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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-17-2014, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Kitty Raw Food Bonanza - My Experiences

So I've mentioned that I work in a natural/holistic dog and cat supply store. This means I can feed, and have access to, a huge variety of raw foods. The purpose of this thread is mainly to get some good light on some rather unknown raw foods, and some that are very commercially available. I've given each a rating (1-5) and a short reason why. These are all foods that I feed personally.

Disclaimer 1!: Yes, these are MY opinions! I hope this helps other raw feeders in making decisions, although we must remember that all cats are different...and that Samantha is a garbage disposal, lol!

Disclaimer 2!: Yeah if you do the research, a lot of the protein-brand combinations I feed claim to be 'dog only'. I can get away with this because I feed a wide variety of foods. Also, more often than not, if it's meat/bone/organ based, there is enough taurine to over this.

Disclaimer 3!: My cats get real hearts, chicken and duck, to make up for any taurine issues!

Disclaimer 4!: Samantha has a beef allergy. It's severe. No beef will be included in the making of this thread. She's also difficult and requires a different protein and texture every meal...yes I DO cater to her needs.


Nature's Variety - 2 - I give this one a 2 because it's my least favorite out of all that I feed. Samantha (despite being a garbage disposal), can only keep down the Duck, Rabbit, and Chicken/Turkey formulas. For some reason their lamb makes her vomit (they use lamb in their Lamb and Venison formulas). Also, from a retailer standpoint, they have been doing some things that I don't really understand...I'll explain more if anyone asks.

Primal - 3 - Primal is pretty darn good. My kitties LOVE their Rabbit and Turkey formulas, and when in doubt they will eat these without fail. Unfortunately they still put veggies and fruits in their formulas and we raw feeders know kitties don't really need those. I do like the organic ingredients.

Nature's Logic - 4 - AWESOME food. The only reason I won't rate this one a 5 is because my cats refuse to eat it!! It uses no synthetics at all, instead relying on whole food ingredients to make up for the vitamins and minerals. The bone tends to be ground big though, which is part of why I assume is one reason my guys won't touch it.

Stella and Chewy's - 3 - A great alternative to Primal or Nature's Variety. They have a ton of flavors, of which Venison, Rabbit, and Pheasant seem to go over the best. They still include veggies and fruits, so they didn't rate higher.

Bravo - 3 - Another good all around food. I prefer the basic formulas over the others, as there are no veggies/fruits. My cats will eat their Rabbit, Chicken, and Lamb formulas. Very cost effective compared to most, especially if you buy the chubs (the larger chub size the better!).

Answers - 4 - WONDERFUL. The only reason this one doesn't get a 5 is because they presently only have two 'cat' only formulas out...Chicken and Beef...and I mentioned that Sammy can't do Beef...not to mention that they are only 1lb (and it's expensive). I instead get the 'Straight Dog' formulas...4lb cartons (no plastic!), in either Chicken or Pork. The 'Straight' means they are pretty much just meat/bone/organ. Answers also makes an incredible raw and unpasteurized goat milk formula...it's incredibly nutritious, and full of wonderful probiotics and prebiotics, and my cats get some four times a week.

Vital Essentials - 5 - One of my absolute favorites! Claims to be 'dog only', but every formula is strictly meat/bone/and-tons-of-organ, so I don't worry about the taurine content. I love that I don't have to worry about any sneaky beef in the formulas, because the organ content matches the proteins the formulas are...if it says Chicken, it's 100% chicken! I buy the 6lb patties bag, and it's very affordable. My kitties love the Turkey, Duck, and Wild Boar formulas best.

Radcat - 5 - Gets a 5 because it's the only food I don't have to put a food topper on to get Jules to eat (incredible!). All my kitties love this food, and they get the Turkey and Lamb formulas. Fairly affordable, and the organic ingredients are a great touch.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 02:32 PM
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Thanks for this post! I've decided to try a commercial raw food with my Shelly, and this helps. I, too, want to avoid the veggies (so Freshpet is out). I was on Rad Cat's website earlier, and I really want to try their food. The independent pet supply store I go to doesn't list Rad Cat on its website (although Rad Cat's Find-a-Store lists all three NY locations as stocking it), but it does list Bravo and Answers.

