Are Raw Food Diets For Cats Safe
The biggest debate is whether this path of raw food is safe. Its safe to a degree.
There are risks of course, like salmonella poisoning, E-coli, cats may not tolerate it, cross-contamination, prep surfaces, bones not ground enough, dishes youre using.
Note: Cat susceptibility to pathogens or food poisoning is different due to their ability to digest faster. They have a shoer digestive tract than us humans.
For now, Im avoiding the raw food route because I have 2 toddlers running around and I have 4 cats. I feel the cross-contamination would be too risky for me.
Below are some safe ways to adhere if feeding a raw food diet:
How Do I Get My Cat Started On A Raw Diet
Because cats are imprint eaters, starting them on a raw food diet while they’re a kitten will yield the most significant results.
Cats are notoriously sensitive to new stimuli. Therefore, the transition to a raw diet for your cat should be gradual.
For the first three days, we recommend combining 25% of raw food with 75% of their existing pet food to help them acclimatise to the new texture and flavour.
Then, every two to three days, increase the proportion of raw cat food by 25%. After that, youll be able to switch entirely to raw once your cat has been accustomed to raw food.
How Much Raw Meat Can A Cat Eat
There are health risks associated with handling raw meat and feeding it to your cat. Parasites, bacteria, and other pathogens have the potential to make your cat unwell, as well as affect you or your family.
Considering the risks and the fact that there are no scientifically proven benefits, its worth rethinking whether to feed your cat raw meat.
However, if you decide to, you should start by feeding a tiny amount to check whether it will upset your cats stomach. If they tolerate it with no vomiting or diarrhea, you can feed a little more next time.
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Is It Safe For My Cats To Eat Raw Beef
While mixing meatloaf for dinner, some of the beef dropped on the floor. My cats always help me cook, and one of them ate the meat before I could pick it up. Is the raw meat safe or should we see the vet?
Although it’s not good for a cat to eat raw meat as it’s not for us either, I recommend watching the cat for any unusual signs such as vomiting, lethargy, etc. You could call the vet’s office and ask if there is a chance the cat could have contracted worms and also see if they suggest bringing him in.
What are you talking about, not good for us either?Not only is raw meat absolutely fine for humans, as with steak tartare and sashimi, but what is good or bad for cat does not automatically sync with what’s good or bad for humans. This is like all the silly people who try to give their cats people food, and the bad pet food companies that therefore make nonsense like “beef vegetable stew” for cats, mainly so they can fool silly “pet parents” who tell themselves “look, Fluffy is eating what WE eat!” It’s not actually good for the cat, it’s pandering to silly humans. Cats are different.But, getting back to the point, there is absolutely nothing wrong with either a cat or a human eating some raw beef, and no need to even go so far as too “watch for unusual signs” any more than at any other time in the cat’s life.Lethargy from eating raw beef? Oh come on.
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Safety For The Owners
Meat and eggs for animal or human consumption carry microorganisms . Raw pet food poses similar risks for pathogenic bacteria as do raw meat and eggs for humans . Freezing, freeze-drying, or dehydration results in a reduction in bacterial counts but viable pathogenic bacteria survive . This is of real concern if the household includes, or is planning, pregnancy, children under 5 y of age, the elderly, or any person who is immuno-suppressed . Information about safe meat handling is readily available from several sources . When safety is a concern for the owner, the family, or the pet, but a RMBD is preferred, an HPP food can be recommended .
In my many years of experience, I have found that most owners who feed raw commercial or home-prepared diets are informed and safety conscious. They practice safe food handling, dispose of their pets feces with care, and wash their hands frequently. Everyone needs to practice personal, pet, food and fecal sanitary habits due to the numerous recalls of human and pet foods because of bacterial contamination and the fact that some healthy humans, dogs, and cats excrete Salmonella and other pathogens in their feces . With respect to zoonotic transmission of intestinal pathogens, numbers matter. The keys to understanding are 2 perceptive phrases: The solution to pollution is dilution and size matters. This is why washing with water, and a little soap, is usually effective, and is so widely recommended by public health experts.
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How Much Dry Food To Feed A Kitten
For kittens under 4 months, approximately one-quarter cup of dry food would be fed in total over a single day. If offering canned food as well , decrease the total amount of dry food by one to two tablespoons.
For kittens over 4 months, most will eat approximately one-half cup to three-quarters cup of dry food per day. Decrease by one-quarter cup if offering canned food, too.
Parasites In Raw Meat
Youve probably heard that toxoplasmosis and trichinosis can be present in raw meats. Thats true, but theyre usually killed or inactivated by freezing.
Intestinal parasites such as roundworm, hookworm or tapeworm are also cited as a safety concern when feeding raw to cats. They arent generally an issue either, unless you feed the guts of prey animals to your cat.
