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Old 11-10-2012, 10:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I do feel like I am overthinking the whole thing....I found a boutique meat market where they will grind any bird based meat bone in. So that shouldn't be a problem. I am still toying with the idea of raising quail. They would be food for us, food for the animals, and they convert plant protein into egg protein more efficently than chickens.

My thoughts to start is for a 10 pound batch:
8# Beef Heart
1# Turkey Neck (has 46%ish bone I think I read)
.5# Chicken Liver
12 Eggs
1 cup raw Pumpkin Seeds (ground in the blender) oil from the seed heart & a little fiber.

I feel like cats do get fiber in their diets naturally. Even if it's from eating the guts of critters that eat seeds and other plant material. I know I see my outdoor cats and the neighborhood cats scavenging my compost heap for vegetables and grains. Maybe they are just junk-food junkies...

I have tried adding fish oil to their kibble in the past. In an attempt to help with the itchy spots a couple of them seem to have. Most of them won't touch their food with the oil on it. The itches I refer to, are not patches of lost hair, or anything that severe. I'll use my cat MissMouse as an example... when I pet her down her back, I hit mid-back and she gets an uncomfortable look, by the time I hit the base of her tail, she turns to nibble and itch where I'm petting. It must be a rash-like itch. She has thick full hair, and we flea treat preventatively nearly year round. Another cat (lost her this summer) would get scabbed up in the same spot, from itching so bad. If we took her for an allergy shot, it relieved it. The only other issue with health is Turtle, the 3mo female. Ever since she started pooping on her own, it has not been solid, and it is tinged with a tiny bit of blood at times. She is 3.5 pounds, just a couple ounces bigger than her sister. She has luscious long hair and is wound tighter than a drum, she just doesn't poop solid ever.

I am encouraged about the prospect of them taking to eating raw. When I was making the first batch of dog food last night, I decided to offer little treats to various cats...different size and texture pieces. Pretty quickly, I had a very captive audience, in a semi-circle around my feet, licking their chops, eyes twinkling.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I also thought I would try offering snacks of whole small fish.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I just found this scientific paper studying Taurine, and the effects of different food preperation on its levels. It also lists foods like milk and eggs as containing Taurine!

http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vmb/aal/pdfs/spitze.pdf
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:21 AM   #14 (permalink)
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My cats both nibble grass and one likes to eat some catnip from time to time. I can always tell when they've eaten any grass however, because it comes out of them looking pretty much exactly the same as how it went in. My one cat swallows it whole and sometimes has trouble passing it, so I try to limit how much she gets. I'm not sure what either of them actually get out of eating grass because they definitely don't digest it. But they seem to like it so I figure it's probably fine as long as they don't eat too much.

Anyway, in my opinion your recipe is not balanced. It's a good start, but you should be aware that heart is high in sodium as well as taurine. My cats get heart a couple times a week, but they also get other kinds of meat. I think using heart as the main muscle meat in this recipe (if you intend to feed them this as a main food every day) would give your cats far too much sodium per day. For more information you should read this article: Answers: How Much Heart is Too Much?

Just so you know the harder a muscle works the more taurine is found in that cut of meat. Chicken thighs have more taurine than chicken breast, and I've seen chicken thighs recommended for a lot of ground raw food recipes. It can be good to start your cats off on one kind of meat, like chicken.

You must have a pretty heavy duty meat grinder if you're planning to grind turkey necks! Those things are huge. You would need to grind it well, because I don't think there are many cats out there that could tackle a turkey neck whole. If you can grind turkey necks you should also be able to grind the bones in chicken thighs much easier. The ground raw food recipe at catinfo.org calls for chicken thigh bones. If your plan is to grind their food you should check out the info on that site.

If I was going to make a ground raw diet for my cats I think I would stick pretty closely to 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% other organ (I usually use kidney or spleen). Raw feeders recommend that ratio because it's about the ratio of meat to bone to organ found in small prey animals like mice. I feed franken prey and do not use any supplements (my cats do get the occasional egg yolk or canned sardines for omega 3s) and they're doing great! Unless you want to add some taurine there really is no need to make it more complicated than that.

