Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
February 24 2009

The Primal Eating Plan for Cats

By Worker Bee
98 Comments

If we subscribe to the idea that our bodies are hardwired to thrive on the food consumed by our ancestors, it should follow that the same is true for domesticated animals. After all, we are little more than domesticated hunter-gatherers. A few months back, we discussed the Primal eating plan for dogs. Using the same principles that guide the Primal Blueprint, it makes sense that the descendants of wolves would thrive on raw meaty bones. This prompted a few readers to ask about cats. Can cats thrive on a Primal eating plan?

The answer is unequivocally yes. For anyone who?s ever owned a cat, this should come as no surprise. They?re natural hunters, always stalking something, whether it be your toes moving underneath a blanket or bugs of all kinds. They even have the same gait of the big predatory cats, skulking around like they own the place.

Whereas dogs are happy getting their food from the pack leader (you), cats have an undeniable individual streak. Let them outside and they?re liable to get in a turf war with the tabby down the street, or plunk a bird carcass on your doorstep.

Getting more technical, cats are outfitted with all the accoutrements of your classic obligate (as in ?must eat meat to survive?) carnivore: sharp teeth perfect for ripping and tearing; and a short intestine designed for meat digestion but ill-suited for vegetation. They can handle vegetables, and even eat the stuff to throw up sometimes, but they?re certainly not required for optimum feline health.

As you may have already guessed, commercial cat food simply doesn?t cut it. We liken it to shopping on the inside aisles of the grocery store ? buying canned soups, potted meat, and frozen dinners ? and shunning the perimeter. That wouldn?t be feasible for a person trying to eat right, and it?s the same situation for a domestic cat. It?ll certainly survive on kibble, but it won?t thrive. And isn?t that what the Primal Blueprint?s all about? Thriving, rather than merely surviving; optimizing one?s health, instead of just getting by; and living a full, energetic, active life well into old age. If all that stuff matters to you, it may be a good idea to try out a Primal cat diet (or just for the reduced vet bills, if it?s a financial issue).

We won?t lie ? converting a cat to a Primal eating strategy can be tricky. Cats are notoriously finicky eaters, and they have no qualms looking at you like a crazy person if you offer them something unpalatable. They also have more specialized nutritional requirements, especially compared to dogs. ?Throw a dog a bone? doesn?t exactly apply to cats here. ?Throw a cat a meaty bone that?s pliable and small enough for them to break up, with plenty of meat for a good phosphorus-calcium ratio, along with some beef liver for taurine content and powdered bone meal if the little guy won?t eat actual bones? is more accurate. Sound confusing? At first, it is. But let?s try to shed some light on the Primal cat diet (because your vet ? who probably pushes a certain brand of commercial food at exorbitant prices ? definitely won?t be much help).

The Primal cat diet should (roughly, not hard and fast) approach the approximate dimensions of your typical prey animal:

80% Muscle meat (including fat, skin, tendons, sinew, cartilage)
Chicken
Beef
Fish ? especially oily fish like mackerel, sardines, or herring (which thankfully are a lot cheaper)
Turkey
Ground meat

10% Organ meat, half of which should be liver
Kidneys
Liver
Hearts
Brain
Pancreas

10% Edible bones (as opposed to a huge beef shoulder or something)
Chicken wings
Whole fish with small bones
Chicken/turkey necks and wing tips
Carcasses

If you?re feeding kittens, give them as much as they?ll eat. Adult cats only need meals amounting to about 2-3% of their body weight each day.

Cats need taurine to live. It?s good for their hearts and their eyesight, and most commercial cat foods don?t supply enough. Taurine is also very heat sensitive, so overly processed dry food degrades a lot of the taurine before it even gets to the cat. Luckily, taurine is readily available in organ meat, so don?t skimp on that. Calcium is another important part of the Primal cat?s diet ? if your cat refuses to eat the bones or the organs, you can supplement their diet with bone meal or a taurine powder.

Raw foods naturally have more moisture, so don?t worry if your cat isn?t drinking as much water as before.

The Transition

If you?re lucky, your cat will take to the Primal eating plan like a regular MDA reader. If not, here are a few tips for transitioning your commercial-fed cats to raw.

No more 24-hour buffets
If your cat has constant access to unlimited stores of dry kibble, you need to limit that access. Don?t just plunk down a big bowl every day; instead, give your cat access to dry food only a couple times per day, for about half an hour each time. This way, your cat won?t be constantly sated. A bit of hunger will serve you well in the transition to raw, and it will get the cat accustomed to scheduled feedings.

Don?t use starvation to induce acceptance
While a hungry cat (see above) is more likely to try new foods, completely starving your cat in order to force it to eat raw is dangerous. When cats don?t eat for a couple days, they go into survival mode. Their livers start to process body fat for energy, but a cat?s liver is easily overwhelmed by the sudden flood of fat. The liver can become swollen and damaged ? hepatic lipidosis ? which leads to extreme nausea. Nausea means no appetite, which starts the terrible cycle all over again. Left untreated, hepatic lipidosis can kill. If the cat refuses to eat raw, don?t hold out on the kibble.

Consider canned
Canned wet food can be a nice intermediary between raw and kibble. If your cat?s already accustomed to wet food, you can probably cut out the kibble altogether and use a raw-canned mix for the transition.

The bribe
As you?re reducing the amount of commercial food and increasing the raw food, sometimes it helps to trick the cat into eating the new stuff. You can drizzle tuna juice, rub crushed kibble, or even smear some wet cat food on the raw meat if your cat isn?t taking to the Primal eating plan. He?ll come around eventually.

Appeal to their sensibilities
A dog will eat a half-frozen turkey drumstick in a second. A cat won?t even consider it food. Because cats are hunters (whereas wolves are often scavengers), they?re more attracted to fresh, warm meat. Especially when starting out with the Primal eating plan, be sure the meat is at room temperature, or even a little warm. Half an hour before you feed your cat, just put the meat in a ziplock bag and place it in a bowl of warm water. Never microwave, because that can cook bone and cause them to splinter.

Start small
Start with just muscle and organ meat. Your cat probably won?t take to chomping chicken bones right off the bat, and minced meat isn?t too far off from what they?re used to. Eventually, you can start including chicken wings and other small bones; chop these up too, if he?s still squeamish, and monitor the feeding. Gradually move on to whole hunks of meat and organs, along with whole bones. Before long, your cat should be grabbing entire carcasses and ripping hunks of meat off.

You could always, of course, buy commercial raw food for your cats. It?ll be far more expensive than making your own or feeding kibble, but there are some good brands out there. Just make sure the ingredients are 100% meat, with plenty of bone meal and organ meat listed, and you should be fine.

Thoughts on feeding your feline family members? Let us know in the comment board!

Hotash, Geoffrey van Dijk Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

The Primal Eating Plan for Dogs

The Definitive Guide to Primal Eating (for Humans)

Raw Meat (for Humans)

If you like this post please share it with StumbleUpon.

