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Hi everyone. For the past year or so, I have been wanting to put my eight cats on a raw food diet. I've been doing a lot of research on it, and I really would like to do it. The only issue is that I don't have a meat grinder, nor am I able to afford one at the moment. Is it possible to make raw food for my cats without a meat grinder? I read on a few different websites that ground meat is no good to feed because of how much bacteria is in it, but is there any way? Any advice or recipes would be greatly appreciated.
 

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You don't even have to use preground meat, and really, I agree with those that do not recommend it because of the bacteria content. I only grind the bones in my food, and I chunk the rest of the meat into fairly bite sized portions (or larger, depending on how lazy I am feeling). Larger pieces are actually better for dental health, though they can make more of a mess if you cat likes to remove them from the bowl. Chunking the meat is also better because it will not deplete the taurine levels as much. I still strongly recommend adding more taurine as it is so essential to a cat's well being and you are never at risk of overdosing it. It is also very cheap. I got a one year supply for one cat for less than $10.

Of course with chunking the meat, a cat might be less likely to take to it right away. It really depends on your cats. Since you won't have a grinder, you won't be investing too much if they just don't like it though. You can try feeding them chunks of chicken to see how they like it before you even buy the bone meal if you are worried.

Catinfo.org does have a guide on adding bone meal for those that cannot or will not grind the bones for the diet. I would suggest starting with her recipe and making modifications from there. She uses a specific brand that she has calculated the bone amount for. As time goes on, you will find what works well for you and your cats and make modifications accordingly. I personally feed more red meat in my diet, as it contains certain nutrients and leaves a better coat on my cat than an all chicken diet.

Lastly, another option you might consider would be finding a local butcher shop. They might be willing to grind the bones for you, or even grind a whole mix for you, where you would only need to add the recommended supplements. This would be slightly different than the preground supermarket meat and more like you doing it yourself. Hopefully resulting in a lower bacteria load.
 

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You could try using things you might already have on had too, like a food processor. It may be able to mince small batches of meat one at a time. A hand crank grinder costs less than $35 on Amazon. It would pay for itself in savings.
 

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Its better for your cat to eat chunks (grinding actually breaks down some of the nutrients and reduces the quality, it is better for your cats teeth to chew chunks too).

Rather than trying to feed ground meat start by cutting meat into thin strips. catinfo.org has tons of info on how to switch to raw, it can all be applied to chunks as well as ground.
 

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I have a grinder, but I almost never use it while preparing my cats' and dogs' raw meals. In fact, I haven't used it for a few years. I just cut the meat, organs, and edible bones (I feed raw prey model) into appropriate sizes and portion them out. It's more time consuming that way, but it's nothing I can't handle (and I feed twice as many cats as you).

Laurie
 

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The problem for me, with not grinding the meat, was the supplements didn't mix in. More like they were a seasoning sitting on top of the meat/organ chunks. The cats would lick, trying to get the meat chunk in their mouth, but get a bad supplement taste. (I have some of the same issues even with ground meat, but I can understand the cats not wanting the not-ground.)
 

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I read on a few different websites that ground meat is no good to feed because of how much bacteria is in it,
If you don't completely thaw the meat (grind it semi-frozen), freeze it ASAP, and only thaw it again in order to feed it, bacteria should not be an issue. Also, keep in mind that cats have a much shorter digestive system than humans (and just about every other mammal for that matter), so they are not affected by salmonella as the hand-wringers against feeding raw would have you believe. Don't forget - they are the same people who think that vegetables and carbs have a place in a cat's diet (they DON'T!!).

That being said, cats do benefit more from eating chunked meat than all-ground.
 

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There is one proviso: do not grind the food. Grinding increases the surface area of the meat and thus exposes more of the "good stuff" to the air. This results in oxidation of taurine and a resultant decrease in overall taurine available to the cat. Additionally, grinding creates the perfect environment for bacteria growth, and bacteria also utilize the taurine in the meat, thereby further decreasing the total amount of taurine available to your cat. Thus, if you feed your cat a ground raw diet, it may not receive all the taurine it needs to thrive,
What About Cats?
I think I would steer clear of grinding .. if you need to add supplements .. put the chunks in a bowl, pour in the supplements, add a little olive oil or coconut oil, put a lid on, and shake them up.

Pet Nutrition - The Coconut Diet™
 

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I am interested in feeding raw - but I have bacteria concerns... If cats are not affected by salmonella, why do cats get sick from eating salmonella contaminated pet food that usually gets recalled? Can someone verify this?

Which meats/parts does one normally feed?
 

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Many times, the recalls are because the salmonella levels are increased to a point that is dangerous to people. Simply handling the food at that point can be very dangerous.

Cats have a shorter digestive tracts than us, therefore small amounts of bacteria don't have time to multiply in their gut and cause harm.


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