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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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New to raw feeding

Hi everyone. I've only posted in the intro section so far as I'm new here, but I thought I would post in here since the issue we are having is feeding.

Our oldest cat Aglet (just turned 2) has always been a picky eater. She was a foster from 3 weeks old. As soon as I got her and her siblings I put them on Wellness kitten food (wet). Over time they started to eat a little dry (also Wellness) and then they also liked Spot's Stew and a few other limited ingredient wet foods. However, over time every time she would eat wet food she would vomit. For the past few months she has been eating only dry food (wellness). She also has always had pica and we have to be careful because she will eat all kinds of things other than food.

Our kitten Cleo who is 9 months old was brought home from a farm where her siblings had all been killed (or so we thought, one showed up after we took Cleo). She has always loved food and will pretty much eat whatever you give her. She was started on Wellness and largely just ate the Wellness kitten (wet food). She also had the Wellness kitten dry after a few weeks as a supplement. She has always had very stinky BM's, but over the past few months it got to the point where we could smell it several rooms away as soon as she would go. Of course it would help if she would cover her poo! She had also started to go 3-5 times per day and it was getting softer. The other issue is that in November she weighed 4.8 lbs and now she is 12.5lbs!! She's getting fatter by the day and acts like she's starving all day long.

About six weeks ago I decided to switch the kitties to Nature's Variety Limited Ingredient diet dry food (the turkey formula). There was a big improvement in the poo smell, but it was still pretty strong. Aglet continued to vomit periodically. I researched some more and last weekend bought Stella & Chewy's frozen duck duck goose to try. Cleo tried it on Saturday (I gave her a few nuggets to start with) and inhaled it. Aglet won't touch it, but that isn't a big surprise because she is super picky. I had intended to gradually switch Cleo, but she has other ideas. On Sunday morning I gave her the duck duck goose and she ate it all. That night I was feeding (I've taken away the free feed dry) and offered the dry food and she sat there, looked at the bowl, looked at me, back at the bowl and then parked herself in front of the freezer meowing. She's been on duck only since and is doing great!! I can't smell her poo at all unless I'm right down next to the litter box and she hasn't covered it. She's also going much less. She also seems more satisfied and not begging as much as before.

I ordered the freeze dried Stella's which will be here today. Hopefully she will like it as well as there is only one place in town to get the frozen and the other would be easier to prep with less forethought.

I know that the Stella's isn't considered truly raw by some and that's fine. She's doing great on it and that is what I consider important.

I'm not at all sure how to get Aglet switched over or if I need to? I don't want to leave the dry food down as free feed because I don't want Cleo eating it. For reference, Aglet is 11lbs.

Any additional suggestions or thoughts would be great! Sorry this was so long!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 01:36 PM
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First of all, Welcome to the forum and to raw feeding

I've got a few comments and suggestions that may help out.

The first is that having a kitten gain that much weight from 4 months -9 months (assuming my math is correct ) isn't all that concerning - compared to if an adult cat had the same sort of weight gain. She may just be growing up to be a big kitty. Without quite a few other pictures I can't say for sure, but in general kittens are eating because they need the food and will either run it off or go through a growth spurt anyways. Basically, I wouldn't worry about Cleo being overweight.

Secondly, for your picky princess Aglet (I've got one of those too ) You may need to teach her that it's food. It sounds like she was pretty solidly on one food as a kitten, and unfortunately in adult cats that generally translates into 'pickyness'. Basically she didn't try many things as a baby so now she's convinced only certain smells mean 'food'. I'm curious about what you mean when you say she has pica...but I think that's a topic for another thread.

A good way to convince Aglet to eat the new stuff is edible is to break some of her dry food down into a powder-like consistency (food processors and hammers work equally well for this task) and sprinkle a bit on her portion of the re-hydrated raw. Step one either way is to start feeding her kibble in meals at the least. Leave it out for 10-15 minutes then remove the bowl. She'll catch on pretty quickly and it'll give you a better chance of switching her to the raw if she's not grazing.

I'm not sure if you need to keep the Stella & Chewy's in the freezer...but I've never used it so just to be safe follow the indications on the bag. I've never seen it in the freezer section of the stores that carry it locally, but the bags are still sealed there so *shrugs*.

As for whether it's 'real' raw or not...IMO it's a stepping stone. Like the raw-food version of a gateway drug. Because it's more processed than your average raw food you will be missing out on some of the benefits (chewing and breaking down meat is mentally satisfying for cats, chewing raw bones cleans their teeth, ect), but it can also be more convenient than some of the other options out there.

If you're interested in going to less processed raw food there's lots of info here on that, if you and the kitties are happy with Stella & Chewey's well then that's cool too.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Becky for all of the information!

The Stella's that is in the freezer doesn't have to be rehydrated. I do try to take out her portion for the next day and put it in the fridge. It's mostly the issue of having to pay nearly $9 a bag (lasts about 4 days) and drive to the specialty store to get it.

Great idea to crumble up the dry food and sprinkle it on top. I will see if that entices her a little more. She used to eat several different flavors of a few brands when she was little, but when she started refusing I stopped buying and probably should have pushed through her picky stage. I did start feeding her dry in two meals a day and I remove it in between. So far so good there!

Good to know about the weight gain for Cleo. I know the vet didn't really say much other than she was getting big. I'll keep an eye on her weight, but for now I won't worry about it too much. She is definitely a bigger kitty than Aglet so perhaps she's just going to be large.

What I meant by pica is that Aglet eats non-food items. She is obsessed with eating anything she can get her hands on that isn't food. At Christmas we had to take our tree down because after Cleo knocked the ornaments off (while we were at work) they shattered and Aglet ate them and then vomited blood because of the glass. She does that kind of stuff all of the time. Obviously we try to put things away as much as possible to prevent this.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 04:51 PM
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Ok, so the Stella's that you have is frozen raw meat then right? I'm just confused because their website only lists dehydrated products. If you've got real raw meat just frozen then it's definitely 'real' raw, lol

There are a lot of different ways to do raw, so start with this and then maybe take some time to see if you can find something else that works for you and your kitties. There's no need to rush

It's very odd to me that she's intent on eating other items, but picky about food...especially since she ate bits of glass of plastic ornaments! Typically pica would also expand to include food, so she'd eat pretty much anything. Interesting anyways. Have you noticed that slowing down as she gets older? or not so much???
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-25-2014, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Becky,

Yes, she's slowed down somewhat. She was pretty feisty the first year and isn't the friendliest. Once we got Cleo and went through a very long intro period she has actually mellowed out. She gets cranky and hisses at Cleo sometimes, but they seem to enjoy playing together and Aggie isn't scratching and attacking us like she used to. I'm not sure if the pica is an anxiety thing or what it is. She was orphaned at about 2-3 weeks of age so maybe she picked up weird behaviors not being around a mom cat. Who knows.

Stella's just came out the with frozen nuggets for cats so it isn't on their website yet. I went a bought 3 more bags today because I like it better than the freeze dried and it is actually less expensive than the freeze dried per serving.

I bought some Instinct LID turkey, lamb and duck cans today to see if Aggie will eat any of that. Maybe if I get her used to some wet food again she will transition to the other. If not then it's not the end of the world.
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