Anyway do make sure not to use too much liver, as liver is rich in vitamin a. Too much vitamin a can cause a condition known as vitamin a toxicity or hypervitaminosis a. Just 5% of your cat's diet should be make up of liver. For instance my older cat eats 21 ounces of food per week - and each week she gets about 1 ounce of liver.

You also shouldn't use whole eggs. Raw egg yolks are great to feed occasionally and I've seen them used in ground raw food recipes, but raw egg whites should be limited because they are high in avidin. Avidin binds to and blocks the absorption of biotin (one of the B vitamins), which can lead to biotin deficiency. I doubt that the occasional egg white would cause this but I wouldn't advise feeding raw eggs whites to your cats every day.

As for the pumpkin seeds? I honestly don't see the point in adding them. I guess you can if you want to, but think about how small a mouse or bird's stomach is. That and maybe a few blades of grass is all the plant matter a cat would eat in a day. Plus whatever is in a mouse's stomach would be at least partially digested before a cat would ever eat it. Raw pumpkin seeds in that quantity really don't resemble what a cat would eat naturally. I'd really suggest ditching them from the recipe all together.

People usually recommend adding Salmon oil to raw food (for the omega 3s), but I really don't think any kind of plant oil is going to have the same effect as animal oil to an obligate carnivore. As for fibre, I believe the raw food recipe at catinfo.org does call for psyllium (the stuff metamucil is made of). I don't feed my cats any plant fibre and my cats have never needed any. When I first switched them to raw they had problems with constipation, so I started giving them a little less bone and the problem was solved. That's not to say no cat ever needs fibre or even that you shouldn't use it if you want to, I can only tell you my experience. I'm also wary of using metamucil every day unless a cat really needs it, because right on the bottle it does warn not to over use it. Your body can become dependent on it, so I would think a cat's body could also become dependent on it. Just my two cents.

It's a great sign that your cats are willing to eat little tidbits of raw! They should take to it right away when you make the switch. Right now you can give them chunks of any kind of raw meat you want, as long as plain raw meat doesn't make up more than 15% of their overall diet. My understanding is if they're eating more than 15% raw you should start trying to balance it with bone and organ. Just like too much bone can cause constipation, too little can cause loose stool. Nobody wants that!
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catinthemirror View Post
My cats both nibble grass and one likes to eat some catnip from time to time. I can always tell when they've eaten any grass however, because it comes out of them looking pretty much exactly the same as how it went in. My one cat swallows it whole and sometimes has trouble passing it, so I try to limit how much she gets. I'm not sure what either of them actually get out of eating grass because they definitely don't digest it. But they seem to like it so I figure it's probably fine as long as they don't eat too much.

Anyway, in my opinion your recipe is not balanced. It's a good start, but you should be aware that heart is high in sodium as well as taurine. My cats get heart a couple times a week, but they also get other kinds of meat. I think using heart as the main muscle meat in this recipe (if you intend to feed them this as a main food every day) would give your cats far too much sodium per day. For more information you should read this article: Answers: How Much Heart is Too Much?

Just so you know the harder a muscle works the more taurine is found in that cut of meat. Chicken thighs have more taurine than chicken breast, and I've seen chicken thighs recommended for a lot of ground raw food recipes. It can be good to start your cats off on one kind of meat, like chicken.

You must have a pretty heavy duty meat grinder if you're planning to grind turkey necks!

Hello Catinthemirror,

Great article, I really enjoyed reading it. Two parts were of particular interest:
" You would need to feed your cat seven chicken hearts per day to reach this amount. Even if you did feed that many, it might not pose a problem, as your cat may simply drink more water and excrete the sodium. However, over time excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure and stress on the kidneys."

I just looked up the nutritional data on beef heart. It does have a little more sodium than turket thighs. I guess in the long run, it sounds like it would have similar effects on them, that eating too much red meat has on us humans. Perhaps in the future I can afford more varied meats....or even learn more about "frankenprey". Which I hadn't even heard of until a few days ago.

Will feeding a cheap cut of meat, like heart, be worse for them than kibble?

