Welcome to Feline Nutrition

There are many things that go into keeping your cat healthy and happy. Genetics and environment play a part. But, there is one thing that has a huge effect on your cat's health, and that is diet. Cats are predators that evolved to eat a diet of raw meat. It is only over the past 70 years or so that we have tried to feed cats a diet based on foods unsuitable for a strict carnivore. Grains, vegetable and plant matter and highly processed and cooked meat products. It's no wonder cats suffer from so many diet-related diseases. We're out to change that.
You are here because you want to learn more about how to keep your cat healthy. Diet is the most important change you can make in your cat's life. We hear over and over again from pet parents who have changed their cats' diet and now wish they had done it sooner. They can't imagine feeding their cats any other way. Not only do they see improvements in their cats' health, but they feel a great sense of relief knowing they control what goes into their cat. No more mystery ingredients.
Contemplating a diet change for your cat can be a bit overwhelming at first. We remember what it was like in the beginning. We were so used to leaving our cats' nutrition in the hands of others. But, leaving it to others didn't work out so well, did it? Cat nutrition is complicated, right? Well, not really. It's actually pretty easy.

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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 more.
Be careful if feeding meat-only products - including fish or shellfish - that have been preserved with a sulphur-based preservative. These sulphur-based preservatives inhibit thiamine absorption. These preservatives "hold" the colour of the meat for an unnaturally long time so they stay looking good in the fridge. The preservatives can also trigger asthma in cats.ยน

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Beginner's Luck: Where Do I Start?

Congratulations on taking the first step towards feeding your cat a healthier diet. Just making the decision to change what you feed your cat can be the hardest part. For many people, realizing that a cat should be fed a diet closer to what it evolved eating is a complete shift in thinking. Frankly, it's empowering to take control of what goes into your cat. It's also a bit of a relief. No more mystery ingredients. No more worrying about what "by-products" really means. You now get to skip an entire aisle at the grocery store, well, except maybe to get the kitty litter. You'll join the ever-growing cadre of cat parents who can't believe they ever fed their cats any other way.
But, now that you've made the decision, what next? A lot depends on where you, and your cats, are starting from. It will mean changing some habits, but it is worth it, not only for your own peace of mind, but also for the improvements โ€“ which are sometimes dramatic - you will see in your cats. Here are the basics of what you need to do to get started. Beginners, please take special note of the links in this article. These will take you to helpful Feline Nutrition articles or videos that will go into more detail on each subject.

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Is Your Tabby a Tiger in Disguise?

Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue in Florida, on her Cat Chat Show.
I have been a fan of this great organization for a long time. They provide a home for more than 100 exotic cats and are dedicated to ending big cat abuse. I've read Carole's story of how she got started and the learning she went through as the organization grew. One of the things I admire about Big Cat Rescue is how smart Carole has been about making sure the organization can provide for the cats. It takes a lot of money, time and dedication to care for big cats. It's not a mission for the faint of heart. A number of the cats at her facility came from other rescues that just couldn't provide for the animals.
One of the things that drew me to Carole was her very honest account of learning to care for the big, and not so big, cats in her care. Especially when it came to feeding them. She describes going through different diets, which included at one point a zoo kibble food. I was fascinated to learn that besides having trouble even getting the big cats to eat it, the cats experienced many of the same issues that companion cats do when fed poor, carb-laden, diets: poor coats, less energy, digestion problems.

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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 undigested food is expelled from the esophagus. The regurgitated food usually looks much the same as when it was eaten and often is in a cigar-shaped form when brought up. It may be accompanied by liquid. Regurgitation is usually effortless and does not involve heaving or forceful abdominal contractions. Vomiting, on the other hand, is usually accompanied by retching and thrusting of the head. The vomit will be acidic and have a sour smell. It can also have a yellow liquid, which is bile from the stomach, mixed with the digested material.

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Care to Compare? Wild vs. Domesticated Prey

Cats evolved eating wild prey animals, but now we feed them mostly domesticated and farmed meats. The differences between domesticated food animals and prey animals are especially important for raw feeders, who are trying to mimic the diet that cats evolved eating. Even if one can feed the entire domesticated animal, including the nutrient-dense parts of the prey animal, such as the blood, plasma, tongue, pituitary, adrenals, prostate, brains, eyes and testes, the nutrient content would not match the nutrient content of the wild prey. The differences would be large: domesticated animals have less protein, more fat, often with an unhealthy balance, fewer minerals and fewer antioxidants.
Pastured and free-range animals, while better than feed-lot fed animals, still have more storage fat than wild animals, as they are still fattened up. Due partially to the higher fat content, the mineral content of free-range meats, measured on caloric bases, are still lower than that of wild prey animals. Wild prey animals have more calories from protein than fat. Domesticated animals have more calories from fat than protein.

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Feline Nutrition Membership Tops 3500!

Feline Nutrition is now the largest feline diet membership organization in the world, with more than 3500 members in over 70 countries. And growing all the time. We are thrilled that interest in bio-appropriate nutrition for cats has global appeal, but it also tells us something important. Bad diets for cats are everywhere. That means that the health consequences of those bad diets are everywhere, too. But, people all over the world are waking up to the realization that they can take control of their cat's diet. That it isn't hard at all.
Cats are cats. Large or small, all cats evolved to eat a diet of raw flesh. As strict carnivores, they should not be eating plant-based, high carbohydrate diets. We believe every cat, everywhere, should be fed a healthy, bio-appropriate diet.
Join Feline Nutrition today. Encourage your friends, family, co-workers and customers to join. Membership is free. Add your voice to the thousands that think it's time that cats are fed diets fit for the carnivores they are. Your membership encourages people new to the idea of raw meat diets to make that change. Join now and help cats get food that makes them thrive, not just survive.

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