The following explanations on the subject of barf cat nutrition are based on the original version by Ms. Margitta Graeve, the author of the website savannahcat.de and operator of the first and oldest TICA registered Savannah breed in Europe.
After the rights of use of this website were transferred to the current operator of the website, Ms. Eva Kahlert, after the death of Margitta Graeve, we decided to follow Ms. Graeve’s request and the original versions of the laboriously created texts, which lasted over 30 years Years of professional experience from Ms. Graeve are based, to be preserved and made available in our archive. In the past, these texts have provided countless Savannah fans with valuable knowledge and experience, which we would not like to withhold from you. On this page you will find many tips and hints on modern cat nutrition, as it was developed, tested and practiced by Ms. Margitta Graeve over 30 years ago for the appropriate feeding of cats as well as larger hybrid cats such as Savannah.
We have divided the BARF cat nutrition into 3 sections.
We hope you enjoy discovering, browsing and reading!
Cat nutrition – what does BARF mean?
When Margitta Graeve began to deal with the subject of cat nutrition, the form of feeding barps was still completely unknown. BARF stands for biologically appropriate raw feed. Mrs. Graeve had made it her business to feed her cats as healthy, natural and appropriate as possible. At that time, however, the information situation was still very poor , but today we are at an advanced level of knowledge about the subject . In this article you will find related information on the nutritional requirements of cats, tips on changing food, feeding raw food, recipes for beginners and advanced users as well as information about a generally healthy cat diet. Then as now, the cat owner is independently responsible for acquiring extensive knowledge of raw feeding himself, as neither this nor the original text makes any claim to completeness.
What are the advantages of barfen?
Ms. Graeve first came into contact with raw feeding over 30 years ago when she began feeding beef goulash and day-old chicks to her cats, as modern breeders did. The terms BARF and barfen emerged long afterwards. Gradually, Ms. Graeve began to think more about the food her cats eat and to grapple with the question of which food is really appropriate and healthy for cats. This question is more topical and relevant today than ever. By conviction woman began Graeve so, their cats completely off Ferti gf utter to install and switch to raw food. A decision she never regretted and which she warmly recommended to the end.
Let’s start with a first thought-provoking question:
Assuming nutritionists recommend canned foods fortified with artificial flavors and vitamins as the healthiest and most balanced diet, would you only eat them when you had doubts?
Despite the supposedly correct recommendation of the experts, we would have doubts about the healthy composition of the canned food. After a very short time, we would long for fresh products such as fruit and vegetables. You have surely already guessed what we’re getting at. The question that arises is why so many cat owners offer their cat only dry food, even though they themselves would prefer fresh and varied foods to monotonous canned food.
Why is finished food so different from the natural prey of cats?
The fact is that mindful feed is more expensive than the feed that the industry produces. Prey that cats independently collected in the wild, s ind with much more equipped proteins, as in ready- r to find food are . Dry food also contains carbohydrates from grain, which do not play a role in appropriate cat nutrition, since cats would not eat them in the wild. The dry food produced is tested in laboratories in various ways to determine whether it contains sufficient nutrients so that no deficiency symptoms are triggered in the cat. The finished feed is therefore of the lowest quality and is accordingly offered cheaply.
It can be said that a large part of the money is invested more in advertising and sales strategies than in high-quality components for the production of feed. The main thing is that the food smells and looks appropriately and is put in the right light by cleverly placed advertising campaigns so that the cat owner thinks that he is doing his beloved four-legged friend something good by purchasing this food.In nature, cats all eat the same food, regardless of age and type.
Why are there different types of food to buy?
Their demand equal s cats wild through the increased or decreased consumption of prey automatically itself. With finished f utter such compensation is not possible. Especially young cats , nursing mothers and pregnant cats have special feed requirements that industrial feed cannot meet. As a result, diseases often develop in old age or the cats are overweight. Again and again, new products come onto the market that are supposedly precisely tailored to the respective age of the cat, these products are intended to compensate for problems that the manufacturing industry has made themselves, which of course cannot succeed.
Why are older animals often overweight and young studs or nursing cats often very thin?
Cats often tend to an increased intake of food as such was the calorie needs the cat but not with all the essential nutrients such as natural is met by the finished feed, n vitamins n is supplied, leading to a lack consequence. The cat unconsciously tries to compensate for this deficiency by eating more. Pregnant or nursing cats in particular need many essential nutrients that a ready-made food cannot provide. For many, it is therefore normal to see with that a cat during the rearing of the offspring becoming thinner w ill . In the context of raw feeding, there is neither a deficiency, nor do the cats later suffer from overweight .
