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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-13-2010, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Raw food help needed.

Hello to all! It's been a while since I've been on the forum I know. Let me also say to those who know that I've said in the past that I would NEVER feed raw, "things change", and you just have to go with it sometimes.

For over a year I had been having problems with itchy kitties, and went to 4 different vets for help. No one could help even though they did a few brief tests, and no one offered much more than to tell me they didn't know what it was, and send me home with some meds.

Long story short, after a lot of research on my own, and paying close attention to what the kitties symptoms were telling me, I figured out this was in fact, a food allergy. I immediately took them off canned food, and anything with chicken in it, and switched them to Nature's Variety Rabbit. The change was immediate, and amazing! But after time, they started to revert, and I figured it must have something to do with the chicken eggs in the feed.

Fast forward to today. Thankfully I have a supplier where I can get fresh ground rabbit meat, any way I'd like it made, within an hours driving distance. They've been on it now for a month, and the change is even better, but we still have some issues. So I'm hoping I can get a little help to finalize my recipe, and make sure I'm doing things right.

Auntie Crazy, if you are reading this, I really owe you a big thanks, because the site listed in your signature was very helpful! I'm using the recipe listed there, but I've had to substitute using rabbit.

One of my questions is this. After reading another post here, one pinned at the top of this forum, I now read that rabbit should not be the sole source of the feed, and that makes me a little nervous, because that's what I'm doing, and I wonder if that's why I'm still having some shedding and itching issues.

I'm using the whole rabbit, including the head and brain. Basically everything but the fur, feet, guts, and ears. I'm adding in the supplements as listed in that recipe, including the extra taurine, and excluding the salmon oil because of the fact that I'm including the head and brain in my mix.

So my questions are this:

1. Knowing the kitties are allergic to anything chicken/turkey related, what can I safely add in with this mix, because the rabbit is so lean? Something that isn't to smelly, because two of the kitties are extremely picky! Could actually adding in the fish oil replace this needed additional protein?

*One note. I was still adding in a bit of natural cod oil when they started on it, and have since stopped doing that. They seem to be shedding more since stopping it.

2. HOW should it be added? With or without bone?

3. How much should be added if the original recipe is calling for 4 1/2 lbs of protein source?

4. I have read in the other post as well, about how much to feed, and am having problems with two of them eating anything more than 3 oz a day. I feed 4x a day. Sometimes they will eat more, but most the time it's 3 oz. If they are not eating more than that, how can I feel confident they are getting the minerals and vitamins they need, and that part of the shedding problem isn't from them not getting enough?

Thank you!

Last edited by OwnedByACat; 09-13-2010 at 02:53 PM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-13-2010, 06:32 PM
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beef fat is pretty cheap!


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-13-2010, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwnedByACat View Post
Hello to all! It's been a while since I've been on the forum I know. Let me also say to those who know that I've said in the past that I would NEVER feed raw, "things change", and you just have to go with it sometimes.

For over a year I had been having problems with itchy kitties, and went to 4 different vets for help. No one could help even though they did a few brief tests, and no one offered much more than to tell me they didn't know what it was, and send me home with some meds.

Long story short, after a lot of research on my own, and paying close attention to what the kitties symptoms were telling me, I figured out this was in fact, a food allergy. I immediately took them off canned food, and anything with chicken in it, and switched them to Nature's Variety Rabbit. The change was immediate, and amazing!
Hi, OwnedByACat!!! I love your attitude about the switch - that's awesome, and I'm so very glad that your cats are already feeling better. (Sad, though, that so many folks are brought to raw feeding because of similar problems with their kitties. It's just so hard to believe the pet food industry would market such an unhealthy product for our littlest family members. *shakes head*)


Quote:
Originally Posted by OwnedByACat View Post
But after time, they started to revert, and I figured it must have something to do with the chicken eggs in the feed.

Fast forward to today. Thankfully I have a supplier where I can get fresh ground rabbit meat, any way I'd like it made, within an hours driving distance. They've been on it now for a month, and the change is even better, but we still have some issues. So I'm hoping I can get a little help to finalize my recipe, and make sure I'm doing things right.

