I was nervous about preparing a homemade raw diet for my cat.
Doing it right could radically improve his health and quality of life. But doing it wrong could result in tragedy.
While a homemade diet allows you to control exactly what goes into your cat’s body and can deliver great health benefits, it’s a huge responsibility. There’s a lot at risk and a lot to learn.
If you get something wrong, you could accidentally kill your cat or leave them permanently damaged.
Cats fed a nutritionally deficient diet might:
- Develop bone disease
- Go blind
- Lose muscle control
- Suffer from organ failure
- Have endocrine imbalances
Over time, a poorly-made diet could have life-threatening effects for your cat.
That’s why for years, I was so intimidated by the idea of preparing a homemade raw diet. I wasn’t concerned about raw meat being “dirty” and making my cat sick. Cats are physiologically designed to process their uncooked prey and seldom get sick from eating fresh raw meat. I happily fed my cat raw chicken wings, necks, and organs as an occasional treat. But I just wasn’t sure enough of myself to dive into making a homemade raw diet.
Preparing raw cat food is a serious business.
When eating raw, your cat naturally requires a specific balance of fresh muscle meat, organs, and bones, along with specific nutrients. In order to achieve this balance, it’s important to find a well-designed recipe (preferably made by a veterinarian or other real expert in feline nutrition) that replicates the unique nutritional ratios found in your cat’s natural diet. Depending on which recipe you use, these blends could involve eggshells, fish oil, taurine supplements, calcium supplements, thiamin, vitamins A and B, and different combinations of organ meats and muscle meats.
For example, here’s a good raw cat food recipe from the Feline Nutrition Foundation.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into creating a healthy, balanced diet for your raw-fed kitty.
A raw cat food supplement takes some of the worry out of homemade food.
They deliver crucial vitamins and minerals, replace bone in your raw cat food recipe, and they often include necessary organs and fats, meaning that all you have to do is add meat. Because good supplements are tested and certified for nutritional adequacy, you can breathe easily knowing that your cat’s homemade raw diet is nutritionally complete.
Besides this, preparing a raw diet can take a large chunk of time. While preparing a wholesome, genuinely nutritious diet for your cat is worth the time, it can be hard to carve out the space in your schedule. Premixes make raw feeding completely accessible – even for busy people.
Remember: using a premix doesn’t mean that you won’t need to be careful when preparing your cat’s food. It’s important to always read the instructions fully, to not take shortcuts, and to always maintain impeccable sanitation during preparation. While salmonella may not be much of a concern for our cats, cleaning and sanitation is a critical part of making sure that you and your family won’t get sick.
Please grind your own meat. Manufacturers of packaged ground meat for humans don’t expect the meat to be eaten raw, and thus sanitation standards aren’t adequate for raw feeding.
How do you use a raw cat food supplement?
While the method varies based on the specific supplement you choose, it’s generally as simple as adding water to the powder, incorporating chopped or ground meat, and mixing it up. You’ll then want to separate the raw cat food into portions and freeze for future use. Here’s a helpful video on making your own homemade raw cat food using a supplement or premix: