Have you considered feeding a biologically appropriate cat food diet?
A lot of cat owners today are talking about biological appropriate raw food, BARF. Expanded, it stands for ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Food’. The need for this diet arose when a veterinarian realized that overall pet health was steadily declining as more people moved away from natural foods to commercially-prepared dry food or kibble.
A BARF diet includes high-quality raw meat, mostly muscle, and organ meat. Some people also add eggs, vegetables, and ground bone to this meat, and others don't.
The benefits of a biologically appropriate raw food, BARF diet
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that in the wild they consume other animals and receive all their nutrients from them. They get all that their bodies require muscle meat and organ meat. Cats have no need for or interest in vegetables or carbohydrates. In fact, enough studies have shown that carbohydrates can be harmful to cats, leading to diabetes and other health problems.
The problem with commercial diets is that they are packed with low-quality, high-calorie carbohydrates, which work as a cheap filler. Your cat is unable to digest these carbs and therefore cannot get all the nutrients it needs. The main ingredient, protein, is often missing or present in low quantities in commercial cat food recipes. This leads to several nutritional deficiencies and makes an unhealthy feline.
On the BARF diet, you are feeding your cat food in its most natural state. When you choose to feed your cat a raw diet you are ensuring they get all the protein they need, without the extra fillers or totally unnecessary preservatives. A BARF diet is a complete and balanced diet for all cats and kittens even, offering them food in a form that their bodies can digest and process easily.
Cats that are fed a natural diet have shinier coats, fewer allergies, and much-reduced instances of health issues. A few cat parents have also noticed that they seem to have more energy as well.
Dogs benefit from a raw diet too, but BARF is recommended even more for cats since they are obligate carnivores and cat food hasn’t yet evolved to provide what cats' bodies have evolved to consume.
However, there are a few precautions for feeding BARF.
Precautions to take with a BARF diet
Many critics of BARF say that raw meat contains bacteria, which is harmful to our pets. A commercially cooked food kills the bacteria and is therefore considered to be safer. The truth is that the cat's stomachs are so much more acidic than ours since when in the wild they often have to eat day-old carcasses. Their stomachs have evolved to kill all-natural bacteria.
Note, the stress is on the word ‘natural’ bacteria. Bacteria from processed meats that have been prepared for humans may still cause a problem with your cat. When you purchase meat for your cat's diet, look for ‘free-range’ meat. Pick poultry and rabbit meats, and avoid feeding beef or other animals that cats are unlikely to eat.
Picking raw biologically appropriate foods for your cat
We’ve already told you that a cat's stomach and digestive tract is a very acidic environment. Hence your cat can handle many foods that humans cannot. It is however critical that you take a few precautions when choosing and feeding raw ingredients for the best results for your cat.
- Buy meats only from a trusted source. Look for organic, free-range chicken. Feed ground chicken neck bones to a splinter-free source of vital bones.
- To prevent any contamination to you or your family, take care to clean all utensils and surfaces that come in contact with the meat.
- Once your cat is done eating, clean its bowl as well. Don't leave the raw meat sitting out in the open for longer than 30 minutes. (Although we seriously doubt any cat will leave raw food out for so long.)
- Keep the raw food frozen to help get rid of most bacteria. Feed small serves and defrost only one day's worth of meals daily.
- Defrost safely and do not leave the frozen meat on the countertop to defrost. Defrost in the refrigerator or in a separate bowl. You can seal daily portions in waterproof bags and defrost the meat in warm water. Ensure the water isn’t hot. Do not microwave the food to thaw it as that will cook it and kill most of the nutrients.
- Check with your vet to add a probiotic supplement to your cat's daily ration to assist digestion.
A BARF diet is quite possibly the healthiest choice for cats and kittens of all ages. When transitioning to a raw food diet, do so gradually. It will take time for your cat to adjust to the new food source; be patient. Add small quantities of raw and slowly increase the quantity over a 7-10 day period until the transition is complete.
Remember, a species-appropriate diet for cats can bring down health problems and reduce veterinary visits while adding years to your cat's life. Do your research and make an informed decision.
In case you are unable to plan and prepare each meal by yourself, you can also consider commercial raw diets that are pre-packaged and made from high-quality, free-range meat. Keep in mind your cat’s nutritional needs and make the transition to a raw diet and watch its health and energy get a massive boost.