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Old August 8th, 2008, 08:54 AM
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Raw and Cats - Details!

I have fed raw to dogs for 6 years so its not something that is new to me BUT I am still struggling with feeding raw to Minnow. Aside from the inevitable transition issues (it took 4 years to get her onto Orijen and she will not TOUCH wet food) - there are so many varying ideas about what to add, what not to, whether to grind or not etc...

Does anybody here feed raw EXCLUSIVELY to their cats? And if so, what are the details of your recipes? How often do you feed? How much?

I prefer to supplement with natural sources and use pills as infrequently as possible. However, the taurine has me worried. Another reason why I am not thrilled about supplementing with pills is because Minnow is picky enough without adding additional deterrants. Also most sites suggest that you add the supplements right as you grind the meat, which IMO means that you never actually know how much they are getting???? Not to mention what is lost when you freeze.

To start Minnow off I ground a duck carcass, beef heart and liver (I add salmon oil at the time of feeding). This is just to introduce her as I know its not balanced (she is still eating kibble). Of course she despises it and went on a hunger strike - I know the dangers and have in the past had to force feed which was no different this time. So we have numerous sessions of eating ground meat off my finger and then she gets a few kibbles etc... She will NOT be "tricked" into eating raw - ie: sprinkling ground kibble on raw is still rejected, since she won't touch wet food, there is no sneaking there either. After 4 days she did make the slight improvement of licking the raw on her own (from a bowl) but she hasn't made any improvements since then and its been a while

Which leads me to more questions - most suggest that you only feed prey that your cat would catch which basically means rabbits, mice and some forms of poultry. I am not convinced that rabbit and poultry is enough variety for a cat long-term (and I have yet to find a mice butcher)?????
Also - to grind or not to grind???? First off, I do not believe in grinding for dogs as I do not think its good for their oral hygiene and I believe that quality is lost when you grind meat (oxidation, bacateria growth etc..)... But it seems for cats, grinding is the preferred method???? And with Minow, grinding is at least necessary until she chooses to eat it on her own (which could very well be years down the line).
Also - cats seem to prefer their raw slightly warm but that bothers me too - talk about bacteria growth and not keeping it fresh. Especially when Minnow rejects it - its basically wasted (I cannot save it for later because it loses its freshness/goodness not to mention she would never accept being offered the same meat twice). BTW - I am not worried about the bacteria affecting her digestive system, I am worried about it degrading the food/whatever supplements I choose to add.

Could it be possible that I am over-analyzing again???
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Old August 8th, 2008, 09:26 AM
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I feed raw to my foster kittens and have never had a problem with bacteria. I warm up some water (about 1/5 cup) in the microwave for about 25 seconds, then add raw (3 NV raw medallions) that has been thawed in the fridge. It doesn't warm it up completely, but does get rid of the fridge chill. Their last feeding of the day is at 8PM and raw is left out until 5:30 next morning or until they have eaten it all.

I have NOT been successful with transitioning my adult cats to raw, but have managed to get my Puddles to eat partially cooked meat from not recognizing meat as a food, she will NOT touch totally raw food. I credit the change to switching her food from corn filled kibble to high quality canned (Wellness and Fromms 4 star). I can get Jasper to eat some raw (lamb only though) if it is covered with orijen. Sweet Pea used to eat raw when she was nursing, but since she stopped, she stopped eating raw, think it is because she is never hungry enough.

I think Frenchy, sugarcatmom, growler and want4rain feed raw to their cats so they may have some suggestions on switching adults to raw.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissa View Post

Could it be possible that I am over-analyzing again???
I know others have done more research than I , but I like keeping it simple and I think it makes it easier for the cats to like it too. I feed kibble mix with some wet food and water in the morning but raw at night. So I don't need to supplement. It will be either beef or chicken , cut into small pieces + one piece of liver + one chicken heart. The chicken heart I cut into pieces , if not Paddy will put it in his water bowl So far it has worked well. It did take 2-3 weeks for Paddington to get used to it but now he does love it.

