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Raw food facts for feline consumption

Raw food and cats
Raw food and cats
Karla Kirby

A raw diet for a cat closely resembles what a feline in the wild would eat. Their physiology is unsurprisingly in step with such a diet. .Cats get a diverse diet in the wild, including brains, organs, and sporadically, stomach and intestine contents. They consume fish, mice, small mammals, insects and snakes.

Nonetheless, for a variety of reasons most cat caregivers do not have the wherewithal, nor the time to offer live prey to their much-loved cats; others may feel ill at ease at doing so Enter the raw food diet, which most strongly approximates the diet of felines in the wild.

Just before the middle of the 20th century, Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., going by the experiments of Weston Price in his handlings of respiratory disease, carried out a study on the effects of heat-processed foods on cats. His study was driven by the poor health of cats he was using for adrenal studies; felines who were fed cooked meat scraps. As neighbors to his clinic in Monrovia, CA, kept donating cats for his study, his supply of cooked meat diminished, and he found a source for raw meat scraps from a neighboring meat packing plant. Dr. Pottenger noticed within a few months that the cats receiving the raw meat scraps were in markedly better health; thus his feeding study was born.

The controlled feeding experiment took place over ten years, between 1932 and 1942, and over 900 cats were ultimately included. The optimum diet consisted of 1/3 raw milk, cod liver oil, and 2/3 raw meat, with one group receiving cooked food instead of raw. The results were astonishing. Within a few generations, the cats receiving cooked food exhibited: facial deformities: crowded jaws, narrowed faces, frail bones and weakened ligaments, a surplus of parasites, and all manners of disease. Female cats became more aggressive while males became more passive. After three generations, pregnancy failed.
Kittens born of these pregnancies repeatedly did not survive to adulthood and had skeletal deformities and organ malfunctions