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So I just got a kitten a little while ago and she's now about nine weeks old. I learned that cats are imprint eaters, so I'm trying to feed her as wide a variety of food as I possibly can in order to make life easier for the both of us in the event of a health issue that might pop up later in life. Right now, I leave out a couple tablespoons of dry food during the day and night and then feed her a variety of canned foods two to three times a day depending on whether or not I'm home in the middle of the day. I've discovered that she's not fond of pate cans unless I mix them with water and she rarely eats the dry food. I also just bought her a bag of Instinct raw chicken in the shape of kibbles that she would eat if I mashed on my fingers. Does anyone have suggestions for getting her to eat the raw more readily? I would really like to feed her strictly canned and raw, but I'm not sure if there's a way to do that without her going hungry. The dry isn't great for her, but I figure it's something she can at least eat if she gets starving. How long should I keep up the dry before I can remove it completely? Or should I remove it completely?
Also, should I throw in cheap food once in awhile so she'll at least learn to eat them in case I'm ever in a pinch and need to buy Purina or something?
 

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Hi BlueCat!

Wow, your kitty is so young! First thing I'd ask, is to make sure your kitty is in good health before you decide to start her on raw. Get her first vaccinations, deworming, etc. done beforehand and it will just make things a bit easier, at least give you some peace of mind when you know she's in excellent health to begin with. Starting raw feeding when you're not absolutely certain of her health can make you second guess a lot of things!

Since a kitten's immune system is still developing, so I'd suggest you keep feeding her wet food as much as she'll eat, maybe some dry kibble at night so she can eat whenever she's hungry. Start scheduled feedings if you can. If not, offering kibble 24/7 is ok for a very young kitty. At her age, she will eat a lot of food for several months! Buy wet food in different textures, brands, and proteins. Find her favorites! This will be very important when you start raw feeding!

The reason I'm asking you to start her off on wet is because as while on wet food, you can feed her dry or raw. However, once you feed raw, it's not recommended to feed kibble at the same time or even a few hours apart from each other, which can be difficult because kittens require frequent feedings around the clock. Kibble is just easier to have on hand at nights or if you're away at work, school, etc. This website may help explain further: Feed Raw and Dry at the Same Time? - Feline Nutrition Basically kibble is harder to digest and slows the digestive process if fed with raw together. You don't want raw food sitting in her stomach very long, because of the potential for bacteria to build up and cause a tummy ache. The guideline is 12 hours between kibble and raw, but I'd wait 24 hours to be safe. I'm a bit paranoid, lol. While she's eating wet and dry kibble only, you can do further research about raw and decide for yourself if you're really into commiting this for her. Note that there's different types of raw: ground raw, prey model raw (frankenprey) or whole prey (entire mouse, for example). You'd need to decide which one Stella will be on.

For weekends or times when you know you'll be around for the whole day, you can feed her a bit of raw, like the Instinct chicken for example. See how she does on it by offering her a few pellets. You might have to mix a bit of wet (her ultimate fave canned variety) and see how she takes in a tiny bit. If she's eating it, try increasing the raw portion while decreasing the wet and offer it to her again. When she's completely eating her raw without any wet, you've succeeded with the transition! :razz:

Some sites recommended for raw feeding are:
catinfo.org and Raw Cat Food for Do-It-Yourselfers - Feline Nutrition (if you're interested in ground raw and a recipe for making your own)

I'm so glad Stella has such a great owner who is looking for the best interest in nutrition! Keep us posted on your journey! :smile:
 

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Thankfully she's had a good clean health check (with the exception of tapeworms about a week ago which she no longer has...apparently the Humane Society didn't deworm her!). She'll eat the kibble shaped raw no problem now--I just smushed them less and less as she ate and now she's readily eating them--when I'm home all day! Otherwise, I've been doing the canned--she's eating about six ounces a day...I can't believe it because she's only just under three pounds! Hungry little thing lol. Thank you for all the great advice!!
 

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Oh, I'm glad Stella's already been checked out by a vet! At her age, she's very vulnerable to all kinds of issues due to her age and getting adjusted living with you.

Kittens will readily eat all kings of food offered to them, so it's great that she's already taken to eating raw! Just fyi if you didn't know already, but NV raw is actually HPP (high pressure processed), and is somewhat controversial as to what it does to raw food. You can read more about it here: High Pressure Processing for Raw Dog Food - Is It Still Raw?

I've personally used NV a few times using their medallions during a switch-over period too, but currently use a brand from a local company which produces ground raw meats for cats. If you like ground raw, RadCat is a really great brand, with lots of moisture and comes in tubs for easy servings and would also be perfect for her. It's a soft, finely ground mixture!

Serving chicken necks for dental health when Stella's a bit older and begins to really enjoy chomping her food may also be a good thing to try out one day. It's great to develop her jaw muscles and her inner carnivore mentality (don't be surprsied to notice some growling, lol). It's all good when a kitty's growling and munching away (unlike doggies)!

Love to see how she does and your new adventure into raw as well! Best thing about raw for me is that I know they're getting enough moisture, and thankfully litter box duty is a whole lot easier when it's smaller and definitely less smelly, lol. Thank goodness, since I've got two kittens who also love to eat! :p
 
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