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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking about switching both of my 8 month old male cats to a raw diet. I am currently feeding them 6 ounces of Wellness canned food daily. I have done a little research on raw feeding. The problem is, I am on an extremely tight budget. I am an unemployed college student and having to make a lot of sacrifices myself just to give my cats the best life possible. I am aware that making raw food is cheaper than most high quality can foods, however, I discovered that in order to prepare the raw food you'd have to grind up the liver, meat and bones using a special grinder. I cannot afford that at the moment. Preparing the food sounds easy, gathering the supplements with water, combining liver, meat and bones, however I'm still confused as to whether it's absolutely necessary that I grind it up using that machine. So my next option which is a little more inconvenient and expensive would be to purchase Nature's Variety raw food. The reason why I say it's inconvenient for me is because a 3 lb bag lasts for 5 to 6 days only and every time it finishes, I'd have to go back to the lady's house and purchase more. Like every 5 to 6 days! That's weird. It's not even a business, it's a household. I don't even know the woman. I can't come with a large amount of money to buy the food in excess so yeah. Sucks. I will ultimately get a job but right now I'm too busy (sorry for going off-topic lol). This is the website http://www.barfershoppe.com/Nature%27s% ... 0Diets.htm. I'd be getting the chicken medallions 3 lb bag. My question is, if I decide to go with the pre-made raw food, all I have to do is take out the meat, defrost it and feed a certain amount to my cats right? No other additional supplements, grinding, etc. needed?

Or do you think I should just save myself the embarrassment of going to this stranger's house every 5 to 6 days and stick to the Wellness/Natural Balance/EVO that I'm feeding them right now? Orrrr is it really THAT necessary that I have to purchase a grinder in order to prepare my own raw diet?
 

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Don't bother with the grinder or any prepared raw food. It will get expensive fast, and is COMPLETELY unnecessary.

Bones (whole bones) are one of the great parts of a raw diet. One of the reasons that raw-fed cats have great teeth is because of the bones. I feed my guys chicken necks (nice small bones) or cornish hen (again, small bones). It is very satisfying to hear them crunching on bones!!

It will take some time for your cats to gain the jaw strength to work through meat, so get them acclimated to that before transitioning to bone.

There is a ton of information on this site, and many knowledgeable people. It's such a great thing to do for your cat (and a HUGE $$$ saver, I'm a poor grad student).

-BP
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hm, where can I get the bones? I have a lot of raw chicken bones and stuff in my freezer right now but that's not safe is it?

And btw the raw meat and bones I currently have in my freezer are from grocery stores.
 

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I get all my stuff from grocery stores. Usually there is a section that has all the "weird" stuff in it like liver, heart, kidney, fatty meat, etc. I know many people have luck getting things from the free section of Craigslist, or Asian markets, although I don't have experience with either. I think the CGH I have now were Perdue whole hens I got on sale. I just quartered them up, froze, and thawed them. I buy in bulk and freeze pretty much everything, and then thaw as needed.

I always feed bones with meat on them... think of like a rack of cornish game hen ribs, or small (maybe nickel in circumference) chicken necks. Lately my ET can go through CGH wings, but if I give him a thigh bone he will leave it. Be sure to supervise for the first few times you feed bones, but cats usually know what they are eating and handle it well and appropriately. Remember, raw bones are much less brittle than cooked bones.

-BP
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok thanks. I should continue feeding them the Wellness canned food in order for them to get all the supplements, correct? And then just give them the raw bones with meat as a dinner treat?

Also, it doesn't matter what type of bone (i.e chicken neck bone, chicken leg bone, etc.) the cat consumes right? I heard it's dangerous for them to consume chicken bones unless it's from the neck.
 

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I don't feed any supplements. You want to feed 80% muscle meat (which includes heart), 10% bone, and 10% organ. I don't really have a strict schedule but feed mostly non-bone muscle meat (chunks of chicken, pork, occasionally fish) and toss in a piece of kidney or liver every few days, same with bone. I feed three meals a day, and for a while I would feed 2 raw and then one EVO 95% canned. Now I don't do that (too expensive!) but I keep cans on hand in case I forget to thaw something.

