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Transitioning cats to wet food...then raw

ladyhawk1
January 19th, 2008, 08:26 PM
Hello, first-time poster here.

I just recently came across info about the BARF diet for pets and I figured it might help with the vomiting of half-digested kibble I've noticed from one of my cats in the last several months.

My cats are 10 & 11 yrs old, and have always had constant access to dry food (most recently Medi-cal Dental Formula) with the occasional "treat" of canned grocery store wet stuff.

Today is only 2.5 days since I started to only feed wet food to both cats, at two daily feedings (am/pm). I had initially tried to add some raw chicken and bones from Paws-itively Raw Foods, but neither liked it. So, I'm sticking to the wet food only for now.

My concern is that neither is eating the quantity that is recommended on the can for their size (~10 lbs), so my irrational fear is that I'm starving them. Should I be concerned? Any words of wisdom?

I still would like to eventually have them eating only raw food (ie: Nature's Variety) but it seems this will take longer than I originally thought.

Thanks in advance, Jen
:ca:

sugarcatmom
January 20th, 2008, 10:39 AM
Hello, first-time poster here.

Hi Jen, and welcome to pets.ca.

I just recently came across info about the BARF diet for pets and I figured it might help with the vomiting of half-digested kibble I've noticed from one of my cats in the last several months.

Good for you for wanting to feed your cats better!

Today is only 2.5 days since I started to only feed wet food to both cats, at two daily feedings (am/pm). I had initially tried to add some raw chicken and bones from Paws-itively Raw Foods, but neither liked it. So, I'm sticking to the wet food only for now.

One step at at time. Once they're used to canned for a while, you can work on slowly introducing bits of raw.

My concern is that neither is eating the quantity that is recommended on the can for their size (~10 lbs), so my irrational fear is that I'm starving them. Should I be concerned? Any words of wisdom?

What and how much are they eating now? I personally don't pay a lot of attention to what the can says because it can very so much depending on the cat's age, weight, lifestyle and individual metabolism. A basic rule of thumb is around 20-30 calories/lb of cat (so a 10 lb cat could need anywhere from 200-300 cal/day). Canned foods average something like 30-35 cal/ounce (Wellness is 40 cal/oz). But again, these are very basic guidelines. For instance, my 15 lb 15 yr old male only gets around 16 cal/lb (2 of the 3 oz cans of Wellness a day) and he does fine. I'd like him to lose 1 or 2 more pounds but he complains profusely if I cut him back more than that.

My advice is to just keep an eye on your kitty's weight and if you think they need to eat more, you might need to try different foods (my guy likes a lot of variety or he gets bored) or ways to make their food more enticing (like sprinkling powdered freeze-dried treats or bonito flakes on top). There are lots of tips here if you want some more ideas: http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitioning_Dry_Food_Addicts_to_Canned_Food_

I still would like to eventually have them eating only raw food (ie: Nature's Variety) but it seems this will take longer than I originally thought.

Patience is the key. There are quite a few foods that my cat now eats with gusto which he originally rejected. Keep trying, and good luck!

ladyhawk1
January 20th, 2008, 05:45 PM
Thanks for the encouragement. Right now I'm trying them on Wellness, but it seems that I haven't found the flavour that both of them love. I'm feeding them each 1/4 of the 6oz can morning and night, so twice a day would be the "recommended" amount.

I was incorrect about the weight of at least one of my cats. Turns out she's only 6.5 lbs, and the other is just over 9, so neither needs to lose any weight.

What I'm noticing is one or the other usually only eats half of what I've set down for them at each mealtime. They might come back to it a short time later, but after about an hour, the food gets kind of crusty and apparently no longer appealling to them. I kind of thought that with approx 12 hrs between feedings, they would be hungry enough to eat the whole amount.

I will persevere though, and experiment with some other brands. This is my first time buying the premium wet food, so am unsure whether to expect them all to be the mushy pate like Wellness? Are there any that have small bits or chunks? Until now, they both really liked the "chunks in gravy" type of wet food.

Thanks again, Jen

Masha
January 20th, 2008, 06:50 PM
They might come back to it a short time later, but after about an hour, the food gets kind of crusty and apparently no longer appealling to them.

I add a little bit of water or chicken/turkey broth and mix it into the food. It keeps it from getting crusty and my guy loves it.

Love4himies
January 21st, 2008, 12:12 PM
I feed my kitties mainly Wellness canned, Go Natural canned, and Orijen kibble. To make the transition to Wellness and to keep my very picky Puddles interested I pulverized some Salmon Real Food Toppers (freeze dried Salmon, think there is chicken too, but Puddles likes fish) and mixed some on the top of her canned food. I like the Wellness grain free, Beef and Chicken, Chicken, and Turkey as it has the lowest phosphorus of all the flavours.

