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Discussion Starter #1
I am dipping my toe into a raw food diet for my 3 year old red tabby, Buster.

I decided the easiest way was to start him out on commercial frozen and chose the Primal brand because they are very local, manufactured in San Mateo, CA where we live. I bought the Primal Frozen Formula Beef and Salmon cubes.

Buster weighs 13 pounds which the vet has said is an optimum weight for him so I have been feeding Buster a 5.5 - 6 oz of wet canned food a day broken into two meals, one 4 AM (we are very early risers) and then again at 4 PM. At night he gets about 3/4 oz of Natures Balance dry food as a treat.

For the past week I have been giving him a 1/2 cube of the Primal formula mixed into canned wet food twice a day. So far he seems to have adjusted to it very well. No loose stools and he eats it up with no problem. Tomorrow I am going to increase the Primal to 1 full cube mixed into his wet food twice a day for another week with the plan to hopefully transition him to no canned food within another 2 weeks.

I know that Primal also has chubs, their frozen mix (w/ produce) chub and their frozen grind (w/o produce). Both state that they are for supplemental feeding only.

I am confused about how these chubs can be incorporated into his meal plan with the Primal cubes. How much and how often? Can someone give me an idea of what to do?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Kitty-the-Cat, thanks for the suggestion, I will keep that in mind. Hopefully someone will respond with information on using the Primal chubs.
 

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First off, I'm not trying to offend, but you should cut the dry food out of his life entirely :/ Cats don't "need" kibble at all, and if you're going to be shifting him to a raw diet, they don't even need the thin reasoning of "kibble is better for their teeth than canned". So for his overall health and longevity, wean him off any and all dry/kibble foods :{ Even as a treat. Kibble undeniably dehydrates a cat and this CAN lead to health issues later in life.

Plus, most dry foods are full of grains and grain by-products and a cat REALLY doesn't need those.

Primal has a LOT of unnecessary veggies in their mixes, and I would personally recommend a food with zero fruits/veggies/greens/grains etc., something like Feline's Pride or Rad Cat, but I understand your reasons for trying out Primal. (I recently transitioned my 14-year-old cat over to Feline's Pride.)

Now let's get to the "meat" (ha) of your concern -

If you look at the Grinds, for example, they are (mostly) organ meat and bone ONLY, which is why they are for "supplemental" feeding only - they do not contain enough muscle meat.

There are many sites out there that speak about a specific "percentage" ratio that a raw-fed cat should have -

-80% raw boneless meat. This includes primarily muscle meat but can also include things like fat and skin, along with any kind of connective tissue such as tendons, sinew, cartilage etc.
-10% raw edible sized meaty bones.
-5-10% squishy organ meats, with half that amount being liver.

Referenced from Practical Guide

So basically, the Grinds cannot be fed as a MAIN meal source, because they only fulfill ~20% of your cat's needs in a raw diet situation. The same goes for their Mixes with produce (which I have issues with as I mentioned before - does a cat NEED cilantro, broccoli, or blueberries?)

Looking at Primal's main formulas, they already include bone and organ meats at the proper ratios - we will reference the Beef here -

Beef 86%
Salmon 5%
Produce 8%
Organ Meat 9%
Bone 6%

So, it's already pretty close to "ideal", although the 80/10/10 ratio IS just a guideline and should be adjusted as your kitty needs. More bone can cause constipation, etc.

The 8% produce is way too high. This is taking away from the meats, organs, and bone he needs... 5% produce is about as high as it should be, if not 0%. But, of course, a raw or canned diet with produce is still better than any kibble diet!

But I digress... if you go by the ratios on the Beef formula, you should never actually HAVE to feed the Grinds or Mixes, as Buster is getting all the bone and organ meat he needs from the formulas themselves... if that makes sense.

I imagine the Mixes and Grinds could be given as treats, but it seems more like Primal manufactures them for people who need them to supplement a diet that lacks organ and bone, but I'm not sure there.

This is another issue entirely, but there does seem to be a growing trend out there that is stating that cats should NOT be fed fish regularly. There are various reasons - fish is low in calcium, consuming fish can lead to the inhibition of the body's use of B vitamins, fish can be contaminated with mercury, and fish deplete a cat's store of vitamin E. I don't want to scare you needlessly, but you may wish to switch Buster to one of Primal's non-fish formulas.

Here are some helpful sites:

RAW-DIET RELATED

Raw Fed Cats
Nutrition
Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition :: healthy cat diet, making cat food, litter box, cat food, cat nutrition, cat urinary tract health

DANGERS OF FISH

Eight strikes against fishy feeding | cat nutrition blog
Why Fish is Dangerous for Cats | Little Big Cat
Feeding Fish to Dogs or Cats is NOT Advisable



I hope that this helps somewhat :} Keep us updated on Buster's journey to raw-land!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi LakotaWolf,

Thanks for the very informational response. I wanted to specifically respond to a couple of the things you brought up:

No offense taken about your opinion about the dry food. I do plan on eventually weaning him off the dry food but for now since he is in a transitional period with the raw food, I am going to continue with the small amount that he has been getting. If I for some reason decide to keep him on the small amount he gets at night (3/4 ounce really is not much), I might just go ahead and switch over to Natures Balance Alpha which I think is grain free.