Auntie Crazy, if you are reading this, I really owe you a big thanks, because the site listed in your signature was very helpful! I'm using the recipe listed there, but I've had to substitute using rabbit.

One of my questions is this. After reading another post here, one pinned at the top of this forum, I now read that rabbit should not be the sole source of the feed, and that makes me a little nervous, because that's what I'm doing, and I wonder if that's why I'm still having some shedding and itching issues.

I'm using the whole rabbit, including the head and brain. Basically everything but the fur, feet, guts, and ears. I'm adding in the supplements as listed in that recipe, including the extra taurine, and excluding the salmon oil because of the fact that I'm including the head and brain in my mix.
Can you be very specific in what you're feeding and in precisely what quantities?

And you are quite correct - you don't want to be feeding your cats a rabbit-only diet.

I feed frankenprey rather than ground and I don't use any supplements at all.... I have to wonder if some of the supplements are causing your kitties that last little bit of itch. If so, we may be able to weed out the culprit after you list exactly what you're feeding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OwnedByACat View Post
So my questions are this:

1. Knowing the kitties are allergic to anything chicken/turkey related, what can I safely add in with this mix, because the rabbit is so lean? Something that isn't to smelly, because two of the kitties are extremely picky! Could actually adding in the fish oil replace this needed additional protein?

*One note. I was still adding in a bit of natural cod oil when they started on it, and have since stopped doing that. They seem to be shedding more since stopping it.

2. HOW should it be added? With or without bone?

3. How much should be added if the original recipe is calling for 4 1/2 lbs of protein source?

4. I have read in the other post as well, about how much to feed, and am having problems with two of them eating anything more than 3 oz a day. I feed 4x a day. Sometimes they will eat more, but most the time it's 3 oz. If they are not eating more than that, how can I feel confident they are getting the minerals and vitamins they need, and that part of the shedding problem isn't from them not getting enough?

Thank you!
1.
- Have you tried feeding raw chicken or turkey? As often as not, it's the commercially-prepared "version" of chicken that cats are allergic to and they can eat fresh, raw poultry just fine.
- Pork, beef, lamb, quail, venison, duck - any real meat source is acceptable.
- No, adding in fish oil will absolutely not replace any protein portions.
- Instead of using an oil, why not offer a sardine a week?

2. The diet should consist of 80/10/5/5, which is to say, 75 - 80% meat, skin, and sinew (hearts and gizzards also count as meat) / 5 - 10% bone (with meat attached) / 2 - 5% liver / 2 -5% any other secreting organ.

If a third of your cats' diet is whole ground rabbit, then use the percentages only on the remaining portion, because the whole ground rabbit is already - NATURALLY - perfectly proportioned. Make sense?

3. It would still be 4.5 pounds of meat - it doesn't matter what kind of meat.

4. Especially with a ground diet, every bite is "balanced". As far as how much your cats should be eating, that depends on the cats' weight, body type and activity level. The recommended amount is 2% to 4% of the particular cats' body weight (three ounces a day would definitely be too much for some of my cats!)

Good to talk to you, OwnedByACat!!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-13-2010, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mimitabby View Post
beef fat is pretty cheap!
I wouldn't feed my cats beef fat. Beef, you bet! but beef fat, er... not so much.

AC
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-14-2010, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you!!!

Ok, I've included the recipe below as I am using it. So are you saying that 1/3 of the 4.5 lbs of protein should be the beef? What type? And I assume no bones?

4.5 lbs whole rabbit with everything but the guts, ears, feet, and fur.
8 to 16 oz water.
4000 mg Taurine.
800 IU Vitamin E
200 mg Vitamin B Complex
1 tsp Lite Iodized Salt

I've also been giving them daily, 1/4 tsp enzymes, and I started adding back in 1/4 tsp natural cod fish oil. I was adding in religiously, a quality probiotic, but I ran out, and havent replaced it yet, but they were on it the whole time they were going through all these food changs. It really helped them transition.

Re: the fresh chicken or turkey. Before any of this food change started, I did try feeding them fresh chicken, but because I hadn't yet realized this was truly a food allergy, and wasn't ready to make the change to raw, I tried a recipe for cooked chicken food. Added minerals and vitamins per the recipe. It made them 100% worse!

