Which meat can you feed in a prey model diet? What do you need to know before feeding raw meat?
In a previous article, I introduced what the raw and the prey model diets are. If you missed it, go check the prey model article
A prey-model diet is composed of several ingredients: meat, bones, organs, and fish. I will cover in detail each of these categories in a series of blog articles.
This is the first article in the series, and here I will cover the meat.
What is ‘meat’?
In a prey-model diet, meat is the pure muscle meat part, so neither the parts with bones nor the ones with organs are included in this category.
Meat is the main element of the ration and the primary provider of proteins and fat.
Red & white meat
There are two types of meat: red meat and white meat, which have different nutrient profiles. Not everyone agrees on the balance of red meat and white meat that a diet should have. Some say half red meat, half white meat. Some say 2/3 red meat, 1/3 white meat.
Every wild prey a cat would eat in nature goes under the category of red meat. So, I would advise to always have at least half of the ration composed of red meat.
What you can safely feed
Here is a list of meat types you can safely feed, without the need to freeze it.
Beef, veal, mutton, lamb, duck, horse, goose, kangaroo, goat, ostrich...
Chicken, turkey, quail, rabbit, guineafowl, silkie.
A chicken heart and a turkey heart
Additional parts considered as (muscle) meat
Heart, gizzards, tongues, and lungs–even if they are classified as organs in a human diet–all go in the meat category. Specifically, they are classified as red meat, no matter which animal they come from.
As they are generally richer in nutrients than standard muscle meat, it is better if they don’t constitute more than around a 1/5th of the daily ration.A lamb tongue
What you should be careful of
Pork can be fed if you live in a country where the Aujeszky's disease
–also called pseudorabies– has been eradicated. I will write a dedicated article on pork, as there are a lot of myths around it.
Among the wild game, you can feed are the venison, the hare, the elk, the moose, and the duck.
Before feeding any wild game, the general consensus is to freeze it for at least 3 weeks if you get it directly from a hunter. The freezing process kills most of the parasites that may be present in the animals. If you buy it at the butcher’s or at the grocery, you should be fine without freezing it.
Remember to always check for the local diseases that may be present in your area. For example, check tularemia for hare, chronic wasting disease and liver deer fluke for cervids.
Finally, before freezing the meat, it is better to visually check it, along with the animal’s organs for any abnormalities.
Like for the pork, I will write a dedicated article on wild game and possible diseases.A pork heart
Which types of meat you should never feed
Never feed meat from carnivorous animals because of the biomagnification
. So do not feed your cat with bears, raccoons, foxes, and crocodiles.
In most countries, wild boars are not immune to the Aujeszky's disease. If you feed domestic boars, be sure they are tested for it, as the disease is fatal for cats.
Smoked, seasoned, salted meat should never be fed. In fact, too much salt or spices can be toxic for cats.
How to feed the meat
How much meat to feed
After putting the right amount of organs, bones, and fish, you should top the portion off with meat, until you reach the weight of the total daily ration. I will cover all these amounts in the future articles on organs, bones, and fish.Néline having beef for dinner
Variety in meat
For a balanced diet, it is not recommended to feed your cat with only chicken or only beef, for example. Like for us humans, if we eat the same thing every day it's not going to be a healthy diet: it works the same for our little carnivores.
The recommendations are to feed a minimum of 3 different types of meat, with at least two red meats.
Varying the meat cut is also important. For example, chicken breasts and meat from the chicken thigh don't share the same nutrient values.
Finally, be aware that you don’t necessarily need to feed 3 different types of meat every day. The variety of meat types is important over longer periods, up to a month.
I hope this article answered most of your questions about meat. If you still have some, leave a comment below! Don't forget that meat alone is not enough for a balanced diet. That's why we will explore everything you need to know about organs in a future article.