Wild lion or domesticated cat? Natural diet follows the same pattern!

When it comes to feeding your feline, the choice of food is essential.

With options ranging from wet to semi-moist or dry food, including raw diets based on chicken and highly processed commercial foods, you would be forgiven for being confused.

Many cat parents advocate a back-to-nature approach and opt for nutrition reflecting what a cat would eat in the wild.

Untamed explains what is best for your cat—a natural diet, a commercial meal plan, or a tailor-made option.

Stop looking at me while I’m eating!

Source: Pixabay

What is natural nutrition for cats?

As obligate carnivores, cats have evolved to get the maximum nutritional benefit from meat.

Their natural behaviour in the wild consists of the following three states:

  1. Expending energy while hunting
  2. Replenishing energy by eating
  3. Conserving energy through relaxation

Expending energy while hunting

Wild cats typically hunt and catch prey up to 20 times a day.

They usually hunt:

  • Small rodents
  • Birds
  • Lizards

Cats’ hunting methods involve stalking or waiting to ambush their prey. Stalking, running, and pouncing on the intended victim burns vast amounts of energy, so felines will instinctively weigh up the size of the prey—and the potential calories it could yield—against the likely effort needed to catch it.

Replenishing energy by eating

Wild felines will consume most of their prey, including muscle, organs, and even stomach contents. The size of their prey also determines the frequency with which they have to hunt, and their stalking activities usually involve short bursts of intense energy. Cats are not built for long chases.

Conserving energy through relaxation

Cats spend up to 20 hours a day dozing or sleeping.

Although domestic cats don’t need to hunt, their instinct for energy conservation is hardwired into them.

The amount of sleep a cat needs changes through the different life stages:

  • Kittens will sleep most of the day, only waking up for short periods to play
  • Adolescent cats will intersperse half-hour intense play periods with erratic sleep patterns
  • Adult felines generally have a fixed sleep routine throughout the day
  • Older cats tend to sleep more as their bodies start to lose mobility

Felines living indoors may have an entirely different routine than their cousins in the wild, but their natural predatory instincts are still part of their genetic makeup. Their nutrition must reflect this.

Dinner date

Source: Pixabay

What does the best natural diet for cats consist of?

To support their natural behaviour, a feline’s diet should be based on:

  1. The nutrients they would get in the wild
  2. The portions they would consume

Nutrients in natural cat food

A natural cat diet must be based on meat as it delivers the necessary nutrients in the most efficient way.

Meat is the best source of animal protein and animal fat, both of which are perfectly suited to a cat’s digestive system.

Protein and fat perform the following functions:

Nutrient type

Function

Protein

  • Muscle development
  • Skin and coat health
  • Organ maintenance

Fat

  • Slow-release energy provision
  • Delivery of essential fatty acids
  • Taste enhancement

A natural cat diet doesn’t contain carbs as a feline doesn’t need sugars in the same way an omnivore does.

Carb-rich cat diets can lead to three unwelcome side effects:

  • Large amounts of glucose are released into the cat’s blood quickly, meaning the pancreas has to work overtime to control it
  • The energy delivered by carbs dissipates quickly, leaving your feline lethargic
  • Unused calories from carbs are stored as fat cells, which means your cat may start gaining weight

Cats will occasionally eat grass to aid digestion and get supplemental folic acid, but carbs should not be a regular part of their diet.

Portion sizes

Cats eat small portions several times a day.

A natural cat diet should mirror this by providing protein-rich and high-calorie nutrition in small doses.

The ingredients should be as high-quality as possible, and only meat can fulfil high-value requirements in a small portion.

Many commercial manufacturers substitute cereals for meat in their products as they are a considerably cheaper protein source.

Even the best cereals are not as good at providing your cat with essential amino acids as the worst meat source. Protein digestibility is measured by each protein’s biological value (BV), and the BV of the most common protein sources is as follows:

Protein source

Biological value

Egg

100%

Chicken

98%

Lamb

95%

Salmon, cooked fish, sardines, prawns, and tuna

94%

Fish meal, poultry meal, fish or poultry derivatives, and liver

92%

Beef and pork or ham

87%

Soya

68%

Wheatgerm, corn, sweetcorn, and other vegetable proteins

Below 65%

Cats can get the amino acids they need from cereals but would need to eat considerably more to cover their needs. Grains and cereals also lack taurine, only found in meat and essential for your feline’s:

  • Eyesight
  • Heart function
  • Liver function

Natural cat food should be grain-free to ensure the required nutrients are delivered without your kitty having to gorge.

