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real meat versus canned food?

I have two 9-week-old kittens. They are currently on wet food about 5 times a day. They have dry food out all the time that they nibble on. Water is provided which they are drinking.

They are currently being weaned off Whiskas and Felix wet food (which they were fed in foster care) and onto a higher quality wet food. I am mixing some Pets at Home (UK) "Purely" food which seems better quality. It has 50% real chicken, sunflower oil, vitamin and mineral supplements and tapioca starch. That’s the list of ingredients. It seems better than other brands. There doesn’t seem to be any byproducts or ash or corn fillers.

The kittens don’t seem to enjoy this food that much (both higher and lower quality food), but they will pick at it. A couple of times I have given them some salmon steaks and frying steak (both cooked) which I’ve chopped up. They love this and lick the plate clean!

My question is, is it wrong/safe/unhealthy to feed them exclusively real meat (beef, pork, tuna etc) as opposed to high quality canned food? I know that canned food has all the vitamins and minerals, etc that a cat needs, but is real meat actually better for them since they are carnivores? I am a little worried about them having too much protein in their diet as I know this can cause kidney problems. Also, because they are so young, is real meat appropriate? I would not feed them processed meats (ham, deli meat etc). I know that canned food contains water, but they are drinking pretty well too.

I want to give my kittens a good start in life and feed them the best.
Thanks for the answers I’ve been getting. So, what about if I give them a combination of real and canned food, all mixed in together. The real meat might make the canned stuff taste better. But then again, they might just pick out the real stuff and leave the canned stuff!

A raw diet is the best thing you could possibly feed them. They are obligate carnivores and designed to digest high protein foods, so you needn’t worry about kidney problems. Meat contains water just like canned food does.

Making a nutritionally complete homemade diet isn’t easy. Research:
http://www.catinfo.org/makingcatfood.htm (MAKING CAT FOOD)
http://www.catnutrition.org/foodmaking.php (Foodmaking)
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=014 (Easy Homemade Diets for Cats and Dogs)

Raw feeding is an excellent option but should also be thoroughly researched before being attempted. There’s a lot more to it than just feeding your cat raw meat. You need a careful balance of raw muscle meat, raw organ meat, and raw meaty bones. Research:
http://www.rawfedcats.org/ (Raw Fed Cats)
http://rawfed.com/myths/cats.html (Raw Fed: What About Cats?)
http://www.rawlearning.com/ (Jane Anderson’s Raw Learning Site)
http://www.rawmeatybones.com/ (Raw Meaty Bones)
http://rawfed.com/myths/preymodel.html (Raw Prey Model Diet Vs. BARF Diet)
http://community.livejournal.com/rawdogs/profile/ (Raw Dogs Livejournal Community [not just for dogs despite the name!], excellent raw feeding information on the profile page and overall helpful community for raw feeding questions.)
http://www.rawfed.com/myths/index.html (Myths About Raw Feeding)

Darksong~

7 thoughts on “real meat versus canned food?

  1. Kia the Koala Lady says:

    Raw diets are considered to be the best possible meal to feed your cats, however, its time consuming and expensive to fix up meals like that. I feed wet and free feed dry (my cats weight is good or else I would control meal times more) but I would love to have time to do a raw diet. I know there are some very knowledgeable people here that can give you more info, so I will star in hopes they see it. But you are making excellent decisions for your cat so that’s really awesome to see 😉 Best of luck to you and your cats!!!
    References :

  2. ~emerald dream~ says:

    Proper nutrition is vital in the health of pets in order to maximise thir quality and length of lives. Particlarily in kittens/pups when they are building their immune systems.
    Most commercial foods are easier to use, can be less expensive and actually provide a better nutritional balance. Making a home prepared diet requires knowledge of specific nutrient needs, nutritional value of ingredients.
    Homemade foods are also not tested or evaluated like commercial food.
    You should to into consideration the kittens body weight. body condition and activity level before preparing feed.

    When preparing the kittens diet, check for addequate nutrition by asking yourself..
    *Did you include all 5 food groups? Carbs/fibre from cooked cereal or potato, protein source, a fat source, minerals especially calcium
    *What type and quantity of the protein source is used? – is it lean or fatty? if the source is mainly lean, you may add animal or vegetable oil to comprise 2-5% of the formula to ensure energy density requirements is met.
    *The carbohydrate/protein ratio shoulld be 1:1 to 2:1.

    Also homemade foods lack preservative agents and are high in moisture content therefore storage is important factor as they are high risk of bacterial growth and spoilage.
    References :
    Vet Study Books.

