When you are researching cat diets and the best options for your fur baby, you are sure to feel your head spinning. Moist food, dry food, feeding a raw cat food diet, and the list goes on and on. Deciding the best option for your cat, in the end, will be a mixture of your personal cat’s needs, veterinarian input, and your preferences and ability to source foods.
We will lay out some raw food options, but in no way are we condoning this diet, just as we don’t recommend dry food diets or a specific moist brand. Readers need to be informed to make the best choices for themselves and their sweet feline companion.
Our job is to lay out everything you might find on the market, the manufacturer’s claims, and the expert medical opinions. We strive to start constructive conversations on pet health to help our fur babies live the most productive lives possible.
Feline Raw vs. Human Raw
When you talk about raw food, for felines, this includes unprocessed animal proteins. A cat’s dietary needs are very different from the vegetables and such that a raw diet for humans might include. Raw diets for cats must have uncooked meat, fish, and internal organs as staples.
Additionally, components to these diets can include bone for calcium and phosphorous. A raw diet must be monitored by medical personal and meticulously followed to ensure that everything a feline requires is included in this diet plan. Raw foods such as Sushi are eaten by humans, as is Steak Tartare. However, this is a world away from raw foods for cats, as cats need organs, bones, and other types of raw that would make a human ill. Cats are not vegetarians and are not meant to be!
Benefits of Raw Food for Cats
Due to a raw diet being closest to the diet they would have eaten in the wild, there are many documented benefits of this diet style. Stronger immune systems, nicer-looking coats, and even more energy are benefits owners using raw meals documented they have witnessed in their felines. This is due to the nutrients packed into these diets, and additional oral health improvements have been noted from eating these styles of meals.
However, we would be remiss if we didn’t note that handling raw meals has a higher risk of contamination from bacteria commonly found in raw fish and chicken. Therefore, the handling, preparation, and feeding of these diets require much more regimented routines to help ensure no bad outcomes for your pet.
Homemade Raw Diets for Cats?
Raw diets to meet your cat’s dietary needs are tough. Not every feline’s needs are the same, and good, quality balanced raw recipes can be hard to come by even online. Then you have to stick with it and avoid cutting corners that might directly impact your cat’s overall health. The best raw diets should be commercially produced using the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Additionally, remember that not all raw ingredients are the same, so you still need to ensure that the ingredients are high quality and can be sourced consistently before you start down this path.
Raw Cat Food: Top Contenders for a Raw Diet
There are several raw cat food producers, though not as many options as standard dry or moist foods. For example, Darwin’s makes a raw cat food that comes pre-portioned, vacuum-sealed, frozen, and delivered right to your door. Thaw, open, and serve these responsibly sourced, quality ingredients with no hormones, steroids, antibiotics, grains, vegetables, or fillers. Another great option is Stella and Chewy’s Rabbit Dinner Morsels, Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food, which, being freeze-dried, helps cut down on some of the safety and handling concerns.
In addition, this type of foot can be reconstituted with water to help provide the moisture needed by your cat. Finally, Wysong Archetype Chicken Formula Freeze-Dried is one of the best raw foods listed for picky cats. The ingredient list is primarily chicken, chicken organs, and chicken bones but has trace amounts of other ingredients like blueberry, barley grass, chia seeds, broccoli sprouts, carrots, plums, whey, dried kelp, yeast extract, and probiotics to help with digestive concerns. This one is lesser known than some we found but had solid reviews and a little different take on raw than many we found.
Raw is Generally Free of Contaminants
No matter what the price you pay for prepared cat food either wet or dry, there is always the risk of Salmonella and other contaminants due to poor processing or storage. Ask yourself when was the last time you looked at the expiration date on the prepared cat food you are purchasing? Chances are not often or sadly, never. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) routinely posts recalls of cat food especially those with Salmonella infection as these can be deadly to any cat.
It is worth the while to do raw and avoid purchasing pre-packaged and prepared foods and not lose money on a lot that is earmarked for contamination, or worse yet, loses a beloved family member who inadvertently ingests a deadly contaminant.
Why Consider a Raw Diet?
It is the closest form of food to what cats would eat in the wild. Teeth, coat, energy, and other benefits have been noted from this style of diet. On the other hand, ensuring you get non-contaminated raw foods, quality ingredients, and purchase only from reputable sources is critical for your cat’s health.
Making your own at home is feasible but consulting a veterinarian or other nutritional specialist to ensure the ingredient mix meets all your cat’s health needs is imperative. Cats just like people can be sensitive or allergic to some foods, especially grains, and a consultation with your vet before trying a raw diet is highly recommended.
Some Cats Will Reject Raw
Be sure to do your research and read both pro and con blogs and articles on both sides of this subject to arm yourself with the best data possible. When researching, however, be certain that the source you are using for knowledge is also reputable and not someone’s personal opinion of a raw feline diet. Knowledge of these and all nutritional aspects of your cat’s wellbeing is your best defense for a wonderfully fulfilling, long life with your feline companion.
