For nearly two decades, Natascha Wille has been driven to provide caregivers with information to better understand and care for their cats, and to provide products to ease the commitment of feeding a home-made or raw meat diet. In the search for optimal care for feline companions she turned to analyzing the lives and needs of small cats in the wild, leaving more conventional care methods aside.
Born in Germany, Natascha conducts her continuous studies of small felines, with the help of her own group of cats, from her home on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, Canada, where she also operates Three Gables Farm – a working farm promoting small-scale farming and heritage livestock breeds. A diploma in design and photography enables her to capture her chosen field with vivid imagery, and a solution driven mind and creativity foster the creation of products made for True Carnivores, to better meet the needs of people and felines alike.
Health is freedom! To wild cats, health is a prerequisite for survival. For cats in the company of people it is the potential to live life to the fullest. For people, a healthy companion cat is pure joy. For me, “healthy cats” is my mission. With my passion for cats I hope to inspire you to commit to homemade, raw cat food to prevent illness and set the stage for a long life.
Common commercial pet foods may represent an evolutionary dead end – resembling nothing the cat is naturally adapted to eating. A product that is cheap and convenient simply can not boast the attributes of being healthy and of high quality in the same breath. However, what are a cat owner’s alternatives? Have you thought of making cat food yourself? If so, you have come to the right place!
Nature has given us a precise blue print of cat nutrition. Biologists know exactly what each species of wild cat is most adapted to be eating, and modern nutritional analysis can provide a complete breakdown of these foods. DNA research enables us to find the wild equivalent of our domestic cat and provides us with the fact that the domestic cat remains genetically unaltered from its ancestor. We also know from evolutionary studies that each species specializes in a niche of life to assure continuation in the fiercely competitive game for survival. Together, this knowledge forms a very precise answer to perfect nutrition for domestic cats: mice. Innovation comes to play when attempting to recreate the mouse nutritionally with foods commonly used in modern human culture.
Cats are True Carnivores. They meet their nutritional needs entirely by consuming other animals. The ideal diet for our domestic cats would resemble that of wild living cats. A variety of small prey animals, especially rodents, would meet all their nutritional needs perfectly. Understandably, the modern cat owner is rather turned off by the idea of serving their feline companions four or five mice each every day, which is why I made it my motto to “reinvent the mouse” for ultimate feline nutrition. The resulting raw meat diet offers a practical and satisfactory alternative to the cat’s natural diet of prey.
FAQs about Natascha Wille Feline Nutrition
What is the history of your business?
My background in feeding a raw diet to cats and homemade cat food goes back to 1995 when I first started feeding a homemade diet to my own cats, and subsequently founded the Feline Future Foundation in 1996, which turned into a business in 1997 and became the well-known Feline Future Cat Food Company until 2010.
In this early period from 1995-1997 I developed a raw meat cat food recipe which, over the past 18 years, seems to have become the bread and butter to many who feed a raw meat diet today. That recipe first appeared online on my felinefuture.com website in 1997 in conjunction with the business, which my former husband Scott Baker and I started. We made this recipe as a pre-made frozen raw cat food and sold our line of that cat food very successfully in Vancouver, BC (Canada) and area.
In 1998 the idea of the raw diet premix was born, because distribution of our pre-made frozen raw cat food became an impossibility after we moved with our 19 cats to Salt Spring Island, BC. That premix became extremely popular and sold throughout the world within a few years.
Feline Future as inspiration
Around that time I befriended Ms. Michelle Bernard who had contacted me about raw feeding. Later, in 1999, she proof-read my book The Backyard Predator, and all this inspired her to write her own book “Raising Cats Naturally” based on her Raw Feeding Notes – a diary she had kept while transitioning her American Shorthair cats to raw with my help. Ann Jablonski, in turn, was inspired to feed raw by Michelle Bernard’s book, and re-published the original recipe on her now well-known catnutrition.org website. Ann Jablonski’s website was, in part, the reason why Dr. Lisa Pierson explored raw feeding, which resulted in the creation of the popular catinfo.org website. Over the years, Dr. Pierson made good alterations to the recipe based on her own experience.
I became largely disconnected from my own creation when I removed my raw meat cat food recipes from my felinefuture.com website in 2003, prompted by the discovery that many had used it for their own gain in the marketplace to sell products ranging from frozen foods to premixes, without any acknowledgement to its origin. Seven years later, Feline Future Cat Food Company and its history were lost, when it went bankrupt in 2010 due to the cost of defending a trade-mark issue in the U.S.
