The subject of BARF cat nutrition. In the past, there was little information in English about natural and appropriate nutrition for cats. So we decided to pool our knowledge and experience. Our website is intended to encourage people to think about how we can feed our cats in a healthy, natural and species-appropriate way. It contains information about the cat’s nutritional needs, the various feeding options including ready-made food, and advice on how a healthy raw diet can look. However, the text does not claim to be complete and does not spare the cat owner either the personal responsibility or the need to acquire the knowledge that is absolutely necessary to feed the cat healthy and balanced with raw food (BARF = biologically appropriate raw food).
The original „Kiwanga Savannah breed“ cat nutrition from Margitta Graeve remains online. The English version was made with the help of a translator software. German version is Katzenernährung.
Why Raw Feeding Barf Cat Nutrition?
Over 30 years ago we fed our cats the first raw food in the form of day-old chicks and now and then beef goulash, because many breeders did it that way. The terms “BARF” and “barfen” didn’t even exist back then. Soon, however, we started worrying about cat food and asking ourselves questions that are more relevant now than ever. The answers to these questions still convince us that a natural type of cat nutrition is healthier. Little by little we switched our cats completely to raw food and have not regretted it for a day.
Would we only eat cornflakes and canned foods, fortified with artificial vitamins, because nutritionists claim that this is the healthiest and most balanced diet?
Despite all the assurances of the experts, we would certainly have doubts whether this diet is too one-sided and unhealthy. We probably wouldn’t last for three days either, because we’d get cravings for something else, such as fresh fruit or vegetables. Then why do so many cat owners do this to their darling by feeding themselves fresh and varied food and possibly serving their cat the same dry food for a lifetime?
How is it that the cat’s original diet and ready-made food are so different?
Because the food manufacturers don’t try to produce the optimal diet for cats – that would be too expensive. The proportion of high-quality proteins in the cat’s prey is almost always much higher than in convenience food. In particular, dry food contains a lot of carbohydrates in the form of grain – a cheap source of calories that takes the place of animal protein. The manufacturers also use animal experiments to test the minimum requirements for the food in their laboratories, without the cat showing signs of deficiency or disease over a certain period of time. The product should be as inexpensive to manufacture as possible and should look and smell acceptable to the buyer. Much of the money is invested in sales strategies and advertising rather than the quality of the feed. Even if it is said that ready-made food is balanced and healthy, the long-term effects of years of feeding can be seen in the “field trial” in which most cat owners take part, in which they buy the advertised food.
Why are there so many different types of cat food, starting with Adult, Kitten, Senior, Hair & Skin, Sensitive, Hairball, Light, Less Active, In- and Outdoor, Oral Care or whatever they are called, even though all cats naturally eat the same thing, no matter how old you are and what demands you are exposed to?
In nature the cat compensates for all stresses by eating less or more of the same food, namely prey. This is not possible with ready-made food, as the standard product of all manufacturers, food for adults, does not meet these requirements, such as the growth of young cats. The administration of commercial feed often results in problems such as obesity or kidney diseases in old age. The manufacturers try to compensate for these problems that they caused themselves with new products / varieties and earn even more money with them.
Why do older animals become overweight while young, stressed stud cats or nursing cats become skinny?
Since ready-made food covers the calorie requirement, but not the need for high-quality animal components, enzymes and natural vitamins, a deficiency arises which the cat tries to compensate with increased feed intake because the body tells it that the needs are not met. This naturally results in a higher intake of “empty” calories, which are converted into fat and stored in the body. Think of the corn flakes or the idea of only eating chocolate, our body would also tell us that something is missing. Cats fed raw food rarely get fat even with age. Stress such as pregnancy or lactation shows that finished feed is not able to provide enough essential nutrients, since lactating cats are not able to ingest and process so much food. People have become so used to it that it is considered normal for cats to lose weight while rearing their young. This is by no means normal and natural. Mother cats fed a balanced raw diet do not become rickety and have a lot of milk.
How is it that so many cats suffer from coat problems, digestive problems, tartar, inflamed gums, food intolerance or allergies?
In order to stay healthy, develop a beautiful coat and a firm, muscular body, the cat needs high-quality nutrients, including a. Highly digestible proteins, essential fatty acids and natural vitamins and minerals in the right composition. In our opinion, finished feed is too inferior to meet these needs. It is composed of many individual components, which include things like grain, fibers or artificial additives that do not correspond to what cats eat in nature, resulting in intolerances and allergies. One of the most common phenomena recently are inflammatory bowel disease (IBD / Inflammatory Bowel Disease), which can manifest itself in chronic diarrhea and vomiting and can shorten life. Most of the time, the cause is not treated, only the symptom, in which the affected cats are given a very expensive exclusion diet available from the vet for the rest of their lives or are even treated with cortisone. Word has got around that dry food does not help against tooth and gum problems, otherwise not so many cats would suffer from it, even though they consume dry food regularly, and the manufacturers would not develop any special products such as the so-called oral care.
Why do so many cats get metabolic diseases such as diabetes, pancreatitis, liver disorders, or urinary tract and kidney diseases?
There are two main reasons for this: Ready-made food contains a lot of ingredients that are difficult to digest or that the cat cannot use, which have to be processed by the body, resulting in a lot of waste products. In particular, the mostly high proportion of grain poses a major problem for the metabolism and digestive system of the cat, which is a carnivore with very special nutritional requirements. Even if the manufacturers and sellers repeatedly deny it: studies show that cats are fed dry food not drinking enough. This means a constant slight dehydration of the body and a decrease and concentration of the urine, which stresses the kidneys and urinary tract.
Why do vets recommend ready-made feeds when faced with these cat diseases on a daily basis?
Veterinarians do not receive extensive training in cat nutrition. The information they receive often comes from the feed industry, for example courses held by finished feed manufacturers based on their own principles and studies. In addition, most veterinarians do not have time to acquire specific knowledge about cat nutrition. It is therefore easiest for them to recommend ready-made feed, especially since they often sell it themselves and make money from it. As is usually the case in human medicine, her main focus is on the treatment of diseases. The prophylaxis is mainly limited to the expensive vaccinations. Nevertheless, there have been more and more veterinarians lately who have dealt with the topic and recommend a balanced raw diet.
How is it that cats from 7 years of age are now classified as senior citizens by the feed industry, although cats can live to be over 20 years old?
Often at this age, sometimes even earlier, cats show the consequences of poor nutrition, such as obesity and damage to their organs. These problems are viewed by veterinarians and feed manufacturers as normal and age-related. Of course, the advertising effect also plays a role, since you can sell an expensive food for “seniors” or a “light food” for weight reduction. Unfortunately, this food contains even less protein and even larger amounts of grain and fibers, which is an even greater burden on the organism of the older cat than the normal food.
Why do small game cats in zoos still not get ready-made food, but fresh, barf cat food, raw food?
Because zoologists have now established that wild cats cannot be fed ready-made feed without the animals becoming sick or even dying. The fact that our house cats are considered domesticated does not matter here, because the organs, the metabolism and the digestive tract have not changed as a result of domestication.