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raw ground meat for cat

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Is it safe to give a cat (3 yrs.) raw ground turkey or beef as an adjunct to her diet of dry food?
post #2 of 24
You can read about the raw diet for cats on the following website-
Biologically Appropriate Raw Food
post #3 of 24
Bailey3, I have the exact same question. I had a cat for 16 years (from when I was 6) and she only got fed raw meat. This was in another country where canned and dry foods are unheard of. Well, now with my 2 babies, I feed them wet (1 can each per day) and dry food (free feed). But whenever I'm cutting meat for cooking dinner, I'll let them have a taste and they go CRAZY!! Climbing my pants and all. I'm thinking of giving either meat or ground beef to them every once in a while in place of the wet food.... any thoughts on this? They really love it and it can't be harmful to them, it's absolute protein, plus they get the other nutrients from the dry free feeding, and the wet food the other times. What do y'all think?
post #4 of 24
I think you should talk to your vet first. I wanted to feed Cupid a raw food diet too. His breeder used to feed him some raw food especially for cats & dogs, that has all of the nutrients he needs added, but she quit b/c there were bone fragments. The vet tech. I talked to said she feeds her cats the same thing and the bones won't hurt them. So I was going to feed him that. Then my breeder told me about a new product she found that is a powder and you mix it with raw ground meat. It has all the nutrients in there. So she started feeing him raw ground turkey and chicken w/the powder mixed in it and he looooooves it. So when I get him back I'll be feeding him that too.

I don't think plain raw meat has everything they need, but I don't know why it would hurt as a treat. Just talk to your vet.
post #5 of 24
Hey Purr, could you please let me know what that powder is when you find out? Thanks!
post #6 of 24
It's called Feline Instincts
The raw food that had everything in there already, but has bones (it's up to you & your vet if you want to do that) is called Nature's Variety.
post #7 of 24
Raw foods are great for cats, and a bit of raw meat every now and again as a treat is only a good thing. You shouldn't feed it at the same time as commercial foods though, that may cause some digestive upsets as the foods are digested at very different rates.

I feed my dogs and younger cat a raw diet, based on raw meaty bones. I don't believe any powder or commercial product can replace all they get from bones. However, if bones is all that is keeping someone from feeding a raw diet, replacing those with something else that gives at least some of the same benefits is the next best thing.

The vet advice is usually sound, but in feeding it's not always the way to go. Most vets don't know much about feeding cats/dogs, it's not in their training (for most part) so it's basically up to themselves if they want to learn more.
post #8 of 24
Just curious; when you're feeding raw meat, do you just use the stuff from the supermarket or do you go to the butcher? The only reason I ask is because I've read that some who recommend this diet don't like the supermarket stuff. The only time I've ever fed raw meat is when I bought some chicken wings from Albertson's and gave it to the ferals; they loved it.
post #9 of 24
Wouldnt feeding raw meat pose a danger of ecoli and other germs in a household that has children? that would be my concern.
post #10 of 24
If you can't find ground meat w/bones around you, you can get it here.
post #11 of 24
Children and bacteria is a concern, but most people do have raw meat in their house anyway, they just cook it before they eat it so the bacteria is still "in the household". Basic hygiene, washing hands, knives, cutting boards, food bowls etc takes care of that problem.

Someone else might answer the supermarket thing, since over here, that's really the only option for getting meat. Not many butchers around here. But the meats are fine, look good, and sometimes I buy from this company that sells meat and bones for pets. Humans would never eat it, but good for pets (they don't care if there's gristle and fat in there, or if it's not ground up that well).
post #12 of 24
I wonder about the bacteria too, not in handling, but what's on them after they eat since some may get their feet into it or they may lick a kid's fingers or lay it on the floor to eat it and what about when they wash after eating? Our dog would take it from her dish and go to some other area of the room to eat it.
I'm all for the idea behind it, but I'm not ready for the extra work that might come with it.
I've also wondered if it would stop our one cat from going after rubber bands; thinking it would satisfy her need to chew on something. When she does manage to get ahold of one, she'll chew and chew on it. We usually keep them put away, but once in a while one will get left out.
post #13 of 24
I've fed the raw diet for almost 4 years now, and these days I just get the urge to laugh when someone talks about how time consuming or a lot of work it would be. It couldn't be easier! I don't have to go to pet shops to buy my pets' foods, I get it when I shop for myself. Buy some for right then, some to the freezer. If frozen, take it out the night before. Then open the packet, throw it to the dogs on the floor or put to cat's plate, and that's it. Very occasionally I feed pureed veggies, so when I make a big batch that takes a few hours, it lasts for weeks. When I feed that, I need bowls for the dogs too, and add a little oil plus vits. Honestly, no work at all once you get the routine going. In the beginning when I didn't really know what I was doing (I mean the routine) it did take longer, but now it's so easy.

