Cats are natural hunters and carnivores. The cat on your lap is a true or "obligate" carnivore (meat only diet) and is specially designed by nature to hunt small rodents and birds. The cats digestive tract, as well, is intended to assimilate raw meat best.
The Benefits of Raw
Raw food diets have been shown to help the body deal with many common ailments such as flea infestations, hot spots, continual shedding, poor dental & gum health, allergies, gastro-intestinal problems such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, immune disorders, degenerative diseases, and diarrhea. Diet is the foundation of health. The fresher the diet, the more nutrients are available for the animal's system to utilize in building immunity, healing from illness and warding off disease.
Raw diets have been common practice in European countries for decades, especially Germany, where it is commonly recommended by veterinarians. The fear of feeding raw meat in our countries seems to stem from a fear of salmonella, e. coli and parasites. In over 10 years of feeding raw food and seeing countless animals on raw food diets, salmonella and e. coli have not been seen to be a problem. (Remember, their digestive systems are designed to accommodate raw meat.) Parasites could be contracted through eating wild, whole prey or game meats, but is much less likely from properly handled human grade meats. Infection is more likely to occur through ingestion of feces or soil, or poorly handled meat.
Obvious precautions should be taken when feeding raw meat
Muscle meats without bone, or without some added mineral supplement are not a complete diet for the cat. If your cat will not eat bone you may rinse and dry out eggshells and grind them to put into the meat for calcium. If you do use eggshells you will need to give about 2/3 of a large egg (1/2 tsp) per pound of meat.
Organ meats, by themselves, are also not complete and balanced, and cannot be fed as an exclusive diet. It is absolutely imperative that homemade diets be properly formulated so that they contain all of the essential nutrients for the cat.
Use safe food handling techniques - clean and sterilize all equipment, including cutting boards and food dishes after each use. Wash hands thoroughly after handling the raw meat.
Use the meat immediately, or freeze the meat mixture in individual serving-sized packets for future use. (Freezing also destroys many bacteria.)
Thaw meat in the refrigerator, not sitting on the counter at room temperature. Putting the raw meat in a baggie and placing in warm water can be used to thaw or warm the food after it has been mostly thawed in the refrigerator. Microwaving raw food damages the live enzymes and bones will harden even in just 30 seconds of microwaving.
Always take up and discard any uneaten food after 1/2 an hour to an hour.