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Discussion Starter #1
I was searching in the forums looking for the same question and found in a post this website that scared me!!

Raw Fed Cats

Dry food is as bad as they said? even vaccines ? what should I do? I want my kitten to live as long as possible but I dont know what to do after reading that... or is just a way to sell their book? :?

My kitten will be from 5 to 6 weeks old when I take it home, I have read it needs to be 8 weeks at minimal but I dont know if the actual owner can keep it that long


Thanks!
 

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You'll likely get many different opinions on this topic. A steady diet of dry food only is not the best diet for a cat, although a bit of dry won't hurt them. The main reason to feed dry, in my view, is convenience, particularly for people who travel a lot, which is the case for me. So, my cats receive a diet that is primarily wet food (grain-free), but they also receive grain-free dry food (about 1/8th of a cup per day). If travel and/or convenience is not an issue for you, then you'd be better off feeding only wet food (again grain-free) or, if you prefer, raw.

As for vaccinations, you'll again get various opinions. There's a risk to vaccinating and there's a risk to not vaccinating. I believe the risks of not vaccinating outweigh the risks of vaccination, but that's a personal decision everyone must make. Both of my cats received their full kitten vaccinations, including rabies. They also received their boosters after one year. Henceforth, they will receive vaccinations every three years.

If possible, it would be best for your kitten to remain with her mom and littermates for at least 12 weeks...I would view even 8 weeks as at too short. However, you can only do what you can do. So, I would do whatever you can to have her stay with her mom/littermates for as long as possible.
 

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You will probably be okay adopting the kitten that early (that's usually when shelters adopt out the kittens), but you will need to be prepared to train the kitten. Do you have another cat because that would help a lot? One of the major problems with getting kittens that early is that they have not been taught manners by their parents yet; I found that out the hard way when I adopted Pumpkin from the shelter at 6 weeks. Kittens that young have not learned that biting/scratching hurts, and you will have to be careful to not allow that behavior from day 1 (if the kitten does this behavior, give it a toy to bite instead or place it away from you so it knows it does not get attention for this behavior). The kitten will be very needy attention-wise and not so good at cleaning itself yet, so you will have to act as a surrogate mom. Besides these things, you will want to get the kitten used to having its paws handled early, face touched, combing if it is long-haired, mixture of food flavors so it isn't picky, coming when you call his/her name, how to use a scratching post/pad, where the litterboxes are & how to bury it's waste, not to jump on the tables, have lots of people over so your cat won't be skittish, getting used to his/her carrier, etc.... basically anything you find really important for your cat to know it will be easier if you start from the beginning.


As for food, a kitten that young may not be completely weened off of milk at that age, so you may have to give some formula. You will want to get him/her used to some moist food (only a tablespoon or two that young & refrigerate the rest). Dry food isn't good for cats, with some brands being better/worse than others, but feeding dry food or not depends on your personal financial situation/time & frequency you feed, etc. I personally still feed dry food until my kittens are adults, and will probably still feed some as snacks later on.
 

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I agree with Susan on this one, you'll get a lot of different opinions.

I feed Origen dry left out for my girls to munch whenver they fancy. I feed them grain-free wet food twice a day... However, one of my girls is fussy and she has boiled chicken/turkey/ham or sometimes raw chicken, but she usually sicks this up.
It does depend on your feeding schedule, whether you travel frequently and what you can afford. I'd love to feed my girls a raw diet, but my main concern is they are VERY fussy and will vomit up something they don't like, they also refuse to eat certain foods. I also worry that when we have to travel and the girls have to stay in a cattery or have someone come in, that it's unlikely the person responsible would be able to feed a raw diet. Thirdly, I have concerns that a raw diet wouldn't be balanced and the girls would be deficient somehow.

5-6 weeks is terribly young for a kitten to be taken away from their mother cat. I know my breeder won't home kittens until 13 weeks, 12 weeks is the absolute recommended age.

Good luck with your kitten :)
 

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Can you take the mother cat and all her kittens with you until the kittens are 12 weeks old, to foster them temporarily? That would be excellent for all the kittens, and very useful for you because then you will be better prepared to pick the kitten that interacts with you the best (or rather, two kittens, because it is best for them to be adopted with a litter mate! :)) 6 weeks is much too young, not to mention all the socialization they will miss, but to pick a kitten whose personality suits you you really need to let them grow up a bit and actually develop and start showing their personality. Also, please urge the owner of the cat to have her spayed after the kittens are weaned, I don't know if it's their pet cat or a rescue but either way it's the best option for them and the cat.