Since not all cats will eat raw food especially older ones who are not used to this regimen, knowledge on the subject needs to be amassed before proceeding. When deciding to try raw, it is best to start slowly with the introduction to this type of diet. Some cats take to it wholeheartedly while others will reject it outright, especially if fed commercial foods their entire lives. Although a raw diet is natural for cats, rejection of raw does occur if a cat has never experienced it before. It is foreign to those that are used to only commercial dry or wet food.
Credible Sources for Raw Food Diets
Researching incorrect information and then applying that information can lead to nutritional imbalances and cause digestive problems in your meow family member. Surprisingly enough, Web MD, which is internationally known for solid health advice, also broaches the subject of feline health when using a raw diet. Web MD does lay out the specifics of carbohydrates that should be consumed in raw diets, and those that either do little to nothing or can cause problems for your furry friend.
Corn and rice are rather unnecessary and can lead to digestive problems if eaten in large quantities. Cats are not ‘drinkers’ (they do not consume water much), and rice is soluble, meaning it absorbs water, so will absorb the water in a cat’s system.
Avoid Sites that Seem to Push Products
If you stumble upon information online that does not seem to meet any real veterinary requirements and just has tons of links to individual pet foods, even if a raw diet is a basis for the blog or website, run for the hills! The sites filled with Affiliate links generally are written not with your kitty’s health in mind but with the amount of income they can produce from your interest and concern in raw foods.
Many processed foods contain tons of unnatural ingredients such as rice or corn as fillers, and these may not be harmful to your puss, but they are useless and a waste of money. Pet products are big business and although all blogs need to make some monetary gains, websites and blogs that are glutted with nothing but links to products and little information can be a harmful way to start feeding a raw diet.
Quality Counts in Raw Food
No matter how expensive the cat food products are, this is not an indicator of nutritional quality. While most blogs and sites will have some Affiliate links, sites that have only these links with no reputable information mixed in should be avoided. Blogs keep themselves afloat via Affiliate links but if a site gives no real credible information and has an astounding number of Affiliate links, you can generally assume that not much thought was put into the actual research and that the information is sketchy at best.
Remember, raw food is raw meat in a cat’s diet. You can certainly try little portions of raw bits of chicken, fish, organ meats, and other meats and fish on your own and determine what works for you and your cat. Keep freshness in mind though, as serving older meats and fish raw is not something you eat yourself, so it is not good for your cat either. Buy a cheap meat grinder if you can and purchase products that are set to expire the same day as consumed. This will save money and help you to wade into the waters of raw food slowly.
Should Any Filler Be in a Raw Diet?
Although a small bit of rice, corn, or other fillers in a cat’s diet generally will not cause harm, cats are obligate carnivores which means they simply must eat enough protein for optimal health. Rice and other useless fillers are not only unnecessary carbohydrates but will only make your precious feline eat less protein. Purina foods have a great deal of information on rice and fillers in a cat’s diet also and spell out how much rice or other fillers should be given, with brown rice being better overall, and noting that all rice and other fillers should not contain spices or additives if fed to a cat.
Your cat might like rice or corn, or even noodles (some of our pickier felines have strange tastes, to say the least), but that does not mean we should give in to their whims all the time (just some of the time)!
Correctly Research Raw Diets
There is a way to find information that is correct on raw diets for cats and not just some ‘fluff’ that individual bloggers or non-professionals might publish. This is done by using proper keywords and phrases. An example of a correct keyword phrase would be ‘credible sources of raw food feeding for cats’, as opposed to simply the keyword phrase, ‘feeding raw food to my cat.’ Using the correct keyword phrases will bring up sites that are legitimate and value total transparency.
Before you search for sources from which to purchase raw prepared diets especially, you should check the knowledge and veracity that a site is sharing with you. You can do all this on your mobile phone or tablet in your spare time and once you find a good site with good info, it is a great idea to sign up for the newsletter to keep abreast of raw food feeding of cats and other cat-related issues or general updated info on cats.
Hidden Gems of Raw Diet Info
There are hidden gems to find in the quest to feed a raw diet if you find credible sources on this type of feeding. Sites exist such as The Simple Food Project, which is credibly sourced, transparent in all ingredients, and offer consumers new to raw food feeding alternatives in freeze-dried diets, and even organ meat treats.
Even for DIY (Do It Yourself) raw food feeders, this credible site features recipes and comparisons to other types of cat food which shows how many fillers and additives can be crammed into even the most expensive types of prepared cat foods. But if only using the words, ‘feeding raw food to my cat’ are used sites such as this generally will not appear, and consumers can easily be misled.
Raw Food Diet Food Kits
Yes, these exist. Just as all the new food kits and prepared healthy meal delivery services you see online now, some companies offer raw food kits that are prepared and delivered straight to your door according to a subscription service. One such company, Darwin’s Pet, which we mentioned before also offers a selection of raw food menu items the same as human delivery food service companies that deliver.
The selection is vast and fully explained with options on choices, and dates of delivery as well as how many meals are needed per week. Since each kitty is different, not every client needs the same amount of raw food each week, or the same type of raw food. There is a farm-to-table approach with this company, and every item is ethically sourced. There is also a wealth of information on the site if you are new to raw feeding or even if you have been practicing it for years and looking for more information and a more efficient way of feeding raw for cats.
