Raw food for cats and dogs is the new house-hold word. It may have been at least one positive benefit of the many pet food recalls the past few years. Suppliers making raw food have been sprouting up like mushrooms. While that is a terrific thing, you will need to conduct some research of the food, especially if your pet is a cat. Many manufacturers will make the same raw food for dogs and cats with the problem that cats have very specific requirements which are different from dogs. When you decide to buy prepared raw food for your kitty, here are some things you HAVE to look out for:
1.Calcium/Phosphorus ratio. Cats, as opposed to dogs, have quite a narrow range of the calcium to phosphorus content of their diet. The ideal range for cats is 1.2 - 1.4:1 Calcium is found in bone and phosphorous is found in muscle meat and organs. Various types of meat will have various levels of phosphorous. When purchasing a raw prepared diet it is a must that the food has the correct ratio of calcium and phosphorous. If the information is not readily available on the manufacturers web site, nor on the package, you will need to email and call them. Make sure you get a definitive answer with the exact numbers including how they arrived to them. An imbalance of Calcium and Phosphorous can cause a serious imbalance.
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2.Percentage and Type of Vegetable matter. Adding some vegetables to a feline diet is OK as long as it is a small percentage. 3-5% is OK. The food you feed should contain max 10% veggies. No grains, of course! The percentage may not be readily available and you may need to contact the manufacturer. Garlic and onions can cause anemia in cats and should never be used. Tomatoes can exacerbate arthritis and most vegetables will raise the urinary pH which can cause urinary tract issues. Herbs should never be used long term and are frequently added to raw prepared diets. We would avoid any pet food containing herbs. Many herbs safe for dogs and humans are toxic to cats.
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3.Organ meats. Optimally felines should consume somewhere about 10% of organ meats. Does the food contain organ meats and at what proportion? What type of organs are included? Organs provide important vitamins and other nutrients vital for the cat.
4.Taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid to the cat. In the wild, cats get an abundance of Taurine from mice. (But how many domestic cats get fresh mice routinely?) While all meats contain Taurine to some degree, handling and freezing the meat diminishes the amount. Some meats, like rabbit have a dangerously low amount of Taurine. chicken have a various amounts with chicken hearts having a high amount. We recommend you add Taurine to ALL raw food you give your cat. It is not only easy, but also inexpensive.
A big plus is that even the finickiest of cats will notice! Add about 1000 mg per pound of raw food. A deficiency can be serious, causing blindness and even death. Adding some is an easy insurance. Raw food is ideal for dogs and cats. They are carnivores after buyer beware. Make sure what you feed is properly balanced.