TAGS:  pets

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

98 thoughts on “The Primal Eating Plan for Cats”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. My dogs have been eating raw since 1995, and I love the effect it has on their health and longevity. My cat, alas, has never been willing to switch. She won’t even eat canned catfood or even canned tuna. To her, dry cat food is the only edible substance. I’ve tried many types of meat (both cooked and raw) and she acts like they’re all poison. Eventually, the dogs get whatever she rejects.

    If you can figure out the magic key to get her to switch, please tell me! She’s old no (about 18) and very small and slender (about 6 pounds). I hate feeding her dry kibble, but it’s the only thing she’ll eat.

    1. I wanted to say that it took me over 2 years to convince one of my cats to eat raw. She didn’t even want to eat canned either.
      First I got her eating canned and then to raw.
      I put dry into the canned cause she was crazy about the kibble and in order to eat the kibble she had to eat some of the canned too.
      I also tried other things she liked, like sardines etc to add to it.
      Once I got her eating dry and canned then I started working on canned and raw.
      With this I gave her canned with a little raw in it and gradually added more raw to canned. If and when she refused cause of to much raw I took a step back to more canned less raw.
      Then I searched for a vitamin that she liked and started adding it. Took me a few to try with her but finally found one. Once I got her used to this in her food I started giving less canned again and the vitamin helped a lot to get her onto totally raw and allowed me to stop canned.
      Now she scrafs her raw down and will eat canned also. And of course dry but I have totally taken all my kitties off the kibble. They get mainly raw with occassional canned if time is tight.
      I feed only canned food that has no grains. The one I feed my guys is Wellness some of it has grains some doesn’t so you have to check them also.
      Anyway with time and patients you can switch them but don’t be afraid to experiment with things to add and top with that can help you get them switched over.
      I have 5 kitties and all have different likes and tastes even with the supplements I add for them so I adjust each ones meal to their likes and this keeps them happily eating their raw.
      Don’t give up just take it slow and mix the dry with canned and then the canned with raw.
      With the kibble and canned they have to be able to smell the kibble in the canned so smushing it into the top of the food enough to where they can’t just pick it out and have to eat some canned to get the dry but not totally mixed in is a big help.
      Then when you start canned and raw I started with very little raw to canned and just did it very gradual.
      Like I said took me over 2 years but she is there!!! WoooHoo!!!
      Good luck and don’t give up.

  2. I remember a study a couple of years ago in which researchers tested numerous foods to find out the best diet for a cat. You know what they came up with as the perfect food containing all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions? A ground-up mouse!

    Surely, a dedicated primal pet lover wouldn’t mind throwing a mouse in the blender every day, right?

    1. Well you can actually order ground up mice from a place called Hare Today Gone Tomorrow!
      So if your willing to pay for it you can get it with out having to deal with the messies part of it to boot!
      Cheers!!

      1. Hare-today also sells whole, frozen mice. I feed one mouse to my 17-year-old cat every morning. She gets fed something else later in the day. Now two other cats of mine are becoming interested in the mice.

        One cat just loves the week-old quail.

      1. Open your front door and let your cat outside a few hours a day. They will find all the mice, birds, squirrels, lizards etc they need, Fresh and Free!

        1. Cats are an invasive predator that wreak havoc on native species. Please don’t let your cat outside to kill all of the local wildlife, when you could do the responsible thing and provide it with a proper diet. Not only that, cats are safer and healthier when they remain indoors. I have 2 cats which I feed a raw diet, and besides giving them plenty of attention and playtime inside, I also let them safely enjoy the outdoors in a 4×8 enclosure on the patio.

          1. the life of an indoor cat is sad. they are denied any semblance of a normal existence. i love cats, but they belong in the wild, not in a cage or urban flat. i allow my cats to come and go as they please. they seem to have adapted to their American environment and don’t attack a lot of wildlife. mostly pigeons, mice, and bugs.

  3. I have fed out kitten Raw food since we brought him home. All pet stores carry many brands now where I live. There is one that is all meat and very identifiable bits of organs and bone in it.

    It is very satisfying to see the little guy tear into some meat and crack some bones. Awesome.

    I don’t eat grains, why would I feed it to my carnivorous pet?

    I was waiting for the vet to question it, but perhaps they picked up on my ‘readiness to defend it’ stance and didn’t pursue it.

    The foods are usually beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit, salmon. I can’t visualize a pack of cats taking on a cow though. I emailed the owner to include a ‘budgie’, ‘mouse’ or ‘squirrel’ blend. 🙂

    Great post.

  4. I agree entirely. The Primal Cat Diet makes perfect sense. They are nutritious, high in protein and healthy fat, and relatively low in carbs. Anyone could thrive on cats, I know many who do. You mention that cats are 80% muscle meat, 10% organ meat, and 10% edible bone, but don’t leave out the fur. I’d say cats are another 20% fur, which adds up to a total of 120% deliciousness. I very much look forward to this Primal Cat diet, I’m glad it is finally being accepted into Earth’s society.

  5. Great post Mark,

    If someone truly loves their cats/dogs they won’t feed them the typical corn/wheat based crap that gets passed off as food. As in humans, just look at most pets in our country . . . O-B-E-S-I-T-Y is epidemic, and many of the same diseases that accompany it. Of course, most blame lack of exercise, rather than placing 80% of the blame on diet–partially excessive access to & quantity, but mostly the corn and wheat insulin response, allergens, and anti-nutrient components. I’ve heard the arguments: e.g. the cost difference between real food versus the price of 50lb sacks of grain–well consider the real, long-term costs with supporting your vets business, not to mention your pets health, vitality, and longitivity . . . If your pet has to have some dry nibble food to help extend the real food, consider a lamb/rice mix–not ideal, but much better than the corn/wheat disease promoting stuff that looks just like it did when it gets scooped as when it was in the bowl b/c it wasn’t digested–think about that too.

  6. Ok I agree with whats in the article but for me the question is what is least expensive way to move in the direction of feeding a cat this way? For example what raw meats can I ask my butcher for that might be very cheap and suitable for cats?

  7. My next door neighbor has mother and daughter cats. She feeds them tuna fish and they love it, eat it all up.
    My grandma had a cat and she fed them raw meats, it was as healthy as her, skinny as her, and that cat lived a loooong time-so did grandma, they were so much alike:)

    1. Tuna is lacking an essential amino acid, perhaps the taurine mentioned in the article, anyways it is lacking something essential for cats health. Salmon or other type of fish would be a better choice plus organ meats.

  8. I feed my cat a grain-free commercial kibble. Its not the most ideal, but it’s what I can afford and it’s convenient. He also loves to sneak some kale/spinach/collards/other greens whenever he can!

