Danger of Raw Feeding Cats: Why You Have To Get It Right
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking wait a second, Bentons Road Vet promotes raw feeding! Why are they now talking about the danger of raw feeding cats!!! Have they changed their minds??? The short answer is no, but you have to get it right otherwise you can run into trouble.
Don’t stress though. We are always here to help. But first we need to read a story about Pip (our honorary clinic cat).
Does anyone remember Pip? The tiny scrap of a kitten delivered to our doorstep almost dead? She was stone cold and almost lifeless and we had almost given up on her. Then she started to move… and the rest is history. Little Pip Squeak found her forever home with Kim and her other cat Bubbles and has been living the good life ever since.
Like most pets at our clinic, Pip has been fed a fresh, raw diet for most of her life and is very well and healthy. Recently, Kim started to source her cat food from the supermarket. These packets of vacuum sealed fresh meat were labelled as fresh and lean, fortified with thiamine, taurine and calcium. Perfect you’d think! Fresh and Lean what could go wrong? Unfortunately one thing. And that one thing caused Pip to have a problem.
Kim contacted us in a bit of a panic one day with a video of Pip behaving oddly. She was having trouble walking straight and kept falling over. She was very unbalanced. Kim was understandably very distressed as she was watching her little fur baby unable to function properly at all. Kim has always strived to do the very best for Pip. She was at a loss as to what was wrong or what to do.
Thankfully the signs Pip was showing alerted me quickly to the most likely problem. We were able to advise Kim to immediately feed a different type of food for a while. Pip rapidly recovered over the next few days.
So what was the trouble? Bentons Road Vet Clinic are always extolling the virtues of a raw diet for our carnivorous companions. What went so wrong?
The problem is that most of these ‘fresh’ raw meats sold in supermarkets and pet stores, for dogs and cats, have an added preservative. This preservative is used to keep the meat ‘fresh’ for longer and to retain the deep red colour we associate with fresh meat. This is usually a sulfur containing preservative listed as “Preservative 220”.
Unfortunately this particular preservative binds to thiamine (Vitamin B1) in the food. If thiamine is bound it means that it is no longer available to be absorbed and utilized by the body. The longer it sits in the fridge, the more thiamine is bound. So even those diets that are “enriched with thiamine” can sometimes not have enough. This was the case with Pip.
So Why is Thiamine Important?
Thiamine is a very unstable B vitamin, being denatured by exposure to air, preservatives, water and cooking. Thiamine is critical for the function of the nervous system. Deficiencies in this vitamin lead to ataxia, blindness, ventroflexion (the head and neck flexed downwards), seizures and eventually death. Yes, that’s right. You heard me correctly. Death can result from a lack of this vital nutrient.
This is why it is so important to feed preservative free food to your cat. Dogs can produce their own thiamine to cope with the deficiency a little better but it’s still not ideal. This is also why Bentons Road Vet Clinic only sell frozen raw foods for your cat without any preservative added.
What do we recommend?
We recommend nutritionally balanced fresh raw foods that are frozen and contain no preservatives or unwanted ingredients. Thats why we sell and recommend Prime100 raw kangaroo mince and their SPD BARF diets for cats. We also sell Organic Paws frozen raw food for cats and dogs. We have a large variety available with kangaroo, duck, turkey, beef, lamb and chicken varieties. We also sell Organic Paws Green Tripe which is an excellent probiotic and digestive treat for cats and dogs.
The danger of feeding raw meat to your cat is real. But it is easily avoided. Just follow these simple rules. Always feed fresh food that is preservative free. Avoid kibble or processed diets. And if you’re ever concerned we are always here to help.
And just to let you know Pip is doing fantastically!! She is still eating raw meat, just not from the supermarket. And she couldn’t be happier.
Do you want to know if you could be feeding your cat, dog or pocket pet any better? Do you want your pet to live a long and happy life? Do you want your pet eating the foods that nature and evolution intended? Then come on in or call us to speak to our experienced nursing and veterinary team. We’re always here to help your pet reach optimal health.
The healthy foods are also the tastiest! Your pets will absolutely love you for it!