I will never be the poster girl as an early adopter of trends. New mobile phone releases, anyone with a surname of Kardashian, women’s fashion in pretty much all of its forms, are things which by and large pass me by without causing a blip on my radar. And so I arrive late to the discussion of the merits of whether I should feed my cat raw food. This seemingly has become a hot topic both for humans and their pets.
Putting the food itself to one side for a moment, I’ve always followed the basics of feeding – feed in an area away from the litter tray, use a cat feeding mat to keep stuff off the floor, where it’s well-lit so they don’t feel their “predators” are going to attack them, and feed at the same times each day. Thus far my regime for better or for worse has been tinned food in the morning and dry food at night. To date this appears to have served both Pussa and Soph pretty well as we’ve managed to avoid ill health, kept shiny coats and required no additional vet visits outside our annual pilgrimage. Nonetheless, every time I hear the lid peeling off the top of the tin, I have that pang of guilt that I could be doing better for them in the nutrition stakes.
As you’d expect everyone in the bloggersphere seems to have an opinion on what you should feed your cat. A fair whack of those appear to be intent on wracking guilt upon those of us who have even a fleeting consideration of feeding any creature residing in our home something commercially produced. However, my approach still remains a 50/50 dry/wet regime. I don’t claim this to be in any way scientific but based more on some common sense principals:
Commons sense principals of what to feed your cat:
- Cats are strict obligate carnivores, meaning their nutrition is derived from animal based protein and not plant based. That puts a strike against dry food as this is largely manufactured from various cereals and grains, and why there are some who advocate a wet-food only diet, but then how do I deal with dental health? Brushing? I’d need to sedate Soph to even attempt that!
- Dental health for cats is a common problem and I’m sure you’ve also been told that the dry food kibble formulas designed for oral care are good to keep this issue under control. We need to watch this particularly with Soph because she hoovers up the small kibble, but the oral care versions are larger which forces her to chew on them. That’s the theory and I can only take the advice of the vet who has said their teeth look fine
- Despite always having water available some cats will not receive adequate hydration unless they consume it through wet food. It is thus critical to include wet food in their diet to avoid painful urinary tract problems
- The convenience factor. At risk of sounding like a slack Pet Parent I can tell you right now I am never going to be making my own cat food from scratch. When I read some of the blogs about people making their own cat food, I’m thinking “really…how much time have you got on your hands lady?”. Seriously, grinding up bones and skin and intestinal tracts of a chicken is a good way to spend your time? Not for this Pet Parent it isn’t. Recently however I’ve been feeding more fresh mince and that has been particularly well received by Pussa. The raw chicken wings have yet to take the household by storm, and frankly Soph seems to have no idea what to do with them. Still, we shall persevere and see if they have some kind of renaissance.
The future of cat feeding at Cat Habitat HQ
Unless there is a marked increase in the number of hours in the day, I’m going to have to give raw food feeding a miss, and my concern is more around the nutritional quality of processed cat food anyway. Pet food manufacturers talk about their products being “complete and balanced” foods meaning that they contain all the nutrients in the right quantities that your puss cat needs. This being said meat products will need a form of preserving to give them shelf life, and as with processed foods for humans, this is what starts to make me sceptical. I avoid processed foods in my own diet as much as possible, so why would I not extend that to the feline members of the family? Those who run an anti-dry food argument do so on the basis that there is way too much carbohydrate in dry food as the grains that go into the manufacturing process are significantly cheaper than animal protein with the result being a bigger profit margin for the manufacturers. I don’t disagree with this rationale. However, if I stop the dry food what do I do about dental health? I suspect that if I could get Pussa and Soph to eat some raw bones, that would keep their teeth in good nick and replicates how it would be dealt with in the wild. Hmmmm….now there’s a challenge for me.