Species specific diets vs current raw food diets - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Species specific diets vs current raw food diets

I have been doing a lot of reading the past few weeks on raw food. I understand the benefits of raw food diets. What I don't understand is how I keep reading that fish is bad for cats cause it's not part of their natural diet (among other things), so then why are we feeding our cats large game animals, beef, and larger bird species like chicken and turkey when their species specific diet is mice, insects, small rodents, small birds? I can see a wild cat savaging a big game corpse if it's not guarded by a larger predator, but I still wonder why there aren't mice and small bird raw food formulas available? It seems if you feed pre-packaged raw you are feeding them big game and/or larger birds. If you want species specific food you have to buy live or frozen whole prey and get over the squeamish factor.

I asked two raw food pet supply stores and they say it's because it's cheaper to process and supply raw beef and chicken then mice and small birds. I get that argument but if we are trying to give our pets the ultimate diet, shouldn't we be pushing for species specific raw?

I am sure there is much I am missing which is why I am asking for your thoughts.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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I am seriously considering buying a couple live mice and locking them up in my bathroom with each of my cats to see if they will eat it. I'll get frozen too to see if they take to it. My boyfriend loves the idea and wants to watch but I love all animals. I know what's gonna happen. I'll be crying downstairs while the man "enjoys" the show. We do a lot of fishing in the back country and I tear up and say sorry when I kill a fish. I wish there were more species specific raw food that is pre-packaged so I don't have to feel so bad about subjecting a poor mouse to a predator. I love my cats and want the best for them, I just don't know how to get past killing another animal. It's one thing for my cat to catch it's prey outside, the prey has a chance, locking a mouse up with a cat, it's doesn't stand a chance.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 03:38 PM
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A raw prey animal diet is species-appropriate, Tara, not species-specific. Cats evolved to eat protein from animals, so any animal will do. Many raw feeders actually do offer their cats whole prey (mice, rats, guinea pigs, baby chicks, etc.), however, most of us (like you!) are emotionally ill-equipped to routinely handle the dead, limp little bodies of these prey animals, and many cats don't recognize fur- or feathered-covered anything as dinner. This is where frankenprey diets came from - getting as close to whole prey as we and the cats can handle.

Fish, however, are not animals, and are problematic as part of a cat's diet for several reasons. See "Eight strikes against fishy feeding" for detailed info.

By the way, if I may offer some advice - please do not toss down live mice for your cats to catch / play with / eat. This is horribly cruel to the mice and can result in some pretty nasty injuries to your cats. Buy the mice frozen, thaw and serve; much kinder and safer for all involved.

Best regards!

AC
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Auntie Crazy View Post
By the way, if I may offer some advice - please do not toss down live mice for your cats to catch / play with / eat. This is horribly cruel to the mice and can result in some pretty nasty injuries to your cats. Buy the mice frozen, thaw and serve; much kinder and safer for all involved.

AC
I agree. If the man needs entertainment, let him watch the game on TV.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by tarah44 View Post
... What I don't understand is how I keep reading that fish is bad for cats cause it's not part of their natural diet (among other things), so then why are we feeding our cats large game animals, beef, and larger bird species like chicken and turkey when their species specific diet is mice, insects, small rodents, small birds? I can see a wild cat savaging a big game corpse if it's not guarded by a larger predator, but I still wonder why there aren't mice and small bird raw food formulas available? It seems if you feed pre-packaged raw you are feeding them big game and/or larger birds. If you want species specific food you have to buy live or frozen whole prey and get over the squeamish factor.

I asked two raw food pet supply stores and they say it's because it's cheaper to process and supply raw beef and chicken then mice and small birds. I get that argument but if we are trying to give our pets the ultimate diet, shouldn't we be pushing for species specific raw?
Okay, so yea, feeding our cats cows/pigs/etc is not somehting they would eat normally. However, it's a lot better than kibble/canned that's got god knows what in it! I think it's a good compromise. Also, as AC says, it's "appropriate" not "specific".

We actually feed our kids mice/rats/small quail whole quite often. To me, a dead critter is now just meat. I grew up on a farm, and have never really had an issue with the circle of life (although, I did have some squicky stomach issues when I had to first cut up the mice- I adore small critters).

Using the whole "trying to give the cat the ultimate diet" example, then I should also let my cats outside to hunt in the forest, right? BUT, we wouldn't do that because it's dangerous for the cats. You can't always do things to extremes.. we do raw as close as we can to natural, and we feel good knowing it's better than a tiny overbaked cookie covered in grease made by BigCompaniesWhoDontCareAboutAnythingButTheBottomLi ne (because let's face it, even companies like Orijen and Wellness need to MAKE money, right?).

