Why feeding organs in a prey model diet? What do you need to know before feeding organs?
In this second article of the prey model diet ingredients series, I will cover the offals—also known as organs. Don’t remember what’s a prey model diet? Here’s the article on raw feeding
In case you missed it, check out the article on meat
, the first ingredient in the prey model diet.
What is considered as organs in a prey model diet
Organs —or offals— in a prey model diet are every internal part of the animal which is neither bones nor muscles. More precisely, we consider as organs in a raw diet everything that secretes or filters substances inside an animal’s body.
Following this definition, the heart, the gizzard, the lungs, and the tongue are not organs and are considered as (muscle) meat.
Examples of organs are the liver, kidney, testicles, brain, thymus, pancreas, spleen…
Why are organs important?
The liver is very rich in vitamins and nutrients, and it is the main source of vitamin A in a prey model diet.
Some cats can be very sensitive to livers and too much of it will cause diarrhea. Moreover, too much liver on the long-term will cause a hypervitaminosis A, examples of symptoms being skeletal pathology, lethargy, fetal malformations.
Not enough liver will cause a deficiency in vitamin A, some of the symptoms being weight loss, muscle weakness, reproductive and growth disorder.Chicken livers
All the other organs bring several, important nutrients including the B vitamins and minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, magnesium...
As with the liver, since organs can be very rich in nutrients, feeding too much of it may cause diarrhea.Lamb kidneys
What you can safely feed
The animals from which you can safely feed the organs are the same ones that we saw in the article on meat, so for example:
Beef, veal, mutton, lamb, duck, horse, goose, kangaroo, goat, ostrich, chicken, turkey, quail, rabbit, guineafowl, silkie...
What you should be careful of
Pork’s organs 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.
Be extra careful when feeding organs of wild game, as parasites such as the liver deer fluke are often found there. Moreover, some diseases are transmitted through organs consumption, such as the chronic wasting disease which affects the brain of the cervids.
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.
Before feeding any wild game organ, 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 animal.
Finally, before freezing the organs, it is always good practice to visually inspect them for any abnormalities.
Like for the pork, I will write a dedicated article on wild game and its related diseases.A chicken liver, a lamb kindey and a pork brain
What you should never feed
Never feed organs from carnivorous animals because of the biomagnification
. So, never feed your cat with bears, raccoons, foxes, or crocodiles.
In most countries, wild boars are not immune to Aujeszky's disease. If you feed domestic boars, be sure they are tested for it, as the disease is fatal for cats.
How to feed organs
Liver should be 5% of a daily ration.
Other organs, kidney, testicles, brain, thymus, pancreas, spleen, should be 5% of a daily ration.A veal kidney
Like for the meat, it's important to vary the animal from which the liver comes from: for example, chicken and veal livers have different nutrients profiles.
Néline eats livers of chicken, rabbit, beef, veal, and pork.
As for the other organs, you don't have to feed all types of them, as some like spleen or thymus may be difficult to find. However, the more variety you have the better it is. Varying the animals where they come from is also important.
For Néline, I rotate between brain, kidney, and testicles. I feed brain from pork, testicles from lamb, and kidney from pork, beef, veal, and lamb.
Finally, be aware that you don’t have to feed several other organs every day. The variety of organs can be achieved over longer periods, up to a month.
For example, I will feed chicken livers and pork kidneys for two weeks, and then beef livers and lamb testicles for the following two weeks.
To conclude, organs are a crucial ingredient in a prey model diet, as they provide essential nutrients. The daily ration should be composed of 10% of organs, of which 5% should be liver and the remaining 5% should be a mix of other organs.
In a future article, I will present the next element in the prey model diet ingredients series: raw meaty bones. Stay tuned!