As for the dogs taking it elsewhere, I taught mine to eat on their pieces of plastic table cloth- or whatever it's called in English. If they tried to take it elsewhere, I took it away. So they eat on those, and they're easy to wipe down or even wash in the machine. The cat eats at her place, so I just wipe the table down after she's done. And yep, that's my kitchen table that I eat on too. Not dead yet.

As for the bacteria on them... Well, dogs eat poo. Cats and dogs sniff each others' butts. Walk outside in who knows what. Cats dig "around" in a litter box! My point is, there's always bacteria around. As long as you don't give french kisses to them right after eating, it's not all that risky in terms of bacteria. This goes for healthy people. If I had a disease which lowered my immune response dramatically, I'd take some precautions.

But I'm not saying jump into this. It takes a lot of reading and doing your homework to get it right, and it's definitely not for everyone.
post #14 of 24
Originally posted by Eeva
As for the bacteria on them... Well, dogs eat poo. Cats and dogs sniff each others' butts. Walk outside in who knows what. Cats dig "around" in a litter box!
Well, dogs eat poo.

We dont have dogs

Cats and dogs sniff each others' butts

sniffing doesnt transmit bacteria

Walk outside in who knows what

We dont let our cat out

Cats dig "around" in a litter box!

we wash the litter box frequently we check the cats paws for fecal material and wash often.

I think if people want to do this its their decison , but I would think long and hard if you have children .
post #15 of 24
I don't feed raw meat but from what I understand pre-ground meat may harbor more bacteria because much of it has been exposed to air where only the surface of whole meat has been exposed and can be trimmed off and then you can grind or chop up the rest of the meat yourself.
post #16 of 24
Some people soak whole chunks of meat in water with grapefruit seed extract before grinding it to kill off the bacteria and others cook it lightly, just a thin outer layer, to do the same thing. I've heard before also that grinding meats mixes the bacteria that's present on the outside throughout all the meat.
The only bacteria I'm concerned about are the resistant strains than may be on their face or elswhere right after they eat. Dogs especially lick people a lot.
Good idea on training a dog to keep it's food in one area! Maybe I'll see if our bull headed alpha dog would learn.
post #17 of 24
My ferals get raw chicken wings once a month and they love it. I have very little problem with teeth and gum disease because of this as well. The cats scrape their teeth on the bones.

But I wanted to address the rubber band chewer. Take it from me rubber bands are a big draw for cats, and a big no-no unless you want a hefty vet bill. Swallowing even little pieces of these bands can cause blockages inside that are slow in forming and require surgery to correct once they do occur.
post #18 of 24
Dana, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this issue. I'm not trying to convince you, since obviously you've already made your mind up, just offer some alternative points of view for whoever might be reading this thread. So when I talk about dogs eating poo etc, wasn't referring to you particularly. Just something to think about. I just think society treats bacteria in an increasingly hysterical way today.
post #19 of 24
I've always been told not to mix raw and kibble together because they are digested differently. When I give raw things to my dogs, I always keep it separate from kibble and would assume to do the same for cats (mine won't eat anything raw and I don't push it on them). I would also have concern about ground beef because, like Nern said, it is more likely to harbor bacteria.
post #20 of 24
Thanks Hissy. I know rubber bands are a big concern and we keep them put up 99% of the time, but with 2 kids it doesn't always happen. It's just one of our cats that is attracted to them, thank goodnes.
post #21 of 24
So I did some quick research and this is one school of thought to ponder on:

Yes, you mix my powder supplement with raw meat and liver to make a balanced diet for kittens and cats.

