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*Preface: Sorry but this will be long!*

I've been feeding my dogs a raw diet for about 6 months now with great results and have considered switching my cats. Only problem being they won't touch it! Ira has stolen beef liver a few times and gobbled it up but that's it.

I've been doing some reading here and have decided to try and switch fully to a canned diet (they were on a dry cat kibble, Orijen, I thought it was good for them :( ) and try to start sneaking some cut up muscle meat into their canned. I recently bought a bunch of canned food to help with the positive association of the new cat that was brought into the house. I imagine it's not very good quality, Fancy Feast and the special Fancy Feast Medley.

Which canned food is the best if your feeding a solely canned food diet? I imagine it will take weeks to transition my first three cats as I've tried before with them. The new cat Nyx had liver and turkey leg meat last night and loved it.

Also how much canned food should they be eating? They range in weights from 4.5lbs to 20lbs.

And lastly taurine. I've read that it's very important for cats when feeding raw and comes from "blood rich" organs, specifically heart and liver. My dogs eat heart as muscle meat, so we often have a lot of turkey, beef, bison heart. Could the cats be eating heart as their muscle meat content as well?

I don't think I have quail or cornish hens available to me for bone content, would just chicken wings be enough? Currently my dogs eat chicken carcass, turkey wings (much too big for cats I imagine), necks etc. All of which I would assume are too big.

And lastly, how would you estimate the ideal adult weight of a cat to determine how much you should be feeding?
 

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RescueKitties said:
I've been doing some reading here and have decided to try and switch fully to a canned diet (they were on a dry cat kibble, Orijen, I thought it was good for them :( ) and try to start sneaking some cut up muscle meat into their canned. I recently bought a bunch of canned food to help with the positive association of the new cat that was brought into the house. I imagine it's not very good quality, Fancy Feast and the special Fancy Feast Medley.

Which canned food is the best if your feeding a solely canned food diet? I imagine it will take weeks to transition my first three cats as I've tried before with them. The new cat Nyx had liver and turkey leg meat last night and loved it.
Lots of info on transitioning here: http://www.rawfedcats.org/practicalguide.htm

The main thing w/ getting off kibble is getting off free-feeding. So first get the cats used to eating 2 meals a day of canned food. Once they are cleaning that up, start adding in some cut-up raw food.

But also try just tossing down some raw. You may be surprised. Once they are used to meals (and hence, are actually HUNGRY when you offer the food ;)), many cats just jump right in.
Also how much canned food should they be eating? They range in weights from 4.5lbs to 20lbs.
IMO no cat should weigh 20#, so that cat is probably overweight. Start w/ 6 oz a day total per cat (feed them in separate rooms so you know they are eating what they are supposed to). You hopefully won't be on canned long so it doesn't matter much.

Once you're on raw, here it the calculator: http://www.hare-today.com/feed.php?osCs ... f7972bfac2

Scroll down, input the cat's DESIRED weight (which will be less than 20# for that cat) and choose 2%. Hit calculate. That will give you the total amount of raw food to feed per DAY (half it for each of the 2 daily feedings).
And lastly taurine. I've read that it's very important for cats when feeding raw and comes from "blood rich" organs, specifically heart and liver. My dogs eat heart as muscle meat, so we often have a lot of turkey, beef, bison heart. Could the cats be eating heart as their muscle meat content as well?
No. Taurine comes from MUSCLE meat--has nothing to do w/ blood. Heart is mostly muscle, so it contains a lot of taurine, but so does dark meat chicken, turkey, and most cuts of beef and venison.
I don't think I have quail or cornish hens available to me for bone content, would just chicken wings be enough? Currently my dogs eat chicken carcass, turkey wings (much too big for cats I imagine), necks etc. All of which I would assume are too big.
Are you sure? I'll bet you can find quail. Cornish game hen is in most grocery stores--just ask. And I get quail at an Asian/Mexican market. It's in a 'hood I wouldn't go to normally, and I didn't know it existed until I started looking around. I get 6 quail for $7 -- each quail = 2 cat meals.