Puddles would not touch real food before making the switch to Wellness this last year, but will now eat half cooked chicken, beef, and salmon. I have tried the Paws-itvely Raw (my foster kittens absolutley loved raw and prefered it to cat food) and she won't eat it even if I mix it with her food.

Sweet Pea ate raw when she was nursing (she was a foster from local shelter before I adopted her), but will only eat cooked meat now.

Jasper thinks if it ain't Wellness or Orijen, it shouldn't be put in a mouth.

ladyhawk1
January 23rd, 2008, 08:06 PM
For those who have replied to my earlier posts, thanks for your input.

I've been trying various brands of the premium foods mentioned, and haven't found a clear winner yet. One thing I've noticed is that no matter if they seem to like a certain brand/flavour fresh out of the can, they don't seem to like the same thing after it's been in the fridge.

Wellness didn't seem to go over well regardless of the flavour. EVO might be promising, though the store only had one flavour to try. Nature's Variety = meh. Of course, they both seem to really like the Merrick's brand with the gravy, as this most closely resembled the grocery store type stuff I was previously giving them as treats. I'm not sure if Merrick's is as well regarded as something like Wellness or EVO. My local Bark & Fitz manager is willing to bring in some other brands and flavours, so I'll keep searching.

One thing I've noticed and thought I'd ask about, is the two instances I've tried to get them to eat some raw food. The first time was the raw chicken and bone from Paws-itively Raw Foods. Only Target even tried it, but I noticed within minutes she had vomited what little she had consumed. After that, of course she wouldn't eat anymore. I chalked it up to perhaps the raw chicken being too rich for her. However tonight, I split up one medallion of Nature's Variety Lamb to see how they liked it. Both sniffed at it and walked away. I took a tiny amount on my finger and shoved it into their mouths, hoping if they actually tasted it, they might decide they liked it. Well within 5 mins, I caught Target vomiting. I haven't found any little surprises from my other one, Storm, so at least the raw stuff didn't make her physically ill. Does anyone know what this could be about? I'm perplexed about this since it was Storm who seemed to be the one barfing up the half-digested vet brand kibble,which prompted me to try this transition. I'm at a loss and starting to wonder if this transition is even going to happen.

krdahmer
January 24th, 2008, 04:13 PM
When you store it in the fridge do you store it in the can? If so try a tupperware container or glass jar instead. I think it was Growler a while back that posted a thread about putting the cans in the fridge being bad.

Oh and welcome, best of luck with the change in food!

phoozles
January 24th, 2008, 04:48 PM
Also, to add my :2cents:, some cats just don't like their food cold. If you could have it sit for a bit to room temperature, or heat it up (very slightly) in the microwave, they might be more likely to eat it.

sugarcatmom
January 24th, 2008, 05:27 PM
One thing I've noticed is that no matter if they seem to like a certain brand/flavour fresh out of the can, they don't seem to like the same thing after it's been in the fridge.

That seems to be fairly common for a lot of cats. As krdahmer and phoozles mentioned, try storing it in something besides the can, and warming it up before serving (I like stirring in a touch of hot water). Other than that, you could buy the smaller 3oz cans so there's less leftovers.

Wellness didn't seem to go over well regardless of the flavour. EVO might be promising, though the store only had one flavour to try. Nature's Variety = meh. Of course, they both seem to really like the Merrick's brand with the gravy, as this most closely resembled the grocery store type stuff I was previously giving them as treats. I'm not sure if Merrick's is as well regarded as something like Wellness or EVO. My local Bark & Fitz manager is willing to bring in some other brands and flavours, so I'll keep searching.

Nothing wrong with feeding Merricks if that's what your cats like. Another one they might go for is the Wellness pouch (http://www.omhpet.com/wellness/cat_wellness_pouches_index.html) food, which is chunky (and one of the few made without wheat gluten). Spot's Stew (http://shop.halopets.com/category.cfm?SID=1&Category_ID=14) by Halo is also kind of like Merricks in texture (my cat thought it had too many peas - he hates peas - but maybe your girls will dig it). If I think of any other good non-pate foods, I'll let you know.

One thing I've noticed and thought I'd ask about, is the two instances I've tried to get them to eat some raw food. ..... Well within 5 mins, I caught Target vomiting.

This isn't all that unusual, but it's hard to pinpoint why it happens. It could just be an involuntary defense mechanism for some cats when exposed to new foods, or something to do with the texture, or for whatever reason their digestive systems decided they couldn't deal with raw meat. I had a cat that would instantly barf up raw beef (and nothing else - he wasn't much of a puker), but he was fine with beef canned food, so I never really knew what his issue was.

