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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone feed their cats a commercially prepared diet (canned wet) supplemented with raw?

The reason I ask is that my cats simply are not usually all that interested in food of any type for their morning meal. It's a challenge get to get them to eat all of their wet food (which they love) in the morning. We've been late for work almost every single day. :wink:

They've pretty much been turning their noses up at raw, unless I chop it up and mix it with their canned. Then they get REALLY excited about it and start horking it down. They even seem to like it a lot more than just plain canned.

My plan is to keep mixing the raw and wet and slowly add more raw and less wet. Once they are eating the raw without any wet, I'll slowly start increasing the chunk size until I'm feeding them either frankenprey or whole prey.

Is this a good plan? I know with dogs, some caution with mixing kibble and raw because of the different digestion rates of each food, but I am not sure if that applies to cats and wet food.
 

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I think it's fine as a way to transition fully to raw. :) Most people have to do it that way, esp. w/ older cats who are set in their ways. I don't think that feeding part raw and part canned FOREVER is a good idea, but transitionally it's fine.

Remember, too, that it takes time for cats to build up jaw strength to handle bone-in meat or even boneless. Kibble/canned-fed cats have NO jaw strength, really, so they're starting from scratch. My cats seemed completely worn out after a bone-in meal at first -- and it took them FOREVER. Now they can each do away w/ half a quail in 5 min. ;) They are STRONG!! But as with anything, it takes time and practice to build up that strength.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Okay, now I have a problem.

Ace has been on canned Hills Prescriptions/d, mixed with raw in the evening. This morning and again tonight he puked almost immediately after eating the s/d.

The SAME thing happened to Bogey when we tried to feed him the s/d (and also the c/d).

I need suggestions on what canned wet to feed while making the transition to raw. I'm concerned because Ace just had the bout with struvite crystals.... which is why he was on the s/d. He's been fine on it until today.
 

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What types of raw meat have you tried? Given that jaw strength is probably a factor, I would try chopping boneless meat into small pieces and offering that. Try searing it VERY quickly just to start w/ -- brings out flavor for cats used to over-flavored commercial foods.

That might be a better way to proceed than trying to mix in canned foods.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
hoofmaiden said:
What types of raw meat have you tried? Given that jaw strength is probably a factor, I would try chopping boneless meat into small pieces and offering that. Try searing it VERY quickly just to start w/ -- brings out flavor for cats used to over-flavored commercial foods.

That might be a better way to proceed than trying to mix in canned foods.
I've tried boneless turkey, bone in chicken, and boneless chicken. They will eat the turkey only if I mix in canned. The very first time I gave them chicken, they were like, "holy crap this is awesome!" and ate a fair bit of it (it was the same night the dogs switched to raw, so there was a whole lot of excitement in my house :lol:). Then Ace immediately puked when he was done. The next time I tried chicken, I gave them whole wings and they looked at me like I was nuts.

Perhaps they will be more enthusiastic about red meat? I will try that tonight. Alternatively, I was thinking of going with Halo to mix in... but it seems pretty darn vegetable heavy.

Or maybe I'll pick up some pinkies and see how they respond to them?
 

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Halo IMO is a bad food. Chicken *isn't* the first ingrediant after the process the dry food, its more like the 5th or 6th ingrediant. So then almost all the first ingrediants are fruits/veggies which are not good at all for cats!

I think Halo's wet food is pretty much full of veggies as well...

Mine love heart! I think their preferance is the bloodier meats as gross as that sounds to us humans.
 

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nikelodeon79 said:
I've tried boneless turkey, bone in chicken, and boneless chicken. They will eat the turkey only if I mix in canned. The very first time I gave them chicken, they were like, "holy crap this is awesome!" and ate a fair bit of it (it was the same night the dogs switched to raw, so there was a whole lot of excitement in my house :lol:). Then Ace immediately puked when he was done. The next time I tried chicken, I gave them whole wings and they looked at me like I was nuts.

Perhaps they will be more enthusiastic about red meat?
Honestly, it just doesn't sound as if you gave it much of a go (i.e., gave up or switched meats too soon). It does take time, esp. for cats. I wouldn't swap around lots of meats -- start w/ bone-in chicken and stick to that for a few weeks. I would try cornish game hen or quail, as the bones are more appropriately sized for cats. Cut a CGH in half and then each half into thirds. Offer each cat 1/3. If they don't eat it all, that's o.k. Take it away and if there's enough left, offer it next time. As long as they are eating something at each meal, that's all that matters. Of course, if one cat REFUSES to eat after 2 meals you will have to give him something else.

Try breaking up the bones in the CGH pieces w/ a hammer. Try searing it in a pan VERY quickly just to bring the flavor out (then cool and feed). Again, the main problems are always (1) lack of jaw strength and (2) unfamiliar taste/smell (b/c commercial food is SO unnaturally smelly). :)

Or maybe I'll pick up some pinkies and see how they respond to them?
Just get a few full-sized mice, thaw and cut in half (so they know what's in there). Most cats will eat those right up. PERFECT food. :)
 

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I fed half dry and half raw during the cat's transition, no problems. Obviously you don't want to do it for months upon months because the nutritional balance if off unless you are feeding balanced raw meals but for a while it's fine.

As for puking, if they eat too fast it can come right back up, perhaps try larger pieces so he has to take it slower (has to gnaw bits off) or just feed a little bit at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I won't be feeding any dry.... the urinary blockage scared me too badly. Even if dry wasn't 100% the cause... I firmly believe it at least contributed.

hoofmaiden, I read your post AFTER I got home from the store and fed the cats.

