Is A Raw Food Diet Safe For Cats?

While most pet owners are content to feed their pets specially-formulated pet food, some pet owners decide to go off the beaten path. If you have a cat, you may have read that raw food diets are being implemented by many cat parents. If you're interested in switching your cat's food, keep reading to learn the pros and cons of the raw food diet and to learn whether it's right for your cat.

The Positive

Cats are carnivores and accustomed to eating a lot of protein in their diet as a result. Cats in the wild have evolved to subsist entirely on wild prey, so cats are capable of absorbing the vitamins, minerals, and overall nutrients found in raw meat better than humans can. In addition, raw meat contains a lot of moisture, so it can help finicky kitties who don't like using their water bowl to stay hydrated.

The Risks

Unfortunately, raw meat carries the same risks for cats that it does for humans. Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria, parasites, and diseases that can potentially make your cat sick. While cats' bodies can handle some of these infectious elements better than humans due to evolving to eat prey, there's a big difference between fresh prey and supermarket meat. If a cat hunts and eats its prey, it's immediately consuming the meat before it can become contaminated from outside sources. In addition, wild prey isn't fed antibiotics, while farm animals sometimes are. An excessive consumption of antibiotics in food can potentially make it harder to beat infections with the antibiotics your veterinarian prescribes.

Talk to your Vet

Ultimately, you should consult with your veterinarian regarding your cat's dietary needs. Depending on their physical health, they may be a great candidate for a raw food diet. On the other hand, your cat may have special needs, like reduced protein to support them if they have kidney disease, or a complete avoidance of raw food due to a weakened immune system's inability to fight off bacteria and parasites found in raw meat.

If your veterinarian doesn't want your cat to eat raw food, don't fret. That doesn't necessarily mean that they'll force you to feed your cat kibble and canned foods. High-end, refrigerated premium pet food is now becoming popular with pet owners for providing better nutrition and less filler. These foods are specially-formulated for pets, so your vet may recommend one of those instead. Check with a vet clinic like Stewartstown Vet Services for more information.