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Feeling healthy and looking great will be priceless! Eric Helms summed this up brilliantly:. And the highest nutrient-rich food scores per dollar were obtained for sweet potatoes. Combined, this could all help explain why plants and plant-based diets have been found effective in potentially reversing some cancer processes. Please do more research on the subject. I came to learn that raw feeders as a group are not, in fact, dismissive of or cavalier about the issues of parasites and bacteria.
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I've seen some pretty appalling advice doled out on raw diets by lay people. But then again, I've seen some pretty dreadful advice doled out on raw diets and commercial diets by veterinarians. Some vets are, quite understandably, concerned that even if they think a raw diet is a good idea, their clients will not make the diet properly and will put their cats at risk for nutritional deficiencies.
In this case, they are absolutely correct: Vets know that, but a big problem is that even if they theoretically support the idea of a raw diet, they aren't familiar enough with the basics of how to do it correctly to advise clients and default to suggesting a commercial diet. People who leave out, for example, a calcium source in cat food or routinely ignore the basic principles involved in making and serving cat food correctly would be better off just feeding a quality canned diet.
If you're not going to make it correctly, then you shouldn't make it. But if you are going to make it correctly - which is certainly not a difficult thing to do - then calmly continue the discussion with your vet. Remember, many vets reflexively dismiss the idea of raw diets out of hand out of genuine concern about the potential to do it wrong.
Sadly, still others are passing on "urban legends" and scare tactics that are found in literature supplied by the pet food industry. If you are absolutely determined to make this diet and your vet still objects, then you may want to find another vet. If your vet raises concerns about bacteria, don't get defensive. Instead, it may be worth reminding him or her that a cat has a much faster gastrointestinal transit time than humans or even dogs and is therefore much less susceptible to "food poisoning.
Shouldn't I be worried about bacteria and parasites? Yes, a little, so take sensible precautions. First of all, remember that cats are not humans and are not nearly as susceptible to the problems from eating raw meat that affect humans. A cat has a very fast gut transit time - about 12 hours compared to 35 to 55 hours in humans - which gives very little time for bacteria to multiply in the intestines. That said, no food you feed your cat is without risk.
You'll have to decide if the potential risks from feeding raw food outweigh the long term risks to your animal's well being from feeding commercial food. You have a good deal more control of what is going into your cat and the quality of each individual ingredient when you prepare your cat's food yourself. Exercise that control responsibly. When possible, try to procure meats from free-range sources as the bacterial counts and the possibility for parasite contamination are considerably lower in meats from animals raised in better conditions.
One of my favorite online essays on this subject is available here. Don't leave the raw food sitting out for hours at a time. Offer your cat her food and after 30 minutes, dispose of anything that is left behind.
Take the same precautions handling raw meat for your cats as you would for yourself and your family.
Clean all surfaces that touched raw food thoroughly. Wash your hands after preparing or serving the meals to your cats. Don't let small children have access to your cat's raw food.
Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning the litter box, too. And remember, it's not just cats that eat raw food who can pass Salmonella through their feces. That said, I have never seen any data to suggest that cats on raw food have more Salmonella in their feces than cats on canned or dry food.
Salmonellae has been found in commercial pet food too. Moreover, in August , the Journal of the American Veterinary Association published an article noting that a good number of healthy dogs and cats carry Salmonella, but this does not necessarily equate to any clinical disease.
That article noted that the "prevalence of isolation of Salmonella from feces of healthy dogs is reported to be between one and 36 percent, and from healthy cats between one and 18 percent. If you read the article closely, you'll see that both cats were unhealthy and, from my reading, were apparently not terribly well cared for. One was an unneutered!?! This cat had a history of weight loss, soft stools, and anorexia.
Another was a recently vaccinated kitten with severe pneumonia, a severe nasal discharge, and bilateral corneal opacity. The kitten's lungs were mottled. Finally, the article notes that both cats originated in the same multiple-cat household and the affected animals may have had an altered immune status or environmental stress.
