Cats are carnivorous animals who typically depend on meat protein for their regular growth and development. But can kittens eat raw meat? Well, while cats do enjoy feasting on meat from other animals, they should do so only after a certain age. Younger kittens generally do not have the metabolism and capacity to digest raw meat. Hence, pet parents should start a raw diet for kittens only once they turn 3 to 4 weeks old.
Is raw meat good for kittens?
Although cats relish their portion of raw meat, feeding it to kittens is a totally different topic. Since kittens are still at a developing stage, they are more sensitive and need additional care. Yet, feeding raw meat to kittens is not an unheard practice. However, uncooked and unprocessed raw meat often carry harmful microbes which may hamper the kitty’s health. Hence, it is not recommended to feed raw meat to kittens.
Why can’t kittens eat raw meat?
While there is no evidence that raw meat offers more nutrition than other types of cat food (and vice versa), here are two reasons why kittens shouldn’t eat raw meat:
- Infectious bacteria
Raw food is not recommended for cats because it contains bacteria like Salmonella and listeria. These bacteria can make both the pet as well as caregivers sick. And it is no news that food-borne diseases can at times be fatal.
- Bone pieces
Raw meat often contains small bone pieces and that can be dangerous for the kitten. These pieces can cause intestinal blockage. In fact, they can even cut the insides of your pet’s digestive system. Moreover, bone pieces can also fracture the cat’s teeth. If your cat is an aggressive chewer, feeding raw meat with bones could even break your feline friend’s tooth.
Alternatives to raw meat for cats
Now, as a cat parent, you might assume that home-cooked food is the best choice for your cat. However, it is a daunting and time-consuming process. You will have to understand cat’s feeding needs to ensure that it meets the daily nutrition quota. Along with protein, our feline family member also needs essential micronutrients like iron sodium, chloride, magnesium, etc. Hence, going for wet cat food products and kibbles is a feasible option. It saves you the effort of cooking food every day while also offering complete nutrition to your pet. Let’s explore the benefits of feeding wet cat food and kibbles to your cat:
Wet cat food
- It contains 78% moisture; hence, wet cat food keeps dehydration at bay.
- Since wet cat food is made using animal protein, it offers essential amino acids like taurine to cats.
- Cat food brands like IAMS understand a cat’s nutritional needs. Hence, you do not have to worry about your pet’s diet being high on carbs.
- Micronutrients are essential for a healthy immune system. Therefore, wet cat foods are loaded with chloride, potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins, etc.
- Kibbles work well with dispenser toys; hence, they can be used to provide mental stimulation.
- Since this type of cat food is dry and crunchy, it reduces plaque and tartar build up.
- Kibbles have a better shelf life and are easy to store as well as serve.
- If your cat is malnourished, this high-calorie food will help your pet gain the necessary weight and energy.
Note: Get in touch with your vet to make sure you feed the right quantities of both wet and dry cat food to your pet.
At IAMS, we offer kibbles that are made with premium-quality meat like chicken, tuna, and salmon. Along with being rich in protein, our range of cat food is also loaded with essential vitamins and minerals for cats.
What should you do if your cat eats raw meat?
If your cat accidently eats raw meat, take it to your vet as soon as possible. Cats exhibit the following symptoms every time they eat something their system doesn’t accept:
- Lack of appetite
Frequently asked questions
- What happens when my kitten eats raw meat?
- Is raw food safe for kittens?
- Can I feed my kitten raw meat if it is fresh?
- Can kittens eat raw chicken?
If a cat eats raw meat, it can lead to food-borne diseases, digestive issues, and tooth fracture.
No, raw food is not safe for kittens as it often contains infectious bacteria and small bone pieces that can cause fatal health problems.
Since kittens are still at a growing stage, their immune system is not strong enough to fight harmful bacteria present in raw meat. Hence, it is not recommended to feed any kind of raw meat to kittens.
No. Kittens shouldn’t eat raw chicken as it can cause severe health problems. Since cats are carnivores, they require animal protein for sustenance. Hence, cat parents should opt for wet and/or dry cat food that are developed to support your pet’s overall health.
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High fiber cat food has become a mainstay for many cats with gastrointestinal problems. But why is fiber so crucial for cats?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that isn't digested by a cat's gastrointestinal tract. It is important for cat health because it provides bulk to move food through. Some types of fiber can be fermented (broken down by bacteria) in the system. This process creates short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which are an important energy source for the cells lining the intestinal tract.
Thus, understanding the various types of fiber and when to include fiber in a cat's nutrition plan is crucial. High-fiber cat food often contains a combination of soluble and insoluble fibers that aid gastrointestinal health and improve stool quality. Some of these fiber elements are also known as prebiotics, which are nutrients (mostly fermentable fibers) that help the good bacteria in the intestines grow.
Soluble fiber for cats, such as gums and pectins, are the best at absorbing water. These fibers are typically highly fermentable and provide the required energy source. Adding such soluble fibers to your cat’s diet can help it maintain a healthy colonic mucosa and boost immune function in the lower intestine.
