Outdoors and feral cats will feed on things that are easier to find-this can range from human feces to birds and small mammals. Indoor cats do not hunt or forage, but rely on pet owners to provide her with what she needs for happiness and health.
But if there is a choice, do our feline friends prefer raw meat or cooked food?
From a nutritional point of view, which foods are more suitable for cats? There is no direct answer to the first question-research has shown that there are several factors that affect whether your cat would rather eat raw or cooked food. Below we discuss some of them:
Newborn kittens are fed naturally with breast milk or with kitten formula milk.
At about 4 to 5 weeks of age, she transitioned to solid food-a natural process called weaning. Kittens learn many of their eating habits and behaviors by interacting with their mothers and litters. Your kitten will imitate her mother and even try her food.
What kittens eat with their mother during this important period may affect their food choices when they grow up. This can explain why some kittens grow up with certain food preferences, why some kittens may prefer raw food to cooked food, and vice versa.
Some cats are habitual animals. Farm cats raised on rabbit-based raw food may take some time to adapt to new tastes. Or, domestic cats who prefer a strict and predictable feeding schedule may choose wet food instead of freshly cooked fish.
Other cats crave a varied diet and will get bored eating the same food every day. Regardless of your cat's personal characteristics and habits-this will affect her preference for raw or cooked food.
If your cat likes to eat a certain food, you can see it on her face. Signs to watch out for include nose licking, tongue sticking out, and smacking mouth. Like us, your cat will also have foods and tastes she likes, and what she likes usually comes down to palatability.
Palatability is a term used to describe how much your cat likes food. The decisive factor is smell and taste, and how it feels in her mouth.
Some studies have shown that the nutritional content of food is equally important. Cats use their amazing sense of smell to sniff out which foods suit their needs and which foods should be avoided. Cats are obligate carnivores and have been shown to prefer foods high in protein, but for a healthy and balanced diet, they also need other essential nutrients such as amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins.
One of the advantages of high-quality cooked canned food or coarse ground food is that it contains all the necessary nutrients. Although some pet parents will feed their cats with cooked meat or raw meat bones, it is difficult to use home-cooked or raw food to provide your pet with a nutritionally complete diet. In addition, cooking has been shown to consume thiamine, an essential vitamin that supports metabolism and aids digestion.
In other words, although nutrients have been proven to help taste, cats will not eat flavors they don't like, no matter how healthy it is.
Should I feed my cat raw or cooked food?
All cats need a diet that provides sufficient protein and fat. Although this can be found in cooked or raw fresh meat, it can also be specially formulated in wet and dry commercial cat food.
Some cat owners believe that raw meat is a better source of protein and nutrients because it mimics what their cats naturally eat in the wild.
However, there is no evidence to support the claim that family-prepared diets are healthier than commercial diets.
Therefore, the choice of serving cooked or raw food is actually a matter of personal preference between you and your cat. Either way, as a pet parent, you are responsible for ensuring that they get a properly balanced diet, and you should discuss any dietary options with your veterinarian.