Diet

My cats and kittens are fed a raw meat diet with the addition of small whole prey. With the exception of a few fussy eaters, they are not fed commercial wet cat food or dry biscuits as neither are nutritionally adequate for the needs of a high energy Bengal or Savannah cat.

F2 Savannah cat Cindy eating a day old chick

The effects of raw feeding can have many benefits such as:

A softer and shinier coat.

Healthy skin.

Healthy digestion and bowels.

Smaller more compact stool with less odour.

Strong bones, teeth and joints.

Fresher breath and better oral health.

Dense muscle structure.

More resilient immune system.

Increased energy.

Greater alertness.

It is perfectly natural and safe for cats to eat raw meat, bone and organs as they would with their prey. Cats in general are obligate carnivores and their systems have evolved from thousands of years of eating a raw food diet in the wild. In their natural habitat, cats consume prey high in protein with moderate amounts of fat and minimal amounts of carbohydrate.

The natural diet of cats in the wild is a meat based regime such as rodents, birds, rabbits, lizard, insects etc. They contain little carbohydrate and therefore cats are metabolically adapted to preferentially use protein and fat as energy sources.

On occasion they may nibble on herbs, grasses and even flowers but cats possess very few digestive enzymes for breaking down vegetable matter.

You may find that many vets (and others) do not advocate raw feeding due to potential parasitic and bacterial infections. However cat’s digestive systems are designed and evolved to handle things humans can’t. Their stomachs have a highly acidic environment which is an excellent deterrent to ingested bacteria, thus they are ideally adapted to eat raw meat.

Cats have a very short digestive tract and on average it takes 6 to 8 hours for them to digest a meal. This doesn’t give bacteria enough time to proliferate and make the cat unwell. Whereas with humans, food takes 36-48 hours to pass through, so we are much more susceptible to bacterial pathogens.

Because cats are obligate carnivores they have less ability to digest grain and high levels of vegetable matter. They also have low thirst drives and are designed to obtain the majority of their water intake from their food. For this reason, cats thrive on diets which have high water content, such as raw food. This is why it is so important for them to eat the correct diet. Moreover, cats fed exclusively on water depleted dry diets, produce less volume of higher concentrated urine and are therefore more likely to have urinary tract problems.

In the wild, providing they have a choice, all animals eat what is best for them. For cats this means small prey or if hunting with others, a share of larger prey. Cats are thrifty and nothing is wasted. That includes the bones. Initially these are ripped, torn, chewed and sucked to remove all the meat and marrow.

Many think that cats can’t eat bones because they will choke but the only bones that are dangerous are cooked bones or bones from very old animals as they become brittle and can splinter. Bones are a healthy and safe source of nutrients to a cat.

Bone and organs both contain a large number of nutrients that are vital to a cats health. These include: minerals such as calcium and phosphorous, protein containing essential amino acids (including lysine), essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D and E) and blood-forming nutrients ( in the marrow) including copper and iron.

When feeding a raw diet, please remember the following:

Provide your cat with a variety of raw food.

Never switch diet instantly but instead mix the current diet with some of the raw diet.

Keep the raw meat frozen until it is ready to prepare for feeding.

For maximum food safety and freshness, defrost your cat daily portion by thawing it in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours.

Once the raw food is defrosted, use it within 48 hours.

Once the raw food is defrosted, do not re-freeze it.

Do not heat or microwave raw food. Cooking raw food may cause small fragments of bone to become brittle or sharp.

Raw meat should be served at room temperature as cold food can often upset the stomach of your cat.

When feeding your cat, set a routine whereby the food is given at the same time each day.

Remove any un-eaten food after 30/45 minutes.

Take care when handling raw meat and ensure all utensils and surfaces are thoroughly cleaned after use.

There are four categories of meat: red meat, white meat, game meat and fish. It is advised to feed at least one type of meat from one category of meat per week to assume that a balanced diet is achieved.

F7 Savannah cat Sittingpretty Hugo about to enjoy his quail

Suppliers

Over the years, I have tried various suppliers of raw minced meat and small whole prey. I highly recommend the following:

Natural Instinct

Natural Instinct provide a variety of complete and complimentary raw minced meats for adult cats in three ranges: Natural, Pure and Country Banquet. The food is supplied in convenient double tubs of either 2 x 250g or 2 x 500g.

Natural Instinct raw food

Of the Natural Instinct varieties, my cats and older kittens tend to prefer the Minced Beef and Chicken from the Natural Cat Food range and/or the Pure Chicken from the Pure range.

