Advice FAQ's

Advice

I often get asked for my advice regarding the aspects of purchasing a cat or kitten. Thus I have cateorgarised the most popular queries below. If you have a specific question and can not find the advice you need here, please visit the FAQ's page or contact me.

Diet

My cats and kittens are fed a raw meat diet with the addition of small whole prey. 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
Above: 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, lizzard, 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
Above: 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:

Purrform

Purrform raw minced meat supplier

Purrform provide a variety of complete raw minced meats in two ranges: standard and premium. The food is supplied in convenient 70g pouches and/or 450g tubs. Each variety is available in single minced for adults or double minced for kittens.

Of the Purrform varieties, my cats and kittens tend to prefer the Minced Raw Chicken and Ground Bone with Chicken Liver, Heart & Gizzard.

Purrform supply frozen day old chicks in 2kg packs and quail in packs of 2. This is the most expensive option for small whole prey of the suggested suppliers.

www.purrform.co.uk

Natural Instinct

Natural Instinct Raw minced meat supplier

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

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

www.naturalinstinct.com

Kiezebrink

Natural Instinct Raw minced meat supplier

Kiezebrink provide a variety of complimentary* raw minced meats for adult cats in two ranges: Alaska Natural and Kiezebrink Minced Meat Mixtures. 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 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.

www.kiezebrink.co.uk

*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.

Berriewoods Wholesale

Day old chicks

Berriewoods supply frozen day old chicks in quantities of 250. 2 boxes will qualify for free delivery. This is currently where I purchase my day old chicks from.

www.berriewoodwholesale.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.

Below are some examples of my 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 - 5 months of age)

Morning

Mid day/Afternoon

Evening

Supper

Raw minced chicken Raw minced chicken Raw minced chicken Day old chick

1 x portion of Purrform or Natural Instinct raw minced meat

1 x portion of Purrform or Natural Instinct raw minced meat

1 x portion of Purrform or Natural Instinct raw minced meat

1 x Day old chick.

Kittens (from 5 months of age onwards)

Morning

Mid day/Afternoon

Evening

Supper

Raw minced chicken Day old chick Raw minced chicken Day old chick

1 x portion of Purrform or Natural Instinct raw minced meat

1 x Day old chick.

1 x portion of Purrform or Natural Instinct raw minced meat

1 x Day old chick.

Once my kittens reach a year old, I will happily allow them to eat the Kiezebrink minced meat mixtures. The only reason I do not feed it to young kittens is because it is not finely ground enough or complete.

Adults (from 1 year of age onwards)

Morning

Evening

Supper

Raw minced chicken Raw minced chicken Day old chick

1 x portion of Kiezebrink raw minced meat

1 x (smaller) portion of Kiezebrink raw minced meat

2 x Day old chick

or

Raw minced chicken Raw minced chicken Quail

1 x portion of Kiezebrink raw minced meat

1 x (smaller) portion of Kiezebrink raw minced meat

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/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

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 complete dry cat food is a high quality cat food that is grain free and made with 80% animal protein. The Applaws dry cat range includes recipes for kitten, adult and senior cats - all made with upto 80% chicken. And there is also a single protein fish variety that is grain free. Applaws dry is suitable for cats with allergies. It also contains less than 15% carbohydrates. This can encourage the development of lean muscle tissue so promoting a healthy weight for your cat.

www.applaws.co.uk

Encore

Encore pet food

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 complete dry cat food is made with natural ingredients - grain free with 80% lean animal protein for a very healthy and happy cat. Encore also contains natural omega oils which can help keep your cat healthy whatever its age. A natural prebiotic can also help digestion when your cat reaches maturity. It contains no cereals and is low in carbohydrates. Available for adult cats and kittens and available in most supermarkets.

www.encorepetfood.co.uk

AATU

AATU cat food

AATU for Cats is a bespoke and unique 85/15 diet containing 85% meat for your cat.

AATU wet pouches offer a complete and balanced food for adult cats that include 97% freshly prepared meat. Made from natural ingredients, AATU is free from grains, gluten and white potato.

AATU dry cat food is a highly concentrated food. It is the first single protein 80/20 diet to include freshly prepared, preservative free meat. Created to fulfil a cat’s ancestral carnivore diet, the ‘Super 8’ recipe contains a carefully balanced combination of 8 vegetables, 8 fruits, 8 herbs and 8 botanicals and spices. AATU is free of grain, white potato and gluten (a composite known to cause allergic reactions). Available in adult varieties.

www.aatu.co.uk

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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