Cat Care

Raw or Cooked Food for Cat

Cat Care > Cat Diet > Raw or Cooked Food

Raw Cat Food

Obviously, in the wild it is natural for cats to consume raw food and the whole of the prey animal is eaten. Studies have shown that cats may have slightly better rates of growth and reproductive success if fed on a suitable varied raw diet. The difference is, however, extremely small, and there are good reasons why certain foods should not be given raw. For instance, raw egg white contains two substances, one of which reduces the availability of a particular B vitamin (biotin) while the other inhibits the digestion of protein in the stomach. Eggs, therefore, which are an excellent food for cats, should always be cooked as this destroys the unhelpful substances. Meat can be given raw but, unfortunately, this is one of the ways in which the parasitic organism Toxoplasma gondii, the cause of toxoplasmosis in people, is passed on. Cooking destroys this organism and also some other harmful bacteria that might be present and enhances the flavor of the food. Meat or fish for a cat should be cooked for the shortest time possible, e.g. lightly boiled, in order to preserve essential vitamins.

Commercially prepared and tinned cat food is sterilized in order to destroy potentially harmful microorganisms. Manufacturers generally add vitamins (especially vitamin B) in carefully controlled amounts to ensure that the cat receives the quantity needed.

In the wild, a cat starts to eat its prey soon after having made a kill, while the body is still warm. Studies have shown that cats prefer their food to be slightly warm (about 40C or blood heat) but usually will not touch it if it is too hot. Of course, most cats happily accept food served straight from the can at room temperature. However, if a cat needs to be tempted to eat, e.g. during or after illness, warming a small quantity of its favorite food is often helpful.