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Discussion Starter #1
With finances back in order, I've decided to get the girls off of Friskies and Fancy Feast, and on to something better finally! I just got them off of dry completely (Samantha sometimes won't eat unless there is some dry involved, but I think we've gotten past that now). I'd love to do the all raw diet, but I just don't have a real reliable organ source yet (I just found chicken livers the other day after searching for months), so raw is just a treat still. So instead they are going to be trying grain-free, good-brands of canned.

I was doing some research and I found an amazing local pet store, that specializes in premium pet foods and treats, so I decided to give them a shot over my normal Petco or PetSmart run. I was amazed at how many brands they have to try, and since Rochelle is picky, picky, picky about her wet food, I decided to try all sorts of brands.

I picked up Blue Buffalo Spa Selects, Wellness pouches and cans, Pro Plan Selects, Homestyle Selects from the Prairie, EVO, and Felidae. I did stop off at Petco and PetSmart and I picked up some Soulistic and Avoderm as well. All are grain-free, natural, or holistic. I can't wait to give these a try and see what everybody likes! Once I figure out what the winners are, I'll do a rotation so they don't get bored. Wish me luck! :D
 

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Good Luck! I don't know if your girls will be like mine, but when I give Muffs or Abby a new type of food, they often turn their noses up. It's not that they don't like it...how would they know, they haven't even tried it?! I think it just smells different, and they harbor suspicions that I'm trying to poison them. :)

Anyway, when I first give them a new brand, I often sprinkle something on top...usually I just crumble up a freeze-dried treat or put a bit of the food they're used to on top, so they recognize the smell. I find that helps to convince them to try out new brands/flavors. Then again, perhaps your girls won't be as picky as my Ms. Finicky and Ms. Persnickety!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's not that they don't like it...how would they know, they haven't even tried it?! I think it just smells different, and they harbor suspicions that I'm trying to poison them. :)
HAHA! Thats pretty funny. XD

Alice, and most of the time Samantha (unless she's on her if-its-not-dry-I-won't-eat-it kick), are garbage disposals, so I know they'll eat just about anything I put in front of them. I may have to break out the tuna flakes for Sammy, but we'll see.

Rochelle is my super picky eater. It took months to break her of her fish obsession, so she might give me some trouble. But thats why I bought like 8 different brands...she's gotta like at least one of them right!? :p
 

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Hey good luck! Glad you're in a better financial situation now.

Got a bit of a suggestion. You said you had a interest in a raw diet but haven't found a reliable organ source? Well I'm currently not really feeding a lot of organs to my cats either, but until I can get an organ source, I've been feeding them a half raw/half wet diet. So what they're not getting from the raw (the organs), they're getting from the wet. Also I feed whole quail that's chopped up and distributed amongst them. So they do get a bit of organ here and there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Alpaca, thats a really great suggestion. I guess I never really considered a half and half diet, because I was worried about the organ mess. So canned can take the place of organ then? I could get a little real organ in them, as my grocery store just started carrying whole chicken livers.

If I were to try a half raw/half canned diet, would I need to mess with bone too much (it scares me!), or would the canned take care of most of that too? I won't have access to things like whole quail, duck, or rabbit most of the time. I would be mainly feeding chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef, probably already de-boned.
 

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Well I was figuring that a can of high quality cat food is supposed to contain all the nutrients a cat requires for a meal. Since you could just feed a can solely without anything else, then it should be nutritionally complete. If I feed half a meal of that, and they're getting a bit of organ from the whole quail, then I should more or less be on the ball.

I also figure if I feed a variety of stuff, I can't go wrong. So I add variety whenever I can. Specifically, I rotate the cans so they get beef, chicken, lamb, venison, duck. They get raw chicken, beef, quail, sometimes some water packed canned sardines for omega-3. and at night they get a small handful of Orijen dry food as a snack.