Cats CAN eat chicken necks. It's a lot of bone, but if you give each cat 1/2 neck plus some meatymeat, that works. Breast (with the rib bones) also works. IMO quail or CGH is better, though, so keep looking.
And lastly, how would you estimate the ideal adult weight of a cat to determine how much you should be feeding?
Not sure what you mean. If the cat looks and feels overweight, try for a lower weight. Then reassess. Weigh the cat before you start and at least every 2 weeks to assess progress. You do NOT want fast weight loss in cats--slow is safer.

Hope this helps! :)
 

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Okay lots of info to take in, thanks!

My cats were free fed kibble for awhile, but within the past 6 months they've been fed 2 kibble meals per day in attempt to make the larger cat Ira, lose weight. I imagine a good weight for him would be between 15-17lbs. He is a large cat, taller and longer then some medium sized dogs with a head that's larger then my fist. He hasn't lost a darned pound since I stopped free feeding them which is disapointing. I'm hoping switching to raw will help with less carbs as well as his energy levels so he'll actually play!

I'll look around for quail and I know my raw supplier has a poultry guy so he might be able to round me up some or point me in the right direction. I would assume it would come whole, so how exactly would you cut the quail to feed? Just in half around the ribs? When you feed quail I would assume you don't have to feed offal? Everything's in there, whole prey?

New kitty Nyx ate her breakfast up without a hitch this morning. A turkey heart. She had a larger piece of liver last night and she hasn't eaten bone in the past two days so no offal this morning. I'll take some necks out now to thaw for tonight.

Now I imagine my other three will have some issues with bone. How long do I continue to feed raw mixed with canned until I start feeding some type of bone in ground? I know with dogs it's quite necessary to have bone, especially in regards to loose stools. Is it the same with cats? Or do I just continue feeding and offering the bone, but not worrying if they don't "get it in them"?



Thanks for all the info! :)
 

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RescueKitties said:
I'll look around for quail and I know my raw supplier has a poultry guy so he might be able to round me up some or point me in the right direction. I would assume it would come whole, so how exactly would you cut the quail to feed? Just in half around the ribs? When you feed quail I would assume you don't have to feed offal? Everything's in there, whole prey?
My quail come processed just like chicken. No guts, feathers, etc. I just halve them and give each cat a half. I do not bother trying to hit the 80/10/10 thing with EVERY meal. IMO that's a waste of time and energy. Feed it over time. Generally (not always!) at my house they get either mice or quail in the a.m. and meatymeat in the p.m. (i.e., boneless meat of whatever variety, including heart, which is fed at meatymeat, not organ). Every 3 days or so they get some liver. Ditto kidney. Since they do get meat 3-4 meals a week, that's plenty of organ.

New kitty Nyx ate her breakfast up without a hitch this morning. A turkey heart. She had a larger piece of liver last night and she hasn't eaten bone in the past two days so no offal this morning.
"Offal" is an extremely imprecise term--heart, as mentioned above, is fed as meat, not organs, and if you have intestines, uterus, etc. those count as meat as well b/c they are muscular. Gizzard is also meat. Liver is fed as liver (5% of the diet overall) and then 5% needs to be "other organ." Practically speaking, that will probably be kidney, b/c it's hard to find any other organs that are FED as organs.
Now I imagine my other three will have some issues with bone. How long do I continue to feed raw mixed with canned until I start feeding some type of bone in ground? I know with dogs it's quite necessary to have bone, especially in regards to loose stools. Is it the same with cats? Or do I just continue feeding and offering the bone, but not worrying if they don't "get it in them"?
There is no reason to grind. Period. Cats need to chew their own food. Their jaw strength will improve as they practice on mouse-sized chunks of meat (get them off the smaller pieces as soon as possible) and then they will be able to handle smaller bone.
 

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Currently I feed liver, kidney and spleen as offal for my dogs. Heart, stomache and lung are fed as muscle. I would assume it's the same for cats? I should be more specific, but when I say offal, I mean the organ that should be fed as organ! :) lol

I think I read somewhere that of the 10% offal, 5% must be liver? Is this correct?

