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Old March 20th, 2012, 08:05 PM
Floppy Dog Floppy Dog is offline
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Question Senior Cat Switching from Kibble to Raw

Hi all you cat food gurus out there!

I have a senior cat (10-11 years old, male, neutered) and I am thinking about switching him from kibble (Royal Cannin Intense Hairball) to raw.

Background: I adopted Crush about 8 years ago this May long weekend. He had been a stray before I rescued him. He has been on kibble and free feeds with a gravity feeder since I've had him. He's generally in good health, but I think that arthritis may be setting into his hips (he seems uncomfortable when I brush his fur in the hip area but can still jump onto his perch and the window-sill with ease) and has a missing tooth or two (doens't seem to stop him from eating though).

My concern is that as he ages (I consider him to be on borrowed time now) health problems may start cropping up due to the additives and fillers in kibble. I lost one cat to kidney failure and I'd prefer not to go through that again.

So my basic questions are:

Does feeding raw reduce the chances of renal (kidney, bladder and urinary tract) problems in older cats?

How do you transition a cat from kibble to raw?

Can you feed kibble and raw together or do you have to time meals the way you do for a dog (12 hours apart, I understand)?

How do you ween a cat from being free-fed to set mealtimes?

What are the proportions of protien, fat, bones and vegetable (?) matter for a cat?

If the cat is missing teeth, can he still handle the chewing and crunching involved or do you have to pulverize everything?

Should I start with a packaged raw diet? I'm considering Red Dog Deli because it's about as local as I can get and is supplied in my pet food store.

And last, since I am also considering switching my dog (4 years old, female, spayed), which should I do first, cat or dog?

Look forward to your comments and suggestions, and thanks for taking the time.
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  #2  
Old March 21st, 2012, 08:25 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Every cat is different, some take to raw immediately, some are so stubborn. I really think it depends on their background and what they were fed from the time whey were weaned.


http://www.catinfo.org/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floppy Dog View Post
Hi all you cat food gurus out there!

I have a senior cat (10-11 years old, male, neutered) and I am thinking about switching him from kibble (Royal Cannin Intense Hairball) to raw.

Background: I adopted Crush about 8 years ago this May long weekend. He had been a stray before I rescued him. He has been on kibble and free feeds with a gravity feeder since I've had him. He's generally in good health, but I think that arthritis may be setting into his hips (he seems uncomfortable when I brush his fur in the hip area but can still jump onto his perch and the window-sill with ease) and has a missing tooth or two (doens't seem to stop him from eating though).

My concern is that as he ages (I consider him to be on borrowed time now) health problems may start cropping up due to the additives and fillers in kibble. I lost one cat to kidney failure and I'd prefer not to go through that again.

So my basic questions are:

Does feeding raw reduce the chances of renal (kidney, bladder and urinary tract) problems in older cats?

I believe it does. One of the basic necessities of healthy cells which of course make up the organs, is water. A cat on kibble is chronically dehydrated (try eating crackers all day, then trying to get your liquids by using your tongue). Also, kibble is much more processed and has higher carb content than quality canned.

How do you transition a cat from kibble to raw?

As stated earlier, every cat is different. Have you tried giving him some raw or cooked meat? How did he respond?

Can you feed kibble and raw together or do you have to time meals the way you do for a dog (12 hours apart, I understand)?

My Jasper eats both kibble and canned/raw (mostly canned/raw) through out the day, my others are just eat canned/raw. I have no problems with his digestive system unless he eats too much kibble

How do you ween a cat from being free-fed to set mealtimes?

I feed my cats 3 times a day and the food is put in the bowl and the munchers just go back to it when they want a bite.

What are the proportions of protien, fat, bones and vegetable (?) matter for a cat?


Cats do NOT need any vegies, they are carnivores (unless you want to add a bit of catnip, hehe). I use the prey model 80% muscle, 10%bone, 10%organs (kidneys/hearts/liver), a bit of salt (for iodine), and they need skin for their vit D(they don't get it from the sun)
If the cat is missing teeth, can he still handle the chewing and crunching involved or do you have to pulverize everything?

Should I start with a packaged raw diet? I'm considering Red Dog Deli because it's about as local as I can get and is supplied in my pet food store.

I make my own, as long as they use a whole prey model and is recommended for cats, then is should be fine.

And last, since I am also considering switching my dog (4 years old, female, spayed), which should I do first, cat or dog?

Can you do both at the same time?

Look forward to your comments and suggestions, and thanks for taking the time.
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Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

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  #3  
Old March 21st, 2012, 08:32 AM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Yay for switching to raw!!! You won't regret it, it's probably the most important thing you can do for your kitty's health. Along with everything L4H said, I have some great links I can post for you later today regarding how to make the transition.

Oh, and Red Dog Deli is an excellent commercial raw food. I feed it to my 4 regularly. You have to read the labels though as some flavours don't contain bone and should only be fed as a treat or else supplemented with calcium (venison, buffalo, wild boar, for example).
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Old March 21st, 2012, 09:36 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floppy Dog View Post
If the cat is missing teeth, can he still handle the chewing and crunching involved or do you have to pulverize everything?