  9. this is perfectly aligned with all the studies by Francis Pottenger

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_M._Pottenger,_Jr.

    and there is of course the Weston Price/ Francis Pottenger Foundation

    http://www.ppnf.org/catalog/ppnf/pottenger.htm

    where they advocate an almost identical style of eating as Mark proscribes. They are friendlier to carbohydrates than MDA and they advocate more fermented carbs and more dairy and dont address exercise at all.

    that said, Hooray for Pottenger and Price.

    as for getting cats onto it…it can be tricky. starting them off young seems to help.

  10. Well done. Actually, what got me to eating Primal was the research I did before adopting our greyhound, who has been eating raw for the past 13 months. The change in his appearance was astounding. So that got me to thinking. And here I am, 10 months later, eating very similarly.

    No cats here, although we have toyed with the thought of getting a cat for the greyhound. ;^)

  11. I had some leftover fish bones the other day. I thought “If I were a cat these would look delicious” so I gave them to my cat. She smelled it, look at me like was crazy and walked away. Go figure.

  12. I use Evo. It’s processed but is grain free, has a bit of plant nutrition, but is otherwise 95% whole animal, including bone and organ.

    http://evopet.com/

    I use for my dogs (no cats), but they have a cat line. There’s nutrition info on the site, and it’s pretty impressive. I

    It’s done wonders. My 11-yr-old male rat terrier dropped 20% of his body weight and is now more active than when he was 6. Essentially, he’s as active as the 3-yr-old female. In addition, I give them a dollop of lard in their food just about every day, and a few dribbles of fish oil, which stinks horribly, but they love. I also split one gel cap of Carlson’s CLO (good A to D ratio) once per week, along with some K2 (MK-4), i.e., a single drop (1 mg) in a can of food split between them over 2-3 days.

    http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/2008/09/keeping-the-animal-free-pets.html

    1. Tried this with my guys for a very short while cause they gained a ton of weight and had the smelliest poos EVER!

  13. My cat would rather feed himself. He eats the kibble, but only in winter, in summer there are plenty of mice. (His coat is not thick enough for winter, he tries but the cold drives him back in)

  14. My cats (5) won’t consume a diet that is 100% raw. Accordingly they are fed canned foods that do not contain grain, potatoes or wheat gluten. Oh yeah… what’s with that eh? Feeding wheat gluten to dogs and cats? Bizarro!

  15. Nice post! Obesity in pets is a huge issue with me. I don’t understand why we “love” our pets to death with excess and poor food choices. On good diets and feeding quantities that correspond with body composition pets can life long, healthy lives.

    And don’t even get me started on the lack of exercise most owners provide. I don’t have a cat but I hate to hear about hyper dogs on drugs when all they really need is a good run everyday and some mental stimulation.

  16. Nice timing, I’ve got an 18-year-old cat who just endured her second surgery for thyroid tumor. She’s been anorexic and down to under 7 lbs. I know it’s crazy but I love this cat. She’s been a feline eating machine since the surgery and bounced back so well eating off my plate–chicken, steak, pork and her favorite SALMON. She already is visibly gaining weight, five days after the surgery. I was thinking that sharing my meat with her would be short-term, just until she got her weight back. But maybe I will just continue to let her eat this way. A side note: My daughter had a pet corn snake until recently and it ate mice that we ordered frozen on dry ice and thawed in warm water in the sink. One day the thawing mouse disappeared. My teenager thought maybe she was losing her mind…I was SURE I had a mouse in there, she said. The 3rd time it happened she watched, and found my big white-pawed house cat snatch the snake’s mouse and chomp it down! Of course it’s what they are meant to eat. We actually have a school cat at our two-room country school here in rural Oregon. She lives off ground squirrels three of our four seasons(along with some birds, voles, pieces of my jerky, etc.) When she gets a ground squirrel, she leaves NOTHING but the intestines and tail and a big bloody streak. She always seems to do that right by the front entrance when the school board is coming to visit! The kindergarteners are so impressed by this cat. They dictated a story once in which the cat took down one of the elk in the pasture! I think they really believe she could do that. She’s black and white with short legs and a barrel chest. Sweet as can be with the kids. Sometimes she dumpster dives after the kids scrape their lunch trays. I actually saw her go in the trash one day when the kids had had “mexican hot dogs” for lunch (probably not even real meat) and then she changed her mind, came up with nothing and I watched her go out to the field and nab a vole! She’ll eat their leftover grilled ham and cheese though.

  17. I wonder if frozen pinkies (baby mice, available frozen for feeding to small snakes) would be a nutritious snack for cats? They’re not fully developed yet, but they still have organs and bones and a little muscle.

    1. I have been told to start with the pinkies and then move up to larger due to the fact that the calcium to phos ratio is not correct in the baby animals since they are still growing and developing.
      I don’t know how true this is but it does make sense.

      1. I’ve fed my cats small rats and mice for a long time, they much prefer it. To add some mix, I add some quail for them. I started this for them because African wildcats(What cats are domesticated from.)eat mice and some birds mostly.

  18. My first cat had cancer and later died due to renal failure. He was severely overweight and I was never happy with the prescription food from the vet (mostly corn). I vowed to feed my new cats and new dog better food. I fed them a mid range food from a pet food store that was recalled as part of the Chinese wheat gluten melamine scandal. Luckily all 3 are okay. I still feed them commerical food, but the wet food is grain free and the dry food is wheat/corn/soy free. I believe it to be a good compromise for now. All 3 are at healthy weights.

    While I was reading to figure out what to feed them, I started thinking about all the bad things in human food. Eventually that lead me to your site. I used to eat semi-veg with a lot of pasta and potatoes, low-fat and way too much sugar.

    My husband and I aren’t primal yet, but we are working on it. As part of a weight loss challenge at work he has lost 11# and I have lost 6.5# in 3 weeks. We think this is a good start. I thought this would be harder because I am really picky about meat and he is really picky about vegetables. Mostly I am relieved to not be trying to cram in 6-11 grains each day. We are still eating grains maybe a couple of times a week, but that is much better than what we ate before.

  19. I’ve been thinking of going primal with my cat. Since my boyfriend and I have been doing ourselves, we sometimes give him a little raw meat or fish. He really enjoyed the raw meat the other day. Please comment on quality of meat.

    My cat is an indoor/outdoor cat so he’s been a hunter since birth. When he was sick a few years back, I experimented with different foods- he loves sweet potato and some other flavors of baby food, avocado, and good yogurts. I found out he like yogurt when I was eating some and he jumped up on my lap and stuck his head in my bowl.

  20. A year ago (when the infected cat food incident happened) my siamese developed severe allergies –nearly scratched herself to pieces. The vet prescribed steroid pills which I used out of necessity. Thankfully, on this site I heard of Felines Pride. They process natural raw foods for cats and since feeding Taffy this diet solely she has pretty much stopped scratching. I have been able to stop the steroid pills (after 3 months). It takes that long for things to get out of a cats system. If she happens to injest even a small morsel of anything else the scratching starts again. Going primal for her is absolutely necessary.

