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Discussion Starter #1
Thank you guys for answering all my dietary questions as of late. I know I kept waffling back and forth and was rather uncertain and kept changing my mind.

*deep breath* After many many hours/days of research (seriously, I think I spent 50% of my vacation time over the holidays reading about cat food and nutrition) I've decided to try introducing raw into my cats' diets.

I did a lot of reading, and debated which direction to go. I think to start out, I'm going to do pre-made raw just to get them used to it and see how they fare. I'm still too nervous about making my own food and balancing everything correctly.

There's a local pet store that got some great reviews about helpful and knowledgeable staff, that carries Primal. I'm going to stop by there today and look at what they've got! It seems Primal also sells starter/transition packs, which is nice, so I can ease into this with as little difficulty as possible.

My current plan is to get them used to the raw and try feeding one raw meal and one canned meal a day for now. I'm hoping to eliminate kibble from their diet entirely or mostly but have been unsuccessful so far. Currently they get two small canned meals a day supplemented with a little kibble snack in the evenings, because I can't get them to eat as much canned as I'd like. Maybe they'll be more enthused with the raw than they are with the canned?

Anyway, heading out to the store now. Wish me luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Back from the store. Sadly the one I went to only sells Primal's dog line, no frozen raw for cats. But the owner actually referred me to the tiny pet store right across the street from my condo! Apparently they have a massive freezer of raw in the back.

I stopped in there and they were very very helpful. They actually gave me the primal starter pack for free and told me I could try that to see how it goes before deciding to buy any. That was very nice of them.

So I have a little portion of that defrosting in the fridge now! Depending on when it's done, my cats will get their first taste either tonight or tomorrow.

I am optimistic...Apollo and Athena, knowing they're not supposed to jump on the kitchen counters, were all over the counter while I was unpacking the food and transferring the portion to defrost into separate bags. I guess they thought something smelled good!
 

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It is great to hear that you have decided to try raw. I hope you will bee a big difference soon. I have tried Primal too. Other brands of pre-made raw I will suggest will be Rad Cats and Feline's Pride. Good Luck and keep us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The thing I am still fretting over is the inclusion of kibble.

I made an interesting discovery this weekend. We were at my parents' house overnight to do laundry, as we usually are on Saturdays, so I left kibble for the cats' breakfast since we wouldn't be home until the afternoon. I'm noticing that the more kibble Athena has, the softer and stinkier her stools are. So the less kibble I can feed her, the better. Her stools seem to firm up more during the week (when they get mostly canned food with only a little kibble as a snack) and then soften again after a weekend of more kibble.

But currently there's no way I can do raw (or even canned) when gone overnight, since I have to watch the cats to make sure they eat their own portions and one doesn't steal the others' food (whereas with a bowl of kibble they don't gobble it down, they just eat their fill slowly over time).

I keep reading so much mixed info on the safety of kibble with raw. Can I still feed the two together? Should there be a length of time allowed to digest kibble before they get another raw meal? Should I bother trying to keep them used to kibble during the week, or just reserve it for when I'm going to be gone during mealtime?
 

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:cool Welcome to the club - when you see how excited and happy your kitties get, you'll forget your initial feelings about raw feeding!

My husband jokes about 'sushi for kitties', and actually, he's sort of right - I do love sashimi and sushi, and what Gracie gets does seem rather similar, after all...

Keep us posted! :) Fran
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks!

Oh, another question. On Primal's website they say: "We recommend feeding raw foods in a stainless-steel bowl."

Their reasoning is plastic is porous and can potentially trap germs. I currently use plastic bowls for the cats. Do you think I should pick up some stainless steel ones?

And if I should, would it be alright to use the plastic bowls for a few days until I have a chance to get the metal ones?
 

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Congrats and welcome to the raw side, Saitenyo!

My recommendations/thoughts: As much as you can remove kibble from their diet, do so (don't worry about trying to keep them "used" to it for those rare occasions you feel you need to feed it); and don't fret yourself into a tizzy about the bowls. When you can get something other than plastic, go for it, but it doesn't have to be today or even tomorrow. In truth, cats are so well adapted to their raw diet that you'll be offended by the smell of the plastic bowls long before the "germs" can make your kitties sick. :wink

And I don't use stainless steel bowls for my cats, I use glass salad plates I bought from Target.

Congrats again!

AC
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Tonight I mixed 1/2 of a chicken and salmon primal nugget into each of their wet food portions.

It was a resounding success! Athena gobbled her food at a much more normal pace (usually she very slowly licks it and often leaves most of it behind).

Apollo ate around the canned food - he ate all of the Primal and left about half the canned! Clever cat.

I guess they certainly know what they want! I'm going to continue to go slow for the sake of Athena's delicate tummy, but I think transitioning to one full raw meal a day is going to be no problem at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oh dear.

Well the dry food restriction has not gone as well as the raw introduction so far. Since I let the cats eat their fill of the canned/raw mixture last night (and a little of the canned was left behind) I assumed it'd be fine to not pour them any dry. They'd eaten a lot and I didn't want to upset their tummies.

Apparently Apollo did not agree with this decision.

