Switching to raw for food allergies, need advice! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Switching to raw for food allergies, need advice!

Hello all,
I'm trying to transition my cats to a commercially frozen raw diet and am so frustrated - I need some advice/help/suggestions!

The back story is this - due to what appear to be food allergy issues in my two older cats, Sky and Puddle, I decided to start them on a novel protein diet, and chose venison. I replaced their kibble with venison kibble from addiction pet foods, and started using addiction canned venison and natural balance LID venison cans. The problem is that Sky won't eat either of them. She's used to eating Fancy Feast elegant medleys every night, and simply seems disinterested in trying anything else.

After doing a ton of reading, I decided that a raw diet was a good idea and something I wanted to try. I ordered Primal Raw frozen venison for cats (I also ordered the rabbit as a back up). Sky will only eat the raw venison when I mix it with a little bit of the canned natural balance venison. She eats about three or four licks of it, and then throws up within fifteen to twenty minutes. Puddle, her brother, will also only eat the raw venison if it's mixed with something else. He also throws it up within thirty minutes, about ninety percent of the time. I am thawing it completely and serving it chilled out of the refrigerator, so I know it hasn't spoiled.

I've been trying to transition them to the raw venison for several weeks now. I'm getting unbelievably frustrated and concerned with the vomiting. I know that they're both eating kibble, so they aren't starving, but still... Should I continue trying to adapt them to the raw venison? Or should I switch them to the rabbit? And if I switch them to the rabbit, will it impact the novel protein diet I'm attempting? Has anyone else had these issues with transitioning?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 04:34 PM
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My cats threw up venison too. Maybe it's the venison. Have you considered something else as a single protein instead? I don't see any reason you can't switch to rabbit. I tried switching to raw last year with limited success and then I started fostering and just didn't have the time anymore, nor the inclination to put the foster babies on raw. I did use chicken and turkey - grinding the bones and all.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 04:46 PM
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My bet is that they're reacting because of the meat as well. I don't think you need to give up on ever getting them to eat venison, but as far as raw meat goes anything dark is harder to digest - and venison is VERY dark meat.

I'd keep the venison in your freezer, but give chicken or turkey a first go. Even cats who react to chicken/turkey in commercial foods may not always react when it's raw meat. Once they've been on raw for a while you can graudally intro other meats, using a slow process to get them from light meat (poultry) to darker meats. I'd go about like this: Chicken, turkey, duck, rabbit (if you've got it, use it!), pork, beef, game meats.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-13-2014, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both! It's reassuring to know that it's not just my cats being stubborn with the venison. I tried some of the rabbit last night and there was no vomiting after! I'm only using a little bit of the raw mixed with their canned food to try to ease them into it.

I never even considered that it could be the darkness of the meat that was upsetting them! But it does make a lot of sense. I'm still hesitant to reintroduce chicken or turkey to their diet, as their allergy symptoms have started improving since I eliminated chicken, turkey, and fish. Do you think pheasant would be an okay lighter meat to try instead, or is it darker than chicken or turkey? I'm just struggling to find something that Sky will eat enthusiastically... She just takes small licks of the rabbit. I never thought getting them to eat raw would be so difficult!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-13-2014, 06:03 PM
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Perhaps Cornish game hens or quail?? I think some of our raw feeders, have talked about those...

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 03:02 AM
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Have you tried feeze dried treats as a topper on their food? Or a smear of their favorite canned? Right now they are probably not recognizing the raw meats as food. Raw meats don't smell like canned, and there aren't special flavor enhancers sprayed on like kibble. Some folks may sear the meat at first, too, though I've yet to try that route.

My two are oddballs, they love venison, but not much with chicken or turkey! Rabbit is light colored meat, as is duck, which my cats also love. I've also tried Cornish hens, and it was fine, too. I haven't tried quail, it's pretty pricey.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 05:43 PM
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I agree starting with lighter meats and working toward the darker helps a lot.

I also had one cat that would throw up if I didn't float his dinner in warm water (in a baggie!) to "heat" it up a bit before feeding. But was fine once it was warmed. The rest were fine with the meat right out of the fridge most days if they could get it faster...

I really do need to get back to a raw diet someday ...
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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I was able to get her to start eating the rabbit, by basically pureeing it with canned food that she likes... I had to mix it so thoroughly that I couldn't even see the raw rabbit anymore. The first couple nights she only took a couple licks... I think she had stopped trusting me a little bit, since everything I had been feeding her had been making her barf. Now she's eating almost her entire bowl each night, at a mix of about 50/50 canned/raw rabbit. I'm just going to increase the raw and decrease the canned very slowly, until we're completely raw.

Luckily my other two cats are basically garbage disposals and will mow through whatever I put down.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 06:12 AM
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According to my vet who had just attended a seminar on the subject, venison is no good for cats who are susceptible to particular meat allergies (apparently it's not uncommon for cats to be allergic to beef). Venison is too close to beef, both being grass eaters. In our part of the world we use either possum (NZ where it is a late import and is therefore considered a pest) or kangaroo (OZ, where is is endemic but also considered a bit of a pest, don't ask me why) as non-allergenic raw meat.

Our cat always threw up beef whenever given it, either raw or cooked. He was okay with venison for a long time but we recently switched him to a veal/possum mix (veal meat is quite pale and does not trigger allergies as much as beef) in alternance with raw lamb. He will not touch raw chicken but loves it cooked.

What we give him is produced locally. It is pure meat, frozen, no additives. He also gets a portion of Royal Canin 12+ dry food at night and a mix of rubbish Whiskas pouch/Royal Canin 12+ Wet food for breakfast.

Please note that this is an 18 year old cat who was diagnosed with kidney failure over a year ago, refused to go on the kidney diet prescribed by the vet and has basically picked his diet himself. At the time we had been told that he had about 2 months left, so we decided not to argue. He's been stable since.

Because of his arthritis, he also get two tablets of green lip mussel extract mixed with his wet food in the morning. As a result, he's still doing a good mousing job and gets into scrapes with other cats on a regular basis (I have been tempted to stop helping with his arthritis as an incentive for him to retire, especially from the fights...)

I am no professional so please take my intervention with a large pinch of salt, however my philosophy is that as long as you keep them away from toxic, purposefully addictive and hyper-marketed pet foods, cats should be able to give you rather clear clues about what is good for them.

Don't try and overhaul their diet because of what you may read or hear but rather keep in tune with your friend. They are as different from each other as human being can be: not every food or food combination is beneficial to EVERYONE. Let them guide you and keep it simple.
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