Oh yeah, I totally understand you about the bone. It used to terrify me to no end. That was the very reason why I hesitated so long before jumping in. Then I closed my eyes and took the plunge. My Miu is about 7-8 pounds. A small cat. She does have some difficulty if it's too large. However, she can handle a quail drumstick and a quail wing no prob. Some ppl think it's definitely okay with chicken bones, but I draw the line there. Cap'n Jack is about 9 pounds and he's a beast. Mainly cuz he's a former feral/stray. You can hear the sound of him crunching away on the bone like it was nothing. He has real strong jaws.

If you're doing half canned, then bone won't be that much of a prob. Thing with bone is, you can control their poop with it. So if they get too soft, you add bone, too hard, you reduce bone. It's not a good thing to have soft serve all the time. It'll affect their anal gland from emptying properly.

Going half is a good way to introduce them and also get yourself comfortable with it.
 

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Time Bandit, do you have a Trader Joe's near you? They have their own brand of canned cat food and it's only 59 cents for a 5.5-ounce can. It was also the only canned food Murphy would eat, after giving him a smorgasbord of other brands. I posted the ingredients here on the Forum and our experts gave it a good, but maybe not the best, rating. So I'll take that, especially considering it's the only one he'll eat, and it's only 59 cents a can!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Alpaca - Thanks so much for the insight on a half and half diet. I think I might give it a shot, once we figure out which of these nice canned foods they'll eat. So far the Avoderm, Soulistic, and Blue Buffalo got paws down from two of the three (Samantha and Rochelle are being picky picky, lol). But the Pro Plan Selects are being gobbled down, so thats one to keep around, haha! I may even make the push for bone, but it seriously terrifies me. XD But knowing that even little Miu can crunch her way through them, makes me want to try. :D

October - Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, we do have a Trader Joe's, and I tried out their food for about two weeks. Rochelle wanted nothing to do with it, and Samantha got bored real quick (I had to start adding dry to it because otherwise she would have snubbed it completely...I don't want to have to be forced to feed my girls dry, if I can help it :(). For the price and quality though, you really can't do much better, and I'll endorse it to anyone, even if my girls don't really care for it. :)
 

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HAHA! Thats pretty funny. XD

Alice, and most of the time Samantha (unless she's on her if-its-not-dry-I-won't-eat-it kick), are garbage disposals, so I know they'll eat just about anything I put in front of them. I may have to break out the tuna flakes for Sammy, but we'll see.

Rochelle is my super picky eater. It took months to break her of her fish obsession, so she might give me some trouble. But thats why I bought like 8 different brands...she's gotta like at least one of them right!? :p
Time Bandit, sorry to slightly hijack your post, but how did you manage to break down Rochelle's fish fetish? I have the same problem and feel a bit like giving up (even before recent appetite loss problem)...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Time Bandit, sorry to slightly hijack your post, but how did you manage to break down Rochelle's fish fetish? I have the same problem and feel a bit like giving up (even before recent appetite loss problem)...
Hi catnapped! Once a cat is hooked on fish, its a nightmare getting them back off, isn't it. :? I tried for weeks mixing fish canned with non-fish canned, and that wasn't yielding great results...once I'd get her to an almost all non-fish diet, she'd snub it completely...then it was back to more fish just to get her to eat. Finally, I actually had to transition her from fish, to dry food. I fed her Wellness Indoor, while we did the switch, and once she was ok with eating the dry only, then we worked on getting some non-fish canned in there, until she was eating all wet again. It definitely takes a lot of patience and time, and I can't guarantee that this will work for your kitty. I wish you the best of luck! :D
 

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Hi catnapped! Once a cat is hooked on fish, its a nightmare getting them back off, isn't it. :? I tried for weeks mixing fish canned with non-fish canned, and that wasn't yielding great results...once I'd get her to an almost all non-fish diet, she'd snub it completely...then it was back to more fish just to get her to eat. Finally, I actually had to transition her from fish, to dry food. I fed her Wellness Indoor, while we did the switch, and once she was ok with eating the dry only, then we worked on getting some non-fish canned in there, until she was eating all wet again. It definitely takes a lot of patience and time, and I can't guarantee that this will work for your kitty. I wish you the best of luck! :D
Thanks! It really is a nightmare. I started feeding her it to get her off dry, not realising how bad it was until it was too late! I think I will try your technique once her appetite recovers, since she does still like dry food and she's completely resistant to anything perfectly nice and healthy being mixed in with her fishy FF - even other fish. :? I'm on the verge of donating a bunch of unused tins we've tried to the local shelter but I might hang on a few weeks and see if this could work.
 

