In recent years, we’ve become increasingly aware of the importance of eating a healthy diet. We pay more attention to the origin of food, processing methods, and the content of artificial additives, and the same goes for our cats.
The trend of feeding domestic cats with raw food is increasingly growing each day. This feeding concept is an alternative to dry and canned food, and is derived from the natural food cats would typically have in the wild.
So if you decided to start feeding your cat with raw food, you’re probably wondering how much raw food your cat can eat per day?
Check our guide below, where we’ll discuss everything about raw food feeding and how much raw food to feed a cat, including;
- Is a Raw Diet Safe For Your Cat?
- How Much Raw Food To Feed Your Cat?
- Transitioning Your Cat To Raw Food.
Is a Raw Diet Safe For Your Cat?
Cats are carnivorous animals that require a much higher percentage of meat in their diet compared to dogs. Relatives of the domestic cat, such as the wild cat, lynx, or tiger, eat exclusively raw meat.
Their physiology and metabolism are the same as those of a domestic cat, so it only makes sense that their most natural diet is raw meat, too. Many of the diseases and health problems in our cats come from improper and inadequate quality nutrition.
If you’re thinking about various bacterias that could potentially infect your cat and can be found on raw food, well, don’t worry—a cat has an anatomy and physiology that is developed to eat and digest raw meat.
Their stomach pH is more acidic and they have a short gastrointestinal tract that makes them less susceptible to a wide range of food-borne bacteria.
How Much Raw Food To Feed Your Cat?
Some cat owners who feed their cat raw food decide to be guided by their cat’s appetite when it comes to how much raw food they should provide. This method will only work with those cat owners that have a cat who will walk away from the food bowl when their tummy is full.
Unfortunately, not all cats are like this. Some can be very greedy when it comes to food, so it’s better to measure and monitor your cat’s raw food intake.
You have to know that every cat is different in how much raw food they should consume—it depends on these factors:
- Current weight.
- Activity and exercise levels.
For example, a senior cat who spends his days mainly sleeping and walks to his food bowl and toilet will, of course, need much less food than a young cat who spends his days running around and playing.
Experts generally recommend that you feed around 2 to 5 percent of your cat’s ideal body weight and split the feedings into two or three meals per day.
An adult 10lb cat would need approximately 1.5 to 2.5 ounces of raw food per meal. But don’t forget, this also depends on your cats’ metabolism and activity level.
So the general rule when feeding adult cat’s raw food is:
- Adult cats at their perfect weight with normal activity levels need 2 to 2.5 percent of their body weight of raw food in pounds each day.
- Less active adult cats, seniors, or overweight cats need 1.5 percent of their body weight of raw food in pounds each day.
- Adult cats that are very active or underweight need 3 to 4 percent of their body weight of raw food in pounds each day.
To get the exact amount of how much raw food to feed to your cat specifically, multiply their weight in pounds by:
- 0.02 if your cat is inactive or needs to lose weight.
- 0.025 if your cat is normally active and you want them to maintain their current weight.
- 0.03 if your cat is very active, or they need to put on some additional weight.
When you get the result, you now have to multiply it by 16. The result is the number of ounces your cat needs to eat per day. Don’t forget to divide it in half or thirds if you’re feeding your cat two or three times per day, of course.
Kittens need a slightly higher percentage of their body weight of food because they’re still developing and growing. So if you’re starting your kitten on a raw food diet from the beginning, here’s how much you should feed them:
- 2 to 4 months: 10 to 13 percent of current body weight of raw food in pounds per day.
- 4 to 8 months: 6 to 10 percent of current body weight of raw food in pounds per day.
- 8 to 12 months: 3 to 6 percent of current body weight of raw food in pounds per day.
Same as with adult cats, split the food into two or three meals per day.
Transitioning Your Cat to Raw Food
If you’ve had your cat on dry or canned cat food till now, the transition to raw food might be a bit difficult since cats are incredibly picky when it comes to their eating habits.
The length of your cat’s transition to raw food will also be dependent on their general health and digestive issues.
Cat’s who are on a mostly dry food diet will need a gradual transition. It’s best to get them on wet cat food first.
Try getting them to eat two wet, canned food meals per day, and then you can slowly start to add as little as a quarter or half teaspoon of raw food into their wet food.
Slowly start to increase the amount of raw food mixed in with wet food over the course of two to three weeks until you get them to eat a whole raw food meal.
Some cats will show interest in raw food immediately, so try offering them a bit of raw food before the meal and see how they react.
If they eat it up, you can start by offering them one meal of raw food per day and then gradually transition it to two or three meals of raw food per day.
If your cat has digestive issues, it’ll need a much slower and gradual transition to raw food. It’s best if you lightly cook the food for the first week, then reduce the cooking until you’re feeding them with a portion of entirely raw food.
Doing this will help to prevent any digestive issues and will give your cat’s body time to get used to the transition slowly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Isn’t It Complicated To Feed Raw Food?
Well, no. Feeding raw food can be pretty straightforward. The easiest way to begin is to use commercial frozen raw food. Yes, you can buy dehydrated cat food or freeze-dried cat food instead of preparing it yourself.
The formulas for both include raw meat, fruit and vegetables. The process of dehydration or freeze-drying removes the liquid. All you need to do is add water, and the meal for your cat is prepared.
These two options offer all the required nutrients and are a simple method of preparation, especially if you’re new to raw food feeding.
What Is a Raw Food Diet for Cats?
Raw food diet or RFD usually includes organ meat, muscle meat, and ground bones. The most common types of meat included in a cat’s raw food diet are chicken and fish, but manufacturers may also include other meat types.
When Should You Not Use Raw Diet?
If your cat is on immunosuppressive medications such as chemotherapy drugs or higher doses of cortisone-type drugs, they should completely avoid a raw meat diet.
You should also avoid feeding your cat raw foods if you have an immune-compromised family member or households with very young or elderly occupants.
This is to avert any infections caused by various pathogens that you can find in raw meat. These can remain on preparation surfaces, in your cat’s fecal matter, or even on your cat, especially around their face.
In this case, it’s best if you use commercial food, or a homemade cooked diet would also be a great substitute.
Cats are carnivorous animals whose close wild relatives eat exclusively raw food. The metabolism of a domestic cat is the same as it’s bigger relatives, so it’s logical that the most natural food for them is raw meat, too.
It’s essential, though, to feed them properly— based on their weight, activity level, age, and metabolism.
It’s best if you calculate your cat’s required daily raw food intake based on all of these factors. This way, you will avoid overfeeding your cat, causing weight problems and other potential ailments.