This content is archived from the Feline Nutrition Foundation
There's more to feeding raw food for cats than practical information on nutrition and health. Take a look at some of the journeys pet parents have taken with their cats on the road to a better life. For some, it's been an adventure. For a few, it's been the difference between life and death. All of them would tell you the trip was worth it. Healthier cats and happier cat owners.
Many make a change in nutrition as a last resort to help their sick cats. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make us question what we think we know. These stories illustrate how taking control of what your cat eats can have life-changing consequences. It can be enormously empowering.
Whether it's adopting a new kitten or finding the connection between big cats and little cats, a shared experience can be key to making the decision to switch to a healthy, raw cat food diet.
My first cat, Hamlet, taught me the value of feeding raw in 2005. A large, vigorous Persian cross whom I adopted from a shelter in Hobart. He was billed as being a stray although his social nature and lack of feral behaviour told me he had always been a house cat. Nevertheless, Hamlet was an expert hunter, bringing to my doorstep every other day a small rabbit from the wild population that blighted the neighbourhood. He proudly displayed his kill on my welcome mat until I viewed it, then he set about eating the entire thing, head, fur and tail. Continued
A while back, during our vacation in Buenos Aires, Argentina, my friends and I decided to visit one of its biggest attractions, the Recoleta Cemetery. It is known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. Nearly 5000 vaults span 14 acres with the graves of many notable Argentine figures including political leaders, several presidents, famous writers, Nobel Prize winners and notable researchers. Tourists can admire the famous tombs and their gorgeous architecture. It was built in 1822 as the first public cemetery in the city. Continued
Affectionately known as "man's best friend," domestic dogs are the apex of human companionship, selectively bred for tameness, obedience, and a human-centric disposition.¹ Research into the dog-human relationship yields a plethora of results highlighting the mutual understanding between humans and their pet dogs, which further cements the domestic dog as the affable sidekick in most popular media. Surprisingly, the cat-human relationship has not received the same attention from scientists, even though cats are the world's most popular pet.² ³ Continued
Which is more stressful: being free, but having to fight for your own food and survival, or being confined in captivity, with all your food and security needs provided for? In cheetahs it seems that unnatural food – rather than captivity itself – is the cause of their known health problems in captivity.
Captive cheetahs commonly suffer from chronic inflammation of the stomach lining, various forms of kidney failure, apparent low libido and immune system abnormalities, which are rarely seen in their wild counterparts. Continued
My name is Stefanie de Alfonzo and I live in Caracas, Venezuela. My passion for cats is very recent – 2012 - although I've always loved all animals and nature. I've always considered myself more of a "dog person." To tell you the truth, it never even crossed my mind to have cats as pets, until one day a stray cat had kittens at the warehouse I worked in. I talked to my supervisor and asked him if we could keep two of the five kittens for rodent control at the warehouse. He approved, so I took the other three to a shelter for adoption. Continued
Considering a hybrid cat? Think again, if you love cats. Allowing the private possession of exotic cat hybrids is like strapping a nuclear warhead to the feral cat problem. I've had more than 30 years' experience with wild cats and am the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, the world's largest accredited sanctuary that is dedicated entirely to exotic cats. We rescue and provide a permanent home to non-domestic cats, and almost never even consider rescuing hybrid cats because that problem is too vast. Continued
I'm the president and founder of a home-foster based cat rescue in Sandy Hook, Connecticut called Kitten Associates. The tagline for our group is "the NEW Breed of Cat Rescue." We call ourselves the new breed because we do things a little bit differently than other rescues for a variety of reasons, but one of the main differences is that we do not allow our adopters to feed dry kibble or brands that are sold in vet's offices as prescription and scientific focused. Many years ago we learned about the almost miraculous benefits of feeding a raw diet to our own eight cats and it just made sense to me to carry that regime on to all of our foster cats. Continued
Late in 2011 a handsome tabby and white cat, about nine years old, was taken to a vet's in the north of England as a stray. Unclaimed despite his huge, luminous eyes and charming manners, he was named Alistair and admitted to Freshfields Animal Rescue. He was in good condition except for a bit of diarrhoea, no doubt the result of scavenging for food. The diarrhoea, though, did not clear up. If anything, it got steadily worse. Vets tried everything from faecal samples to antibiotics and steroids, all to no effect. Continued
The Feline Nutrition Foundation is dedicated to educating people about the benefits of feeding their cats the right kind of diet. We want science-backed information to be freely available to everyone. That's a core part of our mission. We emphasize the freely part. Membership is free, all the information we offer is free and we don't have ads cluttering up the site. Everyone associated with our education and advocacy work is a volunteer. We are passionate about helping cats. But, passion doesn't pay the bills. Continued
What began as an intervention into fur farm auctions in 1992 has grown into the Big Cat Rescue, an accredited sanctuary home to more than 100 lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats, servals, caracals, lynx and many other species of wild cats and wild cat hybrids. Feeding time is the best part of their day and what we feed is a critical factor in maintaining their health and keeping our vet costs low. The sanctuary was founded in 1992, and everything we know now about caring for big cats was learned through trial and error. Continued
In 2006, my mother died unexpectedly. She was survived by her cat, Bob Dole. Yes, he was named after the same Bob Dole who was the 1996 Republican candidate for president. Like his human namesake, this Bob Dole had an injury – his left front leg instead of arm – when he first appeared at my mother's house as a stray in 1998. Already feeling overwhelmed by my own cats, I was reluctant to adopt Bob. Faced with no one else to take him, I decided to at least get him back on his feet and find him a good home. Continued
