Raw Cat Food: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Laila The Cat

A while ago, I was searching for the best natural cat food for Laila.  Surprisingly, it is not a falafel sandwich from the farmer’s market, as it appears in the picture.  On my natural cat food quest, it was only reasonable that I would get drawn into the world of raw cat food.  The best natural cat food shouldn’t be cooked, right?  Wild cats would eat their food raw.  I do think it’s funny, though, to imagine them in the kitchen with an apron on whipping up a mouse stew.  But, that’s not the real world.  Since raw cat food seemed like the most natural cat food to me, I set out to research and eventually try it…


The Good: Why is raw cat food the best natural cat food?

To answer this question, we need to look at what’s different about raw cat food vs. conventional cat food.  This is the “good”.

BonesThe Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe

In the wild, cats eat other animals – bones and all.  It’s gross to me but there’s a reason they do it, even if they don’t quite know it.  If you have concerns about your cat’s dental health like I do, bones are a good thing.  Eating (and chewing) hard bones helps clean your cat’s teeth while they eat.

Chewing through cartilage is also good for their teeth.  Check out my post here on the importance of good dental hygiene in your cat.

Not all raw cat foods have bones so just make sure to check the ingredients if this is important to you.

High Protein/Meat Content

The first ingredient on any raw cat food you buy should be meat.  You want all the parts of the meat, including organs, bones and cartilage.  This is the most natural cat food diet.  When a cat in the wild eats a mouse for example, they eat the whole thing.

A high protein content builds muscle mass and is ideally suited for our cats.  Cats are carnivores.  Simply put: they NEED meat.  Many people report that raw food has helped their overweight cats lose weight.


Especially compared to conventional dry food, raw cat food will have a much higher water content.  Check out my post “Is Your Cat a Drinker?” for more info on how much water your cat needs.

Again, this is more natural for our cats.  That’s how they would get most of their hydration in the wild.


As we know with our own food, cooking or heating food compromises nutrients.  This is also true for our furry friends.  They get the maximum nutrition out of the food they are given if it’s raw.  Very efficient.  As with most cat food, the raw cat food will be nutritionally balanced and should include meat AND other ingredients like omega 3 or 6, flax seeds, eggs, some vegetables, etc.  Just check the ingredients and you’ll see what I mean.  It’s definitely good and almost sounds like something I would eat (vegetarianism aside).  Here’s an example of the ingredients in the chicken recipe from The Honest Kitchen:

And from the Instinct Raw Cat Food:

Instinct Raw Cat Food Ingredients

The Bad and The Ugly: Our Experience With Raw Cat Food

So, I did all my research and was determined that raw cat food was the best natural cat food for Laila.  I was very excited to try it out.Try Resisting This Face!

We purchased pre-frozen patties of this brand.  As a vegetarian, I have to say I’m glad that it was frozen.  When I had to deal with it, it didn’t look like anything too offensive to me.  Once defrosted it looked a bit gross (the ugly).  But hey, I didn’t have to eat it.

I called Laila over and put down this natural and healthy plate of food.  I can’t say I was surprised when she looked at me like I was crazy.  Healthy food?  No thanks.  She walked away.  Aside from a few sniffs here and there she never ate any of it (the bad).

I can’t blame her, really.  I don’t think there was anything wrong with the raw cat food we bought.  I think she prefers not to eat healthy food like me.  I tried a few more times but I eventually cracked and gave her the old food.  I suppose I could have starved her out but I’m too much of a suck.  I can’t resist that face.  The raw cat food never got eaten.

I’m hoping that like humans, cat’s tastes change.  I will try again in a few more months and get her when she’s really hungry.  I am not giving up!  There you have it – my quest for the best natural cat food and the disappointing results (so far).

Have you tried raw cat food?  Did your cat take to it the first time?  What benefits did you notice?


4 thoughts on “Raw Cat Food: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Amy, (which happens to be my daughter’s name, I love her to pieces) I like your post. My wife and I have three cats, and we used to foster for a local cat rescue. But I was wondering, if when you give your cat the natural food, maybe you could give her a teaspoonful in her regular food the first time, then increase the amount until she is eating just the raw stuff only! Let me know if that works!



Yes, absolutely.  It is best to do about 10-20% of the new food mixed in with the old food every day.  Then after about a week they will only be eating the new food.



It has been a long time since I had a cat so I am not up on the latest in cat nutrition. If feeding your cat raw is anything like feeding your dog raw then I do have some concerns about it. Our pets ave been domesticated for so long I am not sure that trying to revert them back to the wild in a way is that good for them. Also be very careful as to what you are actually buying. I had a friend lose their puppy due to bad raw food.
If you are going to try and feed raw again trying mixing the raw food with whatever they normally get. Try to make the change gradually.
Beautiful cat.


Thank you so much for pointing out that you have to be careful with raw food.  I agree completely about mixing old food with new to get them used to it.  I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s puppy.  That is devastating.


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