In my opinion, this is the list of foods for healthy adult cats from best to worst:

BALANCED raw food
commercial canned food
commercial dry food
unbalanced food (human food, dog food, table scraps, unbalanced raw or home made food)

The kitten will definitely need some kitten milk replacer if it's weaned before 8-10 weeks, in addition to wet kitten food. Always buy food for kittens, not adult cats, until they're one year old. As for brands to buy, it really depends on the choice you have, but always read the ingredients, more meat and less or ideally no plants usually means better food.

As for vaccines, kitten shots and a booster shot after one year are necessary so please don't skip them (2 rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia vaccines are given one month apart - I would prefer for my kittens to get them at 12 and 16 weeks, because if the second dose is administered earlier than 16 weeks it may not provide complete immunity). Feline leukemia virus and rabies vaccines pose some risk (unless you're able to get recombinant ones, the only brand of recombinant leukemia and rabies vaccines to my knowledge is PureVax) so you need to assess the risks - will your kittens be able to sneak out and come in contact with other cats and/or rabid wild animals? Is there a chance you will be bringing untested cats in your home? If so, then it may be worth it to protect them against these diseases.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all replies! they answered most of my questions!

I dont have a cat and can't take the mom with all the kittens for 8 weeks more I would love to but I'm not able... so I'll ask and see if she can keep them for 10 or 12 weeks...

I live in an apartment and I wont have any other pets here in the future, maybe visitors with pets but like once per year... I just have some canaries but they are in a window and the cat wont be able to get near them... and it will be a 100% indoor cat, maybe will go out and only to the vet.

Just one more thing for now... do you have a diet schedule? I dont think I'll be able to feed my kitten with canned food only and I'm not sure about raw food, so how should I do?


Thanks alot again!
 

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Vaccines are tricky, as others have said there's no clear-cut answer as there are risks to vaccinating or not vaccinating. My vet is thankfully very vaccine conservative, so I give my cats only the vaccinations that are recommended by my vet, which are rabies and the 3-in-1 I believe. They're indoor cats so there's not much risk of them being exposed to other illnesses.

As for food, to some degree it depends on the cat (some cats tolerate less ideal foods better than others) but it's generally a matter of reducing risk factors. Some cats fed on a 100% dry diet may live long healthy lives. But feeding them that kind of diet increases their risks of developing health issues (obesity, diabetes, kidney problems, UTIs) and I know plenty of cats who have developed such issues likely due to their diet.

Here are your raw food options:
-Balanced Homemade raw
-Commercial raw

Canned options:
-Grain-free canned food
-Canned food that contains grain (but not common allergens or byproducts) and uses complex carb (whole) grains instead of simple carb grains
-Standard canned food that may contain some risky ingredients (corn, wheat, soy, animal byproducts)

Dry food options:
-Grain-free kibble
-Kibble that contains grain but uses whole grains and avoids common allergens or problem ingredients
-Standard kibble that contains risky ingredients (soy, corn, etc. as listed above)

The benefits of a quality raw or canned diet are increased moisture and lower carbs. Increased moisture helps decrease the risk of your cat developing UTIs or kidney problems due to chronic dehydration. Lower carbs help prevent problems like obesity or diabetes.

I think the best any cat owner can do is feed the least risky diet they personally can. I know not everyone can afford the top-of-the-line foods, or have other circumstances which make feeding the 100% perfect diet difficult. So just do the best you can for your current circumstances.

I personally feed mostly commercial raw. I sometimes add a bit of grain-free canned when my cats are being picky about their food, and I also offer home-made raw treats (like chicken wings) once or more times a week for dental maintenance. This is the arrangement that has worked out best for my situation and my cats so far. I'd ideally love to do 100% homemade raw, but do not feel confident in my ability and time to do it properly yet.

When I first got my first cat, I fed him kibble (one of the quality, but grain-containing brands). When I got my second kitten, I found she had chronic loose stool on any foods that contained grain, and even grain-free kibble. Her stools improved with the removal of kibble and the switching to a grain-free canned food, but were not perfect until I put her on raw. Some cats just cannot handle overly processed (cooked and high in carb) foods. I also found after taking kibble out of both cats' diets, my original cat slimmed down (he used to be a little chubby). Both cats seem much healthier now, and have much softer coats.

As for schedules, some people here do schedule-feeding, others do free-feeding. I used to do free-feeding back when I fed kibble, but now do schedule feeding. It's easier to portion-control that way, and of course necessary if you're feeding canned or raw. I feed my cats once before I leave for work, and again when I get home from work. Sometimes I give them an additional raw treat in the evening right before bed if they seem to still be hungry. If you're concerned about being gone during the day at work or school, know that adult cats can go for several hours without eating. Most people feed their adult cats 2-3 times a day and that's totally sufficient.

