Have you ever been in a situation when you have to feed your cat, but you don’t have enough time to cook food, and only chicken or meat is available? If yes, then a question might strike your mind – is it good to feed your kitty a raw treat food?
Today, we are surrounded by processed food and refined grains. Most cat owners assume that the best way to keep their cat healthy is to feed them cat food from a renowned brand. However, these products undergo similar processes just as packed human food does. And, it might not be a good idea to feed then processed or packed food; try feeding them fresh food instead of the ones that come in packet or cans.
Like you may be going all-natural, keeping to diets, and trying your best to return to the goodness of wholesome food, your furry pals can use some of the goodness too. That being said, cats are generally carnivorous animals. So, they need to eat meat. Many people actually have tried cooking meat without spices and feeding that to the cats. But the next question that arises is, can they eat it raw, or does it have to be cooked?
General Tendency of cats
As cats are carnivores and by nature hunt for prey, it is safe to assume that they would actually prefer uncooked meat. If you have been a cat owner for a while, you may have noticed that they sometimes bring back small rodents, birds, etc. from their hunt and offer it to their owner too sometimes. That is why it is in the general tendency of cats to prefer eating uncooked chicken.
The cats generally consume all the organs and even the bones of their prey. Birds meat has always been a favorite among cats & you may also find piles of feathers left by cats after a hunt. The digestive tract of felines is capable of digesting the meat raw, unlike us humans. It is a very short track and hence may take a long while to digest, which means they remain well-fed for a longer duration.
Most people cite this as a reason against feeding raw meat to any pet animal. In the case of cats, however, this is a misconception as bacteria take a longer time to infect, multiply, and affect the cat’s gut. Since the track is small, the chances of this happening are very rare. By the time the bacteria even start to thrive, the digestion would be complete. However, care must be taken to not feed spoilt, decaying, or contaminated meat to your cat. Always go for the freshest options you can find.
What are the benefits?
Some people have tried to veganize their cats by trying to feed them a plant-based food source. However, it is a bad idea as these are not suitable for the digestive tracts of the feline and can cause health problems. These are also very low in their protein content, which is essential for your cat’s health and well-being.
Raw chicken is an excellent source of protein and is good for your feline’s bones and eyesight. It also contains amino acids for maintaining the digestive tract health of your cat. As it is low in carbohydrate content, it doesn’t lead to excessive weight gain and obesity in them. This diet, when combined with the prescribed additions by a vet, can keep your cat’s diet well balanced.
Raw chicken also has the added advantage of coming with raw bones, which are excellent chew toys to keep the cats busy. It is also good for their dental health and keeps their gums strong. Just as cats need to keep sharpening their claws, their teeth and gums need exercise too. As they are hunting animals, giving them bones to chew on is an excellent way to maintain oral and mental health.
Hydration is also an important part of a cat’s diet. Since cats are not huge fans of water and getting their fur wet, they restrain from drinking enough water. Therefore, they need to get extra moisture from their food. Cat food that comes in packets or in the form of pellets is generally dehydrated for preserving purposes. That is why feeding raw chicken having good fluid content is a good idea.
Another advantage for you is that if you put your cat on a raw meat diet, you need not feed your furry pal often. They remain full for longer bringing down your expenditure as well as giving you more time to do your stuff before they start clawing you again for food.
Are there any risks?
Raw meat may be a good alternative to packaged food. But consuming raw chicken daily, may not be a good idea. Chicken does not contain taurine, which is essential for the overall health of felines. That is why you must consult a vet and add possible supplements or other food items to your cat’s meal.
However, still, there are chances of infection when using raw meat as food. Cooked or processed meat usually doesn’t contain much bacteria. If your cat takes time to play with its food before consuming it, there is a possibility that the infection would begin even before the meat is consumed. Thus, even the short intestinal tract could get infected. It could lead to food poisoning or indigestion. It can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, etc. If you see these signs, you must visit the vet immediately.
