This post is sponsored by Big Bear Pet Food
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need meat in their diet to thrive. Their systems aren’t designed to digest carbohydrates. A raw diet is one of the best ways to fulfill cats’ nutritional requirements. There are numerous benefits from feeding a raw diet to your cat, including improved digestion, reduced stool odor and volume, increased energy, ability to maintain ideal weight, better dental health, and better urinary tract health. Embraced for decades by holistically oriented pet parents and holistic veterinarians, raw feeding is becoming more mainstream as pet parents look for alternatives to feeding highly processed commercial pet foods.
Raw feeding is easy
Raw feeding does not have to be complicated. You do not need to grind your own meat and bones, measure out supplements, and figure out how to make a balanced diet for your little carnivore. There are plenty of commercial raw diets on the market, ranging from frozen to freeze-dried. Unfortunately, as the market is becoming more crowded, some manufacturers are cutting corners and adding more vegetables to their formulas to cut costs. You can find the brands I recommend here.
Fresh cooked food
A cooked diet made from fresh ingredients may be slightly more processed than a raw diet, but it’s still a better choice, in terms of freshness, than canned food, which is processed at high temperatures. If you don’t mind cooking, a properly balanced home cooked diet may be an option for you. In addition to being less processed than canned food, you control the ingredients that go into your cat’s food. For those of us who don’t even cook for yourselves (like me), commercial cooked diets offer an alternative.
Big Bear Pet Food
Big Bear Pet Food is based in Colorado. Company founder Amy Budd has a degree in Animal Science and “accidentally” got into the pet food business, not due to one sick pet, but due to a lifetime of dedication to all animals and wanting to provide something better for them. She started the company 15 years ago. Big Bear Pet Food sells its offering under a couple of different brand names. Their raw food for cats (and dogs) in sold under the brand name Hoo-RAW!. Their newest product, KatManFood, is a fresh, cooked, frozen food for cats.
Big Bear’s meat is locally sourced and is free range, with no added hormones or antibiotics, non-GMO and human-edible. Their cat food is manufactured in a USDA facility under inspection hours and is processed to human standards.
The frozen raw line comes in two varieties, chicken/turkey and beef, and has been tested for adequate levels of taurine in accordance with AAFCO guidelines for cats.
The KatManFood line is gently cooked, then cooled, packaged and frozen immediately to retain freshness. KatManFood can be fed as a standalone food or used to help transition your cat to a raw food diet. KatManFood is labeled for “intermittent and supplemental feeding” since they did not test the food for everything the USDA requires for a complete and balanced diet. They did, however, test for taurine and the fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) and the food has adequate levels in all areas. KatManFood comes in two flavors, chicken and chicken/salmon.
All of Big Bear’s food is manufactured in a USDA/FDA human facility for maximum product safety.
Putting Big Bear Pet Food to the test
We had a chance to test both the raw and cooked foods. Allegra and Ruby both loved the Hoo-RAW! turkey/chicken blend and licked their plates clean. They were less enthusiastic about the KatManFood chicken or chicken/salmon formulas. They nibbled at both, but needed quite a bit of encouragement to finish. It may have been due to the texture – it was somewhere in between raw and paté style, so it was different from anything they’d had before.
I wish Allegra and Ruby had been more receptive to the cooked formulas. I feed both raw and canned food, and I’d love to be able to switch some of the canned for a gently cooked diet. I also like the idea of a gently cooked food for cat parents who aren’t comfortable feeding raw, and I hope Big Bear eventually pursues testing so the formulas can be fed as a complete diet. Big Bear’s raw formulas contain parsley and pumpkin, and while I prefer raw foods that don’t contain any vegetable matter, the addition of these two ingredients keeps vegetable matter well below the threshold I consider acceptable.
For more information about Big Bear Pet Food, please visit http://www.bigbearpet.com.
FTC Disclosure: I received these products for review at no charge. I also received a fee to feature these products. Receiving the free product and the fee did not influence my review. All reviews on The Conscious Cat will always reflect my honest and unbiased opinion. Or, as the case may be, Allegra and Ruby’s honest and unbiased opinion.