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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-17-2008, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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switching to raw food

Hey all. Right now, I have my kitten on Chicken Soup (canned) and Blue Spa (dry). It's the best I can afford in terms of commercial food and my kitten seems to be doing well on it.

Eventually (like within the next couple of months after I do some research), I'd like to switch him over to raw food. I don't have the time to prepare it all from scratch, so I think I'll go with the frozen/pre-prepared options or the mixes you're supposed to throw in with the meat. Just need to find what works best for the fuzz ball and for me.

Anyway, I was reading up on it in Dr. Pitcairn's book on natural animal care (awesome book by the way), and one of the things that he talks about is a "healing crisis." That is, the animal will do well, but there will be this period of a few days where after months (and in the case of some animals, years) of eating the commercial stuff, when the body finally gets the good (raw) stuff, it starts expelling all the bad stuff out...that is, the animal is basically in detox. So the book warns that you might see stronger, darker urine, dark feces and perhaps worms or other excreta coming out. The good news is that it should only last for a little while...the body regenerates and after that, you've got a much healthier animal. Or at least, an animal on it's way to much better health.

Now, the book does say that this usually happens with a pet that's in so-so health or one that already has a particular disease...but it can happen.

For those of you that made the switch to raw food, what were your experiences? Did you observe this "healing crisis" in your animals or was it a fairly smooth transition in terms of their reaction to eating the food?

And if anyone has suggestions on some good quality, reasonably priced, pre-prepared raw food or raw food mixes, well I'd be happy to hear about them.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-17-2008, 07:08 PM
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Re: switching to raw food

No healing thing happen to my 4 kitties. Mine went literally from eating innova dry to raw overnight (not recommended though). None of my raw friends has mentioned anything like this.

Making it yourself will be cheaper. The time it takes to make is on average an hour once a month. Others will be able to tell you about the mixes.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-17-2008, 07:50 PM
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Re: switching to raw food

I have heard that some dogs will detox a little when first switching to raw but it's usually just nasty poop. Then they begin to thrive. I have heard some people add digestive enzymes at first to help the animal digest the raw until he can make his own, I guess they don't have all the necessary enzymes to digest raw meat after being fed a commercial diet for so long, so it a takes a little bit for the body to get sorted out. the addition of enzymes makes that all easier until the cat does not need the added enzymes anymore because she's made her own.

I also agree making raw would be MUCH cheaper than buying pre-made. the vitamin mixes and such (where you add your meat but buy mixes that have everything else your cats needs) might be cheap though, I'm not sure, I'd rather make my own personally. If you were planning on adding your own meat were you looking into using a grinder or doing prey model (FYI I vote prey model )

This is a good site (although much of the page is under construction): http://www.rawfedcats.org/

This one is good too, I like the site and information on raw food benefits and info I just prefer prey model: http://www.catnutrition.org/index.php

I would love to feed raw, maybe when I'm through college and can have my cats all to myself.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-17-2008, 10:14 PM
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Re: switching to raw food

We feed raw, and didn't notice so much of a "healing crisis" as a regular flushing of ick.

They had runny poops, god awful smells came from all four cats for about 2 weeks. We switched from kibble w/some canned daily, to JUST canned (this was the worst two weeks of my life on litter duty!), then from just canned to mixing in raw (this I didn't notice much of a detox or flushing of ick at all, I'm sure there was some, but nothing like the first switch). After a while, we were decreasing the amounts of canned and increasing the raw, until eventually, we just stopped canned.

We are lucky, in that we have a local lady who makes ground raw. We pay $2.10/lb (pricey, yes, but EASY!). We specify we want only chicken/rabbit (I don't feel cats would eat cows/pigs naturally, they get some ground beef here and there when we eat it, and beef livers). I know if I just bought a hand grinder and ground my own meat, I could save tons of money! We have a chihuahua and it costs us $5/mth to feed her. The cats are $15/mth each because of the fact that we don't make our own meat for them. They usually eat about 2-3oz each a day, and atleast once a month we add extra liver/hearts, as well as once a week we offer mice (although, only one cat will eat the mice with vigor, the rest eat babies if we put pumpkin on them LOL).

