What is a Raw Pet Diet

What is a Raw Diet? May seem a simple question, and at its base it is. However, what constitutes raw feeding for cats can be a bit complicated or rather interpreted differently depending on who you talk to about it. Some raw diets include cooked food, others vegetation, and still other just throw whole dead and live animals at their cats and let them go for it. I think all are valid in my opinion, and I can envision feeding my cats with each of these at some point, but for the most part, raw feeding means to feed meat, served with as little processing as possible. The point of raw feeding, either way, is to feed your pet in a way that their nature intended them to eat by their biology and physiology.

To process food means to change the food in some way. Most food is altered from its original components or state or DNA.  To choose which raw diet method you should use depends on a lot on what you are prepared to do or not do to your pet’s food. Unprocessed using the previous definition would mean unaltered food, a fresh kill either by you or your pet. Kills done by your pet can be controversial, i.e. the study** that suggested cats are responsible for a larger part of reductions of birds than previously thought. Letting your cat roam to obtain its food is dangerous for your cat, and I don’t recommend it in that your domestic or feral cat is not a wild animal, this is not the jungle and too much out there can injure or kill your pet; community obligations notwithstanding. You are providing the live animal, or a fresh kill is better in that you get to choose the amount, type, and condition of said animal your cat eats. That level of control is in large part why some people are raw feeding their pets.

The next layer of processing is prepared raw meat. So in order; cut, ground, mixed, cooked/frozen. You can take a kill and cut it up whole into pieces. You can cut it up and then grind it up. You can cut it, grind in particular cuts, mix in other ingredients (vegetables, fruits, vitamins, oils, supplements) afterward feeding it directly after the preparation. You can do any of the previous preparations and then either freeze, cook it let it cool then feed it or cook it, freeze and for both unthaw and then feed it. The cooked part for most people who do this type of feeding would find that preparation paramount to canned food. However, cooked food does not have the preservatives to slow cell death or the exposure to the chemicals and metals of the canning process. Frozen foods can occur at any of these levels whether you are doing the processing or done by a butcher/manufacturer.

A whole cut would mean you use the entire animal, absent feathers and fur. Some people will exclude the digestive track. Others will mix fruits, vegetables and needed supplements like Taurine in the case of cats. Whichever you do, commit yourself to regular vet visits so you can assure yourself your pet is receiving beneficial nutrition from your method.

That’s a lot to take in for one post. Our next post is about the preparations in more detail like what type of animals and ingredients.

**For full disclosure, I work for the Smithsonian and that cat study was conducted in part and published through the Institution. I do not speak to the Institution’s behavior or the people involved in the survey.  I also am not a scientist or work in that area of the Smithsonian. I’m willing to discuss the study or take comments as well as any comments you may have on the information posted.

Discourse is the wellspring of democracy.  No opinions squelched. As an employee of the Smithsonian and the federal government, any threats made to me or the Institution are forwarded to Homeland Security and the FBI, so let's keep it civil people.

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