Please consult with a vet that is up to date on this subject, if you are hesitant to whether your cat´s health is enough to transition to raw food.
A healthy cat or kitten will thrive on this diet and these are the benefits that you will begin to see very fast:
- Shiny and dandruff free coat
- Healthy teeth
- A balanced weight
- Less poop in the litter box and it will not smell
- A more active cat
- Not begging for food like it´s always hungry
- Less urinary tract problems because the water intake will increase
An adult need to eat 3%-5% of its body weight, and kittens need up to 10% of its body weight as they grow.
The best thing about giving raw food is that their body can use all of it which means that they need less of it to be full.
Commercial food have lots of ingredients that the cat´s body cannot use and it will make the feel full for a while but all of a sudden they are hungry again.
The extra ingredients in commercial foods will just pass through the body without transforming into energy for the cat.
If you have a kitten that you want to transition into raw diet, you are in luck because they will probably like it at once. But for their bellies sake, make the transition over 1-2 weeks by mixing 1/4 raw food into 3/4 of the food they eat now.
Giving your cat a new type of food is not only about the taste of it, it´s also how the cat´s body react to it when it´s not used to it.
Before we start, let me tell you a short story that happened to me when I was cat sitting for a friend. This is a typical way of how cats work and how good they are at manipulating us.
My friend told me that her cat Indigo only wanted to eat dry food, but she always give him the possibility to have some wet food so everyday she gave him dry food with a side of wet food. And everyday he ate his dry food and squinted at the wet food.
I asked her 2 days before to just give him the wet food for a day, and at night sprinkle some dry food on it. She did that but he almost didn´t eat all day, he pawed out the dry kibbles and ate those.
Same thing the next day, he hadn´t touched the wet food over night at all.
So now it was time for my friend to go away and that night I decided to make an experiment so I came over there and just played with him, trying to let him know that his mommy is away. And then I went home. Later that night I came back and again showed him, that I´m the only one he has now and when it was time to give food, I only gave him wet food.
The next morning I went over there to find what I was hoping and had thought that I would see – he´d ate all the wet food! 😀
This is what happened: He realized that he had absolutely no idea of how to manipulate me yet, he had no idea if I would give him dry food if he would´nt eat the wet food. So he did what a cat would do in nature, he ate what he had access to and that is pure survival instinct.
From dry food to wet food
There are so much additives for strong flavour in dry food, and also lots of sugar and salts – all of these makes your cat addictive to this food. Wet food has it too, but dry food tops the list of that.
If you have tried it 10 times and your cat still doesn´t have a go at it, you probably say ”my cat just doesn´t like it” but that too is wrong. You have just not transitioned or presented it correctly.
”But I work all day and theres….” NO, that is irrelevant here. Your cat does NOT need food all minutes of the day.
So if you are free feeding dry food, start by giving it in meals of 2 or 3 each day. One portion (not full bowl) when you go to work in the morning, and one portion when you come home. At weekends you can try to give a portion of dry food and when your cat has eaten and left the bowl, take it away and put it down a few hours later.
Now you will start to make your cat understand that YOU are the source of food, not by just excisting in this home.
Your cats will get hungry, but that’s good. Nothing enhances a meal more than having an appetite. Just make sure each cat does eat, every day.
The meal-time change could make your cat want to eat wet food as it is, so try offering 1 teaspoon before each meal and if that works without more convincing, then just keep that going for a week and on the second week you can give a table spoon of wet food and a bit less dry food after.
If the above way does´nt work on your cats, you can try to mix the wet food into the portion of dry food, that should work.
Even the worst quality wet food is a hella lot better than any type of dry food, but if possible choose a grainfree wet food. Try to avoid wet food with fish, your cat could get a bit addicted to that too and it could be hard to go from there to raw food as you should not give raw fish.
BTW, congratulations on getting this far! 😀 That is so awesome, and you are doing a very good job!
”Dry food has a high bacterial content. Mold is also often found in dry food. There have been many deaths of dogs and cats secondary to eating mold mycotoxins, vomitoxins and aflatoxins which often contaminate the grains found in dry food. If you want to try the trick of wetting down the dry food to alter the texture, please leave it out for only 20-30 minutes then discard it. Bacteria and mold thrive in moisture.”
If your cat already were eating both wet and dry
Then you can just skip the steps above and slowly give more of the wet food and less of the dry, do it weekly by adding and removing 1 tablespoon of each, and second week 2 tablespoons etc.
From wet food to raw
Now you can actually do exactly like above, but instead of wet food you will now ease into raw food. Cut up small pieces of chicken or buy minced chicken and add 1 teaspoon in the wet food for a week. If you don´t want to go that slow you could add 1/4 of the meal as meat, and 3/4 as wet food, this is not too strong for the cat´s belly if he or she is already used to wet food.
If your cat seem to refuse the food when you have added raw meat to it, then you can try giving the meat half frozen. A few of mine actually prefers it half frozen before thawed. Freeze the meat halfway or thaw it half way and then add it to the food.
It might be some time of experimenting, all cats are different so just find a way that works for you.
Add chunky pieces
Now that your cat is well on it´s way to eating raw meat, you can try to add some larger chunks of meat into the mix. This is the absolute best way to brush your cat´s teeth! No more bite marks on your fingers from trying ”cloth brushes” on your finger or scratch marks all over your body because your cat refuse to allow a strange object in it´s mouth.
Take it slow by adding smaller chunks and just a few of them, and gradually add more and bigger. No need to add it everyday but every now and then.
Try giving meat on bones
It is perfectly fine if your cat eats the bone, just make sure it is raw and use smaller bones like chicken wings.