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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Worried already! She's not responding well...

Hey everyone... I've decided to start my cat on a raw food diet, as I've heard about all the benefits.

She's the most important thing in our world (my boyfriend and I) and she's like a daughter to us (would die for her, do anything for her, etc etc.)

Here's the thing... Boo (short for Buttercup ) has a history of urinary crystals and is VERY sensitive to any type of dry food. We've had to take her to the vet on numerous occasions for this problem. I've been buying her this dry stuff called Nutram that has urinary care for females and it seems to have worked... she gets the odd flare up where we have to take her to the vet, but she seems to get that with any food - even vet bought food. She gets the issues far less with this brand than any other though.

I recently moved out of my parent's house with my boyfriend so I can now feed her what I want (my parents didn't want me spending too much money on her but now I'm free to do as I please ). The first thing I'm doing? Cutting off that dry food. I don't want to mess with a good thing, as it seems to be working... but I've heard all bad things about virtually all dry food. I was going to switch to only canned... but then I read about raw, and I jumped at the idea. I went to the store bought some chicken, salmon and turkey for her. I'm keeping it frozen until she takes, but...

Just one problem. Boo is like her mommy. She's a vegetarian. Well, not really, she'll eat cat food. But nothing else... Hence I'm worried like crazy. She won't even eat meat when its cooked, not steak, not chicken, not tuna - nothing. She sniffs it, and walks away. Its insane, I know. A cat that won't eat plain ol' meat. She's never caught a mouse (besides her toys) in her life and she's spoiled rotten... but she's playful as heck so the instinct's still there, right?

I gave her her first raw food meal today - raw salmon cut into chunks. I mixed it with some canned food to try to make it more appealing. But she ate some of the canned food and ate AROUND the salmon chunks. They're bite sized so I know she can eat them... but she won't... I know its only the first day so I shouldn't be panicking. But the reason I worry is because she's never taken to meat before, not even cooked, so is there even a chance that she'll give in to her baser instincts and start so late in her life?

She's turning 9 on September 1st. Its not too late to switch is it? I so want her to be healthy and to live as long as she can.

Thanks so much in advance!

Worried,

Tiffany
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 07:07 PM
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Re: Worried already! She's not responding well...

You have to do a slow transition from pet food to raw food, dont just take away her dry food all at once and switch to canned food and raw, because she does have urinary issues and stress can cause a flareup. My 5 year old female has FLUTD, and I couldnt just get her off dry all at once, it took a while (approx 6. months, but she literally gets stressed out at the drop of a hat, so I had to go extra slow), now she is on all canned, and I am going to start slowly transitioning to raw. My two have already eaten raw chicken breast, but I have not tried anything else. Anyways, dont just stop the dry food cold turkey because it could cause unneccessary stress for her, and kibble is addictive to kittys. And if she doesnt eat the raw food, dont starve her until next meal, give her some canned food or kibble. It is not impossible to start a senior cat on raw, but it will take longer because they have been eating commercial pet foods all their life. Hope this helped... also for a cat with urinary issues, it is best to not feed a lot of fish, because it is high in magnesium and phosphorus which contribute to crystal formation. The only fish I would consider feeding my FLUTD cat is pink atlantic salmon
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Worried already! She's not responding well...

Thank you so much.

Boo isn't really new to canned. She eats it quite frequently, and loves it. Its not an issue to get her to eat that... Is it unhealthy to switch immediately nonetheless, even if she likes it? In any case, I always thought I was giving it to her as a weekly treat, not knowing that it was actually better for her until recently.

I definitely won't starve her! Should I maybe mix in raw chunks of chicken or turkey (just a little) with her dry food then? Or should I continue to give it to her with canned food?

I didn't know that about fish. I will make sure not to give it to her in future.

Thanks again,

Tiffany
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 07:21 PM
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Re: Worried already! She's not responding well...

It's very important to go slow. Raw meat has very little odor and commercially-fed cats quite often have trouble even recognizing it as food. A first try is waaaayyy too soon to be worrying.

Check out these transition tips:

http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitionin...o_Canned_Food_

http://feline-nutrition.org/raw-feed...-to-a-raw-diet
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 07:28 PM
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Re: Worried already! She's not responding well...