I picked up three "fuzzies" and three "hoppers." I also had cut up some beef into smallish pieces and had some Wellness canned at the ready.

I went into the bathroom (where the kitties are fed so the dogs aren't in their business) armed with these foods (minus the hoppers, saving those for tomorrow). Gave each cat a fuzzy and waited. Nothing. Tossed them around a bit (used a spoon... couldn't bring myself to touch them :lol: ) Ace smelled his, bit into it, and then got REALLY excited.

Bogey poked his around with a paw and then came and smelled the spoon as if to say, "okay, where's the _real_ food, mom?"

Ace finished his fuzzy and ate Bogey's too. I was so excited to see Ace so excited about eating mice (even baby ones) that I gave him the third.

Gave Bogey some beef and he ate it without hesitation. Ace got some, too. :D

Question: should I go ahead and start with the cornish game hens tomorrow? Or continue the mice trend with Ace and the beef trend with Bogey? (concerned about the latter... no bones in the beef). Or maybe try to encourage Bogey to eat mice by cutting them in half? I KNOW he's eaten them before, when he's caught and killed them (small shrew-like mice) in the garage. I sort of want to buy myself time to order some mice. They are ridiculously expensive at Petco. (On that note, what size mice should I be buying? Adults: but small adults? Medium? Large? My cats are both quite large).

Sorry if I'm confusing everyone. :oops:

Is it okay to feed mice as a staple? Maybe with the occasional CGH or other meat thrown in for variety's sake?

I had been afraid to try the tough love approach before because I thought it was dangerous for cats to miss meals....

Also... should I be concerned with adding taurine?

Final question: How long will it be before I will be able to bring myself to actually TOUCH the mice? :lol:
Thanks for all the help!
 

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oh no, I didn't expect you to feed dry, just meant that mixing with commercial food is fine.

As far as where to go next...that's up to you. If you want to make Ace a whole prey cat then stick with whole prey, if you want to be able to do both then start with both right off the bat or else he might get stuck on mice, they tend to prefer those. I do think you can feed mice as a staple but variety is better if you can get some other animals. I know people feed chicks, quail, rabbit, rats, guinea pigs, maybe some other stuff. The majority of the diet must be adult animals though. Or as you said you can do some franken-prey stuff for variety.

Cutting the mice may make Bogey more interested to definitely give it a try. Maybe if you just cut off a limb or something for him to try out and realize what it is before giving him a whole body.

I have no idea what size. Do you know the weight of the mice?

Tough love can be dangerous so make sure they continue to eat something. More than two days without food and you could end up with one sick kitty.

If you are feeding whole prey I don't think you'd need to worry about taurine but perhaps some whole prey feeders could chime in on that. I figure it's the natural diet so they'd be all set. If you want to be extra safe adding taurine can't hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Tried the hopper mice tonight. Bogey wasn't overly interested, even when I cut it open. Ace ate one, ate half of the second, and then took Bogey's mouse (Bogey left it and was rubbing against me begging for something else) and ate that one. He never went back to the 1/2 that was left of his second mouse. Not sure why he suddenly decided that one wasn't good anymore....

I offered the remaining 1/2 mouse and some beef later on in the evening. They ate the beef but left the mouse.
 

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Even in the wild, only starving cats eat the stomachs of their prey. My cats did exactly the same as yours, Nikelodeon79 - ate the whole mouse the first couple of times, ate only the first half there-after.

If you can bring yourself to do it, gut the mice before giving them to your cats. That will likely encourage them to eat the whole thing. It's disgusting, but it works. :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Y'know what, I bet that was it! I bet Ace got a mouthful of guts and was like, "I don't THINK so!"

I did leave the mouse out for him, though, and he eventually ate it..
 

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Just give them time. :) It's unfamiliar and not as smelly as commercial food, plus a LOT more work. They'll figure it out.

My cats eat the whole darn mouse. I've never had one leave the guts or anything else. Mice have very small stomachs and I doubt there's much in them (esp. b/c, sad as this is to think about, I'm sure they don't bother feeding them on the day they're going to euthanize them :().
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ace has started vomiting immediately after eating the canned Wellness, too. :( The vet wanted me to try dry c/d but I refused.

I can't find a good source for mice. Rodent Pro has ridiculously high shipping (close to $40) and there is a minimum $100 order from American Rodent. :( We just don't have $100 to spend right now.

Does anyone know of a company without a minimum order and with reasonable shipping charges? These companies seem geared towards selling to pet stores rather than individuals.

I also looked at the price of cornish game hens... it's $3-$4 per pound. I can get regular chicken for $1 per pound.. so it's bothering me that it costs so much for what are essentially little chickens. :(
 

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Well, you can look for a local pet store that sells reptiles/reptile supplies. They sell frozen rodents. But they get them from American Rodent and such places, so you'll be spending $1.50 for what you'd pay .50 for online. $100 worth of mice lasts one cat a LOOOOOONG time. It's well worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'll have to see if we're able to swing it next paycheck... and hopefully we'll be able to find the freezer space!

I noticed that the large hairless are a lot cheaper than the regular large adults. Is there a reason for this? Is it better to feed mice with or without hair?
 

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Don't know, but my gut feeling is that since hairless mice are highly abnormal I wouldn't do it -- seems to me that "whole prey" should mean the WHOLE thing, hair included. Prices there fluctuate a lot, as well -- next week the haired ones may be cheaper. Keep an eye out for their sales, as well!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Both cats ate all their cut up beef enthusiastically tonight, without the addition of canned food or other flavorizers. :)
 
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