are raw diets safe for cats? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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are raw diets safe for cats?

I read this article that raw diet is non expensive then can wet food, if so how are they safe? will they get sick and die? how do you make it? can i use ground beef/turkey/chicken instead of whole since i have no meat grinder?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 12:58 AM
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Raw diets are safe for pets if they're done with care, knowledge, and preparation. You have to be careful about both sanitation and making sure the vitamin balance is correct. Feeding raw is more complicated than just giving your cat random pieces of meat. Many pet owners find the results well worth it, though.

I recommend you do a lot more reading before you begin a raw diet for your pet; more than just starting a topic and waiting for people to respond. If you're not sure yet whether it will make your pet get sick and die, you haven't done the necessary preparation for it. This forum is a great resource. I would encourage you to start reading some of the other threads to get more of an idea what raw is about.

Raw may indeed end up being less expensive for you. However, switching to a raw diet requires a really informed owner who is willing to put in some major work reading up on it. It's not something to do on a whim because of the cost of canned food.

I'm not saying don't do it. Just please do some reading of this forum to make sure you know what you're getting into.

The Boys: Maisie, Zephyr, and Cullen.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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well i don't know where to search i'm clueless, like if i should cook the meat low temp for a short ammount of time to kill bacteria or how to make it or what product to use
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:34 AM
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You're posting on a forum called "Raw Food Diet." That would be a good place to start. You don't have to start by searching; you found the right place already.

I would suggest you start reading through the other topics in this forum. You'll find lots of helpful advice there, and links to other resources that will help you learn what raw diets are all about.

I'm going to be totally honest with you here, and hope I don't hurt your feelings: I think that jumping right into raw feeding would be a disaster for you. You seem to have been struggling quite a bit with how to build a successful cat diet with commercial food, and raw feeding is orders of magnitude more complicated than that. I'm concerned for your pets if you leap before you look on this.

How to feed your pet a raw diet is not something you're going to learn from asking a few questions online. It's probably not something you're going to learn from an evening's research. You should be prepared to spend weeks or months reading and learning before you can safely attempt this.

I'm not trying to discourage you from feeding raw sometime in the future, but I am trying to discourage you from seeing it as an easy alternative to canned food. You can kill your pet by doing this wrong, and doing it right isn't a simple one-size-fits-all checklist.

Sorry to be a downer.

The Boys: Maisie, Zephyr, and Cullen.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 07:18 AM
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Its worth it though. And once you do it a few times, it becomes familiar. Seriously, take your time reading, make a list of what you need.

Also, read the "no kibble" section, to boost your spirits on why you are doing this for your kitty, should you feel a bit discouraged.

But it really is important to take care and do it properly.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 08:51 AM
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Take a look at this site. It is very informative:

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 10:31 AM
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Yes, raw diets are safe if done properly. (One could argue raw diets are safer than kibble, but that's another thread!) Use common sense, don't leave raw chicken out on your countertop over night, for example. The same as if you the human were eating the food.

While on the one hand you should do some research, on the other hand don't let details bog you down (for example, calcium to phosphorus ratios and Omega 3/6 supplements, leave that for later).
Probably the most important thing to keep in mind is making sure you feed the correct ratio of meat/edible bone/liver/secreting organs (like kidney).
And it is called RAW feeding for a reason--food should be raw, not cooked. And never ever ever feed cooked bone.
While you are researching, you can transition your cats off of kibble entirely (if they are not already). Once that is done, you can start your cats on commercial raw, like RadCat or Nature's Variety; both look and feel like canned wet cat food.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-15-2013, 02:56 PM
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I started VERY slowly. First I read and read and read. I read websites and I read other people's transition threads. I thought of all the reasons I could not do this, and continued to read. For at least two years all I did was read and think of all the reasons it wouldn't work for me, LOL.

It was all so OVERWHELMING. And the more I read the more overwhelmed I felt.

Then, a very knowledgeable raw feeder and dear friend said something that helped so much. What she said was "you know, you don't have to start all at once. Just adding a little raw to their diet every day will benefit them." And something clicked. Because you know I say that to people I am trying to help get their cats off of dry food all the time. "Just start with adding a little canned each day" I say. "And when you see the benefits you most likley will want to feed more canned" "or maybe you won't, either way, a little is better than none".

