Are you considering feeding a raw diet to your kitten? Before you do, make sure you have the right information. Get the facts about 10 common myths associated with raw meat diets.
MYTH 1: The benefits are proven.
FACT: No scientific studies have shown benefits of feeding raw diets to kittens or cats. Their appeal is based on word of mouth, testimonials and perceived benefits.
MYTH 2: This is what animals eat in the wild.
FACT: Lynxes and other animals in the wild, like wolves, do eat raw meat (in addition to berries, plants, etc.). However, the average lifespan for an animal in the wild is only a few years. Therefore, what is nutritionally “optimal” for a wild animal like a lynx is not optimal for our pets that we hope will live longer and healthier lives.
MYTH 3: Dogs and cats can’t get infections from Salmonella or other bacteria in raw meat diets.
FACT: Cats, especially kittens, senior cats or immunosuppressed animals, can become infected with Salmonella, Clostridium, Campylobacter and other bacteria found in raw meat diets, just as people can.
MYTH 4: Raw food diet ingredients are human-grade.
FACT: Even meats purchased at the best stores for people can contain harmful bacteria, so purchasing “human-grade” meat does not protect against the health risks of uncooked meats. (Ask yourself: Would you eat raw ground beef?) It is also important to keep in mind that the term “human grade” has no legal definition for pet food.
MYTH 5: Freezing raw diets kills bacteria.
FACT: Most of the bacteria found in raw meat diets can easily survive freezing and freeze-drying.
MYTH 6: As long as bones are raw, they’re safe.
FACT: Bones, whether raw or cooked, can fracture your kitten’s teeth. They also can block or tear the esophagus, stomach or intestine.
MYTH 7: Cooking destroys enzymes needed for digestion.
FACT: All the enzymes dogs and cats (and people) need for digestion are already in the gastrointestinal tract. Additional enzymes from food are not required for digestion.
MYTH 8: Raw diets do not contain grains, because grains are added to pet foods only as fillers.
FACT: Corn, oats, rice, barley and other grains are healthy ingredients that contain protein, vitamins and minerals; they are not added as fillers and are unlikely to cause allergies. Although meat is an important component of diets for kittens and cats, grains can be part of a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet.
MYTH 9: Most commercial pet foods contain harmful ingredients such as by-products.
FACT: Byproducts are the animal parts American people don’t typically eat, such as livers, kidneys or lungs — in other words, the organs and meats other than animal muscle. Note that some pet foods may actually list these ingredients (e.g., duck liver, beef lung), but these are really just byproducts. Most commercial and many home-prepared raw diets also contain by products.
MYTH 10: If bones or chicken necks are added to raw meat diets, they’re nutritionally balanced.
FACT: Most homemade (and even some commercial) raw meat diets are extremely deficient in calcium and a variety of other nutrients, even if chicken necks, bones or eggshells are added. This can be disastrous for any animal but especially for young, growing kittens, and can result in fractured bones. For complete and balanced nutrition, feed your cat a high-quality kitten food like IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Healthy Kitten.
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adp_related_article_block495The Cat Personality Awards: The Unique Temperaments of Popular Cat Breeds
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This article is part of a series on how to spot signs of a healthy cat. You can learn more about the key signs here.
Cats don’t lack personality; that’s for sure. They can be shy, outgoing, snuggly, independent, energetic, relaxed and everything in between. Yet some breeds tend to exhibit certain traits more strongly than others. Here are our picks for what we’re calling the Cat Personality Awards.
The friendliest cat breed:
This larger cat has a big heart to match. They’re often very social and happy to chat with you, whether they’re curled up on your lap or following you around the house. They make excellent family pets because more family members means more people to snuggle and play with.
Also outgoing: Ragdoll, Siamese, Burmese
The most laid-back cat breed:
Gentle and calm, this soft and silky-furred feline is friendly without being demanding. Ragdolls are usually totally cool sharing a house with other pets and kids. They don’t stress much about routine changes or even being carried around. Their motto? It’s all good.
Other cool kitties: Scottish fold, Birman, British shorthair
The most playful cat breed:
Making up around 90% of cats in the U.S., with more than 80 colors and patterns, domestic shorthairs are a melting pot of different breeds. They were originally working cats used to hunt mice and other critters on farms. They still love to stalk, hunt and pounce on toys and play games with their owners — so expect to spend lots of energetic playtime together.
Also ready to play: Siamese, Maine coon, Manx
The most independent cat breed:
This popular breed has been around humans since the 1600s, but is satisfied doing its own thing. Gentle, docile and quiet, Persian cats don’t insist on a lot of attention. They’re just as content sitting on your lap or observing what’s going on by themselves from a sunny perch across the room. They can be discerning in who they give their affection to, but you’ll be on their good side once you earn their trust.
Also fine on their own: Russian blue, American shorthair, Norwegian Forest cat
The most trainable cat breed:
The idea of training a cat may seem hilarious, but the curiosity and intelligence of Abyssinians make them highly trainable. Some can even be taught tricks or to walk on a leash and harness. Training and playing games are perfect ways to direct their affectionate energy.
Also eager to learn: Bengal, Siamese, American shorthair
The cleanest cat breed:
Owning this affectionate, hairless breed means you can spend more time cuddling and less time lint-rolling your clothes. They do require regular baths, but that just means more time to hang out together.
Other neat freaks: Siamese, Russian blue
The best cat for first-time owners:
it’s a toss-up!
Thinking of getting your first kitty? It’s hard to pick just one breed, so we’ve got three:
- Maine coons are super friendly and charming, and adapt well in a variety of living situations.
- Siamese are clean, love to talk and are very loyal.
- American shorthairs are smart, playful and independent.
Remember, most cats — especially those found in shelters — are a mix of breeds, which just means they often combine the best of all cat personality traits! Whatever personality you’re looking for in a cat, you’ll know it when you find your fuzzy soulmate.
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