A passion lives on
Today, I do my work as Natascha Wille Feline Nutrition and limit my business to Canada, celebrating nearly 20 years of feeding raw to cats! I have a great network of colleagues and friends who, as part of their own business, use my concepts to make the premix alternative to raw feeding available to cat owners in other countries. Their companies control the rights to the premix and the name in their respective regions and we work cooperatively in order to help better the lives of cats. My life is still shared by nine cats, and I remain an avid researcher and advocate on the subject of feline nutrition and feeding raw, but what I choose to publish today is a fraction of the information I used to make available, in consequence to what I have experienced.
Nonetheless, I am so pleased that the raw meat diet for cats has evolved into a truly functional and beneficial alternative. What started as an idea will not be forgotten again, and is becoming a feasible and accessible option to many. I am thrilled that my recipe and my groundwork are still a part of this.
How did you get started in feline nutrition?
My first cat just showed up at my doorstep and remained unclaimed by an owner. So, I adopted her. She was a very pretty Norwegian Forest Cat -looking longhaired tabby whom I named “Freya”. Not long into my new role as cat owner, Freya suffered from recurring bladder infections and was overweight. Her staple food was kibble from the grocery store. Our Veterinarian at the time was instrumental in setting something life-changing in motion for me. I was given the usual antibiotics for Freya’s bladder infection and a high fiber kibble to promote weight loss, but I also took something else away from this visit to the Veterinarian. Her clinic was a “Cats Only” clinic and she featured a little library with books on cats. Among the titles was Anita Fraziers “The New Natural Cat”. This appealed to me, because I was very interested in healthy foods and natural remedies for myself. It also recalled memories from my early years in Germany, where it was still commonplace to created food for the family dog or cat from scratch.
I loved my little Freya and I enjoyed nothing more than to home-prepare her little meals daily. She loved it and never had bladder infections again and also lost her excess weight. It snow-balled from there. I got another cat, and a third one, and fourth one, and I made their food from scratch every day. I also became obsessed with learning more about cats, what they naturally ate, and how to create the perfect cat food.
How are you able to do such extensive work on food without being a veterinarian? Did you take some courses in order to understand cat’s needs?
Nobody needs to take a course to qualify for feeding their own children – a responsibility which most people still consider far more important than feeding the family cat. Likewise, you don’t need a PhD to create a recipe to feed cats. Personally I believe that someone with a passion is much more likely to make an expert than someone who sits through some courses. For example, I have investigated the nature of domestic cats since 1995, and have dedicated every day since to learning about them. We live in a wonderful time in which almost everything learned by others is documented and published. Extensive text books are available ranging from up-to-date field research of wild cats to nutritional requirements of cats obtained from laboratory experiments and feeding captive-kept wild cats as part of conservation efforts. Individual studies done through a public University are available for review by the public. This enables every layperson to access nearly all knowledge, except for what is guarded as proprietary by the private sector. The first recipe I made for my own cats, all these years ago, was based on the recommendations by a Veterinarian. From there I refined it extensively over the years based on the results I obtained with my own growing study group of cats, and based on my own nutritional analysis – which included a full analysis of wild-caught mice! Innovation was called for when combining human foods and supplements to created a diet for cats to mimic the nutritional composition of a mouse. Extensive familiarity with available supplements was important, but relatively easy to obtain due to the popularity of nutritional supplements for people. To this day I test the food every day by feeding it to my own group of cats, and I continue to review, refine, and improve it as new knowledge is gained and new supplements become available. It is very possible that my diet underwent the longest feed trial of any diet created for cats so far. My oldest cats are 16 years now and have eaten my food from the day they ate solid food.
Are you regulated by government or another veterinary agency? How do you ensure that everything is safe and not harmful?
The pet food industry is not regulated by the government or by a veterinary agency. Government wants to make sure that the consumer is properly informed about ingredients and nutritional value, but it does not and would not control how food is formulated. It is the consumer’s responsibility to educate him/herself and make the best choices for him/herself, their family,and their pets. Veterinary medicine does not concern itself much with animal nutrition, but leaves it to a competent industry to serve the public well in that regard. While the industry is competent, they are profit driven. Again, it is up to the consumer to learn about what motivates a pet food manufacturer and what its ethics are.
My recommendations are based on sound knowledge and extensive experience, and are tested thoroughly and ongoingly in house. My products are hand-made by myself from ingredients of known origin and purity. The ingredients used are foods and pharmaceuticals intended for people, but have proven suitable for cats and are 100% safe for cats. They are extensively tested for quality and purity by the manufacturer based on government regulations to guarantee that they are safe for consumption by people. The premix is made in small batches, precision measured, blended, sifted, and packaged by hand.
Are you in business for profit?
I am in business, because people asked me to make cat food for them rather than telling them how to do it themselves. Homemade cat food, raw meat cat food, and feline nutrition started as a personal interest. I started sharing what I learned, because I was very excited about the difference it made in my own cats. My business is something I created myself from nothing, based on my conviction, because I love it, and because people asked me for it.