Whether you are new to the idea of feeding raw meat diets or have been feeding raw diets for years, you’ve got questions. Feline Nutrition members and visitors to the website have asked us some great ones over the years. When we get asked a good question, we post the answer here to help everyone. From practical to esoteric and from basic to advanced, we find the right person to answer.
There are many reasons that people decide to question what they have been feeding their feline family member. Too often, it is because a health issue has arisen and diet becomes a major factor. Many people become aware of the questionable ingredients in highly processed pet foods and are looking for a better way. People hear about raw meat diets from their friends that are already feeding bio-appropriate diets. Almost everyone that switches their cats ends up becoming a bit of an advocate. It's hard not to after witnessing all of the benefits.
We encourage readers to send us questions. Your questions help us to learn what issues concern both new and experienced raw feeders. Beginners especially can feel overwhelmed as they adjust to thinking about cat food in a whole new light. We hear time and again from beginners that they spend considerable time researching diet before they decide to make the switch. We see people duplicating the same effort over and over again. We make learning about feline nutrition easier by putting a wealth of information in one place.

Answers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's Gut

I want to switch my cat over to a raw meat diet, but, in the meantime I'm still feeding her dry food. I notice she throws it up pretty often, almost always soon after eating it. What is it about dry food that makes cats throw it up? The barf looks almost the same as when it went in!
"Why did my cat throw up?" is one of the most common questions vets get asked. Vomit is the first defense mechanism by which cats protect themselves from the absorption of substances that could harm them. For the purposes of this article, I'm going to consider "vomit" everything a cat expels from her mouth, regardless if it's digested or not. Cats have a relatively short gastrointestinal or GI tract, powerful abdominal muscles and a very delicate and precise sympathetic...

Read more: Answers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's Gut


Answers: Diet and Your Cat's Cancer Risk

Does what I feed my cat have anything to do with her chances of getting cancer? My friend's cat has cancer and now I want to do everything I can to minimize my cat's chance of getting it.
What you feed to your cat may play a role in his or her risk for cancer. Scientists and medical doctors have been aware of the link between chronic inflammation and cancer for over 100 years.¹ There is even at least one laboratory performing blood tests to help determine cancer risk in pets based on detecting high levels of substances known to be produced during inflammation.
So, how does this all relate to your cat's diet? An inappropriate diet for an...

Read more: Answers: Diet and Your Cat's Cancer Risk


Answers: Taking the Complexity Out of B Vitamins

I am confused about B vitamins. Which ones do I need to add to homemade raw cat food? Your recipe says to use a B-complex vitamin, but the ones I look at are all slightly different. What should I be looking for when I buy vitamin B-complex?
B vitamins play a very important role in every cat's life. These water-soluble nutrients are essential for cell metabolism and they are needed for proper growth, development and energy production. As they are water-soluble, they are not stored in the body but are eliminated through urine. Consequently, they can become deficient, especially in animals with excessive drinking and urination due to diabetes, kidney disease and other health issues. Vitamin B deficiency may be difficult to specifically diagnose. For that reason, diagnosis relies on clinical...

Read more: Answers: Taking the Complexity Out of B Vitamins


Answers: The Paradox of Prescription Diets

My cat is two years old. I adopted him as a kitten when he was just three months old. Since then, he’s been eating only a veterinarian recommended diet. When he reached his first year of life he began having urinary issues that finally led him to a blockage. After a long, painful and costly recovery my vet recommended a prescription diet only, for the rest of his life. He was doing fine and seemed to enjoy his new dry food. Four months later he relapsed and I had to take him to the emergency vet. Why did this happen? Isn’t the prescription diet supposed to prevent this? Did I do something wrong? I only followed the doctor’s advice. I’m afraid this is going to happen again.
Because cats evolved in desert climates, their physiology has a specialized...

