Not much is known about the effects of raw diets on the feline intestinal tract. Although, pet owners that feed their cats raw diets often rave about the benefits such as a shiny coat and less gastrointestinal disorders, scientist are just now beginning to deep dive into what it all means.
Throughout the years, there has been an increase in investigations about diet and the correlating gastrointestinal changes in pets. The study we are looking at now is from researchers at the University of California, Davis. Scientist looked at the role of a raw diet in the health of the feline intestinal tract to determine general internal and external effects.
- One group of cats were free fed raw Rabbit diet and the second a commercial cat food twice daily
- Researchers used a whole rabbit diet (meaning they removed nothing and simply ground the rabbit in its entirety)
- After one week the cats on the rabbit diet all had significantly improvements in stool quality based on a visual stool grading system
- After one month the cats on the rabbit diet all had formed hard stools, while the commercial diet cats had soft formed to liquid stools
- The cats fed the whole rabbit diet outwardly had better coat quality
- There was no correlation between diet and the rate of growth, degree of inflammation in the tissue lining the intestinal tract or numbers of bacteria in the upper small intestine
- The cats fed a whole rabbit diet had slightly higher shedding of pathogenic type organisms such as giardiasis dn cryptosporidium.
- One cat fed the whole rabbit diet died of dilated cardiomyopathy due to severe taurine deficiency.
- 70% of the remaining raw rabbit diet fed cats also had heart muscle changes consistent with taurine deficiency (after supplementation taurine levels returned to normal)
Main Take Aways
Know your taurine levels and supplement if necessary
Taurine is extremely important in the diet of a cat. If you are considering feeding your cat a raw diet make sure to supplement with taurine. You can read more about taurine deficiencies here.
Feed a variety of meats and a well balanced diet
The cats in this study were given only one type of meat and not a well balanced diet of various meats and vegetation which further proved the need for both.
Diet has a profound effect on stool
This may be a no brainer, as we all know that what we put into our pets body either serves to fuel or hinder their well being. The scientist in this and many other studies have shown improvements in stool visually. The stool is usually well formed and less mucus noted.
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