Whoops, I forgot this question. It depends on the teeth missing. Sweet Pea has had some of her back teeth pulled and can no longer crush the bones so I grind my raw.
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Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
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  #5  
Old March 21st, 2012, 11:00 AM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floppy Dog View Post
So my basic questions are:

Does feeding raw reduce the chances of renal (kidney, bladder and urinary tract) problems in older cats?
Since chronic dehydration plays a big role in disorders related to the renal/urinary tract system, and a moisture deficient diet of kibble results in chronic dehydration, then absolutely a moisture-rich raw diet can help in that regard. Plus the higher quality, less processed ingredients are better for overall health.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floppy Dog View Post
How do you transition a cat from kibble to raw?
In some case, going from kibble to canned and then raw might be easier but you'll have to experiment a bit to see what works for your cat. An older cat that's only eaten dry his whole life might be a little tougher to convert since dietary preferences and eating habits tend to be set early in life. Some cats don't even recognize fresh meat as food! However, I firmly believe that with enough patience and persistence, ALL cats can eventually make the switch. Here are some links to help with that process:
How to transition your cat to a raw diet
A Practical Guide: Transitioning Your Cat to a Raw Diet

How to Win the Healthy Food Battle with Your Fussy Feline, part 1,
How to Win the Healthy Food Battle with Your Fussy Feline, part 2,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floppy Dog View Post
Can you feed kibble and raw together or do you have to time meals the way you do for a dog (12 hours apart, I understand)?
You can use kibble to encourage a kitty to try a raw diet by pulverizing it and sprinkling it on top. I wouldn't make a habit of feeding them together over the long-term because the high carb content of dry food alters stomach acidity and may interfere with proper digestion of the raw meat. More on that here: http://feline-nutrition.org/answers/...-the-same-time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floppy Dog View Post
How do you ween a cat from being free-fed to set mealtimes?
Some info on that in the links above. I'd suggest offering frequent meals at first if you can (like 4-5 times a day, eventually going to 3x/day as your kitty adjusts). It's also possible to leave some canned food out for snacking if you need to. That's actually what I do - feed 3 raw meals a day and leave a bit of canned down to augment.

Hope that helps!
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 12:54 PM
Floppy Dog Floppy Dog is offline
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Thank you for all your replies. I will do some more research.

The frequent feeding (3-4 times per day) is going to be a big issue. I work and Beena goes to school, so our cat and dog are on their own for the best part of the day. Is from 8 am to about 6 pm too long to go without food if I go for the raw diet?

When I prepare our own meals, I will start giving Crush some meat tid-bits to see how he likes them. I know our dog likes them, she's always waiting to see what falls from the cutting board! I know he doesn't like canned fish, but doesn't seem to mind the juice from the tins.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 02:12 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floppy Dog View Post
The frequent feeding (3-4 times per day) is going to be a big issue. I work and Beena goes to school, so our cat and dog are on their own for the best part of the day. Is from 8 am to about 6 pm too long to go without food if I go for the raw diet?
I'm gone from about 7:30am to 5pm, so what I do is feed them a raw meal in the morning, leave some canned out for snacking, then feed raw when I get home and again before going to bed (plus leave a bit more canned out overnight). But even if something along those lines won't work in your situation, 10 hrs between meals should be manageable (and you'll have a nicely hungry kitty at dinner!).
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 02:28 PM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floppy Dog View Post
Thank you for all your replies. I will do some more research.

The frequent feeding (3-4 times per day) is going to be a big issue. I work and Beena goes to school, so our cat and dog are on their own for the best part of the day. Is from 8 am to about 6 pm too long to go without food if I go for the raw diet?

When I prepare our own meals, I will start giving Crush some meat tid-bits to see how he likes them. I know our dog likes them, she's always waiting to see what falls from the cutting board! I know he doesn't like canned fish, but doesn't seem to mind the juice from the tins.
Mine get fed their largest meal at 5AM, then a small one at 5PM when we get home, then another small one at 8PM before we go to bed. They have gotten used to this schedule, in fact one kitty kindly reminds me that I'm late every weekend starting at about 5:15AM
__________________
Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
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  #9  
Old March 26th, 2012, 12:38 PM
Floppy Dog Floppy Dog is offline
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Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your input. I will start by transitioning Crush from kibble to wet food and introducing a raw meat tid bit or two when I'm preparing our food.

I had Beena check his teeth, he's only missing 2 front teeth, all the molars seem to be intact.

Questions about bones: What kind of bones are small enough and soft enough for a cat to chew through? I can see my Cocker Spaniel chewing her way through a chicken neck or back, but I can't see Crush doing that. For all that he's a big cat, his jaw is tiny and his teeth look like wee pearls, not bone crushers!

Thanks again. Will keep you updated as I begin transition.
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If you're green, you're growing...if you're ripe, you're rotting!

I try to greet the world like my pets do...boundless enthusiasm, intense curiosity and no concept of yesterday and tomorrow.
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  #10  
Old March 26th, 2012, 02:39 PM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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I give my cats, or should I say just Rose because nobody else will munch on them, chicken wings, and chicken backs (the rib bones). And yup, they can chew through them bones like there is no tomorrow.
__________________
Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
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  #11  
Old April 4th, 2012, 05:50 PM
Floppy Dog Floppy Dog is offline
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Now that we have finished moving (I hate moving house!) I started transitioning Crush to a combination of wet and dry food. I'm using Wellness chunks on the principle that it looks and feels most like real meat. He's getting 1/2 cup of his kibble, topped with a small can of the wet. Seems to be going down beautifully. I've also started leaving him with just enough food for the day, to wean him off being free-fed.

Once I go to raw, how much by weight should I be feeding a 13 lb senior cat? He's mostly indoor but does go outside a few times a day to explore, sun himself or answer the call.
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