Cats are predators. They evolved eating a prey based diet, and more importantly, eating that diet RAW. Cats are obligate carnivores so they must eat meat. Their digestive systems are adapted specifically for a meat-based diet. Cats have no requirement for carbohydrates and limited ability to digest them. For cats, a raw meat diet is more digestible than a diet of plant-based foods. Because they 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 that have multiple enzyme systems capable of digesting carbohydrates.
Providing your cat with a diet that is modeled on what they would eat in the wild has many benefits, for you and your cat…Meat protein is your cats best friend!
Cats are uniquely adapted to utilize protein for their energy requirements. Cats 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. Cats can’t do this; their “burn rate” is always on high, thus their absolute requirement for high-quality protein from meat sources.
More and more cats are dying from kidney disease and many of them at a young age. The leading contributor to this is mainstream commercial dry diets being fed to our cats. These diets are usually high in carbohydrates and do not provide the meat protein or moisture needed to sustain kidney health. In fact, these diets are essentially burning up our cat’s kidneys by causing alkaline urine and chronic dehydration. Raw diets have a high moisture content of about 65 to 70% that mimics that of natural prey; a mouse, for example, is 65-75% moisture, unlike the dry diets where the only moisture available to metabolize the food is the water your cat seeks out.
Obesity is another blaring issue in domestic cats which can lead to diabetes and a slew of other health issues. If your cats are overweight, they will most likely start to lose weight on a raw diet. Cats will overeat when fed an improper diet, trying to make up for the nutritional deficiencies in the food. Typically when your feline is fed a species- appropriate diet they are satisfied and the tendency to overeat diminishes in addition to an increase in energy which will also help them burn off more calories.
Fewer hairballs and less shedding are two more reasons to consider feeding a raw diet.
Cats require unsaturated fatty acids, omega-6, and omega-3 in their diets. These need to be 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 and thus the incidence of hairballs.
When cats are fed a diet with a large amount of carbohydrates, their systems will struggle to digest the excess carbs. Since much of what they eat isn’t being efficiently processed by their systems, the amount of waste is much greater than it should be. Because cats are able to utilize all the nutrients provided by raw meat diets it means less waste. It is typical for stool production to be cut in half and elimination to be less frequent, sometimes even as little as every other day. Their stools are often dry, a little crumbly and hardly smell at all. This is a huge benefit for those indoor cat owners.
Introducing your cat to raw can be a challenge!!!
Be patient! Cats are creatures of habit and will resist any change to their established routine. Don’t be discouraged if you are not successful your first time up to bat. It’s all about repetition. It can be as simple as finding the right texture, protein or temperature of raw to entice your feline. However, in many cases it requires placing a small amount of the raw diet in front of your cat every day until they eventually become curious enough to give it a try. Your perseverance will pay off for both you and your cat so don’t get discouraged and if you do we are always just a phone call away at The Good Dog Co. Atl.