency can be serious, causing blindness and even death. Adding some is an easy insurance.

Feel free to contact manufacturers if information is not available on their websites or on the food package. If the food does not meat the standards, then find a food that does.

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