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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2010, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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new diet - a few questions to help me get started?

hey guys! I'm.. sort of new, in the fact that this is my first post, but I've practically read this entire forum, so hey.

so I'm REALLY into this idea of a raw food diet.. I think it makes a lot of sense, and everyone seems to be having great success with it, and I really want to do right by my adorable kitten, you know?

so I've done a bunch of research over the last week or so, sourced out my meats. stocked up (found organic milk fed veal liver.. that sounds healthy!) and me and my boyfriend spent a couple hours last night portioning out weeks then days worth of meals and freezing them. so, all the things I can control are going well, and now the only problem is Jango. he's an 8month-ish old scottish fold.. we got him from the humane society and him and many other cats were abandoned by a breeder when they were very young. I assume he's been mousing or something since then, though being 6 months old and only weighing about 4.5lbs when we got him, I also think he was pretty malnourished. but I thought the switch to raw might be easier for someone who had been mousing perhaps?

so, me, being excited, gave him some chicken a couple nights ago before we were actually ready to start his diet, and he went crazy for it (it gets stuck in his teeth a little and he whips his head around trying to dislodge it, too cute.) and now I realize I probably gave him WAY too much, probably about 4 oz (I hadn't gotten a scale yet, and being canadian, had no actual idea how much an ounce was.) which is what he would normally need to eat a day almost, and he wolfed it all in one sitting. (he's done that before too, one day I was giving him food everytime he wanted it, which I read is an okay thing to do for a kitten, and he just ate so much that he didn't eat for 1.5 days after.. greedy little piglet.) needless to say, this gave him an upset stomach and runny poos. (which just kind of seems like a reaction to too much rich food after being a cornavore for a few months and mom getting over excited and giving him too much meat) but what I'm more worried about than that is the fact that he has seemed REALLY lethargic since then, hardly even wanting to play, as well as unwilling to eat anything else raw. do you think I should be worried about the lethargy?

and just trying to give him a couple pieces of chicken today proved impossible, despite trying to hide them, coax him with tuna water, pretend I dropped them (which he's usually all over) or even once I switched to a bit of beef to try to switch it up. do you think this is just a temporary wariness that I can work him past, or do you think I came on too fast and made this a lot harder for myself then it would have been? any tips that anyone found REALLY helpful to getting their cat to eat? I was thinking I might try cooking some chicken for him, and then slowly moving less and less cooked until he's back to raw? any thoughts? any help would be much appreciated.

also, just a general question on the diet, I understand that the 80% 10% 5% 5% model is based on whole prey, which makes sense, but this diet is also based on that pottenger study, right? and if so, when his findings that the ultimate diet for a cat included 1/3 milk, why do we not include any milk in his diet?

anyways, sorry for the novel, and any help is much appreciated, and I'm looking forward to being an active member here.


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 04:05 PM
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Re: new diet - a few questions to help me get started?

It's possible he's just feeling nasty still and that's why he's acting off. If it continues too long though I'd take him to the vet. Is he eating commercial food? If so then he's probably avoiding the raw because it made him sick, animals are pretty good at avoiding things that make them sick (assuming it happens relatively quickly). I'm sure you'll be able to get him on the raw again it just might take longer now, you might want to wait until he's back to his normal self. Try mixing small pieces in with his commercial food until he decides it's safe. You could try cooking as well (slowly progressing towards raw) if he'll eat the cooked meat. You may want to stay away from chicken for a bit if you can.

The diet, as far as I know, is not based off of Pottenger's cat experiment, though perhaps this experiment began some people thinking about a raw diet. It is based off of the make up of prey animals, they contain approximately 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% other organs. Cats would never naturally consume cow's milk, if they did eat a lactating female mouse the amount of milk would be very small. It has actually been shown that a decent amount of domestic cats are lactose intolerant.


Good luck on transitioning your kitty, I hope he changes his mind and starts eating raw for you, reluctant cats are a pain to switch. Keep us updated!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 04:19 PM
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Re: new diet - a few questions to help me get started?

First off, welcome to the raw world! ET and I made the transition a few months ago and he is really thriving. In fact, when I brought him home for the holidays I was away for a week and he ate quite a bit of lower quality dry food. I think that one of the best benefits from a human perspective is FEWER AND LESS STINKY POOPS! And when he was home on dry food while I was away... wow did his poops stink when I came back and they were much more numerous (I certainly will bring ET home to grandma's with a better stash of food next time).

ET took pretty easily to the diet, but I wanted to say that after his first day on raw he slept a ton. I think that its physically is more difficult for them to eat raw (at least at first, while they build up strength) and it also leaves them a lot more emotionally satisfied. Its funny, even now when I feed ET some EVO 95% wet when I am in a hurry without anything thawed, he goes at the pieces with the side of his mouth as though they were raw, and almost seems disappointed when it isn't!!

So I guess this is just a bit of my story, and some words of encouragement. Hiding some small chunks of chicken breast in wet food worked great to get the ball rolling with ET. Stick with it. The benefits are amazing and noticeable.