    Marilyn

  21. I got the best advice from the breeder I got my two Siamese babies from – feed my cats a high quality dry food (no meat by products, etc) and supplement it with a high quality protein, baby food being a great source.

    So ever since they were kittens I have fed them a tablespoon of chicken or turkey baby food (or alternatively, canned tuna) every evening. (And it lures them inside for the night too.) They are now 6 years old, and neither one of them are overweight or have had even one health problem.

    I decided against feeding them any of the larger prey such as beef or pork – it’s not something they would eat in the wild. I also don’t mix their proteins either – in the wild they eat one source of protein at a time, not several.

    I also tried to find canned rat, as it would be the prefect food, but seems it just doesn’t exist. Maybe I’ll try the frozen…

  22. Ailu,

    Thanks for the information. It never occurred to me that baby food would be a good source for the cats. My other siamese almost died of kidney failure due to the “bad” recall food. She has recovered completely, thankfully. I am going to try the baby food, as it should be free of extra additives. Have you read the labels on these pet foods? Chemicals I have never heard of………….

    I try to eat natural myself–don’t do extreme primal, but I keep making small changes and I know that my health has improved as a result.

    Why don’t the medical doctors get it?

    Marilyn

  23. to & quantity, but mostly the corn and wheat insulin response, allergens, and anti-nutrient components. I’ve heard the arguments: e.g. the cost difference between real food versus the price of 50lb sacks of grain–well consider the real, long-term costs with supporting your vets business, not to mention your pets health, vitality, and longitivity . . . If your pet has to have some dry nibble food to help extend the real food, consider a lamb/rice mix–not ideal, but much better than

  24. “consider a lamb/rice mix”

    I need new glasses, I read this as a lamb/mice mix

  25. If you live on the East Coast, you can get ground or whole mice, as well as turkey, rabbit, pinky rabbits, chicken, beef, pheasant, you name it, from Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow. Be warned: warmed up ground mice stinks.

    The best part of feeding a cat a raw, whole prey diet is their sh*t doesn’t stink. I can actually pick it up with my fingers and hold it to my nose without wretching, which is what happens when I smell feces from a kibble or canned food diet.

    1. How very true! Our kitty was an exceptionally stinky one, and I’d gag walking by her litter box if it had only been a day since being completely cleaned out. We use a non-clumping litter so it’s a dump-once-a-week kind of deal.

      Then we started her on a whole prey model raw diet (which she took to like a charm right off, unlike most cats), and suddenly the litter box didn’t reek at all. We were so used to the extremely smelly reminder that at first we kept forgetting to empty it! Poor kitty… but we’re better at remembering now.

      Incidentally, another benefit of the diet is simply being able to appreciate our animals for the predators they are. Watching our fluffy little housecat’s eyes dilate as she sinks her teeth into a chicken wing and crunches through the bones without blinking is an incredible experience. It kind of makes you take an involuntary step backward when you see such remarkable ferocity.

      1. I feed my cats ground meat/bones/organs and chunk meat. They get along pretty well when they eat the ground meat, but when it comes to chunks they grab their share, run to a corner, and growl at anybody (except me, of course) who comes near. True carnivores in the kitchen.

  26. My siamese almost died from the food recall in 2007–caused kidney failure. My vet put her on iv and supportive care–thankfully, she pulled out of it and seems just fine these days. Other than that, I don’t know of any other treatment that you can do.

  27. I also put my cat who had kidney failure on subcutaneous administration of saline solution, did it at home. It brought her out of kidney failure the first time, but the second time her kidneys failed it didn’t bring her out of it. But definitely worth the try. Also, buy some calcium carbonate powder at the drug store and mix 1/2 tsp with water and give it to her with a dropper; it will calm the acids in her stomach that build up from the kidneys failing. It really, really helped my cat to feel better.

  28. We found early on with our cat that she would eat nearly anything that came her way if it didn’t eat her first, but due to wild cat in her gene pool, she suffers greatly when it comes to most things she might consider eating. Grain was a MAJOR issue for our cat from the start, but when she got pregnant, she began wasting away as we desperately sought alternative foods she could digest properly. The vet had expensive “grain free” alternatives, but nothing worked. We tried nearly every brand available to us in the many stores, from large chains to online, to small specialty stores: to no avail. Finally, we found the Merrick line of canned foods, and Acana brand. Both may contain rice, but the magnesium content is extremely low, and they are otherwise grain free. They also have several kinds of meat and flavors, the Merrick canned stuff is human grade, and both are good choices in our book for both finicky eaters, (as her kittens mostly were when born) and good for health. The Acana is about as Primal as we have found short of the Raw Diet foods (we can’t order them where we live). Certainly worth a look, the Acana is available throughout North America and Europe, and the price is worth every penny.

    1. We also suppliment their wet food with powdered variations of kelp, which they certainly don’t mind, and can be bought sodium free. They also have an extra bowl with roasted seaweed (usually Nori sushi wraps torn into shreds), which they will nibble at throughout the day between meals. For more finicky eaters, we found that starting them with the seaweed soaked in tuna juice or mixed with tuna worked wonders. Our cats are siamese polydactyls with both N.A. lynx and bobcat close in their genes.

      1. I thought I would mention that I have been told that you need to be careful with kelp and seaweeds due to iodine with kitties. Kitties have a tendency to be hyperthyroid the kelp/seaweed has an effect on this. So be careful.
        Didn’t know if you were aware of this as I know its used a lot as supplement.
        One of mine actually does very well on a seaweed supplement. I will give him some occassionally for a while then change him back to another so not to over do but I do think there is something in there that he needs so I give him some but my others don’t do well on it so I don’t give them any.
        Trial and error is a lot of it with supplements esp when your dealing with health issues or allgeries.

        1. I gave my cats 1 to 2 drops of iodoral in their water bowl thinking they needed the iodine. In just over a week on of my cats salivated profusely for 16 hours, meaning he left puddles of saliva where ever he went.

          Now my cats get sardines mixed in with ground turkey about once a week. That should take care of the iodine.

        2. If we give our pets filtered water to eliminate the fluorine and chlorine the municipality adds, it will go a long way to help our pets iodine balance.

  29. If you’re interested in preparing your own nutritionally complete raw-food diet for your cat, I’d recommend you read “Natural Health Care for Dogs and Cats” by Dr. Richard Pitcairn et.al., and “The Natural Cat” by Anitra Frazier. These books both have recipes for a variety of tried and true, holistic-vet-tested diets.

    As for vets’ attitudes toward raw diets, my long-time (conventional) vet was just fine with my feeding my cats a raw-food diet. She asked me where I was getting my recipes and I told her I’d using recipes from the books above, and she was just fine with it. But then again, I’d been a long-time client, my cats were extremely healthy, and she knew from talking to me that I am a very conscientious and responsible pet caretaker.

