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

April 30, 2009

in Cats

Raw food for cats and dogs is the new house-hold word. It may have been at least one positive benefit of the many pet food recalls the past few years. Suppliers making raw food have been sprouting up like mushrooms. While that is a terrific thing, you will need to conduct some research of the food, especially if your pet is a cat. Many manufacturers will make the same raw food for dogs and cats with the problem that cats have very specific requirements which are different from dogs.

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. Felines have quite a narrow range of the calcium to phosphorus content of their diet. The best range for cats is 1.2 – 1.4:1 Calcium is found in bone and phosphorous is found in muscle meat and organs. Not only will Various types of meat have various levels of phosphorous, but thigh meat will have different amounts than breast meat.It is essential that the raw food you buy follow the above mentioned ratio. If the information is not readily available on the manufacturers web site, nor on the package, (which is all too common) you will need to email or 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 problems. Then we have 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.

Raw food is ideal for dogs and cats. They are carnivores after all…but buyer beware. Make sure what you feed is properly balanced. Ask until you get the answers, and move on if the answers aren’t coming, or don’t provide the information you seek.

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