The older cat also had a Bordetella infection "incurring additional immunological and physiological stress with compromise to local pulmonary defense mechanisms. The article notes that the referring veterinarian told the client to discontinue feeding a raw beef-based diet to her cats. If I were the veterinarian, I'd certainly recommend the same thing. Something is clearly terribly wrong with the food being served in that household. So, how concerned should we be about what this very interesting article says?
If two healthy and otherwise well-cared for cats - that we knew were served a properly and safely prepared balanced diet consisting of fresh meat from a reputable source intended for human consumption - were stricken down by Salmonella and died, then indeed we should be extremely concerned.
However, a careful reading of the article suggests that the cats were neither healthy nor well-cared for. Nor do we know whether the meat came from a reputable source.
Consequently, because we don't have answers to such key questions, these unfortunate incidents do not constitute a blanket indictment of all raw diets. I'm disappointed to report that this article has already been badly misused and misrepresented for just that purpose--with one veterinary site even implying it was a broad-based "study" of the issue of raw food and Salmonella in cats. I urge a close reading of the AAHA article - and very strongly suggest that you don't rely on second- or third-hand interpretations of what it says.
Don't run away from the issue of parasites and bacteria in cat food. Understand the issue, respect it, and make informed choices on the meats you select and how you serve the food.
That same article notes that healthy adult cats "appear to have high immunological resistance to the development of clinical salmonellosis. Finally, remember that the US Centers for Disease Control reports that in human cases of food-borne salmonellosis between and , contaminated beef accounted for the majority of cases at 19 percent. Behind that was turkey nine percent , pork seven percent , and poultry five percent.
Another CDC study published in December concluded that healthy house cats are generally safe with regard to excretion of Salmonella in the environment.
I'll say it again: If you're going to feed a raw, home-prepared diet, you must do it correctly. No cheating and using cheap sources of meat unfit for human consumption. Don't even think about using the raw meat that is routinely fed at greyhound race tracks which is taken from rendering plants and thus has already been deemed unfit for human consumption.
No leaving raw food out for hours or days at a time. And never forget that there is risk with anything you feed. Respect those risks and take steps to minimize them. If you're not going to source good quality fresh meats and prepare and serve the food correctly and safely, then please just buy a quality canned food quality canned food and serve that.
Don't put your cat at unnecessary risk feeding by a raw diet incorrectly. But also don't fool yourself into believing that canned and dry foods are entirely safe either. If you decide that the long-term risks to your cat's health from feeding commercial foods outweigh the risks of raw feeding, then do yourself and your cat a favor and prepare and serve the food properly.
The bacterial count in dry food can be very high and the danger of toxic levels of aflatoxin contaminating dry cat food is always present. In December , for example, various US news media outlets reported that one of the nation's largest pet food producers recalled products in 22 states after receiving reports that the food caused death and illness. At least 17 dogs died from the contaminated food, which was found to contain an overgrowth of a toxic substance produced by fungus that grows on grains including corn called aflatoxin.
This was not the first time that aflatoxin poisoning in pet food made the news and companion animals died as a result, but it is the most recent and vivid example of the folly of believing that dry food is somehow safe and 'sterile. I can only guess at the the cases of contaminated pet food that we do not hear about, or about the cats and dogs that fall ill from the food they're eating but which no one thinks to link to diet.
A decade before the story broke about the deaths from aflatoxin poisoning, another big company was forced to pull thousands of tons of dog food off the shelf after consumers complained that their dogs were vomiting and losing their appetite.
At least 25 dogs died. Many dry pet foods are drenched in fatty flavor enhancers that provide an extremely hospitable environment for the growth of bacteria and fungus. And those bags of food are generally stored at room temperature and go unconsumed for weeks or months.
As one vet friend recently observed, it's almost laughable at how quick many vets are to warn clients about the risk of feeding fresh meats that are stored in freezers but don't think twice about selling bags of potentially contaminated dry food with no admonition about the real dangers associated with deadly bacterial overgrowth on those products.
It's difficult for me to not get very discouraged by all the effort and energy that many vets and pet food companies put into scaring off clients and consumers from feeding a raw diet, essentially whitewashing real evidence that dry food can kill sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly and turning a collective blind eye to the long-term dangers of feeding dry cereals to carnivores.