Read more: Answers: The Paradox of Prescription Diets


Answers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's Fur

My cat is a two year old, short-hair tabby and he excessively sheds all of the time. I took him to the vet and after several tests the doctor says he is completely normal. This is bittersweet to me because I'm happy he's a healthy cat, but worried that he sheds so much. He is eating only a premium brand of dry food the vet recommended. Why does he shed so much?
I think this is one of the most common questions vets get asked about in daily practice. The process by which cats change or renew their coat is called shedding and is a continuous and natural process in a cat's life. Shedding is mainly influenced by sunlight or photoperiod, which is the number of hours a cat is exposed to the sun in a day, hormones, genetics and nutrition. Outdoor cats...

Read more: Answers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's Fur


Answers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's Pee

I've been feeding my cat premium dry food all of his life, as our vet recommended. He is now 15 months old and, all of a sudden, he developed urinary blockage. After a very painful and costly procedure that included an IV catheter, blood work, anesthesia, urethral catheterization, bladder lavage and pain medication, he finally recovered and got back to normal life. The vet recommended that I now feed him a dry kibble prescription diet. I'm very confused right now because I found out that dry food can lead to urinary problems. Is this correct? Please help.
These kinds of problems don't occur "all of a sudden." They brew for a long time until the physiology of the cat can't cope with the imbalance anymore and disease appears. It could be urinary blockage, cystitis, kidney disease, IBD, diabetes, hair...

Read more: Answers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's Pee


Answers: In a Bind over Phosphorus

My cat is in the early stages of kidney disease. My vet said he wanted to reduce her phosphorus intake. Since I don’t like the prescription diets and my cat, who eats a raw meat diet, wouldn’t touch them anyway, what are my options to accomplish a reduced phosphorus diet?
Phosphorous is present in most foods, but meat and dairy tend to have the most. When serial blood testing reveals that a cat has declining kidney function, called renal insufficiency, phosphorous should be somewhat restricted to decrease the risk of one of the major long term effects of kidney insufficiency, secondary hyperparathyroidism. For the most part, this can be easily achieved through dietary changes. In later stages, phosphorus binders may be indicated. Dietary...

Read more: Answers: In a Bind over Phosphorus


Answers: One More Reason to Ditch Dry Food

I'm new to cat ownership. Recently I adopted two orphan kittens from a local shelter. I took them in for a complete check-up. The veterinarian encouraged me to feed my cats a raw meat diet because of the possibility that dry kibble may contain a substance called aflatoxin, which could be harmful to my kitties. Is this correct? Can you explain to me what aflatoxins are?
The information this doctor gave to you is correct and it demonstrates she is very concerned about the health of your kittens. The word "aflatoxin" is never mentioned on TV commercials for kibble nor is it uttered by veterinarians who promote and sell commercial pet foods; maybe because it is a sensitive subject pet food companies don't want you to know...

Read more: Answers: One More Reason to Ditch Dry Food


Answers: Raw Diet for My Cat's Mystery Allergy?

My vet told me that my cat is showing allergic symptoms, but he can't tell me what she is allergic to. We don’t know if it is environmental or a food allergy. A friend told me that feeding a raw meat diet could help. How would a raw diet be beneficial if we haven't figured out what is causing the allergy?
Our aim is to rebalance the immune system by switching off the cat's tendency to "overreact." Cats should be able to tolerate pollens, grasses, fleas and dust mites. So why is it that so many of them are diagnosed as being allergic to these common, everyday environmental triggers? A healthy and normal immune system reacts to harmful threats by producing antibodies. These antibodies bind to the threat and are cleared from the body by a specialised system called the...

Read more: Answers: Raw Diet for My Cat's Mystery Allergy?


Answers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's Teeth

For years I've been feeding my cat the commercial dry diet my vet recommended. In the last visit to the clinic, however, he told me my cat was developing tartar on her teeth and her gums were very inflamed and she needed to go under anesthesia for a dental cleaning. How can this be? I've followed his instructions verbatim. I feel there's something missing here.
The fact that we humans have taken the cat with us to live under a roof doesn't modify a bit their marvelous biology and evolution as true carnivores. In fact, what we have taken home is a miniature tiger, or lion or leopard. You name it. Domestic cats have kept the carnivore instincts they evolved with intact as they moved in with humans. Humans are the ones who are making a mistake...

