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Discussion Starter #1
So today marks one entire week that my two cats have been on 100% raw! They were getting canned in the morning and two evening meals of raw, when they suddenly started snubbing the morning canned food. I don't know if I was entirely ready to go completely raw - I swear I've been checking my calculations several times a day. The only thing I'm still nervous about is making sure they get enough calcium and taurine.

So of course NOW is the time they decide they don't want to eat chicken wings anymore. Even Moxie, who ate chicken wings like they were nothing a month ago just kind of half heartedly licks them and looks at me like I'm being unreasonable. I've tried tuna juice, I've tried crumbled up Temptations treats - and that's NEVER failed yet, except for now with the chicken wings. I'm not sure if they're sick of chicken or what's going on.

Luckily I had some quail in the freezer so this past week they've been getting half a quail each spread across two meals, and I count half a quail as one bone in meal and one muscle meat meal for each cat (hope I'm explaining this in a slightly intelligible way, I'm super tired). For now they seem to be managing those bones much better. *Knock on wood*

So my questions! They're getting the equivalent of one and a half quail each week. Their stools this past week have been normal so all I want is to make sure they're getting enough bone calcium-wise. Also, quail is EXPENSIVE, so I'm hoping to get some bone-in chicken breasts, some chicken necks, and some guinea fowl wings this week as an alternative to try. I went I little crazy trying to measure the bones in a quail before I gave up, so I'm hoping to draw on the knowledge of some more experienced people out there. How much chicken rib or chicken neck would a nine and a half pound cat and an eleven pound cat need each week? Also... any tips on getting a lazy cat and a picky cat to eat their bone-in meals and not just lick them, pitifully hoping the bones will just magically dissolve? :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I've tried offering the wing tip and wingette whole, which was how Moxie liked them before. Now that she's being fussy I've tried cutting them into three pieces - cut off the wing tip, then cut the wingette in half along the two bones. I even tried cutting those three pieces in half, offering just wing tips, and offering just whole wingettes (i.e. the two bones are still attached).

My older cat will not eat anything too big for her to easily hold in her mouth, so she gets her bones cut up with poultry sheers into roughly kibble sized pieces of bone with a little meat still on it. She's chewing her quail bones in this manner so I know it's just a matter of building her up to intact bones (and bigger chunks of meat). She just doesn't seem to get that she can bite through the chicken wing bones so she spits them out.
 

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Bone Bone Bone, something I wish my cats will like and they do not. Now they do not even eat enough quail bones.

If I see them not finishing bones in a few meals in a row, I will give them commerical raw (ground) which they like or homemade raw meat with supplement (in powder form). I know it is still less than ideal, but usually that will not have significant impact, and their poos are still firm. If the poos are soft, I will add some extra bone meal in the food.

I am still trying to get them eat more bones myself...
 

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Some people have had luck with local butchers/grocery butchers grinding chicken wings for them.. I personally order a ground bone/chicken mix from a local lady. I use this in addition to the bones they will eat (quail, mice, chicken necks, wings).. but it may be useful for those picky kitties for a while? Large chunks of meat clean their teeth just as well as bones, IME.
 

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We had good luck with chicken necks when our cats went off bone-in wings (same thing as your cats, they'd been eating them no problem, then one day went "this is too hard, I refuse to do it")--I was so frustrated! We gave them some rabbit (legs, ribs, etc, I was too scared to try the backbone, it was bigger than they'd had) and they seemed to like that. I think they were just bored or something....The thing that worked with the kitten to get him eating them again is (with a wing "middle") cutting the meat open and stuffing it with a bit of canned food--he had to chew through the meat and bone to get to all of the canned food, and by then he was motoring along and finished it all off!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Man I am having SUCH a problem actually finding chicken necks. Or should I say, finding just chicken necks! They all seem to be attached to the backs still, and I'm pretty sure the backs are way too big for my cats. Times like these I wish I had friends with dogs, or even that I was friendly enough with one of the neighbors to offer the backs for their dogs - I would give 'em away as long as I wouldn't have to just THROW them away. :?

Thanks everyone for your suggestions! Trying to find someone to grind bone for me is a great idea Muzby, and one I never would have thought of. I honestly don't know if Sassy will ever be at the stage where she's willing to chew through bone herself. I'm already cutting it up really small (which takes so long..) and if I dare leave it too big she'll let me know by spitting it straight out. If I've been lazy cutting her bones she'll leave me a little semi-circle of pieces she thinks are too big sitting outside her bowl. :roll: So maybe just giving it to her ground might be the best compromise for both of us in the end. I'm going to look into that. At least it's good to know I'm not the only one having problems getting the cats to eat bones!

When I was out yesterday I picked up some chicken breast to see if my cats will eat the ribs. The meat to bone ratio on a chicken breast sucks for this purpose - I got half a dozen meat meals from two chicken breasts, and only two bone-in meals from it. With my luck the cats will decide they loooove chicken ribs, and I'll have to find a few dozen ways to cook chicken breast for people to avoid overwhelming the freezer with chicken.
 

