Feeding cats a natural diet

The Cat family (felids) have evolved closely along side their canine counterparts, but have developed their own unique dietary requirements as a result of their own unique dietary intake. Cats, unlike dogs, are obligate carnivores, which means they must have meat in their diet to live (dogs can live on a vegetarian diet). Cats require significantly larger amounts of protein in their diet, as well as fats, and less carbohydrate and vegetable matter. Cats must have a dietary source of the amino acid taurine, which is only naturally found in meat (but easily destroyed by cooking), and the essential fatty acid arachidonic acid, also found in animal fats.

Cats have evolved as a fine tuned hunting machine, which parallels their need for fresh meat and animal fats in their diet. The structure of their bodies, teeth, claws, and digestive tracts are finely tuned to catch and process live prey. Cats, unlike dogs, will rarely touch carrion (old dead meat/carcass), and will not scavenge like dogs. They always prefer fresh meat/prey, and as such, are rarely poisoned or take baits. This is also why they can be fussy eaters, and will rarely be tricked into taking medication mixed in their food.

They have evolved to exist in the most arid environments, which is why they thrive in the Australian bush. Their urinary system has evolved to enable them to conserve water very effectively, producing a highly concentrated urine (the strong smell we all know well) and requiring only minute amounts of water each day. They do this by absorbing up to 80% of their water requirements from their live prey, and hence they need to drink very rarely. This is why I believe that the practice of feeding dry food rations to cats is totally wrong, and results in the high levels of urinary tract disorders and renal failure we see in cats today. Unless cats adapt quickly, and dramatically increase their water intake to compensate for the lack of moisture in the food, their urinary system is forced to produce more and more concentrated urine, which results in crystal formation, PH imbalance, and renal overload.

Cats are unable to properly cope with long term dry food intake, and will not live to their full potential on this type of ration, no matter how good or expensive the product.

So what should a modern cat eat ? A diet based on high levels of fresh raw meats (high in protein and fat), with a correct balance of carbohydrate and vegetable matter. Because raw meat does not equal an entire carcass, complete with organs, digestive tract, bones and fur or feathers, additional supplements are required to “top up” the basic diet. Additional yeast, kelp, lecithin, calcium, and vitamin C can provide all the extra natural elements (vitamins, minerals, and trace elements) found in a natural live prey diet. It is important to remember that cats do ingest grass and other green matter as part of their natural diet, so this must be accounted for also, in the form of vegetables and wheat grass.

All these elements and necessary supplements are provided for in Complete Mix for cats. The feeding chart is calculated on the higher need for raw meats and fat, and the mix itself is balanced to provide all the additional elements in the correct amounts. Naturally, many cats may put up a fuss if their regular food is changed, but if you are serious about good health and long life for your cats, persevere with the new diet and you will eventually convince your feline companions that fresh is best.

Note : for really fussy cats, try soaking the mix in chicken stock, and mix a few sardines in with the whole meal. Get them used to eating raw meat first, and add the mix gradually, over a week or so

Christmas time for pets

What to get your pets for Christmas ?

Many people like to spoil their pets for Christmas, and why not, they are members of the family too. Giving your pet a special treat is great, but what about a gift that keeps on giving – what about pet insurance ?

Have you thought about what you would do if your pet is bitten by a snake, and you are faced with the need to make an immediate decision on spending up to $1500 to give them anti-venom treatment and supportive care ? Or what about a car accident, with broken bones and a referral surgeon that could cost $5000? Or even just a nasty grass seed up the nose, with a general anaesthetic, fibre-optic scope and a $400 bill.

How nice would it be to know that your pet is covered by pet insurance, and you can say “yes” without thinking. Accidents, emergencies and severe illnesses are a reality of pet ownership, but many of us never plan for them to happen, and can be faced with very difficult and heart wrenching decisions when faced with sudden, un-expected vet bills or treatment costs.

For as little as $10 per week, you can have total peace of mind, so don’t wait for trouble to strike your furry family, why not sign up for pet insurance.

Things to beware of at Christmas !

Christmas is a time of fun and family, but it does present a few new dangers to be aware of. Feeding left over Christmas lunch or dinner to dogs is a common cause of Boxing day blues – rich fatty foods like pork crackling, sausages and ham can cause a nasty upset tummy or even pancreatitis, which can be severe and even fatal. And left overs often include toxic foods like onion, sultanas, grapes or macadamia nuts, which can cause severe illness. Chocolate is another common danger at Christmas, and don’t think that dogs can’t tell what is wrapped up in a pressie under the tree – they have a keen sense of smell thousands of times greater than us mere mortals.

Cooked bones like ham bones and turkey left overs are another common cause of danger, and I have seen first-hand what problems can arise from giving Rover a special treat like this. As much as it may pain you to throw away those tasty morsels, it is far better than an un-expected trip to the vet with a vomiting dog and a potential bowel obstruction !

Wishing you all a fun and safe Christmas this year from Dr Bruce and all the team at Healthy Pets Veterinary Clinic!

Allergy season


Spring and Summer can be a rough time for many pets, with the onset of the flea and allergy season. Itching caused by allergies can be very frustrating for all involved, pets, owners and veterinarians. Because allergies are an abnormal immune reaction, there is no single simple answer to them, much like it is with hayfever or asthma – sometimes the best we can hope to do is control the symptoms and minimise drug use.

At Healthy Pets Veterinary Clinic we strive to provide a “minimal chemical approach” to managing allergies, and we can offer a wide range of options that include diets, supplements, topical treatments and medications.

The goal of allergy treatments is to settle the over-reactive immune system and prevent self trauma from itching and chewing.

please click on this link for more detailed information on natural approaches to allergies :



The Clinic offers a wide range of products and services that can assist in managing and alleviating the annoying symptoms of allergies. Your pet does not have to suffer hot, itchy skin, so make sure you book in to discuss treatment options for your dog or cat.