Weight Loss/growth on raw? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Weight Loss/growth on raw?

So both cats are eating mostly raw--about 3-4 meals a week of ground with bone-in, the rest frankenprey (a few chicken wings a week, the rest chunk of heart muscles and small amts of organs). Both cats are easily getting 8 oz of food a day in several meals. The kitten seems to have good muscle mass and lots of energy but I don't know if it's just his age (9 months or so) but he doesn't seem to be growing very much. And it could just be his breed but his head seems really tiny compared to the rest of his body! I know I'm a worrywart but I worry about him not getting enough calcium and nutrients to grow his bones properly.

Wicket on the other hand is noticeably losing weight, we don't have access to a scale but it doesn't seem to be too much in terms of how heavy he is--but I've noticed that after a while he stopped losing from the belly area and started looking smaller around the shoulders and hips. I don't know if it's just a case of him evening himself out a bit or if he's not getting enough fat in his diet and so is burning muscle instead? He still seems active and happy, coat is good.

Even getting almost 8oz each per day Wicket still acts ravenous so I'm thinking of increasing his feeds. The kitten we still try to feed even more than that if he seems interested (sometimes he is, sometimes he isn't).

Over the last two days I've been worried enough about both of them that I've added one canned meal a day, just a tablespoon or so for Wicket and about 3 tablespoons for the kitten, mixed with a bit of water to make a gravy that they lap up (it's been stinking hot here, and both of them have been feeling the heat, so I wanted to make sure they get enough water and also this way Wicket eats slower and doesn't end up eating the kitten's food too!).

I'm worried that I don't know enough about balancing their meals (in terms of portions, and because I don't have a scale to officially weigh and portion out exactly what I'm feeding them) but I don't want to go back to commercial food either! Help!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 04:16 PM
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Until I read your last paragraph, I was thinking you probably just needed a vet visit to reassure yourself (just tell him what your concerns are, without mentioning what they're eating). However, it is really, really easy to misjudge how much you're feeding if you don't begin by measuring things out. After you've measured for several weeks, you can eyeball it and know, but until then, all bets are off.

I would strongly recommend you get a food scale and start weighing out everything you're feeding that isn't commercially packaged, for the express purpose of ensuring your percentages are correct. Then add that weight to the commercial products for an overall daily amount.

Remember that cats can eat anywhere from 2% to double that (4%) and kittens need twice what adults eat (up to a whopping 8%!). It all depends on the activity level and metabolism of the cat in question.

Losing weight is ok as long as it's not too fast (only 2% per week) and it's only fat. If you think the cat is losing muscle tone - you definitely need to increase how much you're feeding.

This is the scale I'm using:




AC
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks AC! The way I've been measuring is an oz/ml conversion, just because I'm so used to working with mls and measuring that way at work--we measure our formula feeds in mls/oz and I'm used to eyeballing that amt (with 30 ml being about 1 oz).

For financial reasons, we're not in a position to get a scale right now so I'm going to have to continue doing that. The raw feeding calculator says that Wicket (he's about 12 lbs now, he was about 13 when we got him back in November) should be getting about 8 oz of raw/day with .4 liver, .4 organ, .8 edible bone and the rest (about 6.6) muscle meats. He's definitely getting that, probably more than that actually, that 8oz is only just about 1 cup of food a day, with about 3/4 of that cup being muscle meat chunks and ground bone-in, small piece of liver (probably the size of my pinky finger) and the same of another organ, usually kidney).

I don't know if it's all muscle that he's lost around his shoulders or if he's finally losing the fat that was surrounding it and has actually been a slimmer cat underneath there all along. He's still very heavy!

As soon as we're able to get a scale we will, but for now I think I'm going to stick to adding that one canned food meal (still grain free) a day and keep on feeding the kitten as much as he will eat and Wicket maybe we'll increase his portion size an oz or so. Thanks so much for your help!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 05:59 PM
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Okay. A couple of thoughts for you in the meantime.

~ Make sure that your percentage balancing is done ONLY on the non-commercial raw amounts. In other words, if two thirds of his diet is commercial product, estimate the percentage of separate bone and organ meals based only on the remaining one third amount of fresh raw. Otherwise, you'll be feeding him too much bone and organ, since the commercial products have already accounted for those ingredients.

~ Almost invariably, cats who are transitioned to raw as adults will lose fat (become slimmer) but will gain muscle. This is because their foods are properly balanced and 1) their carb intake is - or should be - reduced nearly to nil and 2) they increase their activity level as a direct result of feeling better.

Best regards!

AC
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Yes. Thanks. Will continue to balance the raw on its' own. I think we'll still be at 2 meals/day raw and 1 meal/day canned. I sat down with him just now and had a good feel over his whole body, he seems to be slimmer all over but maybe has a bit more muscle than I thought--I think it's his belly that's still a bit fattier and so gives the rest of him an odd appearance if you KWIM. And I'm super reassured by the fact that the kitten, who was a slim little thing, seems to have gained almost only muscle over the past 8 weeks, and has a ton of energy.

Also, their stools seem to be the right color and consistency so I can't be going TOO far wrong, right?
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