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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-26-2010, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Lets Talk Raw Baby!

I've been really curious about raw diets for cats since joining the forum here, and along with my own recent research, I think I've decided to give it a go. I can't really start the raw diet until I get in a bit better of a financial situation (and the stress levels in the house go down and I'm fully ready to take it on!), but I've already priced a full months meals for my two kitties at Hare Today and it's already almost $20.00 less than what I currently pay for the commercial crap they're eating. So here are my questions (some regarding Hare Today specifically)!

1. Are the types of meats I am looking at appropriate for cats? I was looking at purchasing an assortment of rabbit, goat, and chicken, with beef lung, chicken livers, and turkey hearts for organs. Is goat ok for cats (not sure why not, but...)? Does this seem like a decent variety of meats or are there others that would be better substituted (pork or beef for the goat for example).

2. I know that the more you grind the meats, the less-healthy they become as the nutrients are leeched out. Hare Today has "coarse ground" meats (the goat comes to mind), which my cats would only be getting for some meals, not all. Would I need to worry about supplementing this with extra vitamins/taurine? Or would I not need to bother since it's still "chunky", and they'd still be getting non-ground meats and organs for other meals?

3. What about eggs? I was looking at quail eggs, but wasn't sure about how to serve them... And what about the shells...edible or harmful?

4. How can I test if my cats will take to a raw diet? I'd like to try a few different types of meats before I go buying in bulk online. Obviously, pre-packaged sardines and junk are not good. But could I buy meats at my local grocery store (Food Lion or Harris Teeter) in the meat section? Would their butchers and grades of meat be acceptable for cats, or would most come with too many additives? I was thinking of trying raw chicken, beef, and turkey, along with some giblets and gizzards (I've seen them pre-packaged in the meat sections) and maybe some fresh herring as a treat?

5. I know bones should never be cooked as they become brittle and break. But can bigger bones be given to cats like you can with dogs? Could I give a piece of bone-in rib meat and just let them chew? And what about bone splintering...is there little risk when the bones are non-cooked?

I can't really think of anything else right now, so talk raw to me everybody! Whoo!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-26-2010, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Time Bandit View Post
I've been really curious about raw diets for cats since joining the forum here, and along with my own recent research, I think I've decided to give it a go. I can't really start the raw diet until I get in a bit better of a financial situation (and the stress levels in the house go down and I'm fully ready to take it on!), but I've already priced a full months meals for my two kitties at Hare Today and it's already almost $20.00 less than what I currently pay for the commercial crap they're eating. So here are my questions (some regarding Hare Today specifically)!
---
I can't really think of anything else right now, so talk raw to me everybody! Whoo!
First, welcome to the raw side, Time Bandit! Your cats will thank you for your efforts on their behalf.

Now onto business.

There is no need to limit yourself to a single source for food items. Check out your local grocery and discount stores for chicken, beef, pork, quail and turkey meat and organ products. I only order online what I can't get locally.

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1. Are the types of meats I am looking at appropriate for cats? I was looking at purchasing an assortment of rabbit, goat, and chicken, with beef lung, chicken livers, and turkey hearts for organs. Is goat ok for cats (not sure why not, but...)? Does this seem like a decent variety of meats or are there others that would be better substituted (pork or beef for the goat for example).
Pretty much any animal can be fed to cats, with the exception of fish. The more variety, the better. Heart and gizzards are considered muscle meat for raw-feeding purposes.

See this thread for more raw-feeding information: https://www.catforum.com/forum/62-raw...resources.html

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2. I know that the more you grind the meats, the less-healthy they become as the nutrients are leeched out. Hare Today has "coarse ground" meats (the goat comes to mind), which my cats would only be getting for some meals, not all. Would I need to worry about supplementing this with extra vitamins/taurine? Or would I not need to bother since it's still "chunky", and they'd still be getting non-ground meats and organs for other meals?
This is a comfort-level thing. Since science has neither quantified everything in prey animals, OR determined how much of what is degraded at what level of processing, there's no easy answer here. I intend to replace my current twice-weekly chunked rabbit meals with the coarse ground rabbit, but do not intend to add any supplements.

There are many CF raw-feeders who grind their foods; I'm sure they'll chime in soon. Also, these websites may be helpful:

Feeding Your Cat: Know The Basis of Feline Nutrition Cat Nutrition.Org Feline Nutrition

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3. What about eggs? I was looking at quail eggs, but wasn't sure about how to serve them... And what about the shells...edible or harmful?
I drizzle eggs over my cats food every now and then, but I don't feed the shells. See the above websites for more info on feeding eggs. Hopefully, too, someone else will have something to offer here.

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4. How can I test if my cats will take to a raw diet? I'd like to try a few different types of meats before I go buying in bulk online. Obviously, pre-packaged sardines and junk are not good. But could I buy meats at my local grocery store (Food Lion or Harris Teeter) in the meat section? Would their butchers and grades of meat be acceptable for cats, or would most come with too many additives? I was thinking of trying raw chicken, beef, and turkey, along with some giblets and gizzards (I've seen them pre-packaged in the meat sections) and maybe some fresh herring as a treat?
As long as the meats are not "enhanced", buying from local grocery and discount stores is perfectly fine. Fresh-water packed sardines once a week - one fish per cat - are fine and make a good addition to a raw diet since they're full of Omega 3s. Lots of fish, however, is NOT a good idea, as fish can provoke urinary tract issues and allergic reactions.

