December 1st, 2008, 01:53 AM
I'm new to feeding raw, but I've put in tons of research time so far.
A little back ground on each kitty to help out (lots of info, btw...figured I'd be thorough):
Jitzu, Spayed female, 4 yrs, 6-7 lbs. I got her from a roommate 2 yrs ago, she was fed crappy food until just after that when i started working at a pet store. During that time she had constant digestive issues. (pretty sure it was IBS, but since she's awful with the vet it's undiagnosed) She was bringing it back up at least 5 times/week. I switched her to Origen and saw some positive things. Less shedding, ect. Typical stuff. However, after about 11 months of that she started bringing it back up, not as much though, about 2-3 times/week. I think she may have a fish allergy and it got to her??? Started the switch to Natural Balance dry...took 3 months due to constant tummy troubles. *sighs* She's also started eating wet food, EVO. She keeps that down pretty well. Only brings it back up one a month or so, generally from eating too fast i think. She eats raw when it's offered, enjoys little pieces and a few meals once in a while. So far only brought it back up once...my fault, skipped a meal and they ate to fast. Everyone had trouble that day.
Torrier (Torri), spayed female 1 1/2 yrs, 5-6 lbs (she's a little underweight form an illness, but putting it back on slowly). We got torri when she was 5 weeks. Started her on Nutrience step 1 because of the added immune system boost, mixed with canned food and softened so she could eat it. As she grew i switched her to the origen that Jitzu was eating. She did well on it. She also had a very easy switch to the Natural Balance...she has a stomach like a tank! She got sick around 9 months, vet said it was a uterus infection so I got both her and Jitzu spayed at that point. (had been saving, not being lazy, lol) She switched well onto the EVO canned, but is a big wimp and gets chased away from it. She mostly eats NB dry, I give her wet when i can feed her separately and she eats raw whenever she can steal some, lol. She loves it, and eats it great. No tummy problems ever.
Doran, neutered male, 6 months. 6 1/2 lbs. I got him at just under 10 days (one of my feral females abandoned him) bottle fed him Just Born, switched him straight to EVO canned and NB dry. Never had any tummy issues (since he's been wormed anyways, but what can you expect) and loves raw. Will literally steal my food as i'm trying to cook it...silly boy.
Fuzz Muffin, male (will be neutered at 5m), 3 months, about 3lbs. We got muffin at 3 weeks (same mum as doran...also abandoned) He ate a homemade kitten milk, had some tummy troubles over his switch to EVO wet. Had a URI at about 5 weeks...came back recently. Vet thinks viral aka will be with him forever. Had some tummy troubles with that, but it's cleared up. He eats really fast, regardless of when he gets fed and gets an upset tummy from it, keeps it down but has gas and a big fat tum. He just had his first taste of raw tonight, and loved every bite.
Basically I'm looking to see how much they should be eating/I should be feeding them. Assuming i'm feeding 1 meal raw, 1 meal canned. (they only get the dry occasionally as a treat...minus muffin who thinks it's a toy and refuses to eat it. lol)
I just bought a grinder online...i'm hoping that in the long run it will be cheaper for me than the wet. Evo is about 2.60-2.75/can I go through about 1/day so far. (I know that will go higher, but they're ok with that so far.)
Should I wait until the boys are older due to cost? Switch them now because of adaptability? basically I'm looking for advice. I'm brand new to actually feeding them this way, but I want whats best for my kitties. Esp picky Jitzu.
I'm so glad i found this forum!
December 1st, 2008, 07:22 AM
Hello, and welcome to the board! That's quite the motley crew you got there.
Straight to the point: switch them all over to raw as soon as you're capable, no need to wait. It's much easier when they're young. You might want to do the actual transition very slowly, mixing small amounts of raw with their canned in ever increasing proportions.
As for the number of meals, is it possible to feed them more frequently than twice a day? Cats typically eat many small meals a day in "the wild" and it might cut down on the 'scarf n barf' or indigestion of some of your cats if they were fed similarly. Even if it's just 3 or 4 meals a day (for instance, in the am when you get up, then a snack as you're walking out the door, dinner when you get home from work and more snacks before you go to bed). What happens if you leave a bit canned food out for them? Does someone tend to eat it all? Or alternatively, you could freeze some canned in an ice cube tray and plop a couple cubes on a plate as you head out the door so they have a mid-day snack as it thaws. The same can be done for raw.
Do you have a recipe plan with the raw diet?
December 1st, 2008, 12:40 PM
Lol, they are quite the bunch!