I think the more complicated you make it , the less tasty it will appear to them , just my
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Old August 8th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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Does anybody here feed raw EXCLUSIVELY to their cats? And if so, what are the details of your recipes? How often do you feed? How much?
I alternate canned with raw (canned in the am, raw for evenings and weekends). I'd love to be able to make my own raw but my hubby is beyond squeemish about me getting a grinder (we're both vegetarians), so I buy prepackaged raw diets instead. Takes a lot of the work out of what to supplement with (although you still have to do some research cause not all of the commercial raw diets are balanced).

Another option (which I have yet to try) is getting a supplement such as Feline Future's Instincts TC and mixing it fresh with your own raw meat supply. I've heard lots of cats like the Instincts TC.

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Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
I prefer to supplement with natural sources and use pills as infrequently as possible. However, the taurine has me worried.
You could try feeding items very high in taurine, such as clams or pig heart (beef heart also has fairly high taurine). I supplement my guy with powdered taurine (NOW brand) and it's completely tasteless, in case you're worried about putting Minnow off her food by adding it. Here's some more taurine info: http://www.serve.com/BatonRouge/taurine_chmr.htm

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Another reason why I am not thrilled about supplementing with pills is because Minnow is picky enough without adding additional deterrants.
B vitamins tend to be the big one that cats don't like. It has a pretty strong smell and taste.


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Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
To start Minnow off I ground a duck carcass, beef heart and liver (I add salmon oil at the time of feeding). This is just to introduce her as I know its not balanced (she is still eating kibble). Of course she despises it and went on a hunger strike -
Maybe try introducing it without the salmon oil. Strangely enough, fish oils are not usually well liked by cats. Also the organs can be an issue for some. Does she ever eat just plain, raw chicken breast? I'd start as simply as possible and very slowly work your way up, introducing new things in miniscule amounts until she accepts them.

Does Minnow like baby food at all? That can be useful for getting cats to eat new or unpopular food items by mixing them in slowly increasing proportions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
She will NOT be "tricked" into eating raw - ie: sprinkling ground kibble on raw is still rejected, since she won't touch wet food, there is no sneaking there either.
You might have to try more irresistable treats to sprinkle on top. Freeze-dried meat like Real Food Toppers or Halo Liv-a-Littles can work well. Powdered nutritional yeast is a strong smelling additive that lots of cats are drawn too. Parmesan cheese is another one. If you haven't seen these tips for getting kibble addicts to eat canned food, there might some other tricks you can try: http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitionin...o_Canned_Food_


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Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
Which leads me to more questions - most suggest that you only feed prey that your cat would catch which basically means rabbits, mice and some forms of poultry. I am not convinced that rabbit and poultry is enough variety for a cat long-term (and I have yet to find a mice butcher)?????
I don't agree with the "prey only" concept myself. My cat happens to loooooove buffalo, but I'll be damned if he'd ever actually catch one himself. With mice, you could always try the frozen pinkies and fuzzies and whatnot from online suppliers like Rodent Pro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
Also - to grind or not to grind???? First off, I do not believe in grinding for dogs as I do not think its good for their oral hygiene and I believe that quality is lost when you grind meat (oxidation, bacateria growth etc..)... But it seems for cats, grinding is the preferred method????
Unless you have a cat willing to eat whole small prey (like cornish game hens or the previously mentioned frozen mice), then grinding becomes necessary to ensure meals are balanced. I know that want4rain feeds whole prey (chicken), but there's no way my geriatric guy would ever go for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
Could it be possible that I am over-analyzing again???
Maybe a little, but it is a good idea to be careful where feline nutrition is concerned. They have a much narrower range of appropriate nutrient proportions than say dogs or people.
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Old August 8th, 2008, 02:40 PM
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So I don't need to supplement. It will be either beef or chicken , cut into small pieces + one piece of liver + one chicken heart.
Not to alarm you, Frenchy, (well, maybe a little bit) but if that's just meat without any bone, you really need to be adding a calcium supplement. If the meat was only about 10-15% of their diet, it wouldn't be a problem, however it sounds like it makes up 50%. If that's the case, your cats are getting waaaaay too much phosphorus in relation to calcium. Ideally the ratio should be around 1.2-1.4:1, give or take, so if you are just feeding meat, it's probably upwards of 1:15, which is dangerous over the long term.

