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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I've just recently adopted a stray cat and after hearing much about the benefits of a raw diet, and distrusting commercial food, I've decided to try it with my new cat. She absolutely LOVES the raw food! I don't know what she was fed before, but if it was the canned/dry stuff, she certainly didn't have any problem leaving that behind!

My problem is that both raw feeding and cats are new territory for me, so I could use some advice as I've been reading some conflicting things lately.
For example; Can I feed any meat? Some websites say yes, some say either no pork, or beef, or some even say no chicken.
She's been getting some chicken wings, turkey, ox liver, beef heart. She sometimes gets cooked chicken too, is that ok?
I had been giving her one thing for a few days (e.g. wings), then switching to the next thing and so on, but I want to mix it up a bit more because I don't want to over- or underdose her on anything.
I'm not too sure on how best to do that, how do you do it? Any suggestions?

Also, She currently weighs 3.8kg, but she does have a bit of a big belly at the moment (not pregnant, I did get her checked!), so I've been cutting her portions lately.
I have read that with raw feeding, it's ideal to give 2-4% of the body weight a day, is that right? I've been working on a reduced weight of 3kg, so giving her 3% would work out as 90g per day, but that always looks so little (I'm used to dog portions, so it's hard to switch :) )
Does that sound about right though?
She always clears the bowl, and I'm sure would happily eat a lot more, so I do feel a bit mean giving her so little, but I think this might be a cat that will never say no, so I would end up with one big round cat if I just gave her as much as she wanted!

Also, can they really get by without the addition of veg? I've cooked and mashed some veg. and frozen them in little ice cube trays so I can portion them with her meals (defrosted of course). She eats the veg too, is it ok to give it to her, or best not to?
Do they like any fruit? just sort of as an in between snack every now and again (obviously not grapes, I assume it's as bad for cats as dogs)

Any advice would be hugely appreciated.
 

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Hi there - I'm new to raw feeding as well but there are a lot of experienced raw feeders on this forum. Also Feline Nutrition are great sites. I have three cats, but my newest cat propelled me into the wonderful world of raw feeding because he pretty much refused to eat any cat food whatsoever - dry or wet. I only tried the dry because I was desperate. I tried at least 15 different varieties of canned, from Hound & Gatos to Dave's to Lotus all the way down to Fancy Feast and Friskies. The only way I could get just a bit of food into him was to mix it with baby food or pour tuna juice on top of it. Then one day I was unwrapping a pork roast in my kitchen and he completely lost his mind - I never heard a cat meow that loud! He clearly knew what he should be eating and has not looked back since lol.

My understanding is that cats do not need any vegetables or fruits, nor should they be getting them. I also don't think that any type of muscle meat is off limits per se, it just depends on what your cat likes and tolerates. Right now I am feeding my cat pork, beef, chicken and turkey, and I'm incredibly happy because just this morning I found a source for lamb kidney!! As far as bone goes so far it's been chicken wings and turkey wings (broken up first on the turkey as they are so big), but the necks are also good as far as I've heard. You also have to give them liver (which is it's own category) and another secreting organ, such as kidney, pancreas, spleen, etc.

Welcome to the forum and to raw feeding!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi,
It certainly sounds like you have one clever cat there, he obviosly knows exactly whats good for him :D

Thanks very much for the welcome and the info. I'll check out those websites you mentioned, trying to soak up as much info as possible at the moment. Changing something as important as this is a little scary to be honest, I just want to be sure not to do anything wrong for my cat. I don't mind 'winging it' normally, but in this case it's useful to get some proer instruction first as a basic starting point and then I can alter things later to suit her, if necessary.

It's good to know that they can have any meats, it'll give her more variety that way at least. I haven't given her any secreting organ yet, I'll pick some up on the way home.
With the veg, that is what I heard too, but it just seems so weird to me, being used to a dog who adored fruit and veg, I just have to get used to the idea that dogs and cats really are worlds apart when it comes to this :mrgreen:
 

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Seems like you're doing great so far! I don't personally feed raw (I live at home, and it's not something my mom is comfortable transitioning the family cat over to) but I've been putting in research casually. As far as variety goes, the more your cat will it, the better it is for your cat. I think people put not to feed things like beef, and pork is because a fair number of cats have allergies to those types of meats, if you don't notice any problems with your cat while eating those meats everything should be fine, just avoid fish!