The misinformation and strawman arguments used by advocates of feeding dry food is repeated so often on pet food industry websites and from under-informed vets and veterinary technicians and receptionists in vet clinics that many people take it as truth.
But repeating lies over and over doesn't make them true. Soon, myths and a deliberate twisting of the truth comes to dominate the lexicon, and many people who might otherwise consider feeding a healthier diet to their cats are scared off, without the opportunity to weigh the hard facts and evidence first. I had trepidations about feeding raw meat to my cats. I was terrified of Escherichia coli, Salmonella, you name it. At that time, I had only begun researching the issues related to feeding raw, and I found a very discouraging polarization that was unhelpful in making decisions: They seemed overly defensive and annoyed at anyone even raising the issue.
At the other end of the spectrum were the selected individuals in the veterinary community and the pet food industry with their grave warnings about all the risks associated with raw feeding. Permit me a soapbox moment here: I know so very many cats these days are susceptible to infections, chronic and expensive urinary tract woes, skin allergies, vomiting, diarrhea, IBD, and so on.
There are so many animals with very weak or compromised immune systems. What I've come around to in my own thinking is that we help to create weak cats. We over-vaccinate them, we follow nutritional advice from vets who are not necessarily well informed on nutrition from unbiased sources, we feed steady diets to carnivores of meat-flavored cereal laced with toxic preservatives, and we jump to immediately suppress all symptoms with drugs like prednisolone when they're sick.
But if we can find a way to minimize whatever has the potential to weaken the immune system, then it stands to reason that cats will be in better shape to fight off the bad stuff thrown at them.
For my money, nothing beats feeding a cat the diet that nature intended for them to eat - raw meat, bones, and organs. To be sure, feeding a balanced raw diet is not the answer to everything. However, I think you get an awful lot of bang for your buck feeding this way.
Diet, after all, really is the brick and mortar of health. I came to learn that raw feeders as a group are not, in fact, dismissive of or cavalier about the issues of parasites and bacteria. Much of the defensiveness I encountered early on -- and incorrectly presumed was a result of people simply ignoring a potential problem - was was borne of their frustration with individuals writing off all raw feeding as some wacky, dangerous, and fringe-element fad.
Feeding cats a balanced raw diet is not a fad. Feeding cats meat-flavored cereal is a relatively 'recent' practice in the scheme of things - I like to think it's the fad that's passing! For what it's worth, in all the years I've been doing this, I'm struck that I've yet to hear of anyone having an animal or a human become ill from properly feeding raw from good meat sources to cats.
I'm not saying it hasn't happened somewhere. I do, however, worry about the cats who could benefit SO quickly and easily from being fed a properly prepared raw-meat based diet but who won't ever get the chance because someone who is misinformed dismisses raw feeding out of hand for reasons that are not well thought out.
Make your decision on whether to feed raw based on sound science and informed reason. I've heard that animals can choke on bones. How safe is it to feed bone? Feeding cooked bones is never a good idea. They can splinter and cause serious damage. Raw bones are much softer. I advocate grinding all bones in a meat grinder, since most of us are unable to feed whole prey animals that are the same small size as a cat would hunt, kill, and eat such as mice or birds.
It's an excellent idea to make raw cat food using real bone as your calcium source versus bonemeal or some other isolated calcium source.
Finally, remember that bone is more than simply a great calcium source. Fresh, raw bone also contains many important trace minerals that are difficult to duplicate using synthetic supplements. The risk of contracting toxoplasmosis is misunderstood and frequently overblown. I'm not saying that it isn't a serious concern for women who are exposed for the first time during pregnancy, but let's look at the facts: That means 20 percent of us living in the US have already been infected.
Of those who are infected, very few have symptoms because a healthy person's immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness. In the United Kingdom approximately 0. If you are planning to become pregnant, you can be tested to learn whether or not you have already been infected with Toxoplasma.
If the test is positive it means you have already been infected sometime in your life. According to the CDC, there usually is little need to worry about passing the infection to your baby if you've already been infected.
