The Raw Food Diet for Cats – an Update

Feeding your cat a raw food diet might improve their energy levels. On the other hand…

Warning: this blog contains some details squeamish readers might find unpleasant…

A couple of weeks I blogged about my cat’s diet. Slightly off-topic I admit, but knowing how fond the internet is of cats, I thought regular readers might forgive me.

I’ve been experimenting with feeding my podgy puss a raw food diet to a) slim him down, and b) improve his health, specifically his digestion. My cat is sick after eating a lot. The general household rule is that whoever discovers the pile of puke wherever it lurks clears it up. My husband sometimes claims he only spotted it just before he left for work. Hmm…

The raw food diet for cats is rather like the low-carb diet we propose for people with diabetes. Admittedly, it doesn’t include mayonnaise, cheese or double cream and other such goodies, but it’s made up of unprocessed food and is very low in carbohydrates because it doesn’t include kibble, a product bulked up with grains.

Hard to Resist

Experts warn that patience and persistence are necessary for the transition. As Sandra, a reader of this blog commented, it’s a bit harder to be persistent when you’re at home with your cat all day. My moggie has trained me very well. He knows I’m a soft touch. A little pitiful meowing, or staring pointedly at the cupboard where the cat food is kept is hard to resist.

I can’t interest him in raw bones at all. I bought a box of them from Asda and even chopped them up for him. (Little aside, if you want to feel like a proper carnivore, cut bones up.) Nothing doing.

He refused to touch liver too, apart from the first time I put it down. Again, I’ve read that cats are very fussy about the freshness of meat. Liver goes off so fast, I think it would need to be fresh out of the animal for him to eat it. Years ago, my dad used to shoot rabbits, and he’d give them to the farm cats. He’d take the back legs and rip them apart down the middle, and the cats would dive into them with tremendous enthusiasm. You don’t get fresher than that, but it’s not something that is practical for me to do. I’m not keen on the idea either!

Eating too Fast

I’ve had the most success with raw mince and fresh, diced beef. As the diced meat is a bit harder to eat quickly, I prefer giving that than mince. The raw diet hasn’t stopped my cat throwing up, and he often throws up if he eats too fast. What’s worse? Clearing up regurgitated raw meat or cat food? Hard to tell.

What I have noticed is that I think he isn’t whining as much. The constant whinging for food I had put down to hunger because of poor quality nutrition and/or his bulimic tendencies seems to have eased off a bit. Is he more energetic? I don’t know. Freddie is an old-ish cat, as he is coming up for ten years old this year. He still sleeps a lot, but he also goes outside and jumps up and down on everything.

(Hygiene freaks look away now—yes, everything including the kitchen units and the dining table.)

Half and Half

I’m not feeding him an entirely raw food diet. It is expensive, and as he isn’t eating a lot of the components that make up the ideal raw food diet for cats, I worry that he is missing out on certain nutrients, so I’ve kept in the kibble just to be on the safe side. I think asking my sister-in-law to feed him raw food while we are on holiday would be taking favour-asking too far.

As for his weight… ah. It’s either gone up or stayed the same. The last time he was at the vet’s (October), he weighed 6kg. We weighed him a few times after that and his weight went down to 5.7kg. Now, it’s 6kg again. Argh! I suspect he gets fed elsewhere. Freddie’s a bold boy. He happily wanders into other people’s houses. There are plenty of cats in my neighbourhood, so he’s probably helping himself to food. What can I do, apart from attaching a tag to his collar – “PLEASE DON’T FEED ME”?!

The raw food diet hasn’t achieved what I wanted it to do – better digestion and a lighter-weight cat. That said, I’ll probably keep up the half raw/half cat food diet. I don’t know if I’ve given it enough time to work. I should start weighing out what I’m giving him to make sure it isn’t too much.

Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “The Raw Food Diet for Cats – an Update”

  1. One of my cats Zara LOVES raw steak. All the cats are particularly fond of duck. Poultry in general goes down very well. Merlin’s favourite is partridge. Not all my cats like seafood and fish. Sooty likes it the most, particularly shellfish like prawns and lobster. Merlin is the least fond but will eat tinned tuna. I put kibbles out for the cats and vary the type. They get Gourmet cat wet cat food, the ones in gravy a few times a day and at night I give them some human standard meat. Sooty likes gourmet meat and eats the widest diet. Fudge is the only one who likes eggs, particularly soft boiled ones. I think that if cats could choose they prefer their humans to be on an Atkins/paleo style diet compared to vegetarian/vegan style diets.

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  2. Thanks for this update, Emma. My Harri(et) always used to be around 5kg – just a touch more in the winter months because she’s as fussy about the weather as she is about food so she doesn’t go out as much if it’s wet/cold/windy. She shot up to 5.7kg in just a few months when we changed her diet to a low-protein renal one on the vet’s advice. She LOVES that food! So not only did she ask for it constantly, she ate every scrap and she is never sick. She wasn’t sick as often as Freddie, perhaps from what you describe, but it was a reasonably regular event – as was demanding food and then leaving most of it. She was always on a more expensive supermarket food – this new one is considerably more expensive again. But worth it obviously, if it helps to support her kidney function – and also because there’s no waste.

    Anyway – here’s my update. She now has two pouches a day augmented with white fish which I do cook, though I’m tempted to try it raw. She only gets a little fish – a dessertspoonful roughly – to avoid excess protein stressing her kidneys. She was having kibble too, whenever she asked, but the vet explained that this is where the calories lie so advised that we cut back on that. Now she gets a very small handful as a treat sometimes, maybe once every few days. With the better weather she is much more active and is outside quite a bit. (She does really well for an almost 13-yr-old.) And her weight has plateaued: the vet is pleased. What I’m pleased about is that she actually seems to be accepting that she can’t be fed whenever she demands it. I’ve been steeling myself to be stronger and resist – and she is responding. Occasionally she has a hungry day and I give in but mostly now her demands seem to be a token protest. When nothing is forthcoming she gives up easily.

    Not sure where this fits with the raw-food option, but thought I’d share anyway. And offer some encouragement with standing firm. It can be done! (I wish I could be as disciplined with my own diet…)

    😀

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  3. Thanks Sandra. This is very useful. I’m going to cut down on the kibble. Which food is Harri on? I did try Freddie on Science Plan, but he didn’t like it. Well done on the standing firm front. My cat often gives up whining if he doesn’t get anywhere, so it does seem token too.

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    1. ha ha! Whereas MY cat is currently stretched out behind me soaking up the sun. Even though it is a reasonable time for her to start asking for some tea… 😉

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  4. Emma, she’s on Royal Canin renal. There are many other Royal Canin foods so you might want to investigate. A friend passed on to me some spares from when she had a cat with renal problems. It’s probably a good thing that I can’t recall which brands because she wouldn’t touch either of them. I think we got lucky in trying one that suited her straight away. I should add that she’s in great condition since starting on this food: her coat is amazing! Good luck!

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  5. I think that’s maybe the one expensive cat food we haven’t tried, so I shall look into it and see what they have for overweight, bulimic moggies!

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