The biggest thing is make sure you're getting your portions right. The portion of bones can be varied to suit your cats needs (pay attention to whether your cat is getting constipated or her poops are getting runny and adjust the amount of bone as need be) but other than that, everything is pretty set in stone. I think dogs have a little more leeway with those kinds of things, but it's stricter for cats. I think a lot of people just make sure they get the right amount over about a week instead of worrying about portioning it daily, which would probably be the easiest thing to do.

And yeah, veggies and fruits are definitely not necessary for cats since cats are obligate carnivores, they don't need any of that stuff. They don't have the proper enzymes in their stomach to digest it and put the energy from it to good use, so feeding it as a treat is ok but it won't make their food any more nutritionally balanced. Cats and dogs are indeed worlds apart when it comes to this, but don't worry everyone does those types of comparisons. My mom isn't comfortable feeding the cat raw chicken or other meats because we (humans) can get very sick from those things. Your cat may like fruits and veggies, so you can try feeding them to your cat and see if she enjoys them as a treat, my cat won't touch them. Unless it's cheese or meat he won't have anything to do with it :D
 

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Hi Jules! Have you been watching the ratios of the food you eat? It should balance out to about 80% meat, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organ (kidney, spleen, pancreas) and <10% bone. It is important if you are feeding only raw that you stick to these ratios. The bone is a bit tricky to calculate as different bone in meals that you will feed have different percentages of bone. If you see any constipation it is a good indication that you should cut back on the bone!

Heart is excellent to feed as it is high in taurine, but it counts as muscle meat (not as the 10% organ). Same with gizzards - very healthy, but not a secreting organ. This site should help a bit: Practical Guide

I would cut out any veggies / fruit - they aren't necessary. I'd also recommend feeding as much variety as you can get your hands on - things like chicken necks, gizzards, heart, liver, feet, beef tongue, liver, kidney, heart etc. are fairly cheap and very healthy. I'm always looking for new variety to give my cats as all different meats have different nutrients and so the more you feed the more you will get a complete diet.

I have fed pork, beef, bison, wild boar, venison, lamb, chicken, cornish hen, duck, goose, turkey and guinea fowl so far and I'm still on the hunt for new things they can try. Good luck! :)
 

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GREAT job!! Yes any meat is ok. Watch for vomiting. MY Zipper loves raw chicken, turkey less and throws up venison so I know what to feed by her reactions. The rest will only eat the chicken. Watch the ratios or follow a recipe like that found on
feline-nutrition.org or catinfo.com. Both of these sites have balanced recipes that the cats love.

Nutrition - Feline Nutrition

Excerpt from website:
Raw Cat Food Diet Recipe Made WITH Real Bones

2 kg [4.4 pounds] raw muscle meat with bones (chicken thighs and drumsticks or, better, a whole carcass of rabbit or chicken amounting to 2 kg; if you don't use a whole carcass, opt for dark meat like thighs and drumsticks from chicken or turkey and remove/don't use 20 to 25 percent of the bone; if using whole rabbit, which has a higher bone-to-meat ratio than chicken, dilute the extra bone by adding another 20 to 25 percent of plain muscle meat and skin and fat from rabbit, chicken, or turkey)

400 grams [14 oz] raw heart (chicken heart if you can source it - it's best not to use beef heart; if no heart is available, substitute with 4000 mg
Taurine)

200 grams [7 oz] raw liver (chicken liver if you can source it - it's best to not use beef liver; if you can't find appropriate liver, you can substitute 40,000 IU of
Vitamin A and 1600 IU of Vitamin D--but try to use real liver rather than substitutes)

NOTE: If you cannot find the heart or liver and decide to substitute with the
Taurine/Vitamin A and D, then remember to REPLACE the missing amount of organ meat with the equivalent amount of muscle meat. In other words, if you cannot find heart, you add another 400 grams of the meat/bones. If you can't find the liver, add another 200 grams of meat/bone.

