health and longevity with the raw food diet…

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    A Healthy Diet for a Cat

    A healthy raw diet for cats and dogs has the potential to:

    - Improve energy levels
    - Loose body fat
    - Gain in muscle mass
    - Improve health of gums and teeth
    - Less or no skin problems
    - No more ear infections
    - Anal sac problems are eliminated
    - A reduction or elimination of arthritis
    - Incontinence no longer occurs
    - A more hydrated pet with well flushed organs (e.g.: kidneys, liver)
    - ‘dry eye syndrome is known to be eliminated in many pets
    - Better resistance to internal and external parasites
    - Less or no joint problems in young dogs
    - No more diabetes
    - No more reproductive problems
    - Improved behaviour
    Reduction in degenerative diseases (Billinghurst 2001)
    Over the last several years I have tried and tested different raw diets including Dr. Biilinghurst
    s famous BARF diet, supplements and ideas from a variety of pet nutrition texts.
    The following is a typical diet I presently make for my cats. All of the contents are human grade and where possible, organic or free range:

    Oliver & Zuccos favourite Chicken Meal
    200 grams free-range ground whole chicken (without skin)
    20 grams
    organic lambs liver
    1 jar (120g) peas and brown rice (organic pureed baby food)
    1 tsp flaxseed oil
    1 tsp
    salmon oil
    200iu Vitamin E
    1 capsule
    probiotics (live bacteria)
    1 tablet
    digestive enzyme
    2 tsp supplement mix (see my supplement page)

    I mix all of these ingredients together and I place the mixture into an airtight ceramic bowl in the fridge. It usually feeds my 2 cats for 1 day.
    The chicken with the bones is a perfect balance of phosphorus and calcium (Billinghurst 1993).
    Chicken bones are high in essential fatty acids, a rich source of bone marrow containing fats and minerals, all of the essential amino acids with the exception of methionine (which is found in the meat), fat soluble vitamins A, D and E, minerals including iron, copper, calcium, anti-oxidants and live enzymes. The chicken meat supplies high quality protein, lots of B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and essential fatty acids.
    The liver is rich in protein, vitamins A, lots of Bs, C, D, K, Zinc, Manganese, selenium, iron, omega 3 and 6. It is very high in phosphorus and very rich nutritionally, therefore should only make up 15% maximum of the overall diet. (Biilinghurst 1993)
    As my cats don
    t like raw pureed vegetables (I have tried on numerous occasions using a juicing machine), I have resorted to using jars of baby food, which they adore. They enjoy pumpkin, green peas and rice, wintersquash, parsnip, sweet potato, carrots and butternut squash. Pumpkin works wonders when there are problems with constipation. Even though these vegetables are all cooked, Im sure they still have some of their original nutritional value. In favour of cooked vegetables, during the heating process the plant cell walls are broken down making them very easy to digest. (Coscia 2009)

    Flaxseed oil is considered to be a powerful essential fatty acid, however most cats and dogs cannot convert the Alpha Linolenic Acid into a more useable form. Never the less, it is still claimed to be good for preventing cancer, promoting bowel health and is an anti-inflammatory. As it spoils easily, flaxseed should be kept refrigerated and used within 2-3 months from opening.

    The salmon oil is an excellent source of omega 3 and 6, plus vitamins A and D. I always add vitamin E, which is an excellent antioxidant; it also prevents the fish oil from going rancid. As this is a fat-soluble vitamin, it should not be overdosed. An adult cats normal dosage of Vitamin E per day is 100iu. (Goldstein et al 2005)
    Using a wide variety of oils ensures our four legged friend gets all the essential fatty acids they need.

    The addition of live bacteria is a helping hand to create a healthy gut flora and assist digestion, especially in my 19year old cat. Digestive enzymes are also of assistance in the absorption of nutrients into the blood. Bromelain is a popular choice of digestive enzymes available in health food shops. It reduces inflammation and can speed up the process of internal wound healing as well as helping with nutrient absorption. (Coscia 2009)

    Here is another favourite food for, in particular my 2 year-old rescue cat.