Some suggestions which may or may not work: try offering Target some cooked meat first to see if she can handle it better and then slowly work your way to raw. Also mixing extremely small amounts (like less than a tsp) in with some canned might fool her digestive tract into being more accepting. If you can find raw rabbit, it's possible that would go down better (tends to be the easiest for cats to digest).

ladyhawk1
January 24th, 2008, 08:15 PM
Thanks for all the feedback. Perhaps I'm expecting too much too soon. If I buy the larger cans I'll for sure put it in a different type of container for the fridge.

I'll also try SCM's suggestions for the raw food. I think I won't get my carpets cleaned until after I've figured out if the raw food thing will work. Nothing like cleaning up puke stains everywhere! :censored:

Love4himies
January 25th, 2008, 06:15 AM
I remember reading an article about changing cats diet to raw and vomiting. It has something to do with enzymes and cats needing enzymes added to raw to help their tummies breakdown the raw meat at first. For the life of me I can't remember where I read it.

I was feeding my foster kittens some raw (Paws-itively Raw) along with canned cat food and some did vomit consistantly, others did not. They still went back to gobble up more and only one out of the seven ended up prefering cat food over raw. The did not vomit when I fed them slightly cooked meat.

ladyhawk1
January 25th, 2008, 12:39 PM
Thanks, I did read something about that yesterday. I'll look for some enzymes the next time I go buy food.

SARAH
January 25th, 2008, 12:45 PM
When you store it in the fridge do you store it in the can? If so try a tupperware container or glass jar instead. I think it was Growler a while back that posted a thread about putting the cans in the fridge being bad.

Ooops :o I'll go take care of that STAT!

Also, to add my :2cents:, some cats just don't like their food cold. If you could have it sit for a bit to room temperature, or heat it up (very slightly) in the microwave, they might be more likely to eat it.

Microwaves .. not my favourites, but I usually add a little warm water to their canned food. Since it has some jelly in it, it disolves into the water and makes it that much tastier. Of course, they tend to drink that first and get to the food after ...

Any thoughts on Whiskas (dry and canned)?

sugarcatmom
January 25th, 2008, 01:30 PM
Any thoughts on Whiskas (dry and canned)?

Ya, don't feed it!! Ick. Not sure what type you're using, but here are the ingredients for Whiskas Meaty Selections Dry food:

Ingredients
Ground Yellow Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (Preserved with BHA/BHT), Natural Poultry Flavor, Wheat Flour, Rice, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Turkey By-Product Meal, Caramel Color,....

Not a darn thing good about it!!! Corn and more corn, no real meat, and nasty preservatives. Oh, and caramel colour, cause you know how important it is that this food not look the colour it would normally be, which is GREY! So ya, if you can at all help it, find something better.

growler~GateKeeper
January 26th, 2008, 02:05 AM
I remember reading an article about changing cats diet to raw and vomiting. It has something to do with enzymes and cats needing enzymes added to raw to help their tummies breakdown the raw meat at first. For the life of me I can't remember where I read it.

The raw food store I buy my cats' meals from suggests to have your animal on Probiotics for approx 2 weeks prior to starting a raw diet - this helps the digestion of the nutrient rich raw as opposed to the bad filler commercial food, cats digestive systems have evolved to accept what we have fed them over the last 30-40 years - commercial krunchies - more convenient for us but worse for them.

My cat is taking PB8 (http://www.nutritionnow.com/PB8.htm) probiotic capsules in her raw meals, just open & mix in :thumbs up

Kristin7
January 26th, 2008, 08:27 AM
I have thought someday I'd switch my kitties to raw as it seems like it is the best for them. The vomiting thing is something I've been worried about, good tip on the probiotics. My cats, the one time I fed them a bit of raw, both puked it up right away, so I've been hesitant ever since. What is the problem with storing food in the fridge in cans? Does it do something to the food or is it just that cats don't like cold food sometimes? Mine haven't been refusing their cold canned food but if there is something bad that happens to the food, I'll stop storing it like that...

want4rain
January 26th, 2008, 09:42 PM
we started with cooked chicken and slowly worked to uncooked chicken by cooking it less and less. my cats will gobble up anything (and i mean ANYTHING!!) and one of them barfs up everything but chicken and turkey and fish. i think he has a very sensitive stomach. even the early half cooked chicken sometimes got ralfed up.

id say give the half cooked stuff a chance and see how that goes. dont worry too much when you do a diet change and there is a great deal of ralfing. :)

-ash