    My personal belief is that it’s better not to assume your vet’s going to be adversarial about feeding your cats a raw-food diet. The vast majority of vets went into the field because they love animals and want to help people keep their animal companions healthy. If your vet knows you because you’ve been taking your cats in for regular checkups, and s/he knows you know what you’re doing, from my experience it’s more likely that s/he will be your ally rather than your adversary.

  30. I have a question regarding this. I have been feeding my cats total raw for about a month now. Yesterday, we cleaned out the litter boxes to find no feces. They had urinated, but that was it. They all seem to be feeling okay, but I am a little concerned. Is there something I can feed them to help them clean out their bodies?

    1. Do you have doggies? Reason I ask, is they love kitty tootsie-rolls. Would think that ones derived from a higher protein diet would be pretty hard for them to resist. May explain the empty litter box. dunno… lol

      1. LOL. Healthy dogs won’t usually eat poo, but if that’s a concern in your house, you might also try using a toilet trainer for your cats to keep the dogs out of them. We use the Litter Kwitter for our kittens when they’re born…works wonders for keeping poo out of reach of little ones…both human and other.

        1. Most all dogs want to eat cat poo because it is so high in unprocessed proteins.

          Cats didn’t evolve to be efficient digesters, they evolved to be efficient killers!

  31. We feed ours bentonite clay in their water, and diamotaceous earth to clear parasites and chemicals out. You could try that if they’re not passing food through. Some extra virgin olive oil works to help pass blockages as well. Are they taking in enough water and moisture? I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless it pass into 3 days, then see a vet. (eating those two clays won’t hurt humans either, if you get it in food grade)

  32. Thanks for all of the responses!

    We have no dogs in our house, so that rules out any poo eating. I added olive oil to the water this morning before work. They do drink a bit of water and they seems to be feeling fine so far. I did notice two little piles this morning, but not sure that all of them are going. I have called my vet due to the length of time since last poo.

    @Sumer- Where do you find the clay and earth?

    1. We got the bentonite suspended in water from the health food store, and the clay needs to be food grade only for consumption and use with pets and humans, so we ordered it online. It wasn’t hard to find cheap on Ebay either. As for the olive oil, it’s best to put it in a dropper and give them a cc of it directly, they won’t likely drink it on their own, and it may mold that way in contact with water.

  33. Hi
    I’m a paleo & am trying to turn my cats paleo as well. Can you give me an example of a “menu” for the cats. I get the idea but am wondering about execution. For example, if they weigh 10 lbs, 3% of their body weight is 5.8 oz. In that example, I just givem them 5.2ish oz of chicken wings and .52is oz of organ meat? And they can eat the bones?

  34. I *Love* that this is posted, however this is the same diet recommended (percentage wise) for dogs (no veggies necessary!).

    Becky – wings are pretty boney (something along the lines of over 40% bone), so that would be way too much bone long term. Add in other meaty pieces and you’ll be good to go. Just make sure they are eating every day. Some cats take a while to transition over (picky little buggers!).

    We’ve been feeding prey model raw to our dogs/cats for two years now. They are so much healthier for it!

  35. I thought chicken (and all other) bones were a choking hazard to cats…?

  36. Only when they are cooked. Cooked bones can splinter, and are therefore dangerous for cats. Sharp little shards to rip their way through the digestive tract. Somehow raw bones are fine, though.

  37. I’ve been primal for 7 months and am now thinking Id like to convert our 6 year old kitties. This has got to be expensive from the sounds of it.

    I spend $20-40 at Costco for these guys every other month and do keep food out 24-7.

    Is it always raw uncooked meets you serve up? How many servings a day? Can’t the raw food be harmful?

    If Someone had a recommended grocery list for this transition, that would really help. I definitely want to give it a shot – these guys are totally worth it!

    1. Take a look at “Orijen” for cats – Champion Petfood (Canada). Its “biologically appropriate” – conforms to basic primal principles. I feed both cats and dogs on this food with good results.

      This company also has a primal compatible product line for cats and dogs called “Acana”. Its less expensive than the “Orijen” line but may still meet your needs.

      Champion PF’s provides a lot of information on these products so take some time to review it all and to make comparisons between their products.

      I did feeding trials with my own pets, including the usual gradual transition from the old food to the new food. Started with 1/4 cup new to 3/4 old for several days. Then 1/2 & 1/2 and so on. No problems.

      I also had the older male cats and two struvite prone dogs tested for a UA baseline before starting the change. Following up with a UA after feeding 100% to be sure that the new diet isn’t causing them to form crystals/uroliths. So far, so good.

      http://orijen.ca/

    2. My original post is still waiting on moderation so I’ll remove the link and repost it here – with additional info.

      Take a look at “Orijen” for cats – Champion Petfood (Canada). Literally award winning – Glycemic Research Institute (GRI) Low Glycemic – best pet food in the world – 2011/2012.

      Its “biologically appropriate” – conforms to basic primal principles. The animal ingredients are range/grass fed, pastured, organic, wild caught, diverse, deboned – and all are certified fit for human consumption. The plant ingredients are largely wild gathered and vet approved.

      Deboning is important for a high meat (80%) pet food in order to control for mineral content. Too much mineral is not a good thing and is the main concern that vets have over high meat foods.

      I feed both cats and dogs on Orijen food with good results.

      This company also has a primal compatible product line for cats and dogs called “Acana”. Its less expensive than the “Orijen” line but may still may meet your needs.

      Champion PF’s provides a lot of information on these products on their website – so take some time to review it all and to make comparisons between their products.

      I did feeding trials with my own pets, including the usual gradual transition from the old food to the new food. Started with 1/4 cup new to 3/4 old for several days. Then 1/2 & 1/2 and so on. No problems.

      I also had the older male cats and two struvite prone dogs tested for a UA baseline before starting the change. Following up with a UA after feeding 100% to be sure that the new diet isn’t causing them to form crystals/uroliths. So far, so good.

    3. “Can’t the raw food be harmful?” This is a puritan mentality that needs to be dropped like a hot potato. To paraphrase the hunter’s wife: “You cook it, you kill it.” Nothing on this planet evolved cooking its food; as someone once noted, cats have digestive systems that can handle stuff that would make a human sick just thinking about. Personally, i eat almost exclusively raw food, including meat and eggs; not only do i not get sick, i haven’t been to a doctor in 30 years, and my metabolic age is mid-20s (i’m 60). Enjoy what nature gives us, as intended.

  38. There is a brand called “Taste of the Wild” that is a grain-free dry food. We feed it to our dog and our two cats, and it’s pretty inexpensive. They used to get IAMS, and we pay about $3 more for this. I wouldn’t leave food out for them. They’re just like people; they’ll eat when they’re bored. We feed ours twice a day. I don’t think you need to worry about feeding them raw meat if that’s what you want to do. I would just be careful that you’re only feeding them meat that hasn’t been injected with antibiotics. In fact, raw meat is better for them than cooked. They have short digestive tracts, so they aren’t as affected by bacteria (it’s actually good for them – gut flora). That’s the other nice thing about the “Taste of the Wild,” it has gut bacteria in it that they don’t get with regular pet food. I hope this helps.

