Is fermented food for cats healthy? Is it something you should regularly feed your cat? Will it cause any harm?
Fermented Food – Origins And Ingredients
Fermented food for humans has been around for a very long time. Ancient cultures have been using it forever. Existing traditional cultures, and even some modern cultures, still retain fermented food as a healthy part of the diet. Think of the German sauerkraut, the Korean kim chi, and the origin of kombucha can be found in China thousands of years ago.
We can name many of the important nutrients in fermented food now as vitamins, phytonutrients and so forth, all in a very easily digestible form. But the main consideration of fermented food is the bacteria. There are millions more beneficial bacteria to be found in fermented food, than in probiotics, which normally only have a handful.
Bacteria in the gut is an essential part of digestion. Without good digestion, no-one can be healthy as the food may not be properly digested and absorbed. And so the immune system tumbles. More health issues appear.
However, we are very different from cats. For the most part, humans are herbivores (omnivores at the herbivore end of the spectrum). Anatomy backs this up, by the type of teeth (grinding) we have, by our comparatively weak stomach acid and by our long intestinal tract, all of which are herbivorous traits.
Plants need very different processes to digest from meat.
Our cats are true carnivores. They have spiky teeth to tear meat from the bone and to crunch up on bones. They have stomach acid that is 20 times stronger than ours. They have comparatively short intestinal tracts. They are able to digest raw meat and bones easily and quickly.
All raw meat contains some bacteria. For the most parts, cats will gain all the beneficial bacteria from the fresh meat they consume. However, when a cat eats a prey animal, there is likely to be a small amount of fermenting food in the digestive tract.
The type and amount will depend on the prey and their diet. A mouse’s diet consists mostly of plant based food. A rat will eat a varied diet, including animals. Small birds are mostly seed eaters. Small reptiles eat a varied diet, including animals.
Not all the prey that cats consume will have food in their gut. Even when they do, you can imagine the tiny amount a mouse will have.
For these reasons, fermented food for cats can easily be overdone, and may be detrimental, as cats are not equipped to deal with the alkaloids, etc, found in plant based foods.
When Would Fermented Food For Cats Be Acceptable?
A healthy cat on a quality, fresh, raw meat and bones diet is unlikely to need additional support from fermented food.
As you can probably imagine, a cat fed the ‘dead’ dry and canned cat food will not be getting any beneficial bacteria from their diet. It was all killed in the processing.
A cat who has been treated with antibiotics, and many other veterinary drugs, will quickly deplete those essential gut bacteria. Antibiotics don’t discriminate. All bacteria is targeted, despite claims to the contrary.
This is why they will often suffer with vomiting and/or diarrhoea after a course of veterinary treatment.
This is when the bacteria needs to be replaced. But rather than feed a cat fermented (mostly plant based) food, which cats are not able to tolerate, it is far better to feed them fresh meat. Not only will the raw meat provide them with good gut bacteria, it is digested easily and will strengthen their immune system. It’s their natural food.
And rather than compound a struggling immune system when your cat is ill, by treating them with suppressive veterinary medication, why not help them help themselves by getting homeopathic treatment instead? Homeopathy supports the body’s best efforts to restore health, leaving the cat much healthier and without the added burden of depleted gut bacteria.
Fermented food for cats is unnecessary when they are fed a healthy diet and when they are treated holistically. The former gives them all the beneficial bacteria they need. The latter ensures their immune system is always in tip-top condition.
Be very careful feeding fermented food to cats. There are better and safer options.