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Lots of animals, how do you do it?

JohnQQQ
October 14th, 2009, 12:09 AM
Hello everyone, I've come here for some advise...

I have 3 dogs (Rhodesian Ridgeback, Beagle/Bulldog mix, and yorkie mix) and 5 cats (Bengal, Savannah & 3 normal house cats) who I want to get completely on raw food. I started feeding my cats raw about three or four years ago, but with so many animals it seems like I spend wayyy too much time feeding my animals in one day. The dogs are okay and will pretty much eat anything, but the cats are very picky.

I had them all completely on raw food, but it was just too expensive and time consuming to feed, so I switched to kibble/canned fish/wet food in the morning and raw at night.

In the mornings consist of EVO kibble and wet for the dogs or canned fish such as mackeral, salmon, sardines...the cats get evo kibble and wet, along with tuna, clams, salmon or sardines.

The evenings consist of supermarket bought raw meat, such as beef, chicken drumsticks, livers, gizards, pork, chicken, occasionally game hens, lamb and rabbit. every once in a blue moon my Savannah gets a mice or the dogs get green tripe.

Typically how it works is I'll go buy an obscene amount of food at the grocery store, then bag and freeze it, which is very time consuming to cut the meat up and have someone hold the bag for me. Then when it's time to feed, I get the food out of the freezer and thaw it lukewarm water for a half hour until it's warm, then I get out some paper plates and put the chicken, beef, pork livers, ect onto a plate and cut it up for the cats. The dogs stuff I just throw into the shower.

The problem is the cats are sort of finicky. My Bengal will pretty much only eat chicken, the Savannah lately has only been eating pork, while the others are hit and miss. Sometimes I'll cut up and prepare all this food only to have them not eat it.

First off, I think it's because of the kibble I've recently introduced that their appetite for raw food has decreased. I'll admit it I got lazy and it was soo much easier to just give regular food, but my cats look like their getting fat, and I don't really know how great it is to give my dogs cup fulls of kibble.

Any tips on how to make things easier? Like, do you guys only give one type of meat at a time, or do you do it buffet style? What about the actual food I'm feeding, I got the feeling that since my cat's don't eat organ meat they weren't getting enough vitamins and minerals, which is another reason why I started doing half and half. It's just come to the point where I can't keep spending an hour and a half each day just to feed these 8 animals, it's driving me nuts.

I'm just hoping someone tells me I'm crazy and points out a much easier method of feeding these animals, because I really hate to give them kibble, but it's all the cats seem to eat now.

Sorry for the rant :D

14+kitties
October 14th, 2009, 11:35 AM
Would you consider getting a meat grinder and grinding the cats food? If you did a bunch at one time and then just thawed what you needed for a day it would cut down on the work for you. Well, it would be lots of work on one day but then just a matter of thawing food daily. One of our members does that. I'm sure she will pop in soon.
The dry kibble does not help your cause any. Trying to feed completely raw and still giving kibble kind of defeats the purpose.
I tried it with my bunch but with this many kitties the taste buds are just too diverse. Some like it. Most don't.
As for the dogs you are on your own. :rolleyes:

sugarcatmom
October 14th, 2009, 04:33 PM
I have 3 dogs (Rhodesian Ridgeback, Beagle/Bulldog mix, and yorkie mix) and 5 cats (Bengal, Savannah & 3 normal house cats)

Welcome! That's quite the crew you've got. Just so you know, we only give out advice if you supply us with pics of 'em all :D.

The dogs are okay and will pretty much eat anything, but the cats are very picky.

Cats tend to be suspicious of new foods, so how you introduce those foods can make the difference on whether they accept them or not. Getting them used to the smell is half the battle, so if you can slowly mix the new stuff in with the old, starting with a very small amount and working up, that often does the trick. Something else to try is coating the new food in a favourite treat (like baby food or pulverized kibble or freeze-dried meat treats) to make it more familiar.

the cats get evo kibble and wet, along with tuna, clams, salmon or sardines.

I agree with 14+kitties, you need to ditch the kibble. How much do they typically get? A good canned food for breakfast would be fine, but Evo dry is extremely high in calories. Plus, like you're finding out, it can be addicting to many cats and some will pull out the hunger-strike card, refusing other foods. It may not be possible to go cold-turkey, in which case you can gradually give them less and less kibble while increasing their other options (like leaving canned food out for snacking).

My next suggestion is to stop feeding canned fish, for a few reasons:


Cats really don't need fish, it isn't a part of their natural diet and it can frequently be a source of allergies and inflammation.

Canned fish is also too high in sodium.

Fish has a strong smell, which puts it high on the addiction-potential list, to the point that some cats will refuse non-fish based foods.

And for the same reason that pregnant women are told to limit fatty fish (especially tuna) in their diet - due to the higher concentrations of toxins like mercury - so it goes for cats.


I wouldn't feed fishy food more than once a week, if at all.

then I get out some paper plates and put the chicken, beef, pork livers, ect onto a plate and cut it up for the cats.

Is there a source of calcium with all this meat? Do they eat any bones?

What about the actual food I'm feeding, I got the feeling that since my cat's don't eat organ meat they weren't getting enough vitamins and minerals, which is another reason why I started doing half and half.

The raw meat portion should actually consist of no more than 10-20% of their diet if it isn't balanced and I'm particularly worried about the lack of calcium if they aren't also eating an appropriate amount of bone. You'd be better off feeding them more canned food, ditching the kibble, and only feeding raw meat for treats or as a meal once every few days.

