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Natural Diet for Cats with Bones, Raw Vegetables and Supplements

Natural Diet for Cats with Bones, Raw Vegetables and Supplements

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Cats are obligate carnivores and have special dietary requirements. Unlike a pet dog, a cat requires a higher protein and fat diet. They require the amino acid arginine to synthesise urea, a waste product resulting from the breakdown of protein.

Cats also require the amino acid taurine in higher amounts. Taurine is found almost entirely in meat and a deficiency can result in irreversible damage to the heart and eyes.

Meaty Bones

The most important part of your cat’s natural evolutionary diet is the feeding of raw meat with the bones.

Many cats love meaty bones but are deprived of them as their owners are fearful they may choke. It is important to offer your cat meaty bones several times a week. Feed meat with bones raw, making sure that bones are not too small in size, so that your pet will have to chew them rather than swallow them whole, which is a choking risk. The bone should be appropriate for the size of the cat’s mouth.

Bones of the softer variety from poultry are most appropriate such as chicken wings and necks, spatchcock as well as smaller game fowl with the bone. Rabbit is also liked and contains small size bones. Larger bones such as those given to dogs would obviously be too large and hard for a cat’s small mouth and teeth. For kittens you can use a heavy mallet to smash the bones into more manageable pieces when you first introduce bones to them.

Never feed cooked bones as these can splinter causing ruptures in the throat and intestines. Raw bones contain the perfect balance of minerals your cat needs, and it is essential to feed bone with meat. Please be aware that feeding mostly meat alone is not nutritionally sufficient, although you can feed some meat only meals and some meat on the bone meals. Feeding mostly cooked meat is also not ideal, as cooked meat tends to sour in the intestines and create an ideal environment for worms.

Meaty bones in the diet are highly nutritional, providing essential calcium and minerals. They also clean the teeth, exercise the jaws and other body muscles as your cat eats. If your cat cannot chew bones, then have your butcher grind the bones up for them for their nutritional value. If grinding the bones is a problem for your butcher, then it is possible to get ready made frozen raw meat patties such as the BARF patties, which contain ground up bones, as well as additional nutrients from some pet shops.

Do not use calcium tablets or bone meal as a substitute, as this can cause mineral imbalances and skeletal problems. Bone meal is also made from cooked bone, and is not as nutritionally adequate as raw bone. It is recommended to always use human grade meat from the butcher or supermarket, as then you can be sure the meat is clean and free of infestation, or any undesirable ingredients.

Some suggestions as to which meat and meaty bones to use:

Chicken – wings and necks are well liked. (Wings are more nutritious than necks as they contain more meat and bone. Necks are higher in cartilage).

Lamb – chunks or finely chopped. Lamb is softer and preferable to mutton.

Kangaroo (If you live in Australia) – chunks or finely chopped kangaroo. Most cats love kangaroo.

Rabbit – chopped rabbit. A good choice for fussy cats. The bones are also small.

Wild game fowl – a good choice for fussy cats.

Spatchcock – good for cats as the bones are small.

Turkey – chunks or finely chopped.

The natural diet of the wild cat is lean meat because wild animals preyed on are unlikely to become very fat. It is preferable to feed your cat lean meat and throw away excessive bits of fat feeding only smaller portions of fat.

Natural Diet for Cats with Bones, Raw Vegetables and Supplements
Image Credit: Glenda Darlene, Catsel


Offal – liver / heart / kidney – once or twice a fortnight as an important source of nutrients – preferably organic as some organs like the liver store toxins, and organic raised animals are exposed to less toxins in their environment and food. Do not feed offal more than this as this can result in a vitamin A overload and it would be nutritionally unbalanced to do so.

All meat should be preservative free, as well as free of any growth hormones and antibiotics. Use a variety of meat textures, not just mince. Small chunks are preferable, as the chewing, ripping, tearing and shredding involved is better for your cat’s digestion and keeps the teeth clean.

Natural Diet for Cats with Bones, Raw Vegetables and Supplements
Image Credit: M. Kristen, Catsel

Raw unpasteurised goat milk

It is available at selected health food stores. Some cats may get diarrhoea from pasteurised cow’s milk. Raw goat milk is a good and nutritious substitute, and does not usually cause digestive problems. You will find that your cat will enjoy the taste of fresh raw milk, and even cats that have previously refused to drink pasteurised cow milk, will drink raw goat milk.

Raw egg once or twice a week

Include the crushed shell if your cat will eat it. Both yolk and whites are acceptable. Cooked egg can be given occasionally.

Fish occasionally such as tuna and sardines

As much as cats enjoy the taste of fish, do not substitute meat for fish. Some fish in the diet is good, but too much fish in the diet in place of meat, can cause serious nutritional deficiencies. If the fish is freshly caught it can be given raw, however when not freshly caught it loses its tenderness and starts to toughen. It is better then to cook it. If feeding cooked or tinned fish, be sure to remove any bones.