I am aware of the train of thought that produce/fruit in Primal is not necessary but for now, as I have said, I am transitioning Buster to a raw food diet and this is what I have selected at a starter food. I do plan to eventually switch back and forth between different brands so that he will not become dependent any one brand.

The rest of the information I will re-read carefully. There is much to digest there. Your suggestions and information you have provided have really been of help to me.

Buster and I both thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Question to Lakota's response:

One of the websites you recommended was Nutrition

While browsing through that website I found a supplement recipe and wondered if this could be used with the Primal Grind (has no vegetables) to make it a more balanced meal?meal

Here is a supplement recipe for five pounds of pre-ground meat/bones/organs:

  • 8 to 16 oz water, use 16 oz if your cats like it soupier, 8 oz if they like it firmer
  • 4 raw egg yolks
  • 4000 mg taurine
  • 4000 mg wild salmon or wild caught small fish oil
  • 800 IU Vitamin E (use dry form)
  • 200 mg Vitamin B Complex
  • 1 ½ tsp Lite Iodized Salt
  • 4 tsp psyllium husk powder (optional, mostly recommended when your cats are starting out on raw)
 

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Hmmmmm... that's a good question :/

Looking at the Grinds again... I'm not really sure how much "chicken" is actually in their Chicken Grind (for example) in terms of %. It lists Organ Meat at 11% and Bone ~10%, so it would stand to reason that normal chicken meat would make up the rest of the Grind that wasn't moisture.

Primal Pet Foods: Knowledgebase

I'm starting to feel like the only reason they're listing their Grinds and Mixes as "not a complete diet" is because they don't add supplements/vitamins to them...? It's a bit hard to tell!

I think, in the long run, it might be best to go with the Formula rather than trying to supplement and tailor their Grinds and Mixes. Even though the formula has 5% "produce", it's less confusing in terms of contents and balancing.

The recipe you listed is essentially what I use for my 14-year-old kitty, but I use a commercial pre-ground mix that comes unsupplemented. (I also use Feline's Pride on the days when my cat won't eat the homemade).
 

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I agree with all of LakotaWolf's initial response. Really good knowledge has been supplied there.

I know you're already thinking of transitioning to no dry in the future, but just to add my personal experience. I was feeding a small dry snack for mine. My larger cat was okay but my smaller cat was borderline pudgy even after I reduced the total caloric intake. Someone here suggested that I take out the dry entirely as it's mostly carbohydrates. That certainly did the trick and now she has a girlish figure complete with a nice, slim waist.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Once again, thank you Lakota Wolf and thank you Alpaca. I appreciate you taking your time and help me get a better understanding of how to handle Buster's transition to raw foods.

Right now I have increased his raw food consumption to 2 oz of Primal Formula with 1/2 oz of canned food in the morning and the same at night. We are cutting back the dry a couple of pieces every night. Doesn't sound like much to cut back but he was only getting about 3/4 oz of dry at night before this. Eventually he will be down to no dry.

Next week I will be taking him completely off the canned food and will be feeding him raw frozen only.

Right now I am just not able to afford the shipping costs on anything like Feline Pride and other well recommended mail order raw food suppliers, maybe some day I will experiment with prey model or franken prey feeding but for now I will continue with the likes of Primal raw foods that I can easily pickup at the nearest Pet Express.

I am also going to give the Primal Grind a try since it has no vegetables and will be using the supplement recipe I posted earlier to fortify it into a balanced meal. I am sure I am going to throw in some Rad Cat some days for variety and the occasional chicken hearts, giblets and livers.

I am hoping this is a good start to keeping Buster a happy and healthy cat!
 

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Glad to help. Yah, sometimes you have to take your own lifestyle into the equation. But good that you're doing all you can to provide Buster with healthier food.
 

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Question and then a comment:

Don't the cats need omega-3 fatty acids? I tend to feed kippered herring (maybe an ounce) several times a week for their omega-3 intake. I was told it's mercury content would be fairly low, and I assumed that if it was FDA approved for human consumption, the mercury content would be at a reasonable level. Is that correct thinking?

And now for my comment: I found a local meat market that butchers whole chickens, so when they have gizzards and hearts available, I buy them. My local grocery store also carries Tyson gizzards and hearts in their frozen meat section. I tend to use gizzards as my main source of muscle meat, I'm looking to expand the variety, but the price is reasonable and it's easy to get. The key for me is finding chicken hearts to get enough taurine into their diet. One of these days I'll buy a chest freezer so I can start buying in bulk…
 

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Matthias -

Gizzards aren't muscle meat. You shouldn't be feeding gizzards as the main (80%) component of a raw diet. Gizzards are organs.

If you're concerned about taurine intake, there are quite a few awesome powdered supplements available. You can literally just sprinkle it right onto the meat chunks!

https://www.hare-today.com/product_info.php?cPath=24&products_id=291

I'm honestly not trying to knock your diet plan, but kippered fish is really not appropriate for cats. It's way, WAY too salty for them. Also, it's highly preserved (smoked) usually, or pickled, which is also very inappropriate for cats. Honestly, if you're going to be feeding any fish at all (they don't need fish...), then stick to raw sardines.

In fact, it's way better to simply use a fish oil supplement to get Omega-3 into a cat. This will avoid all of the dangers of feeding fish to a cat.

Nature Made, Fish Oil, 1200 mg, 100 Liquid Softgels - iHerb.com
 
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