OR:


16 oz [2 cups] water

4 raw egg yolks (use eggs from free-range, antibiotic-free chickens if you can)***

4 capsules raw glandular supplement, such as, for example, multigland supplement by
Immoplex.

4000 mg
salmon oil (see note at bottom of recipe*)

800 IU
Vitamin E ("dry E" works well)

200 mg
Vitamin B-50 complex (i.e., four capsules of B-50)

1.5 tsp. Lite salt (with iodine)

(optional: 4 tsp.
psyllium husk powder (8 tsp. if using whole psyllium husks; see note at bottom of recipe**)

NOTE: If you will not be using the food immediately and freezing for more than a week or two, toss in 4000 mg of additional
Taurine to make up for what may get lost during storage. It is also not a bad idea to sprinkle extra Taurine from a capsule on the food as you're serving it two or three times a week, just to be certain your cat is getting plenty of this critical amino acid.

1. Remove about half of the skin from the muscle meat. Chunk up (i.e., cut) as much of the muscle meat (minus most of the skin if using chicken or turkey, but leave skin on if using rabbit) as you can stand into bite-sized (nickel-sized, approximately) pieces. Save the chunked meat for later. Do not grind it.

2.
Grind the raw liver, any skin, raw meaty bones, and raw heart. Once ground, stir this meat/bone mixture well and return to refrigerator.

3. Fill a bowl with 2 cups of water and whisk everything (non-meat) except the psyllium. If you had to replace liver with Vitamin A/D or replace heart with Taurine, add the substitutes now. Add psyllium at the end -- if you're using it -- and mix well. Finally, put the three mixtures together--the "supplement slurry" that you have just mixed, the ground up meat/bone/organs, and the chunks of meat that you cut up by hand. Portion into containers and freeze.

Don't overfill the containers. The food expands when frozen and you don't want lids popping off. Thaw as you go. The food shouldn't be left thawed in the refrigerator more than 48 hours before serving. To serve, portion into a 'zipper baggie' and warm under hot water in the sink. NEVER microwave the food. Cats like their food at something approximating "mouse body temperature."

*Every two or three days, I suggest sprinkling a few drops of fresh
salmon oil from a newly-opened capsule on to the cats' food. The Essential Fatty Acids in salmon oil are extremely fragile, and since we do not know exactly how much gets lost during freezing, I think it's wise to use a bit of fresh salmon oil directly on the food a few times a week. Most cats love the flavor.

**Not all cats require additional fiber (psyllium) in their diet. If your cat has been eating low-quality commercial food for several years, especially dry food, she may have lost bowel elasticity and may benefit from the extra fiber. As a general rule, I recommend using psyllium when an adult cat first gets raw food. I rarely add psyllium to my adult cats' diet these days. Bear in mind that some cats seem to get constipated without additional fiber, whereas other cats seem to get constipated if they get too much fiber. Each cat is unique, and you'll have to judge what works best for your cat.

***If you don't want to waste the egg whites and don't feel like making an
angel food cake, poach them, grind them, and throw them in with the food. A nice phosphorus-free source of protein.



 

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It is very confusing reading conflicting recipes and opinions though, so I know where the OP is coming from. Like the recipe that you posted Marcia, it states not to use beef hearts and beef liver. Sunny's very favorite muscle meat so far is beef heart, and he has also eaten beef liver. He doesn't like chicken at all - chicken anything: meat, heart, liver - none of it. I guess we all just do the best we can with what the cats will tolerate but I have to wonder where the recommendation against using beef originally came from and why.
 

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Not to mention that beef liver has WAY more nutrients than chicken livers. It is higher in copper (1 ounce of beef liver has 2.7mg of copper vs chickens 0.1mg), and vitamin A and B12 are higher as well.

Honestly, I think that people who avoid beef or pork do it because they personally have some reason for not wanting to feed it (such as trichinosis in pork), because they had one cat who did not tolerate that particular meat, or because they think that cats should not eat red meat because there is a problem with the cat to cow ratio (a cat could never hunt and bring down a cow).

