If you are an indoor cat owner, you want to ensure they have the best lifestyle possible. Your kitty deserves to live a long and happy life, and you want to do everything you can to facilitate that. Of course, this starts with good nutrition, so you’ll want to know the best cat food for indoor cats.
There aren’t just different brands of cat food to consider, but completely different kinds.
Yet one type stands out above the others if you want to help minimize the risk of long-term health problems and ensure your cat or kitten gets all the nutrients they need – raw pet food.
Why Is a Raw Diet The Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats?
A raw cat food diet is the closest match to what a cat would be eating in the wild. Cats are carnivorous and, when wild, will hunt for their prey. They don’t eat plants or grains, so why should these products make up the bulk of what your kitty eats?
Dry cat food like kibble is often the worst for being bulked out with unnecessary ingredients, but plenty of wet canned food is just as guilty. Cooking can also remove the nutrients from some cat foods.
If you feed a cat a raw diet, it will eat what nature intended and get all the nutrition it needs.
There is also a long list of potential benefits to a raw cat food diet. These aren’t guaranteed, but many cat owners notice improvements in their kitty when switching to raw food.
These may include:
- Improved digestion, including healthier (and less odorous) stools
- Improved joint and bone health, vital for later life
- Improved dental health
- Improved urinary health, and a reduction in kidney diseases
- Improved coat and skin
- Increased levels of energy
Many cats, whether they are a Ragdoll rescue or not, are also overweight because of the unnecessary ingredients used to fill out other kinds of cat food. Raw food will have your cat shedding some fat and be in a healthier weight range, which will be good for its heart and joints.
So, with all these benefits, why is it an unpopular opinion to say that the best cat food for indoor cats is raw?
It is, of course, because cat food manufacturers want to make profits from their pet foods, and so they push the messages that make their foods sound the best.
Dry and wet cat food is often cheaper, too. Prepared foods are almost always more convenient.
And so, if you give busy pet owners the option of something they are told is healthier and quicker, they will gravitate towards that.
Preparing raw food for your cat doesn’t have to be a chore. Over time, you’ll save time and money with fewer veterinarian visits or worries about health issues that you could have avoided.
Types of Raw Food for Indoor Cats
There are many different types of raw food you can feed your cat, but generally, you can break them down in a couple of different ways.
Meals vs. Toppers
Firstly, there are meals and toppers. Meals are the primary food that your cat eats for most of its nutrient needs. Toppers are extras you can add to your cat’s food to introduce more beneficial nutrients or improve the flavor to encourage your cat to eat.
Toppers still consist of raw food and may help transition your cat into its new diet if you want to switch to raw food. Or use them alongside a regular raw meal to help balance the meals properly.
Components of Meals
Raw meals generally contain three main natural ingredients – meat, organs, and bone. It’s vital to get the right balance because raw food is not just about meat – there are vital nutrients in bone and organs that your feline won’t get in muscle tissue alone.
Remember, cats are carnivores. If your cat hunted in the wild, it wouldn’t be picking around the bones and organs to eat the meat.
A typical makeup of raw food for cats is 80% muscle meat, 10% organ meat, and 10% bone, but you can customize this with some food retailers if you want to tailor your cat’s eating plan.
Fresh, Frozen, Freeze-dried, and Whole
You can buy raw food for your cat that has been prepared for sale in various ways. If you’re buying local, you might choose fresh food, which you can then portion yourself before freezing.
The most common options are frozen and freeze-dried foods. Frozen foods may take the form of dehydrated pellets, frozen ground meat, or chunks. You can serve it once defrosted or gently warm it with hot water.
Freeze-dried foods tend to come as pellets that you can crumble into water or over solid food.
Whole prey is precisely that – whole dead animals. Whole prey has its perks in terms of being the best for a cat’s oral health. Still, many indoor cats won’t take to whole animals, and portion control becomes much more challenging.
7 of The Best Options for Indoor Cat Food
One of the best ways to get raw cat food is to look into any local co-op that may exist. These tend to offer reasonable prices, and because they’re local, it’s often easier to get fresher foods. Of course, this is usually for those cat owners interested in making their own homemade cat food recipes.
The problem is that there’s no easy way to find your local co-op. The best way is to check Facebook and other social media sites where there may be groups. It might be trial and error while you search, but keep trying, as you can get well-valued food that doesn’t sacrifice quality.
2. Fetching Foods
Fetching Foods is an excellent choice for pet owners who want to tailor their cat’s meals. The company offers a wide range of proteins that you can use to create your own custom menu to suit your cat’s individual requirements. They also have a selection of dog-food options for your canine friend.
You can buy the items individually if you don’t want to create a bespoke menu. Alongside the typical meat options, they offer less-common protein sources such as goose, squab, boar, and pheasant. There are also broths to help add flavor to meals and jerky for raw snacks.
Darwin’s Natural Pet Products have a mission to ensure pet owners get more time to spend with their beloved animals. They do this by creating healthy, cost-effective foods with balanced nutrition.
There are two main product lines for cat food: the Natural Selections range, made using 100% poultry or lamb, and the Intelligent Design range – a specialist recipe created by veterinarians and targeted at cats with kidney disease.
4. Viva Raw
Viva Raw offers two main product lines – their Complete range for dogs and their Pure line for cats.
You’ll create a box of foods to be shipped to you, selecting from their five main proteins – chicken, turkey, beef, duck, and rabbit, with organ and bone matter included. Viva Raw also offers nutritious raw food for dogs.
5. Small Batch
Small Batch produces a selection of frozen meal blends containing a mix of meat, organ, and bone. They also offer a slightly smaller selection of freeze-dried treats made using chicken, beef, or turkey.
You can’t buy Small Batch directly, but their website can help you find local retailers if you want to buy frozen foods. In addition, you can buy their freeze-dried cat treats online at Amazon.
6. Steve’s Real
Steve’s Real is another company that doesn’t sell directly but still has a worthwhile range of frozen foods and freeze-dried treats to check out for your kitty, which may be available in your local pet store.
Their Quest range is carefully formulated to meet a cat’s needs, including natural additives such as raw goat milk and coconut oil. No grains, synthetic vitamins, preservatives, pesticides, or antibiotics – just all-natural goodness.
7. Rebel Raw
Rebel Raw is another brand that serves dogs and cats with an extensive range of nutritional raw ground food, including lots of common protein choices for your kitty. Take your pick from beef, chicken, duck, lamb, rabbit, turkey, and venison, plus sardines and salmon as seafood options.
You can buy weekly meal plans or individual products, and plenty of extras such as whole organs, supplements, and meaty bones are available.
The best cat food for indoor cats will be a raw food option. Still, the specific food you choose and the company that makes it will depend on your preferences (and that of your kitty).
Transitioning to a new diet is never easy and requires some perseverance and flexibility for owners. It’s unlikely your cat will take to raw food immediately. However, your patience will be rewarded with a cat that may have fewer health issues.
They may reach a healthy weight or enjoy an improved digestive system. They may have a less odorous litter box, or you might need fewer vet visits.
Take the time to learn more about raw food cat diets if you wish to switch from canned cat food or dry food, including tips on portion sizes for kittens and adult cats and how to help your cat change its diet successfully. You won’t regret it when you see just how happy and healthy your cat can be once they make the switch.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
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About the author
Jenny is the founder of Floppycats.com, a website dedicated to uniting (Ragdoll) cat lovers worldwide. Since 2008, Jenny’s no bull-crap and honest approach to cat care helps cat owners live more harmoniously with their kitties.