Take Raw Food Feeding Slowly
This is the best advice in all manner of a change of diets for cats. Cats will willingly gorge on something if they find it appealing and this is not a good start for any change especially with a raw diet. We all know that cats will without warning ‘spew’ or regurgitate when either eating too much or eating too quickly.
There’s no way around this as hairballs also make regurgitation for all cat owners. However, jumping into a raw food diet too quickly might make regurgitation immediate, so a judicious introduction of a raw diet is recommended. Slow and steady like with everything wins the race in raw food feeding! If you get raw food feeding done correctly your cat will love you even more.
As any feline parent knows, some cats can test your patience when it comes to food. Finding the right dry food for picky cats is important.
Since most cats don’t drink enough water, it’s recommended to use a mixture of dry and wet cat food to help offset that hydration deficiency.
That said, due to concerns from food intolerances, texture, and health-related issues, your cat might not like their food. You might have to try several foods to land on one that works for your feline when this happens. We have compiled a list of dry foods worth looking at for a picky eater in your family.
Purina Pro Plan – LIveClear Dry Cat Food
This food helps neutralize FEl D 1, a common component of cat saliva that can cause allergens. This dry cat food uses a key protein in eggs to help facilitate your cat’s food routine. Fortified with live probiotics and chicken as its first and primary ingredients, it helps support muscle and digestive health. This food is readily available from many online and in-store vendors. Amazon alone has over 3,500 customer ratings with an overall 4.6 out of 5 stars. Take a look at the customer reviews and do your own research to see if this option might be worth a try.
Halo Natural Dry Cat Food
This certified sustainably sourced, made in the USA food it whole meat product. Highly digestible due to cage-free farms that use no-GMO fruits and vegetables to feed the poultry and only healthy, wholesome grains. A great option for the pickiest of eaters and an amazing source of fiber for digestive health. Amazon has over 1,600 reviews on this one with 4.7 out of 5 stars and many notations in the comments about picky eaters liking this option when others failed. So this might be a contender when selecting food for your picky feline for mealtime.
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Morsels
This USA-produced food doesn’t contain grains, gluten, fillers, artificial preservatives, or colorings. Instead, Stella and Chewy use the same natural proteins from chicken, organs, and bones. This freeze-dried offering is as close to the natural diet a cat would eat in the wild as possible to help support better appetite, immune system health, and skin, along with coat support. This food is available from many sources, and on Chewy.com, boats over 580 reviews, with a 4.3 out of 5-star rating.
Dr. Elsy’s clean protein Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
This cat food focuses on protein, and with over 90% protein in the ingredient composition, it boasts a healthy body manner addition, the no-to-lox oxalate ingredient profile helps prevent bladder stones, and the 100% grain, gluten, and filler-free formula are chocked full of great vitamins and minerals for the long-term health of your feline. On Chewy, 91% of reviewers recommend it, and it boasts a 4.5 out of 5-star rating with great feedback to help in your research of the right cat food.
Purina Beyond Dry Cat Food
The amazing thing about this offering is it comes in many amazing flavors to help even fine-tune your feline’s meal planning selection. Where some of the other options focus on the lean proteins of chicken alone, this one has taken picky eating to a new level.
So whether you are eyeing the Immune Support Chicken Bone Broth, Grain-Free White Meat and Egg recipe, or Ocean Whitefish, this food line-up has an option that should tempt even the pickiest of feline eaters. These formulas have limited ingredients, natural fibers and are nutrient-rich. In addition, they boast hairball control and antioxidants for immune support. All flavors boast high reviews over 4.2 stars, with some flavors having 4.8 and better feedback on Amazon.
If your feline is refusing to eat, throwing up, having diarrhea, or another such digestive issue it is probably time to take a closer look at their food. Your picky eater might need simple, dry food, for instance. Many dry cat foods we discussed above have a few all-natural ingredients, such as lean proteins.
Make a plan with your veterinarian for what symptoms you are trying to eradicate in your feline, and then start your research. You might want chicken, fish, or grain-free options. The amazing line-up of options is endless, but especially for picky eaters knowing every ingredient in your food could make the difference to happy mealtimes or ongoing health issues.
With a little research from manufacturer information, along with consumer feedback and reviews, you should be armed with the information needed to help your feline friend find the right dry food that they love and will be good for them.
The simple answer to cats drinking milk
Cats CAN drink milk, but SHOULD they?
Some should and some shouldn’t and there are reasons for this.
Milk and milk products are high in fat and fat converts to energy for cats. Especially whole milk, creams, and cheeses can be good for cats, even ice cream although cats do not necessarily taste sweets. Cats should also be fed a natural diet and milk is a natural food source for them.
Which cats should drink milk?
Younger ones and kittens. Their energy needs are quite high. In this case, the energy depletion is almost constant, except when sleeping which is about 8 to 16 hours per day. Kittens sleep closer to only 8 while older cats 16 hours. Older cats do not necessarily need as much energy as younger ones and milk can fill a cat up and prevent eating. Older cats should have milk sparingly.
Which cats should not drink milk?
Some cats have allergies to milk and you will know if your cat has one as diarrhea and vomiting usually occur as well as abdominal pain and gas. Obese cats should never be given milk nor should diabetic ones. Milk contains fats and sugars which are prohibited in obese cats and diabetic cats
Lactose intolerant cats—the down low on this
This is the technical term for cats who have a milk or dairy allergy. Even withholding dairy products might not be enough as some cat foods can contain eggs, cheese, and dairy by-products so reading labels carefully is necessary.
