Raw Food Diet for Cats

People who begin feeding their pets a natural diet often see dramatic changes within days or weeks. Many pet owners report that their animals have increased energy, a shinier coat, clearer eyes and ears and improvements in disposition and awareness -- simply from a positive change in diet.

Most holistic veterinarians recommend some form of natural whole-food diet to their clients. Some believe that a raw-food diet is best, while others maintain that the food should be cooked (especially meats) before it is fed to companion animals. In our opinion, dogs and cats should be fed what their humans should be eating. The meat the animals get, however, should be raw. (Some people prefer not to feed raw meat, and that is fine, as long as the meat is not overcooked -- cooking destroys naturally occurring enzymes that your animal needs for effective digestion and assimilation of nutrients.)

Raw Homemade Adult Cat Food
Mix the following ingredients together in a large bowl:
• 2 cups ground or cubed raw beef, lamb, chicken necks, mackerel, clams or venison
• 1/4 cup mixed cooked grains -- this can be omitted if you feel that your animal won't tolerate grains (oats, bulgur, cornmeal, rice, etc.)
• 3/4 cup chopped or grated, assorted raw vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, potatoes or whatever your animal likes)

You can also add:
• Digestive enzymes
• EFAs such as cod liver oil and flaxseed oil
• Amino acids (especially taurine)
• Nutritional herbs
• Vitamin and mineral supplements, used as directed by the product manufacturer
• 1 teaspoon baked eggshell powder or 1 teaspoon steamed bone meal (human food quality only)

Pet "experts" have several different thoughts about feeding dogs and cats. A controversial issue has been whether these animals need grains or carbohydrates. To find what is right for your animal, you have to decide for yourself. There is no single, perfect diet, but some guidelines apply to all dogs and cats. Nutritional supplements will probably be needed with any diet. The type and quantity varies according to the animal's age, his overall health and his lifestyle and taste. Essential fatty acids and enzymes are almost always at the top of the supplement "need" list because they are generally absent from most food sources that make up the bulk of an animal's natural diet. The fact that these kinds of nutritional building blocks are difficult to find in common foods does not make them any less important to your animal's health. Remember, our pets' wild ancestors spent almost all of their time seeking out the specialized nutrients they needed to maintain health. Now it's our responsibility to provide these nutrients.

About the Authors: Mary L. Wulff-Tilford and Gregory L. Tilford are the coauthors of All You Ever Wanted to Know about Herbs for Pets, and the founders of the Animals' Apawthecary (a company that produces low-alcohol herb tinctures for dogs and cats).

From All You Ever Wanted to Know About Herbs for Pets by Mary L. Wulff-Tilford and Gregory L. Tilford. Copyright 1999 by BowTie Press. Published by and reprinted with permission of BowTie Press.

The information provided here is for educational and entertainment purposes only and should not be relied on as medical advice for your pet, or in lieu of consultation with your own veterinarian. We urge you to always consult your veterinarian for specific advice and diagnoses concerning your pet.

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