    Eggy Flip
    1 raw egg yolk (free range) or whole egg (without shell)
    1 heaped tsp plain organic yoghurt
    1/2 capsule borage seed oil or blackcurrant oil
    1/2 capsule cod liver oil (200iu) or fish oil
    1 pinch alfalfa powder
    100iu vitamin E

    Eggs are a high quality protein. The reason why I sometimes take away the white of the egg is that it contains a chemical called avidin, which binds to the B vitamin Biotin rendering the biotin useless. Giving whole raw eggs on a regular basis in large quantities can lead to a biotin deficiency, therefore on most occasions I will only make this mix with the egg yolk. There are high levels of calcium in the yolk plus lots of vitamins, fatty acids, lecithin, enzymes and iron. (Billinghurst 1993)

    The yoghurt is an excellent source of live bacteria, protein, calcium, enzymes and vitamins A and B. It lowers cholesterol, boosts the immune system, cleanses the intestinal tract and kills unwanted bacteria. (Brown 2006)

    Borage and evening primrose oils are both essential fatty acids. Evening primrose oil is an excellent source of omega 6 whilst borage oil contains both omega 3 and 6. They are both anti inflammatories and are useful in cats with allergies, dry skin and dull hair. Borage seed oil should be high quality human grade, not containing Pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are toxic to the liver. I strongly believe all produce for pets should be human grade. If its not good enough for us then it certainly should not be given to our pets.

    Cod liver oil is a great source of omega 3. It is also rich in vitamins A and D so it should not be overdosed. Maximum for an adult cat per day is 400iu.

    Lamb Meal (another favourite)
    150 grams chopped lamb meat
    1 jar (120g) pumpkin (organic pureed baby food)
    1 heaped tbsp plain organic yoghurt
    2 tsp
    *supplement mix
    1 capsule probiotic
    1 tablet digestive enzyme
    300mg calcium carbonate (or
    ½ tsp powdered egg shell)
    1 tsp flaxseed oil
    200iu Vitamin E
    My cats really like lamb meat. Unfortunately I cannot put lamb bones through my mincing machine, I learnt that the hard way with my last unfortunate machine!
    Lamb is not as high in essential fatty acids as chicken meat. However it does contain lots of potassium, lots of taurine (essential for cats) and it is high in iron. I sometimes add minced chicken bone to the mix but in this recipe I have added calcium in the form of calcium carbonate or ground egg shells. Whilst totally inferior to the quality of calcium found in healthy raw bones, this ensures that calcium is being balanced with the high phosphorus in the meat. (Pitcairn et al 2005)

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    Other healthy additions to the above recipes are:

    finely chopped fresh parsley is an excellent source of Vitamin C, A, calcium, magnesium, and iron. It prevents cancer, reduces bad breath, and contains antibacterial properties. It is a natural diuretic to flush kidneys (Messonnier 2001)
    finely chopped fresh wheatgrass (source of phytonutrients) is an antioxidant and is known to lower inflammation. It contains vitamins A, Bs, C, several minerals, protein, enzymes, which aid digestion, improves the immune system and is a major source of chlorophyll. Grown in pots, the cats like to chew on it occasionally (essential if they are indoor cats).
    I sometimes add a spoonful of grain to their meals in the form of cooked brown rice, rolled oats (that have been soaked in water) or some cooked barley. They provide nutrients and fibre. However they should not be given to a pet with diabetes. (Brown 2006)

    The supplement mix I recently made for my cats is based on advice from a variety of pet nutritional authors including, Dr. Billinghurst from, Give Your Dog a Bone, and author of The Holistic Cat, Jennifer Coscia. Dosage of supplements, vary considerably from one author to the next. I give my cats 1 flat teaspoon each of this supplement mix every day in their food. The vitamin C had to be added gradually due to the bitter taste and due my cats being super fussy. Over the time Ive been learning and researching what to put into this supplement mix it has changed considerably. Due to my ongoing learning, this supplement mix will continue to change with new ingredients added, some taken out and the amounts will no doubt change. It is a work in progress.

    *Supplement mix: 1 teaspoon=approx 2 grams
    6 grams brewers yeast 100mg
    6 grams alfalfa powder 100mg
    12 grams lecithin granules 200mg
    6 grams kelp 100mg
    60 grams ground sunflower seeds 1000mg
    12 grams Vitamin C 200mg
    6 grams Vitamin B complex 100mg
    3 grams spirulina 50mg
    6 grams L-Lysine 100mg
    1.8 grams MSM 30mg
    1.2 grams odourless garlic 20mg

    1 teaspoon of this supplement mix weighs approx 2 grams. As this mixture weighs in total 120 grams, it makes approximately 60 individual servings.

