Cats are carnivores, and in the wild, they wouldn’t exactly be eating kibble or out of a can, would they? This is why the best Ragdoll cat food is raw food – a raw food diet best mirrors what the cats eat if left to their own devices.
There are several potential health benefits when switching to a raw food diet, and there’s a lot to think about, including helping any fussy cats make the change. Let’s look at everything you need to know about raw food diets.
A lot of the information is included here. After I switched to a raw food diet for my 13-year-old Ragdoll cats, I emailed Audra High, who runs the site servicecatsus.com, and she’s been involved in some of the raw feed support communities online. Huge thanks to Audra for her help!
This website uses affiliate links that earn a commission at no additional cost. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
What is a Raw Food Diet?
A raw food diet is just how it sounds – feeding your cat uncooked animal products instead of fresh food from a can or dried foods. That raw product will blend meat, organs, and bone to ensure your cat gets a balance of nutrition, including the minerals they need.
It’s not like you’re finding wild animals and dumping them in your cat’s feeding dish – absolutely not; it still needs to be a complete and balanced diet. There’s a huge market out there that helps to ensure your cat can enjoy the best diet that is safe for them to eat and packed with all the nutrients they need.
Raw food is the most natural choice for your cat – it’s just what they would eat if they lived wild. So you’re simply supporting that and making the best choice for their diet needs.
Benefits of Raw Food Diets for Ragdoll Cat Food
There are several potential benefits to a raw food diet for cats. I have to stress that these are all potential benefits. If you’re feeding your cat high-quality wet foods that contain good proteins like chicken fat, they might already be in relatively good health. You might not notice a difference in every area.
But most people who switch to a raw diet for their cats notice at least some improvement in one or more of these areas:
- Improved urinary health with fewer kidney issues
- Improved digestion while also reducing stool volume and odor
- Better dental health
- Improved joint health and healthy bones
- Increased energy levels
- A healthy, shiny coat with less shedding and healthy skin
A raw diet can also help cats that are overweight. Weight gain can often be attributed to unnecessary carbohydrates and other foods your cat doesn’t need. Instead, they are added to prepared foods (especially kibble) to bulk them. Eating a raw diet can get overweight cats back to a healthier weight and, therefore, also help to protect a healthy heart.
In fact, it’s those unnecessary carbs that are often the cause of problems with digestion and stools too. Cats don’t need carbohydrates!
Unfortunately, cat food is sold more on convenience than it is quality. Plus, people buy into cat food manufacturers’ myths about vegetables and grains being necessary.
Raw Ragdoll Cat Food Formula Explained
A raw food diet isn’t just about meat – that’s not going to provide the optimal diet for your cat. They need the right combination of essential nutrients and vitamins, and finding the best one for your kitty is important.
Some raw food providers will work to pre-set formulae, such as the 80/10/10:
- 80% meat
- 10% organs
- 10% bone
But others will create a custom diet depending on your cat’s needs. There may be slight changes you want to make based on the cat breeds you own or your cat’s current health.
The mix is essential – your cat needs this balance. In the wild, they wouldn’t be picking around the organs or bones to only chew on the muscle meat.
The bone is important for calcium and is usually mixed with the food as a bone meal. Bone meal is good for preventing diarrhea as well. Eggshell is an alternative that is sometimes used too – it’s better for cats with kidney problems, as it’s gentler.
And on eggs, you can occasionally add an egg yolk into your cat’s raw diet. They’re another great source of protein that many cats love, although some avoid giving their cat egg white as it can prevent the absorption of some B vitamins.
However, Troy of Fetching Foods said, “It’s true, egg whites contain a protein called “avidin” which binds to biotin – vitamin B7 – blocking it very effectively. Eating too many raw egg whites by themselves will cause a biotin deficiency. Nature created the egg in such a way that its yolk is very rich in biotin, more than could ever be blocked by the avidin in the white. It’s one of the highest concentrations in nature. Using the egg whole rather than just the white and you end up with a nearly perfectly balanced, nutritionally rich food.”
The best thing is that raw food blends are grain-free – no unnecessary wheat or corn added to bulk up the food.
Some websites selling food will refer to BARF ingredients, which sounds awful, but it stands for “Bones and Raw Feed.” So don’t panic about anyone trying to sell you BARF.
In the same vein, there’s a support group on Facebook called Cat CRAP – Completely Raw and Proud.
If you want to make your own, this raw cat food calculator might be useful.
