My Over-analyzed yet Uncertain Switch to Raw - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Question My Over-analyzed yet Uncertain Switch to Raw

Almost 1 year ago we got Oliver, and nearly 6 months ago we were adopted by Brody… two wonderful 1.5 and 1 year old orange tabby cats. Almost immediately after getting Oliver we switched him from Meow Mix to a healthier diet of Wellness Dry and premium canned (Wellness or Evo mostly), and after getting Brody we switched him from Whiskas and canned Nature’s Variety Homestyle from the Prairie (yeah, the Humane Society had him on very good canned food actually… lucky little kitten) to the same diet as Oliver. Over the months we’ve changed from one premium brand to the next, as I’ve researched more and gotten rid of any grains in their diets. Over the last few months/weeks, Oliver’s had occasional sticky poo stuck to his butt, and Brody’s had soft stools now & then. We’ve taken each of them to the vet’s but through the usual screenings weren’t able to find out why Brody’s been having issues.

So, once again, I’ve decided it may be time to change their diet. With all the reading I’ve done, I believe that not only would a raw diet be more appropriate and better liked by the boys, but it may also be the ticket to solving the potty issues of stinky, sticky butts, and soft poo. (Actually, I’m planning on doing canned food in the mornings still, and raw in the evening… for convenience and based on my wife’s current preference)

That said, with all the opinions, theories, and facts out their, I’ve gone & overanalyzed what I’m planning, so now I’m hoping at least a couple of you can read this mini-term paper regarding the change I’m planning. Thanks in advance to anyone who manages to skim through these next few posts (special kudos to anyone who reads it in detail) and offers any advice or critiques you may have.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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First, here’s some general info on the boys, and the diet + options I’m considering, with some details.

Weight in oz.
Brody 168 = 5oz food/day (3%)
Oliver 232 = 7oz food/day (3%)

RAW GOAL COST: $2.00/lb. ideal (MAX $2.75/lb.)

A. BREAKFAST
a. 1/3 CAN FOOD (GRAIN FREE) (~1.8 oz. each)


B. SNACK/TREAT
a. FREEZE DRIED RAW (Small Handful each)
1. Stella & Chewy’s OR Whole Life Pure Meat


C. DINNER (FRANKENPREY PREFERRED)
a. FRANKENPREY (3.2oz. Brody, 5.1oz. Oliver)
1. 80% Raw Boneless Meat Avg./day (2.5oz. Brody, 4oz. Oliver)

(Chicken/Turkey Leg, Thigh or Drumstick, Chicken/Turkey/Beef Heart, Chicken/Turkey Gizzards, Sardine/Mackerel/Herring (in water, not oil)
Lamb, Beef, Venison, Ostrich/Emu) [Heart & Gizzards especially good for teeth]

2. 10% Raw Meaty Bones Avg./day (0.33oz. Brody, 0.5oz. Oliver)
(Chicken Ribs (good 1st bone) Wings (also good) & Necks, Turkey Wing Tips, Cornish Game Hens, Duckling, Rabbit)

3. 5% Liver Avg./day (0.16oz. Brody, 0.25oz. Oliver)
(Chicken/Turkey Liver)

4. 5% Raw Organs Avg./day (0.16oz. Brody, 0.25oz. Oliver)
(Chicken/Turkey Kidney or Spleen)

5. SUPPLEMENTS
(Taurine: Not Necessary if feeding Hearts regularly, still good to add)
(Fish Oil: Not Necessary if feeding fish once a week)
(Essential Fatty Acids/ Omega; 1 capsule on food 1-2x/week)
(Bone Meal: Not Necessary if cats are eating bones fine)
(Eggs (Whites Cooked, Yolks Raw): “Same” as Bone Meal)


b. COMMERCIAL RAW (3.2oz. Brody, 5.1oz. Oliver)
(Primal Formula)
(Rad Cat)
(Hare Today)
(Felines Pride)


c. WHOLE PREY (wife vetoed- for now)(3.2oz. Brody, 5.1oz. Oliver)
(Mice)
(Chicks)
(Quail)

Last edited by Huzzah; 02-12-2011 at 12:45 PM.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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And for my wife’s sake, here’s a financial breakdown of their current diet vs. the proposed WET + FRANKENPREY.

