Raw Cat Food: What You Need To Know Before Feeding Your Cat

Posted: May 10, 2021 by Anita

raw cat food

When I think about raw cat food, it makes me wanna throw up a little bit in my mouth. Actually, canned cat food makes me want to do that, which could explain why I haven’t introduced Theo to canned cat food yet.

I know…I know…bad, bad cat mommy. But now, I want to offer a variety of types of cat food to Theo. And at first glance, raw cat food seems like a healthy option.

So, in this article, I will be discussing:

  • What is a raw cat food diet?
  • Benefits of a raw cat food diet
  • Possible dangers of raw food diet for cats
  • Types of raw cat food diet
  • How to handle raw cat food safely
  • Best rated raw cat food from Chewy.com and Amazon.com

raw cat food

What is a raw cat food diet?

A raw cat food diet is exactly what you think: unprocessed food made from raw ingredients. It consists of raw muscle meat, organ meat, and ground bones. Protein sources used in the raw food diet for cats are chicken, fish, eggs, and other exotic meats.

For more information about all types of cat food, check out the “Cat Food – A Complete Guide To Cat Nutrition” from That’s Meow.

Types of raw cat food

Feeding cats a raw cat food diet is a bit controversial. The argument for raw cat food is the fact that cats are obligate carnivores. And they have unique nutritional needs that are fulfilled by eating primarily animal flesh and tissue.

Raw cat food comes in a variety of forms:

  • homemade raw meat diet – supplements need to be added to make complete and balanced
  • commercial raw meat diet (frozen, freeze-dried, or dehydrated) -supplements need to be added to make complete and balanced
  • commercial raw frozen diet – complete and balanced
  • commercial freeze-dried cat food – complete and balanced

You must read the label when purchasing commercial raw meat cat food to ensure that your cat is receiving a complete and balanced diet – and that’s what it should say on the label, “complete and balanced.”

Commercial raw meat that doesn’t contain the necessary nutritional supplements and raw meat purchased from the local grocer or pet store (unless indicated) will need to be added by you.

Best Frozen Raw Food Brand

Cat’s ancestors (wild cats) ate a prey-based diet that was raw, so why not your little fluffball?

Raw Paws Pet Raw Frozen Dog & Cat Food (Amazon.com)

  • complete and balanced
  • comes in beef, turkey, or chicken
  • no hormones or antibiotics – all natural
  • packaged and shipped to you frozen

Tiki Cat Raw Turkey (Chewy.com)

  • Grain Free
  • Comes in either turkey or chicken, 24 oz tub
  • to be used as a part of a complete raw cat food diet
  • complete and balanced
  • packaged and shipped to you frozen

Tiki Cat Raw Turkey, Duck and Chicken Variety Pack (Chewy.com)

  • Grain-free
  • 8 oz tub
  • complete and balanced
  • packaged and shipped to you frozen

Best freeze-dried raw cat food

Freeze-dried cat food is raw food that has been frozen; all water and moisture sucked out then sealed in an air-tight package. The freezing process is supposed to get rid of all of the pathogens associated with raw food. And removing all of the moisture allows for it to stay fresh for longer periods of time.

Rehydrate before serving it to your cat by adding water.

Stella & Chewy Freeze-dried Raw Dinner (Amazon.com)

  • Grain-free
  • complete and balanced
  • comes in chicken, duck, rabbit, variety of fish

Best dehydrated raw cat food

Dehydration is the oldest method of preserving food. To make sure that the “raw” stays raw when it comes to raw cat food – the meat/ingredients source are processed at a low temperature (as opposed to a higher temperature that would start the cooking process).

After the dehydration process, the raw cat food is in a powdered form. At this point, you can sprinkle it as a topper on wet cat food or rehydrate it with water for a full meal.

Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Cat Food (Amazon.com)

  • comes in Turkey or Chicken
  • grain-free
  • complete and balanced

Homemade raw meat diet

Making your cat its own homemade cat food is an act of cat mama love, but it is time-consuming. What’s so great about making your cat homemade raw food is that you’re in control of what your cat is consuming.