[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”eXogQ5l6″ upload-date=”2022-11-21T05:27:07.000Z” name=”Raw Cat Food What You Need to Know BEFORE Feeding Your Cat” description=”This video walks you through the commercial raw cat food recipe options that are out there – this is only a small sampling and how I went about transitioning my 13-year-old Ragdoll cats to a raw diet. I cannot tell you what a dream come true it is for me to have them on raw.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]
Raw Food Options
There are many options for buying and preparing your cat’s raw food.
Firstly, there’s consistency. Here are the different options available for raw food consistency:
- Whole prey
- Coarse ground
- Fine ground
- Freeze-dried toppers
the better options for your cat’s oral health since biting into whole prey makes teeth work harder, keeping them cleaner and avoiding tartar buildup.
However, many cats won’t take to it. When presented with a dead animal, they don’t know what to do with it or just don’t care enough.
Technically, you can feed your cat whole prey. This is one ofThey’d probably be happier if it was live prey, but that’s not something you can confine to a feeding bowl. It’d get messy and inconvenient.
So, most raw food is sold as either chunks or ground, which can be coarse or fine.
The choice has no particular benefits, so the key is finding which one your kitty prefers the most.
Some might enjoy tearing into chunks with their teeth, while others may prefer the softer option of ground food.
There’s only one way you will be able to work out what’s best: through trial and error.
You can also buy toppers – extra supplements for your cat’s food made using raw ingredients that you crumble on top.
The other decision to make is how to buy your raw food.
You can prepare it yourself at home if you have a grinder. You’ll need to make sure you buy the necessary supplements to create a balanced diet – including bone meal or eggshell, and organs and meat.
Here are some excellent homemade cat food recipes if you want to give them a go.
Generally, it’s easier to buy from a website or, if you’re lucky, from a good pet store near you, and if you do, you can either get it freeze-dried or frozen.
If you buy freeze-dried, you’ll typically need to rehydrate it before you serve it, but it can be stored at room temperature.
Freeze-drying can also remove valuable nutrients, and it’s super-important you check the ingredients of freeze-dried foods carefully. Because they come as dried tablets, they could have any junk added. With frozen raw food, you can at least see roughly what you’re feeding your cat.
Not all freeze-dried foods are bad, though; if you’re using toppers, they’re usually prepared this way. They won’t need rehydrating if you’re crumbling them onto other food but again, check those ingredients.
Raw Food Costs
Raw food costs more than buying kibble. That’s because you’re feeding your cat a better-quality diet. A local pet store here told me that kibble is the cheapest, then frozen raw, then canned food, and the most expensive is freeze-dried raw.
If you’re on a budget, you might be concerned about whether you can afford a raw food diet, but think of it this way: a raw food diet is more likely to keep your cat healthier and happier. And it will also likely mean lower vet food bills in the long term.
Because there’s no unnecessary filler added, cats get their nutrients from smaller amounts of raw food. So it might not be as expensive as it seems.
Raw Food Safety Concerns
Some people believe that raw food is dangerous to cats. In addition, there is the concern that, because of bacteria-related illnesses such as salmonella, it’s a risky diet.
Remember that humans are the only species worldwide to cook their food. Animals in the wild do fine with a raw diet.
Part of the reason is their digestive system – it’s much shorter than ours and more acidic. As a result, food goes in and comes out much quicker than it does with us. As a result, there’s less chance for any nasty bacteria to be absorbed.
There are some safety concerns around raw food, but that’s more for your sake than your cat’s. Because we are more susceptible to bacteria.
As such, it’s essential to always maintain good hygiene standards when preparing food and cleaning surfaces properly.
Many suggest using a 1/32 mix of bleach and water when cleaning after handling raw food to ensure all bacteria are killed. You should ideally wear gloves while you portion food if that’s practical.
Raw Food Diet Storage and Portion Control
As I said earlier, perceived convenience is one of the main reasons people stick to a canned or kibble diet for their cats. But while there is a little more prep involved in raw food, it’s not that bad.
If you’re preparing your own raw diet, then yes, that does involve a bit of extra work to create your own nutritional balance and then grind everything together. But buying frozen isn’t that bad – once it arrives, portion it out correctly and add it to the freezer.
Mason jars are great for this. And one benefit of doing it this way is that you can always have the next meal thawing in the fridge.
