You’ve heard about raw feeding, and you are determined to feeding your cat raw, but you don’t know where to start: this article will guide you. I will explain step by step how to proceed and which article you need to read, in order to start raw feeding.
Find your motivation
Before starting, it’s important that you find what truly motivates you to switch your cat to a raw diet. This will be helpful in order to keep you going if you encounter some difficulties along the journey.
In my case, as I explained in this article on why I switched Néline to a raw diet
, I wanted my cats to have a healthy diet, without processed food and where none of the vitamins and nutrients come from synthetic supplements.
So, are you motivated because you want a healthy diet for your cat, a natural diet, you want to solve digestive issues that your cat is having with kibbles…?
Bowls of raw cat food
Before starting to raw feed, it’s really important that you first learn how to do it. In fact, you don’t want to do provide an unbalanced diet to your cats.
There are different ways to provide a balanced diet: you may have heard of BARF, prey model, or NRC. These are all different raw-based diets: I will quickly describe them and explain to you why I’m going to help you transition to a prey model diet.
The BARF diet, an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, was originally created for dogs and, therefore, it needs some adaptation for the cats. That’s why I won’t talk about it in this blog article.
NRC, the National Research Council, is a private and non-profit organism that does a meta-analysis of the research on animal nutrition. It published the book “Nutrient requirements of dogs and cats”. These nutritional guidelines are the basis of all the other nutritional guidelines made by the pet food industry. What we call an NRC diet in the raw feeding community is a raw diet which is balanced to meet the nutritional guidelines established by the NRC. An NRC diet is the only raw diet which is a perfectly balanced diet. However, I think that for a beginner it can be quite complicated to start raw feeding by adopting an NRC diet, as it requires some knowledge about nutritions, and strict measurements of all the food you need to give your cats.
Prey Model and PMR+
The prey model diet is the one that I will mainly focus on in the blog, as it’s a good compromise between simplicity and an NRC-balanced diet. To know everything about it, I wrote this blog article that explains what a prey model diet is
, and how it was formulated.
The PMR+ diet, or prey model raw plus, is a prey model diet that has been adapted to better follow the NRC nutritional guidelines.
Ingredients in a prey model diet
Now that you know about the prey model diet, you should read about the different ingredients in the diet.
Utensils and ingredients availability
When you prepare raw food you need to have some utensils such as a knife, a cutting board, a scale... But you also need to be sure before starting that you will be able to find all the meat and ingredients needed to provide a balanced diet. This step can take some time depending on where you live. If you are struggling to find a good meat provider, I advise you to try and find a local raw feeding group, with which you can share local tips. You can find these groups on Facebook, for example.
To read more about what to do before starting to raw feed
, read my article.
Another important thing to take into consideration is price. In fact, you should try to estimate how much raw feeding is going to cost you. It would be annoying that you start raw feeding and only then realize that it won’t be sustainable for you in the long term. It’s difficult to give you a generic estimation of the cost of a raw diet, as it really depends on where you live: the meat price is really different from one country to another, and even from one region to another.
I made this blog article to give you an idea of how much I pay to raw feed my cats
and some tips to try to reduce the costs.
Quantity of food
The last thing before starting the transition to a raw diet is to evaluate how much raw food your cats will need to eat. The following blog post
will help you to evaluate this quantity depending on your cat.
After reading it, you’ll be able to estimate the total weight of your cat’s daily ration and, with the PMR ratio, you should be able to break down the quantities of the various ingredients that make up the daily ration.
At this point, you should now be comfortable with all the previous steps. This means that you took your time to learn about raw feeding and made some research to be sure that you will be able to raw feed your cat for the long term.
It is now the moment to finally start the transition to raw feeding! There are two main methods to switch your cat to raw feeding. I detailed them in the blog article on how to transition to a prey model diet
. Don’t hesitate to change between methods during the transition phase if you see that one is not adapted for your cat.
If during the transition your cat doesn’t want to eat the raw food, this article with all my tips to make a picky cat eat
is made for you.
If your cat has some small digestive issues, I have written this blog article
to help you solve these little problems that may happen. However, if your cat is having any serious issues go to see your vet.
Finally, I know that the transition to raw feeding may be scary: that’s why I wanted to share with you my own experience
. I myself did some mistakes, I had some difficulties, but I solved them and adapted myself to my cats’ behavior! That’s what you should do with your cats.
Now that your cat is eating raw, you may think that it’s all finished! But it’s important to always keep learning!
That’s why I recommend you to also check the following websites about raw feeding
, so you can have other points of view on it.
As I explained in the “Learning” paragraph, Néline and Praline are currently following a PMR+ diet, and I’m discovering more and more about nutrition every day in order to improve their diet so that it follows NRC’s guidelines. For example, I recently added mussels to their diet, to meet the manganese requirements.
And that’s why I encourage you to keep learning and improving your cat’s diet!