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Is It Safe For Cats To Eat Raw Meat
Raw feeding is a controversial topic and there are two distinct camps, for and against.
Many veterinarians are hesitant to recommend a raw food diet because of safety fears or lack of knowledge about raw food diets for cats. They often talk about the dangers of raw food and of seeing feline patients who are malnourished as a result of being feed a raw food diet. The problem here isnt with the raw food diet, its often because the cat owner wasnt well-informed enough to ensure their cats diet was nutritionally balanced.
At the same time, there isnt the same amount of research into raw food diets for cats as there is into commercial pet food brands. Backed by research, veterinarians are therefore more likely to trust and recommend commercial pet foods, which can make it difficult to know what is best for your cat.
Just because your vet doesnt agree with feeding raw, doesnt mean you should abandon the idea. But, it is important to be aware of the potential safety concerns bacteria, parasites, bones and nutritional deficiencies so that you can take the necessary precautions and prepare your cats raw food safely.
Remember too, you dont have to prepare raw food from scratch there are many good quality pre-packaged commercial raw food options available for you to choose from.
Image: US Department of Agriculture via Flickr
Can Cats Eat Pork
Including pork in your cat’s diet will likely not cause too many issues. If your cat has never eaten pork, it may be a good idea to start off slow and see how your cat likes it.
The biggest concern with giving cats pork is the high fat content that can lead to weight gain if overconsumed. Pork for cats should only be served as an occasional treat and should come from the leanest cuts.
Pork is also high in sodium which is very bad for your cat in high doses. Too much sodium in your cat’s diet can cause hypernatremia which will require medical treatment. This meat is also notorious for carrying parasites, so if you’re choosing to feed pork to your cat, make sure it’s cooked properly.
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Fat Trimmings And Bones
Table scraps often contain fat trimmed off of meat and bones. Both fat and bones may be dangerous for cats. Fat, both cooked and uncooked, can cause intestinal upset, with vomiting and diarrhea. And a cat can choke on a bone. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or cut the inside of your cat’s digestive system.
Benefits Of Raw Chicken For Cats
While cats can eat raw chicken, its important to ensure that they do so safely.
Being low in fat and sugars means that raw chicken isnt going to cause your cat to get chunky, which is great because being overweight is a health risk. The fact that chicken, whether cooked or not, contains lots of protein means that its perfect for keeping your cats muscles and other soft tissues healthy.
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Be aware, though, lots of protein isnt always a good thing. Certain health conditions, like kidney disease, require a diet with restricted protein.
Chicken contains a few important vitamins, including vitamin E, an excellent antioxidant. It also has lots of phosphorus and some calcium, which are vital for keeping your cats bones and teeth in tip-top shape.
The magnesium in chicken is essential for their immune system and their nerve and muscle function. Chicken is also rich in potassium, which has various roles, including fluid and blood pressure regulation and muscle contraction.
Its important to remember that your cat will experience these benefits from chicken, whether its cooked or raw. So, perhaps the more important question is, are there any specific benefits of feeding raw chicken to your cat?
Well, some people claim that feeding raw food aids our furry friends with their digestion and keeps their skin and coat healthy. However, theres currently no evidence to prove that this is the case.
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Can Cats Eat Turkey
Turkey is one human food that is one of the safest to share with your cat, but there are some critical considerations.
Dark meat and turkey skin should be avoided as they are very fatty and cause stomach upset and weight gain. A fresh, skinless turkey that’s been appropriately cooked without seasoning is an excellent addition to your cat’s diet as a treat.
As always, pre-cooked or processed turkey should be avoided. For example, processed turkey lunchmeat is a hard no for cats since it usually contains preservatives, salt, and saturated fat that are no good.
Are Raw Food Diets Safe For Cats
The risks of well-known bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli are very real in raw diets. Although cats are less susceptible to these dangers due to shorter GI systems and therefore less exposure to harm, the risk of cross-contamination is alarming not to mention that these harmful bacteria can negatively affect cats.
Food safety and thorough cleaning procedures must be adhered to. High Pressure Processing , a food safety step using pressure rather than heat, is often used commercially to ensure safe nutrition. Cat parents should always adhere to the feeding guidelines and storage recommendations provided by the supplier.
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What About Illness From Listeria Food Contamination
Listeria monocytogenes is actually a leading cause of human hospitalization and death from food contamination. While it is rarer than salmonellosis, over 90% of people with listeriosis end up in the hospital. In the US annually, the CDC estimates about 1600 cases with about 260 deaths. In the European Union, the numbers are similar. One of the problems with Listeria is that the bacterium is quite hearty, surviving in salty, acidic, and cold environments.
“…over 90% of people with listeriosis end up in the hospital.”