Read more: Answers: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat's Teeth


Answers: Flaxseed Oil for Kitty?

I know cats need omega-3 fatty acids, as we humans do. I take flaxseed oil supplements myself for the fatty acids they contain. Can I give flaxseed oil to my cats?
The quick answer is yes, but it's not a good idea. Fatty acids are one of the most common supplements given to cats and dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids tend to reduce inflammation, while omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation.¹ There are also omega-7 and omega-9 fatty acids, but, they are not considered essential, at least for humans.
Fatty acids are abundant in the oil from fish, but are also found in many plant...

Read more: Answers: Flaxseed Oil for Kitty?


Answers: Lysine and Raw Meat Diets

What is lysine? I have a friend who gives it to her cat as a treatment for herpes, but should it be supplemented in every cat's diet?
Lysine is an essential amino acid for cats. This means that the cat's body cannot synthesize or make this amino acid so it must be consumed in the diet. Lysine is present in all meats, but fish contain higher amounts than other types of meat. For many years in human medicine lysine has been used to help suppress herpes flare ups and several studies exist to support this.¹It is suspected that the mechanism by which lysine is able to suppress herpesvirus is by competing with arginine. Studies have indicated that arginine is necessary to signal and initiate replication of certain viruses including all herpesviruses. It is thought that lysine...

Read more: Answers: Lysine and Raw Meat Diets


Answers: Kittens Go Through Teething, Too

I am getting two new kittens. I plan on feeding them a raw meat diet, but should I wait until they are older and have their permanent teeth to start them on small meaty bone cuts? Can their baby teeth tackle chicken wings or necks?
We are often asked about the special dietary requirements of kittens. Ideally, your kittens should be weaned directly to a raw meat diet. We suggest that as soon as your kittens arrive they should be introduced to raw meaty bones. Get those little critters gnawing and chewing as soon as possible. It is so much easier than trying to transition them later. Raw meaty bones provide a natural, highly digestible source of calcium. Calcium in raw bones can be up to four times more digestible than any supplement. Because the high levels of phosphorous in fresh...

Read more: Answers: Kittens Go Through Teething, Too


Answers: Plant vs. Meat — The Protein Feud

I have read that plant proteins are inferior for cats, that they need meat protein. What's the difference? Why does it matter where the protein came from?
Not all proteins are equal. Proteins are made up of amino acid chains and there are a myriad of different combinations that serve many functions in the body. Proteins are structural and tissue components in the body, enzymes and antibodies and serve messenger and transport functions. Ingested proteins will vary considerably in how well they are utilised by the body. Plant-based proteins do not have the same amino acid profile as meat-based proteins and these differences are crucial to cats. The natural diet of cats in the wild is a meat-based diet of rodents and birds. Cats are metabolically adapted to preferentially use protein and fat as an...

Read more: Answers: Plant vs. Meat — The Protein Feud


Answers: Do Raw Diets Affect Blood Test Results?

My cat used to be fed a dry kibble diet. I've been feeding her a raw meat diet for the past six months and I'm very happy with the results. She is going in for her annual check-up soon. Will her new diet cause changes in her blood work?
Yes, there can be slight changes in some of the blood work values because of the switch to a high-protein, very low or non-carbohydrate diet. People who feed raw diets – and this applies to cats and dogs – sometimes find that their pet's BUN or blood creatinine are slightly elevated. Both are used to assess urinary tract function. When the mechanism of production of these compounds is examined, this elevation makes sense. A 2003 study compared the blood values for 256 healthy, adult dogs of various ages and...

Read more: Answers: Do Raw Diets Affect Blood Test Results?


Answers: Do Cats Need Dietary Fiber?

Do cats need fiber in their diet? Being strict meat-eaters, how would they get fiber in their natural diet, since they wouldn't be eating plant material?
Dietary fiber is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants.¹There are different types of plant-based fiber. There are soluble and insoluble fibers as well as rapidly fermentable and slowly fermentable fibers. Soluble fibers are also rapidly fermentable. These fibers, which include pectins and gums, can act like a gel and draw water into the colon. Fermentable fibers can also be fermented by bacteria in the gut to produce short chain fatty acids which can be utilized by the cells of the colon to help them function. Soluble and rapidly fermentable fibers tend to add moisture to the stool and decrease gastrointestinal transit time. These types...

