Feline Foodology seems to be long forgotten but I’m here today to revive it from the seemingly bottomless pit of this blog’s archive. If you’re new here or have simply just forgotten what Feline Foodology entails then it is a series of posts where our beautiful but bloody naughty cats, king Cookie & little princess Pippin, trial all sorts of cat food, kibble, wet pouches & treats, to find THE ONE that’s natural enough not to ruin their tiny bodies with nasty chemicals, grains and bone ash, and at the same time it won’t ruin my bank account.
What have the cats been eating in the last year?
After moving to Prague we stagnated a little and returned to our comfort food – Felix wet pouches. Which is not great, we all know that, but it’s the better amongst the horrid. 2018 was a turbulent year for the cats and myself – well, let’s be honest, it was a pile of poo for myself. But I do like to blame the cats for it when I explain myself to people I don’t know because it just sounds like I’m more of a sane person than I really am. I mean – I got the fleas. Which I then brought home. And had to de-flea the whole apartment, myself AND the cats. Then I got the worms. Which you’d also think that the cats would have but no – it was me. And had to de-worm myself AND the cats. What an excellent portfolio of cat related problems. Did I mention I had to consult a vet to get rid of the worms? Oh yes I did.
Towards to end of 2018 life settled a little and I had time to look around and research more appropriate cat food options for the buggers. As I’ve already mentioned in a few posts on intentional living, Czech people seem to be much more focused on natural products, zero waste and the whole “living the proper way” shebang. That’s how I came across the concept of BARF. BARF stands for biologically appropriate raw food. This means working with the concept that cats are naturally carnivorous and should therefore not be consuming huge amounts of “fillers” which you often find in commercial cat food (these can be grains – wheat, corn, or even bone ash). There are many advantages and disadvantages of feeding raw meat to your cats and it’s definitely a challenge, but for Cookie, Pippin and their human parents the pros overweight the cons massively.
Why’s BARF so great?
- raw meat is cats’ most natural form of food
- it contains the highest possible nutrients (it’s not cooked/processed)
- chewing on raw meat cleans cat’s teeth, massages their gums and exercises their jaw
- strengthens their immune system
- reduces diseases such as UTI, kidney failure and others
- their poop doesn’t stink so much and they rarely have the shits
- it reduces risk of unhealthy weight gain
- increased energy & improved mood (you can’t even imagine the zooms that Pippin does after she’s had chicken hearts for dinner)
- shiny OH SO SHINY coat
- it’s considerably cheaper once you find a good supplier
Why’s BARF not so great?
There are many negative references for BARF. And as surprising as it may sound – I agree with majority of them. Firstly, you need to be educated about BARF before you start practising it and secondly, you need to be practising it correctly with hygiene at the forefront at all times. So why’s BARF not so great?
- it’s fairly difficult to find a good supplier (they tend to be expensive or the meat’s not all that great)
- frozen meat fills up your whole freezer (but CATS, so it doesn’t really matter all that much!)
- you’re handling raw meat (which is rank)
- raw meat (despite it being frozen) might still contain bacteria and parasites which can be dangerous to your cat (deworm your cat regularly) and to yourself (clean your cat’s bowl properly, wipe all surfaces properly etc)
- you have to plan in advance (to order frozen BARF, to defrost just the right amount in advance)
- you need to learn about BARF – cats can’t be eating just muscles, they also need offal and a little bit of cartilages (back in the day when cats ate real mice they wouldn’t just separate muscle would they, they ate it all with it’s tiny heart and stomach and then threw up the fur and bones)
Overall, Pippin & Cookie are very happy with their BARF diet – every now and then when I’m losing my shit with life they get the odd Felix wet food pouch – about 28 days out of the month they’ve been successfully nibbling on turkey hearts, baby beef and what not. We get our frozen meat from Vetamix online shop and pay about £30-35 a month for food for two cats. They get the occasional handful of dry food but since eating BARF they haven’t been all that interested anymore.
YES FOR BARF!