By Margaret Gates
The primary things that cats worry about are food and safety. Basically, for a cat, that means eat and don’t get eaten by someone else. These concerns explain why cats can be so skittish and why they startle so easily. They know they are prey and quick reactions are life and death. It also explains why food can be such a bonding tool with your cat. Being the one who feeds the cat really does give you a leg-up on being at the top of your cat’s favorite person list. But, what do you worry about when it comes to your cat? Safety is certainly a top concern. Most people cat-proof their house to some degree: making sure the cat can’t get trapped in a closet, walk on a hot burner, topple furniture onto themselves, eat poisonous plants or escape outside. Even for those who do let their cats out, an easy way back into the safety of the house is usually provided via a cat door. We all worry about our cat’s safety.
Over the years, that worry about safety has, unfortunately, come to include food. It’s pretty easy to look around the house, find the potential hazards and do something about them. But, if you feed commercial canned or dry foods, you are suddenly in the dark. You really have no control over the situation. Not a great feeling. We all remember the melamine disaster and wonder if it could happen again. Lax standards, bad ingredients, poor labeling and contamination issues plague the pet food industry. The FDA ignores its own rules on pet food ingredients. There are good products out there, but people don’t know who to trust.
We at Feline Nutrition spend a lot of time laying out all of the reasons you should feed your cat a raw meat diet. It’s the diet your cat evolved to eat. It’s much healthier. It results in a better coat and healthier teeth and gums. It has a high moisture content. Your cat will shed less. Your cat’s poop won’t smell. But, we haven’t emphasized a benefit that may be critical: You can stop worrying now.
Raw meat diets are inherently different from canned or dry foods. Because these diets are raw, they are not highly processed. Grinding and freezing is about it. You simply can’t incorporate the waste ingredients that go into processed foods into a raw meat product. There are no rendered ingredients in raw foods and, believe me, what goes into rendered products is about as bad as you can imagine. There are no meat meals made from the leavings of the meat industry. Proteins from plant sources are not used to try to up the total protein to an acceptable level. You still need to source your meats with care and follow safe handling practices, as you would with raw meat purchased for your own use. But, you get to feel good about using common sense rather than feeling uneasy about being forced to participate in an ingredient guessing game.
I switched my cats to a raw meat diet many years ago. I did it for their health and I felt good about that. But, I soon realized that the relief I felt about changing their diet went beyond just my worry about their wellbeing. That nagging doubt about what was actually in that can or bag of cat food was something that I just didn’t have to worry about anymore. I had made an entire aisle at the grocery store irrelevant. I didn’t have to figure out which can was best. People who don’t want to think about cat food and what goes into it assume that raw meat diets are just going to complicate their lives. The opposite is true. Feeding a raw meat diet to your cat makes your life simpler. Who doesn’t need one less thing to worry about in their lives?
Margaret Gates is the founder of the Feline Nutrition Foundation. If you would like to learn more about feline diet and health please visit FelineNutritionFoundation.org. They have a wealth of information on how to feed your cat a healthy, bio-appropriate diet. They especially welcome raw diet beginners!