A myth about lactose intolerance
This is seen many times online that cats should not drink homogenized milk meant for humans. We could not find any proof of this as many cats enjoy a daily bowl or a lick or two of butter.
Lactase enzymes need to be in place
We addressed this in lactose intolerance. Lactase enzymes can determine whether your cat can digest milk. Blood work by a vet can determine this. If lactase enzymes are present give your kitty limited enjoyment of dairy products.
Cats can smell milk and are drawn to it
Some cats could care less but most cats would kill for milk, cream, cheese, and other dairy products. Although milk might not have a strong aroma to us, cats smell the fat in milk.
The cream will have cats doing cartwheels
No matter what has cream in it, whenever you use it if your cat can smell milk they will practically do cartwheels to get some. Most cats can smell cream even better than milk because of the high-fat content. And the same goes for butter. That will have your cat doing backflips.
Milk drinking in cats brings back memories
Yes, it does. It is subliminal messaging that brings cats back to being nurtured by their mother cat. Like human babies, milk is the first food and cat’s milk is full of fat and nutrients. Especially when anxious, cats can crave milk even more. When milk improves the mood of your cat and eliminates anxiety it can be a blessing if it is tolerated.
Milk is a nature versus nurture instinct
Cats love the feeling of the cream or milk on their whiskers. This occurred after nursing each time and they are reliving their cherished infant moments. Milk and cream also stick onto the inside of their mouths and this also brings them back into kittenhood.
Cats are not drinkers and can only want milk
This is better than no fluids at all but no substitute for water. A wet food which will have water should be given daily also. As stated before cats can lose their appetite for food if given too much milk daily. Television shows always show cats drinking milk but a vet should be your source of advice, not the “boob tube.”
Cats drink milk out of boredom
Yes we know this sounds strange but it is an intriguing process for cats. The solution is to provide more stimulating things besides eating and drinking for cats to relieve boredom. Milk is soothing whether for anxiety or boredom and a cat parent must use judgment when giving milk.
A plus of feeding milk—protein
Just like for humans, milk and dairy are jam-packed with proteins and build strong bones and teeth which for all cats can be good. Younger cats will grow up with strong bones and teeth and milk and dairy can prevent osteoporosis in older cats and alleviate arthritis.
Will skim milk be better for my cat?
Just like humans, yes of course it will but good luck with that as it is the fact that cats crave dairy products. Low-fat anything will not give off the smell or the texture and taste that your cat is craving. Try serving your milk lover low fat and you will get a stare that insinuates that you have lost your mind!
Do cats get worms from milk?
This seems to be an old wive’s tale and we found no real reputable research on this. Do cats get worms? Certainly but more from stepping on a worm egg, and then ingesting them while grooming. Outdoor cats can also pick up worms when walking in bushes as squirrels and other wildlife have them and spread them.
Cats even get deadly heartworm
But usually from other cats, animals, or mosquito bites. If you do not get worms from your supply of dairy products why would your cat or cats? We do find some confusion on this one. We would need to see studies on this tall tale to believe it as one of our cats loves butter and cream and never had worms.
Is cow’s milk the same as a mother cat’s milk?
- This is why the lactase enzyme and lactose intolerance come into play. A mother cat’s milk is different than cow or goat milk. And good luck trying to feed the “non-milk” milk products out there such as soy and coconut milk. Either withhold milk altogether or feed sparingly. Your cat is smart and will “spite pee” or get back at you in other ways if you try to trick he/she. Your cat is intelligent and programmed to know the difference between “real” and fake food.
Each month milk consumption should be watched
While we do not believe that no cat should ever have milk is true we do know that as cats age, just like people, lactose intolerance increases. Elderly cats can develop this, as well as diabetes and arthritis and the older a cat becomes the more your cat needs watching when consuming milk and other dairy products. In addition, like humans, weight gain occurs with age and the added fat will soon lead to the fat cat look!
Fatalities can occur if lactose intolerant in older cats
While younger cats will exhibit stomach problems, older cats of course will, but can dehydrate more easily and can become delirious, experience seizures, or even die suddenly. If an older cat drinks milk and becomes ill off to the vet you go once again as dehydration occurs quickly in older cats.
Vets generally recommend soy milk for cats
This can be questioned also as we explained above as some children and adults have soy allergies and these also can be present in cats. Cats who are used to real milk will probably not like this change and until some bad occurrence happens as a cat owner you will not know if your cat, especially an older one has developed a soy allergy.
If you do need to stop milk-drinking, try other treats
Cats by nature are stubborn so stopping milk drinking is not easy if they are used to it. Find out what treats are safe or try a raw food treat diet of organ meats in particular. These usually go over well and cats can learn to crave raw food once they adjust to it. If raw treats do not work try store-bought organic treats but read the bag and do not overdo this either. These can be laden with calories also and older cats are sedentary.