I've looked into finding some quail today. It looks like it will be super pricey but to feed it once or twice a week and feed hearts and turkey with chicken necks/ribs for bone should work out just fine.

Also I get a ground mackarel for my dogs, is that okay once a week for the cats even though it's ground? I can't stand to have the whole fish as I have to slice it into a few pieces for the dogs and it's digusting, but the heads spew a lot of blood! :yikes:

Nyx didn't get a chance to try a chicken neck tonight. They'll be thawed by tomorrow morning so we'll see how it goes! I tried to give my other three a small plate of a few cut up turkey hearts but they wouldn't touch it. :( In fact, Nyxi tried to steal theirs after she finished hers! Looks like I'll have to mix it with canned indefinitely for my three spoiled "wild cats". Ha ha!

Thanks again for the info! :)
 

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RescueKitties said:
Currently I feed liver, kidney and spleen as offal for my dogs. Heart, stomache and lung are fed as muscle. I would assume it's the same for cats? I should be more specific, but when I say offal, I mean the organ that should be fed as organ! :) lol

I think I read somewhere that of the 10% offal, 5% must be liver? Is this correct?
Yes, that's correct. My point, however, is that "offal" is a word that IMO should not be used in these discussions due to its imprecision. Offal actually usually means "entrails and internal organs," so you can see how it doesn't really address what we're talking about here. ;) Entrails (guts) are meat, as are many of the organs. It's better to say organs b/c otherwise I'm going to ask every time to make sure you don't mean something else. ;)
I've looked into finding some quail today. It looks like it will be super pricey but to feed it once or twice a week and feed hearts and turkey with chicken necks/ribs for bone should work out just fine.
I don't see why--where do you live? Have you searched around for Asian/Mexican markets? Mine is cheap.
Also I get a ground mackarel for my dogs, is that okay once a week for the cats even though it's ground? I can't stand to have the whole fish as I have to slice it into a few pieces for the dogs and it's digusting, but the heads spew a lot of blood! :yikes:
Well, I wouldn't really recommend it for either dog or cat. Why feed it? For the omega 3s? I would give a little fish body oil a few X a week instead--anything ground is less good than whole food, and cats really shouldn't have too much fish. It's o.k. if you really must--once a week, a small amount, shouldn't be a problem. But there are better things to fill the tummy with!
 

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My dogs get fish for the omega 3's. We were doing salmon oil but was told by dog raw feeders that feeding fish whole was all around better. It's ground by my supplier so I know exactly what goes into the ground, it's just for convenience. Plus, the ground doesn't have to completely thawed as does whole fish, so it doesn't stink up my house. :wink:

I had no idea that large amounts of fish wasn't good for cats! Not that my guys get any amounts of fish, I just would've assumed it was good for them! I've tried to feed my other three sardines before (dogs get this as well weekly) but none of them would touch the sardines so I don't think it will be much of a problem.

I'm in Ontario, Canada, north of most of the big cities. I'm lucky to have an old friend that supplies raw, so I get most things cheap and she'll literally deliver it to my door step. She gets much better deals than I would as she purchases in bulk, hundreds of pounds weekly. When I asked about quail she said she was working on duck. I take it this should be okay for the cats too?

Little Nyxi ate half a chicken neck this morning. The first few minutes were gut wrenching for me as she figured out how to get at it, but once she got the hang of where the bone was and how to chew, she had no problems whatsoever. Her stools have been loose from the Clavamox she was on for her URI and already they're getting more firm.

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my newb questions. It's MUCH appreciated and I'm trying hard to soak it all in! It's amazing how different it is to feed dogs raw from cats!
 

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Chicken gizzards are a great thing to offer to help kitties improve jaw strength. They are very chewy, so they have to work hard at them. When I was transitioning my older 2, I gave them each one a day w/ their meals and it took them forever. Now I can give them each 5-6 and they are done in 5 min. ;)
 
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