Note that a diet too high in raw fish can lead to a thiamine (B vitamin) deficiency leading to seizures and other health problems.

Natural Diet for Cats with Bones, Raw Vegetables and Supplements
Image Credit: Ashley T. Tow, Catsel

Fresh Raw Vegetables & Herbs

However although obligate carnivores, cats in the wild will obtain vegetables, herbs and grains from their prey’s intestines. The stomach and intestines of its prey is the first thing an animal will rip open. This usually contains pre-digested vegetable matter and wild grains.

It is therefore appropriate to add very small amounts of finely minced green herbs, vegetables, grains and fruit to your cat’s meat depending on what they like.

Some vegetables can be cooked to make them more digestible and others should be finely pulped to the consistency of the pulp you would get if you were to put the vegetable through a juice, in order to make them more digestible. ¼ of a teaspoon mixed into the meat should be adequate. If you add more, your cat may not like it; if you serve vegetables chopped instead of finely minced into the meat then your cat may also refuse to eat this.

If you find that your cat refuses to eat even the tiniest bit of minced vegetables in its meat then don’t force it to have it. Try and see what your cat will eat.

Some suggestions are:

  • Dark leafy green vegetables.
  • Broccoli – a favourite with some cats.
  • Corn – a favourite with some cats.
  • Carrot.
  • Pumpkin.
  • Cucumber – a favourite with some cats.
  • Zucchini.
  • Lentils – a favourite of my cat when cooked into a gravy.
  • Mango (some oriental breeds enjoy mango).
  • Melons (liked by some cats).

Additional Foods:

  • Natural yogurt with acidophilus – no sugar added or natural kefir.
  • Cottage cheese or any soft white cheese.
  • Crushed nuts such as almonds.
  • Grated yellow cheese in small amounts.
  • Coconut oil and grated coconut- a big favourite with cats.
Natural Diet for Cats with Bones, Raw Vegetables and Supplements
Image Credit: Anna Craftson, Catsel


Grains should only be fed minimally, and it is not necessary to do so every day. This is because a wild cat’s diet contains almost no grains, especially cooked or refined grain. When a wild cat eats the intestinal contents of its prey, it will be eating grain which is usually immature and green, and not refined like the way we process it for human consumption. Even if its prey had been eating mature seed heads these would be ground up and soaked in the juices of the herbivores intestines, which is a totally different product compared to the cooked and processed grains fed to pets today.

It is ok to feed a very small amount of whole grains as part of the diet, but just be sure not to feed a high grain diet, as the biochemical/physiological effects of a high carbohydrate/grain diet include swings in blood sugar and insulin, as well as high blood sugar. This in turn can result in a multitude of degenerative diseases.

Cats that are underweight, live in colder weather, very active, growing kittens, or pregnant/lactating queens may benefit from some grains in their diet, and these should be either soaked overnight or for a few hours in water to soften, or cooked for better digestion.

The most suitable types of grain would be the rolled or flaked grains such as flaked or rolled oats or barley. These grains when soaked are more similar to pre digested grain. The soaking also allows the enzymes in the grains to activate. Other grains to use are millet, rye and polenta. In addition, raw grain sprouts would be ideal to use. It is possible to get commercial formulations for pets that contain flaked grain, sprouts and dried vegetables and other nutrients that you mix in with their meat.

Natural Diet for Cats with Bones, Raw Vegetables and Supplements
Image Credit: W. Milton, Catsel

Toxic foods for cats

Raisins, sultanas and grapes

It is best not to feed these to cats as they can be toxic. Some cats have had adverse reactions to them.


Do not ever offer chocolate or cocoa as this is highly toxic to cats and can cause seizures and death. Carob is a suitable alternative.

Mushrooms, eggplant, cabbage, and potatoes

Especially green potatoes which are toxic. These foods are not suitable for your cat’s digestive system.


Tomatoes are on the list of toxic foods for cats and can cause severe gastric upset in some cats. However there are varying opinions in regards to this, as some cats enjoy tomatoes in small amounts with no ill effects. However, the tomato plant (ie the leaves and stems) is toxic to cats as are green tomatoes.

Other foods that should not be fed

Avocado, macadamia nuts which can be toxic and any citrus fruit (can cause vomiting). Cat’s also dislike the smell of citrus very much.

Yeast dough

Never feed yeast dough as this can cause severe stomach pain.


They should not be fed as these are toxic to cats and can cause Heinz body anaemia. Onions have a stronger concentrate of N-proply disulphide than garlic and should not be fed.

Natural Diet for Cats with Bones, Raw Vegetables and Supplements
Image Credit: Fontana, Catsel