Ditch the Dry. Our Guide to a Biologically Appropriate Diet for Cats

Ditch the Dry. Our Guide to a Biologically Appropriate Diet for Cats

One of the guiding principles of Beast Feast is biologically appropriate treats and chews for dogs and cats that mimic what their wild relatives and ancestors would eat. For us, this is especially important when it comes to the primary diet of our feline friends. If you live in the Denver, Colorado region, we recommend stopping by our sister store, The Happy Beast, for personalized assistance with your cat's diet. If not, read on, and we’ll do our best to set you on the right path based on decades of experience and hundreds of cats cared for. 

First, let’s reiterate the importance of getting your cat off of kibble:

  • Too low in moisture.
    Cats are virtually unchanged from their ancestors, the African Wild Cat. They adapted to acquire almost all of their moisture from their food, and are extremely inefficient drinkers! You may see your cat drinking often, but it takes 2,200 laps of a cats tongue to consume 1/4 cup of water! When combined with a dry diet this can lead to kidney and urinary tract issues.
  • Too low in animal protein.
    Animal proteins provide the full spectrum of amino acids, including taurine, which a cat needs, whereas plant-based proteins such as peas and potatoes do not. Peas and potatoes are the most common “binder” found in grain-free kibble, and can make up as much as 44% of the total kibble diet!
  • Too high in Carbohydrates. 
    All kibble, even “grain-free,” contains an average of 25% carbohydrate (a cat’s natural diet is generally less than 2%). As obligate carnivores cats are inefficient at digesting carbohydrates. Unlike people and dogs, cats lack salivary amylase, the enzyme responsible for beginning the process of digesting carbohydrates. This excess amount of carbohydrates promotes obesity because it is higher in sugar and causes cats to overeat. Cats tend to overeat kibble because the carbohydrates in it do not trigger satiety like fats and proteins do.


Kibble Transition Guide

  • Step 1: Eliminate “free-feeding” (leaving out kibble). Cats will be more inclined to try something new if they are hungry. The most difficult part of transitioning away from free-feeding is often that we humans feel bad taking away their “choice” to eat. However, keep in mind that a cat can easily go 8-12 hours without food, just be sure to leave out water.
  • Step 2: Once your cat has not had any food for 8 hours, offer a “stinky” can of cat food. Any canned food is better than any dry food!

If your cat eats canned food…

  • Step 3: Feed your cat canned food 2x/day, always aiming to expand their palate by introducing new proteins and different textures. Don’t get discouraged if all your cat wants to eat is tuna. Eventually your cat will try and like different proteins, but you must be persistent.
  • Step 4: When offering new foods, leave new food out for up to 30 minutes and if untouched, place their “old” food next to it or in the same bowl.
  • Step 5: Incorporate freeze-dried treats or foods into the diet. Freeze-dried foods have a very distinct odor, flavor and texture which can be very alluring especially when enticing a cat to try something new.

Why transition to raw from canned? Raw is less processed and therefore more digestible, and surprisingly can be less expensive than doing canned foods.

  • Step 6: Because raw food does not have a strong smell, using a little bit of canned or freeze-dried on top of the raw is a great way to entice your cat to try something new. Also be sure to add a bit of warm water to the raw as cats like their food at room temperature.

If your cat does not like the raw, continue serving 1 tsp of raw next to the cat’s current food, either in a separate dish or next to it in the same bowl. Some cats are very suspicious of new things, and this allows your cat to become familiar with the new food and begin to associate the raw with meal time.

Good luck and happy feeding!

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