So I just feed whatever my cat and dogs will eat and leave it at that, while trying to make sure they are getting enough nutrients overall. I think we need to step away from this "exact nutrients every single meal" mindset that has been ingrained in us through the promotion of kibble. We as people don't eat perfectly balanced meals every time, nor have our cats and dogs since they have been domesticated. The reason they live longer is yes, partially due to better nutrition, but more largely because of vaccines.
 

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It is very confusing reading conflicting recipes and opinions though, so I know where the OP is coming from. Like the recipe that you posted Marcia, it states not to use beef hearts and beef liver. Sunny's very favorite muscle meat so far is beef heart, and he has also eaten beef liver. He doesn't like chicken at all - chicken anything: meat, heart, liver - none of it. I guess we all just do the best we can with what the cats will tolerate but I have to wonder where the recommendation against using beef originally came from and why.
I tend to defer to the nutrition experts as I am woefully ignorant of the ins and out of feline nutrition.
 

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Very true, but there isn't any concensus among experts on what to use. I think your recipe is the only one I've seen that explicitly says NOT to use beef heart or liver and many experts seem to think that the variety is ideal. I haven't seen a frankenprey menu that discourages using beef (and I *think* the original poster is freeding frankenprey rather than ground, but I could be wrong!).

I have a wholistic vet that approves of raw feeding and has no issues with using beef, pork, lamb heart / liver as part of my rotation.

I'd love to see some rationale for not to using beef, maybe your recipe is onto something that the rest have missed. All of the research I've done tends to agree with the more variety the better.
 

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I would be lying if I said I, too, wasn't concerned about my kittens diet after switching to raw. It's not as simple as setting out the appropriate kibble and walking away. Sure, most kibble is of very poor quality with cheap, unhealthy fillers, but at least you can be reasonably sure your cat is getting the right nutrients.

Having said all of that, we need to relax a bit. These are cats, after all! Many spend their entire lives in the wild, foraging as ferals, eating mice, rats, bugs, snakes, worms and whatever they can find in trash cans. I have a hard time believing pork, or beef hearts, are detrimental to their health. So long as we continue to feed variety, and do not overfeed one particular meat, everything should be fine.
Exactly! Though I think it does need to be said the beef heart, while technically a muscle meat, has different nutrient values than actual beef muscle meat. It should probably not make up more than 10-20% of the diet.

For those that feed it because of the high taurine level please know that:
1 oz beef heart = 18.48 mg Taurine
1 oz turkey leg meat= 86.75 mg Taurine
2 oz chicken neck = 33.11 mg Taurine

You will get more taurine for your cats by feeding dark poultry leg meat than you will with beef heart, and turkey legs will probably be easier to find/digest. There are similar numbers for chicken legs. So basically, dark meat is the way to go for providing taurine for cats. Which makes sense because cats in the wild/feral eat the whole mouse, and the mouse heart isn't that big so they must get more taurine from the rest of the mouse.

Pair the dark muscle meat with some heart, throw in a little pork (also decent in taurine), and you really shouldn't have to worry. I get something like 10 lbs of chicken leg quarters for $7, pair it with a pork shoulder roast at around $14 for 10+lbs, throw in a few extra pounds with beef heart, chicken hearts and gizzards, maybe if they are lucky I got a good deal on some beef, or something is old in the freezer. Add two more pounds of organs, and we've got ourselves dog/cat dinners for the next 3+ weeks! I grind the bones only, mix in some extra water, taurine, and fish oil with the ground bones, cube the rest.
 

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Thank you so much for the advice everyone, really appreciate it.

I am indeed using the frankenprey method (not the most appealing name though I must admit :D ) You are very lucky to have a vet who understnads Tiliqua, when I asked the vet about raw feeding she just gave me a big blank expression, as if I'd just babbled at her in some foreign language, and said she doesn't know anything about that. Vets (and most doctors actually) just don't seem to understand how important food is for well being. You would imagine that should be a big part of their training, but obviously not!