The best of the best from Untamed

Image (c) Untamed

Do you have to make a personalised natural diet for cats?

Many cat parents decide that homemade food is the best way to ensure their kitties get the best of the best.

Home cooking for your cat is time- and energy-consuming, with an ever-present risk that your kitty may be missing out on essential nutrients.

To become a Jamie Oliver for your kitty, you need the following:

  1. A dedicated preparation space
  2. Vet advice on diet choices
  3. Impeccable hygiene
  4. Time, money, and energy

A dedicated preparation space

If you are going to prepare your feline’s food at home, there are dangers involved—particularly if you opt for a raw diet.

You should keep your cat food preparation area separate from the space where you cook for your human household members and use dedicated bowls, knives, and cooking utensils.

Vet advice on diet choices

Cat nutrition is an ever-evolving discipline. Serious research on what cats need only began in the 1960s, with new knowledge being added constantly.

You need to check every recipe you like with a vet to make sure you are providing everything your cat needs.

It’s crucial to consult professionals if your cat has special needs, such as:

When choosing a diet for a pregnant or lactating cat, you should stick to natural feeding patterns and high-quality ingredients because your feline will need more energy during that period.

Scrupulous hygiene

Raw meat or fish is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, such as:

  • Salmonella
  • Listeria
  • E. coli

Any meat or fish you intend to use must come from a guaranteed safe source and be consumed or frozen immediately.

You also need to disinfect all your utensils and surfaces after preparing every meal.

Cats' digestive systems are highly sensitive to pathogens, and your kitty’s health is in your hands when you prepare food at home.

Time, money, and energy

Preparing natural cat food at home is a time-consuming and tiring business.

Your prep work needs to involve:

  • Exact weighing and measurement
  • Careful removal of any bones and bone fragments
  • Intensive cutting, slicing, and dicing to provide bite-sized portions

Keep in mind that sourcing the best-quality ingredients your cat’s natural diet requires can become expensive. You may even spend more on your feline’s food than you do on your own.

Fortunately, Untamed can jump in to help. Our food is formulated according to your cat’s nutritional requirements—you will have all the benefits of a natural cat diet without the hassle of home cooking. Your kitty will also go wild for the taste.

Untamed understands a natural feline diet inside out

Untamed cat food is what your feline naturally craves. We understand cat nutrition, and your wish to give your kitty the best you can get is our mission.

Untamed products are designed to be as close to nature as possible with the following in mind:

  1. High protein amounts
  2. Single animal protein sources
  3. Vet-approved formulas
  4. Human-grade ingredients
  5. Ethical production standards

High protein amounts

Our food contains twice as much animal protein as most commercial cat foods.

You can be sure that your feline will go mad for the meat content in each tin, and you will soon start noticing the results of a diet rich in animal protein.

Single animal protein sources

We only use one protein source for some recipes.

That ensures that sensitive cats won’t suffer from tummy upsets or diarrhoea—our products are hypoallergenic and appealing to even the fussiest of kitties.

Vet-approved formulas

Untamed recipes are developed in collaboration with vet nutritionists.

Every tin gives your feline all the nutrients needed, combined with a great taste. Whether you choose our food enriched with cat jelly or cat gravy, Untamed has all the protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals needed to keep your cat healthy and energetic.

Human-grade ingredients

Every ingredient in Untamed is fit for human consumption. If you demand the best for your kitty, Untamed is the haute cuisine of cat food. We gently steam our meals to minimise our carbon footprint while sealing the goodness in your feline’s food.

Ethical production values

We believe that Untamed products should be as good for the environment as they are for your cat. Our packaging is fully recyclable, and we don’t engage in mass-production to keep our carbon footprint low.

Untamed recreates a natural diet to keep your feline in tune with their basic instincts and needs. You can try us out now!

Yaaaaaaaay, my favourite is heeeeeeere!

Image (c) Untamed

How can you get Untamed goodness for your kitty?

Letting your cat go Untamed is easy—all you have to do is:

  1. Tell us all about your feline
  2. Check the personalised meal plan we’ll email to you
  3. Order your first trial pack

Once you have seen how mad your cat is about Untamed, you will want a regular delivery. No worries because you will get a steady supply of Untamed goods to keep your feline friend happy.

You should start noticing the difference Untamed makes in no time:

  • In the first week—Your cat perks up and makes less mess in the litter tray
  • In two months—Your furry companion is leaner, more muscular, and more playful
  • Within four months—Your feline should start looking shiny and sleek, with fewer hairballs and less hair loss
  • Life-long—Weight problems don’t come knocking, and your cat is energetic and full of life

What about a raw diet for kittens?

