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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Urinary blockage: switch to a raw diet?

I have already posted several threads regarding my cat's (Ace) urinary blockage (crystals). I am interested in switching him over to a raw diet to prevent future episodes, and for his overall good health. I do also have another cat, Bogey, who I will also be switching over. Both cats will be 3 years old in March. Ace weighs 12 pounds and Bogey weighs 19 pounds. Ace is a pretty good weight... Bogey definitely needs to lose weight. Ace is currently eating canned Hills Prescription S/D and Bogey has been eating canned Wellness (they were both previously on canned Wellness and dry Wellness Core).

I am familiar with a raw prey model style of feeding, as my three dogs are fed raw. I attempted to switch the cats over at one point, but Ace immediately threw up after eating (pieces of boneless chicken). I did attempt feeding raw again, with raw chicken wings, but neither cat would eat them. They are generally not very picky at all... though Ace tends to vomit a lot.

I'm interested in a whole prey style diet. It seems the most natural and beneficial... and it seems like a cat would accept eating a whole mouse before a chicken wing. Is it important to vary the diet? Meaning: should they be getting more than just mice (chicks, rabbits, etc?).

We do tend to travel sometimes on weekends during the summer... and have always left the cats with one of those big feeder things with dry food. Obviously, this really isn't an option anymore. Does anyone have success using those battery powered auto feeders, particularly with two cats? My concern would be that one of the cats would eat all the food (likely Bogey) and the other cat wouldn't get any. (I would set up two auto-feeders, but still have no idea how to ensure both cats get their fair share).

I was thinking that I could possibly grind up some raw or use canned in an auto feeder on the weekends we will be gone. We aren't gone all that often... but do go camping, etc. sometimes in the summer.

Alternatively, does anyone use dry food when they're on vacation (only a day or two, no longer)? Or would this be a huge risk with Ace's urinary issues?

Thanks to everyone for their time.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 12:23 PM
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Re: Urinary blockage: switch to a raw diet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikelodeon79
I'm interested in a whole prey style diet. It seems the most natural and beneficial... and it seems like a cat would accept eating a whole mouse before a chicken wing. Is it important to vary the diet? Meaning: should they be getting more than just mice (chicks, rabbits, etc?).
Variety is good, but not entirely necessary. The mouse is the perfect cat food, so making that the staple of the cats' diet works great. Chicks are o.k. but no immature animal is as nutritious as a mature one. So keep working on getting them to try other stuff. I get (processed) quail at the Asian market and the bones are very small and great for cats. Just remember that if your cats have never had to USE their jaws or their GI tracts that it may take a while.

I order mice from here:

http://www.americanrodent.com/welcome.html

They also have rats and chicks.

http://www.rodentpro.com/ has more variety, including unprocessed quail, but less good deals and more expensive shipping.

http://www.hare-today.com/ has rabbit chunks, which my cats LOVE.

Plan to have to cut the mouse in half at first and be patient. Commercial food STINKS and they are used to that smell--raw meat actually has very little smell and since cats tend to be much more cautious than dogs do, it can take a little longer. You can try starting w/ pinky mice if they won't eat the big ones but get off them ASAP as they are not as nutritious. I'm going to PM you a few more resources.
Quote:
We do tend to travel sometimes on weekends during the summer... and have always left the cats with one of those big feeder things with dry food. Obviously, this really isn't an option anymore. Does anyone have success using those battery powered auto feeders, particularly with two cats? My concern would be that one of the cats would eat all the food (likely Bogey) and the other cat wouldn't get any. (I would set up two auto-feeders, but still have no idea how to ensure both cats get their fair share).
Well, first, I recommend having a pet sitter come in at least every 24 hours. Too much risk otherwise. The LB needs cleaning and if the auto feeder should malfunction, etc. . . .

But yes, I've used an autofeeder. If the cats eat at about the same rate normally, and you offer 2 compartments that both open at the same time (which will mean 2 autofeeders, I think) it might work. Then the pet sitter can feed the a.m. meal, say, and program the feeder to feed the p.m. meal. Something like that. No need to grind it -- if the cats can eat together on a normal day (i.e., about the same rate), they can do that when you're gone as well.

If they CAN'T, then you may need a pet sitter twice a day. I would NOT offer dry food or anything else, esp. to a cat w/ a known UTI problem -- stress triggers UTIs so your being gone is already a stressor. Add dry food or something unfamiliar and that may be the straw that broke the camel's back, you know?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Urinary blockage: switch to a raw diet?

