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A lot of the raw threads mention buying meat from a butcher or Asian market. I don't understand why I can't buy meat from a regular grocery store (like say a pack of chicken breast) and then cut it up into chunks. I could see having to go to a butcher for unsual things like rabbit parts or chicken hearts etc. Is there something dangerous about grocery store meat?
 

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I was wondering this, most butchers by me actually don't sell/give the things I need. I will be buying things like lamb hearts, livers etc ... from supermarkets. I'm going to thoroughly wash them out first. People are a bit skeptic because of the unhygienic conditions some supermarkets butcher their meat in, this is simply because they think we're going to cook all meat we buy.

However, if standards were that bad surely there'd be complaints?

I don't know, but I'll be buying from Tesco for 80% of my shopping

:)
 

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Part of the issue is simply availability. To find a variety of organ meats you usually have to go to a butcher or more varied meat market.

There are other issues to, and this is somewhat a matter of varying opinions from person-to-person. I know not everyone is quite as nitpicky about food sourcing as I am. I personally do not feel comfortable buying factory farmed meat (for my boyfriend or my cats), both for personal ethical reasons and for nutrition reasons. Factory farmed animals are usually fed diets high in corn and given regular antibiotics in their feed.

The high-corn diet causes the meat to be extremely high in omega 6s, and low in omega 3s and other key nutrients. Since cats only eat meat and therefore get those nutrients secondhand, I would assume it's especially important the meat they're eating is getting all the nutrients it needs from the proper plant sources. Cows and chickens aren't really meant to eat all-corn diets. The prey a cat would eat in the wild would consume a variety of grasses and other plants, and even bugs, resulting in better nutrient variety in the meat.

The overuse of antibiotics in our food have been linked to health issues in humans (allergies, bad reactions, antibiotic resistance). I don't know if the same can happen with cats, but I don't like taking the chance. I'm not sure how widespread the practice of injecting animals with hormones to stimulate growth still is, but that's another major historical issue that I've had with factory farming.

Factory farmed meat is also not processed in very clean or well-regulated conditions. I know cats can handle bacteria much better than we can, but having seen what goes on in a factory farm...I feel there's nothing "natural" about feeding that meat to my cats.

That said, not all grocery store meat is factory farmed or processed in such an inhumane and poorly regulated manner. You can find free-range, grass-fed meat in most major grocery stores now, and obviously there are a lot of stores out there now that focus on delivering these types of products (Trader Joe's, for example, gets a lot of their produce and meat from local farmers instead of from major corporations).

In summary, I don't think there's inherently any problem with buying meat in a grocery store vs. from a butcher or farmer's market, but it's easier to have a clear idea of where your meat is coming from and how it was treated and processed when buying from small local distributors, if that is an issue that is important to you.

Ultimately the raw meat you get in a grocery store is probably still leaps and bounds better than most commercial cat foods, so if it's your best option, I wouldn't stress about it too much. I am admittedly a little overzealous about food sourcing for myself and my cats after spending way too much time learning about the less favorable sides of the food industry.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info! So I'll wash the meat well and look for free range, grass fed, antibiotic free meat.

*puts on to do list*

:p
 

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I agree with Saitenyo that the main reason is lack of variety in most supermarkets. At my local Stop n Shop, I can't get different animal kidneys, beef hearts, pork uteri, beef stomach, beef liver, duck, chicken, or turkey gizzards, etc. But, I can get them at one of my local Asian markets.

I am not a big supporter of grain free, hormone free, etc. There is still not much regulation to verify if all these products are exactly what they claim to be, but as Saitenyo said that is strictly personal preference. Most local markets that cater to these consumer demands, also do not stock the variety you will need to supply a balance diet for your cat (s).

Then, when you get into commercial raw, you're still in the same boat of having to rely on them being honest about their practices, etc. The truth is unless you are raising and killing the chicken yourself there is no true way to tell if what you are getting is what has been gimmicked to you. The USDA regulations are not that stringent to ensure the claims are what they actually say.
 

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Ever notice how many grocery store meats are recalled because of E-Coli, or something? I don't think I've ever seen a news story about meats from some little community market that got people sick.

And yes, the variety. I can usually get cornish game hens, beef liver and chicken heart/livers. Sometimes cow tongue. Anything more "exotic", has to be bought at an ethnic store.
 

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Guess I'm the lone ranger on this one. I typically tell people to start looking at their local grocery store and then branch out to other options (Asian markets, online vendors, etc.) if they can't find what they're looking for.

Frankly, I just buy the least expensive non-enhanced meats for my furbabies. If I have a choice between antibiotic and hormone-free, that's what I'll go with, but if not, so be it. ALL the meat and stuff that ends up in a commercially-prepared product comes from the same original animals that my grocery-store bought meat comes from - or worse - and is always the un-fit cuts, etc. So, no, I'm not sweating this.

For what it's worth, my beef kidney and chicken liver always comes from my local Stop & Shop (availability and price, respectively). If they have chicken wings on sale, I'll buy those, too. My turkey drumsticks, chicken quarters, gizzards, chicken breast with ribs, and chicken wings (usually) comes from my local PriceRite (lowest price and availability), while my beef and pork come from the closest BJ's (lowest price). I buy my duck, chicken and turkey hearts, turkey liver and rabbit pieces from Hare-Today 'cause the price is decent and I can't get them anywhere else.
We have basically done the same thing for the past year with no problems. (For their frankenprey meal, that is. They have been eating one-day-old chicks for their other two meals for over a year now too.) My largest and oldest cat lost 1.5kg and is now in perfect shape and my second oldest cat no longer pees on my bed due to bladder crystals. The only thing that makes me unhappy about all of this is the fact that I didn't do it sooner.