Read more: Answers: Do Cats Need Dietary Fiber?


Answers: Kitty That Only Wants Fish

My cat only wants to eat fish! Can I feed her a diet that is mostly fish or should I try to limit how often I feed it?
Fish contains thiaminase, an enzyme that will destroy thiamine, which is vitamin B1. Thiamine deficiency causes severe neurological symptoms and can be fatal. Cats have a high requirement for B vitamins - a continual dietary source is required to prevent deficiency. Deficiency is very rare in cats consuming their natural diet, as B vitamins are plentiful in animal tissues. A cat would have to eat fish at every meal for a long time to develop a deficiency. I recommend cats consume fish up to three times a week. Variety is the key when feeding a raw diet and I would encourage the feeding of any particular food up to three times a week but no...

Read more: Answers: Kitty That Only Wants Fish


Answers: Let's Talk About Cat Barf

My raw fed cats sometimes barf up the food they just ate. It happens with different kinds of meat, so I don't think it's a particular food. Why do they do this and is there anything I can do to stop it? I have also caught the cats eating what's barfed up!
Many people may confuse vomiting, commonly referred to as barfing, with regurgitation. From your question it sounds as if your cat may actually be regurgitating rather than vomiting. Vomiting is actually a lot more common in cats than regurgitation in my opinion. However, if the action happens within 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating, it can be regurgitation. Let's start by explaining the difference. Regurgitation is a passive action where...

Read more: Answers: Let's Talk About Cat Barf


Answers: Making Meals Kitty-Sized

I just transitioned my cat from dry food to a raw meat diet. Since she is now fed meals instead of just eating whatever she wants out of the never-ending bowl of kibble, I realize I don't know how much food to give her! Help!
We get asked this question a lot. There is no set amount, but there are basic guidelines as to how much to feed. How much food your cat needs is going to depend on a lot of things: age, activity level, general health, genetics and the actual composition of the food. The amounts we outline are for adult cats over one year old. Young cats and kittens will need more than this. Kittens can require twice the amount of food per pound of body weight as an adult cat, because they are still growing, not just maintaining. Also, pregnant and nursing cats will require...

Read more: Answers: Making Meals Kitty-Sized


Answers: Can Cats Get "Cat Scratch Fever?"

My vet suggested my cat have a test for Bartonella infection. I thought that cats didn’t experience symptoms from infection with this bacterium, that it was only people that had to worry about becoming infected. Can my cat get sick from this bacterium?
Regarding cat health there are certainly lots of conditions which are not directly food related that worry most dedicated cat owners. One of the diseases I am most frequently asked about is bartonellosis. Bartonella species are very small intracellular bacteria that can survive and replicate within erythrocytes.¹ Different Bartonella species have adapted to specific mammalian reservoir hosts and can infect and occasionally cause disease in incidental hosts. More than ten species...

Read more: Answers: Can Cats Get "Cat Scratch Fever?"


Answers: Gastric Acidity - What, How and Why

I am new to feeding raw diets. I keep reading that one of the things that makes cats different from many other mammals is their highly acidic digestive systems. Why is having an acidic stomach important for cats? How does it help them?
Cats need a highly acidic stomach in order to properly digest their food. But, the carbohydrates in many processed foods make the stomach less acidic. Meat protein stimulates stomach acidity by triggering the production of hydrochloric acid in acid-secreting cells within the stomach. A complex cascade takes place when a cat or dog ingests food. Put simply, 80% of the gastric juices secreted are a direct result of chemoreceptors in the stomach detecting the presence of meat-based proteins. This keeps the stomach at a very low pH of around 1-2. A low pH...

