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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-28-2011, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Raw Newbie hoping for menu advice

I have done so much reading, calculating, agonizing, recalculating, oh and READING the past few weeks that I think it's time to step back and reach out to people with actual experience. I'm planning to transition my two cats, one 14 and the other 1 1/2, to an all raw, franken prey diet. I think I'm started to get the basic shape of how to do this in my mind, but I have questions...

Both my cats are just under ten pounds, with the younger being extremely active and the older much less active. I'm going to go with 2% body weight meals for the older and 3% for the younger, which works out to a combined 8oz of food per day (which is perfect, together they're eating 1 and 1/2 cans of food each day at the moment, or about 8 oz exactly!).

So, prey model 80/10/5/5

For Sassy, my older cat, 2% of her body weight is 3.2oz. That means 2.6oz of muscle meat (I want to do half beef heart and half chicken thigh, is that too much heart? Not enough? Too much thigh?).

She needs .32oz of bone, which brings me to the question of whether it needs to be bone. I've heard of using egg shells for calcium? Or does that screw up the phosphorus/calcium ratio? Or make them constipated? I have enough trouble getting her to chew tiny pieces of meat, so I'm worried that she'll become calcium deficient while I'm training her to eat bone x___x In fact calcium is making me nervous period, as I can't seem to find nutrient profiles for chicken bones. I'm really worried .32oz of chicken bone won't have enough calcium.

Then of course she needs .16oz each of liver and .16oz something else, I'm going with kidney (I'm using beef again for both, because they sell it at a nearby supermarket, and I'm trying to keep the transition period as simple and convenient as possible for my own sanity).

So that's a ten pound cat, 2% body weight, 3.2oz of food per day, 2.6oz of chicken thigh and beef heart, .32oz of smashed thigh bone (or egg shell?), .16oz of beef liver, .16oz of beef kidney. Is this balanced? I've been reading menus from people feeding everything, rabbit and quail and beef and pork. Of course I think it makes perfect sense that variety is the healthiest way to make sure they get everything they need, but is my current plan balanced enough for a transition period?

I've been agonizing over making sure they have enough Taurine. I know lots of people don't supplement it back into their cat's diet, especially when using Franken Prey. I can't even FIND taurine supplements right now. I'm just nervous as I can't seem to find HOW MUCH taurine, in numbers, my cats need a day. Not to mention that my older girl at 2% body weight is going to be getting a lot less than the younger one getting 3% body weight. How can I be sure they're both getting enough of everything?

You experienced raw feeders are probably rolling your eyes at me xD

I'd really appreciate advice and/or encouragement, even just an experienced eye telling me what I have wrong. Thank you all so much for the great info here.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-28-2011, 06:11 PM
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Welcome to Cat Forum, Catinthemirror. We're glad to have you!

And trust me, no one is rolling their eyes at you. Every single one of us started off exactly as you are, with all the same concerns and questions.

Some pointers:

Heart is high in salt and shouldn't be fed every day. I feed it as a meal three times a week.

Two meat sources (chicken and beef heart) is insufficient - in my opinion - to sustain a fully raw diet, especially since one of those is heart. I would suggest you source at least two more meats before you make a full switch. For now, you can give small pieces of raw along with your canned meals and as treats to gauge your cats' receptiveness and begin increasing their chewing experience and jaw strength (cats fed kibble or canned have never had to chew their food before).

Bone-in meals don't really have to be so minutely calculated. Your primary focus right now should be to source the foods and work on a really slow transition. Cornish Hen and quail bones make good first timer bone-in meals, as do chicken and rabbit ribs. For cats between nine and ten pounds, I think the first two joints of a chicken wing three times a week would be enough bone (cut the second joint lengthwise between the bones to make it easier for the cats to eat), and about the same amount of any of the other bones I mentioned would work just fine. Watch the cats - loose stools mean you need to offer just a bit more bone, too-firm stools mean less (you want to err on the side of caution on this one so start small and work your way up). Sometimes, you have to tweak the frequency instead of the amount, but three bone-in meals a week works great for all six of mine. (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday dinner meals.)

Beef-based organs are acceptable, but chicken liver is sometimes better liked by the cats than beef liver. It's best to break the weekly organ requirement up into several meals, as too much organ at one time will make the cats vomit it back up. (I feed liver as part of two meals a week and kidney as part of two meals - on different days - a week.)

Feline-nutrition.org has a good transition article, How to Transition Your Cat to a Raw Diet, that you might find helpful.

Here are some menu options: What does your menu look like?

As for sourcing meats, I get most of my mine from local grocery stores, club stores (like BJ's or Sam's Club) and discount grocery stores (I shop at one called "PriceRite"). Rabbit, turkey liver, and duck, turkey and chicken hearts, I purchase from Hare-Today.

So, in summary, I'd say you've a good start, you just need to add a little more variety and tweak things a bit.

Best regards!

AC
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 08:13 AM
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I agree with Aunt Crazy. If your worried about the taurine remember this.. the harder the muscle works in the body the higher the taurine. dark meat has more then light. ect. you can also give them a single sardine (frozen if you can get them or packed in water no salt) as well as crickets during a week.

Cats do not retain taurine in the body long term, so its better to go a little high then too low.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-01-2011, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the links! I've been looking for something exactly like that menu thread, it's a huge help to know what other people are doing.

I've been getting most of my information from people who grind their raw food and then add supplements back in, which is another method that tries to meet all the requirements at every meal. I'd never considered a weekly approach to meeting all their dietary requirements - I'm terrified I'll forget something. Having a set breakfast/lunch/supper menu for a week would help with that. I'll have to make myself a chart or something.