"The heart, being the hardest-working muscle in the body, contains the highest amounts of taurine. In my research, I have not been able to find any evidence that cats can get too much taurine, as any excess is metabolized and excreted in the urine."

I understand this to mean, that "too much Taurine" is not something to worry about, because the extra will simply pass out of their system. I do worry about too little, but the CSU article I found last night makes me think that I shouldn't worry about that unless I was cooking the food. Which I am not.

About the turkey necks, I do not have a grinder. BUT, the butcher at the meat market said that he would be happy to grind birds BONE IN, as long as I can wait til the end of the day...or place the order ahead of time. No extra charge for grinding.

As far as my pumpkin seed fiber idea....it's what I have on hand (no psyllium)....their mother made an awful mess dragging the pumpkin guts out of the slop bucket to eat both seeds & guts. And they didn't get puked back up....maybe there's something she knows that I don't. In any case, a VERY tiny bit can't hurt more than kibble. And I'm not commited to them anyhow. I would much rather eat them myself.

Since they are going from a high plant fiber diet, would it be easier on them to use some fiber to begin with in the raw diet...then slowly wean it out?
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:36 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Oh, and thanks for explaining why no egg-white. I can totally abide by that. I love angelfood cake. Or no-yolk noodles. And we do all home made noodles here, so that will be easy-peasy....

That reminds me, I need to go buy some eggs! I hope the goat farm has some today.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:38 AM   #17 (permalink)
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My last batch that I ground was 70lbs, and that was made up of 44lbs of chicken thighs, 7lbs of beef heart, 5.5lbs whole mackerel, 3.5lbs of both beef liver and kidney, 3.5lbs beef tongue, and 3lbs of a bone-in ground beef. I don't add taurine because I use only thighs and a good amount of heart. My two that eat this mix are only 8 and 6 months, but we'll be doing annual blood work to make sure the diet contains everything they need. I just don't have the time to have them eating a prey model raw, but sometimes they get chunks of meat to help with their teeth.


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Old 11-11-2012, 01:58 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I am not a big fan of grinding meats for cats. Cats are obligate carnivores and need to exercise their jaws. This is why their teeth have that shape. I am not even exactly sure where this "bone chewing phobia" comes from, but it seems many people buy into it. I think we do a dis-service to our cats by not allowing them to do what they have evolved to do.

If a cat has been raised on strictly commercial foods all of their lives, it does take a while to acclimate them to chewing bone, but steps should be taken to get them to eat the bone eventually. Ground foods should be an in between phase unless there are other medical problems to have to manage, such as cats who have no teeth, very elderly cats, cat who will not eat for extended periods of time, cats with diabetes, the list goes on.

I feed my cats 50% frankenprey and 50% ground mix. They get lots of different proteins, organs, bones, seafood, eggs, etc. I do have one cat, who can't digest chunks of meat or bone in the evenings. We spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what the problem was until her vet discovered this unusual intolerance. If not, my cats would not get ground at all. I buy my ground meat from Hare Today since they basically grind the entire carcass. I add powdered Taurine to this mix and during hairball season, I also add pumpkin for an extra boost of fiber. The cats also get a small thawed fish once a week (not canned); anchovies, sardines, etc. I buy them frozen in a bag, wash them and voila! fresh fish for the kitties.

I think it's great that so many are taking an interest in raw feeding and many start with ground meat as a convenient interim step or as a training aid to get the cat used to eating chunks and while gaining the jaw strength to be able to get through bone. However, I don't think that a great deal of effort needs to be spent to perfect a ground diet since it shouldn't take longer than a month or two at most for the most stubborn cases, to get them used to working their jaws to break down their food into pieces they can swallow without issues.

I have been feeding my cats raw for the last 2.5 years. I have one cat, who will be turning 5 this year, and although we adopted her with 2 broken canines, she eats everything I feed her without a problem, just more slowly. I take them to the vet at least 2x/year, and my oldest cat has perfectly clean teeth and is more kitten-like in her behavior than any of my other cats. She runs around and plays, climbs, pounces, jumps, and is unstoppable for a great deal of the day. All of the cats have luxuriously shiny fur and their eyes are bright and clear. They have no issue with weight since being weaned off the expensive no grain kibble. It has been the best decision I have made for my cats' health.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:30 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Hi! Sorry I don't think I welcomed you to the board yet.

