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Hello,

Let me first start out by saying I have spent many years in the dark about cats and dogs and raw food diets. I always knew it was better for them but heard all the myths and for whatever reason, never educated myself. After the loss of a kitten (due to non-food related causes) I absolutely adored and had rescued as a kitten, I began doing extensive research into holistic food and treatment, competancies when it comes to certain tests etc. I've recently obtained two orphaned kittens who are still being bottlefed and ended up with a scare shortly after feeding Whiska's Kibble as a little side treat. Now, I hear you, reprimanding me because I know better. I know this is no excuse, but I purchased store-bought, basic kibble, because at that very moment I didn't feel I could afford anything else.

I've been reading through this forum this morning, browsing over links and what-have-you, and much of them make it look like you can get much of the meat scraps (organs, bone, skin etc.) for less than a dollar a pound if not for free. That, however, only covers one aspect though, and chunks of meat are needed. This is where feeding my kittens properly at the moment, slaps me in the face. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to feed raw meat on a budget. I am depsparate to find a way to do so without having to supplement kibble into the mix, due to the reaction my little guy had (vet said they didn't know what exactly it was, but if it was viral, at their size, it would be a wait and hope situation).

I'm very much a holistic person, or try to be, in life. Yet I find myself shorting both myself and now my pets due to the costs of meat and organic foods.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions, and will no doubtably take the hits I need to when it comes to being reprimanded for feeding my kittens the McDonalds of cat food (as I saw it put this morning).

Best regards,
Melissa
 

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Sweetened said:
This is where feeding my kittens properly at the moment, slaps me in the face. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to feed raw meat on a budget. I am depsparate to find a way to do so without having to supplement kibble into the mix, due to the reaction my little guy had (vet said they didn't know what exactly it was, but if it was viral, at their size, it would be a wait and hope situation).
How many cats are you feeding? Honestly, cats are pretty cheap to feed raw to. I'm feeding 3 cats and 3 dogs (2 of them large ones) and I get about 70% of their food free. You have to be willing to post on Craigslist/freecycle, follow up on offers, and drive around to pick meat up, but you can do VERY well, including getting grass-bed beef, venison, etc. for nuthin'. One memorable haul, I brought home almost $400 worth of grass-fed beef. My critters' eyes were buggin' out. ;)

In order to take advantage of free or sale food, you will need a decent-sized freezer. Mine is 12 cubic feet and was $350 at Sears. You can often find them free or cheap on Craigslist, as long as you have a way to pick them up. Even if you have to purchase one, you will save that much in a short time scoring free meat.

Sweetened said:
I've been reading through this forum this morning, browsing over links and what-have-you, and much of them make it look like you can get much of the meat scraps (organs, bone, skin etc.) for less than a dollar a pound if not for free. That, however, only covers one aspect though, and chunks of meat are needed.
Not sure what you mean by this. First, "meat scraps" ARE chunks of meat. ;) Second, if you play your cards right you can get steaks and roasts and every other thing on Craigslist/Freecycle. The ratio you are looking to feed over time is 80-85% meat, 5-10% bone, and 10% organ (half of which should be liver). They get meat AND bone in chicken, mice, rabbit chunks, etc. Then you just add some plain meat (beef, pork, venison, whatever), a little organ, and you're good to go.

You DO have to figure you'll be buying some stuff. I never feed free chicken to the cats b/c I feel that smaller birds (i.e., Cornish game hen, which is small chicken) are more appropriate for them bone-wise, and I also worry about "enhanced" chicken (broth/sodium added) when chicken isn't labelled. So I buy organic Cornish game hen and they get 1/4 of one each 2 X a week or so. I also buy other items for the cats b/c they ARE so cheap to feed -- I get them bone-in rabbit chunks at hare-today.com and they eat a lot of mice (again, ordered in BULK they are quite cheap: http://www.americanrodent.com/products.html).

So basically . . . you can do it more expensively or you can do it super-cheaply or you can do it in between. Buying organic is much more expensive. Shopping at Asian markets is very cheap. One thing to keep in mind is how much $$ you'll be saving over the years on dentals (which they won't need) and other medical problems. :)
 

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This link will give you many, many fantastic ideas for locating cheap or free meat sources:

http://rawdiettruth.blogspot.com/search ... eap%20meat

Since I live in a very rural area where the closest Craigslist group is a couple of hours away and the local Freecycle is quite small, I have found that my most successful source of cheap and/or free meat is to place an ad in the local shopper looking for people who are cleaning out their freezers. I pay 20¢/lb for old or freezer-burned meat, but more often that not folks give it to me for free even after I offer to pay.

There are LOTS of ways to find cheap or free meat if you don't mind taking the time and making the phone calls and contacts to do it.

Laurie
 

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I agree that it can be done cheaply! In fact I've had at LEAST 4 months where I fed all 4 of my cats for free. Which is amazing :D

I also advertise on freecycle/craigslist, and am currently setting up a meeting with a woman who has basically a HUGE freezer full of food for me...my biggest issue is where I'm going to put it all! Last month I made a trip to a small town 30 mins away, and found that any time I want I can go and get all the scraps I want. Admittedly it involves labor from me, driving, picking out of the gross barrel, portioning and weeding through the gross bits, but it's fed my cats so many meals...I'm getting more next time!

To be fair, there have also been tough months. But the longer I do this the more certain I am that it's what's best for my kitties, and I keep finding more ways to do it cheaply. Jitzu hardly sheds at all, same with Torri as long as I keep up with her baths. Doran and Muffin are so muscular it's silly! I have four very healthy cats.

The biggest thing that convinced me is that Jitzu's stomach issues are gone. Totally gone. Yeah I might find one meal in 2 weeks brought back up, but usually that's her eating too much! I love it, and it is totally possible to do it on a budget.
 

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Thank you to everyone who placed their input. I've run into a bit of another problem. I'm Canadian, and can't seem to find a hare-today equivilant. I'm not certain I'm searching google correctly.

If you know any Canadian distributers, I'd love to hear. Also, I placed my ads, got an offer for 30lbs of fish, which I'll likely take for my dog. I've called to a few local butchers who say they mostly just have the fat left, which I'll take some of, but not much.

Any other advice will be greatly appreciated!

Best regards,
Melissa
 
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