I’m thinking about switching my cats to a raw food diet. After all, cats have evolved into carnivorous predators, and who am I to fight nature? Just because I, for my own self interest, have chosen to enclose animals between walls doesn’t mean I have any right to drastically alter their natural diet.
When I think about Oscar, I sometimes feel pretty bad. He could have stayed on the farm, catching his own fresh mice and birds and who knows what else. Sure, I’ve almost certainly extended his years; his ninth life most likely would have expired long ago in some fight over a pretty girl cat or in a deadly bout with a moving vehicle.
But what’s the point of an extended life when it’s not a quality life?
I don’t feel bad about Tara. She was born an indoor kitten (the cutest little white kitten in the world), so I didn’t steal any joys away from her. It’s pretty safe to say that my Tara has never seen a real mouse, let alone tasted one. The birds she has known have always fluttered safely on the other side of the window. She doesn’t know any better.
But these cats are at my mercy, 100% dependent on me.
I spend a lot of time (a whole lot of time) coming up with ways to improve my own diet. I read studies, I read ingredients lists (makes for some long grocery shopping trips), I find recipes, I prepare in advance, I prepare in quantity, etc. But the whole time I’ve been focusing on keeping my husband and myself healthy, I’ve been neglecting my bewhiskered friends.
While discovering, pinpointing, and removing from our human diet all the horrors that are passed off as “food” in the grocery store, it never occurred to me to even consider what non-foods were actually in the dry kibble and canned food I provide to my cats.
The wet and dry foods I currently give them contain preservatives, flavorings and “chicken by-products”—I don’t even want to know what that means. Also, they contain corn gluten meal (a lawn fertilizer and weed suppressant), vegetables, rice, oil and other things carnivores just aren’t built to digest. Can you imagine a cat in the wild crunching carrots and nibbling juicy blueberries? I can’t either.
For the past eleven years, I’ve failed to fulfill my cats’ dietary needs. But now I have the knowledge and determination to do a complete U-turn. I owe it to them to not only provide another ten or more years of life, but to provide them a quality second half of life.
Of course, it wouldn’t work for me to feed my feline friends live mice, birds and bugs in my house. That’s just gross. So I need to find the next best thing. There are quite a few raw cat food recipes out there, most featuring chicken or rabbit to replace the mice and birds cats have evolved to devour.
No problem. I can do chicken or rabbit, as long as they’re not alive and running around my house.
There are a variety of paths I can choose for my cats’ new diet and I haven’t quite decided on one yet. Choices range from buying quality canned (though cooked) cat food to grinding my own whole chickens—bones and all. And there are several middle ground options to choose from, too. I will probably choose one of these middle-of-the-road options, at least to get started.
Right now I’m leaning toward buying a premixed supplement and mixing it into store bought ground meat.
I know you’re just sitting on the edge of your seat right now, eagerly awaiting my ultimate decision and the final outcome.
I’ll keep you posted.