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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thinking about Raw

So, i have two 8 year old kitties. Both are in good health and have been eating mostly canned (depending on what I can afford) for just over a year. I do not plan on changing them to raw for a year or so because I am in college and need to wait until I get an apartment and can have them there because it would just be too much for my family.
Anyways, when I do switch them, I was wondering what my options are. Can I feed whole prey? Because we raise chickens, ducks, turkeys, quail, and rabbits and eat the extra. We also occasionally have goat or lamb. Is there a way I could give them whole/partial animals? And how much would I give them? Also, can they have mice? Because I could easily raise some for their food.
Also, to switch to raw, I was thinking of using Natures Variety Instinct raw to get them used to raw, and then making my own ground raw, but how would I get them onto whole prey?
Sorry, for all the questions, I'm trying to do as much research before hand as I can.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 10:56 PM
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My bf and I were just talking about raising mice for cats...lol. Not seriously or anything, we were just messing around.

I am not ready for raw myself, so I don't have a lot of information, but I know others on this forum do. They will probably be up all night after eating their other children's trick or treat candy.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 11:00 PM
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Sarah, sounds like yours are more into cheeseburgers!!!

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-01-2013, 02:25 PM
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If you're thinking about switching to raw, I'd anticipate a long time to switch. If you can, you may as well start offering small bits of raw foods now so they have more time to get used to it. I feed about 60% raw with some whole prey and lots of the Nature's Variety Instinct etc, and then use various canned foods (grain free) and even a tiny bit of kibble. I have four cats plus fosters, so the biggest thing for me was getting them to recognize that it is all food. Whole prey would be great but it will likely take them a while to start eating it (but no reason not to start offering small bits now and see if they will take it). When I get new fosters it sometimes takes time for them to figure out that it is all food and most don't eat mice or whole prey items in the time they are with me... but some transition to eating NV raw very quickly while others prefer kibble / canned.

My cats LOVE chicken necks (raw, thawed - you can cut them in half) and the Nature's Variety Instinct duck flavor (I guess because duck is fatty, probably tastier to them than other meats). I got them eating other flavors by putting a bit of duck in the bowl and then another flavor, now they will eat any flavor.

They can have mice, you can make your own food using lamb if you have a food grinder and make sure to include the right amounts of organs and bone, you can feed chicken / duck / quail - all of those are great options, you have tons of variety you could potentially feed. The biggest things will be what they will eat - so maybe start offering a chicken or quail neck, some liver, get a sample pack of Natures Variety, see if they will eat a mouse (I feed ones intended for snakes / reptiles, that way I know that they were fed a healthy diet and killed ethically - buy frozen and just thaw and feed). Some cats don't like certain meats like beef, lamb etc but I find that I offer enough variety that my cats will eat pretty much anything now (but they aren't very picky, unlike lots of cats!).

Good luck! You have tons of great, healthy foods available to you, you're very fortunate.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-01-2013, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarah_anne View Post
My bf and I were just talking about raising mice for cats...lol. Not seriously or anything, we were just messing around.

I am not ready for raw myself, so I don't have a lot of information, but I know others on this forum do. They will probably be up all night after eating their other children's trick or treat candy.
Wow, does that bring back memories! I volunteered at the Wildlife Rescue
Center in a state park. Our specialty was healing, raising and releasing birds of prey. We DID raise our own mice....which was quite the project! Cages of male mice, female mice, baby mice, pregnant mice....and even cages for the mice that were would escape every time they would get a chance! It would take a person a whole day to get all the upkeep done. Then we had to weigh the mouse before feeding....and weigh any remains at the end of the day. We grew/raised our own mealworms and made our own high protein "cakes" to hang out for the wild birds.
Bet you are sorry you brought that subject up!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2013, 07:08 AM
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I recently decided to make a batch of raw. Bought a new grinder and followed the recipe on catinfo.org. There is a lot of great info there about the advantages.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-02-2013, 11:19 PM
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I too follow the catinfo.org diet. I feed more red meat though, as he prefers pork and beef over chicken. It is about 1/2 chicken (with bones), and 1/2 pork (without bones). I do grind the bones and organs (for even distribution), but I chunk as much meat as I can, so he is mostly eating meat chunks.