I think of raw as something that is really "go big or go home." It doesn't give the cat any of the benefits of raw to feed them it on occasion or as a treat (although it certainly is not harmful). Just try feeding your cats some muscle meat (don't get hung up on bone yet) and see how they handle it. Both my cats took right away, but for some it takes some coaxing/trickery.

Edited to add that it does not matter where the bones come from, bones are bones. I think cats are a pretty good judge about what bones they can handle.

I'm pretty new to this (feeding raw about 5 months) so be sure to read old threads or monitor this as more experienced people respond.

-BP
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OK this is good. I'm glad I didn't go ahead and buy the Nature's Variety. So all I do is buy muscle meat and organs from the grocery store. I already have a lot of chicken and cow bones in my fridge which I will try to cut up into small pieces. I'm going to go ahead and feed the Wellness and EVO once a day just in case. I am so freaking excited! lol. I've wanted to do this for such a long time but thought you absolutely had to buy the meat from a special place. I'm glad the grocery store meat is fine because I have a whole bunch. All I need now is the organs and muscle meat. What's so great about this is that my cats are getting the optimum diet and I'm saving a lot of money at the same time. As far as how much to feed them, I will just feed them as much as they want. If they leave some then I will decrease the amount and if they finish it all I will add just a little more.
 

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Grocery store meat is likely much better than what is in the majority of cat foods, as it is human grade. The only thing is to make sure that the meat is not "enhanced" or seasoned with anything (especially salt).

And muscle meat = chicken breasts, pork, steak, anything non-bone or organ! Heart is considered muscle, and is an excellent food.

Keep us updated!

-BP
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just gave them some beef heart and they went insane! They ate it all up. Yay I'm excited!! I will slowly transition to the bones in a few days.
 

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Just wanted to say that cow bones are not usually safe for cats. Stick to chicken, rabbit, quail, cornish hens. Mine does best with chicken wings, chicken ribs and rabbit bones.

Just remember to feed about 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% other organ like kidney. Total should be about 2-3% of your cat's body weight. Look around the sub-forum and find as much info as you can!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Beef heart is fine though right? Because I'm having trouble finding chicken heart. For the bones I'll have to try the chicken wings. I found chicken liver and for the kidneys I'm going to a butcher today. I'm having trouble finding chicken heart though, hopefully the butcher can save some for me.

I'm still confused as to how much of each (meat/bone/organ) to feed them within a week? I heard too much liver can be bad for them so I'm giving them 2 to 3 pieces a week. And the bones I give them once in a while too. I need to do more research to find out the exact amounts. I don't even have a scale.
 

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catlady2010 said:
Beef heart is fine though right?
It's fine, but feed it in small quantities, esp to start. Some cats who aren't used to a raw diet yet will get loose stools on heart.
I'm still confused as to how much of each (meat/bone/organ) to feed them within a week? I heard too much liver can be bad for them so I'm giving them 2 to 3 pieces a week. And the bones I give them once in a while too. I need to do more research to find out the exact amounts. I don't even have a scale.
Cats need 80-85% meatymeat, 5-10% bone, and 10% organ (half of which must be liver). Some people make up individual meal packets to freeze that contain exactly that every meal. If you want to go that, go for it, but it's too much work for me and unecessary. The key is too feed the 80/10/10 OVER TIME (like over the course of a week). It’s a good idea to have a scale – at first you will use it all the time and eventually you’ll get used to what 3 oz looks like and you won’t bother. Mine was about $15 from Target. I balanced it w/ an empty kitty bowl on top so that when I weigh the bowl w/ the food I get only the food weight.

I VERY MUCH recommend that you peruse these websites carefully:

http://www.rawfedcats.org/

http://www.rawfed.com/

And I recommend joining this yahoo group: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/rawcat/

Here is an example of what my adult cats ate, each over the course of a few days last week (I feed a combination of “frankenprey” or prey model (combining parts of animals) and whole prey (mice):

Day 1 AM: ½ quail (similar to Cornish game hen quarter). PM: boneless venison steak + a little kidney
Day 2 AM: 1 mouse. PM: boneless pork + a little liver.
DAY 3 AM: quail half. PM: 1 mouse.
Day 4 AM: 1 mouse. PM: boneless beef.
Day 5: quail half. PM: boneless venison steak + a little liver.