Cats and milk drinking are habitual behaviors
Cats do like routine. If your cat always enjoyed dairy products it can be weeks, months, or even years before they can learn to live without milk. You know the agony you go through even trying to get your cat to the vet as they dislike change. So imagine taking away their milk! Yes, you have the picture now. Your cat will probably paw, scratch, meow, and even yowl for quite some time if denied the milk it is used to having.
Conclusion on cats and milk drinking
You and only you know your cat the best. While vets are well-meaning we had a diabetic cat that we were told to put down because of the severity. A change of diet allowed that cat to live to be 18 years old. So use your judgment with the milk. You are the cat parent and your instincts are generally correct.
For many individuals going to a rescue or a shelter cat is the only way they will acquire a cat or kitten while others would not consider this. The truth is, answering the question “should I get a rescue cat” is a personal choice and there are pros and cons on both sides of the fence.
The average cat can have several litters per year if unspayed and by the time they are four years old can have given birth to up to tens of thousands of kittens. Spaying and neutering cats are imperative but many stray cats abound as they are abandoned more than dogs or puppies.
The Pros of Cat Adoption from a Rescue or Cat Shelter
This is a very satisfying method for many of obtaining a cat and some owners take in many older or unwanted cats. Let’s face it, as all cat lovers know, “cats can be like potato chips”. There is never enough! So now for the discussion on the pros. Too many times an otherwise loving cat owner becomes ill or dies and a cat becomes homeless and ends up in a shelter/rescue. We will explore both pros and cons here but chose pros first as all cats are great cats if given a chance.
Saving a cat who really needs love
There is a myth that cats because they are Alpha predators can do well in the wild and some end up homeless because they are left behind during a move or death or illness as we spoke of previously. This is not true. Many starve or die early of disease. The average lifespan of a cat in the wild is only five years as compared to the fifteen to the twenty-year range for a domesticated cat. Vet care, as well as good food, toys, and shelter, are just as needed by feral cats.
As mentioned above, overbreeding by cats living on their own is a real problem. . The more they breed the more the population explodes. It is a vicious cycle and many cats in the wild are abused when left to fend on their own. Older cats especially if they end up as wild cats do really badly and will gladly come to anyone that shows love. Any geriatric cat has less of a chance of adoption too as most individuals love kittens.
Satisfaction in knowing you are doing the right thing
There is a myth that cats that have lived outside or are older cannot be domesticated or can’t adapt eventually to new surroundings, whereas they generally do well when treated with love and kindness. While it may take some time for some to adapt they do eventually.
The younger the cat or kitten the sooner this becomes a reality but even an older feral cat does start adapting in time. It is a very welcome sight to see a feral prosper from a half-starved and anxious cat to one who cannot live without you.
Adopted cats can be the most loyal
They become very attached to their owners and can even experience anxiety when left in a separate room. Most cats do follow their owners but adopted cats are like “glue” and can and will sit by the tub for hours while you take a bath and patiently wait inside a doorway when you do go out. The joy when you finally are in their sight again is immensely gratifying.
Abandoned or adopted cats are not often finicky about food
Shelters and rescues feed the same type of food for all depending upon age. That doesn’t mean you should feed them scraps, it just means that they do not turn their noses up at any kind of food served up.
While older cats might need an adjustment period, the shelter/rescue food should be used until a cat becomes comfortable.
Feeding good food will enhance well-being and recovery from traumas sooner. Simple is best and trying a variety of wet and dry a little at a time is the best methodology. Some cats like raw food and the closer the food is to natural the more they will like it. Visit any shelter or rescue and they devour the dry food given no matter what type so always be sure to ask for some of that to take with you.
The Cons of Cat Adoption from a Rescue or Cat Shelter
While there are plenty of “pros” those seeking a kitten or cat cannot ignore the “cons” and only you can decide if you have the patience for some of these cons.
A shelter cat removed from the shelter can be anxious
This is just the truth. While happy to be out of the shelter cats, in general, do not enjoy being relocated. They are territorial and like to stay where they are. An adopted cat or kitten will need private space and be allowed to hide if they need to for as long as they need to.
Petting might be foreign to them as they might not like to be petted much or perhaps you are petting in the wrong spot! Some cats generally never enjoy being picked up or transported. Most do learn to cuddle but might not ever sleep with you, and some are very Alpha which can be upsetting to family members and other animals.
Learning to fight is a survival instinct that a cat develops even if only outside without supervision for only a short time. Cats do have memory and might carry this trait for life. Trauma can exist and you will have no way of knowing the cat’s background.
Adopted cats might not like other pets or children
Having a visitation or “meet and greet’ can be beneficial. Many shelter/rescue cats are also coming out of cat fostering and can be bonded with the foster cat’s parents. Sometimes with older cats, many visits might be needed before final adoption occurs.
This is how normal adoption of children occurs and the same process is observed by any good rescue or shelter. The adoptive process does not always work out and sometimes another cat or kitten must be chosen. Abandoned or relocated cats are already fairly frightened and might be abused so acceptance by them and you must occur with each other.
You do not know their backgrounds and they know nothing about you and cannot talk so it can be touch and go.
“Shelterers” as they are called can have emotional or physical problems
Some bad behaviors might be apparent such as biting, scratching, aggression, and even PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). These problems are generally overcome given time but it takes patience on the part of any person who adopts one.