WET & DRY

Wet: I rotate from one brand to another every month/every two months to provide variety.
(Trader Joes Turkey & Giblets, Natural Balance Duck & Green Pea, Evolve Natural Chicken or Seafood, Nature’s Variety Homestyle Prairie Lamb & Liver)
Average Price = $0.21/oz. (Thanks to the low cost of Trader Joes)

~1.4 oz. (1/4) can each a.m.
~1.4 oz. (1/4) can each p.m.

5.5oz per day = $1.16 Wet Food

Dry: I rotate from one brand to another about every 7 weeks, when we start running out of one.
(Taste of the Wild, Nature’s Variety Instinct Chicken or Duck, Before Grain Chicken or Salmon)
Average Price = $0.14/oz.

~4.7oz (1/2 cup) each per day

4.7oz per day = $0.64 Dry Food

TOTAL = $1.80/day

************************************************** *******

WET & RAW

Wet: I rotate from one brand to another every month/every two months to provide variety.
(Trader Joes Turkey & Giblets, Natural Balance Duck & Green Pea, Evolve Natural Chicken or Seafood, Nature’s Variety Homestyle Prairie Lamb & Liver)
Average Price = $0.21/oz. (Thanks to the low cost of Trader Joes)

~1.8 oz. (1/3) can each a.m.

3.6oz per day = $0.76 Wet Food

Raw: I intend to feed Frankenprey… the standard 80% muscle meat, 10% meaty bones, 5% organs, 5% liver.
I’m hoping to find Chicken & Turkey with some fish and beef hearts to fill the majority of their meals, and the occasional Cornish Game Hen, Venison, Lamb, Quail, and Ostrich or Emu treat.
Living in Madison, WI, I suspect most of the basics will be readily available, there are a handful of ethnic grocers around, plenty of meat markets, and during the spring/summer regular farmers markets.

3.2oz. per day for Brody
5.1oz. per day for Oliver (8.3oz. per day total.)

GOAL = If I can get meats for $2/pound, that’ll be $1.04 per day raw.

TOTAL of $1.80/day WET + RAW…
The same price as I’ve been paying for the less appropriate, less healthy “WET + DRY” diet.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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And finally, here’s how I’m looking at portioning out each weeks meals.
Keep in mind that though I may seem too deep into “it” at this point, I understand I don’t need to be exact down to the 10th of an ounce every/any day… these are just my goals.

BRODY 3.2oz/day = 22.4oz/wk
80% = 17.9oz. meat/wk
10% = 2.3oz. bone/wk
5% = 1.1oz. liver/wk
5% = 1.1oz. organ/wk

SUN 2.2oz. Meat + 1.2oz. Bones
MON 2.6oz. Meat + 0.6oz. Liver
TUE 3.2oz. Meat (Maybe broken up into 2 feedings)
WED 2.6oz. Meat + 0.6oz. Organs
THU 2.2oz. Meat + 1.2oz. Bones
FRI 2.6oz. Meat + 0.6oz. Liver
SAT 2.6oz. Meat + 0.6oz. Organs

************************************************** ******

OLIVER 5.1oz/day = 35.7oz/wk
80% = 28.6oz. meat/wk
10% = 3.6oz. bone/wk
5% = 1.8oz. liver/wk
5% = 1.8oz. organ/wk

SUN 3.3oz. Meat + 1.8oz. Bones
MON 4.2oz. Meat + 0.9oz. Liver
TUE 5oz. Meat (Maybe broken up into 2 feedings)
WED 4.2oz. Meat + 0.9oz. Organs
THU 3.3oz. Meat + 1.8oz. Bones
FRI 4.2oz. Meat + 0.9oz. Liver
SAT 4.2oz. Meat + 0.9oz. Organs


GROCERY LIST:
MUSCLE MEAT = 5.8lbs/2 weeks
MEATY BONES = 0.74lbs/2 weeks
LIVER = 0.37lbs/2 weeks
ORGANS = 0.37lbs/2 weeks
TOTAL = 7.28lbs/2 weeks

So, assuming everything looks fine & dandy, now I just need to figure out how to fit 2 weeks worth of frozen meats in the freezer… bags, containers?... and how to make having separate amounts for each of the boys prepared, frozen, and stored ready & simple enough for my wife to not worry about giving each cat what they’re supposed to get.
Again, thanks for any help I may get, I want my cats to be the happy, little carnivorous beasts they’re meant to be…
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Finally, thanks to everyone in the RAW forum... reading all of your questions, confusions, concerns, strategies, and kitty rebellion stories has me feeling surprisingly prepared for this challenge.

