Monday, March 31, 2014

Why I Decided to Natural Feed My Cat

A couple of months ago, I decided that something needed to change in my cat's diet. His quality of life has been "okay" at best, and I could tell that his manufactured cat food was doing little to satisfy his hunger and nutritional needs.

Oreo has always been a slim cat, but lately he had been constantly hungry. He was always crying for more cat food, he would eat it all very quickly and either throw it up or run to his litter box shortly afterwards. He wasn't putting on any weight and he clearly wasn't feeling full after eating his manufactured cat food. Leaving him hungry, overeating and always getting sick from overeating. I had to start limiting his cat food and rationing it into 4-5 small portions a day, just so he wouldn't get sick. I felt miserable because it was clear that the food I was giving him, wasn't doing it's job. (Just a note- I always bought him "natural" manufactured dry food with no corn meal. That still wasn't meeting his hunger + health requirements, obviously.)

After doing my research for a few weeks, I decided to start "Natural Feeding" my cat.

What is natural feeding?

Natural feeding means preparing homemade food for your cat, that more closely resembles what it's diet would look like in the natural world. There are so many terrific resources for finding out more about this process, like this website and this one. I am most certainty not an expert or even well experienced in this area, but I can tell you how it's worked for me.

What do I feed my cat?

I feed my cat a combination of "natural" and manufactured food. I stress a million times over, do your research on this one people. I learned so much when looking into this major lifestyle change for my cat and also found out that I do not have the resources or time to currently feed my cat an all natural diet. I don't have a meat grinder, which means he would miss out on important nutrients found in the bones and internal organs of small animals (chickens, mice, etc.) I also learned that my cat will not eat raw meat. And that he's picky and won't eat meat that isn't cooked the way I prepare it for myself (with enhanced flavors and yummy texture.) All of these factors meant that I would have to supplement his diet in other ways to make up for what he was missing out on.

I have to add vitamins and other supplements to his cooked chicken (details on a cat's dietary needs can be found in the two websites I linked above.) As well as supplementing his new natural diet with his traditional manufactured food. I cook up chicken in batches once or twice a week. He eats about 1/3 cup of cooked chicken twice to three times daily. He also has unlimited access to his dry cat food for whenever he is hungry so I can be sure that his dietary needs are being better met in the areas that I'm not able to meet them.

The difference that natural feeding has made in my cat:

I was hoping to see an improvement in Oreo's eating and waste habits and I have! He is eating far less manufactured food because when he eats chicken, it leaves him full and satisfied for quite a length of time. He's also using his litter box less and when he does, it smells less foul. This is a God send because he used smell up the entire house.

There have also been a few improvements that I had not expected. Immediately after a natural feeding, his eyes become very large and he seems to connect more with his natural self. Lots of energy for roaming around the house, jumping, and being wild. The best improvement I've seen so far is a complete change in his personality. Growing up, (I've had him for almost 10 years!) my parents nick-named Oreo "Grumpy Old Bastard." He used to be so anti-social and avoided all interaction with people. Now he actively seeks out love and affection. He will follow me around the house, snuggle up to me in bed, sleep on my feet when I'm on the couch. Stephen's actually gotten him to eat out of his hand- something he would never do before, you had to put it down for him to take it! He's happier, more outgoing and more adventurous.

I thought perhaps some of the changes were ones I had expected and I might have embellished the results because I had a bias opinion. But then when I went on vacation and his diet temporarily went back to dry cat food for a couple of weeks, I noticed a change again! He was constantly eating his manufactured food, crying for food, and he threw up a few times. A few days after my return home, I made sure to bake some delicious chicken for him. Since I've resumed our "natural feeding" diet this week, he's stopped getting sick and been far more content.

If you're interested in natural feeding your cat, I highly recommend you look into it! I've seen such great benefits from making the change with Oreo. I hope that one day I am able to convert to completely natural feeding both my cat and dogs with homemade food, but for now this is what works for our family. Is it something you'll be trying?


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