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Discussion Starter #1
(First three paragraphs are all background, skip to the fourth for the question)
we got a kitten from rescue a few weeks ago and he overall has seemed pretty healthy - he eats like a st bernard, he's very playful (sits next to his toys and cries) and seems active, he's gaining weight and size rapidly (and isn't thin or fat), he's affectionate, etc.

The problem is, he's had awful diarrhea since we got him AND what was originally diagnosed as potentially a fungal infection. I figured the diarrhea wuold clear up after he got over the stress of a new home + changing his food from purina kitten chow to quality grain free wet foods but I did take him to the vet - he tested clean for parasites but they gave me a liquid that they said would sooth his intestines and clear out anything like coccidia and pills that just forced firmness - it was getting a little bit better for a while but my adult cat got really sick (kidney failure) and we stopped giving him the medicine after about a week.

The skin thing started as these yellow lumps of crust, the ointment the vet gave me makes the crust (and fur!) fall off and then those areas heal up and regrow fur, but he has new patches now on his belly. Scrappings haven't caused fungal growth at the vet yet and the vet suggested it might be allergies rather than a fungus.

Anyway, I decided to try him on raw food - I got a chicken thigh and cut it up and he LOVES that, also gave him the organs from a chicken (organic etc!) and he loved that too, sat there and gnawed on the heart and lungs very happily.

I got him some Nature's variety frozen raw food - chicken variety and he WILL NOT EAT IT! ARGH. I checked the date on the package andits good til Feb of next year so I know I got a newish batch, and this is a cat that will eat ANYTHING so far, including stealing food from us while we eat AND sneaking in over my shoulder, grabbing a piece of bacon from my burger and wolfing it down. He is NOT picky and he has been a very good eater so far.

Has anyone had a cat refuse to eat that food? I did notice it had a much stronger chicken-y smell than my raw cut up chicken and I wondered if it might be that I got a batch that was bad somehow but I wasn't sure if that smell was normal? He did eat about 1/3 a patty if I held up chunks for him to eat out of my fingers but after a few of those he was just done with it. I tried rolling some of the raw chicken up in it and he picked that out.

:? any ideas? I'd like to have him on raw food anyway (health issues not withstanding) and making my own isn't feasible right now. Again - I know some cats don't like switching food right away but he hasn't had a problem with any other changes (and i was giving him a few different things so his palate didn't get set on only eating one flavor).
 

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My cats are kinda picky about Nature's Variety. Have you tried smearing some canned food on it? I mash Apollo's Nature's Variety Rabbit up with some grain-free canned to encourage him to eat it. That usually does the trick. If you mix it really well, he won't be able to pick it out.

There are other raw brands you can try too. My cats eat a rotating variety of Nature's Variety and Primal, and they seem to like the Primal way more (sadly my store doesn't carry Primal Rabbit, so I have to use the NV version). Different flavors may be worth a shot too. Athena likes pretty much everything except Primal Turkey. Apollo likes Primal Chicken, but is picky about other Primal and NV flavors, so sometimes I have to mix a little canned into those.
 

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Your cats are so pretty!

I'm trying to stick to one meat so I can rule out allergies (Although who knows, maybe he'll be fine on raw and tis just the canned foods that aren't doing it for him) but I could try the primal, my local store carries a huge variety of foods so I have some options.

He's just been such a voracious and aggressive eater - I'm so surprised that he refuses to eat it.
 

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Nature's Variety contains sooooo many ingredients that aren't even remotely natural to a feline diet that I'm not surprised your kitten is rejecting it. I mean, really, when was the last time you saw a cat hunting Apples, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Ground Flaxseeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Dried Kelp, Apple Cider Vinegar, Parsley, Honey, Olive Oil, Blueberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Persimmons, Inulin, Rosemary, Sage, and Clove?

If you really want to rule out food allergies, then stick to one meat, not one meat and 20+ other ingredients, any of which could potentially trigger an allergic response. Feed chicken meat, bones, and organs. It's really not a big deal to feed raw using fresh meat, bones, and organs, and you can eliminate all of the species-inappropriate ingredients that he apparently doesn't like in the Nature's Variety.

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
*edit* Besides he was also eating TONS of canned foods with the same 'other' ingredients - like the Merrick foods tend to have more or less the same stuff - carrots and what not - and he liked it fine. So thats probably NOT the reason he's refusing it. */edit*

I don't \feel comfortable feeding just meat without making sure he gets appropriate amounts of vitamins and calcium and stuff and like I said - I can't make food right now. I have no space for a grinder and no where to store large quantities (which is also why I can't do one of the foods that I can't buy at the store because they seem to ship a lot at once).