I have chicken hearts on hand, so I weighed them this morning. Each is about 1/4 an ounce, so 7 chicken hearts would usually weigh about 1 3/4oz. My cats eat 3oz - 3 & 3/4oz per day, and they're small so some cats will eat even more. So if their food was mostly heart they would definitely be eating more than the recommended amount. I presume that heart meat from different animals has a similar amount of sodium. I'm totally not telling you not to make ground food with heart, but I would personally only feed it a few times a week or, like kayla baxter said make a grind with some heart and some other meat (gizzards might be cheap where you live, or maybe some other kind of meat. As long as you don't have any known allergies among your cats you can try anything). Cats often end up with kidney problems as they age, so I try not to stress their kidneys unnecessarily.

There isn't anything wrong with feeding cheap cuts of meat! In fact my cats seem to prefer cheap things like gizzards, heart, kidney, pork tongue and chicken thighs. I would just recommend using more than one kind of meat (and not using only heart). I try feed my cats a variety of meat so that they don't end up getting too much or too little of any one nutrient. They can't overdose on taurine but they do need more than just taurine. Sometimes they can also develop an intolerance if fed only one kind of food for a long time, so that's also something to consider.

Franken prey (or prey model raw) is just feeding chunks of a variety of raw meat, no grinding required. You model their diet after a deconstructed small prey animal by feeding a certain ratio of muscle meat to bone to liver to other organ (80% meat, 10ish% bone, 5% liver, 5% other organ). So for instance my cat Sassy eats 21oz of food per week, 80% of that (around 17 oz) is meat like pork, chicken, beef, heart, gizzard or tongue. She gets constipated on 10% bone so she gets a little less than that (I use quail because they have small bones). Then she gets about 1 oz each of liver and 'other organ' (kidney or spleen). I do it this way because when I started I didn't have access to a grinder, so my cats have to chew their own food (which is actually good for their teeth and their jaw strength). Some people even feed whole prey, which is what it sounds like - whole mice, chicks, quail, etc.

What method you use depends on you and your cats, how much space you have to store food, how much time you want to spend making food, etc. But I can tell you franken prey is not that difficult. I spend an hour or so per month cutting up and portioning my cat's food (some months I do a big buy and spend three or four hours on cat food, and then I don't have to even think about cat food for several months), but I had to spend a lot more time in the beginning when I didn't have a chest freezer to store it all. But you'll need freezer space for ground food as well.

I love pumpkin seeds as well, so I'd say you should just save those for yourself I gave my older cat crappy kibble for 13 years before trying her on raw, with only a brief switch to grain-free kibble and canned food in between. She did just fine during the switch other than the before mentioned constipation due to too much bone. However there are many commercial raw foods that do add vegetables. I avoid them but they probably aren't nearly as unhealthy as kibble so... in the end it's up to you.

Oh, I've also seen people on here suggest using a probiotic for a while when switching to raw, to help grow healthy gut bacteria in cats that have been eating kibble for a long time. So perhaps you could try that if your concerned about them handling the switch. I don't have any experience with using a probiotic myself so hopefully someone else on here can suggest a brand/type of probiotic that would be useful for you.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:50 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayla baxter View Post
My last batch that I ground was 70lbs, and that was made up of 44lbs of chicken thighs, 7lbs of beef heart, 5.5lbs whole mackerel, 3.5lbs of both beef liver and kidney, 3.5lbs beef tongue, and 3lbs of a bone-in ground beef. I don't add taurine because I use only thighs and a good amount of heart. My two that eat this mix are only 8 and 6 months, but we'll be doing annual blood work to make sure the diet contains everything they need. I just don't have the time to have them eating a prey model raw, but sometimes they get chunks of meat to help with their teeth.


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Thank you for listing your weights and meat types. That really gives me a nice simple template to wrap my head around. It sounds like you must have a good relationship with your vet...doing bloodwork and all.....how does your vet feel about the raw diet?
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