Raw food should not be given with dry food, it could really really upset the stomach, especially for a senior. Even just give her dry kibble in the morning and dry kibble before bed, that is what I did when first switching my cats to all canned. You should be giving canned food everyday, and what I do for my cats is actually squish it and add extra water to make it almost soupy, but not overly watery, just so I know they are getting their water intake. always look at the size of urine clumps in the litterbox, my cats both have really big pees, if it is golfball sized or smaller you need to increase water intake. Someone may correct me on the sizing but that is what I have been told. If you want to give fish, I would only do raw atlantic pink salmon, but no more than once every two weeks IMO. Instead of mixing solid canned food with the raw, try taking a small amount of the canned food and mixing in lots of extra water, and pour it over the meat like a gravy almost, and what I did with my cats with I washed the meat under warm water so it wasnt fridge cold. Some cats prefer their food warmer, but do not microwave the meat obviously. Depending on where you live, because i think its just canada that sells this brand, but at Pet Valu they have Performatrin Ultra, and the turkey stew and chicken stew have gravy in it, and I used that to put over the raw meat cause they really like it.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Worried already! She's not responding well...

Thank you! I actually just tried mixing some water in with it and she actually ate most of it now (though most of the raw meat remains untouched), so I'm happy for the night.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 10:22 PM
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Re: Worried already! She's not responding well...

You have to be patient and out-stubborn your kitties lol. It took my cats ... 7 months? to transition.
Harley is now fully on raw. For Pico, I still have to drizzle some wet food juice on her raw sometimes.

I wrote a big thread on my learning experience with raw. If you don't want to read through all of it, just scroll to the bottom for the summary lol.
viewtopic.php?f=30&t=66944
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 11:43 AM
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Re: Worried already! She's not responding well...

Very good ideas for transitioning here: http://www.rawfedcats.org/practicalguide.htm

It takes time. Kibble is covered with "digest" (nasty liquified smelly stuff taken from the ickiest kind of meat) and it smells a LOT more than raw. Canned also smells more. Raw food is pretty un-smelly in comparison. Cats also tend to trust whatever they were weaned to -- which for most domestic cats is kibble/canned.

The first thing is to stop free-feeding. Get the dry gone 100% and substitute canned for 2 meals a day. Gradually introduce the raw with the canned.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Worried already! She's not responding well...

Thanks a lot! I read that guide pretty much everyday and spend a lot of time on that site, its so helpful.

I realized that she couldn't smell it... so I put some gravy on it - just a drizzle - and she got a taste, and that was it... lol

She went from ignoring it, to sniffing it, to licking it, and now that she actually tasted it - well, she's hooked! I just gave her a bowl of chopped raw chicken (NO gravy) and it was gone within the half hour. As of today she now eats raw chicken no problem. Can't believe I was so worried! She doesn't like fish, which is good anyway cause I read it was bad for kitties with FLUTD (which Boo has quite seriously unfortunately). Haven't tried beef, turkey, pork or duck yet, but soon will. I'm going to be buying some liver and kidney today and a set of scales and get to work on preparing her meals for the week. Hope she likes it! But I won't worry cause she's taking so fast to her new diet. Two days ago it seemed hopeless and now she's hooked! I was expecting her to takes months.

I admit that I'm terrified about adding bones because I've heard of the choking! She hasn't gnawed on a bone in her life and she has issues even chewing up her chicken (she's not used to such chewy food, but she's learning to tilt her head so that it stays down). I don't know where I'd find small enough bones for her to eat yet and I'm not sure she'd eat a mouse though we are going to try by next month. Are calcium supplements any good for the mean time?

Thanks,
Tiffany
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 02:16 PM
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Re: Worried already! She's not responding well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhondriela
She went from ignoring it, to sniffing it, to licking it, and now that she actually tasted it - well, she's hooked! I just gave her a bowl of chopped raw chicken (NO gravy) and it was gone within the half hour. As of today she now eats raw chicken no problem.
Great! Now stop chopping it up. Give her 1-2 mouse-sized pieces and let her work on them. That will build jaw strength.
Quote:
I admit that I'm terrified about adding bones because I've heard of the choking! She hasn't gnawed on a bone in her life and she has issues even chewing up her chicken (she's not used to such chewy food, but she's learning to tilt her head so that it stays down). I don't know where I'd find small enough bones for her to eat yet and I'm not sure she'd eat a mouse though we are going to try by next month. Are calcium supplements any good for the mean time?
Better not to supplement--you're more likely to over-supplement and she'll be eating bone soon enough. I recommend starting w/ quail rather than chicken (or rock cornish game hen if you can't find quail (try Asian markets for quail, though)). The bone is more appropriately sized. Do NOT cut it up for her (you risk cutting it into choking-sized pieces and she's more than capable of figureing out sizing herself. It will take her a while to develop jaw strength, but get her started now. At first she may only eat part of what you give her and that's o.k. Offer 1/2 quail or 1/4 cornish hen every 3rd meal or so (keep offering it at the next meal if she doesn't finish).
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