I need to go there anyway, to get more kitty litter. I think I may also come home with a little surprise for Miss Shelly tonight.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 02:36 PM
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One question - if I do get the chubs, how do I store them between feedings? I only have one cat, so I'm only going to start with one (the smaller the better in case she doesn't go for it).
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 02:43 PM
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Partially thaw, slice into portion sizes and refreeze. Bravo thaws quickly, so keep an eye on it. I've portioned it into chunks that are large enough for a few days. I've also cut into meal portions, put on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and froze, then put into a ziplock.

I agree with Vital Essentials and RadCat being the top of this list, but not necessarily the assessments on the rest of the brands. Don't have time to get into it now...

BTW, VE has a cat line, comes in tubs like RadCat.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 03:06 PM
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Thanks!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 03:13 PM
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OK...I have some time

First I have to say that rating foods primarily based on what your cats will and won't eat, whether they keep it down etc. is purely your experience and unfair to the product. For example, at 95% animal ingredients, Nature's Variety ingredient profile is superior to Primal (90% animal ingredients), yet your review never indicates that. NV uses HPP on all their products and Primal only uses it on poultry...some people are happy to have HPP products, other people want to avoid it like the plague. NV sources their rabbit from China, Primal gets theirs from France. They are all important factors.

From an ingredient standpoint Stella & Chewy's is pretty much on par with NV & Primal. They do HPP their entire product line. But this is where I will take the response of the pets into account because in general S&C frozen raw doesn't do well in the market. They have cornered the freeze dried, but it's common knowledge that their frozen line struggles. So the chances that a pet won't eat it are higher than other foods. S&C is also the only food on this list that adds vitamins and minerals, so their recipe is not nutritionally complete. I would put S&C below NV & Primal.

Bravo adds vitamins & minerals to their Complete line. Their Basics line is more cost effective because there's nothing but necks in the poultry products, there's no organs at all. I would not feed my pets a diet of nothing but necks, using this as part of a rotation would be fine, but not as a sole diet.

I'm not following your Logic on Nature's Logic...you downgraded other foods for adding fruits and veggies but you're giving kudos to NL for replacing synthetic additives with fruits/veggies etc. Which is exactly what the other foods are doing.

I like the Answers concept, but I find the green tea they use gives the food kind of a funky smell. I also hate their cartons, no way to reseal them. But overall a really good choice.

As I said before I agree that RadCat and Vital Essentials are top of the line.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 03:23 PM
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Rad Cat Chicken is what I ended up with on my shopping trip yesterday. The Albany Benson's store only had the 8oz tubs, for $5.89 each, so I just got one. They also had turkey, but I didn't see lamb. I may scoot up to their Clifton Park and Saratoga locations and see what they have. According to RC's Find-a-Store Benson's is the only store within 50 miles of me (in NY State) that carries it.

I did get it thawed to the point where I could mix a little of it with some Dave's wet food this morning. And Shelly ate it, which made me do the Happy Dance of Joy. The rest of the tub is in the fridge, and I think I'm just going to use it up so it doesn't go bad (can you tell I'm new to this? ). I want to pick up a couple tubs (at least enough to equal their 24oz tub) and portion it out and freeze like you would with homemade raw.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 03:40 PM
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The way to quick thaw RadCat is to put the tub in a bowl and fill it with cool water to just short of the lid.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 04:07 PM
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I have repeatedly been told, and believe, that you do not feed dry kibble with raw. Yet on Vital Essential's website FAQ, the first point says it is okay to do so in order to be nicer to your pocketbook. Thoughts?

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 04:19 PM
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The way that's written on the VE website leaves some question about whether they' re advocating physically mixing them together. But...I have had many people tell me that they have mixed them together and never had an issue. In fact I've never had a customer say their pet got sick from mixing kibble and raw. I've also never seen any posts here about cats getting sick from mixing. Based on that, I'd say theoretically it's possible it can cause issues, but many animals never have a problem.

Nature's Variety also advocates mixing, especially since they have a product line with freeze dried raw and kibble mixed.

I'm beginning to believe the whole issue has been overblown.


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