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C2008-16

Dear Christopher Cat

Should I feed my kitten raw meat? What about bones? Or are they dangerous? I’d like to give him the best start in life, but I’ve read conflicting advice and I’m unsure what to do. I’d appreciate your input.

Christopher Responds

I recommend you feed your kitty high quality dry food, because that’s what I eat – usually.

I confess that I have eaten raw meat, but only on special occasions when it scampers close to me and I can’t resist.

Eating freshly killed rodents exposes me to parasites, such as Toxoplasma, about which I wrote a couple of weeks ago. But, because the mouse meat is fresh, I don’t have to worry about bacterial contamination.

That’s not the case with commercial raw meat. Because there’s a long lag time between killing and eating, it often is contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.

Over the years, veterinary journals have reported many cases of cats and dogs sickened or killed by raw meat contaminated with such bacteria as Salmonella, E. coli, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus.

These bacteria, as well as parasites in raw meat, can be transmitted to humans like you, when you prepare your cat’s raw food or scoop a contaminated litter box.

BARF (bones and raw food) and other raw meat diets don’t even make the grade on nutritional grounds. Biochemical analyses show significant imbalances in mineral levels, a serious concern in growing animals.

Moreover, if a bone gets stuck in your cat’s gastrointestinal tract, major surgery may be necessary.

So treat your kitty to the best: dry kitten and cat food from a reputable manufacturer.

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