Some of you mentioned to watch out for vomiting, is that the best idicator for food allergy or intolerance? It's just that she has been over-grooming her legs a lot recently and has actually licked it raw. The vet that checked her out last week said it might be stress, but I'm a bit worried it might be an allergy. I mean, it could be stress, I only found her mid-Dec. she was quite thin and had worms, so may have been a stray for some time, so a change of a new environment might be a lot for her to take in, though I would have thought it'd be a good thing, but cats are supposed to be very sensitve, so never know. Annoyingly, the vet had to shave a bit of hair from her belly and side to check if she was pregnant or spayed, and that seems a bit uncomfortably itchy at the moment, plus she was a bit off colour after her vaccination, so she has been having it a little rough lately. The last thing she needs now is some sort of allergy to top it all off, poor babe :( Her digestion is fine though, and she's not thrown up anything at all, so not sure what to make of it really. She hates going in the car, another trip to the vets is not gonna do much for her stress levels!

One other thing, when she first came, her food portions were bigger (to fatten her up a bit) but she is a bit chunky now so I hyad reduced the portions, do you think that could be a stress factor? She is pretty food obsessed still and I'm just worried that if I feed her so much that she actually leaves stuff, she won't be able to move after three days! :) I am tempted to try it though and then start to cut the rations more slowly...good idea??

I think the suggestion of making a big batch with all the essentials in it and then split it up from there sounds like a very good idea. I can freeze it in daily portions then and just defrost as needed to keep it all fresh.
I have been finding it very hard to figure out what to give her in what proportions, but that way at least if I know the overall big batch is well balanced, then I know eventually she'll have a bit of everything she needs.

I must admit, I don't think I've been getting the 80%,10%,5%&5% ratios right so far, so I'm going to have to work on that. Maybe that's part of the licking problem too, if she was getting too much/little of something. I think she's been short changed on the muscle meat a little, but she has had some liver and heart and quite a bit of bone really (but digestion is still fine, so assume it wasn't too much).
I think a big shopping trip after work will be called for today!
 

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I can post my full recipe, which is still getting tweaked as time goes on. I started with the recipe on Catinfo.org, but it was not appropriate for dogs (since it was only chicken), so I have been working to get a recipe that works for both species. Like I said, I'm still fine tuning it, though so far everyone seems healthy on it.

First I take the 10 lb bag of chicken leg quarters (30% bone) and pull as much skin and meat off the bones as I can, cutting the thigh, drumstick, and spine so it is three separate bones. I discard all of the drumstick bones, leaving me with about 20% bone (maybe a touch higher). I cut the remaining meat into little cubes, discarding a little of the skin when it is tough to cut (I'm lazy...). After the bones are frozen I grind those and mix them with about 30 fish oil pills dissolved in water.
Next I take a 10+lb pork shoulder (bone in), and pull the meat off that bone and cube that all up, making it so nothing is much bigger than 1 square inch since my pets like to take anything bigger than that and put it on my couch or rugs.
I use only beef liver and kidney for organs, 1lb of each which is about 5% and 5%. Chicken livers are higher in folate and iron, but beef livers are higher in copper, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin A, the first two by a LOT. It is also the only thing in the diet that has a significant amount of copper. The kidney is even higher in Vitamin B12, and makes up for the iron.
Then I throw in some beef heart (1lb or so), and some chicken gizzards and hearts (1lb or so). Sometimes I'll have something freezer burnt, some turkey I got on sale, or whatever else.
I do still add taurine, since that is not something that will cause problems in higher amounts, and I got a one year supply for likes $7, powered for easy scooping.
I also have been adding zinc, which is something you can add too much of. I did this whole calculation that is on a piece of paper so I know they are getting a safe amount, but I couldn't tell you what that was off the top of my head.
Additionally, I add vitamin E because the fish oil I use will deplete any that might naturally be found in the diet. Some fish oil has vitamin E already in it to prevent this though.