Every raw cat food recipe must be complete and balanced with the correct amount of the following:

  • Raw meat and internal organs (chicken, rabbit, or fish)
  • grounded up raw bones
  • vitamins
  • calcium
  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • taurine

The vitamins and minerals can be added to your cat’s raw diet by using supplements. A cat not receiving the correct amount of nutrients can end up with serious health problems. Please consult with your veterinarian pet nutritionist to make sure you are doing it correctly.

Where to find fresh meat for homemade raw cat food

So, where do you find the raw meats for cats? If you’re interested in transitioning your cat to raw meats – hopefully, you live near a pet supply store that sells raw USDA human-grade meats either fresh, frozen, freeze-dried, or dehydrated. Click here for an example of a pet supply in my city of Jacksonville, FL.

You can also purchase raw USDA meat from your local grocery store. Remember – you must add supplements to homemade raw diets in order to keep your cat healthy.

Benefits of raw cat food diet

According to raw cat food advocates, there’s a host of benefits to feeding your cat a raw cat food diet:

  • improved digestion
  • less stinky poop
  • a healthy coat with less shedding (which means fewer hairballs to digest)
  • increased energy
  • a healthy urinary tract

Possible dangers of a raw food diet for cats

Honey, we are talking raw meat here, no matter its form (frozen, dehydrated, or freeze-dried). Raw cat food needs to be handled like you would handle raw meat when cooking for humans.

If handled improperly, it can make your cat sick and it can make you sick (and family, too).

But if handled safely, a raw cat food diet is definitely something to consider if you’re interested in feeding your cat high-quality food.

Rules to handling raw cat food

The American Veterinary Medical Association “discourages the feeding of cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not been subject to a process to eliminate pathogens.”

You want to air on the side of caution because you don’t know for sure if all pathogens have been eliminated – no matter the process.

Here are some rules set by the CDC on how to handle pet food safely – click here to download this really cute pdf from the CDC:

  • wash your hands before and after handling raw cat food
  • clean and disinfect all surfaces that have touched raw cat food
  • freeze raw cat food until you’re ready to use it – don’t thaw it in your sink, countertops, etc.
  • keep raw cat food separate from human food sources – store it away from your food
  • throw away any raw cat food that your cat doesn’t eat – don’t leave it out for it to spoil
  • clean off your cat (especially around the mouth) after it finishes eating raw cat food
  • don’t let your cat lick you after consuming raw cat food – wash, wash and wash you and your cat

How to get your cat to eat embrace a raw food diet

I personally would not go full-on-raw cat food diet for Theo (my cat) and purchase a lot of raw cat food at first. The big reason why? Raw cat food has a concise shelf life unless it’s frozen (just like the steaks you’re got in your freezer for you).

Some cats will embrace the raw cat food diet with no problem. But other cats are going to be like, “no way in the hell”! When introducing your cat to new food of any type, you gotta transition – slowly – to the new type of food:

  • transition your cat to wet food first if they’re not already.
  • add a small amount of the raw cat food to your cat’s wet food – mix it in – don’t just set it on top.
  • you might have to experiment with brand types and ways of serving it (cooking it, mixing raw with freeze-dried, etc.) – you might have to think a bit out of the box.
  • be patient – remember take it slow.

Conclusion

A raw cat food diet is exactly what you think it is – unprocessed food made from raw ingredients. It consists of raw muscle meat, organ meat, and ground bones. Protein sources used in the raw food diet for cats are chicken, fish, eggs, and sometimes other exotic meats.

Feeding cats a raw cat food diet is a bit controversial. The argument for raw cat food is the fact that cats are obligate carnivores. And they have unique nutritional needs that are fulfilled by eating primarily animal flesh and tissue.

You must read the label when purchasing commercial raw meat cat food to ensure that your cat is receiving a complete and balanced diet – and that’s what it should say on the label, “complete and balanced.” Commercial raw meat that doesn’t contain the necessary nutritional supplements will need to be added by you.

Some cats will embrace the raw cat food diet with no problem. But other cats are going to be like, “no way in the hell”! When introducing your cat to new food of any type, you gotta transition – slowly – to the new type of food.

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