Read more: Answers: Gastric Acidity - What, How and Why


Answers: Thiamine in a Raw Meat Diet

There have been recent recalls of thiamine-deficient canned cat food. Is a raw meat diet safe from being thiamine deficient since it's not cooked?
In the past five years, there have been many recalls of commercial pet foods for various reasons. Five of these recalls have been related to the diets being deficient in thiamine, also known as vitamin B1. At least three of these recalls involved canned food.¹ None of these diets have been raw commercial diets.
Thiamine is a water soluble B vitamin important for helping the body to utilize carbohydrates as energy through a process called the TCA cycle. Thiamine is a necessary cofactor involved in this energy producing process. It is especially...

Read more: Answers: Thiamine in a Raw Meat Diet


Answers: To Grind or Not To Grind?

Being new to feeding raw meat diets, I have noticed that some people say you should feed meats whole and some say that you should grind it up. Why are raw diets most often fed as ground meat diets? Surely cats can eat whole meats because that's what they would get in the wild when they eat prey animals.
We get asked with some frequency why raw meat diets should be ground. The answer is: they don't have to be. There are different ways to feed a raw meat diet. One way is to feed a supplemented meat/bone/organ ground diet. Another is feeding whole meat cuts, often called a "frankenprey" diet. A third is to feed whole small prey items such as chicks and mice. This last item should be clarified as dead, frozen prey items. We are not advocating the feeding of live prey. Keep in...

Read more: Answers: To Grind or Not To Grind?


Answers: Homemade Cat Food, A Balancing Act

I am confused about supplements. I make homemade raw cat food and I noticed that the recipe I use does not call for some of the vitamins, such as iron, zinc, and folic acid that are included in some prepared premixes. Is this a problem? How can I be sure the homemade recipe won't be vitamin deficient?
If you have ever been interested in nutritional science, I am sure you have come across the term "balanced diet." But what does it actually mean? According to a common definition, it is a diet that contains adequate amounts of all necessary nutrients required for healthy growth and activity. Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn't it? What makes this statement more complicated in the world of pet nutrition is that almost every country has its own guidelines for all of the...

Read more: Answers: Homemade Cat Food, A Balancing Act


Answers: Urine Ph, Why It Matters

I hear a lot of talk about a cat's diet and how it affects urine pH levels and I'm getting very confused. I read that a cat's urine is naturally acidic and that some foods can cause alkaline urine, which is bad for a cat. Can you explain why the urine pH is important and what foods keep it the correct range?
"Nature knows" reads an old saying. Everything she does has a purpose or an intention. When cats consume what nature intended for them, all of their internal organs stay healthy. When we as owners stray away from nature and begin to feed kittens unhealthy and unbalanced diets, the problems begin to occur. Cats have evolved and adapted to hunt, kill, eat and process meat. Through thousands of years of evolution, felids have developed unique characteristics...

Read more: Answers: Urine Ph, Why It Matters


Answers: Phosphorus Can Be Key for Kidneys

I have a cat with kidney disease and I have heard that reducing phosphorus intake is important for cats with kidney problems. Is it safe to feed a cat with chronic kidney disease a raw meat diet? Doesn't it have too much phosphorus? My cat hates the prescription diet and I am looking for an alternative for him.
Dietary management is important for cats with kidney disease, and there are three main aspects to this. Number one is water intake. Cats with chronic kidney disease are more likely to become dehydrated due to the reduced ability of the kidneys to conserve water by concentrating urine. Maintaining a good fluid intake is very important, and as cats generally gain much of their water from their food, cats with chronic renal disease should, whenever possible, be fed wet foods...

Read more: Answers: Phosphorus Can Be Key for Kidneys


Answers: How Does Toxoplasmosis Affect Cats?

My cat occasionally eats mice she catches outdoors, so I worry that she might be exposed to toxoplasmosis. I know about the dangers to humans from toxoplasmosis, but is it dangerous to my cat too? Would I even be able to tell if she got it?
Wild and domestic felines are the only definitive hosts for the toxoplasmosis parasite. Both phases of toxoplasma gondii, sexual and asexual, occur in cats and that's the reason why felines are the main reservoir of the disease. The rest of the non-feline, warm blooded animals are known as intermediate hosts. Toxoplasma gondii is present all over the world. Cats can get toxoplasmosis when they ingest infective cysts. This can happen from eating raw infested meat or wild prey...

