B.A.R.F for cats

Many Singaporean raw-feeders opt for the convenience of B.A.R.F (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) because :

1.) They want to feed raw, but don’t know how to do it properly by themselves
2.) They want the convenience
3.) It’s cheaper than dehydrated/freeze dried products.

[Edit: Because there are many raw commercial pet foods out there named B.A.R.F (beats me, can’t they name their foods differently?) I just want to make it clear that this review is about  Dr Billinghurst’s R.A.W BARF products. ]

Now we have never bought any B.A.R.F products (and we’ll tell you why!) but a sweet reader asked if we’d like some B.A.R.F  rabbit patties to try, so we agreed! You can thank her for this post 😛

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We were given B.A.R.F rabbit patties–a novel food indeed! To the cats, turkey is already ‘novel’, what more rabbit?

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We do like the idea of B.A.R.F, because it’s less processed than kibble and canned and of course has less grains and fillers.

Here’s the ingredient list:

Rabbit meat and bone derived from rabbit frames, finely ground, offal (a mixture of equal parts of heart and liver derived from beef and lamb), whole raw egg (no shell), fresh yoghurt, carrots, apples, dried alfalfa leaf powder and dried kelp powder.

Personally, I would have preferred it if the heart and liver is derived from rabbit as well, because if I’m paying for a product that is undeniably pricey, I’d hope to get everything of a rabbit inside. Also, because of the mix of animal parts, one would have to be sure that the pet does not have intolerance to any type of protein to be able to use it.

But that’s just a minor quibble!

2013-06-11 15.20.42

However, although there is no grains in the list, the product still has the following:

Carrots, apples, dried alfalfa leaf powder and dried kelp powder.

We are unsure of how much carrots and apples there are in the product because a quick search on B.A.R.F’s website only turned up the following percentages:

Guaranteed Analysis  Rabbit
Crude protein minimum 15.0%
Crude fat minimum 7.0%
Crude fibre maximum 1.0%
Calcium (Ca) minimum 1.1%
Phosphorus (P) minimum 0.9%
Calcium:Phosphorus Ratio  1.1 : 1
Moisture maximum  70.0%

Hm, calcium: Phosphorus levels are a bit low. But what we’d like to know is the fibre %, which is nowhere to be found.

And does it mean that the carrots and apples are chunky, like those found in canned food? We’ll find out.

2013-06-08 10.50.33-1
B.A.R.F raw rabbit comes in twin patties like these.

If you noticed, the expiry date is 18th Sept 2014. And this is what we are wary of. It was manufactured in 2012 (scroll up to see) and that means it is supposed to be good for two whole years! Till Sept 2014! Wow!

This is why we prefer to DIY, because we can be sure that the meat we get from the supermarkets is sourced fresh from AVA-approved authorities. Also, the product turnover rates in supermarkets are likely to be faster than B.A.R.F’s, simply because there is a bigger pool of people buying supermarket meat than there are people buying B.A.R.F.

2013-06-08 10.53.24-1
No apple and carrot chunks in sight! Very good, because cats cannot break down vegetable and fruit chunks the way humans can.

Pureed would be better, for fibre, and since we can’t see any in the patty right now, we can assume that the apple and carrot is powdered or pureed.

2013-06-08 10.52.10
Opening the packet…

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Ooh, a carrot bit!

It isn’t very big, and would have probably escaped our notice if we hadn’t been scrutinising the packet closely.

Hmm, smell-wise though, I must say I’m unable to tell if the meat has gone bad. This is because:

1.) I’m unused to rabbit
2.) Rabbit has a stronger, gamey smell that takes a little getting used to.

Here’s a video of the patty texture:

This is another reason why we don’t feed B.A.R.F. The meat is so minced that it’s more of a meat mush than mince. We don’t want the cats to get too lazy eating food that barely requires chewing (and yes, they WILL get lazy).

Wrapping their jaws around a chunky piece of meat also helps to provide mental stimulation (a poor stimulation at best, of course, seeing that they have to think for themselves to hunt in the wild) for the cats because they have to work out how to get the food down their throats.

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And the crew is ready to do some work!

Took a close-up of Faith working at her dinner to show you how much she licks the almost-puree meat mash rather than chew.

Another problem with meat mince like B.A.R.F is that mince may increase bacteria count. Yes, we do know that cats and dogs have iron stomachs, but even iron stomachs malfunction when overwhelmed. That’s why we caution immune-compromised animals and humans to try home-cooked diets instead of jumping straight to raw, and that raw diets require high levels of hygiene and vigilance.

THAT being said, I do find that B.A.R.F is a good choice for older, toothless animals who would surely appreciate the pureed meat mash. It is better than canned in the sense that there are less chemicals and no preservatives, not even in the form of vitamin E or C–unless the manufacturer chose to withhold information. It is also good for owners (or human slaves, depending on the situation) who wish to try raw feeding for the first time.

You can get Dr Billinghurst’s B.A.R.F from B.A.R.F Singapore.

[EDIT: Pet Station’s B.A.R.F is from BIG DOG PET FOODS and is different from the one sold in B.A.R.F Singapore.  Dr Billinghurst’s BARF Australia is in no way affiliated with Big Dog Pet Foods. BARF Australia  does not recommend or endorse Big Dog BARF.]

I can see the cats loving this product, but nope, they are going back to their meat chunks. No lazy kitties in this house!

Categories: Commercially-prepared raw, The Raw Explorer

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