While a raw cat food diet isn’t the best choice for everybody, there are compelling reasons to consider this option for your own kitten.
A raw cat food diet can give you more control over your kitten’s nutrition, because you will be able to control the ingredients and this itself will be an investment in her future health.
The downside, is preparing such a diet does take more time and preparation than a simple trip to the pet store.
Want to find out if it’s right for you? Keep reading…
Reasons to Feed Raw Food to Your Kitten
1: There are only a handful of decent commercially prepared cat and kitten foods, and the prices are high. Preparing your own raw food diet will save money and will be more of a natural diet for your kitten.
2: If you buy quality, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat from a trusted butcher or natural supermarket, it is still safer than taking chances with bacteria-laden dry kibble or a potentially contaminated commercial food which are subject to cat food recalls.
3: While a raw diet is more expensive and more work than putting down a bowl of Friskies, healthy nutritious food now will prevent an onslaught of pricey medical bills later in your kitten’s life.
4: Cooked meat changes the structure of the proteins in the meat, and your kitten’s body cannot use the nutrients properly compared to it’s raw, natural state.
How to Make Raw Food for Cats and Kittens
You will need to invest in a good quality meat grinder and a variety of supplements, as well as the meat you will be using.
You cannot feed just meat to your kitten or cat, since they need a variety of nutrients to sustain their health, especially the calcium they get from ground bones.
In the wild, cats eat most parts of their prey, including bones, skin and organs.
If you are going to venture into making your own raw food diet for cats and kittens, you will have to make sure you balance their nutritional needs.
This means grinding the bones along with the meat. There are calcium supplements and bone meal, but they are a poor substitute for the real thing.
Be sure when grinding the meat and bones, you get the bones as finely chopped as possible.
Raw Cat Food Ingredients Safety
While this covers the basic considerations, you should consult your veterinarian or a feline nutritional expert for a well-balanced recipe.
For meat selection, chicken and turkey thighs are the best choices. Avoid beef and fish, since these meats do not approximate a wild diet.
Do Not use pre-ground meats for raw cat food–it can be laden with bacteria and poses a real threat to your kitten’s health.
As mentioned earlier, Do make sure you source your meat from a clean, trusted supplier.
To make the raw meat as safe as possible for consumption, you can sear the outsides of the poultry to kill surface bacteria before grinding.
While making raw cat food can be messy and time-consuming, you can decrease the work load by making large batches and freezing meals to last for several weeks.
If you have a well-organized process, you can spend as little as one afternoon a month or so, depending on how many little mouths you have to feed!
To defrost, just place a container in the fridge overnight. (Don’t leave on the countertop, and especially don’t defrost in the microwave!)
Before you go out and get your grinder, make sure you do your research to find a well-balanced recipe for your raw cat food diet.
Making the Switch
Some cats will take to raw food right away, while others may be stubborn about the change.
The best way to test, is to cut up some raw chunks of turkey or chicken and see what she does. If she takes to it right away, great!
If not, you will have to transition your kitten slowly into the change.
Begin by adding 10% or so of the raw cat food diet into her regular food, and gradually increase the ratio over time.
You may find that she will eat around the raw food for awhile.
When you are putting 100% raw food in front of her and she walks away, you can decide how aggressively you want to pursue this.
If you deny her all food until she gives in, don’t let her go more than 48 hours without eating. If she is very young, less than 3 months old, I would not try this tactic at all.
Another way to make the new food more “palatable” for her would be to sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on the meat or Fortiflora Supplement, just until she begins eating it regularly.
Be patient, and eventually she will remember her wild instincts and enjoy the raw meat!
Commercial Raw Food Diets for Cats
If handling so much raw meat in your kitchen makes you nervous, there are internet suppliers that will deliver frozen, pre-portioned raw cat food meals to your door on a regular delivery schedule.
Feline’s Pride is one of the most well-known companies, and Stella and Chewy’s is also a freeze-dried raw meal option but there are several smaller companies that also ship food to your door.
These are more expensive, but the trade-off could be worth it for you.
Investing in the grinder and supplements is not cheap either, so it may be worthwhile to try out one of these suppliers first until your kitten or cat gets used to eating raw food first.
It will also give you time to decide if feeding raw cat food is a commitment you really want to make.