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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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many questions about raw / frankenprey

Hello, I've posted a couple times in the health forum regarding our cat, Autumn, who has IBD. She's 6 or 7 years old. When this started 3 1/2 months ago I wouldn't even consider feeding her raw food... it really grosses me out! I rarely even handle raw meat for cooking for my family. Fortunately my wonderful husband does most of the cooking, so it's not something I have to deal with often. I'm blessed with my hubby!

But lately I'm convinced raw would be the best thing for her, so I'm willing to venture out of my comfort zone. She's no longer vomiting or dealing with diarrhea. The primary foods she's eating are a canned prescription rabbit diet, Natural Variety LID duck, and dry Innova. Last night I took the Innova away around 11:00. She had been off it for a few days, and I noticed her energy level was up a bit. (She's always been a lazy cat. She'd much prefer sleeping on my lap to playing, but since the whole IBD thing started she's been sleeping much more.) Then a few days ago I decided to start giving her the Innova again, since the prescription rabbit is so expensive. She seemed to be sleeping a lot more, so it finally clicked with me that the dry food isn't the greatest thing for her. I'm a bit slow. I've read dry is bad, but she used to do ok on it, and really enjoys it. Autumn really doesn't care at all for the canned duck, so I'm back to mixing the rabbit and duck together, and she'll eat that. She really likes that rabbit! It would figure, she'd choose the most expensive food. Ha!

I'd like to try raw feeding, but the ground diet was very intimidating to me. So many supplements to buy, needing a grinder... it seemed more expensive than we could afford. But then I read somewhere online about frankenprey, and I was intrigued. Is it bad to just use one or two protein sources? I don't know what sets off Autumn's tummy, other than we've learned corn, of course, is a big no no. Terrible diarrhea and vomiting everywhere... not pleasant for the kitty or us! I don't know if she has any allergies to meats, and cost is also a big factor. I think I could get chicken without a problem, but I don't know about other meats. Ok, so here are my questions...

1. Autumn had kibble last night until I took her bowl away at 11:00. How long do I need to wait until giving her raw? Do I need to keep her on canned for a few days, or can I start this afternoon?

2. Is there anything wrong with just giving her chicken, as long as I'm giving her the correct proportions of meat/bone/liver/other organ?

3. I read on her about drying eggshells, grinding them, and sprinkling them over the food, in place of the bone. Can you do that long term? I'm just not sure how well she'll do with bone.

Autumn is around 6 1/2 pounds, although she should be 8-9. According to the formula on here I've figured she should be eating a little over 3 ounces per day, but if I can get her up to 4 ounces, that would be better, to help her gain weight. She doesn't have much of an appetite. Also, I'm not really sure I can get her to eat raw, but I really want to try. Is there anything wrong with just giving her the meat with no bone or organs for the first week or so, just to get her transitioned into eating the raw?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! I really want this to work for us. Sorry for making this so long! Although I'm sure I'll have many more questions. I'm so thankful for this forum! If it wasn't for all I've been reading here, I don't think I'd even have considered raw, and would probably still be trying to keep her on her kibble.

Emily

Last edited by marie73; 11-04-2011 at 02:14 AM. Reason: fixed title
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 01:17 AM
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I've been feeding my cats franken prey for over a month now, and there are loads of people on here who have been doing raw way longer. I'm sure all these experienced people will be able to answer all your questions

I don't have any experience with IBD kitties, but I've definitely heard that they can benefit from raw. I really hope that ends up being your experience - and good for you for going outside your comfort zone to do what you feel is best for your cat! The idea of letting my cats eat raw meat - even raw BONES - definitely scared me at first. But like you, all my research (and I did a ton of research) convinced me this was the right path for my cats and me.

I too noticed a huge spike of energy, especially in my senior cat, when I switched her from all kibble to all canned food. That was nothing like the change that came over her when she was finally converted to all raw - within two weeks she was jumping up onto the counters again, and she hadn't been able to jump that high in YEARS. She had more energy, she was more playful, her dandruff disappeared and her coat turned silky and shiny - it's just amazing. Switching her was definitely not easy but to me it was definitely worth it in the end.

When I first started considering raw I also wanted to keep things simple by sticking to just a few protein sources. I understand you have even more reason for wanting to keep it simple since your cat has IBD. However the reason you're wanting to do franken prey is because you want to avoid all the supplements suggested for ground food - in order to have a balanced diet without supplements you have to feed your cat a large variety. Different meats, different cuts, more than one source of organ. Variety is necessary and healthy for us humans to fill all our nutritional needs, and the same is true for cats on franken (and whole) prey diets.

