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Few topics are as contentious as raw feeding, but a growing number of people are now choosing to give uncooked meat to their cats. The idea is that it’s far closer to what our pets would have eaten in the wild than commercial cooked cat food that often contains grains and sugars in addition to a lower meat content.
The purpose of this post isn’t to debate the pros and cons of raw feeding, but we would say that if you intend to switch to a raw meat diet, then you must research it first.
We’ve written a little about it before in our posts – can cats eat raw pork? And can cats eat chicken liver? But we’ve also noticed another question commonly getting asked online — can I feed my cat raw meat from the grocery store?
Some owners do buy raw meat from the grocery store. After all, it has to be safe enough for human consumption, but there are a few things worth knowing.
Can I Feed My Cat Raw Meat From the Grocery Store?
Raw meat sold at the grocery store is sold on the assumption that it will be cooked. Humans get sick when they eat raw
Meat sold in grocery stores are suitable for humans but the assumption is that this meat will be cooked. The Vital Essential website explains that the raw meat we buy from the grocery store goes through several stages before reaching the end consumer. This usually includes processing, being sent to a distributor, shipped to the store, and repackaging. The timings for all of this can be inconsistent, which means raw meat can sit in the cooler for some time. This isn’t really an issue for humans because potential bacteria is destroyed during cooking. Obviously, the issue here is that owners won’t be cooking the meat and the pet will be eating it raw. Ground meat is especially vulnerable for this, and it’s widely advised that you avoid buying this from a grocery store.
Compare this to what the Landywood website writes: raw pet food manufacturers must adhere to strict DEFRA batch testing in the UK. This means that there’s a quality-control element to the manufacturing and processing of raw meat. The article goes on to recommend that owners buy their raw food from a reputable pet supplier rather than a grocery store. Other raw food manufacturers like Vital Essentials, say that their pet food is processed at a dedicated plant.
Buying from a trusted source is essential. The quality of raw meat in grocery stores is a concern for many raw-feeders. The country of origin, the way the animals have been reared, medicated and slaughtered may be important for you. Some owners only want to feed their cat raw meat that’s organically certified.
Wherever you get your raw pet food, it’s essential to buy it from a trusted brand or source. This way, you can feel more confident that it’s safe for your cat to eat.
Another thing to consider is that grocery stores do not have the same range of different raw meat that a balanced raw diet usually requires. Cats need a varied option of meats, and it can be tougher to get hold of hearts and liver, for example.
There’s also concern over the meat quality in some grocery stores for some owners. The country of origin, the way the animal has been slaughtered, whether organic or not. The use of antibiotics, for example, is a concern for some owners.
Always check the ingredients closely too. Sometimes things like salt can be added, which may not be evident on the front of the packet. Rosemary and other seasonings may be present too.
Owners do buy meat from grocery stores, but it’s essential to research the meat and check the ingredients as it can be heavily processed. Remember to handle it carefully, not just for your cat but for your safety too. Cats that have eaten bad meat can actually shed E.coli onto other people in the house through cat poop.
Owners should be aware that while cats can live off an entire meat diet, they still require a balanced nutritional diet. They need more than one or two types of meat. For example, you can’t just feed a cat chicken or beef alone. This is why it’s important to research a raw diet before you start feeding your pet. If you’re in doubt, then there are some excellent resources online. Your veterinarian may be able to help or pet food that stocks raw food.