In the early 20th century, domestic cats’ diet consisted of food that these animals found around their human settlements. In these areas, it was common for cats to live with humans and for their diet to be supplemented with snacks and leftovers from humans’ tables. Canned fresh food for cats also made its entrance.
But during World War II, there was a drastic reduction in this type of canned food, both for cats and for dogs. This change was due to the need to redirect resources, including glass, metal and labor, to the manufacture of weapons. Therefore, the production of canned cat food and canned food for pets was discontinued. Dry food had to take its place.
Wild cats’ eating habits
Cats fall into the category of strict carnivores. This means that their diet consists exclusively of other animals. Therefore, they have specific properties when it comes to chlorine, teeth and a short digestive system. These properties have adapted them completely for digestion and assimilation of proteins.
In addition, cats that eat a diet that lacks protein may develop a deficiency in certain nutrients. An example of this is taurine – and this deficiency can lead to death.
As an example of the diet of a wild cat, we can take a closer look at the European wild cat ( Felis silvestris silvestris ) in the Mediterranean. This animal feeds on rodents – mainly smaller forest mice ( Apodemus sylvaticus ), provence spruce orchid ( Microtus duodecimcostatus ) and the southern water beetle ( Arvicola sapidus ). At the same time, field elm ( Microtus arvalis ) and red hen ( Alectoris rufa ) also seem to play a prominent role in the diet of this skilled hunter.
Why is fresh food good for cats?
Dry cat food is composed to adjust the pH of the cat’s urine to prevent the formation of kidney stones. But they are not 100% effective.
Cats have a tendency to suffer from kidney problems. In fact, some breeds, such as Persian cats, have a tendency to develop polycystic kidneys. In addition, almost all cats sooner or later suffer from some form of kidney disease. And the main reason behind this is their low water intake.
Why should cats eat fresh food?
Fresh foods that consist of raw, natural foods – such as the BARF diet and RAW food – are very beneficial to the cat’s general health. The benefits of this type of fresh food for cats include the following:
- The cat increases its water intake. A cat’s body consists of at least 60% water. If an animal’s diet is based on fresh food, he or she will get a greater amount of water through food than through dry food.
- Cats that eat raw foods are at lower risk of becoming overweight. Fresh food is more nutritious and takes longer to digest – although the cat can digest it better. As a result, the cat takes longer to eat.
- A proper diet consisting of raw foods promotes the health of the cat’s joints.
- One of the complaints that cat owners often hear has to do with the bad smell on the cat’s feces. Raw foods that come from animals hardly contain any carbohydrates. Therefore, this food gives rise to much less odor.
- Finally, if the cat eats a diet consisting of raw foods, this diet will be very similar to the one that cats eat in the wild. And as a result, your cat will be much happier.
So you want to introduce your cat to a healthier and more natural diet? The first thing you need to do is talk to a veterinarian who specializes in natural cat nutrition. You should never make sudden changes in your pet’s diet as the change itself can lead to serious health problems. In addition, not all cats accept a change of diet without protest. Therefore, talk to your veterinarian about how best to proceed.