Study Targets Raw-Diet Safety Issues

As raw foods grow in popularity, research is needed

The very words “raw diet” can evoke a strong response (pro or con) when mentioned among cat lovers. Issues of concern include the potential for illness caused by infection by bacteria and parasites of cats and their owners, the development of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, and the veracity of statements by commercial pet food companies regarding the meats used in formulating raw diets.

In a study funded by the Cornell Feline Health Center, Laura Goodman, PhD, assistant research professor in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, is using molecular biologic techniques to characterize the bacterial and parasitic populations (including antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria) and the sources of meat used in a variety of commercially available raw cat foods to help quantify the potential risks of feeding commercially available raw foods to cats and to investigate whether their ingredients lists accurately represent the meats used in their production.