Now, however, we get all of our food from a company that supplies zoos. They have EVERYTHING from chicken hearts, liver, necks, duck hearts, liver, necks, rabbit (whole and ground), whole mice, and much much more. So, perhaps looking for a zoo supplier might be the way to go? All of their meat comes directly from farms and is checked for salmonella and e-coli etc. since not all animals are as resistant to bacteria as cats are. And like someone else said, it is expected that all human-consumption food will be cooked.

I get my crickets from the local PetCo. ;)

AC
Crickets! Cool! We want to set up a cricket hatchery one day. There is one at my boyfriend's school so we brought home some crickets one time. We figured they'd be dead before we got home but they weren't :p Needless to say the cats had a pretty good time with them, hehe. Insects are good for them :)
 

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Tanyuh, I'm interested in that zoo supplier idea! How did you go about finding one? Is this something you search for online or ask you local zoo about?
 

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Tanyuh, I'm interested in that zoo supplier idea! How did you go about finding one? Is this something you search for online or ask you local zoo about?
We just came across the company through a friend that has owls. I'm not really sure how it'd work, especially in North America, but I don't see the harm in trying your local zoo! Or maybe the Feline Nutrition website has some dealers listed. I'm glad you think it's an interesting idea! We've been doing it for a couple of months now and it's been great. Good luck :D
 

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First of all - and I don't say this often - I'm way jealous of your food supply. :roll:

Second - a cricket hatchery? LOL! You are one brave lady!

AC
Hehe :D Well, like I said in some other thread, we want to make some kind of natural shelter for "problem kitties" from other shelters and make them into beautiful, adoptable cats by feeding them a proper diet. Ideally we'd like to make it part of our home and then have this large property which is both our house and an outside shelter for cats. We want it to be 100% sustainable and make everything ourselves, including all that is needed for their diets. This means everything from the corn fields to feed the chickens and cows, a catnip and cat grass garden, a rabbit nursery, and a cricket hatchery!
 

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Not to mention efficient and energetic! Just listening to that makes me feel like I'm lazy. :) It's a great thing you're doing for the cats!

As said, yes, I believe it's related to availability. The exotic stuff like animal innards, you'll find at ethnic supermarkets. And for some odd reason, I find it's also cheaper there too.

Hehe :D Well, like I said in some other thread, we want to make some kind of natural shelter for "problem kitties" from other shelters and make them into beautiful, adoptable cats by feeding them a proper diet. Ideally we'd like to make it part of our home and then have this large property which is both our house and an outside shelter for cats. We want it to be 100% sustainable and make everything ourselves, including all that is needed for their diets. This means everything from the corn fields to feed the chickens and cows, a catnip and cat grass garden, a rabbit nursery, and a cricket hatchery!
 

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Not to mention efficient and energetic! Just listening to that makes me feel like I'm lazy. :) It's a great thing you're doing for the cats!
Hehe, thanks! It is the dream of us both, we're just getting started :) My boyfriend is studying to be an animal caretaker and for the past two weeks and the coming two months, he is feeding a terribly allergic cat a raw and whole prey diet for his internship. Our plan is to show the shelter how effective it is, as well as cost effective, and try to get them to change - at least for their "problem kitties" that have to be segregated and really have no quality of life. I don't want to hijack the thread but if you're interested in the project, any and all questions are welcome :D Thanks for the support!
 

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I personally have stopped buying the same chicken I've been buying, after researching a bit more on how factory farms typically feed their stock. Amazing the crap that goes into it! I had been feeding Pilgrim Chicken, marked as 100% natural. If you read the label, and after contacting Pilgrim Farms for more info, they still add chicken broth, and some sort of seaweed preservative at packaging. Who knows what's in those items, so how can it be considered 100% natural?

What I found funny in the emails from the person I had spoken with, she stated "they do not recommend their product for pet consumption." HUH? That made me really wonder even more what was in it! I wondered if it was because pets would consume this on a daily basis, whereas a person eating chicken would more than likely only be eating it 2 or 3x a week, so if there is something not so natural in there, it's worse when consumed on a daily basis.

After digging around a bit, I found a new chicken that I've been buying, it's called Gerber Amish Chicken. The chickens are fed an all vegetarian diet, and they only thing they put into the chicken at packing time is water. Now, this chicken tends to be less meaty than other commercial chicken, and they trim it very lean. I'm just cutting it off the bone to put in my rabbit, so it works fine, but I did need more fat. I contacted my local store where I buy it, and special ordered a box of chicken fat to add in the mix along with the meat.

The great part is that my store usually has great sales on it, and I can pick it up for .98 cents a lb.

Commercial factory meats scare me, so I'm always very cautious where I buy mine.
 

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Hi Geri :) I assume you are in America and if so, I don't blame you. The FDA does an absolute terrible job at overseeing factory farming and the conditions are atrocious. Yet, at the same time, so many Americans seems to want LESS government and in these instances it confuses me VERY much. Why is it invasive of the government to make sure your food is safe!?!?

Anyway, enough of that. The farming conditions here in Holland are (I think) much better than in America but I now get my meat from a zoo supplier so I don't even worry about it anymore :)
 
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