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The Pros and Cons of Cat Raw Food Diet

The Pros and Cons of Cat Raw Food Diet

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If you are reading this guide the chances are you have already decided that raw feeding and BARF are the way forward for your pets.

You might still be on the fence and really not sure if raw is for you. You will most likely spoken to lots of people about how they feed their pets and will have heard some horror stories from those who feed raw and those who feed wet, tins and kibble.

This isn’t a hard sell on raw feeding, this is way to give you an informed choice about what you feed your pet. Only you know what is right for you all.

Here, I hope to give you some of the pros and cons of raw feeding and some suggestions on how to overcome the worries that you might have.


Raw feeders will extol the virtues of how wonderful a raw diet is for your pet. A lot of these claims can’t be backed up by scientific research, there has been very little done, and there are really no “numbers and figures” that sum up just how good a raw diet can be. I can only give you the information I have from experience.

Your pet will never be bored by their food again.

If you are fed up of half eaten bowls of cat and/or dog food then your pet is probably bored with what they have to eat. Even different flavours all look and feel the same, would you like to eat that way for the rest of your life? Why would your beloved pet?

When you feed raw, your pet will be anticipating every meal and will relish every mouthful. My dogs start to drool even when they see me getting the vegetables out of the fridge because they know a nice meal is coming.

Cat is eating happily her raw food.
Raw Food could make your kitten happy

You can safely eliminate the foods that are actually detrimental to your pet’s health.

With mass produced pet foods everything is all lumped in together; meat, vegetables, flavourings and high starch grains all go into commercial pet foods and if you can’t separate these from each other how can you really be sure which of the ingredients is causing that upset tummy or that hyperactive behaviour?

With a raw diet, you gradually introduce new foods one at a time and watch for the reactions they cause. If you flag up a problem food, you can remove it easily from the diet without spending more money trying out a yet another type of pet food.

It can be a very cost effective way to feed your pet.

Raw feeding is NEVER going to be as cheap as the cheapest kibbles that are available, but most people only ever feed these out of necessity and I don’t know many people who would willingly choose to feed them to their pets. However, like for like raw feeding is only slightly more expensive than the cheapest kibbles and is much better value for those who specifically look for higher meat content commercial pet foods.

I can feed 2 dogs for 2 months on around £75.00 of raw foods, that’s less than 70p per dog per day for a high quality diet and includes the extras of fruit, vegetables, eggs and dairy that we buy along with our family shopping.

Kitten is choosing commercial dry food over raw meat.
Would your kitten prefer raw meat over dry cat food?

Your pet will smell better.

This is by far the biggest advantage of feeding raw. Your pet is getting the food they evolved/were designed to eat. Due to this their bodies process the food they get much more effectively and there are less by-products within them, this leads to a huge reduction in coat and fur smells (no more doggy or cat odour in your house and on your clothes).

The reduction in by-products also leads to a much more pleasant smelling stool, great for people with cat’s who use litter trays and responsible dog owners as you don’t feel so bad about cleaning up a poo that doesn’t smell. Along with this your pet will drink less as they get a lot of their water intake from the meats they are eating, this along with reduced by-products results in less urination, and again less smell.

Your pet will look better.

Again this isn’t something quantifiable, you just know they look better. They will have soft, silky, shiny coats; even wire haired and coarse haired animals will feel a good bit softer when you pet them. This is due to your pet getting the right type of proteins from a good natural source, their bodies can utilise it better and easier than they can with processed proteins.

Your pet will also have gleaming teeth and nice smelling breath; the meaty chunks and bones scrape off their teeth as they eat removing food debris and most plaque, this means a reduced cost in vet bills for dental problems and you’ll never have to try and brush your pets teeth again.

This cat looks beautiful.
A beautiful looking cat with orange-white furcoat

You will be a happy pet owner.

For me this is the best feeling. I enjoy nothing more than seeing and hearing my pets crunching away on a bone. They look so happy and enjoy it so much that it always makes me smile and I KNOW I’m doing the right thing for them by feeding raw.