If the test is negative, you definitely need to take precautions. Here is the important part to remember about cats, their feces, and litter boxes: The problem comes from the oocyst, which is shed in the cat feces. Even more important - and often overlooked - is the fact that oocysts require hours to sporulate, to grow into a form which is dangerous to people. This means if you clean your litter box at least twice a day, you have dramatically reduced the danger of infection from cat feces.
Bear in mind that are still other sources of toxoplasmosis - gardening, unsanitary handling of meat, rarely blood transfusions, insects, and earthworms. Do the math here: You were never previously infected with toxoplasmosis AND your cat would have had to have been exposed to her very first infection and shed the oocysts in her feces AND that shedding of oocysts would have had to occur within a specific ten to 14 day time frame AND you would have had to not clean the litter box for hours AND you would have had to ingest some of the infected feces.
See why I say that the risk of toxoplasmosis is frequently misunderstood and overblown? Believe me, I don't take the dangers of this condition lightly. It can be a very serious concern for certain people. But admonitions from some medical doctors to "get rid of your cat" without explaining the nature of the risk and the steps that can be taken to avoid or mitigate it do not tell the whole story.
Given the above, paying attention to hygiene and getting a handle on your vulnerability to toxoplasmosis makes good sense. If you're in a high-risk population, get yourself tested to determine whether you've already been exposed. Wash your hands and clean under your fingernails thoroughly after handling raw meat. Wear rubber gloves when gardening and when cleaning the litter box. And clean the litter box at least twice a day.
I want to make the diet using different ingredients - can you help me? I have enormous faith in the balance of this diet and it has served me well for quite a few years. If I didn't already think the recipe was about as perfect as I could manage, I wouldn't use it.
I do tinker myself sometimes with ingredients--adding more psyllium and water during "hairball season," for example--but as much as I would like to help everyone who has an idea to start using, say, dried eggshells as a calcium source instead of bonemeal in the "without bone" recipe, I simply don't have the time to do it. It takes time to properly calculate what's needed to correct calcium-to- phosphorus ratio if someone wants to use another calcium source, and I am not convinced that using calcium sources other than what I've suggested is a good idea in the first place.
The tinkering I do is really along the margins of the diet and certainly there may be times when you'll need to do the same. My only advice is to be certain that whatever adjustments you might make do not violate the key principles that you simply MUST get right - like making sure the calcium amounts are correct. If your cat prefers her meals more "soupy," than of course you can add a bit more water to the mix. If you're having a problem with hairballs, I think it's fine to add some extra psyllium and water.
If your cat is under great stress, upping the amount of B-complex is probably a fine idea. You shouldn't mess with things that put your cat at risk for toxicity, such as by using too much of non-water soluble vitamins like A, D, or E. This is especially true if you're using synthetic vitamins. Please don't ask me to perform a wholesale re-engineering of this diet to suit each person's unique needs or preferences. But beyond that, I simply cannot confidently perform a wholesale re-engineering of this diet to suit each person's unique needs.
That said, I do try hard to help as many people as I can who send me questions via e-mail, because I know how much it meant to me to have guidance when I first tentatively dipped my toes in this raw food venture.
But please don't ask me to completely reconstruct the diet and perform all the calculations for you to come up with a revised and correctly balanced recipe.
I have a busy job and home life, and while keeping up with this website is a labor of love and I will do my very best to answer the questions you have on feeding this diet, I simply cannot reinvent the wheel. I also need some time to make cat food. I advise anyone considering a raw diet to do as much of their own reading as possible on the issue, focusing heavily on information from unbiased sources. You can start with having a look at the resources page.
I suggest always asking yourself if a given raw diet recipe is truly species-appropriate or might just be an "adapted dog diet" recipe. I don't have the corner on the only way of doing this right. This site simply reflects what I've come to believe is the most sound way I know of to safely prepare a truly balanced and healthy diet for cats.
If I come on information that, after careful reading, persuades me beyond 'reasonable doubt' that the diet needs changing or adjustment, I'll change it. I try very hard to keep up with the latest work on feline nutrition from the veterinary journals and am in regular contact with people who have been feeding raw successfully for years.