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Man I am having SUCH a problem actually finding chicken necks. Or should I say, finding just chicken necks! They all seem to be attached to the backs still, and I'm pretty sure the backs are way too big for my cats. Times like these I wish I had friends with dogs, or even that I was friendly enough with one of the neighbors to offer the backs for their dogs - I would give 'em away as long as I wouldn't have to just THROW them away. :?
I stick them in a baggie and hit it a few times with a meat tenderizing mallet, breaks them into manageable chunks same with the larger leg bones.

or I give em to my dog..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I stick them in a baggie and hit it a few times with a meat tenderizing mallet, breaks them into manageable chunks same with the larger leg bones.

or I give em to my dog..
So your cats can chew through the chicken backs? That's really impressive! They just seemed very.. dog sized to me, but maybe my guys will be able to work up to it. Or else I think they would be great ground, if I can find a butcher willing to do it for me. Thanks for your input! :)

My cats are pretty experienced raw chewers at this point, and they still don't like chicken necks (I don't really know why this type of bone-in meal is so often suggested for beginner cats). Have you tried the bones from a Cornish hen? The wings and ribs are much smaller and easier to chew... maybe that would work for our kitties?

I feed bone-in meals three times a week: one is chicken wings (just the first two joints), one is chicken ribs and the third is usually rabbit bones but if I'm out of those, it's chicken wings. Once you get your kitties back on bone-in meals, maybe offering a variety will help keep them interested.

Good luck!

AC
I've actually walked by the Cornish hens in the freezer section several times now and just never gotten around to buying one... I might just buy one and see how the cats like them. They really weren't too into the chicken ribs.

Just out of curiosity, which rabbit bones do you give your cats? I would guess the ribs, but I'm just wondering if there are any others they can chomp through. I've finally found a place to get rabbit and they have a special on right now, so I was thinking of picking some up next week :)

So far they're still eating quail bones ok (I've finally gotten it all measured out, and I actually need about a quail and a half worth of bones for the two cats), and today I broke down and cut up chicken wings for both cats. I don't know why it helped so much - the pieces the younger cat got were about 3/4s an inch to an inch, so they still needed to be chewed. But she ate EVERYTHING for the first time in a while, so I'm happy. I guess the smaller pieces are less intimidating (or maybe just easier to grab and drag onto the carpet). I'm already cutting the bones teeny tiny for my older cat, so it doesn't take THAT much more effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
... The cats rarely leave any bones uneaten. :)

AC
That is really cool! The rabbits I've seen in the freezer at the asian supermarket have all seemed pretty big, so I've wondered which of the bones are cat-friendly. We have some comparatively tiny wild rabbits living in our backyard - I have no doubt the cats could handle the bones from those! But the backyard bunnies are cute so I'm going to try not to think about them while cutting up the rabbit meat. I can't wait to see how it goes with the rabbit bones! :)

Thanks everyone, and especially you Auntie Crazy. I really appreciate your advice and hand-holding.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Feeding frequency/amount concerns

I'm just going to put this here instead of making yet another thread...

So I'm feeling a bit frustrated. My cats have been on 100% raw for about three weeks now, and for the past week or so I've noticed the amount they want to eat and the frequency with which they want to eat has decreased. I was feeding them three times a day, 3oz. per day for my 9lb low energy cat, and 4 and 1/2oz. per day for my 11lb high energy cat. They were cleaning their plates, always enthusiastic for mealtime, and their weight wasn't changing so I had thought they were getting the right amount. I even typed up a feeding schedule and hung it up by their bowls - I guess presuming to try to schedule something involving my cats was my first mistake :roll:

How much they're eating has slowly tapered off. I'm not sure exactly how much they're eating per day right now - when they started refusing meals a few days ago I got a little worried they were going off raw, and I've just been trying to get them to EAT. At the moment they're down to two meals a day about 12 hours apart, because they started just walking away from their evening meal. I know it's suggested to feed cats three times a day, but if it's not upsetting their tummies is twice a day ok? They seem to prefer this, and lord knows it's easier on me...

I need to re-do the calculations on what they're eating each day. At the moment I think my 9lb cat is eating a little over 2oz per day, maybe almost 2 and a half. Today the 11lb cat ate about 3oz. They were easily eating almost twice that when they were eating canned. They're otherwise unchanged personality and activity level wise, and they both were healthy at their last vet check ups. I think my biggest concern right now is that they're not eating enough, but if they were hungry they'd be eating more right?
 

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Raw is so bioavailable that sometimes they need less. My cats generally eat about 2-4 pz a day each, and one cat refuses to eat any meals except dinner so we much give him a large dinner.

Unless they're acting different, I wouldn't worry. Try spicing things up with some variety if you're super concerned. Again, I personally wouldn't worry. They're eating, they get ENOUGH, and they're still acting the same (to me)= the cats just finding their rhythm. Our cats were eating probably 5-6oz at first, so some reduction seems to be normal once their bodies normalize to the rawfood. They just kinda know they don't need that much (one of my cats, however, will eat to excess no matter what... little cow).
 

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I also agree. I was giving Ody 9 oz a day and he was eating it all. And then he slowly started leaving more and more leftovers behind. He now is at a comfortable 7 oz / day and still active as ever. :) Their bodies are reacting (positively!) to all of the previously-missed nutrients. I saw it that the body was "starving" of something and they made it up by eating more. Now they can eat less because their body's "hunger" is being met (for whatever it may be - we really know so little of a cat's food necessities).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for your replies!

The morning after I wrote that post Moxie threw up her breakfast, so I have gone back to three meals a day... just three smaller meals. Moxie gets about 3oz. per day and Sassy gets about 2.5oz. They're still not fully finishing even that amount, but I'll give it a little while to make sure their weight holds before offering them any less.

On the plus side, I'm now going to be spending even less on food for the cats :p In fact, with what they're eating now compared to what they were eating I almost have enough leftovers to feed another cat!
 
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