    1. Read the label on “Taste of the Wild” and see their website for ingredient info. We used to feed their Pacific Stream canine formula – and it was preferable to brands with grains. But, it has canola oil.

      Once I went primal it smelled rancid to me – even when it was far from the expiration date and properly stored.

      The dogs are doing much better now on a food free of both grains and plant oils. I just made a reply to Michael that’s waiting on moderation – it has the link to the company that we buy from.

    2. OK, I just took my own advice and read the Taste of the Wild website info for cat food. Never fed it to my cats just the dogs.

      Lucky cats are spared the canola oil that they use in the dog food formulas. Looks like a good food as far as what’s stated on the website – although the link to the Canyon River cat dry food isn’t working.

      I’d want to know more than what they state on the website, though – especially for cats. Its important to know the pH and the percentage of ash in cat food – especially with regard to urinary health. I’d also like to know more about the sources of their ingredients.

      Taste of the Wild is less expensive than the Orijen (or Acana) food that I recommended – and may be a perfectly good food. However, I still stand behind my recommendation and if you visit Champion Petfood’s website you may see why.

      When I switched from Taste of the Wild to Orijen, it was a clear change from good to better. The food is fresher, the dogs strongly prefer it, and we are already seeing improvements in their health/condition. However, we’ll know more in another 3 – 6 months.

  39. It can cost you anywhere from 50 cents to $1.00 per day per cat. Chicken is cheap; rabbit is expensive.

    This is typically what I feed my cats.

    Monday-Ground turkey (90%) with sardine (10%)
    Tuesday-Chunks of cornish game hen
    Wednesday-Ground turkey (80%) with chicken hearts (20%)
    Thursday-Chunks of cornish game hen with chicken liver
    Friday-Ground rabbit or rabbit chunks
    Saturday-Ground turkey with chicken hearts
    Sunday-Chunks of cornish game hen

    I get ground turkey and rabbit meat from Hare-Today in PA. If I had more money, I’d feed rabbit twice a week. I was buying whole frozen rabbits, skinning, gutting and cutting, but it was just too much work. My cats don’t like ground chicken, perhaps because it’s so fatty.

    You can buy a grinder and grind your own chicken but you can’t grind turkey bones. Too big.

    One 18-year-old gets a mouse every morning because she can’t chew the chicken bones and a couple cats get week-old quail (very expensive) once in a while. Most of my cats snub their noses to whole mice/quail.

    ————-

    I’ve been feeding ground raw for 8 year, introducing chunk meat 3 years ago. In that time one cat (of 10) got a rabbit bone stuck in his throat.

    Two of my cats were put to sleep because of renal failure (17 and 18 years old), and I have two 18-year-olds remaining. I have four 6-year olds. Only one has been ill in their entire life. She had distemper when she was 6 months old. And I have 2 4-year-olds. One got something resembling kennel cough and recovered in under a week. The other one is the one with the rabbit bone in the throat.

    My cats are exceptionally healthy and never go to the vet. If anybody in my house gets sick, it’s up to their immune system to handle it. They typically fast and have fasted up to a week without ill effect. I’m not a believer in force feeding.

    In feeding raw, you can look forward to an energetic cat (perhaps too energetic) with good teeth and fur, odorless feces, and few vet bills. It’s worth the trouble and cost.

    I hope this helps.

  40. I was just responding to a new post from Michael without first reading the article or the older comments. Now that I have, I noticed that Abby also mentioned Arcana favorably.

    I don’t agree with everything that Mark said about a proper diet for cats, although I am glad to see that he mentioned things like the risk factor of hepatic lipidosis.

    Cats do benefit from the inclusion of specific plants in their diet, especially if they are 100% indoor cats. Cats don’t just eat plants to make themselves throw up. Not even animal scientists have a consensus on why cats do that anyway.

    One example of a beneficial plant source is cranberry, which is excellent for feline urinary health. Blueberries are as well. Cats derive benefits from colorful plants just like humans do – and they love sea plants, too. Oh, and they EAT catnip as well as roll in it. LOL!

    As I mentioned in my previous comment, mineral balance is important – too much can be as bad as too little. The last thing that you want is to promote uroliths in cats, which already have this tendency as a species anyway. Stones can form rapidly and are not only painful but can be fatal in male cats especially. And, I don’t mean in rare cases only.

    I have made home made foods for my pets – and still do as an adjunct to their kibble. Its tricky making sure that the mineral balance is right – although eliminating grains and other plant sources high in magnesium helps. But it can be done. What shouldn’t be done is to toss in an indeterminate amount of bone meal.

    And, about that remark about vets – I don’t think its helpful to make these sorts of characterizations, even if there is a kernel of truth there. You don’t want me to even started on my view of Hill’s Prescription Diet beloved by vets everywhere. Let’s just say that IMO you might as well just feed them the bag that the food came in.

    There are plenty of enlightened, holistic vets around these days who will be helpful. There are plenty of good books on the subject with specific, vet consulted feeding guidelines.

    One of our vets is also an old family friend. She and I regularly collaborate on research such as for unusual disorders that present in the clinic – including with my own pets. One of my dogs made it into the vet medical journals – and more importantly helped inform vets about a type of auto immune response to a tick borne disease – one that was not considered to have a chronic condition. The view was that the animal either made a full and speedy recovery or died. Now we know better and have new protocols for these pets with chronic auto immune response. The breed specific research is also underway.

    She is open to using pet products based on methods like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), even though she doesn’t advertise herself as “holistic” or “natural”. She supports me when I am researching a new food or natural treatment, and so on.

    She always welcomes my challenges to do more and better research. I always welcome her support and guidance. We don’t always agree. We sometime respectfully agree to disagree.

    I will occasionally take a leap of faith to follow her guidance with one of my pets when I am feeling a bit queasy and at a loss. She always respects my boundaries – and when I say “NO” she takes that answer without question. She will try the approaches that I insist on – as long as its not unethical for her to do so.

    She offers me options to choose from. She tries to hold costs down while keeping the quality high. Makes referrals to specialists when indicated. Tells me what she would do (or has done) if the pet were hers.

    She and her clinic partner are both this way with all their clients, so its not just because she is my friend. Please, I know that some vets are brainwashed jerks who are in bed with the pet food companies and Big Pharma – trust me, I do. And, the pet food companies are in bed with the grain industry. I foam at the mouth plenty over these situations. But other vets are not and will be helpful if you give them a chance.

    End of rant.