Listeriosis particularly targets newborns, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems. The L. monocytogenes bacterium can invade many tissues, including the brain, the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord, the gastrointestinal tract, and the bloodstream. Symptoms depend on which tissues are affected. The time between exposure and illness is about 3 weeks, making it difficult to pinpoint the precise exposure event. Pregnant women may experience non-specific flu-like symptoms. The babies they are carrying, on the other hand, may be born prematurely or even stillborn. Newborns fare the worst with listeriosis, as up to one-third will die despite aggressive treatment. Cats can carry L. monocytogenes without showing any signs, making them a potentially dangerous reservoir.
Who Should Not Use Raw Diets
The risks of raw feeding are real especially if pet owners are not able to prepare homemade complete, balanced and safe meals, or purchase and properly store raw meals.
Due to the risks to the animal and any humans cohabitating with them, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise against feeding raw diets to pets.
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Risk Of Nutritional Deficiencies
A raw diet is a natural diet, but its up to you to make sure your cat is getting the appropriate nutrients. Commercial raw food will be nutritionally balanced so it may be an easier option for some people.
If you plan to feed a homemade raw food diet, do your research, follow a recipe from a trusted source e.g. a holistic vet who specialises in raw food nutrition, and take the time to get the balance right. Feeding raw might seem complicated at first, but once you get into a routine itll become second nature.
> We recommend this Balanced Raw Cat Food Recipe. Its what we feed our cats!
Image: Pawesome Cats
What Kind Of Meats Arent Suitable For Cats
Processed meats such as salami, ham, turkey lunch meat, which contain high amounts of preservatives and have way too much salt.
I am going to add fish to this list, while it is okay to give a small amount of fish to your cat, it should be a sometimes food, and not a regular part of his diet. Many fish contain high levels of mercury and low in vitamin E, which over time can result in yellow fat disease.
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Is There Any Way To Protect Myself And My Family If I Occasionally Offer Raw Food To My Cat
The best protection against salmonellosis and listeriosis is to avoid the bugs altogether by not feeding raw food to your cat. Be aware that feeding raw cat food can infect you and other people in the household. That said, there are some ways in which you can protect yourself if you do handle raw cat food:
- Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after handling raw cat food.
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects that come into contact with the raw food.
- Keep raw food frozen until you are ready to use it, then thaw it in the refrigerator or microwave .
- Keep raw food separate from other food.
- Cover and refrigerate what your cat does not eat, or discard the leftovers safely.
- Do not kiss your cat on the face or allow him to lick your faceparticularly right after he has eaten raw food.
- Wash your hands after petting or being licked by your cat.
“Be aware that feeding raw cat food can infect you and other people in the household.”
Can Cats Eat Raw Meat Yes They Can
Before we switched our cats to a raw food diet we did a lot of research. Yes, we knew cats can eat raw meat. But what we really wanted to understand was, is it safe for cats to eat raw meat? What are the safety concerns that make most veterinarians hesitant or even opposed to recommending a raw food diet for cats? How can we ensure that the raw food we feed our cats is prepared with safety in mind?
Image: Arnaud Paillard via Flickr
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How To Reduce The Risks
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I am not a huge fan of raw pet food. The standards arent as high as with meat for human consumption and contamination may be a bigger issue. I always feed human-grade meat.
Most cases of foodborne illness come from improper handling and storage of meat in the home. Take care when buying, transporting, storing and processing raw meat.
What Cats Can Eat
Cats are carnivores and need meat. Talking with your vet about the cat food you provide and following the directions on the label will help ensure your cat’s diet is balanced and your cat stays healthy. An occasional taste of cooked boneless beef or brown rice can be an OK treat. But it’s best to keep it small and infrequent.
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Should We Cook The Meat First
Yes, if you are going to feed your cat meats, you should cook them first. No matter what you feed your cats though, the most important thing is that they get a balanced diet sufficient to their lifestyle and health profile .
an unbalanced raw diet of high quality fresh meat is in my professional opinion a greater risk to your dog or cat than cheap processed pet food.
If you do want to prepare food for your cat, I strongly recommend you at the very least read Waltham’s pocketbook guide for “Essential Nutrition For Cats And Dogs.” For a comprehensive overview of the vitamin and minerals needed, see The National Research Council’s “Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats.” It is an expensive book, but an overview of the nutritional requirements is available by consulting the charts starting on page 13 of the AAFCO’s article, “AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles.”
Regarding the dangers and inherently unsafe practice of feeding your cat raw food, it is a very good idea to know what to look out for if you decide to make a habit of this.
“Cats can eat raw meat and not get sick” is not the same as “cats can eat raw meat and will never get sick from it”.
People also can eat raw meat and not get sick, however all it takes is one contaminated piece of meat – which you would not be able to tell until after you’ve eaten it – to ruin your week, or worse.