http://www.serve.com/BatonRouge/nutr...cium_suppl.htm
http://maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm

Quote:
Unthinking or uninformed owners most often distort the calcium-phosphorus balance of their cat's diet by feeding a diet consisting almost exclusively of muscle meat or organ meats such as liver, heart, or kidney. All of these meats contain phosphorus but are devoid of calcium, which results in a calcium--phosphorus ratio of 1 to 15 or greater. Prolonged feeding of such a diet results in severe demineralization of bones, pain, and sometimes fractures or paralysis, a condition called nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism. An adult cat may exist on such a diet for years without showing signs of disease, but the body changes are occurring nevertheless. Remember that the wild ancestors and living relatives of the domestic cat relied on a variety of foods found in the entire body of their prey.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 10:51 AM
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My 3 are on 100% raw. Majority of the time they eat Paws and Claws Pet Pantry, but as they have gotten more comfortable with the raw routine we've experimented more with the whole prey, etc... On a weekly basis my guys get a variety of chicken necks, chicken heart, beef heart, sometimes I'll throw down a whole chicken quarter and let them pick away at that. Next we're trying half quail, we'll see how well that goes over.
In terms of supplements, I really don't add much (besides one of my cat who is dealing with a variety of problems, but thats a different story all together). I'll add some salmon oil if they hadn't had fish lately (maybe once a week), maybe a little extra taurine if they haven't eaten beef heart/chicken heart, etc in a while. Other than that we keep it pretty simple.
We do prefer the ground simply because all of my cats are not always interested in eating bone, etc... Its just the easiest way to feed them a balanced raw diet.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 11:31 AM
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I started (then stopped after we got Skylar) feeding Angus and Finn a ground RAW diet using Feline Futures Instinct TC, Angus took to it immediately and loved it, Finn was slower to like it but was coming along.

I really liked the ease of using the Instincts powder, it definitely took some of the guess work out of being a first time RAW feeder. My plan was to only use it until I got used to the RAW thing.

I was also under the impression that if you are feeding chicken for a meal you should add chicken hearts and liver, or if you're feeding beef you should use beef hearts and liver. I can't remember where I read/heard that and why it would be significant.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 11:08 AM
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i have a few comments to add (after my long hiatus!! not sure if im back yet though )

Frenchy- also keep in mind that the only time my pets have ralfed up bone is when its cut. somethign abotu the edges??? ive read a few places that im not the only one ot have that problem. if you can, go with cut up backs or ribs??? you SHOULD be able to get rib bones from a butcher for next to nothing and then add that to the stuff you are cutting up. the rib to breast meat ratio is poor and the nutritional difference between light and dark meat is considerable enough to make sure you have both. my cats dont have any issues with the chicken cut up from the joints.

Lissa- taurine is effected by heat. its found in *all* muscles in some quantity. i suspect there is enough in raw meat to satisfy a cat. we feed chicken exclusively because 3 of our 4 cats have an intolerance to other terrestrial creatures so our 'other' meats are typically aquatic. twice a week they get a fish mix (varying often) that contain fresh shrimp, all the fish bones and clams/oysters (just in case the taurine isnt enough in the meat). they also get eggs with the fishy mix. 1 part egg to 3 parts fish mix.

i also make available different veggies, fresh and blanched in the AM.

we tried mice and rats before but only one took to them. one of these days we will try live rodents but until i can build up my courage... not going to happen!!!

we also make sure through the summer months that moths and beetles make it into the house. they are also very high in protein and taurine! this winter we may try crickets in the bath tub. luckily our cats will eat bugs. i know some that wont.

