Cats are obligate carnivores who consume whole prey. So cats should eat a diet that is high moisture, high protein, moderate fat, and very low carb.

This type of diet matches our cat’s natural diet the best.

And it provides nutrition for healthy hearts, eyes, immune function, and reproductive systems.

I’ve been raw feeding Jericho since 2018, and I’ve tried all kinds of diets.

Either a BARF or PMR diet including raw meaty bones will give your cat the most benefit.

We’ll take a look at cat nutrition based on whole prey and address:

What do cats really need to eat?

Cats need to eat a high moisture, high protein, moderate fat, and low carb diet to survive and thrive.

This matches their natural diet of whole prey the most.

The British Journal of Nutrition studied the dietary nutrient profile of free-roaming feral cats from over a dozen countries.

They collected between 8-2,531 samples from the cat’s stomach, gut, and/or scat within each location.

Dietary profiles of feral cats

Prey speciesMean average
Rats19.1
Mice5.6
Voles1.8
Other rodents5.4
Rabbits41.5
Insectivores0.4
Other mammals3.7
Birds16.0
Reptiles/amphibians3.7
Invertebrates1.2
Fish0.3

Human-linked food was 0.1. And plant matter was so small they didn’t even report on it.

So we can see from this data that cats mainly eat rodents, rabbits, and birds. Plus a small amount of insects, reptiles, invertebrates, and fish.

This also shows us that cats should eat a variety of proteins.

whole prey raw diet for cats

What should cats eat daily?

We need to do our best to match what YAHUAH created for our cats to eat: whole prey.

So cats should eat a diet that provides high moisture, high protein, moderate fat, and low carb.

The study also looked at the macronutrient composition of each prey.

We can use this data to determine what our cats should eat daily based on whole prey nutrition.

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Recommended guaranteed analysis for cat food

This recommended guaranteed analysis is based on feral cat diets.

As-fedAverage
Moisture69.4%
Protein19.2%
Fat6.5%
Ash3.5%
Carb/starch1.3%

Cats should eat a diet that is as close as possible to this guaranteed analysis.

I aim for these numbers when I formulate cat food recipes.

Jericho’s homemade raw meaty bones + whole prey diet is:

  • 68.96% moisture
  • 18.74% protein
  • 9.95% fat
  • 1.92% ash
  • 0.43% carbs

You will find these numbers on the cat food label. But you will have to use a carb calculator to calculate carbs.

Below is the average after removing moisture.

Dry matter basisAverage
Dry matter30.6%
Protein62.9%
Fat21.4%
Ash11.3%
Carb/starch4.4%

This is the ideal guaranteed analysis we should go by when we convert the numbers to a dry matter basis.

Jericho’s homemade raw meaty bones + whole prey diet is:

  • 31.04% dry matter
  • 60.4% protein
  • 32% fat
  • 6.2% ash
  • 1.4% carbs

So we may not get it exactly. But these are averages and great numbers to aim for.

whole prey and raw meat diet for cats

What is the healthiest way to feed a cat?

The healthiest way to feed a cat is to get as close as possible to the cat’s natural diet: whole prey.

A homemade BARF or PMR diet with raw meaty bones is the healthiest way to feed a cat. These diets aim to mimic our cat’s natural diet the most.

Plus, the benefits of raw bones go way beyond nutrition.

raw rabbit bone for cat

Wild cats hunt, catch, kill, and chew their prey whole. This provides a lot of mental stimulation and enrichment.

And we can provide this mental stimulation indoors with raw meaty bones!

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Final thoughts on what cats should eat

Cats should eat a diet that is high moisture, high protein, moderate fat, and low carb.

This diet matches their natural whole prey diet.

We can use whole prey nutrient data as a baseline for what our cats should eat daily.

A proper homemade raw meaty bones diet with protein variety is the best and healthiest way to feed our cats.

Not sure if raw is right for you and your cat? Check out the benefits of a raw diet next!