So far, barfing is more familiar from the field of dog nutrition, but barfing for cats is also possible. Why shouldn’t cats also benefit from the concept of organic raw feeding?
General Information about BARFing for Cats
In general, BARFing is about feeding the animal – in this case, the cat – as close to nature as possible, i.e. using natural food (the prey animal) as a model. The implementation of the type of feeding is by no means as complicated as it may initially appear. Once you have understood the concept, the composition, and the implementation, everything is very easy; fortunately, there is now a lot of helpful literature. If you want to save yourself the hassle of reading it, or if you are still unsure, you will find support from animal nutrition experts. For example, there are veterinarians who specialize in nutrition who can help you and put together a ratio individually.
For cats, BARFing is about imitating the natural diet of the carnivore (= meat-eater). At this point, this should be shown briefly using the example of a mouse. Such prey consists of course largely of muscle meat, but not only: there is also blood (provides iron, for example), bones (calcium), and stomach contents + fur (fiber). It is now important to replace these components because the cat gets the meat when BARFing. The resulting minerals can be replaced by natural salts, calcium supplements, or bone meals to ensure sufficient calcium and vegetables satisfy the need for fiber.
Benefits of the BARF Diet
As already said: The cat metabolism is fully designed to process prey animals. With BARF, you are also feeding cats very close to nature. As a positive side effect, these animals are often more relaxed when they switch to a suitable diet, as digestive problems can be a strong stress factor for the sensitive velvet paws.
When you BARF, you know exactly what the cat is eating. Your cat’s food is then put together individually. This is also a huge advantage for cats with intolerance or allergies. BARF rations can also be adapted to many diseases. However, it is essential to get veterinary advice!
Chewing heavily on larger cuts can also improve dental health. This is because plaque, the preliminary stage of tartar, is effectively removed. This reduces the risk of tartar build-up.
And chewing has another positive effect: Your cat will be busy for a while. BARFing is also good against boredom!
Frequently Asked Questions
In the following, we want to answer a few common questions about bars for cats. A comprehensive answer, however, is beyond the scope of this article. But we can give you an overview here:
Basically, you can feed almost any meat except raw pork (risk of infection with the Aujeszky virus): poultry, beef, game, fish, and lamb are common types of meat for BARFing cats. It is supplemented, for example, with slightly chopped fleshy bones and cartilage tissue, for example from the sternum. A few vegetables and fruits provide fiber – but should be finely pureed and a little oil added before feeding. This way the cat can also absorb the vitamins from it.
Ultimately, it is important that there is a change in the composition. Once you have found out what your own cat likes to eat, you should vary the type of meatless often than the composition within this one type of meat: For example, sometimes more muscle meat, sometimes more gullet, crown meat, or offal. If you use BARF in full or in large part of the ration and not just “exceptionally”, you should also work with supplements: These are food supplements that primarily provide minerals and nutrients.
How Much to Feed
The rule of thumb here is that a cat should get around 20 to 30 g per kilogram of body weight; lazy representatives more like 18 g, active velvet paws up to 33 g. The fat content of the meat is also important: Overweight cats should get lean meat (e.g. beef), cats that are too thin can safely be offered fatty meat. In addition, in special cases such as pregnancy, old age, or illness, you have to readjust the feed composition individually.
How to Handle the Raw Meat?
The general rule of BARF for cats is that large amounts of meat are cheaper than small amounts; ideally, you buy one big one and then pack the meat in portions and store it in the freezer. It is particularly practical that you can get more and more frozen meat in stores: you don’t have to portion and freeze it yourself. Of course, the meat must be thawed before feeding, which is best done in the refrigerator. It is better to use the microwave only in exceptional cases, as it could destroy many important nutrients; also possible: thaw the meat in a warm water bath. General hygiene when handling raw meat is important: cleanliness is the be-all and end-all!
What should you watch out for when feeding?
Cats are creatures of habit, so you should start small and slowly increase the amount of meat, and the size of the individual pieces of meat should also be small at first. The meat should always be at room temperature and not go cold from the refrigerator into the bowl. If the velvet paw refuses to eat raw meat, crumbled dry food, small amounts of wet food, or scalding with hot water often help.