-ash
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Old August 10th, 2008, 11:23 AM
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Welcome back Want4rain!!!
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Old August 10th, 2008, 11:30 AM
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Welcome back Want4rain!!!
Ditto what she said!! We missed you!
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Old August 10th, 2008, 09:10 PM
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Thanks for the advices guys but really , I wasn't looking to change anything about my cats diet.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 09:35 PM
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Thanks everyone and sorry for my delay in responding! Been a busy couple of days! I appreciate all the advice/comments/suggestions.

Even though raw is not new to me, I find the whole process of feeding raw to cats much more challenging than dogs. Aside from having to grind and keeping the supplements from degrading - keeping it "fresh" enough for a cat is almost impossible (not to mention the disgusted "how could you even offer that to me look")

Minnow is beyond picky... Aside from refusing wet food she also refuses ANY kind of treat - she'll occasionally lick the gravy in wet food pouches but even that is a rarity. So its impossible to dress up the raw food and make it seem more appealing or rewarding to eat.

I am happy to say that she is licking at the raw on her own - mostly pushing it around her dish but its still a HUGE step that has occured much sooner than I anticipated.

Another question - How often do you switch up the protein? Is it something you keep track of or do you just play it by ear?
What about tripe - do any of your cats eat it? Minnow runs away when Dodger gets it.

That's interesting about the veggies - not something I would have thought about adding... Why veggies for an obligate carnivore???

A powdered mix sounds like something to keep in mind if Minnow turns her nose up to the "natural" attempts at supplementing the raw food. While the ingredients in the Feline Instincts aren't something that's hard to replicate at home, if it tastes/smells better than its worth it
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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:54 PM
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I don't do veggies beyond what's in the stuff I buy (like the 2% juiced in Blue Kat). As for switching up the protein, that's just a "play it by ear" kinda thing. Venison one day, buffalo the next. I think it depends on if your cat is tolerant of sudden diet changes or not.

Oh ya, and my guy hates tripe! I think that's more a doggie thing.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:58 PM
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Thanks for the advices guys but really , I wasn't looking to change anything about my cats diet.
Sorry Frenchy. I realize you have a system that you think is working, but I AM concerned about the calcium. It's not something to be too cavalier about. I don't want you to end up with problems in the long-term.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 11:04 PM
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I'm feeding exclusively raw to Duffy. She gets a locally prepared raw ground meat/bone meals - all non-medicated hormone-free, free-range meat, organ & bone. The meals have liver, heart, wild salmon oil, cod liver oil, full spectrum vit E, chicken has free range egg yolk added in.

The organs come from the same protein type as the meat ie chicken has chicken liver & heart.

The bison, lamb have no bone in but the chicken, rabbit, turkey & salmon does.

Veggies for cats should be 5% or less of their diet. The only veggies Duffy gets are in the salmon but she usually spits them out anyways.

Duffy has breakfast & dinner as her main meals where the probiotic supplement is added in (she is also on some supplements for her kidneys they are given @ this time too). She generally will eat 2-3 smaller meals as well for a total of 4-5 times a day - my "day" meaning 4:30am-midnight. This depends on if your cat is a "snacker", some are fine w/2 meals per day.

Usually if she doesn't finish w/in 10 mins I will scoop it back into the container in the fridge & give w/fresh for the next meal.

The amount I was told was approx 100g/day for a 12 lb cat, and she usually eats btwn 100-125g/day depending on which flavour

When I started w/raw I was told to feed 1 protein for 2 weeks, this will help the stomach/digestive system get used to & ensure tolerance to a raw diet. Then add 1 new protein in per week after. Chicken is easiest to start with, it is well tolerated & easily digestible. Next fish, tripe or lamb, then red meat (beef, elk, bison), with turkey last as it is slower to digest.

I started w/chicken, elk (which she doesn't like anymore so she gets bison), lamb then turkey & after a few weeks I added rabbit & salmon. I've never tried the tripe.

