Germs & Bacteria in Raw Food?

Salmonella, e. coli, c. jejuni, l. monocytogenes, vibrio and c. bolulinum are among some of the known bad bacteria that can cause food borne illness in humans from eating undercooked meat and seafood so it is common for us to wonder “can my cat also be effected by these?” Although there are preventative measures taken to ensure fresh and clean meat there is a small chance that these bacteria could be living on the raw meat that you are buying. Did you know that highly processed conventional dry food also runs the risk of fostering these bacteria as well?

There are indeed recorded incidences of pets falling ill from bacteria found in food but what we may not be taking into consideration is their diet at the time. Were they on a highly processed conventional dry food diet? A cat who isn’t on raw food does not have the stomach acids necessary to eradicate harsh bacteria like the ones mentioned above when a cat who has been eating a raw food diet does. On a kibble diet a cat’s stomach acids are suppressed significantly compared to that of a raw fed cat and their immune system is often not strong enough to go up against these powerful bacteria. Once a cat is on a raw food diet and their gut flora has been re-established, their immune system is in check, and they are in overall good health, these bacteria will not be a realistic threat to the cat anymore.

Interesting fact: a cat’s intestinal tract is a mere 2 1/2 times the length of their body as opposed to a human’s that can reach up to 8 metres long! This means that anything entering a cat’s stomach is therefor rid much faster than that of a human so they are far less likely to become ill as bacteria passes through their intestines. That mixed with the high acidity of a raw fed cat’s stomach it’s barely a threat for bad bacteria thriving at all!

Keep in mind that proper food safe procedures such as washing your cat’s dish between feedings as well as the area around their eating place and storing the raw meat properly before feeding is necessary to ensure bacteria growth is kept to a minimum.

Your Own Safety

Even though us raw food advocates do not worry very much about these bacteria having repercussions on our cats’s health, we must be aware of the effect of the bacteria on ourselves. Since we do not have the same highly acidic stomach as a raw fed cat we can become very ill from the aforementioned bacteria. Always follow food safe guidelines when handing raw food and wash your hands and the area used to prepare your cat’s meal afterwards.