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Discussion Starter #1
Although for awhile it will only be an occasional treat (having a new human baby born in a few months), I'm looking into feeding some raw as a treat for my kitties. I've never owned cats before this summer, so nutrition issues of cats are a new study for me here.

Smudge is just under 6 months, and Gandolf is just over 2. We gave them a treat tonight of raw steak (cut offs from the pieces we were making a meal out of - just didn't need as much as we had cut) - and they LOVED it of course! Growling at each other, hissing if they thought the other was too close to their new treasure. LOL! Scarfed the stuff really.

If only occasionally as a treat meal, would just heart meat or some raw chicken or steak be OK - main diet being good quality cat kibble and wet food combo (younger cat won't touch wet food yet for some unknown reason - working at solving that issue currently). What would you suggest?

Also, with safety being an issue dealing with germs, what is the best MAIN raw staple to feed that is likely to be eaten best and has the better nutritional value since it's not the main diet currently?

How also to introduce the diet to the cats?

How often should I feed raw if it's not going to be an every day/every meal plan, so as they will still eat their normal foods? I've read a few posts about cats that have refused other foods once the raw diet was started, and I dont want to worry about that.

How worrysome is it to feed raw and have the cats track the germs everywhere, as I will have a baby to worry about who could be severely affected by the germs if he encounters them? We don't live in a big appartment, so the cats will have access to the baby quite often (though never ever unsupervised until the child is much older!)

Thanks for your help - it is greatly appreciated!
 

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I feed raw as occasional treats right now too. I've never had a problem with them refusing their other foods, but I only feed the raw treats once a week if that (they are more likely to get a shrimp). My impression with raw is that you only allow them to eat it with supervision. Feed both cats on separate easily washable plates in your kitchen. As soon as they finish their food, wash/put the plates in the sink/dishwasher and sanitize the floor area with a clorox or lysol disinfecting wipe. Also, if you feed them at opposite ends of the kitchen they will be less likely to drag their food all over the place.

As far as nutrition, it really depends on their current diet. If raw is a large portion of a cat's diet, then it has to be properly balanced, possibly even adding vitamins/nutrients. If it is just a small treat here or there, I would suggest the usual "muscle" meats rather than dealing with organ meats. Some people also feed chicken wings for dental health, but that will require some built up jaw strength.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Another part of my question. :)

I happen to be the "mommy" of a wonderful CAG parrot and four darling boy ratties that love to play with Gandolf.... Yeah. Rats that love a cat, I know it's weird but it's true!

If and when I go most/all raw, I'd prefer whole prey when I can. Anyone have opinions on whether I can feed whole rats, mice, chicks, quail, etc to my kitties w/out them wondering if LIVE prey will be good to have on the menu? They are always supervised, and my CAG bites the cats (just a nip, never bleeding nips but firm enought to say to stop trying to get her to play)... Smudge also would like to play with the ratties but he won't play nicely - Gandolf plays nicely, mostly because he met them initially when they were nearly his size! Just some thoughts. :)

BTW, I have no issues with feeding freshly killed or frozen/thawed prey, including rats - have owned many many many pets, including snakes (from tiny to 12') and lizards and tarantulas that ate live/fresh killed/Frozen thawed feeders such as rats, mice, chicks, etc. I just don't want to donate my other pets to the diet, ya know? LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #4
SwimKris - thanks for the input. I'll have to talk to my husband about how he would want to get things set up for the raw feeds and such, and it makes sense to get things cleaned up right away of course. Currently they free-feed since they are so young, although that will be changing before the baby is born since they will be old enough.

My reasons for wondering about what's the healthiest options for the raw treats is because if I feed raw, I might as well feed the most nutriet-dense food I can. Canned food and kibble do lack many nutrients the raw food has, so it's a good way to give them some of that back.


Anyone have a thought about occasional fish feedings? Something that just crossed my mind, and that I'll be looking into the info of - good nutrition, and cats seem to like the flavor (seeing all the fish flavored foods available)... Low murcury fish of course would be the only options, but... Hmmm... For sure something to explore. :)
 

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I don't know from experience, but yes several members here feed what is called "fraken-prey" (whole or large chunks). I think the main thing is that you have to get baby animals where their bones won't be too hard, and you definitely won't want to do live prey because your cats could get hurt. As for the relationship between your cats and rats, I'm not sure if that would change or not. Try talking to "Auntiecrazy" or "Ownedbyacat." They both feed raw, and I bet they could answer a lot of your questions.

Oh, and fish should only be occasional because it is known to cause uti's/kidney damage (not sure of the exact reason).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Swimkris! :)

Next questions will be what size quail and chicks to buy, as I'm likely to want to use those for whole prey (not like my ratties, and I can get young enough w/out feathers). I think I'll start with chicken this weekend as I have a bunch frozen currently for dinners and can use that easily. ;)

Heh - I'm one to jump in wholeheartedly into something and become slightly OCD. :) We'll see what hubby says about it all - he seemed fine with feeding raw when I asked him.

For those who feed raw, what's the cost per week compared to feeding decent canned/kibble diets? That's gonna be another issue later if I want to go full time. If it's cost-prohibative, it will for sure be a treat-only situation unfortunately. They get good quality food now, but I can't just feed them the most expensive "perfect" foods out there - I have my family to feed too! :)
 
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