The Siberian originally hails from Russia, where they have appeared in artwork and folklore for 1000 years. The ancient, long-haired Siberian breed are known to have incredible intelligence. Their thick coats protect them from the freezing elements. They’re a naturally developed breed, a working cat from the subarctic forests of Siberia, prized for their hunting prowess and ability to keep mice and rats from the food stores. Siberian cats today still roam Siberia farms and Russia alley cats are still very much on the same fresh and natural meat base diet. Hunting or provided a diet consisting of homemade beef grind, boiled white fish, raw goat milk, quail eggs, rabbit, day-old chick ect. Siberian cats require extra care to prevent any potential health issues that may otherwise occur by feeding them a diet consisting of low-grade commercial foods that are unsuited for the breed’s requirements.
Cats are obligate carnivores and have flesh-tearing teeth, which means that they must eat a balanced, meat-based diet. They have a special need for certain amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, which are found in high levels in meat. If a cat does not eat a diet containing these special amino acids, like taurine and arginine, serious and often fatal diseases can develop. If cats are not provided with a sufficiently high level of taurine, they may develop a heart condition (dilated cardiomyopathy), experience reproductive failure, abnormal development as a kitten, or suffer from retinal degeneration. Living in the wild their natural diet would be mice, rats, and other small rodents, thus at Purr-fect Cat Therapy we feed primarily a homemade raw meat diet.
Many of the major diseases that are common to cats are related to problematic diets, many of which are recommended by most veterinarians. In my years of rescuing and caring for felines, these are the problems I’ve seen related to years on an inadequate diet:
Dry kibbled cat foods are inadequate and inappropriate diets for the cat. The most common problems with cats on commercial diets are reoccurring bladder and kidney problems. Because cats normally do not drink a lot of water, they need moist food to digest meals properly, and to eliminate digested byproducts via the kidney and bladder. Commercially prepared dry food will make cat urine more alkaline causing the precipitation of crystals, and increase their susceptibility to infections. Dry food containing soy, corn, or wheat flour, potatoes, peas, wheat gluten will increase alkalinity of the urine (feline urine should be acid). Also, dry foods are very high in carbohydrates, and can be very addicting to cats, thus it may be difficult initially to change them to eat healthier varieties of food. Cats, in particular, can be resistant to a change in diet. They tend to fixate on whatever food they are weaned onto and will resist switching to a healthier diet. You may find that some cats are very difficult to wean off dry food, further supporting the junk food analogy. They’re literally addicted to the carbs and additives used in these diets. The one best thing you can do for your cat is to stop feeding dry food and feed a meat based, grain-free raw, homemade or canned diet which is consistent with the needs of a carnivore.
Diet is the foundation of health. The fresher the diet, the more nutrients are available for the animal's system to utilize in building immunity, healing from illness and warding off disease. Raw food diets have been shown to help the body deal with many common ailments such as flea infestations, hot spots, continual shedding, poor dental & gum health, allergies, gastro-intestinal problems such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, immune disorders and degenerative diseases.
Raw diets have been common practice in European countries for decades, especially Germany, where it is commonly recommended by veterinarians. The fear of feeding raw meat in this country seems to stem from a fear of salmonella, E. coli and parasites. In over 20 years of feeding raw food and seeing countless animals on raw food diets through our rescue, salmonella and E. coli have not been seen to be a problem. Remember, pets' digestive systems are designed to accommodate raw meat. Parasites could be contracted through eating wild, whole prey or game meats, but is much less likely to occur with properly handled human grade meats. Infection is more likely to occur through a pet's ingestion of feces or soil, or from poorly handled meat.
The actual research sited in the US in support of a raw diet is rather convincing. A long term study conducted by Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., MD, between 1932 and 1942 was initiated a bit by accident. Dr. Pottenger kept cats as laboratory animals for experiments in human health. As his research and cat population grew, he resorted to feeding them raw meat scraps from a local packing plant instead of cooked kitchen leftovers. Within a few months, he noticed distinct improvements in the cats eating raw meat. This prompted Dr. Pottenger to undertake a whole new experiment. He segregated cats into different groups - some of which were fed a cooked meat diet and others who received a raw meat diet. All observations were noted in great detail over many generations of cats. At the end of the study, Dr. Pottenger concluded that cats fed a heat processed diet were deficient and suffered from innumerable ailments ranging from low immunity, irritability, and allergies to skeletal deformation, organ malfunction, poor development during kittenhood, low birth rate, birth defects, infertility, and shortened life-span. If you wish to learn more about the Pottenger study, you can purchase a summary of the study as book or video from the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.