Read more: Answers: How Does Toxoplasmosis Affect Cats?


Answers: Raw Diets and Cats, What About Eating Bones?

I am new to feeding raw diets and I still feel a little uneasy giving my cat meat with bones. Some of the food I feed her is ground, so the bones are in the mix. But, I have been told it is good for cat's dental health to eat meat pieces with bones in them. What should I feed her? What's safe to give her? Also, why do you recommend feeding bones over just using a calcium supplement?
Cats are obligate carnivores. Cats living in the wild chase and kill small prey such as rodents, mice, squirrels, rabbits, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, and sometimes small fish. Feeding a raw meat diet is our way of getting as close as is practical to a diet that cats evolved to eat. If we were able to see a cat eating their prey in the wild we would see that the kitty eats the whole thing from head to...

Read more: Answers: Raw Diets and Cats, What About Eating Bones?


Answers: Who Are AAFCO and the NRC?

I see lots of references to the AAFCO nutrient requirements on cat food products. I also have seen nutritional requirements put out by the NRC and they seem to be different. What is the role of these two organizations and why are their recommendations different?
Most pet food labels mention the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, nutritional adequacy statement. It is considered to be one of the most important aspects of a dog or cat food label, but it is worth remembering that it is an industry standard and not a scientific standard. The recommendations of the National Research Council, or NRC, were historically used as the basis for nutritional adequacy. The NRC provides expert advice based on sound scientific...

Read more: Answers: Who Are AAFCO and the NRC?


Answers: What Exactly is an "Obligate Carnivore?"

I have started my cat Tedders on a raw meat diet and I’ve seen a lot of improvement in his health and energy levels. When I was investigating what I should be feeding him, I kept seeing cats described as obligate carnivores. What exactly is an obligate carnivore and how is it different from a regular carnivore? Are there other obligate carnivores besides cats?
People refer to cats as obligate carnivores when they are trying to emphasize the fact that cats are a little different than many other meat-eating predators. Obligate means "by necessity." The dictionary definition is: 1. Restricted to one particularly characteristic mode of life. 2. Biologically essential for survival.¹Combining obligate with carnivore is pretty clear. Cats must eat...

Read more: Answers: What Exactly is an "Obligate Carnivore?"


Answers: Raw Diets and the Outdoors, What About Worms?

My cat is fed a raw diet that includes chicken, turkey, rabbit and sometimes a little beef. She is also allowed outside and will catch and eat mice and occasionally other small rodents. Could she get worms from this wild prey? If she can, how often should we get her checked for worms?
Unfortunately, eating wild prey can result in your cat getting internal parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, trichinella, coccidia, or being exposed to protozoa, bacteria and viruses.
A parasite is an organism that has a symbiotic relationship with its host. However, the relationship is at the host's expense, as the parasite can live within or...

Read more: Answers: Raw Diets and the Outdoors, What About Worms?


Answers: Vitamin E, as a Liquid or in Powder?

I feed my cats a ground raw meat diet that I add supplements to. From what I have researched, liquid vitamin E is more easily assimilated into the body than the dry form. I was wondering why you suggest vitamin E in dry form for making the homemade feline raw meat diet?
First, some background on vitamin E. While the term vitamin E sounds pretty straightforward, it is actually a quite complicated and often confusing subject. First of all, it is important to realize that vitamin E is not one single substance, but a group of fat soluble compounds known as the tocopherols. This includes alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherols and tocotrienols. In addition, vitamin E is not alone, as it has two relatives called vitamin E acetate and vitamin E...

Read more: Answers: Vitamin E, as a Liquid or in Powder?


Answers: Are Exotic Meats Nutritious or a Novelty?