He went nuts last night. It was like when he was a little kitten, before we got Athena, and would get into trouble all the time. He was knocking stuff over, meowing and trilling constantly, and running all over the house. At first I thought he was just being playful, and ignored it and went to bed, but he woke me up at 5am with his craziness. I went into the living room to discover he had knocked over his dry food bowl in search of kibble.

He would not calm down until I poured him some kibble, which he nibbled on enthusiastically for a bit.

I'm not quite sure what to do about that. I need my sleep (so exhausted, got very little last night) and part of the original purpose of the dry food was to keep him satiated at night since he seems unwilling to go without something to snack on. I may have to keep some in there.
 

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Why not offer some dehydrated raw in the place of kibble? In that matter, why not replace all kibble with dehydrated raw? It's easy to leave out on weekends, more species appropriate and I bet Athena wont have tummy upset from it!

Stella & Chewys has a dehydrated option, ZiwiPeak is dehydrated little jerky like squares.

Also, my cats also get EXTREMEMLY hyper after meal times. I think your boys partially just hyper from the "raw zoomies". ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I've actually tried offering them ZiwiPeak before and they had no interest. I'll have to see if I can find Stella & Chewys or another brand.
 

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Here's a link. Now I know they dont seem to offer a "cat" brand, but I feed the dog ziwipeak (dry and wet) and because their other meals are all raw meat, I don't feel the need to worry about no extra taurine being added to the dog varieties (plus, they're cheaper).

Stella and Chewys Dandy Lamb Dinner for Dogs

My guys were a hard sell on he dry stuff too (after 3+yrs on raw) but eventually they will eat it like a snack. LOL The two kittens on the other hand, who've been raw for their entire lives, refuse! They're like.. okay... enough jokes, where's the real meat?

As an aside, we often leave our cats with dry ziwi down, and go away for 24hrs. They dont eat the dry ziwi, but are fine. We also have tiny dogs (think 3lbs) who are 'not supposed to go more than a few hours without eating because of sugar issues' (anyone who knows chihuahuas knows about this) but our dogs also can go 24hrs without eating and be fine. Sorry I wasn't paying attention, but do you leave for a whole weekend or just 24hrs? If it's just that, I would feel very comfortable putting down some canned before I left and just feeding when I got home. I even know people who leave raw meals out overnight and they do just fine. :)

Hope you can find a way that this works for you! It sucks having to try so much. :( Maybe contact Stella & Chewys and ask if they can send out samples? I know Ziwi sent me a TON and I have heard from others that Stellas sent them some samples. That way you wont have to buy and be stuck with it?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Usually I'm just gone for about 24 hours at most. Often less. I definitely have left can out overnight before so I'm comfortable with that, my main concern about leaving food out unsupervised is just making sure Athena eats, since she has a bad habit of walking away from her wet food and then Apollo just gobbles it up.

It's funny, when the dry is down he just nibbles at it, but when it's not down he goes nuts and acts like I've been starving him.
 

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Thanks!

Oh, another question. On Primal's website they say: "We recommend feeding raw foods in a stainless-steel bowl."

Their reasoning is plastic is porous and can potentially trap germs. I currently use plastic bowls for the cats. Do you think I should pick up some stainless steel ones?

And if I should, would it be alright to use the plastic bowls for a few days until I have a chance to get the metal ones?
I use the ceramic plate I used for dinner for my cats.
 

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Oh dear.

Well the dry food restriction has not gone as well as the raw introduction so far. Since I let the cats eat their fill of the canned/raw mixture last night (and a little of the canned was left behind) I assumed it'd be fine to not pour them any dry. They'd eaten a lot and I didn't want to upset their tummies.

Apparently Apollo did not agree with this decision.

He went nuts last night. It was like when he was a little kitten, before we got Athena, and would get into trouble all the time. He was knocking stuff over, meowing and trilling constantly, and running all over the house. At first I thought he was just being playful, and ignored it and went to bed, but he woke me up at 5am with his craziness. I went into the living room to discover he had knocked over his dry food bowl in search of kibble.

He would not calm down until I poured him some kibble, which he nibbled on enthusiastically for a bit.

I'm not quite sure what to do about that. I need my sleep (so exhausted, got very little last night) and part of the original purpose of the dry food was to keep him satiated at night since he seems unwilling to go without something to snack on. I may have to keep some in there.
Just like others had said, my cats become full of energy right after meal time, they run like lightening in the house, jump up and down the condo, chasing others around. I think that is normal.

I heard others saying because the amount of raw you are giving them will be much smaller than the amount of kibble, even raw will give them equal or more consumable nutrition, so the kitty will feel hungry at the beginning of the switch. Maybe this is what it is?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think I may try to do raw in the mornings instead of evenings just to be safe. Apollo is already so high-energy, that giving him a huge energy boost right before bed is probably a bad idea. XD Plus this way I can give him a kibble treat at night if I need to. I was doing night raw feedings since I don't want to be rushing preparing raw on the mornings I have to go into the office (usually once a week), but I suppose I can always offer them a can on those days instead if need be.

He doesn't even actually eat that much of his kibble in one sitting, so he clearly wasn't super hungry. I think he just...likes having it there.
 
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