However I do notice you're getting a very young kitten, that's going to be trickier. Young kittens need to eat far more frequently than adult cats. You could possibly look into timed feeders that you can place canned food in, that you can set to go off once or twice during the day while you're gone maybe? And feed before you leave and once you get home.
 

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5-6 weeks? ouch... I think breeders will be best telling you how to feed your kittens as I have no idea, my youngest kittens I got were 13 weeks and fully weaned.

Do kittens not still suckle at that time? I cannot imagine why on earth these people want rid of their kittens so fast? I assume its an unplanned litter, but jeez, take some responsibility...
 

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5-6 weeks? ouch... I think breeders will be best telling you how to feed your kittens as I have no idea, my youngest kittens I got were 13 weeks and fully weaned.

Do kittens not still suckle at that time? I cannot imagine why on earth these people want rid of their kittens so fast? I assume its an unplanned litter, but jeez, take some responsibility...
That is my guess too. :( I really hope she can convince the "breeder" to keep the kittens until 10-12 weeks. Or at least 8 weeks minimum. I don't know a lot about young kitten rearing, but that sounds so risky, letting a kitten leave its mother at 5 weeks. I think you're right, that they're not fully weaned at that point.
 

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That is my guess too. :( I really hope she can convince the "breeder" to keep the kittens until 10-12 weeks. Or at least 8 weeks minimum. I don't know a lot about young kitten rearing, but that sounds so risky, letting a kitten leave its mother at 5 weeks. I think you're right, that they're not fully weaned at that point.
Purely from what I have heard other breeders say, I am sure kittens only begin eating cat food at 5 weeks, so I cannot imagine them being weaned before then...

To the OP, I would see what other breeders say but I would worry getting a cat so young, and unweaned, may cause really bad repercussions for its future health and possibly your wallet with vets bills. Out of my own interest, would a kitten separated at 5 weeks benefit from going to a shelter with a nursing mother?


Kittens still suckle up to ten weeks. removing 3-5 weeks of suckling from a kitten must be terrible...
 

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I think a kitten that age would benefit from contact with any cat, and if she's a nursing adult cat who lets them suckle, even better (provided both are healthy, some diseases can be passed that way). I fostered two mother cats with their litters so I saw it first hand how immensely important it is for them to have feline companions (and how incredibly easy for their human caretaker - I can honestly say rearing my first kitten who was a single cat, and not too young when he walked to our door, was much harder, bloodier and more painful than taking care of a mother cat with 6 kittens). I would never recommend getting only one kitten to anyone, except maybe a masochist :p
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks again !! so much helpful people here!

Def, I would like to have all the kittens in my house but it's impossible I dont have money to feed more than 1 cat... also, I'll try to convince her to keep the kittens till ends of april, kittens should be 12 weeks till then! the thing is idk if she will feed them good as I would like to do it.

I'll be searching in stores for more brands and then ask you for recommendations... so far online i've found for kittens

Dry:
Purina, Cat chow: Meat fish milk 12% moisture 36% proteins 11% fat and others... i think this is common...

Canned: Friskies and whiskas... page didnt show the info, so idk if its grain-free and for kittens unless this doesnt matters.

no raw food

I bet there are more brands out there, so i'll be investigating stores in my city and see what they have in the next weeks!
 

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thanks again !! so much helpful people here!

Def, I would like to have all the kittens in my house but it's impossible I dont have money to feed more than 1 cat... also, I'll try to convince her to keep the kittens till ends of april, kittens should be 12 weeks till then! the thing is idk if she will feed them good as I would like to do it.

!
An extra 6 weeks with their mum, and mums milk + rubbish food will be much better than no mum and good food.
 

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thanks again !! so much helpful people here!

Def, I would like to have all the kittens in my house but it's impossible I dont have money to feed more than 1 cat... also, I'll try to convince her to keep the kittens till ends of april, kittens should be 12 weeks till then! the thing is idk if she will feed them good as I would like to do it.

I'll be searching in stores for more brands and then ask you for recommendations... so far online i've found for kittens

Dry:
Purina, Cat chow: Meat fish milk 12% moisture 36% proteins 11% fat and others... i think this is common...

Canned: Friskies and whiskas... page didnt show the info, so idk if its grain-free and for kittens unless this doesnt matters.

no raw food

I bet there are more brands out there, so i'll be investigating stores in my city and see what they have in the next weeks!
Are you able to buy a variety of meat, non deboned chickens, liver, and something like kidney, thymus, or brain? That's what you would need to feed a raw diet. There are many experienced raw feeders on here who make their own food - you don't need to buy premade in order to feed raw :) There is a raw feeding sub-forum on here as well if you want more details on that option.