So I dipped one little toe in. I bought a bag of Stella&Chewy's freeze dried raw, and started giving a few nuggets (re-hydrated) to the one who needed the raw the most. Gradually I worked her up to one whole meal a day of the Stella&Chewy's. And, with just that ONE added meal a day, the improvements in her were...stunning.

So next I started giving them slivers of raw chicken when I cooked my own suppers, just tiny slivers, two liked them, one did not recognize them as food. As the months passed and I continued to read and research commercial brands and see the benefit to my one little cat, I decided to try the Rad Cat frozen commercial raw.

First I had to buy a freezer and a food scale. And I couldn't find a local source, so my first batch of Rad Cat I ordered on line and had it delivered. Yes, very expensive. Two cats took to the Rad Cat immediately the third needed much time to get used to the idea. I let her proceed at her own pace. I was telling myself this is it though, just the Stella&Chewy's and the occasional Rad Cat (too expensive to feed often)

A couple months later I found myself buying packages of meat at the grocery store, cutting them up into one ounce servings and freezing them. Still too afraid to try bone, I bought Alnutrin egg shell calcium to ensure the proper phosphorous/calcium ratio was made.

A few more months gone by and now I've got two of my cats eating bone in meals once a week. The third may never get bone. But I try not to say never any more because a year ago I was saying I would never feed raw for any number of reasons.

My cats now enjoy a diet of 50% raw (half commercial, half home made prey model) and 50% canned. One cat is slightly more than 50% raw. And I thought they were the best they could be on a premium canned diet. Boy was I wrong. On only 50% raw the benefits are enormous.

Anyway my point don't have to jump in with both feet. Let it happen gradually, keep studying and learning start small. You never know where you'll end up.

I won't deny it is a lot of work. I keep a cat journal of what they eat and when, and their toilet habits, but I have always done that. But the prep and figuring and balancing can really seem overwhelming until a routine works itself out. And a routine does evolve, in time.

You asked about cost. I sat down just the other day and figured out how much my cats are costing for food now that I am feeding 50% raw. Remember that I am feeding some commercial still, and they aren't cheap.

Anyway, adding in all raw foods purchased in the last 10 months (commercial and grocery store, including the gas expense to purchase the Rad Cat once I round a source 100 miles away), plus certain essential supplements, plus the freezer bags and extra paper towels I go through, the raw meal portions are costing me 79 cents per cat a day. Their canned portions cost 53 cents per cat a day, for a grand total of $1.32 a day per cat.

When I was feeding only canned it was about $1.20 per cat per day, so it's a bit higher, because of the traveling to get the Rad Cat. I may have found a source only about 20 miles away, so that will drop my expenses quite a bit. In addtion the essential vitmain and calcium supplement costs figured in are going to last much longer, so that stretches the budget even further.

What I did not include in these figures are certain supplements I use even when I was feeding only canned. Those are probiotics, krill oil and egg yolk lecithin (for hairballs). They come out of a different part of the budget not included under food, for the purpose of figuring how much I was spending on raw.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-15-2013, 03:28 PM
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For as long as I can remember, my cats (way before I was old enough to have any say!) have had some raw food. I have always had very healthy cats. I guess I was the generation (and locality) where feeding cats both raw and home cooked was natural. Probably about to make many of you cringe and some hate me but lamb castrating time was a bonus for cats, dogs (and my mother who loved sweetbreads!!!).
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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I have been researching still on raw diet for cats I have lots of questions to ask if anybody can answer me. I saw some people posted these supplements they mix but this salmon oil is that really good? what happen if my cat doesn't do well on fish type products? Then I notice these things its like a mix and all they have to do is add water and ground meat. I also see people cooking their raw just a very bit so it can stay raw in the inside.

Here are the questions if and I hope people can answer me

-If I want cook the raw to semi raw to make sure no bacteria how long should i do it?
-Where do I buy supplements if I want to use any?
-If i want an already mix supplement what product and where could i buy?
-How long can these last in the freezer?
-When should i thraw it out so cats can chew it?
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