Wild lion or domesticated cat? Natural diet follows the same pattern!
When it comes to feeding your feline, the choice of food is essential.
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!
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:
- Expending energy while hunting
- Replenishing energy by eating
- 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
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.
What does the best natural diet for cats consist of?
To support their natural behaviour, a feline’s diet should be based on:
- The nutrients they would get in the wild
- 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:
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 eat small portions several times a day.
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:
Salmon, sardines, prawns, and tuna
Beef and pork or ham
Wheatgerm, corn, sweetcorn, and other vegetable proteins
Grains and cereals lack taurine, only found in meat and essential for your feline’s:
- 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:
- A dedicated preparation space
- Vet advice on diet choices
- Impeccable hygiene
- 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:
- Food allergies
- Hairball or shedding issues
- Gastrointestinal problems or a sensitive stomach
- A predisposition for cystitis, bladder stones, or other urinary tract diseases
- Weight control issues, including under- or overeating
- Dental problems
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.
Raw meat or fish is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, such as:
- 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:
- High protein amounts
- Hypoallergenic ingredients
- Vet-formulated recipes
- Human-grade whole meat
- 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.
For cats particularly susceptible to allergies, we recommend our single-protein-source recipes like Chocka Chicken and Tuck-in Tuna.
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 whole meat
The meat cuts we use in our recipes are 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:
- Visit our online cat food store and take our Try Now quiz
- Tell us more about your kitty
- Select a meal plan and place your order
Once you have seen how mad your cat is about Untamed, you will want a regular delivery. We'll happily replenish your stock around the same time every month with no shipping costs. If you want to tweak your standard cat food subscription, you can do it any time.
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:
Four to five weeks
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:
- Immune system responses
- 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:
How many calories are needed per day
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:
What is developing?
What kind of food is right?
Birth to four weeks
Four to six weeks
Mummy’s milk and occasional portions of kitten porridge
Six to eight weeks
Kitten porridge with occasional returns to mother’s milk
Two to four months
Gradual transition from kitten porridge to solid kitten food. Mummy will start refusing to nurse her kittens
Over four months
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?
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:
- Digestive system
- Teeth and gums
- Sense of smell and taste
- Strength and mobility
- Eyesight and depth perception
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.