Starter Guide for Cats

Cats, are obligate carnivores which means they are strict meat eaters, they need meat to survive. Commercial wet cat foods contain as little as 4% meat (which is actually meat derivatives and the company probably cannot tell you what animal the meat derivatives come from).

Kittens are pretty easy to get transitioned into a raw diet – it’s pretty impossible to overfeed a kitten. Kittens have a high activity level and therefore they use of a lot of energy which then means they need lots of food to replace this. You should feed a kitten as much as it will eat over a number of different meal times. If your kitten is less active then you will need to feed less.

The Swap Transitioning cats to a raw diet can take time. A lot of perseverance and patience is needed with the majority of cats. However, you could be very lucky and your cat will eat a raw bit of chicken straight away (or perhaps has stolen some from the dogs bowl, which is why you’re here!).
Transitioning a cat to raw is completely different to transitioning a dog, a dog will eat when he is hungry, therefore you can fast until he eats what has been put in front of him.

With cats you CANNOT fast them, do not go cold turkey, tough love is absolutely not an option! Cats have to eat otherwise they will start breaking down their own body protein – this is dangerous so please take the time to read below on transitioning and be prepared to have some patience – it will be worth it in the end!

What are you feeding now?

24 hour kibble buffet? If you have an all you can eat 24 hour buffet the first step you will need to take is to stop the buffet and have set meal times.

This does not necessarily mean you should stop feeding kibble altogether at this current moment, instead this means that you should let your cat have limited access to the bowl at set times/ timescales per day, this will make the switch easier as your cat will have times when he is hungry.

(If your cat has taken to raw straight away then you don’t need to follow these steps!) Once you have got the meal times sorted, the next step would be to gradually get your cat switched to eating a high quality wet food. Again, this can take time so please be patient!!!!

The reasoning behind this is because kibble and raw are completely different textures, so changing to something with a similar texture will make the change to raw a bit easier once your cat is fully fed on wet food.

A mixture of kibble & wet?

If you were feeding a mixture of kibble and wet originally, then you can just ditch the kibble altogether and just feed the wet. If you are just feeding kibble, then it is best to introduce the wet food slowly by adding a little bit at a time, mixing it in with the kibble and increasing the amount gradually over time until your cat is on 100% wet food!

This is a general guideline, so please listen to your cat, every cat is different, what works for one may not work for the other!

Wet food? The next step would be to now start adding little bits of raw to your cats wet food. Gradually increase the raw and reduce the wet until your cat is 100% on raw.

However, cats can be incredibly fussy and again this may take time! You may have to become an expert in disguising bits of raw into the wet.

It has been known that some cats do not recognise raw as food because it is less fragrant than wet/ kibble. You may have to entice them by adding some bone broth to the mix, or sprinkling crushed kibble on top.

If they still aren’t eating the raw, another idea would be to add boiled chicken to the wet and gradually reduce the boiling time until it’s raw and then increase the amount of raw chicken and reduce the wet.

Also, some cats do not like eating from a bowl, try using a plate with chunks of meat spread apart over the plate.

REMEMBER: Slow and steady wins the race Once your cat has fully made the switch there are a few bits you will need to know about getting the balance correct.

What can I feed?

The diet should be made up of 80% meat 10% bone and 10% offal (5% must be liver). Both of my cats enjoy chicken wings, duck necks, chicken necks, chicken carcass, lamb ribs and if you are feeling brave they also have whole prey such as day old chicks and day old ducklings.

They can have lots of different proteins, my cats genuinely have what I can get my hands on – chicken, beef, lamb, duck, kangaroo, goat, rabbit, pheasant, pigeon, partridge, poussin, oily fish, venison, to name just a few, they also have raw eggs.

Remember slow introductions are key when introducing new meats and lots of variety.

There are only 2 major differences when it comes to feeding cats raw. The first one is that there is no need to feed fruit or veg and secondly, cats need taurine in their diet in order to survive.

What is Taurine?

Taurine is a type of amino acid. Amino acids form the main constituents of all proteins. Taurine is exclusively found in animal-based proteins.

It is critical for vision, digestion, heart muscle function, and to maintain a healthy immune system. Taurine is an essential amino acid in the cat.

How will I ensure my cat is getting enough Taurine? I would just like to make it clear that you can never overdo it when it comes to taurine and cats. What taurine is not needed by the body will be passed in the urine.

Taurine is found in darker, harder working muscle meats such as heart (which contains the most taurine) and thigh meats (turkey, chicken), so just make sure you are feeding enough of these meats. Rabbit contains the lowest taurine content.

Mincing meat reduces the taurine amount because the amino acids are open to bacteria which destroys the taurine amount present.

Chunks of meat contain more taurine as less of the surface area is open to bacteria.

How much do I feed?

Again, every cat is different and you will need to take into consideration your cats activity level, age, weight but general guidelines are to feed about 3-5% of your cats body weight. If your cat is overweight you will need to reduce this accordingly.

A load of poo Ok, so hopefully after getting this far, you won’t think this article is a load of poo. Poo is a great indication of knowing that we are getting it right.

If you have a hard white crumbly poo, this is an indication that you are feeding too much bone, on the other hand, if you get a runny poo, you could be feeding too much offal.

Use your cats poo to use as a guideline.