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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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New Kitten, Whole Prey and Questions

Hello, I've got a question.

We'll be getting a kitten soon (possibly this evening) and I plan on feeding this kitten a diet of all raw whole prey. Now, I know that when I get the kitten it's probably going to be best if I keep him on the food he's eating right now, but for how long? They are new at the shelter so have probably just recently been introduced to that food so would it be a bad idea to keep feeding whatever dry they had him on and upgrade the canned to a different brand?

Now, my plan is to start him off on some Nature's variety once he's settled in and I'm ready to switch him onto raw (how long should I wait for that? And can I give a little to him sooner to start the switchover process?). While he's on NV my plan was to introduce different whole prey each day. A mouse one day, rat another, chick and so on. Not whole meals mind you, just so that he becomes familiar with them and sees them as food.

Does that sound doable? Is there too young of age to start a kitten on whole prey if they haven't been on it their whole life? Is there anything else I should be doing?

How many calories around will this kitten need? When I get him transitioned over to raw about how many ounces would you say in a day he would need? He's a Maine Coon mix.

And is there anything I should supplement if I'm feeding a large variety of whole prey?

Oh and here's a picture of the group of kittens we're going to go look at



Thanks for any help anyone can give!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 10:33 PM
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Re: New Kitten, Whole Prey and Questions

The kittens are beautiful, congrats on bringing home a new family member! I'm glad you are going to start the new guy off right with raw, I can't wait to hear about his progress and see how he's doing in a few years.

I wouldn't feel bad about changing food right away, just make sure he's eating whatever it is you choose to give him so he stays nice and healthy. BUT if you are worried about too much change too fast and want to be able to tell if any tummy upsets are caused by food change or not then wait a week before changing anything. If during that week he doesn't vomit, stop eating or have runny stools for any length of time feel free to switch him to something good!

I've actually never fed whole prey myself (I'm too attached to little critters), not sure what the usual reaction is for first timers. What I might try is seeing if you can get him to eat non-prey items first, just plain raw chicken meat cut up small. He needs to build up some jaw strength and get used to this strange new food so starting off with the easiest and usually tastiest part (the meat without bones or organs) might be a good idea. he should catch on faster than an adult whose jaw has been weakened by years of little use. While he's eating the NV (I'm not familiar with the different pre-packaged raws, I assume that it's ground though) throw in a few chunks of chicken right off the bat, there is no reason to go slow by keeping him on the NV alone so long as he's eating. After a week of slowly increasing chicken chunk size if you think he's doing really well introduce some tiny pinky mice or day old chicks. They should be easy first bones and the cat won't be confused by hair or feathers. I'd do these for a few days and if he does really well just keep on moving onto new species. Once he's eating a couple of species stop the NV and you are feeding raw. if he was an adult I'd tell you to take it slow but chances are he'll go fast so let him, if he's eating something reliably for a few days move on up. If he is hesitant to start a new prey species give him one he's used to (a small pinky mouse or even a few chunks of chicken) so that he might understand it's meal time and he should try a bite. when moving on to feathered or hairy animals maybe cut off a wing or leg so he has something manageable to experiment with, plus if it's cut open he'll recognize the edible meat and bone inside and might start trying to get to that.

And there is never too young an age, think about it if they were feral. They would be weaned and then started on meat, maybe regurgitated at first (I know dogs do, I assume cats as well but what do I know) but by this age certainly they'd be eating from the carcass.

Do you know if he is a male? There is a bit of a size difference between male and female Maine Coons correct? Of course he's a mix so who knows. The short of it is, feed him as much as he'll eat 3-4 times a day. If you want to get more specific it will be about 2%-3% of his adult body weight daily. So if you want to hazard a guess at an adult weight I'll do the math for you so that you can at least have some idea of how much he'll eat. I wouldn't worry about specifics too much though, use body condition and energy as your clues to whether or not he's getting enough.

I don't know what the whole prey feeders say as far as supplementation. I know, feeding Franken-Prey, fish body oil has to be given and so I'd say you should do that too. Only those that feed whole fish (which is not considered the safest thing) I believe are giving enough Omega fatty acids. That and something about grass fed meats, but I don't know what sort of place my meat comes from so fish oil is a part of the diet. Other than that just make sure he's eating the organs and you should be all set for nutritional stuff.

Hope I helped some, I'm sure we have some members familiar with feeding prey so hopefully they'll be along with some more tips on getting the cat to accept the strange new food.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: New Kitten, Whole Prey and Questions

Thanks a ton for the reply!

It didn't end up working out. The lady I talked to before we left told me they had three kittens of that litter in (2 males and a female) and we drove 45 minutes only to be told they had all been adopted (one was still pending).

So it's back to the drawing board! This is the first kitten I've ever had; grown cats, and puppies yes. But not kittens as of yet, so I'm over thinking everything.

I think when we do get him (we want a male ) I'm going to wait a day or two and then start adding in some raw. And yes, Nature's Variety is ground. I picked it because I thought it would be a good transition food because it's more like canned than a mouse is. I did plan on starting with feeders that didn't have much fur and if that goes well moving up to more furry/feathery ones and cutting them in half (that's what I do for my ferrets when I first introduced any kind of whole prey to them).

What do you think about switching around meats while working into the whole prey? NV sells a good variety of meats and I have some choices in my freezer because my dogs are fed raw?

I think I got the portions. I wasn't sure if it was the same as it was with dogs. When I was figuring out around how much whole prey I would need a day while he was growing I figured around 4% of the adult weight.

Thats a great idea about associating meal time with eating even if you don't think it looks like food.

I was thinking some Omega 3 and fish oils would not hurt so I'm glad to hear you think that too

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-05-2009, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: New Kitten, Whole Prey and Questions

Update-

Well, I just wanted to say that I did end up adopting a Maine Coon mix (pictures in my intro post https://www.catforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=60883 ).

I got him Sunday and changed the canned food and kept his dry and he did fine so I then shortly after changed his dry food also (Wilderness). I now just bought some Evo (beef, venison, chicken and turkey) and got some Nature's Variety medallions (lamb) and I mixed some of his canned with the NV and he gobbled it right up, no hesitation. yay!

My next step will be a tiny chunk of raw chicken and then maybe part of a wing.
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