I am a lay person. I'm not a professionally-trained nutritionist and certainly not a veterinarian. Ideally, you should work closely with your vet on any changes you want to make to your cat's diet. Unfortunately, not nearly enough vets are well-versed in feline nutrition to be of very much help, and many default to either reflexively dismissing raw diets or offering to sell you a bag of some prescription food.
That said, if you find a vet that really knows small animal nutrition-- and is well-versed in cat nutrition? Vegetarianism as a nutritional choice for humans is magnificent. Cats have no choice. We bring obligate carnivores into our lives and feeding them other animals is a necessity and a responsibility. A cat cannot survive long without eating other animals.
The protein in a vegetable does not supply what a cat needs to live. There is plenty of room for debate on how to best feed a cat. But there is no debating that cats are obligate carnivores.
Cats rely on nutrients in animal tissues to meet their specific nutritional requirements. Plant tissue doesn't cut it. It never CAN for carnivores. I understand that it can be difficult to handle raw meat. Believe me, the first time I got an order of whole rabbits delivered to my door for making cat food I nearly wept and it was everything I had to get through chopping and grinding. But it got easier because I kept in mind that my carnivore friends would have the best shot at longer, healthier lives if I did it.
And when I focused on what goes into the manufacturing of many commercially-prepared cans or bags of cat food, I realized that the raw material that went into them was infinitely more gross. Slaughterhouse waste, meat unfit for human consumption, toxic chemicals, questionable preservatives, animal entrails fermented into sprayable liquid mixtures with acid, and on and on.
It didn't take long to face the fact that what I was assembling in my kitchen for my carnivores was certainly less offensive than almost anything I could scoop out of a bag or a can.
As Anne Martin discovered when she conducted her long, detailed, and thorough investigation into the pet food industry, "companion animals from clinics, pounds, and shelters can and are being rendered and used as sources of protein in pet food. Dead-stock removal operations play a major role in the pet food industry. Dead animals, road kill that cannot be buried at roadside, and in some cases, zoo animals, are picked up by these dead stock operations.
When an animal dies in the field or is killed due to illness or disability, the dead stock operators pick them up and truck them to the receiving plant.
There the dead animal is salvaged for meat or, depending on the state of decomposition, delivered to a rendering plant. At the receiving plants, the animals of value are skinned and viscera removed. Hides of cattle and calves are sold for tanning.
The usable meat is removed from the carcass, and covered in charcoal to prevent it from being used for human consumption. Then the meat is frozen, and sold as animal food, which includes pet food. Remember, most of the commercial pet food industry is an extension of the food waste industry. These include taurine, arachidonic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin B Doesn't dry food help clean a cat's teeth?
The short answers are - no, and no. Quite the opposite in fact. Dry food, with its high-carbohydrate load mixes with saliva in the mouth to form a yucky, sticky paste that adheres to the gums and teeth much more than wet food. And that opens the door to expensive dental cleanings, downstream health issues, and stress and pain for your cat. In my experience, some cats seem to have naturally healthy teeth that will tolerate a lousy diet.
Other cats seem to show signs of dental distress and problems very early on in life regardless of their diet. So it's kind of a crap shoot. She notes, " If anything, tartar and gum disease seemed to be more attributable to genetics or concurrent disease such as feline leukemia or feline AIDS than to any particular diet.
Hofve concludes that dry food does not clean the teeth. Carnivores have long canine teeth those are the big pointy ones you see at the corner of a cat's mouth to grab and kill prey. To pull the meat off of bones, they use their incisors. Finally, the carnassial teeth - the upper premolar and lower molars - are built to tear and cut flesh. You're living with a little animal-killing machine.
Those teeth aren't made for cereal. Anyway, you know how when we humans chew there's a back-and-forth and side-to-side action happening with the teeth? The movement that makes it possible for you to jut your lower row of teeth out in front of your upper row of teeth? Or that lets you move the lower jaw left and right?
