Contributing writers for Wake Up World
Have you ever noticed your cat binge on grass, only to soon after throw it up? To us, it can be a very disturbing scene. After all, we don’t like to see our pets suffer. We were inspired to write this article because I witnessed this very occurrence this morning by one of my neighbours’ cats.
Is there a reason for this habit? Are you constantly bringing your cat to the vet? Does your cat have a chronic illness? Can this be avoided?
Domestic animals, like humans, are subject to the damaging effects of cooked and processed foods, food additives, environmental pollution, over-vaccination and the stress of modern day living. All of these factors can affect digestive functioning and lead to a range of digestive disorders. Can what you feed your cat affect its overall health?
Advertising and claims of pet food manufacturers have contributed to the misinformation surrounding what is best for our pets. Commercial dried and canned pet food is convenient and claims to be ‘better’ than any other form of food. However, the result is that pets in today’s world suffer from the same digestive complaints and disorders as humans.
Just as with people, cats have a very intricate and complex network of body mechanics. A cat’s digestive system does not do well on processed foods, which are often too high in carbohydrates. It is limited to certain enzymes and cannot turn foods like grains or denatured meats into the amino acids necessary for optimal health. These pet foods are also heated to very high temperatures, which destroys almost all the nutrients in the food. Most grains and plant foods are not complete proteins and are deficient in amino acids such as the essential nutrient amino acid taurine. Furthermore, cats are carnivore animals. They have a short digestive tract which makes digesting plants difficult. In addition, they lack specific enzymes and certain metabolic processes which make digesting plant proteins very difficult. In fact, digestion problems are among the most common reasons for visits to the veterinarian. Some cat illness symptoms include: loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, sneezing, discharge in eyes, bad breath, breathing problems, unhealthy looking coat, receding gums, excessive meowing, diarrhea or constipation, depression, allergies, etc.
What can we do?
In the wild, cats instinctively thrive on raw, whole pray and very little plant food. They enjoy a varied diet including mice, birds, fish, reptiles, insects, and small mammals. In the wild, they will ingest small amounts of plant food since they generally eat omnivores, and what remains in their prey’s stomach will be consumed. Cat’s stomachs have a highly acidic environment, which is a very favourable environment for digesting protein. Therefore, raw, unprocessed, high-protein foods can be a great aid in dramatically helping to prevent cat illness symptoms.
A raw meat diet supplemented with small amounts of vegetable and essential fatty acids will closely match the food your cat would get in the wild. However, be careful not to feed your cat just any type of raw meat. Look for grass-fed animals, pasture raised or wild caught seafood – hormone, chemical, and drug free. Raw food for cats include chicken, beef, turkey, fish, sardines, eggs, rabbit, game meats, organ meats, and small bones. Cats do not require any grains or fruits in their diets. All vegetables should be broken down by either blending or finely chopping in order to aid in digestion. Onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, mushrooms, avocado, nightshades, and chocolate (or anything with caffeine) should be avoided. By doing an online search for “raw meat cat recipes”, you will quickly find easy preparation ideas.
The benefits of feeding your cat a raw food diet include: clean, strong, and white teeth, healthy pink gums, a reduction or even elimination of bad breath, better mental and physical health for your cat, better digestion of meals, a reduction in the odour of their stools, good bone and jaw structure, elimination of most health problems. Interestingly, cats have more of a chance coming into contact with Salmonella in dry commercial food than in raw meat. In addition, a healthy cat who encounters Salmonella will have no ill effect from it.
A Cats’ Instinct
As we’ve learned, a cat is not designed to properly digest plants. This brings us back to the question of why we see cats consuming large amounts of grass. There are a few theories. As we know a cat’s tongue is designed to help remove any loose hair. This hair enters the stomach, but is unable to be digested. If given the opportunity, cats will instinctively consume grass in order to expel the hair that has gathered in their system, before it becomes unmanageable. In this regard, it is actually advisable that cats have access to grass. Another theory is that when a cat catches a mouse, it is impossible to separate fur and bones from the meat. Therefore the cat gulps down the entire mouse. Once the meat has been digested, the hair and bones remain in the cat’s stomach. Eating grass makes the cat vomit, and this brings the grass back up, now neatly wrapped around undigested mouse parts. This is probably safer for the cat than passing the bones through its intestines, which might get punctured or blocked. Finally, cats are being fed indigestible, processed, toxic food on a daily basis. It makes them feel sick and causes illness. They instinctively know to get rid of it in order to feel better and so they ingest grass until they’ve succeeded. These are all very good reasons to make sure that our lawns do not have weed killers or other pesticides which could be harmful.
Perhaps you feel that feeding your cat raw meats will be too expensive. If you do chose to continue feeding your cat commercial pet food, it very important to read the labels. If you don’t know what the ingredients are, it’s most likely not good for your cat. Avoid fillers and highly processed ingredients. Look for ingredients, such as whole chicory root, which is a prebiotic that has been proven to promote healthy digestion. When added to pet food, it serves as food for the beneficial bacteria that are present in a cat’s intestinal tract. The next time you receive your vet bill, think about this article and whether or not spending addition money on good quality raw meats is really that expensive in comparison.
Let us always remain aware of the choices we make for those we’ve chosen to care for and who depend on us.
What do you feed your cat? Post your comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.
About the authors:
Jordan and Kyla are passionate about health; together, they have overcome many illnesses through dietary and lifestyle changes, and the art of practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Reiki Master, and Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist. For more information, please visit Jordan and Kyla at : guidinginstincts.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.