Unfortunately, the resources around here are limited. Pet sitters and Asian markets simply do not exist in my area.

I do have a few friends that I may trust to pet sit for me... but a lot of time them being out of town coincides with us being out of town. My brother-in-law... well... I trust him to not do anything wrong on purpose... but he sometimes just doesn't get things very clearly. I'd almost be more comfortable with an auto-feeder.

I think just I need to find a big ol' RV to buy so I can take the kitties with me wherever we go!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 01:56 PM
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Re: Urinary blockage: switch to a raw diet?

Where the heck do you live??

I'm in the TOTAL boonies, but I'm close enough to a big city to be able to shop there. I have my own pet sitter issues, since I have to have someone who will spend the night at my place, and take care of the horses and chickens as well as the cats and dogs. But it's usually possible to find a reliable pet sitter (if not a pro one) wherever one lives. My last one (who just moved and whose loss I mourn!) took me ages to find but she was WONDERFUL (and not a professional pet sitter).
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Urinary blockage: switch to a raw diet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoofmaiden
Variety is good, but not entirely necessary. The mouse is the perfect cat food, so making that the staple of the cats' diet works great.
Okay... I'm having difficutly wrapping my mind around the whole serving size thing. I'm trying to convert pounds to ounces, ounces to grams... my head's spinning!

Ace weighs 12 pounds. It's a pretty good weight for him. So... say we feed 3% of his weight. 12 pounds = 192 oz. So.. if I feed 3% of his body weight, that would be 5.76 ounces of food each day.

But.. the mice are sold in grams. 5.76 oz = (approximately) 163 grams. If a large mouse weighs 35 grams... that's around four and a half mice in a day... which for some reason seems like a lot to me. Am I calculating this correctly?

I'm thinking of feeding mice as a staple (maybe for the morning meal), and then maybe other things like beef, pork, chicken, venison, etc. for the evening meal. Am I correct to assume that if I were to feed mice in the morning and boneless meat at night... I'm not feeding enough bone? I'd have to find an additional bone source, right? I guess that's my biggest concern right now... finding an affordable and palatable bone source in addition to the mice (as well as the whole taurine issue).
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Urinary blockage: switch to a raw diet?

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Originally Posted by hoofmaiden
Where the heck do you live??
I live near Superior, WI, in an area where cats are generally in the barn and people are nearly DYING of heart attacks hearing what I spent on vet bills to save one of mine. My boss actually said, "A total kitty replacement would've been FREE."

Heck, I can't even find a store that carries the Cat Attract litter! (There is a Petco about 35 minutes from my house, but they don't carry it).

There are a few "farmers' markets" here during the summer, but not now with all the snow and cold.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2009, 02:09 PM
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Re: Urinary blockage: switch to a raw diet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikelodeon79
Ace weighs 12 pounds. It's a pretty good weight for him. So... say we feed 3% of his weight. 12 pounds = 192 oz. So.. if I feed 3% of his body weight, that would be 5.76 ounces of food each day.
For most cats, 2% is more accurate. BUT that's just something to shoot for. Both my adult cats eat MUCH less than what the chart would suggest.
Quote:
But.. the mice are sold in grams. 5.76 oz = (approximately) 163 grams. If a large mouse weighs 35 grams... that's around four and a half mice in a day... which for some reason seems like a lot to me. Am I calculating this correctly?
My adult cats (10 and 13 pounds in good weight) both get the equivalent of 2 mice a day and they hold their weight. Usually that means a mouse in the a.m. and something else (venison and liver, for instance) in the p.m. A few times a week, 1/2 quail instead of the mouse. If they got more than this (which they did in the beginning) they would gain weight (which they did in the beginning!).

My kitten is currently eating 4 mice or the equivalent every day, b/c he's young and growing.

So it depends on metabolism, etc. The key is to weigh the cats often until you are sure they are at a good weight and holding it on what you're feeding.

Quote:
Am I correct to assume that if I were to feed mice in the morning and boneless meat at night... I'm not feeding enough bone? I'd have to find an additional bone source, right? I guess that's my biggest concern right now... finding an affordable and palatable bone source in addition to the mice (as well as the whole taurine issue).
This is why I feed quail or cornish game hen a few times a week.

You really don't have to worry about taurine if you're feeding muscle meat. But add it if it makes you feel better.
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