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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
Tom Cat
 
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Nature's Variety raw diet

I am thinking about switching both of my 8 month old male cats to a raw diet. I am currently feeding them 6 ounces of Wellness canned food daily. I have done a little research on raw feeding. The problem is, I am on an extremely tight budget. I am an unemployed college student and having to make a lot of sacrifices myself just to give my cats the best life possible. I am aware that making raw food is cheaper than most high quality can foods, however, I discovered that in order to prepare the raw food you'd have to grind up the liver, meat and bones using a special grinder. I cannot afford that at the moment. Preparing the food sounds easy, gathering the supplements with water, combining liver, meat and bones, however I'm still confused as to whether it's absolutely necessary that I grind it up using that machine. So my next option which is a little more inconvenient and expensive would be to purchase Nature's Variety raw food. The reason why I say it's inconvenient for me is because a 3 lb bag lasts for 5 to 6 days only and every time it finishes, I'd have to go back to the lady's house and purchase more. Like every 5 to 6 days! That's weird. It's not even a business, it's a household. I don't even know the woman. I can't come with a large amount of money to buy the food in excess so yeah. Sucks. I will ultimately get a job but right now I'm too busy (sorry for going off-topic lol). This is the website http://www.barfershoppe.com/Nature%27s% ... 0Diets.htm. I'd be getting the chicken medallions 3 lb bag. My question is, if I decide to go with the pre-made raw food, all I have to do is take out the meat, defrost it and feed a certain amount to my cats right? No other additional supplements, grinding, etc. needed?

Or do you think I should just save myself the embarrassment of going to this stranger's house every 5 to 6 days and stick to the Wellness/Natural Balance/EVO that I'm feeding them right now? Orrrr is it really THAT necessary that I have to purchase a grinder in order to prepare my own raw diet?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 06:37 PM
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Re: Nature's Variety raw diet

Don't bother with the grinder or any prepared raw food. It will get expensive fast, and is COMPLETELY unnecessary.

Bones (whole bones) are one of the great parts of a raw diet. One of the reasons that raw-fed cats have great teeth is because of the bones. I feed my guys chicken necks (nice small bones) or cornish hen (again, small bones). It is very satisfying to hear them crunching on bones!!

It will take some time for your cats to gain the jaw strength to work through meat, so get them acclimated to that before transitioning to bone.

There is a ton of information on this site, and many knowledgeable people. It's such a great thing to do for your cat (and a HUGE $$$ saver, I'm a poor grad student).

-BP
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Nature's Variety raw diet

Hm, where can I get the bones? I have a lot of raw chicken bones and stuff in my freezer right now but that's not safe is it?

And btw the raw meat and bones I currently have in my freezer are from grocery stores.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 06:56 PM
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Re: Nature's Variety raw diet

I get all my stuff from grocery stores. Usually there is a section that has all the "weird" stuff in it like liver, heart, kidney, fatty meat, etc. I know many people have luck getting things from the free section of Craigslist, or Asian markets, although I don't have experience with either. I think the CGH I have now were Perdue whole hens I got on sale. I just quartered them up, froze, and thawed them. I buy in bulk and freeze pretty much everything, and then thaw as needed.

I always feed bones with meat on them... think of like a rack of cornish game hen ribs, or small (maybe nickel in circumference) chicken necks. Lately my ET can go through CGH wings, but if I give him a thigh bone he will leave it. Be sure to supervise for the first few times you feed bones, but cats usually know what they are eating and handle it well and appropriately. Remember, raw bones are much less brittle than cooked bones.

-BP
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Nature's Variety raw diet

Ok thanks. I should continue feeding them the Wellness canned food in order for them to get all the supplements, correct? And then just give them the raw bones with meat as a dinner treat?

Also, it doesn't matter what type of bone (i.e chicken neck bone, chicken leg bone, etc.) the cat consumes right? I heard it's dangerous for them to consume chicken bones unless it's from the neck.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 07:04 PM
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Re: Nature's Variety raw diet

I don't feed any supplements. You want to feed 80% muscle meat (which includes heart), 10% bone, and 10% organ. I don't really have a strict schedule but feed mostly non-bone muscle meat (chunks of chicken, pork, occasionally fish) and toss in a piece of kidney or liver every few days, same with bone. I feed three meals a day, and for a while I would feed 2 raw and then one EVO 95% canned. Now I don't do that (too expensive!) but I keep cans on hand in case I forget to thaw something.

I think of raw as something that is really "go big or go home." It doesn't give the cat any of the benefits of raw to feed them it on occasion or as a treat (although it certainly is not harmful). Just try feeding your cats some muscle meat (don't get hung up on bone yet) and see how they handle it. Both my cats took right away, but for some it takes some coaxing/trickery.

Edited to add that it does not matter where the bones come from, bones are bones. I think cats are a pretty good judge about what bones they can handle.

I'm pretty new to this (feeding raw about 5 months) so be sure to read old threads or monitor this as more experienced people respond.

-BP
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Nature's Variety raw diet

OK this is good. I'm glad I didn't go ahead and buy the Nature's Variety. So all I do is buy muscle meat and organs from the grocery store. I already have a lot of chicken and cow bones in my fridge which I will try to cut up into small pieces. I'm going to go ahead and feed the Wellness and EVO once a day just in case. I am so freaking excited! lol. I've wanted to do this for such a long time but thought you absolutely had to buy the meat from a special place. I'm glad the grocery store meat is fine because I have a whole bunch. All I need now is the organs and muscle meat. What's so great about this is that my cats are getting the optimum diet and I'm saving a lot of money at the same time. As far as how much to feed them, I will just feed them as much as they want. If they leave some then I will decrease the amount and if they finish it all I will add just a little more.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 08:53 PM
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Re: Nature's Variety raw diet

Grocery store meat is likely much better than what is in the majority of cat foods, as it is human grade. The only thing is to make sure that the meat is not "enhanced" or seasoned with anything (especially salt).

And muscle meat = chicken breasts, pork, steak, anything non-bone or organ! Heart is considered muscle, and is an excellent food.

Keep us updated!

-BP
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Nature's Variety raw diet

Just gave them some beef heart and they went insane! They ate it all up. Yay I'm excited!! I will slowly transition to the bones in a few days.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-05-2010, 06:15 AM
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Re: Nature's Variety raw diet

Just wanted to say that cow bones are not usually safe for cats. Stick to chicken, rabbit, quail, cornish hens. Mine does best with chicken wings, chicken ribs and rabbit bones.

Just remember to feed about 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% other organ like kidney. Total should be about 2-3% of your cat's body weight. Look around the sub-forum and find as much info as you can!
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