The stories you read on my web site ( are all true. Please take a look at the success stories and maybe they can help you keep you cats from ever getitng illness from the commecial foods out there. Dry foods are a big no no...

Today, dry, commercial cat food is by far the most popular product to feed to companion cats. The attributes which all brands of this product have in common are : "convenient" and "inexpensive" when compared to other methods of feeding cats. In recent years commercial dry foods have been heavily promoted through advertising and by Veterinarians to be the choice of caring, health conscious care givers.

The truth is, dry commercial cat foods are anything but healthy for cats.

First and foremost, the nutritional composition of commercial dry foods does not compare to or reflect the cat's natural diet from which cats have evolved as absolute and true carnivores.

The natural prey diet of the cat contains between 65%-75% water. The cat, having evolved on the plains of Africa, has adapted to quench her water requirements entirely on the moisture content in her prey.

Due to its nature, commercial dry cat food contains no more than 10% moisture.

Cereals create the base of dry commercial foods and make up over half of the foods weight. Cereals frequently used in commercial dry cat foods like corn, rice, and wheat, give the food bulk and structure and represent a cheap source of calories. Cereals are primarily made up of carbohydrates, a nutrient nearly absent in the cat's natural prey diet. The liver and other organs store small amounts of carbohydrates and the cat may receive additional minute amounts of this nutrient through the stomach and intestines of her prey; this however, would never total more than 1-2% carbohydrates compared to the total weight of the prey. However, commercial dry foods may contain as much as 45% carbohydrates. A diet high in carbohydrates will result in obesity, because excessive amounts of this nutrient are converted by the liver to body fat. Since a cat metabolizes primarily fat and protein for energy, most of the carbohydrates in the diet are then stored as body fat.

An analogy:
It is not an exaggeration to compare a commercial dry cat food based diet fed to a cat with a fortified macaroni and cheese dinner diet fed to a human. Both products are overprocessed and based on refined carbohydrates. Added vitamins attempt to compensate for nutrient loss, but the food still lacks many other essentials including enzymes, complete amino acids and fatty acids. Neither reflect the natural diet or nutritional needs of either species. However, in the opinion of the individual consuming it, both taste good . For a more accurate analogy, the macaroni and cheese dinner would need to be modified such that the cheese flavoured sauce is a component of the noodles and most importantly these new noodles are served dry to the human!

Water is the most important nutrient. Of course, neither we nor our cats can live on water alone, but its importance is demonstrated by the fact that during the absence of food and water a creature will perish from thirst long before perishing from starvation.

That said, we don't claim that cats die of dehydration when fed on a commercial dry cat food diet, because most cats will have a supplementary source of water available of which they will take advantage. Or do they?

We mentioned previously how cats evolved as dwellers of the African plains and desserts, and their adaptation of stilling their needs for water with the moisture content of their prey. During the past 40 million years, the cat did not need to rely on supplementary water intake and, even if needed, the cat would not readily do so, because to her it is not natural.

1 cup (85 gm) of dry commercial cat food rehydrated with 225 ml water to contain a 75% moisture yields over 2 cups of food.

On average, natural foods contain 70% water. A cat fed a commercial dry food diet will consume approximately one cup of the product per day. For an adequate water intake, the cat would need to drink 225 ml (8oz) supplemental water per day! If she does not consume this adequate amount, dehydration will set in.
Once ingested, the commercial dry food will absorb moisture like a sponge from the cat's stomach, causing the cat to dehydrate from within. Because commercial dry cat food diets are very calorie dense, one cup of dry food, once ingested, will actually give the cat the equivalent of 2 cups of fresh food. Hence, cats on a commercial dry cat food diet are usually over-fed, because the care giver judges how much to feed by volume not caloric density. With the additional high carbohydrate content of dry foods, cats very quickly become obese.
Rehydrating dry commercial cat food, by soaking it in water before feeding, to the same moisture content found in natural foods dilutes protein and fat concentrations per serving to well below nutritionally adequate levels. More of the soaked food would need to be fed to meet daily protein and fat requirements resulting again in an over feeding of carbohydrates and calories.

