A mother cat and her kitten became infected with tuberculosis – probably from eating raw offal – and did not survive. You can buy this kind of pet food frozen in supermarkets and pet shops. The RIVM and the NVWA are conducting further research into the origin of the contaminated meat.
Raw meat can indeed have risks, says senior lecturer Len Lipman of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University. “Both for the owners and for the dog or cat that eats it.”
Feed varied food
They can get sick from it, so salmonella can be in the food. In addition, cats do not get enough nutrients from raw meat. “There can be a shortage of certain vitamins. It is always said: cats also eat carcasses in the wild. But they also contain completely different parts and not just the soft meat. So you have to feed an animal a varied diet” Lipman says.
As an owner, you also run a risk. “If a dog eats raw meat, dangerous bacteria can get into its mouth. If the animal then starts licking you, for example on your face, you can get sick yourself.”
Yet there are also companies that sell special raw food for dogs and cats, such as BARFmenu. “It really makes your dog and cat fitter, if you give this food you will see another dog,” says owner Devon Loeve. They make sure that it is done in a good and safe way.
“There are also people who buy from countries where they do not know where the meat comes from.” That is not the case with BARFmenu, says Loeve. There is therefore no wrong meat from them. “We know where each product comes from. Everything is very natural. Only Dutch slaughterhouses and all products have unique codes. We can immediately see which party it is if something is wrong.”
Wash off well
You do have to handle the raw meat properly, says Loeve. “Our label tells you exactly how to handle raw food and how to defrost it. And in sealable containers, so there is no cross-pollination. You have to wash everything well.”