Not so with carnivores. For them, the lower jaw cannot move forward and has very limited side-to-side motion. The jaw on a cat is a simple hinge joint that lies on the same plane of the teeth; the hinge pivots. It's a lot like your knee joint. As the jaw moves, the temporarilis muscle triggers the movement of the jaw.
For herbivores, conversely, the chewing action involving forward and backward and side-to-side movement of the lower jaw pushes food back and forth into the grinding teeth - with the help from tongue and cheek muscles. This is a brilliant design that lets herbivores mechanically break down the cell walls of plants. Meanwhile, a carbohydrate-digesting enzyme - sailvary amylase kicks into action and breaks down starchy carbohydrates. Cats don't produce salivary amylase.
That fact alone, by the way, is huge. This is yet another reason not to feed carbohydrates or plant matter to cats. The un-broken-down carbohydrates, it is posited by some, can form a sticky paste that creates plaque and tartar in the mouth. It's the specific geeky details like these that explain why feeding dry kibble based for dental health makes very little sense.
There's probably a little abrasive action on the inside of teeth when kitty closes the top row down on the bottom row with a large piece of kibble. But it's the outer teeth where plaque and tartar form - generally, a cat's tongue will help remove plaque from the inner surfaces of the teeth. Mills, MD to thank for his work explaining "eating anatomy" in a way that made sense to me.
It depends on what you and your cat are willing to do. Please see my web page on periodontal disease , for starters. Having your cat's teeth and gums examined regularly and, if needed, scheduling dental cleanings under anesthetic!
While it's preferable to never have to subject your cat to the stress and anesthetic of dental cleanings, sometimes it's the very wisest thing to do.
Do check out Dr. Andrea Tasi's extraordinarily helpful article on what questions to ask your veterinarian before scheduling dental work on your cat.
Read it, study it, print it, and take it with you the next time you're talking to your vet about dental work for your cat. Bear in mind, too, that a cat's teeth can look just fine and still hide serious problems. Subscribe to Videos Discuss. Targeting methionine auxotrophy in cancer: Expert Opin Biol Ther 12 1: The low-methionine content of vegan diets may make methionine restriction feasible as a life extension strategy.
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USA 71 4: Olfactory detection of human bladder cancer by dogs: Proof of principle study. Thx for this post! These look great for workouts! I know you freeze them before cutting, but after that can they be stored at room temp, or should they stay in the fridge? Not really… I was asking about storage when you intend to eat them within a few days or a week, not a month.
I have a question, as I think I may be out of the loop some, what amount of protein is considered high?? As in, how many grams per meal? In my opinion, anything with 15, or even 20 is considered high. Thanks in advance for anyone who can answer this for me!
So whether it is a lot of protein or not depends on how much you need. Read more about it here: In fact, time and time again, the most trusted recommendation has been at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
At least in the U. Eight grams is pretty high for a forty gram bar. More than an egg, and people say eggs are a good source of protein. No, 8 grams is not high for a 40 gram bar. In fact, this bar would be considered unbalanced for a high protein bar, and considered more an energy bar. More energy, than muscle building. That is high protein for a bar that is 20 grams more than this bar recipe here.
Yes, eggs are a GREAT source of protein… if you eat about as much as you would, say, a 3oz to 4oz piece of fish, meat, or poultry could be more, depending on protein source, all fish vary. In that instance, you would then consume approximately 3 to 4 large eggs 5 to 6 egg whites large to obtain the same amount of protein.
Despite what people like Dr Oz, and the like, state, human bodies need more protein than they think, especially if they live a more sedentary lifestyle. Take your protein how you need to, but it is essential for the body in more ways than you can imagine. Amino acids are found in protein. So keep that in mind when figuring out your macros for your well being. Denise, I hope I was able to clear something up for you. I think this site is primarily more for vegans and vegetarians. I personally like the recipes, as I have a sweet tooth from time to time and prefer a more natural and healthier option in that department.
So gram for gram, what you said it not actually true. Also not actually true is that humans need more protein than they currently get. I urge you to do more research on this subject. Too much protein leeches calcium from the bones. Please do more research on the subject.