So if I understand then the bone is what helps them pass stools. I have to admit I'm still worried they'll be getting enough calcium, but I'm starting to calm down about it. Where else would they get calcium but from bones right? And crickets for extra taurine! I would have NEVER thought of that, but I think they'd both love it. They both eat any spiders or flies they find around the house.

I've done a bit more searching for meat the past two days (I have a chart for that too ) and there's actually a lot more variety available than I had first thought. I've found frozen chicken hearts, livers, and gizzards (I've heard that freezing might effect the nutrients in the meat, but my plan is to freeze things anyway so I'm hoping frozen is ok). Also pork tenderloin, pork kidney, pork liver, some affordable cuts of beef, and turkey wings and drumsticks. Another thing that's in my price range is lamb shoulder - both my cats like any lamb canned food, so I was wondering if there was any reason they shouldn't eat lamb shoulder meat? (That's probably a stupid question )

Unfortunately I can't order anything online, since I live in Canada. I haven't been able to find rabbit meat offered anywhere nearby yet, but I'll keep looking. I did find quail! I had no idea they were so tiny, and I'm really psyched that it's not too expensive. Now I have to somehow combine all this into a menu. This is all kind of overwhelming, but exciting at the same time.

I've been giving both my cats a little raw chicken breast or beef heart every few days with their evening meal for the past few weeks. They actually took to it really quickly. I'd expected that with Moxie, who was a stray living in my backyard less than a year ago. But the senior cat likes it too now! She wasn't interested at first, when I was par-boiling the meat out of fear of germs... but now I just rinse it and chop it into pea sized pieces.

Just out of curiosity, how would I feed them a quail? Give them each half? I'm thinking I might try quail for their first food with bone, since they're so small. Thanks so much for your help
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-01-2011, 10:35 AM
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Where in Canada are you? We are starting to get mostly Yahoo groups where you get better deals ordering in bulk and stuff, in SW Ontario we have a lady who delivers raw to your door.

Kelly

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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I'm in BC, near Vancouver. I did look for any Yahoo groups that were local, but they all seemed to be about raw food for people At least the ones I could find. There seems to be a lot of ground commercial raw food available here, so I wonder if that's caused more raw feeders to go that route instead.

I'd love having food delivered right to my door! Like delivery for my cats. If I was more enterprising I'd look into starting something like that myself...

Today I bought chicken hearts and livers, and some beef stew meat chunks and beef kidney. I gave each of my cats about an oz. each of beef kidney and stew meat for supper. They weren't sure what to make of it, but I crumbled one Temptations treat over each of their portions, and they tucked in! The Temptations isn't the best bribe I know, but they're not interested in freeze dried anything. I transitioned them to canned food using the same trick Thankfully they're easy to bribe.

This is my new menu. I borrowed heavily from the What does your menu look like? thread, I hope no one minds Then tweaked it a bit to reflect what I have easily available. I also don't have a chest freezer YET, but as soon as I do I can hopefully expand my selection a bit. I'd really welcome any critic, all your help has been really great.

Sunday:
Breakfast - Pork loin
Lunch - beef kidney or pork kidney + muscle meat
Supper - Turkey drumstick or wing or thigh meat

Monday:
Breakfast - Chicken hearts
Lunch - Chicken wings with bone
Supper - Lamb shoulder

Tuesday:
Breakfast - Beef top sirloin meat
Lunch - Chicken or beef or pork liver + chicken gizzards
Supper - Chicken breast meat

Wednesday:
Breakfast - Beef heart
Lunch - Quail half (?) or Chicken wings with bone
Supper - Chicken thigh meat

Thursday:
Breakfast - Pork Loin
Lunch - beef kidney or pork kidney + muscle meat
Supper - Turkey drumstick or wing or thigh meat

Friday:
Breakfast - Chicken hearts
Lunch - Chicken or beef or pork liver + chicken gizzards
Supper - Pork shoulder

Saturday:
Breakfast - Beef top sirloin
Lunch - Chicken wings with bone
Supper - Chicken thighs

At some point I'm going to try to breakdown the nutrients that my cats are getting with whatever my final menu is. Right now I'm still seeing what they'll eat, so raw makes up about a quarter of their current diet. They seem to be doing well with whatever I give them however, so I'm hoping to try bone soon and just go from there.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catinthemirror View Post
I'm in BC, near Vancouver. I did look for any Yahoo groups that were local, but they all seemed to be about raw food for people At least the ones I could find. There seems to be a lot of ground commercial raw food available here, so I wonder if that's caused more raw feeders to go that route instead.
If you ever come across the border to the Bellingham area, I know of good places to buy meat there, since I live close to Bellingham. However, I don't know how much meat you are allowed to legally take into Canada from the US.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 01:31 AM
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I would watch it with the turkey drumsticks. That bone is too dense for a cat. If you are feeding the meat from it, then fine, but they won't be able to get through the bone.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 01:51 AM
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Try these Yahoo groups!

rawpaws : RawPaws™ Holistic Pet Care

RawChat : Raw Chat

rawfeeding : Raw Feeding for dogs and cats!

Kelly

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-05-2011, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by furryfriends251 View Post
If you ever come across the border to the Bellingham area, I know of good places to buy meat there, since I live close to Bellingham. However, I don't know how much meat you are allowed to legally take into Canada from the US.
Thanks you so much! I've only loved here in BC for less than a year now, and we still haven't made it down across the border yet. I'd love to go sometime.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dweamgoil View Post
I would watch it with the turkey drumsticks. That bone is too dense for a cat. If you are feeding the meat from it, then fine, but they won't be able to get through the bone.
No I wouldn't be trying to get them to eat the bone, just using the meat for variety. I've seen that a few people feed it and there's some variety packs of turkey... limbs I guess for a very reasonable price.

Thank you for the links!
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