I really, really suggest you just jump in head first and do your own raw. I've heard this many many times, and it's a good thing to repeat.... Even though at first you may do it wrong (not enough this, too much that), it would take MONTHS AND MONTHS of this "mistake" to cause harm! It will only take you a few weeks to eek out what's wrong (poopies are very good at telling you what you need to change).

Goodluck! If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me for more indepth advice (I could talk about it all day!)

Kelly

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: switching to raw food

Thanks for the insight everyone.

Siameseifuplz - those websites look very useful. I'll definitely be trying the recipes available on the second one very soon. But first, I have to get past the bar exam (February) before I tackle new projects.

Muzby - thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Sorry about the ickiness you had to endure regarding the detox...but relating your experience is making me feel better about the process I'll have to undergo. My kitty eats mostly canned with a bit of dry mixed in so I'll start easing him off the dry bit by bit in the weeks to come until he's only on canned. Once he's used to that, I'll start mixing in the raw. And hopefully, there won't be too much ickiness.

Thanks again and if anyone else has any insight or personal experiences to share about this issue, I'll be only too happy to read about them.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 09:03 PM
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Re: switching to raw food

No problem. I could seriously talk about raw for DAYS without getting bored (although, I bet everyone else would be ready to hurt me).

One thing we also noticed, is that when we kept a little dry around for "emergencies" (while we were using raw/wet combo.. say I forgot to make it the night before), if we had to give them dry for one meal, their poo went a LITTLE stinky. If I was a bad mommy and had to give them dry two meals in a row, everyone got explosive runs that made ME want to die.

So I learned the hard way, once you're on raw, don't go back to dry. Their tummies wont like you for it. I think it says a LOT about how "good" dry is for our cats! We only fed grain-free, high quality stuff (Orijen), and it still made them go splodeybutt if they had it after raw.

If you're getting the pre-made raw stuff, just make sure you're not getting one full of veggies and stuff the cat doesn't need. Also, you don't need to waste your money on "suppliments". Meat/bone/fat/innards is all you cat needs. If they wont eat bones, you can buy a supplement SPECIFICALLY for that purpose, but I really wouldn't waste your time on pricey addons when they aren't necessary.

If you do want to -try- it on your own, and don't have a grinder, it's actually best the cat eats pieces of meat.. cut up chicken breasts/steaks/rabbits/etc and mix the chunks with the wet. Also, expect to waste raw at first, don't be mad they may not eat it.. it's so new, took our guys a few weeks before they'd all eat what little was given to them at first. Once they start to eat it, it's not so bad.

Kelly

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-19-2008, 01:19 AM
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Re: switching to raw food

I started feeding 14 of my 15 cats raw a couple of months ago (the 15th cat is very elderly, CRF and hyperT - I'm uncomfortable trying to switch him to raw at this point). I use Raw Prey Model as my general guide. I am still feeding Evo dry at breakfast, though, and then raw at night.

It's been an interesting adventure so far. I also have 3 dogs who I switched to raw at the same time, and they were sooooo easy! Just stuck anything meaty or boney in their bowls, and they'd
eat it. The cats, OTOH, have been a bit of a challenge. At first, two of them wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with raw meat, and some of the others were a bit unsure. After a few days, one of the holdouts started to eat her raw meat, but it wasn't until I served venison one night that the final stubborn holdout finally gave in and tasted raw meat.

At this point, all of the cats enjoy raw meat - in most cases voraciously so. But there are a few definite likes and dislikes. For instance, there is nothing I can do to convince Noddy to eat bones, so I dust his meat chunks with human grade bone meal, instead. Some of the cats will crunch small chicken neck pieces to eat their bones, but others won't crunch bones and insist that I smash them thoroughly with a hammer first. Ground meat is NOT a favorite among the troops, though most will eat it. They all prefer meat chunks. Noddy isn't fond of any type of fowl, and Footsie dislikes some cuts of beef. Pretty is the only cat who has rejected venison. Everyone else ADORES venison.

The bottom line is that cats have individual tastes just like humans do. If your kitten doesn't care for one particular raw meal, don't despair. Just try a different kind of meat at the next feeding. I expect, though, that your kitten will be easy to transition to raw. My younger cats switched easily with no resistance.

Laurie
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