Long-term mixing raw and canned -- OK? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Canada
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Long-term mixing raw and canned -- OK?

Hi all,

Long-time lurker, first-time poster! This forum has been so informative, thought I'd ask everyone's opinion on my situation.

We have an 8-month old kitten. We got him at 3 months, and he'd been raised on a raw diet. We've continued feeding him raw this whole time, but lately he's become a very picky eater. It's not that he doesn't eat, but he won't eat on a regular schedule. This has made it difficult for us to continue with the raw, given it can only sit out for so long without going bad (we're wasting a lot of food). Plus with out work schedules, we don't feel comfortable leaving food out when we have to leave the apartment if he hasn't eaten yet, because we can't tell how long it will take him to eat. He was eating, but not enough, and not regularly. We tried different raw meats/varieties, and nothing seemed to change.

We've found that putting a "topping" of some grain-free wet food (mostly Wellness and Weruva) really sets off his appetite, and he'll gobble his food down when we put it out. It's made our lives and his a lot easier!

From all the threads on here about "transitioning" from canned/wet to raw, it seems like a lot of people mix raw and wet as a way to introduce raw food to their cats (I know that raw and dry should never be mixed -- we don't even have dry in the house, so not an issue). I'm just wondering if mixing is something that's healthy on an ongoing basis? His meals are now probably 75% raw and 25% canned. His bathroom habits haven't changed, and neither have his poops (in terms of consistency, odour, etc.).

Are there any permanent mixers out there that can help with some advice?

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Old 12-04-2013, 07:49 AM
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Sure you can mix if he will eat it, why not?? You can also sprinkle bonito flakes or some Fortiflora on the raw. My Lacey loves both! She is so picky and skinny I do whatever it takes to get food into her.

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Old 12-04-2013, 10:19 AM
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The health isn't the issue...the habit is the issue.

Mixing canned and raw long term is ok, but I wouldn't suggest it in your place. Maybe for an elderly cat who just needs to eat period, but for a kitten you're setting yourself up for a bad time.

Think of him like a whiny little kid who wont eat his veggies. Do you give him desert??

Raw meat has little scent (part of why transitioning adults can be tough) and canned compared to that is like McDonalds! (scent wise, not health-wise if you're buying grain free).

Rather than adding something to make it better try mixing things up in different ways. Occasional boredom with food will happen occasionally regardless of what you feed, you just need to figure out how to get through it.

Start off by changing the form of the raw. If you regularly feed ground feed him chunks for a while (and vise versa), feed him chicken necks or wings, quail, or just add some hot tap water to the ground and mix it in. You could add a bit of raw egg (not too often, and not tons, but you can do it once a week or so with about 1/4 beaten egg), or give him gizzards or chicken hearts.

If you get in the habit of adding something to entice him it becomes a trap: first you add a bit of canned food, when that stops working it's bonito flakes, then tuna...then all he'll eat is tuna. It's a much longer slide than that, but you get the idea. Cats are notorious for becoming picky eaters, the way to fix this isn't to add things to his food, but to mix it up and try different things. Cats get bored with their food just like people do and a textural change is the best fix I've found for my guys.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:56 AM
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I have always fed my cats a total mixture (well only dry over the last 20 years or so) - not only have most of the thrived (even with pre-existing problems although we did use a youngster to cancer recently). Not only are they healthy and most of them long living, they also adapt if something requires a change in the norm they adapt really easily (except to actual allergy type things - I have one who cannot touch processed fish at all - she's okay with fresh).
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Marcia, librarychick, and Arianwen for your responses.

librarychick -- we really did try a lot of those methods, for a period of about 6 weeks. I know it's not a long time, but for an 8-month old growing kitten, it was long enough for us to come to the conclusion that he simply wasn't eating enough daily to meet his requirements. Almost overnight, he seemed to stop eagerly gobbling down the food he'd once loved (we did have a vet checkup to make sure it wasn't a health-related problem). Since then, we tried a number of different textures (chunks/ground/mince etc.), meats, combinations, and we always offer raw meaty bones a few times a week for his teeth. It wasn't that he didn't "like" any of these foods -- he'd always eat them eventually -- it's more that sometimes we needed him to eat when we were feeding him (or at least somewhat around that time). We're in and out a lot of the day, and couldn't spend 2+ hours waiting for him to decide he was ready to eat the food we were offering. Based on my very limited experience, it seems like one of the larger issues with raw food diets isn't simply whether or not it's best for the cats (lots of debate out there -- we're fans, personally), but how it fits with owners' lifestyles. Call it selfish or what have you, but it's a reality we've had to face as owners who aren't home all day and able to monitor feedings for lengthy periods 3+ times a day. The last thing we want to do is leave food out sitting and becoming harmful for him if he happens to eat it too late.

I'm happy to hear that you guys have had success with mixing, but the point about the habitual problem is well taken. I can see how it might be a slippery slope. He's eating like a horse right now, but if he gets picky again, we'll make sure not to switch to the "next best topper" to cater to his pickyness. These are all fairly new issues to us, as our previous cat just munched on his dry food all day (which we feel so guilty about, knowing what we do now -- we were just going on our vet's advice previously).

I was really just concerned with the general health situation when feeding a mix of raw and canned, and this doesn't seem to be too much of an issue based on my research and what y'all have said. Thanks very much to all of you for your input!
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:58 AM
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There's one other thing I forgot to mention that just occured to me. Its possible he just isn't growing ATM. Kittens go through growth spurts, and lack of appetite can definitely happen in between spurts.

I guess I should have offered a solution too, lol. You're right that you can't spend forever waiting for him to eat, so don't. Put the food down and what's left after 15 minutes gets put in the fridge. Try again later, next meal time. Kittens don't starve themselves like adult cats will, their growing bodies will force them to eat. A little tough love is fine. I would be offering his faves, but try not to stress or hover either. Put the bowl down then just walk away. Cats, especially cats who are being fussy, hate being watched while they're eating.

I hope he gets over it soon!

*note* if you're brave you could try green tripe, that stuff is awful but some cats love it.
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:20 PM
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One other option that I didn't see mentioned here was slightly cooking the raw (not the bones obviously!) to give it more flavor/smell. Another thought would be to add some nitrate free bacon grease. Both of these are things that are suggested on catinfo.org.
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