I'm sure someone on here has more experience with IBD kitties and raw food, but I'd imagine one thing you can do is take it slow with introducing different kinds of raw meat. Take the kibble out of her diet (I think the rule of thumb is no kibble for at least a day before offering raw food, to give the kibble time to clear their systems). Maybe you could start by replacing one of her canned food meals per day with raw chicken. Wait a few days, and if she doesn't have any problems with the raw chicken try another kind of raw meat. By only adding one new kind of meat to her diet at a time you'll easily know exactly what meats she can't tolerate, should she have any problems. Then just avoid that kind of meat in the future.

My understanding is that you CAN put off giving your cat organs for a short time in the beginning, but a diet of nothing but muscle meat with no bone will cause runny stool. The bone (or eggshell) is what helps to firm it up. I'm not sure about using eggshell exclusively instead of bone in the long term. I certainly didn't think I'd ever get my older cat to eat bones, but she is! You can try really soft, small bones to start out with (like quail bones or the ribs from a cornish hen). My Sassy still needs her bones cut up really small (I use poultry sheers to cut them into teeny tiny pieces), and I sometimes have to crumple up Temptations treats over the bones to get her to eat them and not spit them out. I haven't yet been successful in this myself, but I know some people on here are able to get their local butchers to grind up bones for them. I imagine that's a whole lot easier than cutting the bones up manually, but my way is working for now.

As for transitioning her, just start slow. You can mix some raw meat into her canned food and see if she eats it. The very first time my cats had raw meat I bought some beef heart and cut it up into teeny tiny, practically microscopic pieces and offered them to my cats by hand like they were AWESOME TREATS YAY. Sassy would NOT go for it at first, but my other cat, Moxie, was totally thrilled. I kept giving them little teeny pieces of raw meat at first, until one day I left the plate with the big chunk I was cutting the little pieces off of on the floor. While my back was turned Moxie took matters into her own paws and I turned around just in time to see her gnawing happily away at her chunk of meat! She was sick of my silly little nibbles and decided to show me those fangs are there for a reason

After that I kept at it and soon Sassy would eat a few little pieces of raw beef heart as long as I fed them to her by hand. She was used to pate style canned food, so I got her used to chunky canned food and then started adding raw chunks. It took forever to get her to accept the raw meat as food, but you can use all kinds of tricks (smearing canned food over the pieces of meat, dribbling tuna juice over them, crushing up their favorite treats over it) to eventually get them used to it. Just know that some cats are REALLY stubborn about change in their diet (like my Sassy), and some take to raw like they've been waiting for it their whole lives (like my Moxie ).

Good luck and feel free to ask any more questions you might have. I really hope the raw works out for you and your kitty
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 11:01 AM
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Welcome to raw! We have two kitties with IBD (and one human!) so we're well versed in 'upset tummy'. Raw fixed our two kitties up real quick, and they have never been happier. We've been raw now for over 4yrs!

1. Autumn had kibble last night until I took her bowl away at 11:00. How long do I need to wait until giving her raw? Do I need to keep her on canned for a few days, or can I start this afternoon?


- Personally, especially because she has IBD I would wait 24hrs before offering any raw. You can do canned in the mean-time, but just canned. Then after 24hrs add some VERY VERY SMALL chunks of raw meat. Get the kibble OUT of the house - donate it to a shelter, or put it in your deepfreeze buried under other stuff! She may "hold out" because she can smell it.. we've had that happen. :/

2. Is there anything wrong with just giving her chicken, as long as I'm giving her the correct proportions of meat/bone/liver/other organ?

-Chicken is fine to START. She can be on and should be on chicken ONLY until she is used to raw meat. It's the easiest to find, and tends to be cheap-ish everywhere. You want to stay away from organs for the first month or so.. to see how she does. Use chicken meat, and chicken bones (you can do ground - people often get their local markets/butchers to grind wings for them OR you can get necks/wings and smash them yourself with a mallet to get them easier to eat). Over that month, if she does well, you can intro the liver from the chicken. If she's still doing well, you can SLOWLY start to intro other meats (turkey, pork, rabbit, venison, etc etc). At this point, you can also intro an "other" organ (kidney being most readily available). HOWEVER, If you start doing beef - make sure your GOING SLOWLY! Many cats seem to have issues with beef (our 6 never have - only one cant eat beef liver/tripe but can eat the meat). Also, watch when you're getting chicken (and everything else) that it is not "enhanced" - meaning they add sodium to the meat. Ohmy, does that ever upset IBD tummies. :*(

3. I read on her about drying eggshells, grinding them, and sprinkling them over the food, in place of the bone. Can you do that long term? I'm just not sure how well she'll do with bone.