So basically: 2lbs of chicken bones, 7lbs of chicken meat w/skin, 10lbs of pork, 2lbs of organs, and 1-2lbs of extras. That comes out to an imperfect number that is close enough to 80%,10%,5%&5%. If I could afford it, I'd add another 5 lbs of beef and another 3 lbs of extras (plus up the organs to 1.5 lbs each) so I could leave the drumstick bone in, but I need a job and a second freezer before that will happen. A lot of commercial raw uses only liver (but supplements), and has a bone content closer to 15% too, and plenty of animals survive on that just fine.

I put 12 oz of mix into a 16 oz mason jar, which is good for 2 dogs and a cat per day (I have very small dogs...). I simply put a jar from the freezer into the fridge every night and it is thawed in time for dinner by the next night. A kitchen scale is your best friend, really.

I don't know if anything I just wrote is really helpful, but that is how I do it. I know when I first started out it was great to read how other people made their food.

As for her wanting to eat all the time, if she was a stray then it might just be habit to constantly seek out food. Once she knows that she will always be fed she might calm down a little. Also, are you sure all the worms are gone? It sounds like it if she has gained weight, but it might not hurt to double check that.
 

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She is pretty food obsessed still and I'm just worried that if I feed her so much that she actually leaves stuff, she won't be able to move after three days! :) I am tempted to try it though and then start to cut the rations more slowly...good idea??
I have just been going through this with my cat Sunny. He has only been on raw a week yesterday and the first few days I was wary of overloading his system so kept his servings at the recommended percentage. But he was still very hungry and would cry every time he saw me near the kitchen. I got advice from the forum to let him eat what he wanted and he would begin to self-regulate. That has indeed started to happen. He is now leaving a piece or two of meat behind and walking away. Sometimes he will go back within a short time (15 min. or so) and finish it, but sometimes he won't. Either way though he is very satisfied and doesn't cry for food between meals.

I do have to say though that he is a bit underweight so I wasn't worried about him gaining weight, and actually wanted him to. It could be an entirely different story for your cat.
 

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Thanks very much for that! You are absolutely right, having some recipes as a starting point is very, very helpful indeed. At first I must admit it felt a little daunting to take charge of this rather than just to go open a can for her. I'm glad I've taken the plunge though. Although I've maybe not been doing it really right so far, at least, thanks to the help and reassurance and info found here and on the sites recommended, I think I'm slowly heading in the right direction now.

With regards worms, I was given a spot on treatment shortly after I found her that was supposed to do worms and mites, but it didn't work for worms, so got tablets instead and they seemed to do the trick (no more worms in poop anyway). I have do give her a second round of the tablet treatment a month after the first, in two weeks now, so that should hopefully catch any that really were missed with the first one.
 

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Thanks Heather, maybe it is worth a try to give her loads for a while. It is a little heartbreaking when I feel like I'm being strick and having to say no when she seems to want some more food.
How long was it before your cat calmed down? I don't mind her having lots of food, but I just don't want her to get too fat though, that'll make loosing it again later ever harder I would imagine.
 

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It really only took him a few days to calm down and start walking away from the last couple of pieces. What I would do is give him his regular portion, then when he wanted more I would only give him a couple of pieces at a time until he walked away. That way he wouldn't be tempted to overeat when he really didn't need to just because he had a mound of food on his plate. Less waste that way also.

The best thing to do is to get a baby scale and track your cat's weight, probably weekly right now but at least every 2 wks. That way you will have an absolute handle on how her weight is changing. If it were me, I think I would feed her all she wanted for a month or so and see how she does weight-wise.

Meant to ask, how old is your cat and is she active or not?
 

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I think I might give that a try and see how we go. If she starts leaving some after a while and she realises there is no more food worry, she might even stop the excessive licking (if it was really stress related) It's worth a try anyway. I will def. keep an eye on her weight levels too though.
 

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Sorry forgot to answer you question: At first when she came all she did was eat and sleep (understandibly), but she now occassionally plays with her toys a little, but is still mostly just lazy really.
I'm not sure how old she is though. The vet thought no more than 5-6years old. I thought a bit younger, but it's tricky to say with stray cats I guess.
 
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