Tips for Preparing Raw Diets

Feeding raw diets to dog is a little bit easier than feeding it to cats. A good raw food diet generally contains 75-80% meat, 20-25% veggies, if desired a few grains such as oatmeal, millet, or barley, and supplements such as bone meal. Many cat owners sing the praises of a raw diet, but if you decide it's right for your cat here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • Cats need taurine
  • Cats can get vitamin A toxicity – go easy on feeding liver
  • Ground meat is much easier to prepare and for cats to eat than whole meats like chicken necks and wings

Dogs can tolerate more veggies, grains, dairy and bones in their food than cats. So keep this in mind when you are thinking about feeding both dogs and cats a raw diet.

Preparing Meat: You should also always take care when handling raw meat, especially chicken which can carry salmonella, a potentially deadly bacteria. Wash your hands and areas where you prepared the meat thoroughly with hot soapy water when finished.

  • Thaw meats in the refrigerator over night – never on the counter, don't thaw in the microwave
  • Once thawed, pour water over the meat if it is ground to hydrate
  • Place water-saturated meat in an enclosed container in the refrigerator
  • Mark the date on the container – you don't want to leave the meat in the refrigerator for longer than four days
  • Any meal that is not finished within 20 minutes should be put in the refrigerator or thrown out. Do not leave out raw food all day.

To Grind or not to grind: There is a lot of question about whether or not cats should be given bones. Many cat folks that feed a raw diet either avoid bones or grind them up. You may want to consider getting a grinder and grinding whole meat and bones for your cat. If you feel raw meat is the right choice for your cat, grinding the bones may make you feel more comfortable with this diet.

Meat grinders can be electric, attachments to electric mixers, or old fashioned hand grinders. Depending on the time you have to spend and your budget, if you grind meats, you'll want to choose what works best for you. Still not sure? You might want to take a look at what you're in for if you decide to grind meat for your cat.

Directions for Grinding Meat:

  • Line your entire counter top with plastic shopping bags for easier clean uplStep
  • Assemble the grinder with the sharp/flat side of the cutting blade towards the spout end of the grinder.
  • Place the grinder sideways, facing the kitchen sink. Adjust it so that the spout rests over a bowl big enough to hold all the meat you will be grinding.
  • Cut up a chicken by starting first at each joint. Cut across the middle lengthwise or across the back into several pieces. Depending on the size of your grinder's chute you'll want to cut into even smaller sizes. A good cleaver will really help for this
  • To clean-up, fold over all the bags, disinfect the exterior of the grinder, and clean the sink. Place grinder parts in dishwasher to be cleaned.
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