For young kittens, they provide a Weaning Paste which is made of finely ground chicken meat and bone.

www.naturalinstinct.com

Kiezebrink

Kiezebrink provide a variety of complete and complimentary raw minced meats for adult cats in several ranges. The food is supplied in convenient sausages of either 250g, 500g or 1kg of which can also be purchased in bulk boxes. Of the Kiezebrink varieties, my cats tend to prefer the Kiezebrink Minced Meat Chicken Mix.

Kiezebrink supply frozen day old chicks in quantities of 1kg -10kg . They also supply day old chicks minced and in sausage format (250g - 1kg).

Kiezebrink supply single frozen quail or in a 5kg box with or without feathers.

Kiezebrink raw cat food and whole prey

For their complimentary feeds, Kiezebrink offer two raw meat supplements; one without calcium - suitable to supplement a diet that consists of meaty bones, muscle meat and organ meat and one with calcium -suitable to supplement a diet that does not consist of meaty bones. This supplement contains calcium which will prevent problems with bone development of the animal if no bones are fed. Both supplements contain the recommended vitamins and minerals to cover the nutritional requirements of cats.

www.kiezebrink.co.uk

Feeding guide

Food portion at each meal time should be around 2-3% of the total body weight of your cat. However as Bengal and Savannah cats are higher energy cats than other breeds or domestics, I advise to increase this to at least 4-5%:

Food portions

1kg cat

40-50g per day

Split between meals

2kg cat

80-100g per day

Split between meals

3kg cat

120-150g per day

Split between meals

4kg cat

160-200g per day

Split between meals

5kg cat

200-250g per day

Split between meals

6kg cat

240-300g per day

Split between meals

7kg cat

280-350g per day

Split between meals

8kg cat

320-400g per day

Split between meals

9kg cat

360-450g per day

Split between meals

10kg cat

400-500g per day

Split between meals

The above is just a guide. Food portion will also depend on your cat’s appetite as one day they might ravish their bowl and the next day they will eat half of their meal. If food is being left uneaten, decrease the portion size. If your cat appears to be going hungry, increase the portion size. Males will often also eat larger portions than females.

Kittens need to be fed little and often. Feed your kitten around 4 times per day and let them eat as much as they want. When a kitten reaches 5-6 months in age, this can drop to 2 meals per day. It is advised that adult cats should be fed twice a day.

Feeding routines

Kittens from 1 - 2.5 months of age

Morning

Mid day/Afternoon

Evening

Supper

Natural Instinct weaning paste Natural Instinct weaning paste Natural Instinct weaning paste Natural Instinct weaning paste

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Weaning Paste

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Weaning Paste

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Weaning Paste

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Weaning Paste

Kittens from 2.5 - 5months of age

Morning

Mid day/Afternoon

Evening

Supper

Natural Instinct weaning paste Natural Instinct weaning paste Natural Instinct weaning paste Natural Instinct weaning paste

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Weaning Paste

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Weaning Paste

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Weaning Paste

1 x Day old chick

Kittens from 5 months onwards

Morning

Mid day/Afternoon

Evening

Supper

Natural Instinct weaning paste Natural Instinct weaning paste Natural Instinct weaning paste Natural Instinct weaning paste

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Weaning Paste

1 x Day old chick

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Weaning Paste

1 x Day old chick

Once my kittens are between 9-12 months old, I will happily allow them to eat the adult varieties of the raw minced meats. The only reason I do not feed it to young kittens is because it is not finely ground enough or complete.

Adult cats

Morning

Evening

Supper

Natural Instinct beef and chicken raw minced meat Natural Instinct beef and chicken raw minced meat Natural Instinct weaning paste

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Beef & Chicken (or Pure Chicken)

1 x portion of Natural Instinct Beef & Chicken (or Pure Chicken)

2 x Day old chicks (or 1 x Quail)

I advise that you continue to use the same brands of food throughout. If you need to change the brands of foods, please do so slowly. Otherwise your cat may refuse to eat and may also have diarrhea.

Wet and dry food

If for any reason, your cat or kitten refuses to eat a raw diet, then I highly recommend using wet and dry food with a high meat content. I do not encourage feeding commercial cat food such as Whiskers or Felix as it only contains 4% meat (whereas a raw diet is 100% meat). Dry biscuits are often worse than wet food. Please read the labels very carefully. If you do need to feed a wet/dry diet, please consider using the following products which I highly recommend:

Applaws

Applaws cat food is high in natural taurine and arginine. These essential amino acids are naturally found at their highest level in the prime cuts of chicken and fish that is used in Applaws tins, pots and pouches (wet food).

Applaws wet food is a premium complementary food in many tasty varieties to suit kittens, adult cats and senior cats. Each tin contains around 75% meat or fish. Applaws wet food is a 100% natural cat food without artificial preservatives, colours, or flavours. It is also low in carbohydrate helping to keep your cat happy and healthy.