-BP
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: new diet - a few questions to help me get started?

so, some progress, I've been sticking probably about an ounce of raw beef into his wet food at dinner, and he'll eat it no problem (it's awfully cute when they eat out of the side of their mouths!) and he also seems to like chicken heart if I put it in there. haven't tried with raw chicken again, but maybe I will in a couple days and see if he's forgotten.

tummy and energy seem better too, spent the morning rocketing around the apartment like he was on fire. I've been keeping him on kibble in the morning (I know you guys don't recommend that at all, but he's always been on a mix between wet and dry and I don't want to introduce too many new variables at once.) and poops have seemed much better too.

so overall, I'm happy!

a few more questions:

1. how much heart do you generally feed? I know that one of the problems that people bring up about raw feeding is that sometimes cats die of a taurine deficiency, and I know heart is pretty high in taurine, so how much meat do you generally replace with it? chicken hearts are really easy and cheap for me to get in my area, and for the weeks I've already gotten made up I included about 3 oz of heart. is that an okay amount? too much? too little? do I need to supplement taurine just to be safe?

2. I know I've read a lot of people on here say that cats and dogs aren't able to absorb salmonella and e.coli, but I've been doing some reading of the arguments against raw feeding (I like to be well informed about things.) and there's quite a few documented cases of racing greyhounds dying of e.coli, they get fed a raw, ground diet at the track, apparently. is that just a chance everyone is taking, or do some of you do things to minimize the risk? is this also an issue for cats, does anyone know? (I find that the BARF thing is a lot easier to find information on for dogs.)

3. when should I try including some bone in the meat I give him? I have cornish game hen, I'm just so... darn... nervous!

thanks for your help!


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2010, 10:48 AM
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Re: new diet - a few questions to help me get started?

Cutting out kibble when you're ready will only improve his tummy issues, just so you know. Keeping it in his diet may be what's making his tum upset. Can you replace his kibble meal with another wet one?

Hearts are wonderful for taurine! We feed heart here on an almost daily basis, with no side effects (beef heart is cheap and plentiful). Ofcourse, we mix it up as well.. chicken heart, pig heart, other meaty meat.. but beef heart is a staple here. As far as I'm aware, they just pee out any excess taurine with no troubles. If you find chicken hearts easy to get, cheap and he likes them - I see no problem with having them as a major part of your diet (although they are tiny, so long term I don't think they'd do much for his teeth in the way of chomping and tearing ).

Racetrack dogs are not tended to well. It's no secret. I would be willing to bet their meat is old, maybe rancid, all ground and left out for hours. They're also neglected and shoved in tiny cages when not being pushed to run and pumped full of drugs. Ground meat does have more bacteria, that's why many people don't feed much ground meat. Chunks of meat have much less chance of bad stuff.. something about grinding and letting air in, vs a chunk has only one surface area? I'm fairly sick with pneumonia and lack of sleep at the moment, and that's the best I can remember.

Try the bone whenever! Offer him ribs first, they tend to be easier to eat. He likely (as in, most cats) don't know what to do at first.. so you may have to mallet his bones into pieces the first few times. Even my cats sometimes forget how to "do" bones. I found a supplier for quail, and NONE of the cats have trouble with those.. I would suggest if you can to find a quail supply.

Kelly

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: new diet - a few questions to help me get started?

thanks muzby.. I guess I probably could have thought about the ground meat issue, I've heard that before. poor doggies.

anywho, so progress is going well... he'll eat chicken again. gave him some cornish game hen tonight with bones in (a wing) and he had pretty much no idea what to do with it. so I chopped it up a little, and chucked out the bigger bone, and figured he might just eat the wingtip bones.

he did.. and.. he CHOKED!!

I mean, he managed to spit it out okay (and finished eating it after.. what a nerd) but has anyone else had this happen to them? jango can't really make any noise (doesn't have a meow and can't purr) but he made the loudest noise I have ever heard tonight from him. I RAN the 25 ft I was away to kitty heimlich him, but he had managed to get it out himself by then.

what do you think I did wrong? do you think he's just being too fast of an eater and he'll learn to go slower on meat chunks, or was it bad of me to cut up the wing a little (I'm not too good with inches (canadian), but I bet I cut it into 2.5 inch pieces?)

a cute carnivore though!!



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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 02:33 AM
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Re: new diet - a few questions to help me get started?

Honestly I wouldn't worry about it. Mak'll try to swallow a piece that's too big sometimes... Actually, just a couple days ago I was watching Mak eat his cornish hen and he started to choke.

Of course, I'm sitting there thinking "Oh, god, how the heck do you give the heimlich manoeuvre to a cat?" .. And then, before I had a chance to think about it, Mak regurgitated what was in his throat back into his mouth, chewed it a bit more, then swallowed again. Talk about gross.

I think we have to give our cats more credit than they're worth They'll figure things out, and if I've learned one thing about cats so far it's that things almost always sound worse than they are (fighting, meowing for food, hissing, being sick...).


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 09:31 AM
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Re: new diet - a few questions to help me get started?

I'm glad he's eating again, and glad that chocking didn't both him. I think a lot of cats who are starting raw after eating commercial food are liable to choke. Cats don't need to chew wet food and they barely chew dry (some don't chew it at all). So they think that they can just swallow the raw without chewing, they need to learn it doesn't work like that.

Willie has chocked twice, once on kibble and once on raw. When I fed kibble in a bowl he often would hack while he ate because he swallowed too fast but he seriously chocked once. He started backing up really fast and shaking his head, he finally hacked it up and ran away.

Then he chocked on a hunk of pork meat. He shook his head, retched and up came the meat, then he calmly continued eating.

So I would continue supervising his feedings until he's a good chewer. I wouldn't cut his bone pieces too small or else he'll be tempted to try and swallow the whole thing, if it's bigger he has to chew. If you are having problems getting him to eat the bone try breaking the bone and cutting the wing in half, that way it is big enough to prevent swallowing but has the meat and marrow exposed. Or smash the bone so that the bone it manageable but contained in the meat and skin so he still has to chew to eat it.
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