Why do domestic cats suffer more and more from problems with fur, digestion, teeth and gums, or food intolerance and allergies?
It is important that the food the cat consumes contains high-quality components, easily digestible proteins, essential fatty acids and many minerals so that the cat stays healthy for a long time, develops a firm and muscular body, gets a beautiful and shiny coat and also has healthy teeth. The quality of the finished feed is too poor to be able to meet these demands and requirements in the long term.
Typically , cats do not feed on grain in nature and therefore do not need carbohydrates to stay healthy . Industrial prefabricated f utter often receives in addition cereal, various fibers or artificial additives that have no place in a species-appropriate cat food. This often leads to a food intolerance or allergy if cats ingest these substances too often. At worst, it can lead to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD / Inflammatory Bowel Disease ) come , which vomiting has chronic diarrhea and result and impact life-shortening on the cat. Typically, the disease is treated by prescribing an expensive elimination diet or additional cortisone treatment that the cat must undergo for life. However, this treatment only focuses on combating the symptoms instead of getting to the bottom of the cause.
Many cats tend to have problems with their teeth and gums, especially in their old age, for which the manufacturer naturally offers appropriate products, which also do not combat the cause. As part of the raw feeding, the cat’s teeth are challenged and thus strengthened .
Why suffer more and more cats on the metabolic disease diabetes, pancreatitis, liver disorders or diseases of the urinary tract and kidneys?
As mentioned earlier, the industrial dry food contains a lot of grains and other ingredients that the cat’s body is difficult to digest and digest, which leads to increased formation of waste products. Studies According to all the cats fed dry food tend to drink too little, but what would be needed to the unnatural s to compensate intake of grains. In the end, this means for the affected cat that it excretes less and less concentrated urine, which permanently stresses the kidneys and urinary tract and also causes the cat to be constantly slightly dehydrated.Veterinarians are constantly confronted with various cat diseases.
Why do you still recommend dry food as part of a healthy cat diet?
Veterinarians build their knowledge on d s on information they receive from the feed industry on course or for brochures. Special training in cat nutrition is not part of the curriculum. The manufacturers in turn justify ih r W issen with specially conducted studies and experiments. Veterinarians often also sell dry food themselves and thus earn some of their money from these products. Often they do not have the time to deal extensively with the cat’s diet and therefore recommend industrial ready-made food , as this is also widely recognized as healthy and is probably too well presented because of the advertising in the media. Cats can live to be over 20 years old.
But why are they classified as senior by the feed industry after the age of 7?
In cats that are seven years old or older, the first consequences of years of poor nutrition often become visible for the first time, for example being overweight or damaged organs. Both the feed manufacturers and veterinarians consider these complaints to be age-related and therefore normal. The love of money also plays a role at this point. Finally, for senior cats or overweight cats, separate products can be offered for sale that generate additional income. This feed often contains even less protein and a higher proportion of grain than conventional feed. Therefore, instead of strengthening the immune system or making excess pounds go away, it harms the cat and its organism
Why are small wild k atzen the zoo fed with raw food, pet cats but often processed food fobbed off?
In the meantime, zoologists have established that wild animals have to be fed appropriately and can get sick or even die due to ready-made feed. The internal organs as well as the metabolism and digestive tract of domestic cats are the same as those of wild cats from the zoo, which is why the diet should also be the same.
Mouse vs . Ready-made food – which is better for my cat?
In order to better understand the advantages of raw food for cats, we first have to look at which prey animals a cat would eat in the wild. Cats prey on smaller animals such as mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, birds, lizards, fish or insects. This diet is exclusively raw, very p rotein – and rich in fat, the cat with all the important vitamins and minerals and contains only a very small proportion of carbohydrates. Their liquid storage equal to the cat by eating their prey, as they as Wüstent ier no natural thirst g efühl felt and therefore not really a water additionally has to absorb. Both the intestines and all other internal organs of the cat are geared towards this diet, which is specialized in animal nutrition. In contrast to dogs and humans, cats are not able to filter out individual vitamins, fatty acids or amino acids from plant foods or to produce them themselves.
