4 Benefits of a Raw Diet
Embraced for decades by holistically oriented pet parents and holistic veterinarians, raw feeding is becoming more and more mainstream as cat parents look for alternatives to feeding highly processed commercial pet foods. A raw diet can benefit your cat’s health overall, and it can also make a big difference with certain health conditions.
Cats are obligate carnivores, and they need meat not only to survive, but to thrive. Just like with human nutrition, the less processed a food is, the better it is for your cats. A raw diet is the closest to what cats would eat in the wild. Any processing alters the biological structure of food.
One of the first things cat parents who switch their cats to raw are smaller, less smelly stools. The reason for this is because raw food has higher bioavailability, meaning more of the food is absorbed and put to good use in the body rather than being eliminated through stools.
Raw food is not only easier on the stomach, it also provides the probiotics needed to restore a healthy gut.
Cats who eat raw food tend to have softer, shinier coats. Cat parents often report a dramatic change in appearance after just a couple of weeks after switching to a raw diet. A meat-based raw diet provides the optimal levels of protein, fat and trace minerals that result in an improved hair coat.
Improved dental health
Most cat parents have heard their vets say that dry food is important for dental health. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most cats don’t chew their kibble long enough for any of the scraping action that is the theory behind this myth to kick in. Additionally, dry food leaves a carbohydrate residue in the cat’s mouth that actually encourages growth of tartar and plaque. Chewing raw food, especially if it contains chunks of meat, helps keep gums and teeth clean.
Helpful for cats with IBD
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is the most common cause of gastrointestinal problems for cats. Although cats of all ages can be affected, it is typically seen in middle-aged or older cats. The term IBD is used for a number of chronic gastrointestinal disorders. Physiologically, it is characterized by an infiltration of inflammatory cells into the lining of the digestive tract. The location of the inflammation can help determine the specific type of IBD.
Holistically oriented veterinarians are seeing a connection between diet and IBD. These vets believe that commercial pet foods, especially dry foods, are a contributing factor to the large numbers of cats with chronic IBD. They also discovered that many cats improve by simply changing their diets to a balanced grain-free raw meat diet. Similar results may be achieved with a grain-free canned diet, but a raw diet seems to lead to quicker and better results.