By necessity, our cats eat a raw diet. If they even eat one meal of kibble, they leave piles of bright orange cat-diarrhea all over. When comparing the ickiness of raw meat to the ickiness of Montezuma's Cat's Revenge, I'd much rather deal with the meat.
Amazingly, this diet has proven to be a perfect way to raise healthy, vibrant cats. These are the first cats I've ever owned that have somehow held onto their fit, lithe figures. Their teeth are white and plaque-free, their coats are thick and shiny, and the litterbox doesn't smell.
Why do cats thrive on raw? Because cats are obligate carnivores. This basically means that they need to get their nutrients from meat, organs and bones - non-meat fillers and grains do absolutely nothing for them.
Cats' digestive and immune systems are crafted by nature to be able to handle raw meat and bones. My cats love crunching on the bones in their chicken meals, and eat all the bones in their mice and rats.
We feed five basic types of raw to our cats:
1. Pre-Packaged Raw: This is the first type of raw meat my cats were fed. Nature's Variety, Primal and Bravo are a few examples of companies that make pre-made raw. This is usually a ground product, pressed into easy-to-feed portions and frozen. It can be quite expensive, but a good choice if you want that level of "corporate accountability." We rarely feed this type anymore.
2. Ground Raw: It's exactly what it sounds like - raw meat put through a grinder. This makes a nice mushy, moldable glop that we usually only use when someone else is going to be feeding the cats. I don't like to feed it much, only because their teeth don't get cleaned without gnawing on those whole bones.
3. Chunks 'o' Meat: Again, self-explanatory. Usually chicken drumsticks, chunks of chicken quarters, etc. This is our primary mode of feeding, since it's easy to obtain and the cats love the bones in the meat. Some meat, like the occasional meal of fish, doesn't always have bones.
4. Prey Model Raw: This can be a bit gruesome to watch if you're not used to seeing animals eat their natural diet. Our cats get whole fish, whole mice and on occasion, whole rats (small ones.) We're looking into finding a source of quail as well. We feed PMR to ensure the cats get a sufficient amount of organ meat in their diets, since pure organ meat has proven to be too rich for our cats. Kindneys went over especially bad - not good, not good!
5. Non-Meat: Also known as eggs! The cats get eggs about once a week. I given them each an extra-large whole egg, and they'll carry it off and eat the entire thing - shell and all!
If you're interested in switching your cat to raw, this website is a great place to start.
Oh, and the cost? Well... let's just say it's cheaper than any premium commercial diet available - canned or kibble - no matter what part of the country you're in. Last night our local grocery store chain had chicken quarters on sale, 10lbs for $3.49. It was an insanely good deal for raw meat in Iowa, so my husband and I bought four bags. Hypothetically, each bag feeds the cats for three weeks, if that's all they would eat for a week. Yes, that's right - it'll cost us roughly $1.23 per week to feed our cats.
YOM YOM! Jacques says he looooves the taste of his raw chicken!