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Top Ten Reasons

WHAT STOPS PEOPLE FROM FEEDING RAW

by Emily Greene

Reason 1 - Veterinarians

One reason, shockingly, is that many vets strongly recommend against it.  Veterinarians are not completely to blame as they are educated by the big pet food companies in school. It is not in the interest of big commercial pet food companies to have raw promoted or studied.  Being open-minded, and actually experiencing the raw food difference and seeing the results is what makes us raw food fanatics almost like a cult. Usually the people who are against raw have never tried it.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal about Hill’s Science Diet:

'Vets Trust Them'

Borrowing a page from pharmaceuticals companies, which routinely woo doctors to prescribe their drugs, Hill's has spent a generation cultivating its professional following. It spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year funding university research and nutrition courses at every one of the 27 U.S. veterinary colleges. Once in practice, vets who sell Science Diet and other premium foods directly from their offices pocket profits of as much as 40%.

"Vets trust them," says Jana Norris, a fresh graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. While she was in school, a Hill's program allowed the struggling student to pay just $3 a bag for a special prescription brand for her cat, Buffalo Jean. A bag normally runs about $25. She also received a small stipend, courtesy of the Hill's program, to study orthopedic surgery with a Los Angeles vet. "Hill's was just always around," she adds.

Marketing Coup

So, similar to Colgate's spadework in dental schools, Hill's now funds a nutrition professorship in nearly half of the nation's vet schools. Hill's employees wrote a widely used textbook on small-animal nutrition that is distributed for free to students. Hill's also sends practicing veterinarians to seminars on wringing more profit from clinics and offers the only formal nutrition-certification program for clinic technicians. In a savvy marketing coup now being copied by other pet-food companies, Hill's each year donates tons of free food for the pets of cash-strapped veterinary students.

Often my pet buyers go into the vets with their kittens and are strongly discouraged from feeding raw by vets. Some of mine have even selected to go to raw-food friendly veterinarians. It is important to do that, as many who are biased, the first thing that goes wrong the doctor will claim it is because of the raw food.

Reason 2 - Lack of Convenience:

The process of making homemade ground raw takes about 2 hours once a month, twice a month if you have more cats.  If purchased commercially, there is no additional time. My adult cats get fed raw two times a day and that takes about 7-8 minutes each time. Pregnant, nursing moms or babies get fed three times a day. Dedicated pet owners should have that minimum amount of time for their pets.

Many claim it will not be convenient when they go on vacation. The pet sitter should be able to follow instructions and feed raw just as you do.

Reason 3 - Fear of Bacteria & Parasites:     

Cats have short digestive tracts and are naturally equipped to eat raw safely. Their digestive systems are highly acidic. They digest food in 4-6 hours well before bacteria would become a problem. This is exactly what they eat safely in the wild and somehow they managed to survive! Raw food should be frozen before it is served to cats as it kills any parasites in it. Raw food, just as you would prepare for yourself, should be handled carefully as well. The food should be served cold and then eaten within about 15 minutes. If it is not all eaten, remove it. Serving raw food, is in fact, no more dangerous than handling dry food.

In recent recalls where humans got salmonella poisoning, the pets did not. This occurred by handling, not eating the kibble. From CBS News on August 9, 2010:


A report and one in the journal Pediatrics found humans got salmonella from certain dry pet foods in one outbreak between 2006 and 2008, affecting 79 people in 21 states. Almost half were kids 2 and younger.

Dr. O. Alton Barron. an attending physician at New York's Roosevelt Hospital, explained on The Early Show that dry food was contaminated because, after it was heated, eliminating salmonella and other organisms, it was sprayed it with food flavoring to make it more palatable to dogs and cats. 

There is also a huge argument about humans getting bacteria contamination.  Through our daily lives we prepare many raw foods, we bake chicken, we make hamburgers and so on. Making this meal for your cat is no different. Prevention of bacteria is as simple as washing your hands thoroughly.

Reason 4 - Studies Show?