  41. We feed raw to our kitties, Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow online has great deals. We buy much of ours on there, or we buy from the local butcher. Ours eat a balanced diet of raw heart from various animals, wild caught game, and farm grown organic meat. Large chunks of meat is good, or sent through the meat grinder with the raw bones. Edible insects bought online (human grade), Hare Today meats, raw fish, shrimp, and other things. (no squid as it’s deadly for cats). If you are worried about parasites and other things the FDA says to freeze it at -4 or lower for minimum of 3 weeks. We chop ours and mix up a batch then put it in feeding portion sizes and freeze them until needed. Thaw overnight and warm slightly. Safe for humans and animals.

    But we also have had good luck with Acana (canada) in the grain free variety (some orijen has grain), Taste of the Wild (US), and Nature’s Variety (Canada and US). Ours are wild mix (domestic, asian leopard, bobcat, lynx) and can’t have grain so Primal was never an option.

    For more raw ideas, let me know…We’ve done a large variety of things for our cats in the raw department and they are exceptionally healthy, happy cats.

    Edible human grade insect suggestions:
    edibug.wordpress.com
    Hare Today Gone Tomorrow:
    http://www.hare-today.com/

  42. I got my diabetic cat off insulin! LOL After being diagnosed and sold the Hills diabetes RX food I went home and googled the heck out of feline diabetes. I switched him to the diet he was made for (curiously enough, not corn and wheat, whoda thunk??) and got him off insulin in 10 days. It has been a year with one small relapse when he got into some dry dog food (not my dog!!) Kitty is happy and healthy. He has gone from 20lb to 14 and the litterbox is a much more pleasant place 🙂

  43. Please check out my website, which is a one-of-a-kind online resource completely devoted to the subject of feeding and transitioning domestic felines to a primal diet of whole raw foods!

    rawfedcatsdotorg

  44. I read this a while ago after going primal myself but didn’t move my cats over at the same time.

    The last week or so one of our 2 cats kept on crying for more food, no matter how much I gave her she would ask for more. I re-read this and some cat blogs and decided to try some more meaty food to see if it would help.

    She rejected the warm chicken wing I offered (too much, too soon, too weird with no feathers?) but I gave her some raw chicken (meat and skin) in tinned food the next day which she ate. That night we had no crying for food – so far so good!

    The second night I bought liver, heart and turkey meat and chopped it up with some (cooked) chicken skin. she ate a mix of tinned food and raw food (about 60/40 canned to raw) and seemed satisfied.

    About half an hour after eating this she started to go crazy in the kitchen, chasing bits of fluff on the floor, running and playing like she was a kitten again! It seemed like she was suddenly full of energy and she just had to play!

    Needless to say the new diet will continue for the cats, it may be a slow transition but seeing what a great effect it had makes the extra work of mincing raw meat well worthwhile.

    Boundless energy and vibrant good health all round in my house now 🙂

  45. I read this post about 2 weeks back and started feeding my kitten raw meat (chicken and lamb). Today, it died of salmonella poisoning. I feel extremely betrayed by MDA for telling people to feed their cats raw food. If salmonella was a concern for humans when eating raw meat, I was uncomfortable feeding my kitten raw meat, but I went ahead anyways on the word of MDA. Beware other readers, raw meat has a high risk of salmonella and your cat could die if it eats infected meat. I am devastated and heartbroken.

    1. I’ve been raw feeding my dogs for decades. This is not a new concept, in fact it is supported by MANY DVM’s.

      Animal Natural Health Center was founded by Richard Pitcairn, DVM, in 1986 as a clinical and teaching…….

      Interestingly, there was a recall on dog food recently for salmonella. Turns out it wasn’t the dogs that were contracting salmonella, it was people contracting it from handling the food. It also was one of the brands that contained the healthiest ingredients. Let’s face it, no dried food is optimum for the health of people or pets. Every living thing needs fresh, wholesome food to be healthy. I cannot answer for the health of you cats, but every cat I’ve ever come in contact with killed mice and rats, renowned for carrying nasty disease, and these cats were never ill. If your cat died after eating what it should eat naturally, oods are quite good that GMO corn and soybean fillers had destroyed your cats immune system long before you ever raw fed it.

      My dogs eat raw hamburger and raw goat milk every day. You should see them run and play!

  46. As my user name might suggest I do have kitties myself -the neighbours call me the catwoman! I only have the 2 now, (a Bombay aged 7 and a Moggie aged 13) but I did have as many as 10 cats at one time!
    I changed from feeding mine the usual supermarket brands (Felix, Whiskas etc) a few years ago as they always seemed to be hungry and begging for more (or stealing off my plate at mealtimes!) so I wondered if what I was serving them was really fulfilling their needs. After some research, and taking cost into account -the last name’s Parker, not Trump! – I found a website called Zooplus which sells a variety of pet foods /toys/ grooming/ toileting etc products (unfortunately they don’t deliver to USA/Cananda but do deliver to UK, mainland Europe and the Spanish Islands and Scandinavia).
    After trial and error with several brands I now feed them a canned fresh meat catfood from a range called Animonda Carny. It’s guaranteed free of soya, artificial colouring and preservatives, and all GM ingredients and contains only fresh meat. The Zooplus site actually gives a complete nutritional breakdown of each flavour. You can actually see the chunks of meat in the meat ones and the fish varieties even have whole prawns and chunks of whitefish you can pick out!
    My cats love it, have loads of energy and their coats and teeth are in great condition. They hardly scrounge anymore, and seem much happier. In fact on the rare occasion that I’ve run out and had to go to the supermarket before the next delivery arrives they look at the “food” I’ve had to buy and give me the “What is THAT?!” face! LOL.
    I also make a habit of giving them a raw beaten egg with a tblspn of cod liver oil in it about once a week, they lap it up, and whenever I prepare raw meat for our dinners they get the chicken skin, wing-ends and giblets or fat and skin off other meats. I know it’s not exactly a Primal diet per-se but it’s the most affordable and viable option for me and the cats are happy and healthy according to my vet when they go for their yearly check-ups.

  47. This is a late reply, but I have 2 exotic shorthairs (read:shorthaired persians) – possibly one of the most un-natural breeds of cat – and they tear through raw meat and bone like nobody’s business. We feed a mix of 95% meat canned cat food and raw…transistioning to full raw. Since we have been doing this, their gooey eyes and sinus issues have disappeared! It is truly inspiring seeing them eat like a tiger – with no problems…

    My husband and I have recently decided to go MDA ourselves and have seen huge results in less than a month.

  48. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa and have been feeding my breeding Maine Coons, their kittens and the spay/neuters which I just could not part with after they retired, a raw, organic diet of chicken (bone in) complete with the head, brain, hearts and stomacks for many years. The one of the older cats and shortly thereafter, one of the youngsters, decided that chicken no longer fluffs their coat up. The developed rodent ulcers and sores areound the head and neck. So we switched to ostrich. All good, but now the conundrum of how to get bones into their diet?