In terms of portion size, this can vary. Many say to aim for 2.5% of your cat’s total weight per day, which for a 10lb cat would be 4 ounces, split into two 2oz meals. Typical adult Ragdoll cats will be between 4 and 6 oz for males and between 6 and 8 oz per day for females, just based on the average Ragdoll breed size.
But if your cat wants to eat more, don’t limit them to that – large cats that take to raw food should be able to eat a little more.
If you have concerns about your cat’s hunger levels, speak to your veterinarian.
Raw Food Protein Sources
There are a vast number of proteins that you can choose from when it comes to a raw food diet. But, of course, the best proteins are just those your cat prefers – often, using a mix of two will help them get a good balance.
Again, trial and error are key. If you want to experiment, you may waste money on proteins your cat won’t touch, but it’s worth trying if you find something they love.
Standard options for proteins that you can order online include:
But you can get really adventurous with some wild proteins too:
- Guinea fowl
- Wild boar
You can get even more adventurous with proteins you wouldn’t think of:
- Whole ground mice
- Whole ground guinea pig (known as “cavies”)
- Whole ground quail
Having options is great if your cat is allergic to any particular proteins or is on a diet that recommends cutting specific proteins out – there are always alternatives available.
If you’re mixing proteins, don’t be surprised if your cat eats around their less preferred one and only eats one at first. I always mix two proteins well, so my cats have no choice but to eat it all. But if they don’t eat it all, give them time, and they may return for the rest.
Premium, rarer proteins cost more again than your common ones – as you would expect.
It’s not just the proteins that vary, but also other additives. For example, instead of regular hen or duck eggs for your calcium additive, you can sometimes get ostrich eggs too.
Generally, fish isn’t recommended for a raw food diet. However, smaller oily fish like sardines or minnows can be good for their essential omegas.
Or you can add fish oil to the meal to get the Omega-6 fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids that can benefit your cat’s immune system and protect its fluffy coat. I like Adored Beast’s Potent SEA.
Food Topper Options
Many people choose to add a topper to their cat’s raw food. Toppers can help to add extra nutritional value to the meal, or they can just be used to help entice your kitty to eat.
Different options are available for toppers, including the freeze-dried nuggets I mentioned earlier. These are complete meals in freeze-dried form but can be crumbled over raw meat to encourage your cat to eat it.
There are other options too. For a food topper, you could use the following:
Tips for Changing to a Raw Food Diet
If you’re starting to feel like you want to switch your cat to a raw food diet, you need to know a few key things. First, it’s not necessarily going to go super-smoothly the moment you try.
Persistence is vital, though. Every cat is different, and what works for yours and you will be different than what works for everyone else. The only consistent thing is that a cat owner needs to be persistent to see it through.
It would help if you gave your cat the necessary nutrients, but they may initially turn their noses up at wild food. So keep trying and be patient without letting it reach the stage of malnourishment.
Here are some tips to help you change to a raw diet:
- Add warm water to your cat’s raw food, and mix it to create a softer dish. Use warm or hot water if this makes the food more palatable to your cat (the heat from the water will bring out the aroma of the food more).
- Consider adding a natural gravy or broth (I like Green Juju Bison Broth) instead of water to add more flavor, but always check the ingredients.
- Create small raw food meatballs by crushing up premium kibble with a rolling pin or food processor and rolling the raw meat in the powder. Your cats will be tempted by the kibble smell but must eat the meatball. You could also use freeze-dried treats instead of kibble to make the powder.
- Play with your cat before mealtime – this helps to simulate the ‘hunting’ instinct and gets your cat in the mood to eat.
- Make a lot of “fuss” when preparing their food. Ideally, prepare your meal first to help activate the thoughts of hunger in them. After you have eaten, you can prepare their food. Talk to them positively and talk about how good it will be. I still tell Charlie he will be like a cheetah eating on the African plain.
- Smear a small amount of raw food onto your cat’s front paw up to 3 times a day. When they clean themselves, they will get used to the taste and smell.
- Be consistent – don’t hover over your cat to watch them eat if you don’t usually, or they will become more cautious and guarded.
You may notice that your cats don’t eat everything right away. And if you tend to feed your cats before you go to work in the morning, you might be worried about raw food.
However, leaving raw food out for the whole day is safe, so don’t worry about that.
It’s better to remove raw food after 30 minutes if you have the time. You’re helping to teach your cat to be ‘hungrier’ so that the next time you serve their meal, they eat the whole thing without dilly-dallying.