If I did find it to be cheaper then I would switch them fully to raw. As it is my budget is tight...but I want to do the best for my kitties. Also that way if i mess up and miss something out of the raw recipe then they'll still be balanced with the canned. Or at least that how it's been explained to me.
As for transitioning them...if they'll happily scarf it down with no issues do i need to do this? They had a meal of raw last night (just some chicken breast/thighs and liver, but if Instincts TC powder and some water...no real recipe I just mixed it up cause they had been begging for the chicken, lol) And no one had any problems...in fact muffin didn't get his usual bloated, unhappy looking tummy. (that could also be because he got his last dose of dewormer a few day ago though, lol)
I could try meals...the thing is if there's food down Muffin's still eating. He will literally eat until he's bloated. And he'll eat Torri's serving as well (hence why she's fed separately) Last night Torri got hers because it takes Muffin longer to chew the raw! Yet another bonus. I guess part of my mind set is that if I leave food out it's going to spoil. I don't know how true that is for cats...but EVO also dries out and get gross and crusty. Also having 2 kittens in the house means SOMEONE will always lick the bowl clean. I may try the ice cube thing... I have a hunch it would become a toy though, lol
As for a recipe...not really. I've found the ones that appeal to me the most are the simplest ones. Largely because there's less for me to mess up while mixing it. I know missing one thing out of one batch might not be a big deal, but I also like the simpler recipes since they tend to me all/mostly meat+bones with a few supplements.
Does the recipe I feed change how much food they need???
December 1st, 2008, 01:29 PM
Lol, they are quite the bunch!
Got any pics? :D
As it is my budget is tight...but I want to do the best for my kitties. Also that way if i mess up and miss something out of the raw recipe then they'll still be balanced with the canned. Or at least that how it's been explained to me.
I also do a raw/canned combo (raw on weekends and most evenings, canned for weekday mornings). Mostly because my cat is a grazer so I feed him raw when I'm home and can give him several small meals of it. The canned I just leave in his dish and he gradually finishes it over the next 5-6 hours. I add a few tsp of extra water to slow down the crustification, although I think he actually likes the cruncy bits too. Reminds him of his kibble days.
I'm big on feeding variety, whether it be canned, raw, or :yuck: ....dry, or a combo. First, it prevents cats from getting addicted to just one food, which can be a problem if that food should be discontinued or it's necessary to change their diet for some reason. Also, like you said, it covers the bases as far as nutrition is concerned (there is no pet food that's "complete and balanced for the life of your pet", no matter what the manufactures say). And lastly, in the case of feeding commercial foods, it lessens the likelihood of a serious reaction to a contaminated (aka - recalled) product.
As for transitioning them...if they'll happily scarf it down with no issues do i need to do this?
Nope. I think it's important to transition at the speed that the cats feel comfortable with. So if they're gung-ho and don't have any corresponding digestive issues, that's awesome. I'm always switching my cat's diet at the drop of a hat, but for others that could potentially result in a major revolt. Do whatever works for you and your kitties.
I guess part of my mind set is that if I leave food out it's going to spoil.
It takes a far amount of time for canned food to spoil to the degree that it would be a health hazard. I know lots of people that leave canned out for up to 12 hrs without a problem.
I may try the ice cube thing... I have a hunch it would become a toy though, lol
Frozen-food hockey! Yup, that could happen, in which case I'd recommend a fairly deep bowl with steep sides. Not that it's any guarrantee.
I know missing one thing out of one batch might not be a big deal, but I also like the simpler recipes since they tend to me all/mostly meat+bones with a few supplements.
I like the simpler ones as well. The basics are meat, bones (a calcium supplement if not using bones - but not bone meal), organs, a touch of extra taurine if you're freezing it or using rabbit, and maybe a general cat multi-vitamin like NuCat or Tabby Tabs. Or meat with the Instincts TC powder is a good option. Other options include salmon oil and vit E, and specific supplements if there are any health problems to address (for example, Coenzyme Q10 for an older cat with cardiomyopathy - not something you need to worry about yet in your youthful bunch).
Does the recipe I feed change how much food they need???
Not really, unless you're using recipes with widely varying amounts of vegetable matter (which I don't recommend). Let the cats decide how much they should eat (within reason! - I say that with the uber-piggies in mind). If they need to gain weight, feed more, if they need to lose weight, feed less. The youngest ones should generally be allowed to eat as much as they want until they're done growing.
December 2nd, 2008, 01:47 AM
Pics! Do I ever!
Starting from the top, and Queen of the house, Jitzu!
Next we have Torri, our little princess:
Doran, he's a total mumma's boy:
And Fuzz Muffin. Very calm, very sweet, and very much the little brother!