I understand that cats need to eat a variety of different meats when being fed a raw diet. Mine currently eat chicken, turkey, rabbit and some pork. I have noticed that a few places are offering what I think of as very unusual meats, such as ostrich, emu, kangaroo, yak, llama, elk and even muskrat. I know cats in the wild will eat pretty much anything that is available that they can catch, so are these more exotic meats okay to add to their diet? Or are they more of a novelty that appeals to humans?
Great question. A variety of meats is crucial to a raw diet. The simplest way to think of it is that each animal consumed by your cat has a different nutrient profile, dependent on what that animal has consumed in its...

Read more: Answers: Are Exotic Meats Nutritious or a Novelty?


Answers: Take a Deep Breath and Cut the Mouse in Half

I have two new kittens and I want to add whole prey foods to their diet. I purchased some frozen mice, which I thawed out and gave to them. They went wild over the mice, but only played with them. How do I get the kittens to take the next step and actually eat the mice?
I do have an answer for you, but you're not going to like it.
Kittens, like many predatory animals, have to be taught to hunt, kill and eat their prey. They know some of it by instinct, as demonstrated by your kittens. They knew that the mouse was something good, hence their enthusiasm, but they hadn't been taught what to do next. If they had been taught by their...

Read more: Answers: Take a Deep Breath and Cut the Mouse in Half


Answers: Feed Raw and Dry at the Same Time?

I have been told that it's not a good idea to feed dry food at the same time as raw food, and that it's even bad to feed some kinds of canned foods in the same meal as raw foods. Why is this? Will a meal that has both processed, cooked foods and raw meats make my cat ill? What is it in some processed food that causes problems when eaten with raw foods?
As a raw feeding vet I am often asked how a raw diet can make such a difference to our cats' health. The simple answer is that by feeding a species-appropriate diet, the digestive tract of the cat is fully functional, and all the natural nutritional goodness of a raw diet can be fully absorbed and utilized by the cat's body. Cats are adapted to preferentially use protein and fat as an energy...

Read more: Answers: Feed Raw and Dry at the Same Time?


Answers: Is It Okay for My Cat to Have Milk?

My cat absolutely loves milk. If I have cereal, she won't leave me alone! I worry about letting her have milk though, as I've been told that adult cats are lactose intolerant and milk could give her diarrhea. How much can I safely let her have? Would lactose-free milk be safer to give her?
Not all adult cats are lactose intolerant, but many are. Lactose intolerant cats may vomit, become gassy or "gurgly," have soft stool or even outright diarrhea after ingesting milk. If a cat enjoys milk and suffers none of these side-effects from it, then I consider it a healthful treat. I would strongly suggest that organic milk is the best choice. Non-organic milk may come from cows that are given artificial growth hormones. If the milk is not organic, then look...

Read more: Answers: Is It Okay for My Cat to Have Milk?


Answers: The Stomach Contents of Prey

I've read that cats get some nutrients and roughage from the stomach contents of their prey. But, I have also read that cats will avoid eating the stomach and intestines of larger prey, such as rabbits. Do cats benefit from eating the stomach contents of small prey such as mice, or is it just unavoidable? If it is providing some benefit, should something be supplemented in raw food to make sure cats are getting everything they need?
Cats tend to consume the whole of a small prey animal like a mouse, with its tiny amount of fermented stomach content. I have seen cats eat the stomach content of larger prey like rabbits, and I have also seen them leave it. The stomach content of an herbivore, such as a mouse or rabbit, contains fermented vegetable...

Read more: Answers: The Stomach Contents of Prey


Answers: Why Did My Cat's Fur Get So Silky?

"I've been feeding my cat a raw diet for a couple of months and her coat has gotten so silky! I thought her fur was soft before, but the change has been quite noticeable. What is it in a raw diet that has such a good effect on a cat's fur?"
Many things contribute to a healthy coat in cats. Protein and fats both play a part, and raw meat based diets supply these in a natural form that a cat can easily digest. The change in the texture of a cat's fur can happen quite rapidly after starting a raw diet. I noticed the difference in my own cats after only two weeks. It is one of the most commented upon benefits of feeding raw foods. I sometimes think that more people would switch their cats to a raw diet if they could just pet one of my cats and feel the difference. The change is that...

Read more: Answers: Why Did My Cat's Fur Get So Silky?


