Complete diet, teeth, and commercial raw - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
oms
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Complete diet, teeth, and commercial raw

Hello,
Over the past few months I have been able to switch my cats over to Natures Variety Instinct Raw Rabbit Medallions. Rabbit is the only flavor they will eat with gusto. I have two cats, 3 years old and 1 year old. They love this raw food. I am not keen on making my own at home. I much prefer this commercial raw--especially since my cats are not keen on chicken, turkey, or fish and prefer rabbit.
I have been having a few questions along the way of our raw food journey:
1. They do not eat the 'suggested serving size'. Ive found that they will only finish their bowl with less. But they are healthy 8-9lb cats. Is this ok or should more be offered?
2. I am a dental hygienist and of course I am concerned about my pets teeth. I attempt to brush their teeth but this has proven difficult and a learning process for them and me. I have noticed that my local grocery store sells gizzards (chicken I believe). What could I add to their commercial raw diet, which is all ground up and mushy, to give them something to chew on and 'clean' their teeth? I've heard the gizzards are good for this. Is it as simple as buying them from store and putting one with their regular meal?
3. Nature's Variety claims that their commercial raw diet is "complete and balanced." We've had good vet checkups. I've added some pumpkin for my one cat who has had constipation problems in past with canned food but same problems have creeped back after being on raw for a while. What are your experienced opinions on this?
Sorry for the long post. Just thoughts and questions I've had along the way of this journey. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 12:09 PM
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My experience with the raw diet was fleeting and unsuccessful. However, I remember reading advice to blanch the raw meat in boiling water briefly before serving to kill any potentially harmful bacteria on the surface. I strongly recommend doing this to the gizzards first, if you decide to try it.

I say this because my household has been struggling for nearly a decade with chronic diarrhea from Clostridium Perfringens Enterotoxin, a bacteria that causes food poisoning and may be present on raw meat. No idea where they got it; ironically, I only tried the raw diet in response to the diarrhea, since it took forever to get a diagnosis and I was trying everything during that time.

Lots of people have had success feeding their cats raw diets, and I commend them. Just be aware that it carries risks and take due care.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 12:36 PM
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Suggested serving sizes are notoriously known for being too high. And in reality are only starting point. Another way estimate a starting point that is generally more accurate for raw food is 2.5% of body weight per day. But every cat is different...if yours are maintaining their weight and are healthy then they're eating the right amount.

Gizzards really don't have anything in them to help scrape tartar off teeth. They are chewy and will help jaw strength. For dental health it is better to use chicken wing tips or necks. Both contain bone that will scrape teeth. Do not blanch or cook in any way, as cooked bones can splinter.

Instinct raw is heavier in ground bones, which can cause constipation, than other brands. Then if you add wings or necks for teeth you'll be making the situation even worse for your one cat. You'll need to manage that carefully. Another alternative would be to switch to another brand of food...Primal does rabbit.


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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 12:55 PM
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I understand the danger of cooked bones, but blanching = about 30 seconds of boiling. That cooks about a millimeter of the surface flesh in my experience, nowhere near enough to penetrate to bone. And bones wouldn't be an issue with gizzards in any case.

That said, I'm no expert on this topic. I'm repeating advice I read on raw advocacy sites when I tried it years ago. I did a quick googling just now and am not seeing the same advice today, so it may have fallen out of favor, although I see that Lisa Pearson recommends partial surface cooking in the oven for immunosupressed cats (Making Cat Food by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM :: homemade cat food, cat food recipes).

But if I were doing the raw diet, I would still blanch the meat. However rare my experience might be, I'm living with the consequences of what unsafe food bacteria can do to an indoor cat population, and it's not fun.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 01:16 PM
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To be honest I'm not a fan of using grocery store meats for raw feeding because they are handled with the intention of being cooked before use. The pet food companies handle their meat knowing it will be fed raw. Some companies (including Instinct) use high pressure pasteurization to kill any bacteria in their food. You can purchase wings and necks from pet food suppliers, I'd be more inclined to use those than grocery store products.

With wings and necks there are many areas where there is minimal meat and/or bones are exposed that I would not blanch. But then I'm not a fan of blanching in general.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
oms
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodlebug View Post
Instinct raw is heavier in ground bones, which can cause constipation, than other brands. Then if you add wings or necks for teeth you'll be making the situation even worse for your one cat. You'll need to manage that carefully. Another alternative would be to switch to another brand of food...Primal does rabbit.
That is very interesting. I did not know that. There is so many little facts about raw food diet that I am still trying to figure out. Also, good to know about serving size recommendations. I thought it seemed high.
I will try to find Primal in my local pet stores. I had a really hard time finding a store to purchase Instinct for me.

I will drop the gizzard idea and try to continue brushing their teeth. Do we know how commercial raw diets in general are for cats teeth?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 02:30 AM
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If the raw food consumed are soft like Instinct's medallions or ground like Rad Cat, there is zero effect on teeth cleaning. As far as I know, only prey model raw diets or whole prey diets are thus recommended to be the best types to develop strong jaws and cleaner teeth.

I also brush my cat's teeth with an enzymatic toothpaste. The hardest part is reaching the teeth far in the back.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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I have the same problem with brushing. They will lick the enzymatic toothpaste and will let me do the front teeth. But they don't usually let me clean the back teeth.

I purchased some Primal rabbit bites today. Hopefully they like them. Will try tomorrow. Typically anything rabbit they will eat. One of them won't touch anything else so unfortunately I cannot rotate foods easily. Doodlebug how did you find out that Instinct has more bone in it?
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 10:46 PM
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I pull one side of their mouth back with my thumb or fingers, and I concentrate brushing more in the back than front. Tartar tends to build up more back there.

Have you ever tried buying rabbit freeze dried treats (NV has some) and crumbling them on top? I use those as toppers or mix it in the other raw protein diets sometimes, especially in G's food to encourage him to finish his meal. Boar is another popular freeze dried meat they both love. Orijen makes some tasty ones (Regional Red), and I tend to buy it from the dog section!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oms View Post
Doodlebug how did you find out that Instinct has more bone in it?
I emailed NV about their proportions in their raw food for cats. Here's my reply:

Quote:
Our Instinct Raw Frozen Diets contain no more than 30% organ meat (liver, heart, kidney), no more than 15% bones, and no less than 50% meat.

Sincerely,
Kim

Consumer Relations
1-888-519-7387
Nature's Variety
Of course in this case "meat" includes fat. I'm not sure how much muscle meat is actually in there, but this is why I rotate brands as well as sometimes feed a bit of my own chunks of muscle meat to my cats every once in a while.

Hope this helps some. Maybe Doodlebug can tell you how she got her info, too.
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