Special thanks to saitenyo and suwanee for your recent & long threads full of helpful questions and thoughts, and the solutions you've found/come up with/been gifted from the pros... and also to Auntie Crazy and the other resident pros who answer all of our questions and help us make our cats healthy again.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 06:31 PM
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I'll let one of the more experienced raw feeders comment on your menu, as I'm still way too new at that to help there.

But just wanted to wish you luck in your transition! As I'm sure you saw from my threads, I too tend to over-analyze everything, and fretted about every tiny detail in my switch to raw. But I am so glad I did it! Athena had those soft/sticky/stinky poo issues you describe here and has not had them at all on the raw diet. It's been wonderful!
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 01:25 AM
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I LOVE that people are taking such a hard, solid, intelligent look at what their cats are eating!!!!

Concerning your first post of info:

"B" - I think I'd save the freeze-dried meat treats for those instances when you have to tempt your kitties to eat something they need but are being finicky about, such as organ meals of liver or kidney. It has never failed to work for me, but if you offer it as a daily treat, it may lose some of it's "temptation" value.

"C,a,5" - Feeding a Sardine a week is recommended FOR the Omega 3 content, so no need for either fish oil or a "capsule" if you're offering that Sardine. Also, pouring an egg (without the shell) over the cat's food every now and again is perfectly fine and a nice way to add additional variety.

"C,b" - Hare Today does not sell commercially-prepared cat food - they sell animal products suitable for use in ground, frankenprey and whole prey home-prepared diets.

- - - - - -

Your second post:

- You can rotate the canned wet food at every meal. Rotating it once a month, you take the chance the cats get hooked on a particular flavor/brand. You could also, if you were interested, add the three Wellness grain-free flavors and/or the other Natural Balance grain-free flavors.

- Don't feed more than a Sardine a week. Fish isn't really good for cats and you're only offering the Sardine to provide Omega 3's.... if you can get your hands on strictly grass-raised prey animals, you won't need to even offer the single Sardine.

- - - - - -

Your third post:

Looks good to me. Looks great, actually... you've put some serious work into understanding exactly what your cats need and it looks like you've accurately accounted for the fact that only half your cats diet is raw - major kudos!!!

Best regards.

AC
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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I certainly don't do daily treats, just after cutting their nails or the occasional bath. Then it's been just a couple greenies or whatever other relatively healthy cat treat I've got on hand. I'll have to make sure to save their favorite freeze-dried treat for those rare occasions when they won't cooperate with the raw diet plan. ***I pray that it's only rare***

As for Hare Today, I saw that they weren't selling prepared food, but unintentionally added them in with the companies that do... at the least it looks like it'd be pretty easy to make a nearly complete meal from the foods they sell.

I've always been very cautious about changing their foods too often so I've stuck to going 1 month at a time. I suppose now that they've had a variety of kinds I can be more carefree about rotating.

I've gone ahead and added a sardine to my plan, for each of the boys to have with their Tuesday dinner. I think eggs are only going to be an occasional addition, unless it turns out I can't find enough variety around here. I guess my only concern with the sardines is that if I'm only feeding 1 each a week, I'm going to have a couple left over sardines in the can that I don't need until next week, and I read they don't freeze well. I'd hate to waste half the sardines I buy... and nobody but the furbabies is going to eat them. Any thoughts?

Thanks so much for your support Saitenyo, and the thorough reply AC.
I think my little Brody is going to especially appreciate some raw food, he's already an interesting mix of wild kitten and big snuggler... my wife's already fearful of how I've told her he might act after he's devoured a piece of chicken heart.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 12:18 PM
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Sardines are wicked cheap; I'd just toss what you don't use. Someone else may have another suggestion, though.

When my cats were on canned, they received a different flavor/brand for every meal; there's no harm in it and it encourages receptivity to new/different food items.

AC
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-13-2011, 12:56 PM
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Ha, over analyzed? You'll fit in just fine here. We can, at times, beat the most basic topics to death. Analyzing everything we can think of. But it helps us learn and gain more information, to help make informed decisions. Your post may help others looking for some answers. Thanks for taking the time to make the posts. Good luck with your kitties!
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