In addition to a grinder (unless you can source enough small prey bones and your cats will eat them), I strongly recommend a kitchen scale. My cat gets 4 ounces a day, and weighing it makes it quick and easy to feed from the jar.


Some quick thoughts from things I have learned from my year of having Midas on raw:

Grinding removes taurine. This is probably the most important thing to know, as without taurine your cats will get very sick. Even if you are using ground whole prey, I strongly recommend you add taurine. Heck, even if you are using whole prey that hasn't been ground you should add a little taurine. You cannot overdose it like you can some of the other vitamins on the catinfo.org list. I just bought a one year supply for $8. Getting it loose instead of in capsules makes it so easy to give too.

Making large batches makes feeding easy. I make a diet that is balanced for both my cat and dogs. After I mix it up I put it in mason jars so that I have one meal per jar per day. The only limit to how much I can make is how many mason jars I have and how much room in the freezer I have. I plan on getting a chest freezer sometime next year so I can make huge batches for 1-3 months at a time. Also, spending one day making sure it is completely balanced is a lot easier than trying to figure out if I am overall balanced by trying to figure out amounts every day. At minimum, I would try to plan out meals for one week unless you are feeding exclusively whole prey.

I had it easy. Midas took to raw without any problems. A lot of people are not so lucky. What took 2 days for me might take someone else 2 years.

You never stop learning. Since I am feeding both a cat and 2 (soon 3) dogs with the same food, I have had to learn to balance it for both species. Nature's Variety Raw is formulated for both cats and dogs, so why can't mine be that way too? Overall I think it has improved my diet. The one problem I had with the catinfo.org diet was that it uses a single protein. While that might be acceptable for cats, it really has a negative effect on dogs, especially since it is chicken. One thing I have recently been looking into is the addition of a zinc supplement to my diet for skin and coat health. Feeding beef would alleviate my problem, but it is too expensive for me right now. So now I add a zinc supplement. It is too soon to tell if this will have a positive effect on his skin and coat, but I am hopeful. Additionally, learning about the right dosage led me to learn about how zinc, copper, and iron interact. I now feed beef liver (high in copper) instead of chicken liver. You literally cannot read enough.

Though that brings us to the final point I want to make, which is "do what works for you and your cats." Obviously, something like the taurine supplementation for ground meat is not optional, but after you get the basics, you just need to experiment and try new things. Whole prey might appeal to you, but be reject by your cats, or vice versa. Best of luck!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 07:40 AM
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TCfeline homemade raw meat cat food ? Products and premixes for making homemade cat food. Made in Canada

You can add this premix to a raw diet and not have to worry about nutritional value being compromised with raw.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-04-2013, 01:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitty-The-Cat View Post
This is interesting, and I wonder if it's one reason why my cat so eagerly laps up the raw chicken hearts I giver her along with her wet cat food for dinner? Whenever I give her dinner, I usually give her a chicken heart or two along with her wet canned food, and it's always the first thing she eats (chicken hearts being high in taurine).
It could just simply be a taste thing too. Midas took to raw much quicker and easier than he took to canned. I often had to mix in little bits of fish or other yummy things when he was eating that. Between the price of the cans (I was spending almost $2 per day for one cat), and how finicky he was on them, I figured that even if he was picky on raw food, my cost at less than $3 per day for a cat and two dogs would end up being in my favor. Lucky me though, because I never have anything but an empty bowl! Cooking also does destroy taurine though, and while I have never read anything that says cats can taste taurine, maybe there is a certain flavor that raw meat has that says "this is where the taurine is!"

I am not sure if we are allowed to link to sources on this site, but I did just read that turkey legs contain a very large amount of taurine as well. This would be a great option for raw feeders, because while heart is technically considered a muscle, it does not contain the right levels of other nutrients to make it a balanced meat to feed as a large portion of the diet.
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