Everyone including myself, loves to see scientific studies done and evaluate from that material.  However, raw food diets have not been studied very much yet. Why, you might ask?  Big pet food companies are usually the ones who pay for the raw food studies.  They are certainly not going to pay for a raw food study which might endanger their profit margin.

One of the favorite arguments of anti-raw contingent is that there are no raw food studies showing “proof” that raw food is better. 

In 2013, four of my breeding cats were on the raw food study for a commercial raw food company along with their kittens. Full blood panels, urinalysis have been done over time and all are normal. Also, another pet owner has two Sphynx in this study as well. The one pet even has Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and her heart function has actually improved since being on the raw diet. The other one had allergies and showed a decrease in that. The bloodwork has improved dramatically on both of her cats and the urinalysis is normal as well.

Reason 5 – But kibble is good for their teeth:

Kibble, with all its sticky additives, is like a human claiming eating Cheetos is going to clean your teeth.  Most kibble contains carbohydrates that will decay teeth.

The raw diet itself can help some with raw meaty bones (full chicken neck once a week), but it is still not perfect.  The only reliable way to keep your cat’s teeth clean is the same as for people… by brushing regularly and routine dental check-ups.

 

Reason 6 - I want natural, but I would rather make home cooked meal:

Cooking depletes the food of minerals and nutrients, especially taurine. Anything natural is best... this means the less nutrients you have to add back in, the better. If you want to make a home cooked foods, please research carefully to make sure you are feeding a completely balanced diet and watch their condition.

Reason 7 - Raw food is too expensive:

Price should not be the sole determining factor for selection of pet food. However, one of the best things about homemade raw is that it is actually one of the least expensive ways to feed your cat.

Here is a table showing the usual prices I pay. Please note: prices can vary in your area or weekly due to sales. Sometimes I pay more, sometimes less. This chart shows average prices that I pay in my area. (Prices updated June 2015 for most areas in USA)

Meat Type Price per pound Pounds needed Price
Chicken  $0.79 75 $59.25
Beef $3.50 15 $52.50
Organ Meat $1.50 5 $7.50
Beef Hearts $2.50 5 $12.50
      $131.75
       
  DIVIDED BY 100 POUNDS  $1.32
       
  Cost is $1.32 a pound. 

 

 

Reason 8 - I feed grain-free dry food with all the best ingredients.  

Even grain free kibble diets contain inappropriate ingredients.  It is still processed and loses a lot of the nutritional value. Some of the protein is added and it is not from animals - but plants. Cats cannot process plant material. It is not the same.

Grain-free dry food STILL has the wrong moisture content. The moisture is only about 10%. It does not have enough moisture to be healthy. This contributes to a multitude health issues such as kidney issues and urinary tract crystals.

If you are not going to feed raw, at least do your cats a favor and feed them canned wet food.

 

Reason 9 - My cat only eats hard food only and will never switch to another diet.

Switching a cat to eat raw may take some patience and dedication. Some cats can take up to 6 months to completely switch successfully. DO NOT give up in the first week or even the first month. It may be frustrating but it is worth it. Cats must eat a little bit otherwise they develop fatty liver disease. If you feed them a tablespoon of their normal food in the morning and at night, they will be hungry enough to eat the raw but still not completely starve if they do not the first couple of days.

 

Reason 10 – I am a vegetarian and/or raw meat grosses me OUT.  

Surprisingly, this actually happens a lot. The vegetarian issue is simple.  Cats are obligate carnivores and they need meat and only meat. It is not violating vegetarian beliefs to feed a cat raw meat.

As for touching or seeing the raw meat as "gross", most of us find raw chicken not pleasant either. I can promise you I do not enjoy handling raw chicken. We do it because we want our cats to have the best possible food.  So, basically, those that fear raw meat need to pull themselves up from their bootstraps and just think about how much better it is for the cat. It may help to remember that the litterbox will stop smelling awful. Cats fed strictly raw food do not have smelly stools.  I was told this by many before I started feeding raw and I thought it was nonsense. It is one of the greatest things about raw food.

 

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