Insoluble fibers, such as lignin or cellulose, have a variety of therapeutic properties and can be utilised in your cat’s meal to promote its gastrointestinal health.
What's Good For You May Not Be Good For Your Cat
Today, people are more aware of fiber and its role in their diet. Studies showing the beneficial effects of higher fiber levels in humans influence the way many people think about their own food and that of their pets. Some manufacturers now apply the recommendations of human nutritionists and make high-fiber diets for cats, but cats have a much shorter digestive tract than we do. And unlike humans, cats are carnivorous, so their nutritional needs are better satisfied with meat rather than plant matter. Therefore, cats have different dietary needs than humans. For more than 60 years, companion animal nutritionists at IAMS™ have been studying diets to meet the special nutritional needs of cats.
What Is Microbiome In Cats?
- A microbiome is the microbial population (fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic organisms) that resides in the digestive systems of cats. This biological habitat is necessary for proper digestion. The bacteria in cat intestines aid in the digestion of indigestible materials and the production of useful substances such as vitamins.
How Does The Gut Microbiome React With Fibrous Food?
- Some high-fiber cat foods aid in the nourishing of good bacteria and the maintenance of a healthy microbiome.
Furthermore, fiber-rich cat food benefit cats suffering from GI illnesses of the large intestine. Fiberous food can assist in preserving their GI motility and water balance. This is turn helps prevent constipation and diarrhea in cats.
Fiber Levels And Fermentability
IAMS Company research shows the optimal crude fiber level for healthy cat’s ranges from 1.4% to 3.5%. At these levels, nutrient breakdown is maximized. In unique situations, such as hairballs, higher fiber levels may be beneficial.
An important characteristic of fiber is its fermentability, or how well it can be broken down by bacteria in the intestine. This breakdown produces short-chain fatty acids, which provide energy to the intestines. Fiber varies in fermentability. Fiber sources used in pet foods include cellulose, which is poorly fermentable; beet pulp, which is moderately fermentable; and gums and pectin, which can be highly fermentable. Research has shown that moderate levels of moderately fermentable fiber, such as beet pulp, provide the benefits of energy for the intestinal lining and bulk, without the negative effects of excessive stool or gas and, therefore, are beneficial in cat diets.
Some Advantages Of High Fibrous Food
High moisture, protein, and minimum carbohydrate matter are all key ingredients in high fiber cat diets. Here are some benefits of high-fibrous food for your cat:
- Improves gastric activities in the gut - Food containing soluble fiber for a cat helps in breaking down water and gastric juices in the gut.
- Keeps your cat satiated - Some soluble fibers dissolves in water and forms a gel that helps in storing water and makes your feline friend feel full.
- Promotes bowel consistency - Insoluble fibers helps with stool consistency and gives more volume to your cat’s ingested meal.
How Does High-Fibrous Help Cats With Diabetes Or Other Medical Conditions?
Cats with medical issues can also greatly benefit from high-fiber foods. For instance, high-fiber wet cat food might help overweight cats in reducing overeating and lowering their risk of obesity. What’s more is, adding fibrous food to your cat’s meal will also help your pet eliminate more nitrogen through their stool, thus sparing the kidneys. In fact, many dietary fibers inhibit nutrient absorption qualities, which help to lessen the rate at which the GI tract assimilates glucose, thereby keeping the blood sugar levels stable.
High Fiber And Weight Loss
High levels of poorly fermentable fiber are used in some weight-reduction pet foods to dilute the calories in a serving. IAMS Company research shows that high fiber levels can make it harder to digest other nutrients in the food and, in turn, reduce the nutritional quality of a cat's diet. Your cat making more trips to the litter box can be a result.
When Should You Give Low Fibrous Food To Your Cat?
Low fibrous food contains nutrients such as electrolytes and B-vitamins that aid recuperation in cats. This type of food is usually recommended by veterinarians for cats who are prone to having a quick onset of GI disturbance. Therefore, when choosing a meal for your cat, always visit a veterinarian. If your cat is on a high-fiber diet, their veterinarian should keep an eye on them to ensure that their fiber-responsive symptoms are under control.
Fiber And IAMS Cat Foods
When choosing a pet food, fiber is an important consideration, but remember that the needs of cats are not the same as those of humans. A moderate level of moderately fermentable fiber, such as beet pulp, provides proven nutritional benefits for cats. Cat diets containing high levels of poorly fermentable fiber dilute calories and deprive cats of the nutrients they need.
All IAMS products are made with levels of moderately fermentable fiber needed to promote intestinal health. And all IAMS foods, such as IAMS ProActive Health™ Adult Original with Chicken, contain the moderately fermentable fiber system, which is the exclusive property of IAMS Company and is protected by U.S. Patent No. 5,616,569 for Pet Food Products Containing Fermentable Fibers and Process for Treating Gastrointestinal Disorders.
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