    The brewers yeast is highly recommended by many pet nutritional authors. It contains most of the B vitamins (except B12). It contains 16 amino acids, 14 minerals including phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and the antioxidant selenium and vitamins. However it can cause allergies with some animals. Brewers yeast is one of the richest, most concentrated forms of nutrients known. Torula yeast is similar, except it is lower in sodium, which may assist heart or kidney disease. Brewers yeast contains a high ratio of phosphorus to calcium (4:1), which is a consideration when giving this supplement to cats with renal disease.
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    Alfalfa powder contains vitamins, minerals, calcium and magnesium, beta-carotene, high amounts of B vitamins. It is a natural antibiotic, reduces fluid retention, prevents kidney stones, improves urinary tract health, it is good for the intestines and has a detoxifying effect on the body.

    Lecithin granules can be used for inflammation of the kidneys, to increase energy levels and brain function. It’s a phospholipid (fats which cell membranes are made of), protects cells from oxidation, detoxifies, provides liver support, helps the body emulsify and absorb fats across the gut wall, improves the condition of the coat and improves digestion.
    However, lecithin, like brewers yeast, is high in phosphorus and low in calcium. The ratio is 4:1. This is another supplement I am aware of due to the high phosphorus in relation to my cat’s renal disease.

    Kelp contains lots of minerals, it benefits the kidneys and heart, it is antibacterial, contains Vitamins A,B,C,D,E,K, beta-carotene, biotin, folic acid and the minerals calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, iron, zinc and copper. Kelp contains protein, PABA, selenium, sulfur, iodine, it neutralise carcinogens, improves digestion, hair growth, glandular functions and lowers radiation toxicity. Kelp is very high in iodine necessary for the correct functioning of the thyroid gland (for growth and metabolism).

    Sunflower seeds include Vitamin E (a primary fat soluble anti oxidant), B vitamins, selenium, manganese, they support the production of cortisol, which moderates the inflammatory response, regulates blood glucose and the blood pressure. Sunflower seeds are also thought to reduce asthma, prevent migraines and calm the nerves. They contain the minerals copper, selenium, tryptophan, and phosphorus. (Schultze 2008)

    Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It is required for bone synthesis, healthy joints, prevents bladder stones, strengthens the immune system, it is an antihistamine, contains anti-inflammatory properties, it prevents urinary tract infection, lowers joint pain, eliminates cystitis if taken in it’s acidic form, lowers pH (so increases acidity), it is easily absorbed, reverses cancer, improves appetite, supports cortisol production and in high doses is a natural laxative.
    Various forms of Vitamin C:
    • acidic (bitter tasting)
    • very acidic (sour tasting)
    • non acidic (the most mild tasting)
    • a natural source of vitamin C from the seed pods of roses
    Non-acidic Ester C can assist with gingivitis, the immune system, facilitating the destruction of harmful microbes. It can be mixed with a little live yoghurt for palatability.
    Whilst cats and dogs can in fact produce their own vitamin C, they certainly benefit from having it added into the diet. This conclusion is from my own experience whilst taking care of sick pets and doing most of the healing with good food and supplements.

    B Vitamins have a vast number of essential tasks in the body. They assist the skin, kidneys, brain, the immune system, growth, hair, digestion, mucous membranes, teeth, muscles, nerves, assists enzymes, production of red blood cells, cell growth and repair. Vitamin B12 lifts the energy as it speeds up fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Cats require more B vitamins especially when sick, stress depletes body of vitamin B.
    Vitamin B6 is involved in more bodily functions than any other vitamin, a warrior on cancer, heart disease, prevention of kidney stones, treats asthma, arthritis, acts as a mild diuretic. In combination with L-lysine and vitamin C, it fights the herpes virus and aids in the absorption of L-Lysine and Vitamin C.

    Spirulina is known to be one of the superfoods. It contains 8 essential amino acids, vitamins B12, and it is 70% protein. (Wolfe 2009)
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    Supergreen food is excellent nutrition for us and our pets.

