I have read many things on the Internet suggesting that I should feed my cat raw food.
I know my cat’s wild cousins hunt their food, so they eat their food raw. Is it OK for me to feed my cat raw food? Is that better than feeding prepared dry or canned food?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stand united in their position (based on very robust data) that feeding raw food to cats is potentially dangerous to both the cat and to you. The most recent study, conducted from 2011 through 2012, screened commercially available raw pet foods for bacteria that can cause illness. The raw pet food products were frozen in tube-like packages, made from ground meat or sausage. Nearly 25% of the raw food samples tested positive for harmful bacteria, including Salmonella ssp. and Listeria monocytogenes. These bacteria can pose a health risk for the cats who eat the raw food, as well as for the cat owners who handle the food while preparing it.
What kind of illness does Salmonella cause?
The CDC estimates that 1.2 million or more cases of food-borne salmonellosis occur in humans in the US annually. Approximately 400 people die each year from the disease. There is some uncertainty as to the total number of cases because milder cases may not be diagnosed.
Symptoms of salmonellosis in humans generally start 12 – 72 hours after exposure and include:
- Diarrhea (often bloody)
- Stomach pain