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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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making the switch

Okay, so I've been reading alot about raw diet on the internet. I am convinced that this is the best way to maintain optimal health for our cats. I am in the process of odering supplements, meat grinder, scales, and meats. My question is. How important is it to have free range or non-antibiotic meats? Can I just use chicken thighs from the grocery store or should I get a premium cut from specialty food stores? There is so much good info on this site and other websites. I just want to get my ducks in a row before I transition over. I have a feeling my cats might take some time getting used to raw foods since they eat primarily dry food. They were also free fed with unlimited supply, but they also ate Fancy Feast daily 2 tablel spoons of wet food. What other advice would you guys give me regarding the switch?

Cheers,
Jeremy
Greenville,NC
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 10:04 PM
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Re: making the switch

Well, first I wouldn't bother with getting a grinder. Same with the supplements. Cats are made to chew their food as well and raw meat/bones/organs really keeps a cats teeth clean! If you follow the 80-85% meat, 5-10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% other secreting organ model there is no real need to supplement except for a bit of salmon oil or sardines.

Some cats need to switch to a grain free wet food first...at least you should try to switch to all wet. The dry and raw are NOT good together. If you must still feed dry during the transition make sure to not feed dry within 12 hours before feeding raw.

I try to use organ meats from pasture raised antibiotic free animals.

I also use free range chicken necks. Actually, those are the only kind of chicken necks you can get here plus they are cheap!

You can't just feed chicken though. You want to feed as much variety as possible. Chicken, pork, beef, turkey, and lamb tend to be the most available through grocery stores.

Some cats will take to eating raw right away. Others can take several months. The best way to start is cut some meat into fairly small pieces and mix it in with wet food. If the cat eats it - great! Should be easy to make the switch.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 11:34 PM
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Re: making the switch

Most people would agree that supplements (besides omega 3 supplements) are completely unnecessary. Also, grinding the meat kind of defeats one of the main purposes of a raw diet. Cats were designed to gnaw the meat, this will significantly improve their dental health. There are no grinders in the wild; cats have incisors to do that. You can give the bones w/o grinding too.

Many people feed from grocery stores but if you can afford the good stuff then it's always best to go with that. It's really not that crucial. Take a chunk of raw meat (chicken is a good starter) and cut it up into small pieces and offer them some. Most likely they will eat it (or maybe not because they were fed dry food), you can go cold turkey if you are comfortable and have all the information you need to prepare the diet and ensure it's balanced. If they don't eat it then you might have to switch over to high quality WET food (Fancy Feast is VERY low quality, some good wet food brands are Wellness, Natural Balance, EVO, Blue Buffalo, etc). And then slowly add some raw meat to the wet food. But yeah, first see if they like the raw meat and if they don't then switch to high quality wet and slowly transition to raw. Hopefully they like it the first try and you won't have to worry about the transition.

This is a good site:
http://rawfedcats.org/practicalguide.htm
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 03:44 PM
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Re: making the switch

Hi, Jfgomes! Welcome to the raw side!

To answer your specific question - "holistic" food sources are just as much healthier for your cats as they are for you. However, they are not necessary for a successful raw diet.

Some tips that might help your transition efforts:

First, stop free-feeding dry. Get your cats accustomed to eating on a schedule.

Next, put some raw meat cut into very small chunks on a plate right next to their dry food while they're eating for a few days. Just enough meat so they can smell it while they're eating and begin to associate raw with "food".

Then drop just a couple of kibbles on top of the raw meat and offer it before the kibble for a few days to see if they'll try it. If not, throw away the kibble pieces and put the dry food next to the raw for a few more days.

You could also try sprinkling freeze-dried meat treats on the raw food. Stella and Chewy's makes some, as does Whole Life and many others (I use, and LOVE, Whole Life's Freeze-Dried Chicken!). Cats often find these treats irresistible, and they sorta melt onto the raw food and can't be licked off without giving the cat a taste of the raw.

As your cats learn to eat raw and gain chewing expertise and strength, you can slowly increase the size and toughness of the meat you are feeding (chicken is very easy to slice through, as is pork - turkey and beef are more difficult) and, eventually, start offering bone-in meals that contain small, easy to chew bones such as chickens ribs and wingtips; all the while reducing the amount of dry food offered. When the ratio of raw to dry reaches the 50/50 point, you can also start offering very small pieces of liver and kidney.

Here's an article you might find helpful: How to Transition Your Cat to a Raw Diet

Though this refers to transitioning from dry to wet, there are some more ideas in this article that might be useful: Transitioning Dry Food Addicts to Canned.

Sometimes you can move cats right from dry to raw. If you can't, though, switching them to wet first would definitely be a good option.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 10:53 AM
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Re: making the switch

Great page on learning about raw and why grinding isn't only unnecessary, but also not recommended:

http://www.rawfedcats.org/

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-27-2010, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: making the switch

Thanks for all the replies and tips. I was also concerned if there is a chance of bowel perforation from sharp bones? Should I just use softer bones like the wing tips and cartilage ends on the drum sticks? Would smashing the bones up a little help?

Cheers,
Jeremy
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-27-2010, 09:39 PM
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Re: making the switch

Raw bones are flexible and have a very low risk of injury, obstruction, etc. If you need to break up bones to help your kitties get used to eating them, it's fine, but once they have the expertise and the strength to do so themselves, there is no need to continue. You will, in fact, lose one of the best benefits of feeding bones (dental health).

NEVER, EVER feed cooked bones - cooking makes them brittle and those nasty, brittle slivers can do some real damage passing through your pet's body.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 01:57 PM
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Re: making the switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfgomes
Thanks for all the replies and tips. I was also concerned if there is a chance of bowel perforation from sharp bones? Should I just use softer bones like the wing tips and cartilage ends on the drum sticks? Would smashing the bones up a little help?
As AuntieCrazy says, no need to worry.

More info: http://rawfed.com/myths/bones.html
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