Salmonellosis is a common condition among cats, which usually occurs as an infection resulting from the consumption of raw meat. The gut of your cat may be efficient at dealing with pathogens, but no cat has a perfect immune system. So, it is possible that your cat could contract this disease. The common symptoms of salmonellosis are rapid weight loss, hair loss, fatigue, and mucus in stool.
Cats may also contract skin diseases as they are having digestive issues due to meat consumption. Cats that are too young or old have weaker immune systems and are hence susceptible to such issues. That is why it is vital to give your cat a once over every day if you are planning on trying out a new diet for them.
Listeria, a disease caused by bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes, is another infection commonly associated with the consumption of raw chicken in cats as well as other farm animals. This disease is very dangerous and proves fatal if not treated soon. The symptoms are generally the same as that of indigestion, except this can cause felines to have a fever as well.
Let’s quickly take a recap on what are the advantages and disadvantages of feeding raw chicken to your feline friend.
|· High protein content
· High Moisture content
· No added preservatives
· Improves oral health
|· It might contain harmful bacteria.
· It can cause diseases like Salmonellosis and Listeria.
· Small pieces of bones can damage the digestive system.
· It does not contain all the essential nutrients.
· Risk of food poisoning is high.
What can be done?
It is very simple. All you have to do is wash the meat properly in clean water and then cook it. Do not use any spices or other ingredients; only boil the meat for a few minutes to kill the bacteria and then give it to your cat. It makes it easy to digest also and beneficial in case your cat has had a history of digestive issues. You can also include bones in this meal, but ensure that you don’t add too many of them.
Meat can also be given uncooked, but only if you make sure that it is fresh and from a good source. You can also give meat once or twice a week with enough gap for the digestion to happen completely. It is only when raw chicken is fed too often that problems arise.
Another good option is to go for the freeze-dried chicken. These are generally cat and dog treats that come in packets. They are pieces of raw chicken that have been dried and frozen to preserve. It has relatively fewer preservatives or chemicals added to them. All you have to do is soak it in some warm water for a while & it is ready to be served. It is a healthy snack without any antibiotics or hormones added to it and does not even need refrigeration.
Another option is to get this Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers. This one contains cage-free chicken, which is the healthiest alternative of poultry that has been grown without any chemical influences. It contains nutrients that are not removed during processing and is preserved by removal of moisture from it. No artificial colors or preservatives are added to it. It is generally added as a topping to your usual cat food to bring in a healthy change to your cat’s healthy diet. It gets them more excited and can help with training them also.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How can I get a very picky cat to eat chicken?
You can try out a chicken-based food topping as mentioned above. Not only it gets your cat’s curiosity, but it also encourages them to try out the food. Once they try it out, they get used to the taste; after this, most probably, you will not face further issues.
How often can I feed raw chicken to my cat?
Eating raw meat too often can cause health concerns, specifically digestion issues. You can alternate between different kinds of meat, but make sure that you don’t feed them raw meat more than 3 or 4 times a week.
What are the other raw meats I can feed to my cat?
Cats are carnivores and eat almost any kind of meat. You will find that different bird meats are the favorites for many cats. You can also try out mutton or lamb as alternate options.
Why are raw meats good for training cats?
Raw meat tastes fresh and is very similar to what a cat gets after hunting. It gives them a feeling of gratification and delight. Hence offering pieces of raw meat as treats while training your cat gives them more incentive to do the task they are told. Since treats are given in small portions and not frequently, the chances of causing an infection is also slight. That is why people opt to use raw chicken strips to train cats.
So now, you have weighed out the pros and cons of feeding raw chicken to your cat, it is up to you whether you want to offer them cooked meat or raw one. If you suddenly run out of cat food and happen to have some good chicken, it might not be such a bad idea to feed it to your cat. If you are still worried, you can cook it for a few minutes and then give it to your furry buddy.
If your planning on constructing a diet of raw meats for your cat, you must take all the above factors into account and plan out a proper schedule and include supplements as well. To do this, you must visit a good vet and consult them about your plan. For more information, explore the internet or stay tuned for more articles.