Strange sights and sounds may startle a new cat in a household and they might turn into “escape” artists who do want to crave the outdoors just to escape the anxiety they feel or out of curiosity. Planning outdoor time will assist when dealing with a feral who misses the outdoors. Vets many times employ cat behaviorists who can retrain YOU in how to deal with behavior problems. Cats own you, you don’t own them.
Vet trips can be counted on many times
Most shelters and rescues will ensure that a cat or kitten has a checkup and flea, tick, and deworming treatments before leaving a shelter or rescue. However, the new owners generally must sign a paper that spaying or neutering will take place within 30 days of adoption if a cat or kitten is not “fixed”. This is a cost that should be done for every cat but most shelters and rescues will hold owners to this within a timeframe or else reclaim the cat or kitten.
Follow-up vet care is also necessary within a certain time frame. Even in an adult cat litter box training might also be needed or a cat in an unknown territory will go anywhere and cover it up. Even small maintenance like bathing, grooming, and nail clipping might need to be done by a vet as skittishness over any routine maintenance generally is present.
Continuing problems with ear mites
These can continue indefinitely because of dirt buildup in a feral’s ears. Although common in dogs and all cats, felines who are on their own have the most problems. These microscopic mites linger for what seems forever in felines.
A sign of mites is continual scratching behind the ears or even shaking of the head. Ear mites proliferate like mini-cockroaches so can come back time and time again. You will not be able to see them with the naked eye as they are microscopic, but if a cat is not exposed to the outdoors and the ear canal looks dirty, then the cat or kitten has mites.
You must become a cat body language specialist
Having a new cat requires a Ph.D. practically in body language. Cats communicate through meowing and body language and some cats do more so through body language than vocalization as they have learned to be silent. Not all cats purr and many unsocialized cats do not nor do they meow. Cats learn from other cats and some cats live their lives in solitude before adoption so do not have the early socialization or exposure that comes from being part of a cat family outdoors.
Rescuing a Cat – Our Verdict
There are good and bad rescues/shelters. Some unscrupulous breeders can pretend to be shelterers and are not regulated and ask for donations for the cat but are selling them as food for pet snakes, especially kittens.
Other shelters that are not regulated can use the donations for their own purposes. Check the cat thoroughly and the conditions of the shelter/rescue and ask questions and do research!
At the end of the day, the question of “should I get a rescue cat” can be answered by thinking about these few things:
If you have love to give, a warm place to stay and you can afford to provide the food and veterinary care that a rescue cat needs, we say – go for it!
Although all cats are different, there are certain behaviors that most do and some behaviors that many do not. While that might make this matter a little more confusing remember they ARE cats. OK, on with the 49 facts and/or myths as some are just myths stated as facts online. The myths might make for good entertainment and trivia but when dealing with your feline family should not guide your decisions. We will start with unproven facts and move on to the ones that are proven.
Unproven Facts/ Possible Myths
The list below is what we have observed online and offline written by cat lovers, some veterinarians, and others. However, there are no scientific studies done on these mentioned below.
1. Cats do not taste sweets.
Not sure how we feel about this one as we have seen cats eat watermelon and other fruits and beg for it. Since no cat owner generally gives sugar to a cat how can this be proven? Owners with “fruit eaters” generally only find this out when their kitty jumps on the counter and eats the fruit left out. Is it the water content of the fruit, the vitamins, or the sweet taste? We don’t believe anyone will ever know.
2. Cats can be right or left-pawed.
Many vets believe females are more right-pawed and males more left-pawed. Again, how can anyone know if this is true or just a preference made by a cat as they cannot of course speak?
3. Ambidextrous cats.
This ties into our concern with the first paw preference fact. It is unproven to us as to how can they be right or left-pawed and then some be ambidextrous? Watching your cat can determine if you believe this as ours seem to generally use any paw at any time to accomplish what they are seeking to do. Teeth are even used when necessary, such as digging treats out of a purse or hiding place!
4. Slow-moving objects will not be seen as prey.
Again, we are not convinced of this as our cats can ignore some fast objects such as toys that we purchased, and they do not care for while noticing a very slow-moving injured fly on the wall and go over and pounce.
5. The whiskers are the same width as the body.
This only makes sense to us if a cat stays the same size for its entire life. Cats’ whiskers are huge when kittens and look smaller as they age in our opinion as they do gain weight with age the same as humans.
6. Cats cannot share a litter box.
Yes and no. We have had ones that would and ones that would not. If accidents occur get a separate litter box but if you own more than one cat, just keeping it immaculate can help with sharing.
7. All cats love to jump and climb.
This is a yes and no too. We have had jumpers and climbers but some that did not do either or one or the other. Although it is said that cats can jump six times their length, we do find that the older they get the less nimble they become. It is too general a statement.
8. Cats hate water and do not swim.
The fact is that being an ancestor of the tiger, which was raised in a warm climate, their instincts do not lead them usually to swim. Some though, especially feral cats who were raised around other species do swim quite well and are not afraid of water.
9. Cats have the largest eyes of any mammal.
While they do have very large eyes, any research done will show that the horse has the largest eyes. When reading about this it might be truer to say of any “predatory mammal.” The size of the eyes can be compared to the size of the head in all mammals to determine this.