-I really wouldn't do it longterm.. it's not natural. Sure, my kids get quail eggs and the shells as part of their diet (something they would eat naturally), but eggshells do not equal bones. We have a 17 year old cat who deals with bones just fine. We have raised kittens from weaning onto bones with no issues. Your girl WILL gain jaw strength one day to be able to handle bones just fine... it's just at first that it's hard because their jaws are so weak from eating crap they didn't have to WORK at!

Autumn is around 6 1/2 pounds, although she should be 8-9. According to the formula on here I've figured she should be eating a little over 3 ounces per day, but if I can get her up to 4 ounces, that would be better, to help her gain weight. She doesn't have much of an appetite. Also, I'm not really sure I can get her to eat raw, but I really want to try. Is there anything wrong with just giving her the meat with no bone or organs for the first week or so, just to get her transitioned into eating the raw?

-As long as you are mixing the meat with canned food, that's not a problem. MOST cats resist the raw stuff at first, so it's a hard sell. It took us EIGHT MONTHS to transition our cats (4 at the time- ages 1yr-13yrs). We just took it slow, adding a tsp/tbsp more of small pieces of raw to their canned meals every 1-2weeks. Sure, it took a long time.. but having a 17yr old cat who the vet says looks EIGHT years old.. well... it's worth it.


Another thing we did for our IBD kitties while transitioning them (one had HORRIBLY runs for three weeks as they detoxed - poor dear. So we learned to medicate naturally before they were detoxing to make it easier for them) is to have Slippery Elm Bark powder on hand, as well as probiotics in the fridge (all people grade powders you can get at health food stores). We would mix up some SEB & probiotics with warm water and syringe it to the IBD kitty daily (or let them just lick it up themselves - mixed in with some chicken broth or baby food). It really helped.

Kelly

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-05-2011, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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First off, thank you Marie73 for fixing the title of my post! As soon as I posted it Thursday I realized my mistake, but I couldn't figure out how to edit it. It was driving me nuts!

Thank you catinthemirror and Muzby for your replies! I was so anxious to start Autumn on raw that Thursday evening we went to Safeway and bought a whole cut up chicken, and a package of hearts. I put a mouse-sized piece of breast and a heart on her plate... and she wouldn't touch it! I sprinkled some Fortaflora on the chicken, which she usually loves... and nothing. I tried putting a little of the canned rabbit on the plate, and she still wouldn't go near it, even for the rabbit. So I set the plate right in front of her, and she started making a gagging motion like my kids do when I want them to try something new and they're just sure they won't like it. I did try chicken with her one other time several weeks ago and she ate it enthusiastically, but then later that night threw it up. That's before her steroid injection, when she was throwing up everything. The trouble is, once she throws something up, she won't try it again. I don't think she has a chicken allergy because chicken is one of the main ingredients in the Innova, and she's never thrown that up. But I don't know... maybe she can't eat chicken raw, and only processed? Although that really makes no sense.

Thursday night I was so discouraged, and just ended up giving her the Innova, because she was whining for it. I never knew cats could whine, but Autumn looks at you with those big beautiful eyes... and you can feel the whine in those eyes! Since she loves it so much I thought about just letting her eat that until the bag is empty, and then go back to canned, and eventually to raw. But today Autumn's not feeling well... she's sleeping more than usual, and her poor little tummy is making some awful sounds... I'm afraid it's a precursor to the diarrhea. My husband and I agreed to get rid of the dry, so that's on its way out of the house, and we won't be giving her that anymore. Right now she's eating the prescription rabbit food, and I'm hoping after a couple days of that with nothing else, she'll be feeling well again. I'm kicking myself for giving her that Innova!

Now I'm also thinking maybe chicken really is bad for her. Rabbit seems to be the best, so for now we will buy a few more cans of the prescription rabbit from the vet, and stick with that for a while to try to get her tummy settled down. Maybe after a week or so we'll try raw...

And the good news is, I found a place locally (well, 30 miles away, so fairly local) that sells ground rabbit. It's Bravo! Basic ground rabbit. Does that seem like a good brand? I understand I'll have to supplement it, so I've been looking at catinfo.org for information on the recipe. But since Autumn's tummy is so sensitive, do I dare add the fish oil? And she also recommends supplementing the rabbit with chicken or turkey meat or fat, but I'm afraid that will upset her tummy. Should we just give her the ground rabbit without any supplements for a while to see how she does? I think at this point I'm not going to even try the raw rabbit for a week or so, to give her time to settle her tummy. I wish there was an easy, clear cut (inexpensive!) answer for what to feed Autumn. Poor thing, I feel so badly for her. But my DH is such a wonderful man... he told me today he's going to give up drinking soda so all the extra money we were paying for soda each week we can use for buying Autumn better food that will help her get healthy.