  3. The Wombat Queen says:

    Cooking meat reduces nutrients which cats need (such as taurine) and raw meat may contain parasites or diseases which can be harmful to them. Thus, it’s healthiest to stick with a pre-formulated cat food. Also, if you feed them only meat this young in life, they will become used to it and you will find it hard to switch them over to regular cat food later in life. continue to feed them wet and dry food and they will adjust to it gradually.
    References :
    I own cats and work with a rescue group

  4. ♥ Animal Luvr ♥ says:

    There is NOTHING wrong with feeding your cats real meat versus canned food. At my favorite pet store (sorry not a national chain though) they actually sell a blend of special vitamins in a tasty mixture which you mix with real meat in order to give your cat a balanced diet. But seeing as how you offer them dry food all the time anyways, the real meat in addition to this will definitely be a healthy choice.

    If the meat has been thoroughly cooked as you cook your own meat, there is no reason to fear parasites. Of course you want to make sure your cat finishes whatever they would like to eat in a relatively short span of time (maybe an hour) and throw away whatever is left over. We know how quickly it can spoil, and that could make your cat sick.

    My cats prefer dry food so I am lucky, but sometimes I will grill or saute chicken which has been in my FREEZER past the ideal date for eating, then I will take that chicken and shred it up, and put it in a sealed container in the fridge, and feed it to my cats a few times a day for a couple days before it goes bad. People think that meat will become contaminated even when frozen, but this is not true. The meat may change in taste or may get that freezer like taste but it will not spoil. It will not hurt a person, or a cat to eat meat which has been frozen longer than what we would like. It’s a great way to not waste and give my cats a yummy treat.
    References :

  5. lgdubya says:

    I’m not sure what’s available in the UK or in Canada, but I can tell you what I do.

    My cats are on a raw diet. I don’t cook the food since you’re cooking out the nutrients. I purchase from a company that makes raw food for animals so I’m not worried about parasites. If you purchase from the grocery store, there’s a higher possibility of the food containing parasites since the food is meant to be cooked. The food I purchase is the whole carcass ground up which includes the whole chicken (muscle meat, organs, bones, blood) and doesn’t include the head, feathers, feet and intestines. I feed chicken, turkey, duck, deer. I choose not to feed pork since the sodium is much higher than other meats. I also plan on trying lamb, cornish hens and beef. It’s safe to feed a poultry everyday and feed land and water animals every other day or less. It’s okay to feed tuna made for cats, but not made for humans. Also, fish or any other water animal shouldn’t be fed everyday. Cut it down to maybe once or twice a week.

    I looked up the ingredients of Purely Complete Kitten Food and it seems to be of a higher quality.
    Here are the ingredients: Fresh Chicken (min. 26% in the brown disc biscuit), Poultry Meat Meal, Rice (min. 25%), Maize, Poultry Oil, Maize Gluten, Sugar Beet Pulp, Egg Powder, Fish Meal, Yeast, Minerals. Coloured with natural EC Additives. Total Chicken min. 40%.

    You would like to avoid any food with rice, maize (which is corn) and gluten (involved in 2007 recall). It’s nice that the first ingredient is chicken and the total chicken is 40%, although you’d like it to be 50% or more.
    References :

  6. Darksong17 says:

    A raw diet is the best thing you could possibly feed them. They are obligate carnivores and designed to digest high protein foods, so you needn’t worry about kidney problems. Meat contains water just like canned food does.

    Making a nutritionally complete homemade diet isn’t easy. Research:
    http://www.catinfo.org/makingcatfood.htm (MAKING CAT FOOD)
    http://www.catnutrition.org/foodmaking.php (Foodmaking)
    http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=014 (Easy Homemade Diets for Cats and Dogs)

    Raw feeding is an excellent option but should also be thoroughly researched before being attempted. There’s a lot more to it than just feeding your cat raw meat. You need a careful balance of raw muscle meat, raw organ meat, and raw meaty bones. Research:
    http://www.rawfedcats.org/ (Raw Fed Cats)
    http://rawfed.com/myths/cats.html (Raw Fed: What About Cats?)
    http://www.rawlearning.com/ (Jane Anderson’s Raw Learning Site)
    http://www.rawmeatybones.com/ (Raw Meaty Bones)
    http://rawfed.com/myths/preymodel.html (Raw Prey Model Diet Vs. BARF Diet)
    http://community.livejournal.com/rawdogs/profile/ (Raw Dogs Livejournal Community [not just for dogs despite the name!], excellent raw feeding information on the profile page and overall helpful community for raw feeding questions.)
    http://www.rawfed.com/myths/index.html (Myths About Raw Feeding)

    Darksong~
    References :

  7. Nuflex says:

    Well you answered 1 of my questions so I’m here to return the favour…

    Basically, my Uncle feeds his cat canned and dry food like everyone else but about twice a week the cat gets pieces of sardines.
    References :

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