The finished feed and its composition
Finished industrial feed is heavily processed in various processes and sterilized, boiled and possibly even dried. Due to the strong processing, valuable proteins, enzymes and vitamins are completely destroyed or changed so that they lose their nourishing properties. In nature, cats only take a very small proportion, max. 1-5% herbal products to yourself. These are the stomach contents of the prey that cats would catch. Compared to the 1-5%, finished feed contains up to 80% vegetable components such as grain. Both the relatively short intestine and the internal organs and metabolism of the cat naturally cannot use the carbohydrates properly.
The animal content of ingredients in finished feed does not meet the requirements for species-appropriate feeding due to the nutrients. Often w ground substandard meat products recycled, so that in the finished feed in the end, less fat and protein are contained, as in a mouse. F ÜR F inished f proteins are derived from herbal ingredients such as adhesive products and cereals utter that are difficult to digest by their strong processing. In addition, synthetic minerals, vitamins and amino acids are mixed with the feed and supplemented by artificial colors, sugar and various preservatives that make the feed long-lasting. When Margitta Graeve wrote her first contribution on the subject of raw feeding / cat nutrition, she was of the opinion that the market at that time did not offer suitable ready-made food that could fully correspond to the species-appropriate feeding of the cat. A n this fact has not changed much to this day. Only the fact that more and more products are being offered for supposedly species-appropriate cat nutrition has changed again and again .
Dry and moist forage in comparison, which does better?
Dry food is characterized by the fact that it contains a very low proportion of protein and fat, but a comparatively large amount of carbohydrates from the starch contained in the grain . At an average dry feed the vegetable content is often 50% to even 80%, and it must be kept in mind that the carbohydrate a is PROPORTION often lower, because as actually incorporated in the feed crop amount F are asern not included and carbohydrates from cereals partially also contain fats and proteins . Wet f utter contrast is significantly better, contains less carbohydrates and meets the nutritional values, which provides a mouse, much closer than dry food.
With all the objections to dry fodder, however, it must also be stated that the arguments listed are not sufficient to be able to form a comprehensive judgment about the various qualities. Ultimately, you should always study the list of ingredients, including vitamins and nutrients, in order to be able to weigh up whether the feed is suitable. Even if a food contains high-quality meat, this positive aspect is negated by the fact that the food contains at least as much grain, which makes the product unsuitable for a balanced cat diet.
Feeding your own cat raw food takes much more time than filling the bowl with dry food or opening a can of wet food, but your cat will thank you in good health in the long term if you freshly prepare balanced meals .
Errors on the modern feline nutrition
Now we want to clear up some myths that are spread by feed manufacturers and that are now accepted as authoritative and correct by many cat owners .
Misconception: Ready-made food contains everything a healthy cat meal needs.
The manufacturers of cat food make the cat owner many V ersprechen that the F ertigf utter unfortunately can not keep. The fact is that many cats k rank units a result of improper feeding with highly processed and cooked food is . The condition of the internal organs, the metabolism and allergies are often highly dependent on the respective diet and are often attributed to the age of the cat over time. If conventional cat food were as balanced as the manufacturers claim, every food would have to contain the same ingredients so that it could be safely fed to the cat for a lifetime. In the past, it has been found to that in tests and examinations that a feed, whether wet food or dry food often either too many vitamins / contains minerals or too little, so that it either comes to overdosing or underdosing. It is quite possible that s finished f utter only in small m Dimensions includes too many or too few additions, but in the long run, the consequences could emerge. Examples of this are herbal herbal extracts such as aloe vera, alfalfa or yucca , which are often added to the feed. While these herbs serve purposes in the treatment of certain diseases, they are generally considered to be toxic to cats and should not be consumed by a healthy cat every day. You have virtually no control over what will happen in the future if your cat uses medicinal herbs on a daily basis. In nature, it will never come in a cat to a lack or an overdose of vitamin or minerals, as the cat compensate possible deficits themselves and by eating prey with all major component s a healthy cat e rnährung own supplies. Of course, cats eat what they find in nature, so they provide variety themselves, which is not the case with a ready-made food that is fed the same every day .
Mistake 2: if vets recommend ready-made food, it must be good for the cats after all.
For one thing, you have to keep in mind that veterinarians are mainly there to treat diseases. Very few veterinarians have sufficient specialist knowledge of the appropriate nutrition of animals. Secondly, many veterinarians also sell themselves prepared feed and generate such a s part of their revenue. So you would harm yourself if you admitted in retrospect that possible long-term effects that were found in a cat can be traced back to an incorrect diet and thus a result of the veterinarian’s food recommendation. The information of the different feeding methods and feed forward the veterinarians regard to cat owners come from the feed industry itself and de be m veterinarian in the form of brochures or courses taught.