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Best of luck to you catnapped! I really hope you can break yer cats fish obsession soon.

I found yet another awesome local-ish pet store. I drive about 40 minutes to my job one way, and this place is like 5 minutes from my work. It's the first store that I've seen around here that actually sells the Merrick Before Grain 100% meat cans, in all flavors and I am going to grab a bunch of those (I can't wait to try out the rabbit and quail cans on the girls!).
 

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My girls were hooked on fish last year, before I knew of the problems. I also ended up moving them to dry and then back to non-fish wet, although in my case that was done by accident rather than design. Still, it worked in the end!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Susan, glad to hear the switching to dry worked for you too. It's obviously not ideal, but whatever it takes to break a fish addiction, right?

With the recent food changes for my girls, we're also working on better meal manners. Rochelle used to be fed separately in the bathroom with the door closed. This past week, we've been working really hard and now all three cats eat in the kitchen, maybe a foot apart. All three are incredibly comfortable with each other being that close now, and they're even learning to wait till the other girls are done before nosing in on their dishes (Alice still has a little work to go here, heh).

Just wanted to give a quick update on how the search for better canned is going.

So far Merrick (the regular cans, we haven't tried the Before Grain yet) and Nature's Variety Prairie, get huge paws up from all my girls.

Feeding Wellness has been a bit tricky. Alice and Rochelle love the canned, but are on the fence about the pouches. Samantha loves the pouches, but is kinda "meh" about the canned (I actually had to add some kibble just to get her to eat her whole breakfast...). Maybe I just have to find the right flavor for her...good thing is Wellness has lots. :)

One more note about the Wellness canned. I have never ever seen Rochelle eat any food like she does this stuff. Usually she leaves a little food in her dish, and she never licks it clean. The Wellness got her to not only finish all her food and lick her dish sparkling clean, but she also cleaned up both Alice's and Samantha's dishes too. And she even made a little growl (never heard one out of her before!) at Alice when she tried to nose in on her dish. I was really happy to see her eat like that, so Wellness will have to stay a staple in this house. :)
 

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Ack, double posty! XD Well, I had some errands to run this morning. I stopped at yet another local pet store I just discovered...this one is much closer than the other two, yay! They have a limited selection of premium canned foods, but the main reason I stopped in, is because they actually sell premade raw, and I wanted to try it out. I picked up a sampler each of Primal (4 different kinds of raw) and a Nature's Variety Chicken. And after, I went people food shopping too, and I got a nice big tub of chicken livers while there (the only organ I can find reliably). Half raw/half canned diet, here we come!

I just spent about an hour portioning, weighing, and bagging all the frozen raw I bought. Is it weird that I actually had fun doing it? :p I've been getting so into cat nutrition lately, that all I seem to do when I've got free time is research online. My boyfriend jokes that I pay more attention to what the cats eat, than to what we eat, haha!

The kitties got their first chicken livers today as a snack. They were so interested in me preparing their raw meals, that I couldn't say no to them. Rochelle had a small problem with it, in that she wouldn't eat it whole...but once I cut it up smaller for her, she ate about half. Alice and Samantha, however, tore into those things like they ate them all the time. I was actually pretty impressed with how they just knew to grab it whole and start gnawing on it. I love watching them eat! I think Rochelle may give me a bit of trouble with the raw, but all in all, I'm glad their first introduction to organ went pretty well. :D
 
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