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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm curious about how often you feed your cats bones (not ground -- whole bones for crunching)? Trying to figure out how often is often enough for keeping teeth as clean as possible.

In case you're wondering, our cat's diet is primarily raw (with some canned topper sometimes) and includes proper proportions of ground bone. So, it's not about the actual bone content in the diet, but the frequency to give him something big that he can work his teeth on.

We currently give him a meal of chicken neck(s) or chicken wing(s) about once a week for his teeth, but we're not sure about going more than that as I know these meals increase the bone content in his diet and don't want him to get constipated with too much bone.
 

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Have you considered chunking some of the meat in his normal meals instead of grinding it all? I don't personally feed my cat any whole bones, as it just isn't feasible without either a dog getting to it or it making a bit of a mess. Instead, I simply cut meat into the largest size I think he will eat (about a square inch), and chewing on that does good things for the teeth as well. Particularly chewy meats, such as beef cheek or chicken gizzards are even better, especially if you can add a chunk to each meal.

Also, remember that simply feeding an all raw diet has the advantage of not having grains, which stick to the teeth much more readily than meat does. Even with a little canned topper, I'm sure his teeth will stay much cleaner!

If you can pair those once a week bone in meals with chunking his daily meals and weekly teeth brushing, I would guess his teeth would stay healthy for a very long time.


Another thought would be to remove some of the bone from his mix. In addition to constipation, too much bone causes problems with certain nutrient absorption. If you recalculated the mix to have, say, 5-7% bone instead of 10-15%, you could maybe feed 2 bone in meals a week. Chicken necks and wings are VERY high in bone, at 36% to 46%, and that is the numbers with skin included, so be cautious. You didn't mention if you make your own raw or buy a premade mix. Keep in mind that premade mixes are often about 15% bone instead of 10%, you would have to be even more cautious adding more bone in that case.

Lastly, my final thought would be to give him a bone that he couldn't actually eat, such as a beef rib bone. If he was interested, he could then chew (or at least tear the meat from the bone), without the possibility of him getting more bone than he needs. In the summer I like to throw my dogs outside with them, and then once they have been stripped of meat and dried out they make a nice chew toy for them inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Kytkattin, thanks so much for all of your amazing feedback.

To answer your question, we feed him premixed raw -- Red Dog Blue Cat (a west-coast Canadian company). We feed him a mix of their Chicken and Buffalo foods, mostly. The Chicken contains ground bone, the Buffalo doesn't, so your post made me realize that I could just decrease/skip the chicken in the mix we give him for a day or two when we want to feed him an extra bone. Simple solution, but hadn't thought of it (duh!)!

We've tried giving him bigger bones, but he generally gets disinterested once he realizes he can't get a good chomp on with them.

I was really just thinking about how often a good bone-crunching session would be necessary for healthy teeth. I think I'll try to up his wing/neck sessions to twice a week and adjust the rest of the diet accordingly.

Our previous cat was kibble-fed and had bad dental problems during the latter-half of his life, and we're trying our best to keep our new kitten (still only 8 months old) as healthy as possible when it comes to teeth. Thanks again for your awesome feedback!
 

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If you wanted, you could even eliminate the pre-made chicken altogether and just feed bone in meals more frequently. I completely agree with you on preventing dental problems. You definitely already have an advantage though by not feeding grains!

Looking at the Red Dog Blue Cat diets, you might want to consider adding a little bit of beef kidney or other secreting organ to the diet. It has liver, which is the big one, but a second organ is good to have. Even just a little dime sized sliver as a treat would be good.
 
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