I would assume that Friskies uses the same formula for all countries. Not sure, but that is what I would think. From Food Products:

Friskie's Classic Pate - Canned
Mixed Grill, Chicken & Tuna, Turkey & Giblets, Supreme Supper, Country Style,
Poultry Platter, Liver & Chicken
www.friskies.com/Wet-Cat-Food/Poultry/Default.aspx
Sea Captain's Choice, Salmon Dinner, Classic Seafood Entree, Mariner's Catch, Ocean Whitefish & Tuna
www.friskies.com/Wet-Cat-Food/Seafood/Default.aspx

are the best flavors of Friskies. They are not really grain free as they do have rice in them, but it is low down on the ingrediant list. However they do not contain any types of glutens. Personally, I think that the "poultry platter" is the best flavor they have - the first ingrediant is turkey (a real meat). It is best to not feed much fish, keep it as more of a treat.


 

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Discussion Starter #15
ya well, I was thinkin about feeding them with raw after watching a couple of youtube videos of kittens enjoying it but, what about diseases like salmonella ?
 

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ya well, I was thinkin about feeding them with raw after watching a couple of youtube videos of kittens enjoying it but, what about diseases like salmonella ?
Cats have very short, acidic digestive tracts that are designed to handle bacteria loads far beyond what a human could. It's not impossible for a cat to get salmonella, but far less likely, and they have a much better resistance to it than we do. I think it's more of a danger for immunocompromised cats. And from what I understand, the chances of a quality raw meat source being contaminated are the same, if not less, than kibble or canned being somehow contaminated with something.

I was very nervous about the risks of contamination at first too, but the more I read about raw diets, the more I felt reassured that it wasn't a serious concern. My cats have been eating raw meat for several months now and not gotten salmonella, and there are definitely people on here who have fed it far longer than that without issue.

So while I totally know where you're coming from, because I have been there, I can assure you it's much safer than our human food worry gut reaction would lead us to believe. :)
 

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I agree with Saitenyo.

I personally have never been able to feed raw, but if I had the means, I would. Cats are designed to eat raw food. When is the last time a stray/feral cat living on mice/rats/free handouts died of salmonella. I'm not saying there is no risk, but the risk of contracting it is much much lower in cats than in a human.

Another thing to consider is that raw (as far as I know) can't be fed with kibble. The dry food takes longer to digest, so the raw meat would stay in their systems longer upping the risk of salmonella/other diseases.

Don't let that scare you though! My understanding of raw is fairly basic and is primarily from reading the threads on this site. If you do decide to go raw, I would recommend reading Saitenyo's thread; it has been helpful to other members.
 

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@ Saitenyo & furryfriends~ can kittens start eating raw that early when they don't have jaw strength built up yet?
I started Morey, Mitch, and their siblings on raw when they were four weeks old. I had them that early because I had finally managed to trap their mom to get her spayed...it was either leave her with the kittens and don't get her fixed...or take the kittens away from her and get her fixed.

They were able to tackle, even at the young age of four weeks, pieces of meat that were about the same size as their heads. Sometimes I cut the meat into square-ish chunks and other times I cut the meat into long, but skinny, 3-5 inch strips. I don't think there is a such a thing as to young to switch a kitten over to a raw diet :)
 

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Congrats on your new furry family member, Exia! And welcome to CF!

My two cents (answering one of the later questions first):

Kittens can absolutely be started on raw foods, no problem. In fact, they're better off than an older kitty transitioned over to raw from kibble or canned, as they're more eager and energetic when trying new things.

To the OP, I'll reinforce what you've already heard - try to do everything you can to keep the kittens with their mother until they're twelve weeks old; it's so much better for them socially.

Please ditch the kibble! Don't feed even a piece of it!! It truly is harmful to cats; to quote Dr. Hodgkins on the site yourdiabeticcat.com,
"As important as the proper management of feline diabetes is, it may be even more important that cat lovers learn to prevent this terrible disease in any cat with whom they ever share a home in the future. Diabetes in the cat is a man-made disease, which is completely preventable by avoiding the "kitty junk-food" that is dry kibbled cat food. Without question, it is the continuous, day-in, day-out consumption of this poor-quality, highly processed, carbohydrate rich "breakfast cereal for cats" that causes so many felines to become diabetic."
Also, see these articles on the Feline Nutrition Education Society's site:And another site: Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition.

If you can't do raw - and it's intimidating, especially to new cat owners, so I can understand why you would chose not to - then feed grain-free canned. The cost is worth your cats' health.

AC
 
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