Thanks again for your insight, and I appreciate any other advice you can give!

Emily
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-05-2011, 06:46 PM
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Nature Variety Instinct brand has a Rabbit canned food.
My Little Chiquita used to barf all the time, once I started keeping track of what she was eating when she barfed I was able figure things out.
She was mainly barfing when eating cheap dry food and certain brands of wet food.
I bought varieties off different brands and flavors of wet food and have finally settled on about 8 that she likes and don't make her barf , the rabbit is one of the flavors that she likes.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-05-2011, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Cooncatbob, out of curiosity, does chicken make your cat sick? I'm thinking chicken might be one of the foods Autumn can't handle.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-05-2011, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davimee View Post
Cooncatbob, out of curiosity, does chicken make your cat sick? I'm thinking chicken might be one of the foods Autumn can't handle.
Actually the opposite, chicken is her favorite.
Petco started carrying Natures Variety Instinct and she likes the Chicken, Rabbit and the Duck but doesn't like the Lamb or the Venison, those 2 variety weren't as juicy.
Kinda ticked about the Venison as I bought 2 cans, I usually only buy 1 can of a new flavor.
She also really likes Merricks "Grammy's Pot Pie" (if I had to eat cat food that's the one) "Turducken" and their "Thanksgiving Dinner"
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-05-2011, 11:17 PM
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Once incident of throwing up chicken doesn't mean she can't eat it. My cats throw up stuff all the time when: 1. they eat too fast 2. it's too cold.

I would always be hesitant to say give only rabbit. Rabbit is very low in taurine and fat. ESPECIALLY low in taurine if it's ground. This will cause issues for your girl (taurine keeps eyes and hearts healthy).

You really can't expect her to just want to tuck into chicken (esp if a large chunk made her vomit the last time). Cats ARE like kids.. so do you give in to your kids and let them have ice cream because it's "better" than salad? You've GOT to take it slow, and you've GOT to go at her speed.. but that doesn't mean catering to her every whim. That will cause YOU issues in the future! LOL Try my method, it worked for MANY cats (mine and family members as well as friends) - you can even use the ground rabbit for this (but once she's eating ONLY ground rabbit you MUST start supplementing and start adding in other meats ASAP) - start off with her rregular portion of canned food. Add a pinch of raw and mix it well. Add warm water if that helps entice her (or tuna juice, or parm cheese). Once she's eating that fine, up the amount of raw in the canned by another pinch. Every 1-2 weeks add a pinch or two more of the raw, and slightly decrease the canned. It took us 8 months to get everyone eating raw ONLY with no canned food. This isn't a race, this is to save your little girls life! It may take months, but it will be worth the trouble in the end. My 17 year old cat has cancer, and severe arthritis as well as IBD. Before we switched to raw, I was pretty sure we were going to have to euthanize him (at 12 years old - so many people told me that it was a good long life). He wouldn't walk or play, he was in a lot of pain.. it killed me to see him like that. Now, five years later - he runs around the house playing tag, he jumps onto counters again, he's HAPPY and HEALTHY. I expect to have him around for a few more years atleast.. and I know that raw saved his life. Even my vet was amazed... he went from deaths door to the vet telling me he now looks like an 8 year old cat!

I really, really suggest you start with whichever meat you can get (and if you're willing to do the rabbit and supplement then fine, but know that she can NOT stay on that her whole life - if you do raw you MUST offer a variety of meats/organs). Taurine and fish oils, as well as something for fat content (cats NEED the fat content).

Both of my cats IBD is GONE 100%. It has been since about 2 months on raw.

Kelly

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-06-2011, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Muzby! Your comments and encouragement are really helping me through this! This afternoon we were in town and stopped at a natural cat food store. They gave me a lot of information, and a sample of The Honest Kitchen Grace (dehydrated turkey), and they also sell Nature's Variety Instinct frozen rabbit. I was surprised to find the prices on the raw and dehydrated foods are much lower than I thought they would be. Right now for her prescription canned it's around $70/month. THK dehydrated turkey would be around $42/month, and the Instinct frozen rabbit would be around $48/month. I think either of those would work with our budget, at least for a while, and then maybe we could transition to frankenprey. I'm not sure Autumn can handle the turkey, so I'll try the sample in a few days and see how she does. As far as the Instinct frozen rabbit, it also has some pork in it for the fat, so I'm not sure she could eat that, either. I wish they had samples of that one. But at least we've got some things to try, so I can be sure she'll get all the nutrients she needs.

Thanks again!
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