Swtiching a senior to raw, and does this diet look balanced? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Swtiching a senior to raw, and does this diet look balanced?

Hey all! I recently adopted a senior cat with some pre-existing health issues. I wasn't planning on switching her to a raw diet, mostly because I didn't want to stress her, I didn't think she would take to it, and she doesn't have any teeth... I feed my other animals a prey model raw diet, so I'm never had to feed ground before (except for organs, I'll explain in a sec). BUT, she has basically been begging for it. The other day I was chopping up chicken for the cat and a small peice of meat/skin fell off the counter. NaNa ate it before I had time to even notice she was there. Now she sits at my feet and begs every time I'm cutting meat. And yesterday my husband was cooking bacon (not pre-cooked, actual pork-belly, slice it yourself bacon) and he tossed a slice to Cthulhu, a slice to Otto, a slice to Khepri, a slice to NaNa... Oh shoot! NaNa isn't raw fed! Nope, she loved it and didn't have any stomach issues. So I'm highly considering switching her, and would like some opinions.

I have a local supplier that does a lot of ground options. I use him for the organ mix, because my boys are so picky about their organ meats. He has a kitten mix that is mostly complete (I'd like to see more then just liver for organs) but I figured I could start her with that. Here's the ingredient list: Beef, Beef Heart, Chicken and bone, beef liver and ground whole Egg and 95% lean. If she takes to that, I thought I could feed her the same meal plan that I feed my other cat, just replace his meat cuts with grinds. Here is Khepri's current diet: (I also want to know how it looks)

Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 1 peice bone in chicken (usually leg or thigh), 2-3oz organ mix (beef, beef heart, tripe, liver, kidney).

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday - Pork muscle meat.

Sunday - Ground beef, egg (with shell) and 1 fish oil capsule.

Thought and opinions please!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 12:45 PM
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For starters, good on you for having your pets on a healthy diet!

I'd spread out the OM so that it's fed daily in small amounts, and I tend to stay far away from pork when feeding raw as it's the meat most likely to contain parasites. (namely roundworm) Technically, you can freeze the meat for 3+ weeks beforehand to help reduce the risk, but I just forgo it completely. But that's just me.

My only other complaint is feeding ground meat; them not being able to chew the bones kind of ruins one of the whole points of raw feeding; that they keep their teeth nice and clean by chewing raw bone.

It's best to use little poultry ribs (fish ribs or whole fish work great, too) for this. Though it will generally take them awhile to get used to/be able to chew the bones completely.

Other than that, I think you're good. You could maybe try adding a bit more meat into the diet? Though, depending on where you live and what cuts of meat are available, I'd understand if you didn't/couldn't. I live in a rural area where game meat is plentiful during the spring-fall, but I imagine finding anything other than beef, pork, and chicken is a lot harder/pricier elsewhere. lol

Last edited by marie73; 03-25-2015 at 03:51 PM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 03:59 PM
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Hey! I think it's a great idea to feed your senior kitty raw, especially if she likes it and the transition is easy, it can only be a good thing. There are many benefits of raw and I have heard that seniors who make the switch sometimes get a boost of energy. I agree with you about getting that other 5% not-liver organ in her diet, if you can give her a little of that other mix with the kidneys as well that would be good. And you may have to give some powdered eggshell if you need to add a calcium source into her diet. It would be useful to find out what percentage of bone and what percentage of liver is in the mix, that would go a long way to helping balance. I agree that parts are better than grinds but for the circumstances of a toothless kitty I think it is a great option. As long as your supplier is trustworthy it should be fine. One of mine will only eat her organs hidden in grinds! Picky kitty!

I feed some pork, it is an affordable red meat. I buy human grade pork from the grocery store so I don't really worry about parasites but I do freeze for 48 hours before feeding. Wild boar would have to be frozen as a previous poster suggested.

I do agree with previous poster about trying to add another species into the diet, if you can source it. I recently found one of the stores in my area selling turkey thighs for .98/lb.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augustine View Post
I'd spread out the OM so that it's fed daily in small amounts
I don't know why spreading it out would matter...the only reason I can see bothering to put a speck of organ with each meal is if you had a cat with a picky enough stomach that they couldn't handle it. 5% 'other organ' for a cat end up being a piece the size of a quarter once a week...bothering to chop that up into 21 teeny pieces seems like way too much fuss to me. JMO though.

A small amount of organ once a day seems reasonable to me, but I only feed organ in meals 3 times a week or so. The goal with raw, IMO/IME, is to balance out over time. I really love that I don't need to fuss with balancing every single day - let alone every meal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Augustine View Post
...and I tend to stay far away from pork when feeding raw as it's the meat most likely to contain parasites. (namely roundworm) Technically, you can freeze the meat for 3+ weeks beforehand to help reduce the risk, but I just forgo it completely. But that's just me.
Again, if your cats are healthy this shouldn't be that big of an issue. While wild boar might be infected, and some grocery store pork might be infected (although it's my impression toxoplasmosis is the most likely culprit to find rather than roundworm) I think you'll be fairly safe off feeding pork. If you're truly worried about worms then you could deworm every 6 months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Augustine View Post
My only other complaint is feeding ground meat; them not being able to chew the bones kind of ruins one of the whole points of raw feeding; that they keep their teeth nice and clean by chewing raw bone.
The OP said this cat has no teeth in her first post. You can't keep teeth clean if there are none It also makes it tough for her to crunch the bones.

