Cats and BARF Diets
Despite these proven and well known feline necessities, the majority of brand-name cat foods are primarily grain based, often containing large amounts of corn or rice and supplemented with meats and essential vitamins and these simply do not meet the nutritional requirements of cats but much less so a lactating or pregnant cat. In the case of the cat, which is an obligate carnivore and a hunter, the biologically appropriate diet is based largely upon animal derived foods. Basically, whatever nutrition can be derived from a whole fresh raw carcass – in its entirety – constitutes a biologically appropriate diet. Relative to size, domestic cats are very effective predators. They ambush and dispatch vertebrate prey using tactics similar to those of leopards and tigers by pouncing; they then deliver a lethal neck bite with their long canine teeth that severs the victim's spinal cord, or asphyxiate it by crushing the windpipe. The domestic cat can hunt and eat about one thousand species—many big cats will eat fewer than 100. Although, theoretically, big cats can kill most of these species as well, they often do not due to the relatively low nutritional content that smaller animals provide.Cats have highly specialized teeth and a digestive tract suitable to the digestion of meat. The premolar and first molar together compose the carnassial pair on each side of the mouth, which efficiently functions to shear meat like a pair of scissors. While this is also present in canines, it is highly developed in felines. The cat's tongue has sharp spines, or papillae, designed to retain and rip flesh from a carcass. Cats also rely on bones as a major part of their diet for a variety of reasons including teeth cleaning and the myriad of benefits and nutritional attributes of bones as well as their psychological benefits. Cats are also known to munch on grass, leaves, shrubs and houseplants. They do not eat a lot in one sitting, but prefer to have it as a snack. Eating vegetation in this way may aid the cat's digestive system and can prevent hairballs.