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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Getting my cat to try chicken necks?

Hi! I've been offering our cat raw chicken necks for a couple of months now, in the interest of keeping her teeth clean. She consistently sniffs at them and then leaves them alone.

I've tried a lot of different things in hopes of persuading her to try them -- making sure they're quite warm before giving them to her, switching her from always having kibble available to getting half a can of wet food twice a day, rubbing a little bit of her wet food on them, rubbing catnip on them, searing them just enough that they smell strongly like chicken (30 seconds on each side).

I'm a little concerned that with her training to leave our parrots alone (at this point, she won't even play with any toy with feathers on it), the chicken necks might smell like the birds and therefore "do not touch" to her? I think if that were true she probably wouldn't snarf down the Blue Buffalo chicken & turkey flavor so readily, or the freeze-dried chicken treats I give her after she's decided she's done playing "catch the fleece wand", but if anyone has any suggestions for other things I can try or other kinds of bones I can safely give her that she could effectively chew on, I'd very much appreciate them.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 03:31 PM
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You're on the right track, but there's definitely still things you can try.

Going straight from pure kibble/wet food to whole chicken necks is like skipping addition and starting with long division. There's no foundation, so it makes no sense.

A whole chicken neck might be too intimidating for your girly. Has she eaten any other raw meat? You could try starting with small strips (very thin, but long pieces) of chicken breast or thigh meat, and then once she's comfortable with that work on chicken necks.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Good point, she hasn't had any raw meat before. I'll see about stopping by the fiancee-approved butcher and grabbing some breasts/thighs next time I'm in the area, thanks!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, I've acquired chicken breasts, sliced 'em up, separated into individual ~2.5oz servings, and frozen them. Planning on gradually transitioning her to a part 80/10/10 raw/part canned diet at whatever pace works for her. I've been researching what exactly that entails and I've got some more questions for anyone willing to help me out?

We're vegetarian and my fiancee is Jewish (I'm converting), so I've been madly researching what I can find at local halal butchers (kosher meat and halal meat are prepared according to very similar standards, and kosher is hard to find where we live). Turns out pretty much everything except possibly non-liver secreting organs, especially if leg bone will work for the bone portion.

Would mostly chicken and beef with possibly occasional goat/sheep/deer/other domesticated fowl be enough variety for a reasonable some raw/some canned diet? The cat would probably be getting some other kinds of canned food, too, my fiancee is just really uncomfortable with the prospect of having more un-kosher meat than necessary in the house (not that I blame her, she's been vegetarian her whole life and I don't find meat particularly appealing either).

Also, I notice lots of people are really enthusiastic about feeding their cats heart -- is there something nutritionally essential in heart, like taurine or something, or is it exactly the same as other muscle meat?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-18-2014, 12:11 AM
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The more variety the better, when it comes to raw. I'd suggest having at least 4 different proteins in a meat rotation. The exception being if the 80% portion would be canned. If that's the case rotate the canned flavors and only feed bone if you're doing it for the dental advantages.

As far as heart goes; my kitties all LOVE heart. Its like kitty candy in our house. Originally I fed ot because of the high amount of taurine (the harder - darker - the meat is thd higher the taurine content) but I feed it now because they love it too.

As far as halal/kosher meat goes...if you're trying to feed 80% raw you NEED to feed liver and a wider variety of meats than just chicken and beef. In a week my guys get: chicken, turkey, duck, pork, beef, and one 'special' meat like alpaca, fish, game meats, ect. Minimum. They have also eaten goat, lamb, llama, bison, elk, goose, quail, Cornish game hens, and salmon. Basically, if you want to feed mainly raw you need to plan for non-kosher meats and their storage.

Id suggest setting up something that your fiance is comfortable with before you really dive into more raw. Some cats (*cough* mine...and many others I've helped switch) will take to raw really strongly and refuse 'normal' cat food for a bit right after you transition them. It isnt crazy common, but it happens.

Also, sorry it took me so long to respond. I was on vacation
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-18-2014, 08:24 AM
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Sunny eats mostly just pork, chicken and beef hearts for muscle meat, and is doing really well on it. Of course he also eats chicken and beef liver, and beef and lamb kidney. His coat is great, his last bloodwork when he had his canine tooth out was fantastic and he runs around like a cat half his age. There is no way I could source that much variety for a reasonable cost - especially things like duck, alpaca and game meats. You must have a great supplier!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-18-2014, 03:49 PM
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I personally would feed my cats chicken thighs to breasts...thighs would have some fat which cats need and find it more palatable. Thighs are also cheaper and higher in taurine. Taurine is essential to cats because unlike dogs, they cannot synthesize their own. They also need it for their vision (retina) and heart health especially. You'll find taurine in pedominantly muscle meats; the more active the muscle, the higher its taurine levels will be. This is also why hearts are more desirable and are actually considered muscle meat rather than organs.

I also agree with librarychick that having more variation in raw would make mealtimes better and more enjoyable for cats. You'd also lower their risk from developing intolerances to their food.

I'm sorry your finace is uncomfortable with raw meats...perhaps buying some commercial raw added to their diet can work as a compromise? That way you don't have to prepare their food all the time and you may add more variety to their current diet? Just a thought. Otherwise, I'd probably stick to canned foods...

Last edited by marie73; 07-22-2014 at 01:14 PM.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-20-2014, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the answers, everyone! I've been looking into it some more, and it looks like the halal market closest to me carries a pretty wide variety of halal meat, including quail and probably a lot more.

@librarychick -- as far as I know it's perfectly possible for most of those meats to be prepared in both a kosher and a halal manner, with the exceptions being pork, anything that died in a process other than kosher/halal slaughter (so hunted meat is out, but that's okay because I don't have a source for that anyway), and alpaca. Pretty much any herbivorous animal with horns on its head and cloven hooves that chews its cud is kosher to eat. Herbivorous fowl are also considered kosher today, as a general rule, as are fish. So "kosher meat" is actually a pretty broad category. So I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to find a broader variety than just chicken and beef to feed her -- chicken and beef are just the most widely available.

I've also been experimenting with the cat's food -- still no luck getting her to eat actual chicken breast, even if I mix it in with food she'll otherwise eat -- and while she prefers pate-style food to flaked or chunky food as far as texture (less than promising), she does seem to prefer meat + organ flavors to meat + green pea or just plain meat flavors, so the next order of business will be going down to the local halal market and grabbing whatever hearts/livers/kidneys I can find.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 03:54 AM
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i was so envious when i read how librarychick's kitties are open to all the varieties. Mine would only take to chicken (fillet / thigh) and lean pork. The girl has a very sensitive tummy and doesnt like salmon even - extremely picky eater.

quasigreat, its all really a matter of trial and error when it comes to determining which type they like best. i started them on mince first, followed by cutting down into small cubes once they got a hang of the texture.
To encourage them to at least have a few bites, try crumbling a bit of their fav treats on top for enticement.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-26-2014, 01:05 PM
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