I'm not to keen on trying the frankenprey, simply because I have 2 girls here who will turn up their noses every time I make a switch to anything. With Patches, it's a complete transition if the food doesn't even smell the same meal to meal. The ground is just easier too because hubby does the morning feeding, and if I stick to one formula it has been easier. My only fear about this, is if they start to become allergic to this way of feeding as well.

Re: the vitamins and minerals. When I first went to this current raw feed, I didn't have my minerals and vitamins in yet, but I started to transition them on it anyway. It took a week for the minerals and vits to get here. During that week without the added supplements, the itching and overall quality of their fur got really bad. After adding in the supplements, things improved drastically, so I don't think it's the addition of the minerals. As we get further along into this as well, I'm seeing more improvments, so maybe it will just take more time.

So, I guess the only thing left to do is complete my recipe with whatever I need to add in, and then make sure I can transition Patches into it again, because I know once she smells the new addition, she'll turn into a little diva, and have her little food melt down!

One tip for anyone trying to transition. This has worked so well for Patches, who is terrible about accepting new foods. I bought a bottle of all natural wild cod fish oil, that I found recommended on the Little Cat Big Cat website. It's supposedly scentless, but she absolutely LOVES it! When I transitioned her onto the raw, I put in her dish, some of her favorite kibble, and on the side the fish oil with a tiny amount of the raw blended in. Every couple days I would increase the size of the raw, and cut down on the kibble. Within about 1 1/2 weeks she was on full time raw with her 1/4 tsp fish oil, and no more kibble. It worked very well, and Patches is s a tough one to transition!!!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-14-2010, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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I forgot to add........one of the things I LOVE LOVE LOVE about feeding raw, is that I have not had but maybe one hairball on the carpet, and I have not found any "surprise mystery piles" downstairs in the basement since starting this!!!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Auntie Crazy, can you clarify the meet ratio, I am still a bit confused.

If I need a total of 4.5 lb, how much of the beef should I put in? Right now, they grind everything for me at one where I am getting the rabbit from, so I have nothing to do with the percentage of anything, it's the whole carcass going in the grind.......with the exception of the fur, ears, feet, and guts.

I have a local butcher shop about 5 miles from here, I can pretty much get any kind of beef I need. What would be the best type to add in the mix?

Thank you!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by OwnedByACat View Post
Auntie Crazy, can you clarify the meet ratio, I am still a bit confused.

If I need a total of 4.5 lb, how much of the beef should I put in? Right now, they grind everything for me at one where I am getting the rabbit from, so I have nothing to do with the percentage of anything, it's the whole carcass going in the grind.......with the exception of the fur, ears, feet, and guts.

I have a local butcher shop about 5 miles from here, I can pretty much get any kind of beef I need. What would be the best type to add in the mix?

Thank you!
Any kind of beef would be fine.

You can add however much beef you want, OwnedByACat. Just make sure that however much it is, you also add 10% of that weight in bone (or some type of bone supplement - but someone else will need to tell you what kind and how much) 5% in liver and 5% in some other organ. That "recipe" only has one ingredient - whole rabbit - and some supplements.

Alternatively, see if you can source some other type of whole prey (like pheasant or duck). Then you can just add however much of either one you want.

As for the cats doing worse before you added those supplements and better after... it may just be possible that the cats were ridding themselves of toxins (for lack of a better word) found in the commercial food they were eating, got the worst of it out, and have been steadily improving since then.

I don't come across it often, but there are accounts of this very thing happening, and it's nearly always through the skin. Oh, and stools, too... they look worse before they look better.

I will tell you up front that I'm not a fan of supplements. If you're feeding whole prey, even if it's ground, I doubt you really need all that other stuff (especially salt!), but this is totally a comfort call. Lots of people who grind use supplements; hopefully, some of them will chime in here.

Hope that clears things up a bit.

AC
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2010, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks A.C.! Appreciate it!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2010, 11:39 PM
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Hi, Geri! *waves*
Wow. I remember the difficult time you were having with your group and reading about your experience is making me think differently about raw-feeding.
I am finding this very interesting and am taking note.
h =^..^=



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