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5. I know bones should never be cooked as they become brittle and break. But can bigger bones be given to cats like you can with dogs? Could I give a piece of bone-in rib meat and just let them chew? And what about bone splintering...is there little risk when the bones are non-cooked?
As long as the cat has the strength to break the bone, you can feed it. Leave some meat on it to make it smoother going down. Most cats can't eat weight-bearing bones such as chicken thighs or larger, but can - at least eventually - crack anything smaller. Quail bones and chicken ribs are good starter bone-in meals.

AC
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2010, 10:18 AM
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Thinking ahead about ordering online is great but you may find that you wonít need to. I started with ground meats from the local grocery store, worked up to chunks and now Iím feeding chunks with bones. Organs are a little harder to find but some mainstream grocery stores do stock them. Just ask and youíll know where to look next time.

My plan, also, was to eventually order from Hare Today but I recently found a buyers club that delivers organic, grass fed/free range, humanely treated meat AND a variety of organs to my area once a month for a very small fee. There is also an organic butcher that has everything HT does (except for ground with bones and organs) but you can special order all kinds of wild game.

Basically, the non-committal, low financial impact way to start is pick up some ground chicken and a few storage containers at the grocery store. Once that is gone try turkey, lamb, beef, pork and whatever else you find locally. You can start with chunks but I found it easier to determine if it was a texture issue or meat intolerance with ground. Once you know what your cats do well with, focus on that in larger pieces and then with bone.

The hardest part for me was coming up with a system to store and thaw. I reuse my containers so I didnít want to permanently mark them and it got confusing when I made large batches of different things. Now I have small (organs), medium (boneless) and large (bones) containers for different things and I know what to feed on what day. That made it a lot easier to pull out and thaw what Iíd need for the next day.

My first attempt at raw was with a senior cat Iíd only had for a month and it didnít go well. I was bombarding him with too many things at once and he did a lot of vomiting. We went back to canned for a couple weeks and then I tried again with ground chicken, ground chicken and more ground chicken until I was sure he could tolerate it. Then I tried ground lamb, turkey and beef for days at a time. He does very well with the lamb, doesnít care for turkey and vomits the beef. The main reason for trying again with him is I adopted a second cat that I wanted to raw feed. She had spent some time on the streets fending for herself but, in the last week, my old guy has gone from ground to chunks to bones even better than her! I never thought I would get to this point with him and I have to credit the slow and laid back approach.

I guess I havenít answered any of your specific questions but I thought Iíd share my experiences as someone who wanted to ďgive it a tryĒ and just this weekend purchased a chest freezer for cat food.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2010, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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AC - Thanks so much for the info and links!! I always see you posting in these raw threads, and I really appreciate all the posts you've made and the links you've provided...all your info is very helpful and easy to understand.

Cake - Thanks for the first-hand account of what you did to try out raw. I always love personal stories, because even though every cat is different, the knowledge is still valuable.

I picked up a pack of sardines (what the cats don't get, I get, yummy!), and I'll be trying out some raw chicken and beef on them a little later in the week (wanna go slow to avoid upset tummies). We'll see how it goes!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2010, 05:49 PM
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AC - Thanks so much for the info and links!! I always see you posting in these raw threads, and I really appreciate all the posts you've made and the links you've provided...all your info is very helpful and easy to understand.

... We'll see how it goes!
You're welcome. This is a topic I'm rather passionate about, so I'm very glad I've been of some help.

If you like reading transitional stories, I wrote about mine while I was doing it: Melamine to Frankenprey: A Documented Journey

Good luck, and keep asking questions as you need to!

AC
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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You're welcome. This is a topic I'm rather passionate about, so I'm very glad I've been of some help.

If you like reading transitional stories, I wrote about mine while I was doing it: Melamine to Frankenprey: A Documented Journey

Good luck, and keep asking questions as you need to!

AC
AC - Thank you so much for your link to how you personally transitioned to raw! I just love personal accounts and stories so much! I'm amazed that your cats took to raw so quickly after eating commercial for so long...gives me lots of hope! And my condolences for your Oliver...I know it was a while ago, but he was an absolutely beautiful kitty.

The kitties have been getting their first tastes of raw the past few days. I've given raw cubed chicken as a snack, Mon and Tues. Last night, for their late-night snack I split a large sardine in half, deboned it (they were really sharp little things) and gave them each a fillet. They've loved all of it so far...I'm really excited to see what they'll try and like next!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 10:07 PM
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AC - Thank you so much for your link to how you personally transitioned to raw! I just love personal accounts and stories so much! I'm amazed that your cats took to raw so quickly after eating commercial for so long...gives me lots of hope! And my condolences for your Oliver...I know it was a while ago, but he was an absolutely beautiful kitty.

The kitties have been getting their first tastes of raw the past few days. I've given raw cubed chicken as a snack, Mon and Tues. Last night, for their late-night snack I split a large sardine in half, deboned it (they were really sharp little things) and gave them each a fillet. They've loved all of it so far...I'm really excited to see what they'll try and like next!
You're welcome. Glad your kitties are enjoying their new menu items!

By the way - as long as the sardines are uncooked, there is no need to debone them.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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By the way - as long as the sardines are uncooked, there is no need to debone them.
Thanks for the tip! I was worried because they were really sharp and they might get caught in their throats. I'll give em bone-in next time.
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