So my options are commercially available raw food or commercially available canned food -- and I think raw is better than canned although, I was mixing some Before Grain 96% in his wet food rotation (which is meat + supplements supposedly). So I dunno - Raw with some veggies in it or cooked with not-veggies? I bought some of the nature's variety "instinct" canned as well but its just SO expensive and he eats a 5.5 oz can per day at 2 dollars a can. The before grain 96% is also more expensive than the nature's variety raw food actually. Those are 30 cents per patty at what, 4/day? So I mean it seemed like a better option all around but he was really really unhappy with it.

My local store had the Primal so I can try that, its the same basic mix as the nature's variety (95% meat 5% stuff)
 

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My dads cat REFUSED any ground pre-made raw. We tried ALL sorts. We were so sad, that he was going to be a hard sell.. then Dad gave him chunks. He snarfed them! So, we took this cue from him. He doesn't want GROUND raw (still refuses any ground meat to this day), he wanted CHUNKS!

I do see you saying you aren't ready to raw on your own yet, that is very unfortunate. Sometimes our kitties know what they want, and we as their slaves, must give it to them even if it is inconvenient. ;) My Dad and Raven are lucky I go over once every few months and cut up/portion his meals for atleast 60 days.

I was reading more (sorry, bad habit of skimming) and I notice you say you have no grinder. Why grind? My cats eat meat chunks, small bones, and organs. No grinding necessary. If you're insistant on having "suppliments" there are two very easy and important ones that some people use (although you do NOT need the first if you use raw meat/bone/organ).. 1. Taurine (bought easily and inexpensively at human health food stores) 2. Omegas (fish body oils) [can be bought as a liquid form or you can just add some canned or raw sardines/smelt/anchovies to his diet once or twice a week].
 

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For what it's worth, my girls also refused to eat Nature's Variety raw. I say "for what it's worth" because my girls are extremely picky. They also refuse raw and they refuse about 80% of all canned foods I offer them. They're even fussy about their treats! :?

If you're unable to feed raw all the time and are looking for an alternative, but are concerned about potential allergies or food sensitivities, why not try a limited ingredient food, such as Natural Balance green pea and duck.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My dads cat REFUSED any ground pre-made raw. We tried ALL sorts. We were so sad, that he was going to be a hard sell.. then Dad gave him chunks. He snarfed them! So, we took this cue from him. He doesn't want GROUND raw (still refuses any ground meat to this day), he wanted CHUNKS!

I do see you saying you aren't ready to raw on your own yet, that is very unfortunate. Sometimes our kitties know what they want, and we as their slaves, must give it to them even if it is inconvenient. ;) My Dad and Raven are lucky I go over once every few months and cut up/portion his meals for atleast 60 days.

I was reading more (sorry, bad habit of skimming) and I notice you say you have no grinder. Why grind? My cats eat meat chunks, small bones, and organs. No grinding necessary. If you're insistant on having "suppliments" there are two very easy and important ones that some people use (although you do NOT need the first if you use raw meat/bone/organ).. 1. Taurine (bought easily and inexpensively at human health food stores) 2. Omegas (fish body oils) [can be bought as a liquid form or you can just add some canned or raw sardines/smelt/anchovies to his diet once or twice a week].
But how much raw meat to bone to organ? Also.....

I've been pushing this food at him throughout the day (since earlier he was willing to eat a little if I fed it to him) and I think I figured it out.

he HATES the bone fragments, if he feels one on his tongue as he's licking a piece he'll just drop the whole piece. I sat and mashed through a patty with my fingers and pulled out the bone bits and he was willing to eat it. He didn't like ANY of the hard bits, even a piece that felt like soft bone or cartilage.

If I pull them all out he's happy to eat it and enjoys it. Obviously not a practical long term solution -- plus i'm worried if he's not eating the bone he won't get enough calcium. Thoughts?
 

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The basis of a prey model raw diet is 80% muscle meat (heart, roasts, breasts, thigh meat, tripe, gizzards, etc) - 10% bone - 5% liver - 5% other organs (kidney, eyes, testicles, ovaries, spleen).

If he isn't eating any bone, yes, that will cause major issues. The runs, and long-term deficiencies. However, I imagine there is still bone in the food.. just ground smaller. I hear a lot of cats don't like to eat those hard bits.. when my cats have bone it is encased in meaty meat.. so they crunch it just small enough to fit down the ol' food hole and away it goes. Infact, just the other day Jasper ate a whole frog leg whole! LOL Chewed twice but didn't cut it up, just chewed enough to break the bones and down the hatch! ;)
 

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Sometimes my cats spit out the bone pieces (although thankfully not often). However they do enjoy crunching whole bones, so perhaps prey model food could be the way to go for yours?

I understand the resistance, it's not been a viable option for me either, but thankfully mine do eat the premade and I've been able to supplement with what homemade I can get.

I should also note that I think Primal has a lower carbohydrate % than Nature's Variety. I prefer Primal over NV (and would feed no NV if I could get all the flavors I wanted of Primal, but my store doesn't sell many) and my cats seem to like it more too, so perhaps you'll have more luck with that? It still does contain vegetables but I think the extra filler ingredients are less than what's in the NV.
 
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