10. All felines make no noise when walking.
Not so sure here as we have known a cat called “Thumper” for a good reason! Although their paws are padded to prevent noise some very large or overweight cats can make a great deal of noise when walking.
11. Moist food must be fed because cats do not drink much.
This is true for many cats but if anyone has ever had a feral or worked in a shelter, they will know that some cats do drink quite a bit of water each day. This can be a sign of diabetes, but an assumption is made that all cats do not drink.
12. Milk is loved by cats.
Not even close. Having several cats ourselves over the years, we have yet to find one who had an interest in milk. Lactose intolerance can also be an issue so don’t feel the need to give a cat milk based on this myth.
13. Purring means happiness.
Yes, it does but it also can be a sign of distress or ill health. Not all purring is good. A self-satisfied purr can sound different than a continuous purr that goes on for no reason and a good cat parent will know the difference.
14. All cats purr.
Nope, there are some that are “non-purr” kitties that go through life without exhibiting purring. Purring is a reflexive behavior to satisfaction and why some do not purr is not apparent in any legitimate literature on the subject. Why purring even occurs is not readily known as feral cats can never purr, and wild tigers, the ancestors of the domestic cat, do not purr. So, it most likely is some type of learned behavior rather than genetic.
15. All cats are born knowing how to meow.
This is a learned behavior to communicate with humans. a feral cat does not meow much or can meow for no reason as they have not learned to communicate with humans effectively. Cats learn cues early in life about vocalization to get what they need when they are around humans. If not exposed to humans at an early age they either do not vocalize at all or vocalize all the time as they miss the cues of when to do this.
16. Never feed a raw meat diet to your cat.
This is a big one as many cats do well on a raw diet and do prefer it. Their ancestry leaves them with a digestive system that can and does accept raw food and meats. If a cat does not like it, it just will not eat it but it can be worth trying. Raw meats have no additives.
17. Black cats are bad luck.
We say, “Nonsense.” Period. A cat does not realize what color it is. This is an absolute myth. Unfortunately, it can be a reason that a black cat is not adopted at a shelter or given away by someone that believes this. Personality has nothing to do with color. This stems back to the 17th century when witchcraft was feared, and black cats were associated with witches in the folklore throughout North America.
18. Cats do not need much care.
This one is far from the truth and an unfortunate reason why many cats end up in shelters or abandoned. Individuals that are seeking a pet are under the impression that cats do not need to care the same as any other pet. There are toys, necessities, and of course vet care to be factored in. Cats generally live very long, up to twenty years sometimes, so this is a real commitment.
19. Cats are serious “loners”.
So not true although personality differences can exist. The reality is that cats love to be with humans, other cats, and even dogs or farm animals. They can become depressed when left alone for too long as they need a lot of love and stimulation. Two or more cats can be easier to take care of than a single cat as then they play together, sleep together, and give you, the cat parent some free time!
As you can see although the first half of this piece can show some facts may be true, they simply are not proven enough to establish them as facts. Every cat is so unique that many exceptions to rules do exist, and each cat parent needs to judge their cats’ behaviors themselves and make decisions based on proven facts and of course the observations.
Proven Facts Through Research
The following have been well researched by veterinary colleges and clinics and are just what they state they are: FACTS! These facts are documented and have more to do with physiology than the psychology of cats which no one will ever be able to determine probably. Felines are loved for their mysterious habits and behaviors and no one who owns one would change that for one minute.
20. Hissing is not an aggressive behavior, rather defensive.
Whether hissing at its owner or another animal a cat that is hissing is scared and hissing drives away predators in the jungle by tigers. A cat’s makeup is almost 96 percent tiger, according to an expert in the field of cat behavior and physiology, Layla Morgan Wilde. (1) Cats that engage in hissing constantly are generally overanxious and a vet check is in order or a trip to a cat behaviorist.
21. Cats would benefit from glasses in the daylight.
Although near-sighted, cats have better peripheral vision and night vision than humans. Therefore, they keep you up at night with their prowling and wake you up at 4 AM for breakfast.
22. Cats generally have 18 toes.
However, there are those that have an extra toe or two either on the front or back feet, and these are called polydactyl cats. They are generally found in the colder regions of North America.
23. Whiskers appear on the front legs of cats too.
Although you will have to look closely for these as they are not as apparent as on the face. Cats use both their face whiskers and back leg whiskers to judge space and see if they can enter and exit a space. Never cut a cat’s whiskers or even shave them as their coats protect them from all elements and they do like feeling protected. If you do not care for the hair on clothing or chairs you will do better with a fish or frog.
24. Camels, giraffes, and cats share the same gait.
All three move one side of the legs first and the other side next. No other mammals do this. These mammals also do not have collarbones that are attached to muscle, so this is the way nature intended them to walk.
25. Scratching and clawing furniture by cats is natural.
It is a way to sharpen claws, but even with a scratching post cats might still do this as they will scratch and claw to mark territory that smells like you. They are making you “their human.” If you cannot stand scratched furniture you might want to reconsider committing to a cat as even the best scratching post will not compare to something that smells like you.
