Client Information Sheet
FEEDING YOUR CAT
Written byDr Douglas Wilson BVM&S PhD VetMFHom MRCVSc
What kinds of food are best for my cat ?
Natural foods are best.
What is a cat’s natural diet ?
A cat’s natural diet consists of mainly meat, bones and offal (liver, kidney, etc) together with the stomach contents of animals which they hunt. This usually contains ground up grasses, grains and fruit, etc.
What is wrong with tinned and dry cat food ?
Both tinned and dry cat foods are made from cheap animal and cereal bi-products which are heated and processed to prevent them from going off. This allows them to be stored longer but it also breaks down most of the nutritional value. Consequently vitamins and other nutrients have to be added. Some additives cause skin problems, allergies and other health related conditions.
There is also a high incidence of tooth decay in cats fed mostly commercial processed food. Lower urinary tract conditions can also occur.
What should I feed my cat ?
Most of the diet should consist of
RAW MEATY BONES
These can either be chicken (eg chicken necks or wings), turkey, fish (or fish heads), lamb, kangaroo, pork, rabbit, etc. but it is best to trim off excess fat. Most cats enjoy the bones raw but some fussy cats refuse to eat them unless they are very fresh.
Cats usually prefer their food at room temperature, so remember to warm any food which has been stored in the fridge. Alternatively, most cats will eat bones after they have been either, dipped in boiling water or else lightly grilled, steamed or baked.
You can train your cat at an early stage to eat the bones on a piece of carpet square or else feed the bones outside.
Will bones harm my cat ?
Cooked bones tend to splinter and may become stuck in the cat’s throat or intestine. This is rarely a problem with raw bones so always feed them raw or only lightly cooked on the outside. Modern chickens grow so fast that they are now killed younger when their bones are still soft, so it should be safe to feed them providing they are not cooked through.
All bones should be free from parasites if they are bought from a butcher.
What else should I feed my cat ?
You should offer some cereal grains to your cat 1-2 days each week. Suitable grains include rolled oats and wheat (like the type found in muesli). Either cook the grains first or else soak a little in plain yoghurt (no added sugar) for a few hours. (Note that some cats develop sensitivity to milk, so it is better to use yoghurt or cottage cheese instead.) You could also give some cooked rice.
Remember that cats normally eat the stomach contents of the animals which they hunt. This consists of mostly grasses, grains, fruit, etc. You should provide this to your cat by offering a small amount of finely chopped or grated grass – especially if you see your cat trying to eat grass. Mix the chopped grass into the yoghurt cereal mixture or else add some finely grated bean sprouts, lettuce, apple, etc.
You could also buy a pot of ‘Cat Grass’ from your local garden nursery. Cats often love to chew this. This is especially important for cats who live indoors.
Can I vary my cat’s diet ?
Yes. This is very important since some cats become very fussy if they are not given a varied diet from an early age. Vary the type of bone which you give your cat. Also offer some raw or lightly cooked liver, kidney or occasional raw egg.
It is healthy and natural for your cat to have a partial fast once or twice a week. Give only a little food on these days - eg some cottage cheese mixed with a little finely grated grass or green–sprouts, etc.
How much should I feed my cat ?
Most people tend to over feed their cat. You should only need to be giving the equivalent of one or two chicken necks per day, or a couple of tablespoons of soaked /cooked grains with a little finely grated grass or green-sprouts. The exact amount will depend on the type of cat, age, activity, health and metabolic rate.
Don’t leave food out all day for your cat to browse on. It is much more natural and healthy to feed either once or twice a day. Any food that remains uneaten after 15 minutes is surplus to the cat’s requirements. Remove it and feed less the next time.
Please make an appointment with Dr Wilson so that he can examine your cat and determine the amount he or she needs in order to keep fit and healthy.
Suggested reading (available from the HolisticVetOnline) www.holisticvetonline.com
The BARF Diet by Ian Billinghurst
Dr Douglas Wilson BVM&S PhD VetMFHom MANZCVS
Page last edited: May 24th 2016