Right now Duffy gets bison, chicken, turkey, lamb, rabbit & salmon. The bison she's been getting 2-3 per week, chicken, turkey & lamb 1 per week, rabbit twice a month & salmon 1-2 times per month. My decision to feed rabbit & salmon less has to due with her CRF.

Red meat should be fed to cats roughly 3 times per week in order to give adequate taurine levels. I always feed a different protein everyday.

Warming the food - I generally only do this with her breakfast & dinner placing the bowl in the sink w/hot water for a half a minute, I also add a teaspoon of warm water to the food. The other times she eats it's straight out of the fridge w/a teaspoon of warm water mixed in.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 08:32 AM
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Thanks so much - very detailed growler and sugar - exactly what I was hoping for!

You brought up another great point about a cat who likes to "graze" or whether 2 meals are fine. Minnow has always been free-fed so a couple of weeks before I introduced raw, I started feeding her at set times. Hopefully by the time she is ready for 100% raw she will be used to eating a set times (2-4 times a day)!
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Old August 11th, 2008, 11:40 PM
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Thanks so much - very detailed growler and sugar - exactly what I was hoping for!

You brought up another great point about a cat who likes to "graze" or whether 2 meals are fine. Minnow has always been free-fed so a couple of weeks before I introduced raw, I started feeding her at set times. Hopefully by the time she is ready for 100% raw she will be used to eating a set times (2-4 times a day)!
It really depends on the cat, years ago Duffy was free fed dry & meal fed canned, then she went off canned, couple of years later she would eat it again so same as before, then I eliminated all dry & she was meal fed 2-3 times a day canned. With the raw I find she eats more frequently, but usually smaller quantities each meal than she did w/canned.

If Minnow will eat the raw mixed in w/the canned you can start off the first week or so w/1/4 raw & 3/4 canned. Week 2-3 - 1/2 raw & 1/2 canned. Week 4-5 - 3/4 raw & 1/4 canned, then full raw. Just a rough timetable, she may need to have longer time @ any one stage to get used to it. If when you up the amount of raw & she refuses or eats less, decrease a wee bit the next meal, so she gets used to the texture/flavour then you can increase again.

With Duffy since she was always given some cooked meat I actually did a cold switch from 100% canned to 100% raw - I knew she would take to eating it that way better.

I briefly mentioned probiotic in the other post, this is recommended to give for about 1-2 weeks prior to starting raw & can be continued while on raw. I think I started her on probiotics the week before starting raw & she still gets them twice a day.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 10:58 AM
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*warm fuzzies* thanks guys, just been soooo very busy. things should calm down soon. i try to make it over when i can though.

-ash
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Old August 13th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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Hi W4R, missed you.

I find Jasper will eat small amounts of Lamb raw with kibble on top when he is super hungry. He won't touch it if he is not so maybe starting raw at the times your kitty is the hungriest will help with the transition.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 08:32 PM
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Lissa another thing to try to get her started is just offering a small piece of plain raw chicken breast. Especially when you are cooking chicken, usually they can't resist the smell even if they don't recognize it as food. You can also try tempting w/tiny bits of cooked chicken on the raw.

Another treat Duffy loves is FeelGood treats, they are lightly seared liver treats, my grrl Duffy especially likes the Lamb

Duffy also loves Cheerios, so occasionally if she's a bit picky I'll crush a Cheerio on top yum yum

Duffy got whole raw chicken neck for the first time tonight, I cut it into little pieces & added it to her ground raw dinner. Guess what?......she ate the neck bits no problem & left the ground until I added a bit of cooked chicken to it. She loves when I give her raw pieces of my chicken breast before cooking & of course demands cooked bits after.

Offering raw when Minnow is very hungry is a good suggestion, aslong as you don't "force" her to try it (like dabbing some on her nose or opening her mouth & wiping a fingerful on the roof of the mouth) - some people have success doing this w/canned food but it may turn her off raw for good.


W4R nice to see you back
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Last edited by growler~GateKeeper; August 13th, 2008 at 08:39 PM.
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