Phew, what a mouthful that title is, but I have to talk to you about the addition to the Sphynx Cat raw diet that I have recently made. Firstly my cat is not particularly finicky eaters. I would hazard a guess and say that most Sphynx owners are aware of the ravenous chowing down that Sphynxes get into when they are hungry. As owners, we have to be careful that food intake doesn’t get out of hand and we end up with overweight Sphynxes. It is quite possible that a Sphynx can become overweight from a fresh raw diet so be careful. Even so, there may come times when your Sphynx will start to turn their nose up at food that they have been eating for a long time, so changing food type at least once a week, or for a week, can keep your cat happy.
Remember that we are trying to emulate as closely as possible the diet of a cat in the wild which would be eating whole small rodents, reptiles and birds when we create a raw diet. Feeding single food items like raw chicken breast for a long period of time is not sufficient to maintain a healthy balance, but as a supplement is fine. Which brings me to beef hearts.
Beef hearts are high in taurines. Taurine is an essential nutrient for cats that they cannot create themselves (unlike dogs). All diets for cats must include meat that includes taurine, or a taurine supplement. Animal muscle meat contains taurine and heart muscle is particularly high in it, that is why in the Sphynx cat raw diet recipe chicken hearts make up a good percentage of the mix. Taurine deficiency will lead to degeneration of the retina and irreversible blindness within 2 years as well and/or heart issues such as feline dilated cardiomyopathy which can be reversed with a change to the diet.
One of the things about a ground raw diet is that your cat will lose the desire to chew on bones and lose jaw muscle tone because “mince” is not really chewable. Because the raw diet recipe I use is mostly chicken, so I looked around for an alternative and tried her on beef hearts.
Beef hearts are large, bigger than the size of your hand and should be available from your butcher, or supermarket. They have had the vein and artery materials removed and look like slabs of dark red meat with a marbling of fat on the outside.
Beef heart has a bit of a bad reputation in places on the internet because of the myths that it contains “worms”. You will find websites telling you to avoid hearts but giving no real reason, and there is certainly no scientific evidence that I can find that would lead me to worry about feeding it to my guys. It’s not to be used as the sole meat in a diet, but no one meat should be either…which goes back to the emulating of a wild diet which must have muscle, bone and innards.
I use a heavy sharp cleaver to cut into long strips so that my Sphynx has to do side-to-side chewing to swallow them. I leave the fat on the outside to add to the energy input. DO NOT cook or heat the heart as taurine is broken down by heat and will be lost.
I have to say that my cat absolutely loves this meat. Sonya appears to have enormous amounts of “extra” energy after eating the heart and seems to spend the whole day finding things to play with as well as running around and yelling to everyone about how good he feels.
I heartily (pun intended 😉 ) recommend adding heart to your cat’s diet whether it eats raw or not.