Note that since I feed whole mice, my cats are getting organ from there as well, so I only toss in other organ every so often.

Too much liver is not good, no, but they MUST have it. I give a pinky-sized piece to my cats every 4th or 5th meal or so (fed 2X a day).

Hope that helps! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The beef heart is what I started them off with unfortunately since I couldn't find chicken hearts at the time (but will eventually). So, whether it's a beef heart or chicken heart, both should be fed in moderation? I have chicken breast, beef meat, and turkey meat, can I feed them that as part of their "meatymeat"? I will just make packets with some chicken wing bones, a small piece of liver or kidney and some muscle meat. I will try to follow the 80/10/10 formula as much as possible. I would do the frankenprey thing but I would be too confused. I mean, how does it work? You just give them muscle meat in the morning with a little liver and then some bone-in chicken for dinner? I'll just see which one works for me.

Ok well basically this is what I am giving them today, please let me know if I did the right thing or not:

AM: Some beef heart with a piece of chicken liver
PM: One whole cornish game hen which two of my cats will feed on (the bones in this are safe to eat right?)

What I'm still confused about is the fact that some people say they feed their cats liver 2 or 3 times a week only because too much is not good. However, isn't it OK to give them a nickel sized portion of liver for every meal?

I will continue doing research. I learn new things everyday! Thanks guys.

EDIT: Ok one more question, I really haven't had a problem with my cats leaving leftovers but if they do in the future, is it OK to refreeze the meat or should I just completely discard it?
 

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catlady2010 said:
The beef heart is what I started them off with unfortunately since I couldn't find chicken hearts at the time (but will eventually). So, whether it's a beef heart or chicken heart, both should be fed in moderation? I have chicken breast, beef meat, and turkey meat, can I feed them that as part of their "meatymeat"?
Feed in moderation esp. at first -- and feed heart as PART of a good meatymeat diet. You want variety as much as you can manage.

I feed the following: mice, quail, cornish game hen (tiny chickens), pork, beef, turkey, and venison.

I will just make packets with some chicken wing bones, a small piece of liver or kidney and some muscle meat. I will try to follow the 80/10/10 formula as much as possible. I would do the frankenprey thing but I would be too confused. I mean, how does it work? You just give them muscle meat in the morning with a little liver and then some bone-in chicken for dinner? I'll just see which one works for me.
Huh? You ARE doing frankenprey. That just means what you're doing -- not feeding whole prey. IMO the "complete meal in a packet" has a number of downsides, the main one being that you will not be feeding big enough pieces for good dental health. Cats need to chew and tear their food. I prefer feeding ½ quail and nothing else – that is WAY too much bone over time, but if the p.m. meal is meat ONLY, that balances out, and BOTH meals are large and complicated (1/2 quail and a BIG piece of venison or beef that they have to work at). The goal, once they have transitioned, is to make the meals as complicated and large as possible while not feeding too much.
AM: Some beef heart with a piece of chicken liver
PM: One whole cornish game hen which two of my cats will feed on (the bones in this are safe to eat right?)
Sounds good! I would HALF that CGH and feed the cats separately. If you just toss it down and let them share, there may be a fight and you can’t control how much each cat is getting. My 3 cats all eat in separate rooms.
What I'm still confused about is the fact that some people say they feed their cats liver 2 or 3 times a week only because too much is not good. However, isn't it OK to give them a nickel sized portion of liver for every meal?
Yup – that’s fine. It’s easier for me to give a little more less often. My cats also get mice, which have built-in liver. ;)
EDIT: Ok one more question, I really haven't had a problem with my cats leaving leftovers but if they do in the future, is it OK to refreeze the meat or should I just completely discard it?
If you have leftovers you’re feeding too much—reduce in future. I would probably just take that, put it in a baggie in the fridge and offer it for dinner that same day (or b-fast the next day) rather than refreezing.
 

