I need better instructions about how to feed "whole prey" - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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I need better instructions about how to feed "whole prey"

I've been feeding half raw meat and half kibble for a month now. His fur is looking much better and he's clearly a lot stronger and has a lot more vigor than before. He also lost some fat in the process and is now is looking really healthy, but for a week or so now he's refusing to eat the dry food. I don't want him going without vitamins and calcium, but I don't want to force him to eat kibble just out of hunger either.

I've been reading about "whole prey" raw feeding, and I need some help about some aspects of it.

Which bones are edible, how can I find them and how should I prepare them for my cat? I won't grind up anything, I'll leave it up to my cat, but I don't want him losing teeth because of the bones or hurting his gums either.

Which organs are best? I feel that just giving him chicken heart and cow liver wouldn't be great.

Lastly, how to thaw the meat properly? I usually just leave it out of the fridge for one hour before his meal time and unfreeze whatever ice is left with water, but if I don't measure the portions right, the meat fibers start detaching themselves from the little chunks I cut up and I think that must taste really bad. I end up wasting meat because of that, and I think it would be more pleasant if he could eat more meat at the right temperature.

I'm still learning how to cook, if I look clueless for not knowing these things it's because I am.

Thanks for reading.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 04:03 AM
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Hi Louis,

The best bones are chicken necks, backs, and wings.

You'll want a mix of organs - you want liver to be 5% or less of each meal, and about 5% "secreting organs" such as kidney, gizzards, etc.

Heart is not actually considered a "organ" in terms of raw feeding - it is a muscle, so it's considered as part of the "meat" portion and not organ.

You can feed organs from whatever mix of prey you want - chicken, duck, turkey, cow, rabbit, whatever you can get a hold of.

Also, if you feed raw, you are going to need to supplement nutritionally - with taurine powder and also with a nutrient supplement such as Alnutrin,

These sites are where I learned all my info about whole prey/frankenprey feeding:

Easy Raw Diet Feeding for the Busy Person - Feline Nutrition

What About Cats?

Practical Guide

Making Cat Food by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM :: homemade cat food, cat food recipes

I feed ground raw meat/bone/organs, so I thaw it in the fridge and mix with warm water before feeding. For chunks, you can always float it in a bag in a tub of warm water to bring it to temperature.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 04:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips, Lakota. By the way, why add supplements, specially why add taurine? Isn't the taurine in the meat exactly one of the main reasons why raw meat diet is much better than canned and dry food? I was thinking of maybe just popping an omega 3 capsule on his food or feed him some oily fish once a week to make up for the lack of that vitamin, but I thought that the organs and the bones would actually be enough to take care of everything else. I even read somewhere in this forum a few hours ago that frankenprey didn't require supplement if done right...
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-11-2016, 03:47 AM
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Louis -

Basically, in a "wild" situation (basically meaning the accepted "ancestor" of the domestic cat, the African Wild Cat), a feline will eat a wide variety of critters, and they will eat every BIT of what they catch, including brains, eyeballs, all organs, etc. So, when consuming whole prey, they are getting nutrients and trace minerals that simply aren't in most "frankenprey" diets - e.g., when we give a meal of chicken wings, meat, and organs. While heart meat does contain taurine, it's not enough - the typical raw diet still needs to be supplemented, especially with extra taurine. It's always best to add more taurine - you can't overdose a cat on it, it's water-soluble so whatever the cat's body doesn't need simply passes harmlessly out in the urine.

So, when a cat eats piecemeal raw, it's not getting all the trace nutrients it needs, and it's hard to get the balances perfectly even if you go with the general "accepted" raw percentages of 80% meat, 10% bone, and 5% liver, 5% other organs.

If you go full whole prey, and feed whole prey such as mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks, quail, and other critters, I don't -think- you need to supplement, but I'm not sure on that. Obviously if the cat is eating the whole prey, they're getting all the bits with all the nutrients :}

It IS a little more difficult to control bone intake on a whole prey diet - some cats can get constipated with too much bone and their bone content has to be reduced, which can be harder on whole prey.

But if you're feeding piecemeal, or ground meat/bone/organs like I am, you need to supplement, or buy a food that is already supplemented (e.g. Rad Cat, Feline's Pride).