Raw Cat Food Brands
Here’s a list of some raw food suppliers:
- All Provide – offers a selection of beef, chicken, and turkey blended with organ meat, egg yolk, and other natural ingredients.
- Bobcat Raw Food – Specializing in raw cat food online, Bobcat Raw Food is a raw pet food company in Houston, Texas. They offer chicken, elk/venison, pork, and rabbit.
- Bravo – is one of the cheapest options for freeze-dried snacks and treats.
- Darwin’s Natural Pet Food – offers two main raw food product lines that arrive frozen – one of which is suited to cats with kidney disease.
- Feline Natural – offers a mix of different products, including freeze-dried pellets.
- Fetching Foods – they specialize in human-grade, organic ingredients and can put together custom meals for your cat.
- Hare Today – a small, family-run business that offers a diverse range of products including whole prey.
- Honest Kitchen – selling a handful of dehydrated raw food options.
- Instinct – sells a selection of dried and freeze-dried natural cat foods with no grain, often the most accessible brand to find in stores.
- My Pet Carnivore – another good choice for unusual proteins – alongside the classics, they offer deer, beaver, goat, and more.
- Northwest Naturals – selling a mix of freeze-dried and frozen nibbles including some whitefish options.
- Nulo – Nulo sells freeze-dried raw foods along with bone broth options, alongside their range of wet and dry foods.
- Oma’s Pride – A pet food company in Avon, CT, offering raw cat food.
- Primal Pet Foods – offering freeze-dried raw food including toppers, and bone broth.
- Quest from Steve’s Real – with a range of both frozen and freeze-dried foods sold in nugget form.
- Raw Feeding Miami – has many protein options, including whole prey, organs, and more unusual items. Save 10% off your first order when you use our link.
- Rebel Raw – sells a good selection of proteins, bones, organs, and supplements.
- Savage Cat Food – offers large bulk packs to freeze at home, including chicken, duck, lamb, and rabbit, alongside quail eggs and some whole prey options.
- smallbatch – selling a range of raw food ‘sliders’ prepared using high-quality proteins raised humanely.
- Stella & Chewy’s – with various meal and topper options including their “magical dinner dust” topper for fussy eaters.
- Steve’s Real Food – sells both frozen and freeze-dried raw foods, including beef, chicken, pork, and fish.
- Viva Raw – Use Viva Raw coupon code FLOPPYCATS for 20% off the first order
- WAzzOR – raw delivery in OR and WA states.
- We Feed Raw offers a range of complete meal plans for dogs, but cat meals will be offered soon.
- Wysong – selling a mix of freeze-dried treats and toppers, including blends targeted at specialist diets.
What Are the Best Raw Food Brands That Are Delivered to Your Door?
The easiest way to start feeding your cat a raw food diet is to have the food shipped straight to you, ready to portion out and freeze. When looking for a good brand, call the company and ask where they source their proteins. Are they grass-fed only and pasture-raised? You don’t have proteins that have been grain-fed.
Ask about any organic fruits, vegetables, and supplements that can help keep toxic levels down. Ask whether they’re using High-Pressure Pasteurization (HPP) processing – some brands, like Primal, are moving away from this. HPP processing can change the quality of your cat’s food.
Don’t just order from the first brand you see. Please research and check that they are creating the right food quality.
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Here are some of the best brands that ship to your door.
- All Provide
- Co-op in your area – Try searching on Facebook or other social media to find your local co-op and order through there
- Darwin’s Natural Pet Food
- Fetching Foods
- Hare Today
- My Pet Carnivore
- Primal Pet Foods
- Raw Feeding Miami
- Rebel Raw
- Savage Cat Food
- Steve’s Real
- Viva Raw – Use Viva Raw coupon code FLOPPYCATS for 20% off the first order
Helpful Facebook Groups about Raw Feeding
Feline Nutritionists that Can Come Up with Custom Meals
- Not Fit for a Dog!: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food
- Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life
- The Natural Cat: The Comprehensive Guide to Optimum Care
- Whole Health For Happy Cats
- Feline Nutrition: Nutrition for the Optimum Health and Longevity of Your Cat
I’ve switched to raw food with my cats, and I couldn’t be happier to have done so. It is not an easy transition, but the health benefits are worth considering if you’re concerned about what your cat is eating.
The concerns around cost and time aren’t too significant to worry about, so don’t let those put you off trying a raw food diet with your kitty.
Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,