Join Date: May 2008
Location: St. Albert, AB, Canada
I basically do a rough 'frankenprey' model diet. Initially, I was shopping for all the meat myself and feeding primarily chunks of meat and organs I bought at the local asian market. Before I started I visited the market a few times and saw what they had available generally, rarely, and only by request.
I'd suggest you start with that, because it'll give you an idea of what you can get locally - and you might be surprised! Also, since cats are so small a pig spleen or kidney will last quite a while. They don't need much of it at all - so you can just buy one when you see it, then freeze it in smaller portions and take a bit out once a week or so. It'll last quite a while that way.
Before you plan to use bone meal try for actual bones. Bone meal is made using quite a few chemicals, and (I believe) is cooked during the process. Since it's also ground it isn't dangerous, but raw bones will be much better nutritionally speaking and it's really simply to get kittens chomping them down with very little trouble. I started feeding raw when Muffin was 4 months, within a month he was chowing down on chicken wings very happily - with no help from me!
Currently I feed an odd diet, lol. I was lucky enough to live in the delivery zone of a local family owned small business that makes raw food for pets. They started out making food for local police dogs, and branched out. Their business has grown a LOT since I started buying from them nearly 5 years ago, and I'm very lucky to be able to buy from them. They offer a wide range of meat, ground and unground, along with pure organs, and mixes that also have veggies and organs already in. This includes some whole ground animals - filling the need for odd organs nicely.
If you can't find the 'weird stuff' you can also get around that by getting your kittens used to some whole prey meals. TBH I chickened out on starting my boys on whole prey until it was too late - now both will lick and play with whole mice, but simply don't see it as food. Remedying that is on my (long, lol) 'To Do' list...but it'll take WAY more effort now than it would have if I'd started them on it right away. Kittens are very adaptable!
I'd try going to a local pet store (more expensive), or contacting a local reptile fanciers group to ask about who supplies feeder mice (probably cheaper). You can get frozen mice from either source and I'd start encouraging your kits to eat them ASAP! That way you wouldn't have to worry about sourcing odd organs, you could just feed each kit a mouse once a week. Done.
IMO there's really no need to get a grinder. It's better for your cats to eat chunks, it's easier, and it's much closer to what they were designed to eat. It's nice to have the option sometimes, but you can get good quality ground meat from a local butcher you trust for those occasions...or contact anyone you know who hunts. Kitties DO like game meats, if you get them used to it. All four of my cats go nuts for moose, elk, deer, bison, etc. They don't get it often, but they LOVE it.