Thoughts on a Raw Cat Food Diet

Thoughts on a Raw Cat Food Diet

by Sylvia Ann
(Washington State USA)

Last October little Ethel tested positive for FeLV, but has been in good health since her five-week illness two years ago. She’s exuberantly playful, has a rumbling purr, and a fur coat a film star would envy.

Not until August has she been listless. Each of her two bouts lasted four days, from which she’s recovered, as far as I can tell. Unless her blood test was false positive, her FeLV seems to be latent.

What is confusing, some sources say 85-90% of cats die within two or three years of exposure to the virus. Others say the mortality rate is 45-50%. To compound the mystery, her vets say Ethel could live into little old ladyhood.

But her weakened immunity makes raw meat extremely inadvisable, according to her vets. They also inveigh against raw meat for healthy cats. (Funny. Thought cats have eaten steak tartare for eons!) Finally, they roundly condemn raw poultry for any cat. They say you’re playing Russian roulette if you feed your cat raw turkey or chicken. (Yet cats eat birds.) Come to think, though, they may be right.

Years ago I fed Inspector McWee six ounces of fresh raw ground turkey every day. He gobbled the gobbler, but within a few days repeatedly vomited frothy slime that looked like green bile. When I stopped the raw turkey, the vomiting stopped.

If it’s been refrigerated for no more than three days, the one treat my cats never reject is 3-4 oz. a day – per cat – of minced organic raw beef. This stew meat costs up to $4.50 a pound, though farm-fresh beef in 50-lb. portions is less expensive.

Organic chicken is often on sale, and costs less than commercial canned cat food. A raw meat diet may not be more pricey than the Fancy Feast and canned Friskies my cats eat, which runs $50.00-$65.00 a month per cat. But how many cats eat defrosted raw meat? Mine wouldn’t touch it unless they were starved. Fresh, yes. But not defrosted and warmed over. I’ve read, by the way – whether or not it’s true, I don’t know – that frozen plastic containers and cellophane wrapping leach dioxin into foods.

Re enriching the meat with vitamins and minerals, I’ve heard and read – where and when I don’t know, nor is what I recall infallibly accurate – that tablets and capsules are bogus remedies palmed off on the gullible by those who peddle pills. (Which reads like a tautology.) Whether or not the allegation is justified, the vitamins need to be organic. Synthetic won’t work. What’s more, they’re not in a bottle of pills, but only in raw or lightly cooked very fresh foods, in which they are linked in intricate, symbiotic relationships that baffle biochemists. For all the glowing corporate claims, pills and capsules have no more vitality than a rouged corpse.

Again, this is not my own views on the subject. I’m only paraphrasing what I’ve heard and read.

Is the foregoing true, false, or a combo of both? I’m not competent to judge. It’s impressive to read, though, that breeders successfully feed their cats raw meat supplemented with vitamin powders, tablets and capsules.

It’s going to be fun to see if there are any fish recipes on this blog which I’ve not yet read in any detail. Since cats didn’t evolve to eat corn, their craving for fish is a puzzlement, and also alarming in view of the contaminants. In spite of the PCBs & quicksilver, my own cats relish human grade tuna once a week, rinsed of salt. Does this mean they’re related to grizzly bears and otters?

Many thanks for a meaty blog!


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Thoughts on a Raw Cat Food Diet

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Sep 23, 2010
Hi Rose –
by: Sylvia Ann

Thanks for your comments. I’m 500 percent open to suggestions, and would greatly appreciate knowing what you feed your cats. (Though your suggestions might not help – me, that is – if you live other than in the U.S)

Ethel & Mcwee have driven me to the wall, budget-wise,with their finicky disdain for nearly everything I offer them. Part of the problem stems from the fact that they’re fairly inactive housecats; what’s more, they know that if they turn up their noses at a newly opened can of catfood, I’ll keep opening one can after another until we find something that measures up to their lofty standards.

As for raw meat – in common with you I know no one else who gives their cats this…in fact, most people I know feed their cats those cornmeal-sawdust pellets you buy for $20.00 per 100-lb. sack.

But my kitties do enjoy raw organic stew meat – a bit of it every evening for supper, and so far it hasn’t harmed them.

Anyhow, I’d be grateful to you for any helpful hints re cat victuals.



Sep 23, 2010
by: Rose

What an interesting article.
I’ve never thought about feeding my cats on a raw diet and don’t know anyone who does.
I buy the best quality cat food I can afford too, like I do for my kids and dogs and thankfully all are remarkably healthy specimens.

Sep 23, 2010
Sylvia Ann
by: Ruth

Hello,did you not get my reply to your email ? It was a few days after you wrote.
Yes at the moment it’s rain rain rain, dark mornings,dark evenings,’orribly depressing.
Will write to you again soon.

Sep 22, 2010
Howdy Ruth!
by: Sylvia Ann

Thank you for your always kind e-mail. No – my computer hasn’t blown its gaskets yet, though I have to drape it with a cold compress and jolt it with whiffs of smelling salts.

Hope you received the 100-page e-mail I sent you last month, though it probably left you comatose.

Has it begun to rain yet? We’ve had 16 days of sun since February. Don’t know if you’re into Alfred Hitchcock, but years ago he directed a film about these people transmogrified into quivering blobs of algae. In the end, all you saw was their feet.

Best wishes to you and Barb from the chlorophyll monster.

Your pal,


Sep 20, 2010
Cat food
by: Ruth

Hi Sylvia, nice to hear from you again.I thought your computer must have totally packed in the fight lol
The feeding of cats is a minefield and like everything else, experts have differing opinions about what is best for cats, so what are we to do ?
Our cats have always had good quality cat food and sometimes chicken or turkey and as a treat tuna.
As far as I know, their food hasn’t caused them any harm over our 36 years of cats.Our present 2 boyz are healthy and happy with beautiful shiny coats.
As they have their freedom they get to eat the grass they need to help their digestion,it’s Nature’s own medicine. It’s sad that indoor cats miss out on that and many people don’t even grow kitty grass for them.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Sep 20, 2010
Hi Sylvia
by: Michael

Hi Sylvia, thanks for your interesting thoughts on a raw cat food diet.

My understanding of this meaty subject is that we should recognise that:

Wildcats eat raw meat and some vegetation (in the gut of prey and/or deliberately). Also cats generally like fish because a good number of wild cats go fishing! Servals, Asian leopard cat, Fishing cat and Jaguarundi come to mind. I am sure tigers also catch the odd fish as they like water.

Domestic cats are at heart wildcats but have evolved from the wildcat substantially so a pure wildcat diet is perhaps inadvisable.

Cats are obligate carnivores.

When a vet says it is dangerous for a cat to eat raw meat they are probably referring to the risk of transmission of disease. Toxoplasmosis can be transferred through raw meat for instance. And bacteria can poison. This though is a question of people managing the raw meat to eliminate or reduce that possibility.

Straight raw meat is not enough for a cat’s diet as it it not complete. So just feeding meat or fish is unbalanced and very wrong.

But a mixture or some raw (with perhaps supplements as described in the article on this page), some commercially prepared food, wet and dry and the occasional treat (cooked human food such as roast chicken) seems to me to be the best balance.

Martin Stucki one of the world’s best cat breeders feeds commercial cat food and thawed raw chicken. His cats are stupendous – Savannah cats.

The supplements as described in my article on raw cat food diet should be specialist and prepared properly. I refer to Kitty Bloom as one example.

Finally any attempt to feed a raw cat food diet needs, as you infer to be done carefully.

Michael Avatar

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