My story begins when we moved to Amsterdam from South Africa in 1995 and brought our three cats with us. Alex, short for Alexandria, and her brother Orlando had been rescued from the animal shelter in December 1994. Byron had been rescued as an abandoned feral kitten in December 1993. I got their expensive scientific diet from the vet and ensured that was all that they ever ate. By 2005, Byron looked decidedly underweight and Alex was looking like she was eating all his food. Orlando had fur that made him look like a dandelion in a stiff breeze. Continued
"Mangiare Crudo in Italia" means "Raw Fed in Italy." I'm British and living in Italy. I've been here for four years, having moved with my Italian husband to escape the English climate. I make precious metal jewelry in a gorgeous workshop under the eaves upstairs, and do the odd translation from Italian into English. That's my proper job. My obsession however, is feeding cats properly. When we moved here, I had two cats, the elderly English statesman, Tarka, and my little Portuguese princess, Misi. Although we moved to Italy from the UK, I had previously lived in Portugal. Continued
As many of you know, there was a massive pet food recall due to melamine contamination in 2007. Hundreds of food brands were recalled and thousands of cats and dogs across the US died; many more are compromised for life. I was feeding some of the recalled and poisoned foods. Three of my four kittens pulled through – for which I remain eternally grateful – but I lost their brother, Oliver. Since then, I have been obsessed with all things cat food related. Even before Ollie passed away, I knew kibble was a bad deal. Continued
Everything we know or think we know about commercial cat food could be wrong. Today, the small cats we keep as pets are commonly fed a diet radically different from their diet in the wild, a diet unlike that of every other species of cat.¹ It is based largely upon grains – a foodstuff carnivores rarely eat except in negligible amounts when consuming the contents of their prey. The nutritional requirements of cats, all species of cat, including felis catus, are well understood.² What sometimes is misunderstood is that cats not only are carnivores, but also obligate carnivores. Continued
How did we end up feeding corn to cats? Like most people I never really thought much about cat food. It came in cans and bags, and always had, right? After doing a little research, I found that the whole idea of commercial cat food is relatively new; I just happened to have grown up when it was all in place. For me, it had always been there. I remember as a child, opening a can of cat food for my cat and having him take one sniff and running away! Canned cat food almost always smelled awful to me, too. Continued
I came to raw feeding strictly by accident. I had a cat named Kitty who showed up at our house one day. She was strong and healthy, ate birds and mice, and we decided we would adopt her. We brought her inside, vaccinated her and fed her kibble. Over time, her stool was the consistency of pudding; her appetite was voracious but she was losing weight. I took her to our vet and he put her on antibiotics for a couple of weeks, which didn't help. I searched but could not find anything on the internet to help cats with inflammatory bowel disease. Continued
Who doesn't like cat books? Included here are just a few of our favorites. From serious and informative books on cat health, nutrition and behavior to fun and whimsical books everyone will love. Your Cat is a great book for first-time cat parents or anyone who wants to learn the basics of feline care. Jackson Galaxy's books can help you improve your cat's life – and your own – by making her environment kitty-friendly. Check out The Cat's House for a homeowner who went all out on making their home a cat's paradise. Continued
Just about eight years ago, I had a mighty sick cat on my hands. My gentle-tempered orange tabby had been unwell since he was a kitten. Six years into his life, I was thoroughly exasperated and struggling to understand why it was that this well-cared for, amply loved creature had relentless diarrhea and low energy. I'd lived with and loved cats before, and I had what I thought was a pretty impressive library of cat care books. I did everything my vet suggested, forking over whatever I had to for quality "prescription formula" food and waiting impatiently for him to improve. Continued
What should we feed our new kitten? I hear this question many times during the course of a year. One of my passions is finding great homes for socialized feral kittens and friendly strays. Each time a new family comes to meet my fosters, sooner or later they ask me what to feed them. I try to keep my answer short. They don't want a long lecture on nutrition while an eight-week old kitten is purring on their lap and their kids are fighting over which kitten they should adopt. I've learned that it's better to guide rather than strong-arm my adopters into doing the right thing for their cats. Continued
We recently rescued a trio of three-week-old feral kittens whose mother had died in our yard due to causes unknown. Fortunately, they were just at the point of being weaned. Thus began our journey into raw feeding. To put things in perspective, we had never been pet owners, nor rescuers. Other than feeding scraps to the occasional stray that wandered into our yard, we hadn't cared for pets during our adult lives. So, this was our first real rescue and fostering operation. This account takes place seven weeks after we began raw feeding these rescues. Continued
You've taken the plunge and decided to make your own raw cat food. Now you have to figure out where to get the items you want and at an affordable price. How about a raw food co-op? When I started raw feeding back in 2000, I was – and still am – part of an internet group called Dogs Toronto. Many of the people in the group were raw feeders and also had cats who ate raw food. We lived in different parts of Toronto and beyond, something that was a huge benefit to our co-op because we had different meat sources all over the place. Continued
ABSTRACT: Americans own more than 130 million cats and dogs and spend over $12 billion per year on commercial pet foods. The commercial pet food industry faces minimal substantive regulation, despite navigating several layers of regulation from various groups including the FDA, the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), and state regulators. The FDA entrusts AAFCO to issue regulations governing ingredients, feeding trials, labels and nutritional claims. But AAFCO's rules fall short of ensuring that America's pets receive adequate nutrition, or even foods that won't cause chronic digestive, skin, eye, and coat problems. Continued