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Discussion Starter #1
New to raw feeding. Expect lots of questions.
My 5 year old cat has never shown any intrest at all for raw foods. I can put some meat chuncks in his dish and he will eat around it.
What should I do? Stop the commercial feed and let him get hungery enough to eat the raw?
 

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Well, if you are free feeding, stop. Will your cat eat wet food? You should try switching to grain free wet food first.

I don't know if this will help you or not, but this is how I got Clover from dry to wet to raw (Clover is one of the most stubborn cats alive IMO):

Clover had been fed all dry food – mainly Purina – her whole life. I rescued her when she was about four years old and she was underweight. You could feel her backbone and ribs no matter how much quality food I tried to feed her. Getting her onto wet food was a challenge in itself. She hated wet food. Detested it. She’d eat dry food (yuck!) just fine but would not touch wet food. She is a very stubborn cat but I even more so when it came to getting her to eat something good for her. It got to the point that I was syringe feeding her a three ounce can of wet food a day and I let her eat a tiny portion of dry on her own. After a few weeks of my syringe feeding her wet food she decided that the stuff wasn’t so bad after all! In fact it tasted pretty good. Once she was happily eating wet food (and on her own!) I took away her dry. But she still wasn’t gaining weight even with getting twice the amount of wet food as all the other cats. By that time I had everyone eating a raw diet and wanted her to switch over as well.

The problem was that she would not touch, look at, or sniff the raw food. I tried all different kinds of raw meat – chicken, beef, pork, turkey, beef heart, liver, kidney, lamb, even rabbit. But Miss Picky Pants Clover wouldn’t eat any of it; she just wanted her wet food. I don’t know how much later it was – maybe a month – but I put a ¼ of a lamb heart on her dish as well as some wet food. She devoured the lamb heart! After that day she was very happy to eat any type of raw meat I gave her! And you know what? She started to gain weight. Today she is a very muscular cat and at the perfect weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, if you are free feeding, stop. Will your cat eat wet food? You should try switching to grain free wet food first.

I don't know if this will help you or not, but this is how I got Clover from dry to wet to raw (Clover is one of the most stubborn cats alive IMO):

Clover had been fed all dry food – mainly Purina – her whole life. I rescued her when she was about four years old and she was underweight. You could feel her backbone and ribs no matter how much quality food I tried to feed her. Getting her onto wet food was a challenge in itself. She hated wet food. Detested it. She’d eat dry food (yuck!) just fine but would not touch wet food. She is a very stubborn cat but I even more so when it came to getting her to eat something good for her. It got to the point that I was syringe feeding her a three ounce can of wet food a day and I let her eat a tiny portion of dry on her own. After a few weeks of my syringe feeding her wet food she decided that the stuff wasn’t so bad after all! In fact it tasted pretty good. Once she was happily eating wet food (and on her own!) I took away her dry. But she still wasn’t gaining weight even with getting twice the amount of wet food as all the other cats. By that time I had everyone eating a raw diet and wanted her to switch over as well.

The problem was that she would not touch, look at, or sniff the raw food. I tried all different kinds of raw meat – chicken, beef, pork, turkey, beef heart, liver, kidney, lamb, even rabbit. But Miss Picky Pants Clover wouldn’t eat any of it; she just wanted her wet food. I don’t know how much later it was – maybe a month – but I put a ¼ of a lamb heart on her dish as well as some wet food. She devoured the lamb heart! After that day she was very happy to eat any type of raw meat I gave her! And you know what? She started to gain weight. Today she is a very muscular cat and at the perfect weight.
Thanks. The older cat has been on wet food since she came to me 4 years ago. She gets dry food between regular feeeding times if she persists. I know i am a softy. Would like to get her on a raw diet for heath reasons and economical reasons. I raise a lot of our meat and my son is a big time hunter. I have my own farm raised meat and plenty of available wild game meat.
 

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Some tips/tricks from Practical Guide:

Disguising Raw Food – aka the "Bribe"
If you do need to continue feeding commercial food during the transition, you may need to get a bit crafty to help your kitty learn to like his new raw food. Therefore as an additional incentive you should begin to disguise the raw food as necessary by making it taste or smell more enticing to your cat, which will encourage him to be more tempted to try it. In this way, as you ‘bribe’ your kitty into gradually getting a taste for his new raw food, he’ll begin to eat more and more of it day by day. And as this happens, you can then slowly but surely begin to reduce the amount of commercial food needed to feed your kitty each day accordingly.
Compared to crunchy kibbles or cooked canned cat food, both of which are relatively pretty darn stinky, fresh raw meat has a very faint odor and quite a different texture. As a result, some cats simply won’t recognize raw meat as actually being food when they’re first exposed to it. For this reason it’s sometimes necessary to disguise the raw food and 'stink it up' a bit with another, more pungent, smell or flavor.

It’s also important to keep on offering raw food to your cat even if he turns his nose up at it at first. Some cats need time to get used to this new raw stuff, so repeated exposure can be key.
You can use whatever favorite food you know your cat likes as a bribe food to encourage him to take the raw plunge. Some possible suggestions for bribe foods are:

  • a drizzling of juice from a can of water packed tuna
  • a smear of canned cat food
  • a bit of grated Parmesan cheese
  • crumbled dried liver
  • some smashed canned sardines, anchovies or herring
  • a sprinkling of crushed kibble
  • some plain, homemade meat, bone and/or giblet broth, used as a marinade
  • whatever other favorite treat you know your kitty loves
Use your imagination and experiment with different things until you find what works. Once you find some disguises that work, then you can begin to gradually offer more raw food using decreasing amounts of the bribe until your cat will accept it without the bribe.
 
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