Answers: Raw Feed All of Those Kittens!

We just found out that adopted female cat is pregnant! I've been feeding her your website's Recipe: Feline Nutrition's Easy Raw Cat Food, but should I add more supplements? What should I feed the kittens when they're ready to eat solid food?
The kittens can have the same raw food as their mother as soon as they are interested. They eat the same food as adults. The rather new idea of "life stage" foods is a marketing gimmick. In the wild, the diet a cat eats doesn't change as she goes through life. Kittens, adults and seniors all eat the same thing, namely the prey that's available. Kittens do need more protein and calories per pound of body weight than an adult cat, but they get this by eating more food, not by eating something different. Once the kittens are eating solid food, they...

Read more: Answers: Raw Feed All of Those Kittens!


Answers: Feed My Cat a Raw Egg Yolk?

All the raw diet recipes for cats I see contain raw egg yolks. What do egg yolks contribute to a cat's diet? My cat loves to eat them, is it all right to give her a whole raw yolk occasionally? Is there really a difference between regular, organic and free-range eggs?
Egg yolks contain many nutrients as can be seen in Table 1.¹They are an excellent source of protein. One egg yolk provides 21% of a cat's recommended daily intake of this nutrient. Egg yolks contain a total of 19 different amino acids including the 10 that are considered essential for the cat, meaning that cats cannot make them on their own, they have to eat them. These are: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalinine, threonine, tryptophan and...

Read more: Answers: Feed My Cat a Raw Egg Yolk?


Answers: Transitioning Your Finicky Kitties

Question: I have two indoor six year old cats. I have had problems with finding foods they love to eat as they are finicky eaters. I have been reading about raw diets and thought I would like to try and switch them. Right now they are eating Purina hairball formula dry food. I know it's probably not the best, but it's one they would eat without much vomiting. They are also used to free feeding, and I have just realized that was also not a good idea. What would be the best way to switch them over to a raw diet? Should I still offer the dry food and supplement with a good canned food adding small amounts of raw? I am so confused. Any help would be appreciated.
The best way to transition your cats will depend mostly upon them. Some cats...

Read more: Answers: Transitioning Your Finicky Kitties


Answers: Goaltending the Food Bowl

I have two cats with hyperthyroidism. They are both taking methimazole, one at 5 mg and the other at 7 mg. The 7 mg cat had been on 5 mg but the vet increased it recently when her T4 came back elevated. I have been feeding them a raw diet for about 4 months now. I am feeding her 4 to 6 times a day and she's still goaltending the food bowl like never before. The recipe I'm using is Pitcairn's for kidney issues, as recommended by my vet, which keeps the phosphorus low by providing protein through eggs. Is it possible she's just not getting enough calories?
The recipe I used is:
2/3 pound ground chicken, turkey or lean...

Read more: Answers: Goaltending the Food Bowl


Answers: Getting Kitty to Like Chunky

Question: I recently adopted two kittens raised on raw food, and switched my adult cat, too. They seem to like it, but will not eat the chunks. I was wondering, do you think it is okay to just make all ground for now and start adding small chunks? Also, I remember reading somewhere that some people freeze salmon or tuna cubes for them to gnaw on. Do you think this is a good idea?
It's great that all of your cats are on a raw diet! Getting cats that are not used to chunks to eat them can be challenging. Cats may avoid the chunks because they are unfamiliar — many cats are resistant to changes in their diet. Cats that have been eating dry food, canned food or even an all-ground raw diet have never had to do much chewing. They may avoid the chunks for the simple reason that...

Read more: Answers: Getting Kitty to Like Chunky

FelineNutrition What do dry food & cat pee have to do with each other? More than you might think. Read more . . .…
FelineNutrition Ever wonder about the difference between meat from farmed animals and their wild counterparts?…
FelineNutrition HPP is used in many raw pet foods and in lots of human foods you eat every day. Find out more!…
FelineNutrition Think raw diets are expensive? They don't have to be. Feed a raw meat diet for less than $1/day!





One Page Guides




Feline Nutrition Foundation



Resource Center