Or you could do as 14+ suggested and get a grinder, make a big batch of food (using a recipe to ensure all the nutrients are covered, like this one: http://www.catinfo.org/makingcatfood.htm), and freeze it in portions that are easy to thaw overnight in the fridge.

It's just come to the point where I can't keep spending an hour and a half each day just to feed these 8 animals, it's driving me nuts.

Ya, that's a tad excessive. There are easier ways! If nothing else, feeding a quality canned food would be better, but if you have the inclination to mix up the occasional batch of a balanced raw diet, do check out that last link I gave you. Love4himies feeds her cats that recipe and she finds it cheaper than feeding commercial food. The trade-off is you have to spend a bit of time on the prep, but not everyday!

growler~GateKeeper
October 15th, 2009, 02:48 AM
Aside from the advice given above I wanted to touch on a few things

The evenings consist of supermarket bought raw meat, such as beef, chicken drumsticks, livers, gizards, pork, chicken, occasionally game hens, lamb and rabbit. every once in a blue moon my Savannah gets a mice or the dogs get green tripe.

Typically how it works is I'll go buy an obscene amount of food at the grocery store, then bag and freeze it, which is very time consuming to cut the meat up and have someone hold the bag for me.

Is there a quality butcher shop nearby? You will find the prices far less expensive than the grocery store.

Are the dogs consistantly getting apropriate portions of bone and organs?

The dogs stuff I just throw into the shower.

That concerns me as to the high potential of toxic soap residue, soap scum or cleaning agents left in the shower :yuck:

Any tips on how to make things easier? Like, do you guys only give one type of meat at a time, or do you do it buffet style? What about the actual food I'm feeding, I got the feeling that since my cat's don't eat organ meat they weren't getting enough vitamins and minerals, which is another reason why I started doing half and half. It's just come to the point where I can't keep spending an hour and a half each day just to feed these 8 animals, it's driving me nuts.

It is easier for digestion if the animals are only eating one type of meat per day ie chicken today, beef tomorrow etc, because each type of meat digests at different rates. Plus it's easier to tell if one pet can't handle a certain type of meat if it's fed individually.

You definitely need organs and bones or bonemeal added if you are going for a predominately raw diet. Half of the organ portion should be liver.

Spending some time ahead to prep meals and freezing in daily portions definitely makes life easier.

Another alternative, depending on availability where you live, is a commercially prepared raw mix such as those made by Natural Instincts, Club Canine, Fresh Start Raw Foods, etc.

aslan
October 15th, 2009, 06:38 AM
Welcome! That's quite the crew you've got. Just so you know, we only give out advice if you supply us with pics of 'em all

:eek:that is a new and brilliant approach at getting pics SCM....

JohnQQQ i'm with SCM with the concern for whether or not you're feeding the animals bone, or atleast egg shell. As i don't have cats i can't give advice on that subject but both of my dogs are raw fed..14+ gave good advice on if you can grind the meat up for the kitties. You could try buying a package of ground chicken or turkey just to see if the cats go for it more easily before going to the expence of buying a grinder or food processor. We usually just take the meat out of the freezer and thaw it either in the fridge or in a bowl in the sink. goodluck oh and welcome.

14+kitties
October 15th, 2009, 10:19 AM
Ok so, we can solve this problem pretty easily. Anyone know of a way to cut down my time feeding????? :p:D

breeze
October 15th, 2009, 10:30 AM
Ok so, we can solve this problem pretty easily. Anyone know of a way to cut down my time feeding????? :p:D

get some volunteers to help you ??:D:D

JohnQQQ
October 15th, 2009, 10:38 AM
thanks for the great advise, I'm defenitly going to try out some of the stuff you mentioned...


here is a pic of my ridgeback, and a link to my youtube channel with videos of the others

http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/2259/leops.jpg

http://www.youtube.com/user/RTbar

Melei'sMom
October 16th, 2009, 02:02 PM
For the picky kitties, you might want to check out this brand of raw. might be the solution you are looking for :lightbulb:

http://www.mountaindogfood.com/

Love4himies
October 16th, 2009, 02:48 PM
:laughing::laughing::laughing: Welcome. Sorry, had to get the laughing out of the way first. I feel your pain.

I know exactly what you mean about the time it takes to feed raw. I think Bendyfoot and Merlins Hope just put their meat/eggs/offal/bones into a bowl for the dogs and say: "eat" and the dogs oblige.

Of course for cats it is totally different :frustrated::rolleyes:

I grind my own cat food, it is MUCH faster than cutting into pieces, which I used to do. You really need a quality grinder for the bones though. DH is the muscle behind the grinding and keeping the bags open as I fill them. I make two weeks worth at a time, fill in daily bags for thawing in the fridge each day. I warm up some water in the microwave (about 20 seconds) add the cold, ground meat and mix it up so it is somewhat warm for the kitties.

I do find the hungrier my kitties are the more they are willing to eat what is put before them, just like kids :D. I only give Jasper some kibble if he has had a lot of exercise (I have difficulty keeping weight on that boy) and it is put on top of his canned or raw. Kibble is an addiction so they don't get just kibble. When I want them to crunch on some meaty chicken bones, they get that instead of dinner and get fed when they are finished their bones (just enough to clean their teeth every few days).


I buy my meat at a local butcher and buy in bulk so it is not too expensive (cheaper than cheap cat food). If you talk to him/her, you may get some that fell on the floor for cheap :D. Also, I buy meat when it is on sale(chicken breasts with bones) and freeze it until I am ready to use it.