Most commercial cat foods ARE supplemented in order to make up for what a cat misses out on when eating a commercial food.

http://tcfeline.com/supplements/

So basically, if you're going to feed a variety of whole small prey, you probably don't need to supplement. But if you are going to be feeding "pieces", such as chicken meat, beef organs, bones, etc., you will need to :}


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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-11-2016, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakotaWolf View Post
Hi Louis,

The best bones are chicken necks, backs, and wings.
Any small bones will do, chicken bones are a great size, as are most bones from Cornish game hens (not the thicker leg bones, but everything else), entire quail, ribs from pigs, rabbit bones (again, except the thicker leg bones), etc. Basically, if you can easily bend/break the bone with one hand it'll be safe to feed once the cat knows how to eat bones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakotaWolf View Post
You can feed organs from whatever mix of prey you want - chicken, duck, turkey, cow, rabbit, whatever you can get a hold of.
if you don't want to supplement you will NEED to feed a variety of organs from a variety of animals. If you can only get meat or organs from a few animals (pork, beef, chicken) then you'll have to supplement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakotaWolf View Post
Also, if you feed raw, you are going to need to supplement nutritionally - with taurine powder and also with a nutrient supplement such as Alnutrin,
If you can get enough variety and are careful about what you're feeding you don't have to supplement, but until you can properly transition your kitty and are sure he's going to eat what you're giving him supplementing or feeding canned food sometimes is a good idea.

I would suggest getting rid of the kibble though - kibble and raw digest at different rates, and can cause digestive issues if they're feed too close together. I'd switch your kitty to wet food and raw until he's a more experienced raw feeder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LouisXIV View Post
Thanks for the tips, Lakota. By the way, why add supplements, specially why add taurine? Isn't the taurine in the meat exactly one of the main reasons why raw meat diet is much better than canned and dry food?
Taurine comes from dark muscles - the harder working the muscle is, the more taurine it has. Taurine degrades when meat is ground, and when frozen. If you feed heart fairly often you won't need to supplement the taurine, but some people are more comfortable with supplementing. Taurine is important, it is necessary for heart and eye health. Personally, I feed heart once a week and 3 of my cats eat 'dark' meats (beef, game meats, etc) 2-3 times per week, so I'm comfortable not supplementing. However, some cats won't or can't eat dark meats - like my 4th cat. She gets canned food when they get dark meats so she's still getting the appropriate nutrients even though she can't eat dark meat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakotaWolf View Post
I feed ground raw meat/bone/organs, so I thaw it in the fridge and mix with warm water before feeding. For chunks, you can always float it in a bag in a tub of warm water to bring it to temperature.
I'm lazy. My cats eat 3/4 lb per day between the 4 of them, my food comes in 1lb baggies. I grab 4, thaw three in the fridge, and the fourth gets thawed in a bowl of warm water for about 4-5 hours. Ish. It's not an exact science, but as long as it's not sitting out for +12hrs it'll be fine. (TBH cats have a much better digestive system than ours - I don't recommend leaving uncovered raw meat out for that long, but in a plastic baggie, in a bowl of water...it'll be fine because the bacteria can't get to it.)

I comfortably feed them food that's been in the fridge for 5 days, sometimes 6 days. However, my cats have been raw fed for 7 years and have very robust digestive flora. With a new raw feeder you need to 'baby' their system a bit - feed their food fresh and pick it up after an hour at the most. Don't feed anything older than 4 days - or thawed for 4 days - or that smells even the littlest bit off.

Most cats prefer their raw food at 'body temperature'. Aka freshly killed mouse temp. The best way to achieve this is a warm water bath for the meal pre-feeding. Use tap water that's hot, but not hot enough to start cooking the meat and let the meal sit for about 10 minutes.

I never recommend microwaving raw food, as that's cooking and generally defeats the purpose. If I've been a bad mommy and forgotten to thaw their dinner I'll sit the baggie in a bowl of water, then microwave it on 'thaw' for 5 minutes at a time, rotating and checking to make sure it's not getting too hot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LouisXIV View Post
I was thinking of maybe just popping an omega 3 capsule on his food or feed him some oily fish once a week to make up for the lack of that vitamin, but I thought that the organs and the bones would actually be enough to take care of everything else. I even read somewhere in this forum a few hours ago that frankenprey didn't require supplement if done right...
If you feed fish every 2 weeks or so (small fish like sardines canned in water) as a treat along side his meal you won't have to worry about adding fish oil to the food.

If you feed enough variety you won't need to supplement. My cats get:

weekly:
-chicken (rarely, picky Torri hates it)
-beef
-pork
-turkey
-duck
-alpaca/llama
-fish

monthly:
-moose
-elk
-quail
-cornish game hen
-deer
-egg (1 egg, beaten and spilt 4 ways once a month)

I consider that a bare minimum of variety for safe, un-supplemented raw feeding. I'm very lucky to be able to offer than much variety, and I work hard for it (collecting from hunter friends, great local supplier for cat food, online ads for game meats, relationship with local organic farmers), but you need to be able to find a way for it to work out. A big freezer helps
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