26. Cats are more active at dusk and dawn.
This is called crepuscular. They also can sleep up to eighteen hours a day but usually in snatches called “catnaps.” Humans engage in “catnaps” too and this is where the term originates.
27. The most popular pet in North America is the cat.
Although most individuals believe that the dog is the most popular, over 88 million cats are pets in the USA with about the same number in Canada.
28. Cats have an extra scent gland in their mouths.
This is why they open their mouths to smell an object or even you!
29. Grooming of other cats and you might occur.
Cats love to groom, and some do it excessively, but cats will also groom each other and you and spend hours each day engaged in grooming.
30. Diabetes is common in cats as they grow older.
Being overweight contributes to this as does aging and genetics. Diabetes in cats can be controlled with insulin and/or dietary changes.
31. When you think of “kindle” you probably think of books via Amazon ™.
However, a group of kittens is a “kindle”. Even two kittens make a kindle. Unlike what others might say they are not a “pack” or a “pride.”
32. The term for cat breeding businesses is “catteries.”
Many individuals will buy purebred cats from breeders that are not qualified. Real cat breeders have the males and females spayed or neutered if they are siblings, so no inbreeding occurs. Only the best of the breed is kept and bred out with other cats amongst other breeders.
33. Cats only vocalize when they need something.
This is generally the case but some just like the sound of their own meowing too and can routinely talk to themselves.
34. Learning commands is possible for cats.
It is not a quick process, however, as their learning capacity is that of a two- or three-year-old child. They can learn to sit, lie down, come here, and some even use an adult commode. But patience is needed to teach commands to a cat.
35. White cats with blue eyes are prone to deafness.
Not all are deaf but there is a genetic flaw with the blue eyes that can result also in deafness. Dalmatian dogs are also prone to deafness and although studies have been done on both white cats with blue eyes and Dalmatians the actual causes are not discovered but enough exist to ensure that this is a fact.
36. Ankle-biting cats are bored.
Although it seems like an attack and can be most annoying for some reason an owner’s ankles are seen as a great plaything when bored. To stop this behavior, play with your cat more but do NOT reward the behavior via a treat or immediate attention or it will continue endlessly. This can be another reason to get another cat also as they amuse each other.
37. Cats can lick their owner’s freshly washed hair.
This is a fact but is it because of the water content or grooming needs of the cat? No one knows but enough instances occur that it does appear in veterinary documentation.
38. Most cats hate the smell of citrus but love the smell of chlorine.
It has to do with the sensory perception of their scent glands most likely.
39. Cats can show thieving behavior.
They grab feather dusters, hair clips, and other objects that remind them of prey. Leave a bag of treats in your purse or on a counter overnight and you will find it empty on the floor in the morning with a cat who now has no appetite for a good reason!
40. Cats that stick their butts up and into your face are showing friendship.
Although this may turn you off it’s instinctive to them and shows you how much they value you.
41. Kneading is reminiscent of the feeding when kittens.
Cats do knead people and things, especially things that smell like you. When kittens knead the fur of the mother cat to find the teats, this behavior is instinctive and usually carries on into adulthood as cats do find this comforting. It is a “trip back to childhood” for a cat.
42. All cats have a distinctive nose print.
It is like a human fingerprint and no two are alike.
43. Kittens in the same litter can have different fathers.
Female cats release several eggs during each ovulation and may mate many times during this period. It is not unusual to see tabby kittens mixed with black kittens, and other colors. This is the reason. They honestly are stepchildren!
44. Housecats live about three times as long as outdoor cats.
Housecats are not exposed to disease or injuries as frequently and can live about 15 to 20 years. The average outdoor only cat lives a mere 5 years.
45. Cats will starve rather than eat unpalatable food.
They are finicky and no matter how hungry if food is not fresh, or not to their liking they will withhold eating until they literally starve themselves to death.
46. Only about 50 percent of cats like catnip.
It is the “weed” of cats and like humans not all care for it. Some cannot live without it while others dismiss it entirely.
47. Cats do dream just like humans and other mammals.
They can twitch like dogs while doing this but of course, no one knows WHAT they are dreaming of.
48. Even when not hungry cats will chase birds, bugs, and other small animals.
They are APEX predators and as such hunt whenever they see prey. Hunger is not the driving force just the hunting instinct. Dogs will only hunt when starving although dogs chase prey. But cats chase and then kill the prey.
49. Trimming a cat’s claws improves its gait and prevents scratching in play.
You can take a cat to a vet or learn to do it yourself, but you must be careful as cutting into the quick of a cat’s claws causes injuries.
That’s a wrap!
Well, that is only a wrap-up of the mysterious myths, facts, and behaviors that precious felines exhibit. They are glorious and yet frustrating at times but that adds to their allure. You do not own them; they own you and every cat lover and owner knows this! Once a cat fanatic always a cat fanatic and most individuals start with one and end up with many.
Cats are like potato chips or crisps. One is never enough in the end!
There are worse habits to have though, and any cat shelter will welcome your adoration and your help if you are inclined to volunteer or take in another cat as feral cats exist in the thousands in every major city and even town. Cats can give birth from the age of three months onward. Learn from our facts and if you feel like you can devote a few decades to a worthy animal then a cat is definitely a good choice for you.