Now that you know what is raw feeding, it’s time to explain the why. And if you don’t know what is raw feeding, go check the article What is raw feeding.
Why do I feed Néline raw? In a previous article, I explained what raw feeding and the prey model diet are, but I didn’t comment on why I personally feed Néline with raw food. This will be the topic of this article!
I didn’t decide to switch to raw feeding overnight. It was a process that took me several months of careful research.
History of Néline’s diet
Everything started a month before I got Néline. Before her arrival, I did some research on cat food, to be sure that I would provide her with the best possible nutrition. In order to be healthy, it is very important to follow a good, balanced diet. This is true for cats and humans alike.
When I started my research, I didn’t have much knowledge on cat food: I was aware that the kibbles that can be bought at the supermarket were generally of lower quality than the ones bought in dedicated pet shops or at the vet. Starting from this idea, I began to look for the best kibbles for Néline.
I immediately noticed that almost all the kibbles I found on the market - even the ones from famous, respectable brands had a very high level of carbohydrates, at least 30%. Cats are strictly carnivores, and they are able to metabolize carbohydrates from proteins. They do not have any nutritional requirement for carbohydrate intake. Moreover, carbs and dry food have been linked to obesity and diabetes in cats. I, therefore, tried to select some kibble brands that offered the lowest amount of carbohydrates and that provided a good supply of proteins.
For the first weeks following the arrival Néline, I fed her with the same kibbles that her breeder has previously given her. I progressively switched her to grain-free kibbles, as they generally have less carbohydrates.
I then discovered that dry food wasn’t ideal for cats. In fact, early cats were originally living in the desert and, therefore, they didn’t drink a lot of water. Even today, their water intake is supposed to come directly from their food. However, the amount of water in the kibbles is only between 5 and 10%. Cats eating only kibbles are therefore often dehydrated, and this may cause diseases affecting the urinary tract or the kidneys.
After these findings, I decided that Néline will follow a 100% grain-free, wet food diet.
Nevertheless, Néline continued to regularly have badly-formed stools, which can be quite troublesome when you have a long-haired cat.
A lot of questions
So, I kept looking for a better, ideal diet, as I also had some questions and concerns:
For a human diet, every doctor will agree that the more a food is transformed and processed, the worse it is. Highly-transformed food is linked to a higher risk of cancer.
So how comes that for pets the supposedly “best” food - kibbles - is highly transformed and filled with synthetic vitamins? Isn’t there a way to feed a cat with fresh food?
How comes than since the invention of kibbles cats have been suffering from an epidemy of obesity and diabetes?
Homemade, cooked food could be an answer to some of these questions. However, the problem with such a diet is that the recipes always include a lot of carbohydrates and mineral supplements, which is ill-suited for carnivores.
The perfect answer
So here comes raw feeding. It has, in fact, an answer to all these concerns, as it mimics what a cat would eat in nature. The whole-prey diet, for example, consists of feeding entire preys such as rats, young rabbits, mice, chicks. However, it might be difficult to find a good selection of preys if you don’t have a specialized shop near you.
The prey-model diet is a great alternative to the whole-prey, and its goal is to replace a prey with a balanced ratio of meat, offal, and bones.
The prey model diet is, in my opinion, the best diet for a cat since it is composed of fresh food, without any need for supplements, and is perfectly appropriate for a strict carnivore.
After some more weeks of research to properly prepare the switch, I finally decided to feed Néline with a prey model diet, also pressed by the fact that Néline was getting increasingly picky with her food, and still regularly had loose stools.
I discovered very quickly why many people describe raw feeding as the best diet for cats. Within three days of eating bones, Néline’s teeth were already much cleaner, and her breath was not smelling bad anymore! The stools were perfect, smaller and didn’t even smell bad.
Funnily enough, I always asked myself why such stealthy predators try to hide the smell of their stool by covering it, even this is obviously ineffective, given that you could still smell it from far away. The answer is that because when they’re fed with a proper diet, their stools don’t stink that much! Néline also stopped having terrible farts that previously forced us to move in another room.
And let’s not forget her extraordinarily increased energy.
It has been now more than one year that Néline is eating raw, and I think it’s one of the best choices I took for her. Every day she’s happy when it’s time to eat, and she’s never been healthier or more energetic.
This is my personal story and the thought process that decided me to start raw feeding. But there are many other reasons to feed raw: stay tuned to know more about it!