Feline Longevity through Diet

Feline Health at All About CatsToday, most cat owners believe there is only one way to nourish their pets. That one way is an exclusive diet of commercially processed canned and dry cat foods. Unfortunately, many of these diets are actually poor alternatives to fresh, carnivore-friendly diets that the cat naturally requires. The fallacy that only commercial foods will support health in our cats is, in fact, little more than a remarkably successful marketing ploy by the companies who make the foods that owners believe are the best and only way to care for our cats properly.

As recently as 25 years ago, there were few commercial cat food products and most pet cats still lived almost entirely on prey they captured on their own supplemented by human table foods, usually some type of meat. Only once cats began to be pets underfoot in the homes of their owners did commercially prepared, highly processed foods become a staple of the housecat’s diet. Today, unfortunately, these packaged foods are in most cases the exclusive diet of our cats.

Even though they are popular because of their convenience, these foods are really little more than the equivalent of convenience foods we humans eat. Like our own boxed, bagged, or fast-food type foods, commercial cat foods lack the freshness and nutrient quality of the cat’s natural meat-based wild diet and, in the case of all dry foods, are full of highly processed cereals and sugary vegetables (like potatoes) which are extremely poor quality ingredients for the obligatory carnivore. When we feed these foods as our cats’ exclusive diets, we subject them to health-robbing malnutrition.

No matter what the pet food companies tell us, cats not only can be fed fresher, more natural diets by their loving caregivers, they blossom and thrive on such diets. The benefits to returning this natural predator to a fresher, meat-based diet will astonish you, although such results are hardly surprising.

Many veterinary nutritionists warn against pet owners attempting to feed home made meat diets to their cats, but this paternalistic attitude has no place in today’s world where concerned pet owners are clamoring to learn about how to properly feed less processed, packaged food to their furry family members. It is entirely possible, even quite easy to feed your cat a far more nutritious diet than can be found in any bag or can on the grocery shelves.

To learn how, read on.

Cat lovers who wish to provide the best quality nutrition for their pets have several choices:

1) Carefully prepared, complete fresh frozen meat diets such as Feline’s Pride diets (www.felinespride.com) are the most convenient complete and balanced foods “right out of the container.” Such foods combine the quality and freshness of the individual ingredients with the convenience of a “ready-to-feed” carnivore-specific food. Although Feline’s Pride is not the least costly of the alternatives for proper feline nutrition, it is easy for the cat owner and very palatable for most cats, and comes in several poultry types. These foods can be ordered from anywhere in the US directly from the website or through local retailers in some areas.

2) The Felines Pride formula can be prepared at home from individual ingredients using the formula at www.catnutrition.org.

3) Unsupplemented ground meats with bone offered by companies such as Oma’s Pride (www.omaspride.com) can be combined with high quality, economical and complete supplements such as Platinum Performance Feline Wellness (www.platinumperformance.com). I recommend ground chicken with bone, ground turkey with bone and/or ground rabbit with bone, to which a half tsp of Platinum Performance is added per 4 ounces of thawed meat. Omas Pride also offers ground turkey organ and beef organ meats, which can be added to the muscle meat in a 25-30% organ meat to muscle meat ratio, for a very natural and complete meat diet. While organ meat is not imperative, it is economical and its addition approximates the natural prey diet of the cat in the wild setting. Do not add vegetables or grains to this diet. The cat does not need such ingredients, and their addition only decreases the quality and digestibility of the meat-based formula.

4) Owners with heavy duty grinders can purchase chicken, turkey or rabbit parts or whole carcasses and grind them at home, leaving the bone in the meat during grinding. Chicken or turkey organs can be chopped and added or fed whole along with the home-ground muscle meat as well. Add the supplement to the home-ground meats before feeding as described in 3) above, and do not add vegetables or grains of any kind. Handle the meats you intend to feed to your cat as carefully as you would handle them for feeding to your own family. Do not keep thawed meats in the refrigerator longer than 3 days before feeding.

5) Many owners feed their cats raw meat and bone that is not ground before feeding. Many cats enjoy eating whole chicken pieces or pieces of other types of meat and there is no reason not to feed such items as treats to those cats that enjoy them.

A note of caution: muscle meats without bone, or without some added mineral supplement (such as Animal Essentials Sea Source Calcium, www.animalessentials.com), are not a complete diet for the cat. Organ meats, by themselves, are also not complete and balanced, and cannot be fed as an exclusive diet. It is absolutely imperative that homemade diets be properly formulated so that they contain all of the essential nutrients for the cat. Options 1), 2) and 3) above are all very easy, practical solutions to the question of how to feeding the cat a food that will support the very best health for 20 years or more. You can do it, as thousands of other concerned cat lovers are already proving!