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Originally Posted by tarah44 View Post
I am seriously considering buying a couple live mice and locking them up in my bathroom with each of my cats to see if they will eat it. I'll get frozen too to see if they take to it. My boyfriend loves the idea and wants to watch but I love all animals. I know what's gonna happen. I'll be crying downstairs while the man "enjoys" the show. We do a lot of fishing in the back country and I tear up and say sorry when I kill a fish. I wish there were more species specific raw food that is pre-packaged so I don't have to feel so bad about subjecting a poor mouse to a predator. I love my cats and want the best for them, I just don't know how to get past killing another animal. It's one thing for my cat to catch it's prey outside, the prey has a chance, locking a mouse up with a cat, it's doesn't stand a chance.
Using live prey is just silly, tell your man to find something else to watch. LOL

Going back to my earlier comment about letting cats hunt in the wild - how is letting a mouse loose in a room natural? Is there the possibility the mouse could get away? No. In the wild, in it's most natural state, this relationship between the cat/prey is always changing. Sometimes the cat wins, but he must use his cunning and stalk/hunt (great for their minds!). However, in a closed in room, where there is no escape... guess what that mouse will do? Fight. Hard.

I am also a snake owner, and feed my snakes f/t mice. It's NATURAL, but not the most natural.. snakes eat fresh, live, prey. My mice have been frozen then thawed. If I fed them live (which some snake owners do, and I detest live feeding - it endangers the snake) it would certainly not be any more natural. They would be in a tank, stuck with their prey. That prey could very well fight back and kill my snake.

I guess, that's my long winded way of saying - do the best you can with what's available. As long as it's fresh, raw meat, from reliable sources... it will still be better then "Pet Food".

Kelly

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Last edited by marie73; 07-22-2011 at 10:52 PM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 02:12 PM
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Fish, however, are not animals, and are problematic as part of a cat's diet for several reasons. See "Eight strikes against fishy feeding" for detailed info.
Slight nitpick here, fish are classified as animals. All bony fish, for example, belong to the class Osteichthyes, which falls under the Phylum Chordata, which falls under the kingdom Animalia. The only living things classified as non-animals would be fungi, bacteria, plants, algae, and protozoa.

But anyway, the link AC provided there regarding the reasons for not feeding fish are accurate, and my personal reasons for avoiding it in any large quantities.

As for the natural diet argument, it's an issue that I don't think has a clear-cut answer. As long as there aren't specific nutritional and health issues with the animal (as there are with fish), it's probably fine to feed if your cat tolerates it well. Apollo does not tolerate raw beef (he vomits) so I stick to a more "natural" diet with my cats (small mammals and birds) since Apollo reacts best to that, but I know plenty of people here feed things like beef without any issues. Every cat is different!

I do wish I could feed my cats more small birds and actual rodents. Currently they mostly eat chicken and turkey, with a little rabbit and quail, but it is hard to source things like mice or small birds. As others said, do the best you can. Getting fresh uncooked meat of any kind is probably leaps and bounds better than kibble or anything else overly processed.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 03:22 PM
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As for the natural diet argument, it's an issue that I don't think has a clear-cut answer. As long as there aren't specific nutritional and health issues with the animal (as there are with fish), it's probably fine to feed if your cat tolerates it well. Apollo does not tolerate raw beef (he vomits) so I stick to a more "natural" diet with my cats (small mammals and birds) since Apollo reacts best to that, but I know plenty of people here feed things like beef without any issues. Every cat is different!

I do wish I could feed my cats more small birds and actual rodents. Currently they mostly eat chicken and turkey, with a little rabbit and quail, but it is hard to source things like mice or small birds. As others said, do the best you can. Getting fresh uncooked meat of any kind is probably leaps and bounds better than kibble or anything else overly processed.
Nicely stated!
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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I get the species appropriate argument. I am not disputing that big game and larger bird species is bad. I just wonder why with such a push for species specific food there is so little if no canned cat food with species specific meat and/or pre-packed raw mice, chicks for the squeamish people like me.

I don't understand how the whole pet food industry and vets say dry is perfectly fine for cats when it's not. Profit seeking motivations can only go so far. I have a hard time imagining that vets really put their bottom line over and above animal health. It all seems so backwards to me.

As for my comment about live mice, I am banging my head against a wall here. My male needs moisture in his food now, not later, now. Adding bonito flakes, paramsan cheese, cat nip, tuna juice, chicken/beef broth, or his dry kibble to soft has not worked. I've gone through 20-25 cans of food the past 9 -110 days and he hasn't touched it other then a lick. I went through this last year when he was a kitten but gave up after a few weeks. There are another 100 cans of food I can try and a few other tricks to test out but at this point, I can't help but consider everything and anything that will get generate interest in soft food.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 04:22 PM
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You said that he likes licking the wet food... have you tried adding enough warm water and mashed it around with a fork to make it a soup that he can lick up?
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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You said that he likes licking the wet food... have you tried adding enough warm water and mashed it around with a fork to make it a soup that he can lick up?
No I have not but I will get right on it. Why can't I think of all these things myself.
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