Friday, December 31, 2010

Cats: Beneficiaries of the Raw-Meaty-Bones Diet

When the Kona Raw Pet- Food Co-op began, a little more than a year ago, the original members were dog owners.  These dog owners may have fed a cat or two, but our focus was clearly on raw-meaty-bones for dogs.  The balance is changing now, as more cat owners, without dogs, join the co-op.

From research on pet diets, I knew that even veterinarians, who are tragically opposed to raw-feeding, acknowledge that cats are "Obligate Carnivores".  They're taught that phrase in vet school.  What that phrase means to misled vets, however, is that commercial cat foods must contain a higher percentage of proteins than dog foods and that cats can't live without some amino acids in their foods that they don't produce themselves (notably taurine, the absence of which in commercial cat foods killed a lot of cats).

I had a memorable conversation with the vet who examined the Maine Coon kitten I imported from Australia in January 2009.  Her statement began, "Cats are obligate carnivores, so you must feed her...".  I expected the word MEAT to appear in the following phrase, but NO.  "... you must feed her a balanced, 100% complete dry cat food."  I almost laughed out loud, but managed to restrain myself and change the subject.

Dry foods are bad for cats, whose desert origins incline them not to drink enough water to offset the dehydrating effects of dry foods.  Cats need moisture in their food.  Further, pet-food manufacturers skirt the margins of sustainable diets with as little animal proteins and fats as they must include to prolong domestic cats' lives for barely half of their natural lifespans.  According to cat experts, such as Elizabeth Hodgkins, domestic cats can live into their twenties, but practically none get past their mid-teens, because poor diets make them susceptible to all manner of degenerative diseases.  Cats need to eat whole small prey or its best substitute, raw-meaty-bones.

My cat, Daisy, was weaned on raw minced kangaroo meat and Royal Canin Maine Coon Kitten Food (yes, Royal Canin actually produces a food with that name, to their eternal shame).  When Daisy arrived at nearly 5 months of age, she was not prepared to chew her food or to accept strange flavors, such as raw chicken and beef.  In Hawaii, I could not offer kangaroo meat, and I certainly was not going to feed her Royal Canin Maine Coon Cat Food.  Feeding Daisy was a problem from the start, because cats are very attached to the foods on which they are weaned.  Problems with changing cats' diets are discussed on the Raw Meaty Bones web site.

Turned out Daisy loved Wysong's raw-dehydrated meats.  Mixing raw chicken and beef with Dream Treats  or Archetype worked.  She became skillful at chewing up raw chicken legs and wings.  She liked beef heart and kidney.  She didn't starve, but she was underweight for a year.  Instead of weighing 15 or 16 pounds, her weight hovered around 12 pounds -- until Wysong came out with their new Epigen.

Epigen is a starch-free dry food for cats and dogs.  Epigen is more than 60% meat, more than 60% proteins, and the rest is mostly animal fats -- in other words, a convenient but suitable dry food for carnivorous pets.

For reasons unknown at this time, cats LOVE Epigen.  Not just my cat, but all the cats of Kona Raw members.  We collect amusing tales of cats running to eat when the Epigen bag is opened for the first time.  Must be something in the aroma.  Cats gobble up Epigen, fending off the dogs for whom the bowl was intended.  Cats don't seem to know this is a new food they should instinctively avoid, as they do other new foods.

Daisy now weighs 16 pounds, on her way to full maturity -- around 18 pounds at three years-of-age.  Other skinny and sick cats are similarly being helped by the addition of Epigen to their raw diets. 

Several cat owners who recently joined the co-op have sick to very sick cats.  There are cats with chronic renal failure, with wide-spread food allergies, with tumors, and other distressing maladies.  Owners are feeding raw-meaty-bones to make their pets well or to give them happier lives until the end.  So far, owners are reporting good results with cats accepting raw meats and chicken bones.  They also find that Epigen is a helpful addition to their cats' diets.

Whereas dogs will eat almost anything (that doesn't eat them first, as one vet told me years ago), cats are much more selective in what they will consume.  Some cats won't eat beef liver; other thrive on it.  Some cats love green tripe; others sniff and find it as distasteful as most pet owners do.  Some cats crunch up chicken bones as well as dogs do; others won't chew up anything harder than an Epigen pellet.  It's trial-and-error to devise a good raw diet for cats, and repeated trials at that.  By combining raw meats with Epigen, owners feel more secure that their cats are getting nutrients they need to get well and thrive.

I have much to learn from experienced cat owners in the Kona Raw co-op.  The canine-o-centric focus of the co-op has changed.  Felines rule!


  1. Royal Canin pet food focus totally on the animal, with the aim of improving daily life and ensuring better health for dogs and cats through nutrition.
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  2. Yes its right we must give food to our pets which is fresh and healthy for the health.

    Cat Microchip Reader

  3. When the Kona Raw Pet- Food Co-op began, a little more than a year ago, ...

  4. We need to find some food that are healthy for them!