I'd suggest finding a calcium supplement powder - and I'd be inclined to use a humane-grade one. Goodness only knows what goes into the animal supplements.

I'm assuming since your other pets are fed prey model you're familiar with the idea of giving as wide a variety as possible. That'll be a bit tougher to do with your senior kitty having no teeth, but it's still an important part. That being said, I usually suggest waiting until the cat's been on a 2-3 protein diet for 2-3 months before you try anything too 'exciting'. You don't want to overload her system.

The last thing I'd suggest is giving a probiotic supplement while you switch her over. Her digestive system is used to kibble/wet food - adding probiotics might make the transition a bit smoother. I usually use either a 1/4 tsp of plain organic yogurt once a day, or acidophilus capsule once a week.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice guys! Finding other meat sources in the area (that I can afford) has been really hard. Turkey is occasionally an option monetarily, but one of my dogs is allergic to turkey (but not chicken, strangely, lol) so I just stopped getting it. We just had a fish market open up down the road from my butcher, so I was hoping to make it there to check prices next week. I would love to add real fish if I can afford it. I have gotten venison a few times from people that hunt, and my big boy eats road-killed squirrels all the time..... Not sure how much that counts, lol! The supplier has a bone-in duck grind that I may try, but I don't feed much ground for the reasons Augustine mentioned. I don't usually worry about parasites are that for three reasons. 1. The supplier I use flash-freezes all of his meats, which supposedly kills things like that. 2. The reast of the meat I get is human grade. I actually use the same butcher, and normally come home and split up "3 shoulder steaks for the pets, two for us. Slice off some of the pork belly for bacon, the rest is for the animals. I'll take a few pounds of the leg quarts for dinner, the rest can go to them." Lol! When I was out of work last year, I freaked my mom out my telling her that we stole some of the dog's food for dinner. What I'd meant was that we took some leg quarters out of the "dog bag", but that's not what she imagined.... Anyways, reason 3. As I mentioned, my big dog eats road kill. I figure if anything is going to give him parasites or what-not, it will be that, lol.

librarychick, I wouldn't have thought of the probiotic. That's a really good idea! Thanks

Smaughunter, I really think I will see an energy boost. Actually, I already am. She was on a low grade kibble at the shelter, and I transitioned her to a higher quality wet food when I got her. Blue Buffalo Wilderness canned to be precise. her energy level has already increased, so I can only image what I boost she could get from a raw diet!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 07:12 AM
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Chicken leg or thigh may be a bit big for an older cat who isn't used to it? Possibly not if he chews well, but its something to think of. Chicken neck is an option because while it looks big, its very soft bone and coated in muscle which is also easier for them to chew. (I find turkey neck too big) Keep an eye on that at least. Ground Bone/duck is excellent, you have to work with your cat regardless of the advantaged of whole bone.

Also, I'd swap out pork whenever possible. You could buy a lamb cut, a carved duck...something like that for maybe $30 and pre-portion it. It will last you a very long time, you know. (I know you have other cats to feed so it wont last as long as it would for one cat, but I find it does last a good while).

I wouldn't worry about giving fish to your cats, its really not a common staple. excellent treat though if well sourced.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 11:06 PM
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You say your senior cat has pre-existing health issues. While I'm all for you going on raw, I'd consider carefully on the type of fish you're planning on feeding. Most of the people here who do a prey model raw diet only give fish once a week and it's mainly canned sardines that are unsalted and packed in water (not oil) for their Omega-3s. I personally wouldn't serve fish unless it's absolutely the last resort to get my cat to eat something. There's a bunch of negative things associated with fish, especially larger ones like tuna and even salmon. Just want to make sure you know these things before you go out and inadvertently create a tuna addict, lol.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2015, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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So that was the easiest switch I've ever had. I brought home the ground mix from my supplier yesterday. She had been eating about half of a 6oz can of caned food twice a day, so I plopped 4oz of ground raw in front of her for dinner last night. She ate 3.3oz of it, lol. This morning I didn't get an accurate measure because my other cat barged in and scarfed down most of what was left, but it looked like she ate most of the 4oz I gave her this morning, and tonight for dinner she cleared her plate! No need to coax her or work her up to it, she just dove right in! Totally awesome!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 02:21 AM
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Wow, that's great news!
Hope you get awesome results for her healthwise (and more) from her new raw diet! Interesting that your other cat seems interested in the raw as well, lol. You're pretty lucky there, other cats here are so~ finicky, especially senior cats!
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