How to Feed Raw Meat to Cats Safely

When you want to feed your cat raw meat, you may have all kinds of concerns. You have to think about whether raw meat contains bacteria, bones, parasites, and whether the nutrition is enough. Especially Salmonella pathogens, many people can’t avoid it when they mention raw meat. Feeding cats raw meat is a terrible idea at first glance.
So, is it really not dangerous to feed raw meat?
The answer is: In fact, the risk factor is very low. People all over the world are feeding cats raw meat. If the meat source is suitable and you do treat the raw meat in a safe way, the risk of infection by pathogens or parasites is very low.

Salmonella and Escherichia coli
The first concern about eating raw meat is Salmonella and Escherichia coli. These two pathogens usually come from improper slaughter or breeding methods. Whether the raw meat is for humans or cats, these pathogens should not exist. Most people are careful when dealing with raw meat. Salmonella can also appear in non-meat or cooked foods because these foods can cross-contaminate with contaminated raw foods. For example, Salmonella has also appeared in dry food.
Salmonella usually exists on the cut surface of the meat, so mincing the meat into a mash will provide a very large place for bacteria to grow. Therefore, if you buy ground meat, whether it is packaged at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen, it is unreliable, because you do not know how long the meat has been ground.
However, we do not have this concern about eating ground meat, because we will cook the meat to kill these possible pathogens before we eat it. Escherichia coli exists in the intestines of animals, and if the animals are not slaughtered properly, the meat will be contaminated. Grass-fed cattle are less likely to be infected by E. coli.

Toxoplasma
Toxoplasmosis is one of the common parasitic diseases. In the United States, approximately 22.5% of people have ever been infected. Except for humans who are pregnant or have low immunity, Toxoplasma gondii rarely causes serious diseases in any species. Cats, whether raised or not, are the only hosts of Toxoplasma eggs. Infected cats will shed eggs for only a few days in their lifetime, so for cats, the chance of getting Toxoplasma gondii is very low and very low. Humans are more likely to be infected with Toxoplasma through eating raw meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, or eating cat litter when cleaning it because the eggs must be eaten to be infected.
Frozen raw meat at minus 20 degrees Celsius for 72 hours can kill Toxoplasma gondii eggs. The eggs in the cat’s poop are not immediately contagious. They have to undergo a process of spore formation and reproduction, which takes about one to five days, depending on the environment. This is another good reason why it is best to clean the litter immediately.
If you plan to be pregnant, first check whether you have ever been infected with Toxoplasma gondii. If you have been infected before and develop antibodies, the chance of re-infection is extremely unlikely. There are very few cases of re-infection during pregnancy, and even if they do, they are considered to be from different parasites. If you have not been infected, wear gloves when cleaning the litter, or let someone else clean it. Avoid or carefully handle raw meat or engage in gardening activities. There is no need to send the cat away, please consult your doctor if you encounter any problems.

Bone
Unlike most people’s thinking, raw bone is not only easy to digest, but also provides calcium, minerals, and enzymes. The bone marrow is rich in nutrients. Boiled bones are dangerous. After cooking, the bones will become sharp, brittle, and almost indigestible.
For cats that live on prey, bones are their main source of calcium. Feeding cats with meaty bones are a natural way to obtain calcium, and it can also move the upper and lower jaws and clean the teeth. Chicken wings or poultry bones smaller than chickens are suitable for cats to chew. For safety, when the cat gnaws bones, it is best for the owner to supervise it all the way.

Nutrition
Cats have been eating raw meat for thousands of years. It has not been until recent years that humans feel that it is better to feed them highly processed, cooked, and packaged foods. Feeding raw meat is trying to simulate the prey that cats will catch in the wild. The cat’s digestive system is specially designed to handle raw meat. Raw meat has high protein, high water content, and low or even no carbohydrates. Cats should get their nutrients directly from food. This is the way they are accustomed to and the best way to make full use of nutrients. If cats eat fresh prey with changes, they can get all the nutrients they need directly from the food. This feeding method is not practical for domestic cats.
The next feeding method is Frankenprey (feeding cats with bone-in meat; the ratio of meat/bone/viscers is approximately 8:1:1), which feeds the cat to the whole animal to achieve a balanced nutrition within a certain period of time Feeding, if fed properly, this method does not require additional nutrients. But for many people, this method is not practical, and some cats will refuse to eat.
Feeding minced raw meat is the easiest and most practical way, but the mincing and freezing process will lose nutrients, so it is necessary to supplement nutrients to ensure that your cat has enough and necessary nutrients.
No matter what feeding method you use: ground meat or frankenprey, or both together-remember to make changes. Different meats have different nutrients. Feeding different meats can provide an overall balance, that is, cats have all the necessary nutrients.

Raw meat processing method
Please observe the following safe handling steps when feeding raw meat:
1. The fresher the meat, the better. Buy meat from a reliable butcher. Rinse can help remove surface bacteria.
2. Don’t buy ground meat, because you don’t know how long the meat is left there to breed bacteria, and you don’t know whether the meat grinder is clean.
3. If you grind the meat yourself, send it to the freezer immediately after it is ground. Just keep the amount you want to eat on the day of refrigeration or the next day.
4. Keep meat grinders, bowls, workbench surfaces, etc. clean. Use vinegar or disinfectant liquid that is harmless to cats to clean the areas that your cat may directly touch.
5. Avoid cross-infection of tableware, various surfaces that cats will directly touch, food and hands.
6. Throw away food that has been in a long restoration.
7. Defrost in the freezer of the refrigerator, never at room temperature.
8. When feeding, put the meat in a bag and put it in warm water to warm it up. Don’t reheat by microwave heating, because it will cook the food and destroy the nutrients that you have worked so hard to retain. And after cooking, the bones will become brittle and difficult to digest, causing danger.
9. Use metal or glass plates/bowls to feed raw meat. Plastic materials are easily scratched and form a breeding ground for bacteria. Otherwise, you can also use a paper plate, which is convenient to throw away after use.
10. It is best to wear gloves when handling raw meat.
11. The most important thing is to wash your hands often.

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