  49. I have fed my 19 year old cat tinned cat food but always whole/copped sardine types, for all her life.
    She is completely healthy, never been to vets and still acts like a kitten at times.
    Sardines obviously must have all they need

    1. Update: she is now 20 years old, still very healthy and agile, no fancy food just tinned cat food with whole sardines, Very cheap in Australia 89 cents for large can

  50. As all of my cats during the last 25 years were born feral, there’s never been a problem getting them to eat primal; the one i have remaining is 15 or 16, still robust, with the energy of a much younger cat. I feed her raw grass-fed beef liver and heart, ground wild boar, whole ground quail, and a raw pastured egg, with small amounts of organic broccoli, diatomaceous earth, grass-fed colostrum (bovine and ovine), and cranberry extract. The longest-lived cats on record have been owned by a man in Texas who fed and feeds them bacon and eggs, broccoli, and asparagus, among other things. Go figure…

  51. I’m concerned my one cats may be deficient in vitamin D, depressed or something like that. We moved and he went back home twice. (It’s only about 2.5 miles from here.) We kept him indoors for 6 months, but he doesn’t seem to care about going outside now. I’m planning on sitting out with him for 15-20 minutes a day at noon if it’s not too cold or rainy. It’s winter, we’re in Southern California. He loved our other home, where he was raised since about 8 weeks old. He’s 5 now. He had much more room to run around, lots of space, fewer animals. Here there are lots cars, people, cats, apartments, less space although we do have a small back yard. He doesn’t try to go back now but doesn’t play like he used to. He’d pop in to eat then run off somewhere outside to catch mice or lizards. Now he just lays around the house and sleeps. He has a whistle pet tracker in case he runs off again, which he hasn’t for a month, but the tracker says he’s only getting 14-22 minutes of exercise a day. I mixed 1 drop vitamin D in 1 T. and 1/4 teaspoon of lard, so that if I give him 1/4 teaspoon a day he’ll get about 60 iu a day of vitamin D, which as I understand is about how much a cat should get a day if he’s at least 13 pounds. Is this a bad idea to try? Any other ideas?

  52. How cool that googling “raw fed diets for cats” brings me right back to MDA 😀 I know this thread is old as hell, but even so I had a young cat (<1 year) get urinary crystals while eating a diet of dry food. Not once, but on two separate occasions the crystals blocked his urethra, causing him to cry out in the litter box and be unable to urinate (common sense dictates this is life threatening; a cat can die within 24 hours). After the first incident, he was placed on Urinary S/O by Royal Canin, and 8-9 months later we were back at the vets for a cath and hospitalization. My dogs were raw fed so I decided to switch my cats over, too, starting with a warm grind of muscle meat only (boneless.) When that was well accepted, we'd add a bit of ground bone into the meat. Then we offered new protein sources, over a week or two at a time, and then, finally, organs. The slow switch worked well for all my cats.
    The biggest mistake I see with owners wanting to switch dogs or cats over to a raw diet is offering too much variety way too soon and ending up with sick animals. Imagine eating nothing but Rice Krispies for 5 years, then sitting down to a Porterhouse steak with steamed asparagus and a big ass salad. It wouldn't be pretty.
    That said, my cats are beyond energetic; so energetic that the oldies play with the youngsters and the fosters bloom from skinny, mangy things into gorgeous, shiny youngsters waiting for their new homes. I get comments a lot on how my cats play so much. They chase, they wrestle, they sneak attack and pounce on one another, and play every bit as much as my pack of dogs do. Many people seem miffed that their cats are "too fat and lazy to play", because their fat and lazy cats are fed a diet of cereal grains and artificial colors provided by the owner who is annoyed at their lack of vitality. You'd be fat and lazy, too, if fed the kind of diet you're offering.
    I also get comments on their coats. They're shiny, dandruff free, and interestingly enough their color doesn't fade out as they age. They're soft, so soft that several people have said they're like petting mink. The same is true for my dogs. A few of my dogs have high(er) maintenance coats, but rarely do they need a bath.
    Our major cons are cost. We pay approximately $2 a pound for "regular" meats, but much more for anything that isn't found as easily (rabbit, for example.) Buying in bulk certainly helps. However, we don't have vet bills for ear infections, skin and coat problems, "allergies", dentals (which are being jacked up in price at a ridiculous rate). Their natural resistance to fleas, ticks, and mosquitos has grown. The only real "regular" vet bill we have is heartworm testing those who spend time outdoors.
    The other con is feeding time itself. Everyone eats several paces away from one another, but for the amount of wolf I see in my dogs as they're mowing down a chicken leg quarter, I see 10 times as much of the tiger or lion in my cats when they're going through a piece of meat. Some people get upset because their normally placid dog or cat will growl at a housemate if they come too close to what they're eating. We've never had a fight, however, just a lot of growling and grumbling if any unwise youngster decides to approach the adults to see if they'll "share" that piece of rabbit or lamb. They learn what's rude and are told to back off.
    Another concern (with multiples) is making sure anyone with a problem with any kind of meat doesn't swipe it from a housemate and eat something they shouldn't. Currently, I have one animal who can only have a tiny amount of bone per day. I have another who cannot tolerate beef, or beef organs, of any description. Another can't have chicken, and one can't have rabbit. We feed a lot of turkey because it's something everyone can have, but for the sake of variety we have to maintain separation.
    It takes a little bit more thought to feeding a dog or cat fresh food than it does dumping it out of a bag or a can. But it takes a little more thought to eat Primal than it does to just swing through Burger King every day after work. Time in the kitchen is time in the kitchen, and we've learned to enjoy food prep whether it's for us or the animals. It's time that would otherwise be spent sitting in silence watching a TV show, so we embrace is and enjoy it. Cheers!

  53. Thanks for the advice. I’ve been feeding my two Burmese raw meat for dinner every day (canned food for breakfast), and only occasionally dry food. Having recently seen a documentary on the ingredients (flour, wheat, corn) they put in dry food, I’m even more wary about giving it to my girls. They are both 15 years old and look great for their age. I wish I had stuck with giving them chicken necks for bones, as their teeth would be in better condition, but I’m a real advocate to sticking with a diet that reflects, as much as possible, what they would eat if they were wild.

  54. “Adult cats only need meals amounting to 2-3% of their body weight each day” – sorry new cat owner to be – so is that just 1 meal and how many meals do you feed them a day? Thanks in advance

  55. I am wondering about feeding this primal diet to a kitten with intractable “kitten diarrhea”. He’s on his second round of antibiotics after two rounds of de-wormer… Im feeling like he might have a food allergy or intolerance and needs a different diet (he’s been eating Hills Prescription Diet) and I would like to consider trying this. Any tips?

  56. It is true, that it can be difficult to get your cat to eat raws. One of my cats has difficulty eating raw meat and chicken… 🙁 But I will keep trying!! Great article and blog!!

  57. I had two cats before. Now the one cat I have she loves eating egg yolk, chicken, river water fresh fish. She does not like eating much human food.

    but, we give her yogurt as she loves eating it every day one spoon.