Commercial dry cat food diet and FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease):
Clinical disorders of the lower urinary tract of cats are not a new phenomena and have been observed as early as 1925. The frequency of its occurrence in the companion cat population is, however, on the rise, and it is now considered to be a common feline disease. The formation of struvite crystals in the urine, leading to obstruction of the bladder, is directly linked to the diet of the cat. Most research relating diet to lower urinary tract disease has focused on mineral content or more recently on the effect of diet on urinary pH; much less research has been devoted to the effect of diet on urinary volume or specific gravity. It has been predicted from theoretical considerations, increasing urine volume for a given solute load has a greater influence on the likelihood of struvite crystal formation than a reduction in urinary magnesium concentration through restriction of dietary magnesium. In addition, increasing urine volume may increase the frequency of urination which would hasten crystalloid and crystal transit time through the urinary tract, thus reducing the potential for crystal growth. It was demonstrated that haematuria (one type of FLUTD) induced in cats by feeding a high magnesium, low moisture-content diet could be abolished by feeding the same diet rehydrated, containing 80% moisture. The same observations have been made in the treatment of cats affected with lower urinary tract disease where the re-occurrence of the condition was significantly reduced by feeding the cats a canned food, compared to cats maintained on dry food. Consumption of dry food has since been implicated as a risk factor for lower urinary tract disease.

New commercial dry diets for the treatment and prevention of struvite crystals are formulated to contain low magnesium levels and are acidified to reduce urinary pH. A low dietary magnesium intake as well as excessive intake of acidifiers, such as ascorbic acid, however, interfere with proper calcium distribution in the body and result in calcium deposits in soft tissue in the form of calcium oxalate containing stones. These stones usually accumulate in the heart and upper urinary tract including the kidneys and, if not surgically removed, will cause death. The occurrence of oxalate containing crystals is now equal to the occurrence of struvite crystals.

Often overlooked is the significance of protein in the acid formation in the body. A high protein diet will assure natural acid levels in the body and a low urinary pH. Contrary to common belief, a diet high in protein does not cause kidney disorders or lead to renal failure, whereas dehydration is damaging to the kidneys and, as a result of feeding an all dry diet, the long term dehydration is a possible cause of chronic renal failure in cats.
post #22 of 24
There is nothing wrong with an all raw meat diet, but you do have to remember one thing. It has to be a balanced diet. You can not just give them ground turkey or hamburger. A cat in the wild would eat all the prey including some of the soft bones and organ meats. It is VERY important that they get the organ meat. If you feed your cat an all raw meat diet, you must also include bone meal for calcium. Amber gets an all raw meat diet that we make for her, but she does eat the dry Eukanuba as well. My other cats get raw turkey as a treat once or twice a week. I would not be concerned about the bacteria, but ground meat does have a higher risk of bacterial contamination than the unground meat. I get the ground meat for Amber at a local meat market, not from the grocery store. It is ground fresh within a few hours of purchase. I also freeze the meat mixture for a few days before feeding it to Amber. This helps destroy any parasites that may be present. As for, I tried this powder, but Amber did not like it. Not saying that it isn't good, she just didn't like it added to her raw meat. I have a raw meat diet made especially for her that works well. In addition to the ground beef or, it includes liver, egg yolks, some cooked rice or uncooked quick cooking oatmeal, bone meal, cooking oil (olive or salmon oil) for extra fat and I add a vitamin supplement called The Missing Link to the mixture.
She also gets raw turkey.
Eeva, I have to agree with you. This country and society has gone bacteria crazy. The most ridiculas stupid product I have recently seen on tv, is an aerosol spray that they say is an air sanitizer. It kills the bacteria in the air. There is no way that would work, since there is so much bacteria in the air already. Okay, it may kill the bacteria briefly, but since air is always moving, there would be more bacteria to replace it in seconds. I never use any antibacterial products for cleaning. I use it only when I have raw meat out and the juices may have spilled on the counter or if one of my cats are sick, to help clean out litter boxes and bowls. All other times it is just plain soap and water.
post #23 of 24
I just saw that ad for the antibacterial spray. It must be real healthy to breath that in! Next thing they'll have is an antibacterial spray for your food!
Pesonally, I'd rather clean the air with ozone if I was concerned about it, but not while I was in the room.
post #24 of 24
Hmmm,I can just imagine what that stuff can do to your lungs. Yes, ozone is a good way to keep the air clean.
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