Can Kittens Eat Raw Meat?
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Are you considering feeding a raw diet to your kitten? Before you do, make sure you have the right information. Get the facts about 10 common myths associated with raw meat diets.
MYTH 1: The benefits are proven.
FACT: No scientific studies have shown benefits of feeding raw diets to kittens or cats. Their appeal is based on word of mouth, testimonials and perceived benefits.
MYTH 2: This is what animals eat in the wild.
FACT: Lynxes and other animals in the wild, like wolves, do eat raw meat (in addition to berries, plants, etc.). However, the average lifespan for an animal in the wild is only a few years. Therefore, what is nutritionally “optimal” for a wild animal like a lynx is not optimal for our pets that we hope will live longer and healthier lives.
MYTH 3: Dogs and cats can’t get infections from Salmonella or other bacteria in raw meat diets.
FACT: Cats, especially kittens, senior cats or immunosuppressed animals, can become infected with Salmonella, Clostridium, Campylobacter and other bacteria found in raw meat diets, just as people can.
MYTH 4: Raw food diet ingredients are human-grade.
FACT: Even meats purchased at the best stores for people can contain harmful bacteria, so purchasing “human-grade” meat does not protect against the health risks of uncooked meats. (Ask yourself: Would you eat raw ground beef?) It is also important to keep in mind that the term “human grade” has no legal definition for pet food.
MYTH 5: Freezing raw diets kills bacteria.
FACT: Most of the bacteria found in raw meat diets can easily survive freezing and freeze-drying.
MYTH 6: As long as bones are raw, they’re safe.
FACT: Bones, whether raw or cooked, can fracture your kitten’s teeth. They also can block or tear the esophagus, stomach or intestine.
MYTH 7: Cooking destroys enzymes needed for digestion.
FACT: All the enzymes dogs and cats (and people) need for digestion are already in the gastrointestinal tract. Additional enzymes from food are not required for digestion.
MYTH 8: Raw diets do not contain grains, because grains are added to pet foods only as fillers.
FACT: Corn, oats, rice, barley and other grains are healthy ingredients that contain protein, vitamins and minerals; they are not added as fillers and are unlikely to cause allergies. Although meat is an important component of diets for kittens and cats, grains can be part of a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet.
MYTH 9: Most commercial pet foods contain harmful ingredients such as by-products.
FACT: Byproducts are the animal parts American people don’t typically eat, such as livers, kidneys or lungs — in other words, the organs and meats other than animal muscle. Note that some pet foods may actually list these ingredients (e.g., duck liver, beef lung), but these are really just byproducts. Most commercial and many home-prepared raw diets also contain by products.
MYTH 10: If bones or chicken necks are added to raw meat diets, they’re nutritionally balanced.
FACT: Most homemade (and even some commercial) raw meat diets are extremely deficient in calcium and a variety of other nutrients, even if chicken necks, bones or eggshells are added. This can be disastrous for any animal but especially for young, growing kittens, and can result in fractured bones. For complete and balanced nutrition, feed your cat a high-quality kitten food like IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Healthy Kitten.
- adp_description_block232Your Cat’s Language: What Meows, Chirps and Yowls Mean
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Listen up, Mom or Dad, because your feline definitely has something to say. Cats use more than 100 different vocal sounds to communicate. Here are nine of the most common sounds you’ll hear and what your cat’s unique language means.
While your cat’s purrs are usually a sign that they’re happy, comfortable or content, it’s important to point out that your cat might also purr when they are anxious, agitated or sick — because purring soothes them. The key to figuring out if it’s a “worry purr” is to check if their ears are folded back, if they seem tense or if they just aren’t acting normal. (If that’s the case, call the vet and grab the cat carrier.)
Why do cats meow? It’s simple: It’s their way of communicating with us!
Meows are your cat’s most common “word,” and every one means something different. For example, your cat might meow to greet you when you come home, to ask you to open your bedroom door so they can curl up on your pillow, or to say, “I’d like some more tasty kibble or a second serving of IAMS® PERFECT PORTIONS™ paté, s’il vous plaît.”
Chirps and Trills
Chirps and trills are the loving language of cat mothers. Chirps, or chirrups, are staccato, bird-like sounds mother cats use to say to their kittens, “Follow me.” Trills are higher-pitched chirps your cat uses to say hello or “Pay attention to me.” When your cat directs these sounds at you, chances are they want you to give them some love or follow them somewhere, usually to their food or water bowl. (Shocker, LOL.)
If you have more than one feline fur baby, listen closely. You’ll likely hear your cats talk to each other with these sounds.
When your kitty spies an unsuspecting bird or squirrel frolicking outside the window, they might make a chattering sound at it. This distinctive, repetitive clicking noise is caused by a combination of lip smacking and your cat rapidly vibrating their lower jaw. This odd behavior looks like teeth chattering, and a lot of cats also chirp when they chatter.
This clickety sound is thought to be a mix of predatory excitement and frustration at not being able to get to the elusive feathered or furry prize. Some animal behaviorists even think the sound mimics a fatal bite used to break the bones of their prey. Who knew your li’l feline was so ferocious?!
Regardless of the exact reason cats chatter or chirp at birds and other small animals, most feline parents find it fascinating and amusing to watch.
The unmistakable sound of a cat hissing is like a steak hitting a hot skillet, and it can only mean one thing: Your cat feels threatened and will put up a fight if they have to. Just as important as the hissing sound, however, is the cat body language that comes with it. Your cat will flatten their ears, arch their back, puff their fur, twitch their tail and usually open their mouth to flash their fangs — aka the classic defensive pose.
Snarls and Growls
In addition to a hiss, if your cat makes a deep, guttural growlsound, they’re saying, “Back off.” Similar to a dog’s growl, this noise means your cat is annoyed, scared or angry. Some cats even make short, higher-pitched snarl sounds before launching into a full-blown growl.
While these sounds usually signify an unhappy cat, it’s important to note that some cats growl because they’re in pain from an injury or a health problem. If you suspect this is the case, a trip to the vet is in order.
If your feline snarls or growls at you for any reason, though, it’s best to leave your feisty friend alone.
A yowl, or howl, is a long, drawn-out meow that almost sounds like moaning; it’s your cat’s way of telling you they’re worried or distressed, or that they need you. They might have gotten locked in a closet, can’t find you anywhere or, heaven forbid, have discovered their food bowl is empty. Your cat might also yowl when they don’t feel well or when a new neighborhood cat trespasses on their turf.
Whatever the reason, make sure you immediately help your cat whenever you hear a yowl. Trust us — you’ll both be glad you did.
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