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catlady2010 said:
What I'm still confused about is the fact that some people say they feed their cats liver 2 or 3 times a week only because too much is not good. However, isn't it OK to give them a nickel sized portion of liver for every meal?
I don't think I have posted this on this forum yet:

"A fair amount of people, including myself, are a little hesitant to feed large amounts of liver. What is considered a large amount will vary from person to person. So we will look at what it will take to O/D your cat on vitamin A.

The AAFCO recommends the maximum consumption of vitamin A to be 750,000IU's per kilogram of food on a dry matter basis. Liver has a dry matter basis of 23.54%

1 kilogram= 2.2lbs which is 23.54% of 9.35lbs. 9.35lbs equals 149.6oz of total food.

The average cat may eat 5oz of food a day. 149.6/5= about 30 days of food.
5oz of liver contains 15,731 IU's of Vitamin A. 15,731x30= 471,930IU's of vitamin A

If a cat ate nothing but liver for a month they would still be under the maximum amount. It would actually take 47 meals, at 5oz a meal, to reach 750,000. But the 47 meals would equal to about 14.68lbs of food. Which comes to about 1.5 kilograms converting it using liver DM.

So it seems, if my math is correct, that someone would really need to go out of their way to O/D a cat on vitamin A. Possibly feed nothing but liver and cod liver oil. Or maybe adding a vitamin A supplement along with liver. IMO feeding nothing but liver over a very long period time will O/D them.

In reality if you use the rough guidelines of the prey model diet you will be fine. Even if you go a little over. This was just show what it would take to reach those maximum levels."

IMO its hard to feed too much liver if your not trying to.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ah I see. I was really panicky about that. I guess I'll just try to measure as much as I possibly can and not worry about feeding too much as long as it's closest to the desired amount.
 

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HI Catlady-

I'm still a noob at feeding raw, but I read this thread and had a couple of comments:

About the chicken hearts - you said you were having trouble finding them. All of the grocery stores in my area package the hearts WITH chicken gizzards. The packages are usually stored right next to the chicken liver in the chicken section, so you may want to try looking there. The cats can eat the gizzards too - Dasher lurves his!!

Oh, by my calculations feeding raw is saving me 40-45% of what I was paying for Wellness wet food. I'm unemployed at the moment too, so that is definitely helpful.

More importantly, I can SEE that my boys are feeling healthier! Dasher (who is overweight) is actually getting the zoomies again since being on raw :) His coat is much softer now, and he has more energy. I caught him on the counter last night, and couldn't even get mad at him for jumping up there because I was so proud that he CAN jump up there again :D :luv

Not to mention, seeing them turn their little heads to the side and crunch thru those bones is soooooo satisfying. I still get a kick out of it lol. Dasher is shyer with the bones than Neko, but he will eat the ribs of CGH or chicken with no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I actually went to an asian supermarket today and found chicken hearts! :) I was so excited. I totally gave up on them until I finally decided to make a trip to the asian supermarket. I found SO many weird things there. I found shark (obviously this will be only a once in a while thing), lots of other seafood, quail, rabbit, duck, lamb and goat. Raw feeding is sooo cheap. Wellness and EVO were getting a little expensive for me. I actually found venison and elk from a local farm today too!

"Not to mention, seeing them turn their little heads to the side and crunch thru those bones is soooooo satisfying. I still get a kick out of it lol. Dasher is shyer with the bones than Neko, but he will eat the ribs of CGH or chicken with no problem."

Haha I LOVE to sit there and watch them while they eat their bones. I'm soo excited. I went on a crazy shopping spree, bought several different kinds of meat and it's just going to be really fun watching them eat it. I'm still a beginner and was feeding them chicken and beef all the time. Now I have a huge variety :)
 

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Oh, wow. It sounds like you brought home quite a haul!! 8) I will have to check out my Asian supermarket. Its like 3 mins from my house but I keep forgetting to go.

My daughter loves to watch them eat too. It has become normal in my house to hear her saying "Dasher come back and lick that blood!" LOL. My mom heard her on the phone once and was like :yikes

Let us know how they like all the new meats! Dasher seems to like beef the best so far. Neko likes gnawing on chicken legs. But I haven't found all the goodies you have yet. Your kittehs should lurve the chix hearts!!
 
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