When people think of feeding their pet a raw food diet, they likely immediately think about a large dog eating a steak - and not a smaller house cat eating raw meat. A natural raw food diet has many benefits for your cat. Transitioning these pets to a raw food diet, however, can be a longer process than transitioning a dog to eat a raw food diet. The transition to raw feeding changes depending on the age of the cat, their previous eating habits and known health conditions however, with any variable, the key is patience.
Raw Feeding Kittens
A transition to raw feeding for kittens is usually simple, as they typically take to raw food much faster and easier than adult or adolescent cats. Kittens also don’t require any special foods (you may be thinking of the special “for kittens” formulas of kibble).
The reality is kittens need the same food as adult cats, only more of it and more often. This is because they are growing so quickly, they require more energy than adult cats, and as a result need about twice as much food as adults per ounce of body weight. They also need to be fed much more frequently, approximately every 4-6 hours. Kittens should also have raw meaty bones (such as Iron Will Raw Chicken Necks) introduced into their diet so that they learn to eat them properly while young.
Transitioning An Adult Cat
In a perfect world the easiest way to transition your adult cat to a raw food diet would be to go cold turkey. This an effective method for some cats, who take to raw food quickly and love it. However, as most cat owners know cats are rarely that easy, and the transition might be a bit of process.
If you have an especially picky cat, try an interim step to transitioning to raw food by switching them from kibble to canned food, which will get them used to a lower sugar and carbohydrate content in their food. This also acclimatizes them to a different texture. Once they’ve fully switched to can food, you can begin to integrate raw food into their diet by gradually adding more and more raw to their canned food each day.
It is important to remember that cats can not be fasted and should eat every 12-24 hours to maintain liver function. The first step to transitioning your cat to raw is to begin to meal feed rather than free feed. Offer their food a few times during the day and pick the food up and put it away if they do not finish it all. If your cat is not eating during the new meal times then you may opt to leave dry food out while working on meal feedings with canned food.
If they don’t take to raw food for pets, you can try warming the food up slightly. Avoid cooking or microwaving the food as this can quickly harm vital amino acids such as taurine - instead, place it inside a sealed bag and put it in warm water for 5-15 minutes. You can also begin integrating raw meaty bones into their food. Start by putting boneless chunks in the wet food to ensure that your cat works up their jaw muscles to tackle bones.
For more information on how to successfully transition your cat to a raw food diet, connect with our team at Iron Will Raw today. If you’re ready to give your cat raw food, click below to find your nearest Iron Will Raw Pet Food retailer.