It’s engrained in our culture to disregard our pet’s nutrition and feed them something subpar to what we are feeding our families.
It’s far more engrained in our culture to just not think about our pet’s nutrition at all than it is to not think about our own nutrition.
But much like children, we choose to bring these animals into our homes as furry family members and commit to taking care of them, keeping them happy and nourished.
Afterall, they are completely dependent on us for everything while in our homes. They provide us with comfort, companionship, entertainment, protection, and love without questions or judgment, and deserve better from us in return.
For the last two years, I watched my elderly cat, Max, waste away. It took a long time to realize he wasn’t just losing some weight after being taken off table scraps. He was ill, despite no veterinarian being able to find anything worthwhile.
When I did finally see just how bad things were, I had that moment of clarity for him that I had come to a year earlier after the weight of new motherhood hit me; everything wrong with his health was related to his diet. Only proper nutrition could bring him back to health.
The implications of humans eating industrialized food, even if labeled organic, are no different than the implications of our beloved household pets eating industrialized food. The amount of processing kibble and wet food goes through before being consumed isn’t much different from the slop fed to cows in a CAFO.
Even the best varieties of wet food, closest to the natural diet of our carnivorous friends, has had the nutrition cooked out of the meats and replaced with synthetic vitamins.
Frequently convenience stops us from taking care of our pets in the way we take care of ourselves; it’s just one more item on the already long to-do list. Even the most militantly health conscious amongst us won’t think twice about pouring a bowl of meat flavored cardboard for Fido or Fifi.
Cats (and dogs) are natural carnivores and should not be eating grains, vegetables or even cooked meat, but all those things are present in the kibble my cat had consumed since he was a kitten, and it was killing him.
After a couple weeks of trying to transition Max to a natural diet of raw meat, bones and organs, noticing he wasn’t eating anything in general, I took him to a holistic vet who instantly knew something was very wrong.
A few x-rays later, he was officially diagnosed with cancer. About 6 weeks after that, he died in our home.
During that time I had given up altogether on the dietary changes for our cats. Only 1 of the 3 had shown any interest and I just couldn’t be hassled to deal with it all.
But seeing my childhood friend die from something totally preventable pushed me to vow to take better care of our other kitties, and come Hell or high water, they were going to be switched onto raw food. After a week-long adjustment period, they now gladly consume a variety of small game meats, just as nature intended.
Although I had known raw meat was best for a while before the situation with my cat, cost was the biggest factor behind my hesitation to take the plunge. They would inhale the kibble like no tomorrow and I wasn’t sure I could keep up with such appetites in the same quantities of raw meat.
Once completely transitioned onto the new diet, their appetites changed dramatically and our two husky felines only eat a couple pounds of meat and bone a week. Not only is it totally affordable, but I can even “splurge” on the good quality stuff.
My foray into raw feeding has been surprisingly pleasant. I don’t have to do any special preparations so I don’t handle the meat any more than I would for my own dinner. Clean up is pretty simple since the cats consume the entire meal, gnawing away at the bones with those sharp back teeth until everything is gone.
They do like to drag their separate pieces around the linoleum and then use the kitchen rug to bury their leftover treasures, but some natural cleaning spray and a towel is all I need to take care of that. And no, I’m not at all concerned about bacteria, even with my toddler playing in the kitchen. Through a healthy immune system, healthy exposure to bacteria, and simply having healthier meat, the risk of getting sick is extremely low.
Some folks also seem to have the mistaken belief that somehow domesticated animals have lost the ability to properly digest raw meat or are more likely to get sick from the bacteria present.
This is absolutely not true, just talk to all the people feeding their pets this way! And again, we don’t think it’s too far-fetched that big industries are selling us lies about our own health, why would it be far-fetched for kibble companies and vets to be selling us similar lies about our pets?
It’s perfectly safe, amazingly healthy and doesn’t even cause any litter box problems.
This whole experience has really changed my perceptions about what makes a healthy family. It wasn’t enough to love my cats and do all the normal stuff pet owners are supposed to do as dictated by our culture. They’re family members and deserve the same critical thinking skills and sharp eye that has lead me to giving my daughter a healthier life and reversing my own health issues.
Our pets need real food, fresh air, sunshine, stress relief, a toxin-free environment, and holistic healthcare, too. Their happiness and wellbeing feeds into the family’s wellbeing. When they are sick, it puts a strain on all of us. When they are sad, we feel their moods in the same way they feel when we are sad.
Taking good care of our sweet furry children is just another part of taking care of our family’s health as a whole.
For everything you need to know about raw food for your pets – from transitioning to ensuring a balanced diet – check out rawfeddogs.org or rawfedcats.org. Make sure you hit up the link sections for even more information about natural pet care! A special thank you to Linda from rawfedcats.org for the personal help in switching my cats to raw food.
Thank you, Cassandra! What an awesome post! I have been making Sky’s food for years and need to do a dog post version soon, thanks for the inspiration!