Transitioning Cats to a Natural Diet
Cats are true carnivores (obligate carnivores) that have a nutritional requirement for animal protein. By consuming a balanced diet containing meat, bone, and organs, they receive essential vitamins and fatty acids.
Cats thrive on a natural, raw diet. Cats learn their concepts of food as kittens. Transitioning from kibble to a natural diet is seamless for most cats and more challenging for others. For cats that need extra encouragement to try new food, frequent exposure is the key. Unlike dogs, cats should not be fasted. With patience, most cats will eventually love raw food. Although it is not recommended to mix kibble and raw long term, it might be a temporary alternative to help a resistant cat try raw.
Raw patties need to be thawed in the refrigerator. Some cats prefer to have their food slightly warm. To accommodate this preference, put a patty in a Ziploc bag and submerge in warm water. Never microwave Totally Raw patties or whole food.
Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats which helps maintain vision and promotes cardiovascular health. Red meat, poultry, and organs are high in Taurine. However, taurine levels are diminished when exposed to oxygen. It is recommended to supplement daily with taurine when feeding patties. Alternatively, you can provide occasional chicken necks or other whole food for an extra boost of taurine.
Once your cat is receptive to patties, introduce new protein varieties. Some cats prefer to have a small amount of a new variety mixed into a favorite protein to help them adjust to the change.
Totally Raw Patties
- Patties are fully balanced with meat, organ and bone ratio (with the exception of tripe patties). Just thaw and serve.
- Bone is a necessity in a raw diet, ground bone is easy for a transitioning pet to digest.
- The patties are approximately 1/2 pound each.
What should you expect with a raw fed cat?
Reduced water consumption:
Cats originated from a small desert cat native to North Africa. They drink very little and conserve water by producing concentrated urine. Cats evolved to meet their water requirements almost entirely through food. Cats natural prey animals are comprised of 70-75% water. A cat suffers from dehydration when the water content of food drops below 61%.
Cats are in a constant state of dehydrating when consuming a kibble diet. Dehydration creates significant stress on the internal organs.
Reduced Stool Production:
A raw, natural diet is more digestible resulting in significantly less stool production as compared to processed food. Normal frequency of elimination is once a day or even less. Dry, crumbly stool is normal as well as reduced odour.
Cats fed a processed diet consume a significant amount of fiber in the form of fillers. These fillers can make the bowel lazy. If you find your cat is experiencing constipation you can add a tablespoon of pumpkin to the next meal. Another method is to feed a boneless meal.
What else do you need to know?
- A variety of proteins should be added to your pet’s diet after the transition period. Encourage your cat to eat three or more proteins. It may take time to successfully introduce a new protein, frequent exposure is the key to success.
- Totally Raw Omega 3 Fish Oil is essential if your cat is not consuming mackerel on a regular basis. EPA and DHA are omega 3 fatty acids that are poorly synthesized in cats. Omega Oil should be supplemented several times per week. See Totally Raw Omega 3 Oil for dosage instructions.
- Mixing kibble or other processed foods with raw is not recommended long term. They are digested at different rates and may cause stomach upset.
Not sure how much you should be feeding?
Totally Raw recommends two daily feedings for adult cats. Kittens and pregnant or lactating queens will require extra food and more frequent daily feedings.
4-8 weeks old — Feeding 4.5 – 8.5 % body weight
8 weeks – 1 year old — Feeding 4.0% body weight
Feeding 4.0-8.0% body weight
Remember to observe your pet’s weight to determine if the daily amount needs to be adjusted.
Please see our meal calculator as a reference for adult cats. For more information on feeding kittens or pregnant and lactating cats, please contact our one of our Totally Raw Pet Food stores. Linked below.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us at one of our retail locations. Click Here.