If you are intent on natural food for your kitten, there are a few watch-outs you should be aware of.

Kittens grow at a phenomenal rate, doubling their weight every couple of weeks.

From the time they start eating solid food, kittens’ weight should develop as follows:

Kitten’s age

Approximate weight

Four to five weeks

225–450 g

Eight weeks

680–900 g

12 weeks

1.2–1.5 kg

16 weeks

2–4 kg

18 weeks to 12 months

Between three and five kilogrammes

Kitten nutrition has to deliver a massive amount of energy in a tiny package—their stomach is about the size of a walnut and can’t take large amounts of food in one go.

Keep in mind that raw food for kittens may affect the following:

  1. Immune system responses
  2. Digestive system efficiency

Immune system responses

A kitten’s immune system only reaches full maturity at around 20 weeks, so any pathogens or harmful bacteria in raw food can cause serious infections and even affect the development of the immune system.

Digestive system efficiency

Kittens’ digestive systems aren’t capable of metabolising nutrients as well as adult cats, and there is scientific evidence to suggest that too much raw meat at an early age can lead to thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency.

How to determine a proper portion

Kittens need small but frequent meals. Check out the recommended calorie intake per day in the table below:

Kitten weight

How many calories are needed per day

100 grammes

31 kcal

200 grammes

52 kcal

300 grammes

88 kcal

400 grammes

104 kcal

900 grammes

162 kcal

1.4 kilogrammes

225 kcal

1.8 kilogrammes

272 kcal

2.3 kilogrammes

327 kcal

2.7 kilogrammes

369 kcal

3.2 kilogrammes

419 kcal

3.6 kilogrammes

457 kcal

4.1 kilogrammes

504 kcal

4.5 kilogrammes

541 kcal

Homemade raw food must be prepared in small portions, and you need to make sure that any uneaten food is cleared away immediately before harmful bacteria can take hold.

Kittens need different food at every developmental stage. The following table offers the details:

Kitten age

What is developing?

What kind of food is right?

Birth to four weeks

  • Basic organ functions
  • Muscles
  • Eyesight
  • Hearing

Mummy’s milk

Four to six weeks

  • Immune system
  • Muscles
  • Digestive system
  • Milk teeth

Mummy’s milk and occasional portions of kitten porridge

Six to eight weeks

  • Independent immune system
  • Hunting instincts
  • Muscles
  • Senses of smell and hearing
  • Social skills

Kitten porridge with occasional returns to mother’s milk

Two to four months

  • Muscles and skeleton
  • Behavioural traits
  • Digestive system

Gradual transition from kitten porridge to solid kitten food. Mummy will start refusing to nurse her kittens

Over four months

  • Reproductive system
  • Adult behavioural traits such as hierarchy

Solid kitten food

Your choice of cat food is crucial for normal development and healthy life. Natural food is the way to go, but there are many pitfalls to home-cooking for kittens, so Untamed is the safe and healthy option for feeding your kitten.

Now, what’s for pudding?

Source: Pixabay

Can older felines eat a natural diet for cats?

Senior cats are similar to older humans—their bodily functions start to slow down and become less efficient.

The most noticeable changes you may see in an older feline are in their:

  1. Digestive system
  2. Teeth and gums
  3. Sense of smell and taste
  4. Strength and mobility
  5. Eyesight and depth perception

Digestive system

Senior cats are often more susceptible to gastrointestinal problems, so you need to ensure your older kitty’s diet is free of harmful bacteria.

While you may favour raw food, the danger of contamination is ever-present. Cooked food for older cats significantly reduces the risk of diarrhoea and digestive problems.

Teeth and gums

Many older cats start losing teeth and become more susceptible to gingivitis and gum disease.

This can make eating painful, leading to an unwillingness to consume dry kibble or tougher cuts of meat.

Gentle cooking can make your older cat’s food easier to eat.

Sense of smell and taste

If your older feline suffers from frequent sniffles, you may notice a loss of appetite as a side-effect.

Cats rely on their sense of smell a lot, so older cats often seem disinterested in the food they would normally devour if they can’t smell it properly.

Cooking or gently heating your older kitty’s food can release a stronger smell and alleviate the problem.

Strength and mobility

As a senior feline’s muscles get tired, the time they spend moving will naturally decrease.

You will need to compensate by controlling the number of calories your cat eats because they can put on weight quickly. Untamed offers the easiest way to keep your older feline healthy while controlling energy intake through reduced feeding amounts.