Applaws wet cat food and treats

The Applaws range includes both wet and dry food but I only feed the wet varieties including the Tuna Fillet and Chicken Breast tins (for the adult cats) and the Kitten Tuna tins for the kittens and pregnant queens. The Tuna Loins also make a lovely treat.

www.applaws.co.uk

Encore

Encore tins, pots and pouches are lovingly made with the very best ingredients – fish caught fresh from the sea and the finest chicken breast.

Encore wet food is the real meat, complementary cat food with all natural ingredients, containing succulent chicken breast and tasty fillets like tuna, mackerel, sardine or salmon (all caught from sustainable species using dolphin friendly fishing methods). These Encore recipes provide a great source of essential amino acids such as Taurine and Arginine to keep your cat’s health in tip-top condition. Encore contains upto 75% real meat.

Encore wet cat food

The Encore range includes both wet and dry food but I only feed the wet varieties including the Tuna In Broth and Chicken In Broth tins (for the adult cats).

www.encorepetfood.co.uk

Greenwoods

Greenwoods wet food is a complimentary food for adult cats made using only the finest, natural ingredients, giving your cat a balanced, hypoallergenic diet. Carefully selected meat (from livestock reared in humane conditions) or fish (freshly caught) is gently cooked in its own juice. The gentle preparation ensures that as much of the valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals as possible are retained. This tasty wet food contains 75% meat or fish and is free from artificial aromas, colours or preservatives.

The Greenwoods range includes both wet and dry food but I only feed the wet varieties including the Tuna Fillet, Tuna and Shrimps, Chicken Fillet and Chicken and Cheese tins (for the adult cats).

Purizon

Purizon is a premium complete dry food for adult cats of all breeds and sizes. It contains 70% meat and fish, including fresh, free-run chicken and freshly caught herring from the North Sea, as well as highly nutritious ingredients such as herring oil - with no added cereals or sugars. Instead of grains or rice, Purizon uses 30 % quality fruit, vegetables and herbs that provide important vitamins and minerals which can help to keep your cat healthy and full of life. Gentle and careful preparation ensures the vital nutrients are retained and the original flavour is preserved.

More details about Purizon Chicken and Fish dry food can be found here.

Purizon dry cat food

Purizon Chicken and Fish also has 44% protein content, is rich in premium quality essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 and has no artificial preservatives, taste enhancers or colours. It is also Lactose and gluten-free. This is the variety that I feed my adult cats.

Treats

Once in a while I also give my cats a variety of treats:

Raw chicken wings

Plain raw chicken wings
I often give my cats a plain raw chicken wing to promote healthy teeth and gums. You should only allow them to eat the flesh and never the bone as this can be a choking hazard.  Always monitor your cat when feeding chicken wings and remove the bones afterwards. Raw chicken wings are available in most supermarkets.

Whole cooked chicken

Hand pulled whole cooked chicken
If I am cooking a plain chicken for my family, I will often keep some of the breast meat for my cats. You should not feed the legs, wings etc in their cooked state. I only serve hand pulled pieces that contain meat only - no bones or skin.

If mixed with warm water, cooked chicken can make a type of sloppy broth which is excellent for feeding poorly cats or kittens.

Cooked chicken pieces

Cooked chicken
Sometimes for convenience, I buy the bags of cooked skinless and boneless cuts of chicken. They are usually found in the freezer section of the supermarket. They will either need defrosting and heating up or defrosting and serving at room temperature.

Raw mnced beef

Raw Minced Beef
I buy human grade fresh packet minced beef and cut it up into finer pieces. Raw mince is usually found in the meat section of the supermarket.

Not all of my cats will eat raw minced beef. It is probably the least liked treat in my house.

White fish fillets

White fish
I buy the skinless and boneless fillets of fish which are usually found in the frozen section of the supermarket. Please make sure that all fish is cooked and never served raw.

Bland food such as white fish can be mixed with plain mashed potato for cats having digestive problems.

Cooked and peeled prawns

Cooked and peeled prawns
I buy cooked and peeled packets of prawns which are usually found in the frozen section of the supermarket. They usually only require defrosting before serving.

If you are feeding and cooking fresh prawns, please remove the head, tail, shell and poo and only feed the meat.

The majority of my cats and kittens enjoy these prawns and happily growl whilst they are eating.

Tuna in spring water

Tinned tuna in spring water
I buy tinned tuna in spring water that does not contain salt. You should never feed tuna in brine or tuna in oil as it contains too much salt.

Tinned tuna is a very rare treat but it is gratefully accepted by my cats and kittens alike. It is also good for feeding poorly cats as it is strong smelling.

You should never feed your cat table scraps, fast/fried food, cow’s milk or any product containing gravy.

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