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Hi guys...
My cats are both thriving on raw food. I was just wondering though, in nature cats and wild dogs live substantially shorter that domestic animals. I realise there are many reasons for this, but one is tooth decay. My questions are, how much should we let our cats chew bones which may add to tooth decay? Also, has anyone had their cats on raw diets for more than ten years and noticed any difference between other cats that grow old on "regular domestic diets"?
 

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Hmmm. Joshgamble, I think you've got it backwards. Frankenprey and whole prey raw diets are beneficial to dental health, commercial and ground diets are not.

Here's a Colyer Institute article detailing why: Influence of diet consistency on periodontal disease in captive carnivores.

The points we're most interested in are:

Wet foods: "Soft diets tend to produce more bacterial plaque than do firm diets."

Kibble: "Excessively course, granular diets can produce periodontal disease through the action of abrasive overuse of, and by direct traumatic injury to the supporting tissues of the oral cavity."

For dental health, the only diet that truly supports a healthy carnivorous mouth is one that includes ripping, tearing and slicing through meat, skin, tendons and bones... in other words, a non-ground raw diet.

"Foods of firm consistency will increase the number, distribution, and tone of the capillaries in the gingival tissue; which improves the metabolism and vitality of all of the supporting and surrounding structures of the oral cavity."

"The degree of keratinization of the stratified squamous epithelium in the mouth, which affords protection against trauma and other injurious agents, is affected by the frictional qualities of the diet."

"Chewing, by its mechanical action produces a compression and expansion of the periodontal ligament space around the teeth which, in turn, promotes formation of a dense fibrous suspensory structure by increasing both circulation and fibroblastic activity."

"The width of the periodontal ligament, a measure of its health, is directly related to the intensity of the mastication function."

And so on.

My older cats are only three years old. Because I started them off on dry, then switched to wet and only went raw a year ago, all three of them are in need of a dental cleaning. :( Thankfully, my younger cats went from a feral's menu of mice and other wild prey almost directly to a frankenprey raw diet, and I do not anticipate the same issues for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have read how it is beneficial to dental health. I am refering specifically to the chewing of bone. Why is it that animals in the wild suffer dental failure faster than domestic cats?
 

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Personal experience. I grew in South Africa just outside Kruger National park and spent my childhood around game rangers and watching any nature doccie that came out. The oldest cats that weren't killed by fights, other animals,TB,Anthrax(back in the 80s?) etc,usualy died from teeth being worn down or broken and there is no way wild cats are growing as old as domestic cats, on average. Sure there might be rare exceptions.
Don't get me wrong, I am totally pro frankenprey diet. I am just curios if anyone has had real long term experience with cats on raw diets and specially if anyone has had comparative experience between raising cats,or dogs, on convential vs raw diets and also the effect of bone on teeth.

Wild cats in captivity do however live longer than their counterpart, BUT they are eating far "softer" diets. Not ripping through hide and bone to get to meat.
 

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I dont't know if it could be caused by this: eating mice. I've fed mice a few times and they are really not chewed at all :? Most of the time they seem to be swallowed whole.
 

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First, "tooth decay" is another thing entirely from wearing down teeth. No comparision.

Second, lions probably chew some on the weight-bearing bones of large ungulates, as do some wolves. These heavy, dense bones can break teeth and wear them down, which is why raw feeders do not consider large bones that can potentially do damage as appropriate. My dogs get NO large bones from cattle (pretty much the only cattle bones I will feed is the occasional ribs), large deer, large pigs, etc.

Third, even if domestic cats' and dogs' DID get worn down from eating bone (and the long-term raw feeders have NOT found that to be the case), unlike lions or wolves, that doesn't mean death. Wild animals need their teeth for protection and may not be able to tear into a gazelle carcass, but domestic animals do NOT need their teeth for protection, and if they can't eat as well as formerly, we chop or grind their meat when they get older.

All that said, one reason I always recommend smaller birds than chickens for cats is that while they CAN handle the bone, it would be difficult for a cat in the wild to take down a chicken (since cats, unlike dogs, hunt alone), so I consider the bones inappropriately large. Cornish game hen (i.e., small, young chicken) or quail is, IMO, more appropriate.

Feeding raw is the very BEST thing you can do for a cat or dog's dental health, period. Raw feeders don't have to brush their critters' teeth or have dentals done (other than cats w/ genetic problems like FORLS, etc.). Chewing through bone AND muscle meat keeps the teeth clean.

Keep in mind as well that the recommendation for overall bone for cats is only 5-10% of the total diet. That's NOT really much bone. Many raw feeders feed more bone than I would be comfortable with for several reasons.

Hope this helps!
 

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furryfriends251 said:
I dont't know if it could be caused by this: eating mice. I've fed mice a few times and they are really not chewed at all :? Most of the time they seem to be swallowed whole.
Full-sized mice cannot be swallowed whole by a cat. My cats chew of pieces, chew those up, and swallow. Often they will masticate a large piece for a while and swallow it whole -- but they have to chew it up first. Cats get lots of dental benefits from mice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks hoofmaiden. You pretty much reaffirmed what I thought. I never doubted that chewing and ripping was good for them, I just wanted to be sure bones dont affect them long term.

I might start a separate post though to see who has had their cat on raw food longest.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I never doubted the raw model for a second, but to believe in something it is best to be completely informed.
 

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joshgamble said:
I never doubted the raw model for a second, but to believe in something it is best to be completely informed.
Nothing wrong with that. I usually say question everything. In fact one of my last threads I started pretty much went against what most believed regarding a specific raw diet. I just provided another perspective that hopefully helped some people make an informed decision.

Keep asking questions. It keeps our thinking caps on and can provide informative discussions.
 

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chris10 said:
joshgamble said:
I never doubted the raw model for a second, but to believe in something it is best to be completely informed.
Nothing wrong with that. I usually say question everything. In fact one of my last threads I started pretty much went against what most believed regarding a specific raw diet. I just provided another perspective that hopefully helped some people make an informed decision.

Keep asking questions. It keeps our thinking caps on and can provide informative discussions.
Here, here! :mrgreen:
 
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