Commercial Raw Food Products for Cats are Prepared Badly

Raw food diet for cats

Making homemade raw food for your cat.

It seems that commercially prepared raw food for pets – dogs and cats – is of poor quality because the standards required in preparing this food is lower than that required for preparing human grade food.

The lower standard results in commercially prepared raw pet foods containing a variety of pathogens which are hazardous to pet health.

However, the study which came to this conclusion is based on a small sample size and it was carried out in the Netherlands – Paul Overgaauw at Utrecht University. The Dutch set high standards so I’d expect the study to have validity but the products that they tested may have been manufactured to lower standards than those demanded in the USA or UK.

However, they tested 35 raw (but frozen) meat-based pet food products available in the Netherlands.

Fifteen products (43%) contained ‘other’ Listeria, 28 products (80%) contained Listeria moncytogenes, eight (23%) contained Escherichia coli (E coli) and seven (20%) contained Salmonella. Further, eight products (22%) contained two types Sarcocystis (a parasite) and two (6%) contained Toxoplasma gondii. Potential zoonotic pathogens where present in the products.

So, with regret, is has to be reported that raw pet food available in the Netherlands is often tainted with pathogens. The research team say:

“Feeding of freshly prepared, non-frozen raw meat based-diets to companion animals can not only result in infection and disease in the animals, but also poses a risk to public health and livestock farming through shedding of pathogens into the environment.”

They gently suggest that buying human grade raw foods and making your own raw pet food is safer. I’d would odd that you have to make sure that you know how to handle and store raw foods to avoid bacterial contamination.

They make another observation. Preservatives in raw pet foods may not be labelled correctly. They suggest that they may be toxic to cats and dogs.

The issue here though is whether these scientists are being unbiased. Were they funded by a large pet food manufacturer? They could well be. In fact I’d expect it. They say that ‘parts of this study’ were funded by a foundation but where did the rest of the money come from?

These large pet food manufacturing companies do all they can to keep cats and dogs on their commercial diets which are often less than ideal.

I agree that there is a need for a full-blown scientific study on the benefits and quality of raw pet foods. However, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that it is beneficial to cat and dog health with specific reference to illnesses associated with the gut and digestion.

I have a page on raw food diets for cats and it is mainly about home prepared foods. I am a fan of raw food diets by the way. I think they should be used far more often.

The information comes from the study: Zoonotic bacteria and parasites found in raw meat-based diets for cats and dogs. Only the summary is available without charge.

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Commercial Raw Food Products for Cats are Prepared Badly — 6 Comments

  1. It has gotten to the point that I don’t feed a raw diet to my pets and haven’t for the last 40 years or so. I no longer trust anything any government says about how careful they are in handling and preparing the raw food.

    • I don’t feed government prepared frozen food. I feed an organic frozen food prepared locally. I trust that much more than any thing dry or canned, approved by the AFCCO.

      Susan Gort, what do you feed your pets? How’s their health?

      • My furbabies are fed a dry food made in Sweden, Husse. I have one on a urinary tract diet, three on a lamb and ris diet. Kutawnnie is on the lamb and ris as she has chronic IBD and pancreatitis. Since she has been on the lamb and ris, her pancreatitis titer is normal and there is no problem with IBD. The other 2 girls share her lamb and ris. Thor and Guy are on the active diet 9They are high octane kids. The 3 girls are also on the canned diet from Husse. Their health is awesome! I’ve had fewer hairballs and virtually no vomiting from upset tummies. I have a friend whose cats are also on the Husse dry food. I sit for them when they are out and about and both cats are doing very well. The older cat has been on ZD by Hills for several years. Since he has been on the Husse, he is more active (for an old kitty). And the younger female isn’t so hyper. 4 of my babies are deaf ferals, so I move slowly and they have learned a crude version of kitty sign language. They are also more active for indoor kitties. Their teeth, when I can look at them are much better looking . They have been on the Husse only for 7 months now. It took me 3 months to totally transition them to Husse only.

  2. We don’t know “who” did this study? Funded by a “foundation”? with no name. Another red flag for me is the wording, “Preservatives in raw pet foods MAY not be labelled correctly. They suggest that they MAY be toxic to cats and dogs.”

    “Feeding of freshly prepared, non-frozen raw meat based-diets to companion animals can not only result in infection and disease in the animals…..”

    I think that most people who prepare fresh raw meat for their animals, make big batches, and freeze immediately in meal size pouches. Also, most people know about the dangers of handling raw meat, although we know that many people don’t pay attention to health or safety practices, even for themselves.

    I would think that this study would be backed up by actual cases.

    I have no confidence in a study that doesn’t reveal what I consider essential evidence. This is not to say that some cmmmercial pet foods don’t have a high standard.

    I’m wondering if this “foundation” also funded tests of dry and canned pet food, which has been known to carry pathogens that have killed pets.

    • One problem is that I was not able to access the entire document without paying and I did not feel like paying $30 or whatever!

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