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:
They also have rats and chicks.
has more variety, including unprocessed quail, but less good deals and more expensive shipping.
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.
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?