They eat wet pretty exclusively. I give them dry maybe 1/2 cup twice a week. Torri gets it more because she's more picky about the wet and I don't want to leave it in our room overnight for her. (She gets picked on, so she gets to sleep with mum and dad) However I mix up the flavors. Its mostly EVO cat and kitten (to keep the boys balanced), but they get a flavor about 1-2 times a week. The last to nights supper has been raw, very happy kitties.
I bought a sample of the Instincts, but I'm wondering if that will make it the same/more expensive. Cost is a big thing for me, and I've heard lots of people say that raw is cheaper. So I'm hoping for that. If it's the same as the wet i'd be ok too...but I shouldn't spend more. I would be ok making my own if the recipe was easy and cheap. I should be getting a freezer as of Dec 23 (we just purchased our first house :D it comes with a little chest freezer) So as of then i'll hopefully start making it.
Is there a basic amount i should be aiming for? Amount per cat? Half my problem starting out is that I can't price it correctly because I have no idea how much each kitty will eat. That makes it tough to figure out price.
Thanks for your help Btw!
December 4th, 2008, 10:33 PM
So how much should i feed my cats per day?
3 1/2 lb kitten (won't be that size for long)
6 1/2 lb kitten (again...growing)
5 lb adult (needs to gain some weight)
6-7 lb adult (at a good/slightly higher weight)
I read some where that a 6lb cat should eat like 3 tbsp per day??? That doesn't seem like enough... So what's a decent average?
December 4th, 2008, 11:32 PM
So how much should i feed my cats per day?
It's hard to come up with a specific volume without knowing what the calories are of the food you're going to be feeding. There's a general guideline of 20-30 calories per pound of ideal weight, per day, give or take - depending on the individual cat. It may seem like a lot of work, but you could calculate an amount using a table like this: http://www.freecalorietable.com/search.php
Or you could guess that an oz of meat is going to be somewhere between 35-45 calories. So if a 5 lb adult needs 150 calories (or more) to gain weight they might need something like 4 or 5 oz of food. You could start with that and adjust depending on if the kitty is still acting hungry or if there's food left over. As you can see, it's not much of an exact science. There's a bit of trial and error until you work out what's best for your particular cats.
I didn't get a chance to mention how totally cute your kitties are. Love the black noses, and of course orange boys are guaranteed to be delightful.
December 4th, 2008, 11:51 PM
Lol thanks, they're all pretty sweet (well, Jitzu's a character, but i love her anyways, lol) and Muffin is def. a sweetheart!
As for feeding you think about 5 oz would be good for the girls...same for the boys? Less for muffin? I guess i can kinda try a few things, but I don't want them going hungry and i know muffin will try to fake me out.
December 24th, 2008, 04:35 PM
The little ones can get as much as they want as said above. They will definately let you know if they are hungry....6oz or more is okay as well....just watch them for gaining weight. Once cats are out of kittenhood it is best to feed them 2-3% of their body weight. If you are trying to help them gain weight you may want to up the percentage a bit. Also, have you tried warming the raw food up in a baggie placed in warm water for a couple of minutes. This may help with the throwing up issue??
I really like the ice cube idea. If the cats decide to play with it and then eat it more power to them. Keeps them occupied for a bit while you are not home. And makes them work for their food.
I find that I save more than half of what I was paying for feeding strictly canned food from the vet. I would pay between $1.49 to 1.59 a can. And I would go through almost 4 cans a day on two adult cats that were on a strict diet. I am so happy since I don't have to mix it with the raw anymore. I just keep a few tins on hand for my fussy girl cat :) :) I have seen the costs drop nicely.
Great to hear you bought a freezer. It will save you so much money in the long run because now you can buy when you see sales and buy in bulk. I also just bought a grinder on line. It is great b/c you can portion and freeze for long periods. If you are going to grind use the chunkier blade so their jaws still get a workout (if this works for them) but still also feed them whole as well. If they like this keep it up :) :)
Here is a article on around 39 tips on buying cheaper meat
Here is a calculator on the proportion of meat/bone/organ to feed
RAWCAT yahoo group
My group I started (may have some helpful info for you
I wouldn't worry so much about adding supplements. The cats are getting enough in the meat/bone/organs. The Instincts powder is what is going to make the raw feeding more expensive then just raw. I would recommend ditching it once you finish your bottle :) :)Only thing I would recommend if you are feeling scared about the nutrients is add a pinch of Taurine (which you can buy a huge bottle at a health food store) or a fish body oil for the Omega's. Stay away from veggie's/Grains/Rice - hard on cats stomachs and many are allergic to these.