Cats evolved eating a prey-based diet, and more importantly, eating food raw. Cooking degrades nutrients in meat, causing the loss of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Meat used in highly-processed pet food is cooked at high temperatures which means that the lost nutrients must be added back. Cats in the wild often eat the entire prey animal if it is small, and will eat nearly everything except the intestines of a larger prey animal. This includes the bones of prey, as raw bone is highly digestible and is their primary source of calcium. Cooking bone (which can be found in regular cat food) reduces the nutrients available, making it brittle and dangerous to ingest.
Benefits of feeding your cat raw:
~ Improved digestion
~ Greatly reduced stool odour and volume
~ Healthy coat, less shedding, fewer hairballs
~ Increased energy
~ Weight loss, if overweight
~ Better dental health
~ Better urinary health
The digestive system of cats is adapted specifically for a meat-based diet. A cat's digestive tract is short and acidic and processes species-appropriate raw food efficiently in about 12 hours. This gives very little time for bacteria to grow, so cats are naturally resistant to food poisoning.
Cats have no requirement for carbohydrates and have limited ability to digest them. A raw food diet is more digestible than a diet of plant-based foods. Cats evolved eating a diet with almost no carbohydrates, they have only one enzyme system capable of handling them. This is quite different from humans and dogs, both having multiple enzyme systems that digest carbohydrates.
Greatly Reduced Stool Odour & Volume
When cats are fed a proper diet, their bodies use most of their food, with much less stool volume. Stool production can be cut in half. They also eliminate less often, sometimes once a day or even less. Their stools are often dry, a little crumbly and hardly smell at all.
Healthy Coat, Less Shedding & Fewer Hairballs
It is common for people to notice that their cat's coat has gotten softer and silkier after a few weeks of raw food. Cats require unsaturated fatty acids, omega-6 and omega-3 in their diets. They must come from animal sources, as cats have a limited ability to make these acids from plant-derived precursors. These essential fatty acids contribute to healthy skin and coats, reducing shedding & lack of hairballs.
Cats are uniquely adapted to utilise protein for their energy. They essentially "burn" protein, turning it into energy in their liver in a process called gluconeogenesis. Animals such as dogs and humans also burn protein in this way, but turn it on and off depending on how much protein is available.
If your cats are overweight, they will likely start to lose weight on a raw cat food diet. Cats are likely to overeat when fed an improper food, trying to make up for the nutritional deficiencies in the food. Usually, they won't overeat when fed species-appropriate raw food, as it is more filling.
Better Dental Health
Reducing or eliminating carbohydrates in your cat's diet will help keep dental disease at bay. Providing raw meaty bones to chew on is "nature's toothbrush" for cats. This is important as the bacteria from dental infections can spread to other parts of the body.
Better Urinary Health
Raw cat food has a high moisture content of about 65 to 70% that mimics that of natural prey; a mouse is 65-75% moisture. Carbohydrate-laden, low-moisture foods, specifically dry food, cause alkaline urine and chronic dehydration in cats. This can lead to urinary tract inflammation.
Have a look at what Raw Food for Cats we stock here at Ziggys!