3. Misconception: excessive protein intake is harmful to the cat and its kidneys.
The feed industry likes to try to cover up the fact that poor quality cat food is not healthy for cats in the long run. In contrast to humans, cats also tolerate high amounts of protein and can digest them without any problems. This is a good thing, since smaller animals such as mice often contain much more protein than is contained in ready-made feed. The cat’s organism is adjusted to these quantities and thus the kidneys and the metabolism are relieved with species-appropriate feeding. Low-quality proteins and grains, however, burden the kidney n as these and digestible substances that the can not be used the cat’s body.
4th Fallacy: Cats get their energy from carbohydrates.
Cereal is much cheaper compared to animal products in feed and is therefore still like for ready- f used utter. So even now admit that cats naturally conditioned need to take any carbohydrates, as they get their energy from F etten and related proteins has not changed much on the composition of canned food and dry food. In the wild, w u would recommend a cat no carbohydrates in the form of S TRENGTH consume because their organism is designed to mainly feed on meat. Correspondingly, the cat’s digestive system has a hard time when it is fed mainly carbohydrates in the form of grain.
5th Fallacy: Domestic cats have adapted to ready-made food over the years.
Even if some cats look different nowadays due to breeding reasons than they did many years ago, neither the metabolism nor the internal organs or the digestive system have changed. Dry food has been available for around 100 years. In this short time it would not have been possible to bring about a change inside the cat by human hands. Not only in the country, but also in the city, cats used to be kept as mouse trappers and today outdoor animals still like to kill their own prey and eat it. A cat in the house is of course dependent on the food that is offered to it by its owner. Accordingly, the cat’s diet is in its hands.
6th misconception: dry food prevents tartar and cleans the cat’s teeth.
Over the years it has been shown that dry food does not help to keep teeth and gums healthy and does not prevent problems with them. The feed industry has now stopped claiming that dry food is good for cats‘ teeth and these advertising promises have now been discontinued and replaced by appropriate dental care products for cats.
7. Misconception: Homemade food is not suitable for cats and can cause deficiency symptoms.
Over 30 years ago, Margitta Graeve found out for herself how good the homemade raw food is for her cats. A number of BARF fans have now followed suit and agree that species-appropriate feeding close to nature for cats ensures the best possible health for their four-legged friends. However, this is only the case when the homemade meals are fully balanced contain all important additives such as minerals, vitamins, vegetables, meat, bones, etc., so that the cat is no shortage he suffers. This would be the case if only pure meat without any additives is fed.
8. Misconception: You have to be a nutrition expert to be able to feed your cat homemade food.
Even if we have already mentioned elsewhere on this website that the topic of raw feeding of cats needs to know some background and you should deal with the topic extensively in order to understand the various connections, you do not need to be a nutrition expert. to feed your cat in a species-appropriate and healthy manner. After all, we humans also manage to provide for ourselves well without having completed a corresponding degree. If you know the demands, needs and preferences of your cat and also deal with the various demands on food components, you will quickly be able to prepare healthy, balanced and tasty meals for your own cat – without years of experience or a diploma -Degree in nutrition.
9. Myth: raw meat must not be fed because it bacteria and parasites contains.
This misconception is widespread, as many people also think of the dreaded salmonella, unicellular organisms and worms in this context. However, this type of parasite mainly occurs in cats that are fed exclusively with ready-made food. In the wild, cats mainly eat raw meat in the form of prey, which of course is not necessarily sterile and can also be infested with bacteria. The cat’s short intestine lets the food ingested pass quickly and therefore copes well with salmonella and other pathogens. Aujeszky’s disease is excluded from this . In countries affected by this disease , therefore, raw pork can not be fed to cats. Margitta Graeve reported that in 20 years of feeding raw food she did not know of a single case of illness that was related to raw feeding.
Mistake 10: bones splinter, so these should not be fed to cats.
If bones are cooked long they can in a short time brittle be and can actually splinters, which could in dogs and cats cause injury. A raw K nochen is elastic, quite soft and does not splinter. Otherwise, cats should constantly injure themselves in the wild, as they often devour whole prey without breaking them down into individual parts.
Part 2: Nutrients, raw feeding, preparation >>