All these benefits make raw feeding sound wonderful and it is. However you can’t make an informed choice without getting all the facts so here are some of the down sides to raw feeding along with a bit of information on how to overcome these problems.

People will tell you it’s not safe to raw feed your pets.

Friends, vets and other well meaning pet owners will tell your pet will choke, broken and splintered bones will cause internal damage and your pet will be ill from bacteria. This can become very tiring and off-putting over time if you aren’t resilient enough to have true conviction in the way you feed.

Feeding raw has the same risks as feeding any other food, if your pet hoovers up their food they are just a likely to choke on kibble as they are a nice meaty bone. Most raw bones are supple and easily crunched and digested by your pets, cooked bones and weight bearing bones are the ones that will splinter and cause most of the problems; overcome this by always watching your pet while it eats and remove any small pieces of bone that look like they could cause harm.

And the bacteria?

Well, yes there is a risk of bacteria and parasites within raw meat but most of these can be eliminated buy careful handling and proper storing; always store your meats in separate containers, freeze them for the appropriate length of time to kill off any bacteria and defrost in the same way as you would for your own food and never feed anything that looks or smells “off”/“bad”. Simple common sense is all you need to feed raw safely.

Cat is eating raw bones.
Most cats are able to digest raw bones

It can smell.

I’m not going to lie sometimes raw feeding can get very whiffy. If you don’t store your raw food properly in the freezer, or don’t have it defrosting in sealed containers then yes it will smell; always make sure you store and handle it properly and the smell won’t be an issue for the most part.

However, there is one piece of raw food that will always stink to high heaven, no matter what precautions you take, GREEN TRIPE, this is tripe that has only had one wash. The bleached tripe that we humans can eat has no nutritional value for your pets so you have to get green tripe which they love but It has a very strong odour that I can’t even find the words to describe.

You can overcome this by feeding tripe chunks straight from the freezer, because it is quite soft in it’s natural state it is really easy for your pet to eat when frozen and it does take away most of the smell.

Your pet could damage their teeth.

If you are feeding the wrong size and type of bones to your pet then yes it could damage their teeth. Always give foods you know your pet can comfortably handle, i.e. chicken and duck wings for your cat and not a cow thigh which would be impossible for it to eat.

Again, your pet’s well-being is reliant on your common sense but if fed and supervised properly they are no more likely to damage their teeth eating raw than they are playing with one of the many toys they have.

The only other damage that can happen is decay if you only feed minces, because your pet isn’t having the opportunity to chew on something that will clean their teeth and gums off then food will get stuck. I would recommend always feeding a bone at least twice a week even if you choose to feed only minces for meals, otherwise you really do need to brush your pets teeth which neither you nor they will enjoy.

Owner is preparing minced red meat for her kitten.
Be careful about preparing minced meat

People get food poisoning if they feed their pets raw.

With the exception of vegetarians and vegans most people handle raw meats quite regularly in their lives, do all of these get food poisoning? No, they don’t and the reason for this is good food hygiene. If you follow the same rules feeding your pets as you do for yourself and your family this isn’t even a problem.

Raw fed pets get worms.

Yes they do, but so do pets fed commercial pet foods. It’s not the food that causes the worms (with the exception of pork, which can) it’s everything else your pet does such as eating dirt, drinking from dirty puddles and hanging around with other neighbourhood cats. How do you treat worms in a raw fed pet? The same way you would if they weren’t raw fed, you either use a worming tablet or a natural wormer such as food grade diatemaceous earth.

You will become a bit obsessed by your, and other pets stools.

This sounds worse than it actually is. Checking your pets’ poo is a good way of knowing they are getting a good balanced diet and you will get into a habit of checking any stools you see and commenting on what you think the animal has eaten.

This isn’t an extensive list of all the pros and cons but I do feel these are the main points that need to be covered to give you a good balance of information. It’s not all wonderful switching to a raw diet but the benefits by far out-weigh any problems you might incur.