    L-Lysine is an amino acid, when taken with Vitamin C it relieves heart conditions, treats chronic herpes (when given long-term), it prevents bone loss, improves the immune system, aids in the production of antibodies, hormones and enzymes, it is also good for sneezing and watery eyes.
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    MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) Depleted soil and cooking foods destroys sulfur. It is needed for the blood, amino acid formation, connective tissue, skin, nails, it assists allergies, inflammation, helps to correct pH, the manufacture of bile and insulin and activates the use of Vitamin C, biotin and thiamine. Assists heartburn, arthritis, muscle pain, cancer and respiratory infections.

    I only use odourless garlic in my cat’s food. If their food smells of garlic they won’t touch it. Garlic provides protein, Vitamins A, B, C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium and amino acids. It is a natural antibiotic, controls internal parasites, it is an antioxidant, digestive aid, lowers blood pressure as it thins the blood, supports the immune system and is a great flea deterrent.

    A supplement mix recommended by author of, ‘The Holistic Cat,’ to boost the immune system.

    Immune building supplement
    7500g L-Lysine
    3000mg Vitamin C
    1500mg bromelain (digestive enzyme)
    200mg B6
    750mg odourless garlic
    ¼ cup ground flaxseed (anti-inflammatory)
    This mixture supplies 30 doses for a cat. Up to two doses a day when sick.
    B6 aids the absorption of Vitamin C and L-Lysine (Coscia 2009)

    Veterinarian and author, Dr. Pitcairn recommends his supplement mix to add to the raw diet:

    Dr Pitcairn’s Healthy Powder

    2 cups brewers yeast (contains 1:4 Ca:P)
    1 cup lecithin granules (contains 1:4 Ca:P)
    ¼ cup kelp powder (contains 2.6:1 Ca:P)
    4 tbsp calcium (based on 1tbsp = 4500mg )
    1000mg Vitamin C
    My addition:
    ½ cup ground sunflower seeds
    Cats 1 to 2 tsp/day Dogs up to 2 tablespoons/day (Pitcairn et al 2005)

    Once the cat has changed diets from processed commercial food to a raw diet, they will most probably need to have their teeth cleaned by a veterinarian. This will get rid of the excess build up on the teeth, the toxins from the mouth, provide relief to the gums so they have the opportunity to repair, and more importantly, the removal of poisons going into the body via the digestive tract. (Lonsdale 2005)

    On track with the correct diet, the cat will no longer require medication, stresses on the body will be reduced, the immune system will be stronger and as a result environmental conditions are easier to deal with.
    I found that with my own cats and dog, once I changed the diet, visits to the Vet became less frequent, they had more energy, less ailments which meant a better quality of life, and the greatest gift was to see them getting stronger (increased muscle mass to fat ratio). Allergies became a thing of the past, the cats sinusitis became manageable and less frequent, my dog’s hot spots on his skin disappeared. Unfortunately I’m still dealing with a cat with renal disease (after years of commercial pet food). However, it is certainly more manageable now with good quality, human grade, fresh produce and some extra help from herbs and additional supplements.

    Billinghurst, I. 1993, ‘Give your dog a bone,’ Warrigal Publishing, Australia.
    Brown, A 2006, ‘The Whole Pet Diet, Eight weeks to a Great Health for Dogs and Cats.’ Celestial Arts, USA.
    Goldstein, R.S. V.M.D. & Goldstein, S.J. 2005, ‘The Goldstein’s Wellness & Longevity Program Natural Care for Cats and Dogs.’ TFH Publications USA.
    Coscia, J. A, 2005, ‘The Holistic Cat, A Complete Guide to Wellness for a Healthier, Happier Cat.’ North Atlantic Books, USA.
    Hodgkins, E.H, 2007, ‘Your Cat, Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life.’ Thomas Dunne Books, USA.200
    Lonsdale, T. 2001, ‘Raw Meaty Bones Promote Health.’ Rivetco P/L, Australia
    Lonsdale, T. 2007, Junk Pet Food and the Damage Done.’ Nexus Magazine
    Messonnier, S, 2001, ‘Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats’ Three Rivers Press, New York.
    Pitcairn, R. H. & Pitcairn, S. H, 2005, ‘Dr. Pitcairn’s guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.’ Rodale Inc, USA.
    Schultze, K.R 2008, ‘Natural Nutrition for Cats, The Path to Perfect health.’ Hay House, USA.
    Wolfe, D. 2009. ‘Superfoods. The food and medicine of the future.’ North Atlantic Books, U.S.A.

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