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After reading all the info on here and in the links, I have decided to switch to raw feeding. I am choosing to go with the chopped up (as opposed to ground) method, using the 80%/10%/5%/5% breakdown and providing a variety of different meat/organs (there's a vietnamese store nearby that has an abundance of different organs, quail, pigeon, and such). However, I am still unsure about a couple of things:

1. I've seen some people say that Omega 3 and fish oils are necessary and should be part of a regular diet (as in "pour a capsule of fish oil over the food on a regular basis"). Is this true? If it is necessary, how often should it be given, how much of it, and exactly what kind?

2. Some sources say you should definitely include fish. Not often, but the impression I got is about once a week. Is this true? If so, what kind is best? Some say you should feed smaller fish that the cat can eat whole, together with the bones, and some say feed pieces of big fish without bones. Opinions please.

Thanks everyone.
 

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You are lucky that you'll be able to feed quail and pigeon, I can't find any interesting stuff around here. I'm glad you've decided on raw, it's an awesome diet and I'm sure your cat(s) will thank you by being healthy and lively for a long time!

1. I've seen some people say that Omega 3 and fish oils are necessary and should be part of a regular diet (as in "pour a capsule of fish oil over the food on a regular basis"). Is this true? If it is necessary, how often should it be given, how much of it, and exactly what kind?
Unless you are getting your meats from a source that has grass fed animals you will need to supplement with fish oil (or fish as I'll get to in the next question). I have still never gotten a clear answer on how much and how often. Right now Willie is getting one capsule (which I cut open and squirt on the meat) of fish oil a day, whether or not that's enough I don't know but it's about what others I talk to are using. As far as what kind it doesn't matter too much, make sure it is simply fish (or salmon, sardine, whatever) oil and not cod liver oil. I suppose you'd want to avoid any products that say they add other stuff to their oil though.
2. Some sources say you should definitely include fish. Not often, but the impression I got is about once a week. Is this true? If so, what kind is best? Some say you should feed smaller fish that the cat can eat whole, together with the bones, and some say feed pieces of big fish without bones. Opinions please.
Fish is somewhat debated. There are possible issues associated with fish like heavy metal poisoning and I *believe* something in the fish can contribute to FLUTD or another urinary disease (I could be wrong). If you are using the fish body oil you do not NEED to feed fish. If you do choose to feed fish once a week is about right but stay away from large predatory fish like salmon and tuna, these are the fish with the most heavy metals. Stick to small fish like sardines and some smelts. You may feed these whole. I do not feed fish.

Have you begun introducing your cats to meat? Tell us how they do!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the help! That sounds very acceptable to me. I think I'll go the fish oil way and just feed an occasional little fishie as a treat. Are the bones in the fish a danger? Or they are able to deal with them fine? They're so small and pokey...

Yeah, I've been wanting to do this for a while, but didn't know enough about it. I thought you pretty much had to grind up the stuff and use supplements. When I hear supplements, I freak out and obsess that I'll definitely miss something. So, I've been holding off. After I looked into it more and realized I could do this "frankenprey" method, I was totally set on going raw. For me, the bottom line is no one can prepare the food for my kitty with more care and thought than myself. Even if the companies tried very hard to make the food good, it still goes through too much processing (in my opinion).

I have no idea whether Zaya (she's my only cat) will like this though. She's not really a picky eater, she loves any kind of wet food and some of human food (that she gets only a tiny bit of as a treat), but she's really cautious about new things. So far, I've gotten her to eat a small piece of chicken (with A LOT of convincing from me - "Zaya, look, it's tasty! Yum, yum. Mmmmm.. Yummy chicky" as I was sitting with her on the floor, sticking the chicken in her face and pretending that I was gonna eat it), and an egg. She also ate a few tiny bits of fish from my sashimi bowl. She seemed to like that, but I'm staying away from predator fish now. I got her to eat a tiny piece of beef too. But, again, with A LOT of convincing. That, I just batted around on the floor and pretended to eat it. She acted like she didn't care, but ended up eating it, very cautiously, after I walked away. So, I don't think this will be too hard, it will just take some time. I'm not even thinking about bones yet though. I plan to feed her some of her canned food to make up for the bones. I'll give the bones a try, but just knowing her, she'll probably be too confused by them - "This is food? Who are you trying to trick??" :lol:
 

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I buy the least expensive fish body oil gelcaps that I can find. When I feed the cats, I puncture a gelcap and squeeze 3-4 drops of fish oil over each cat's food once daily. I don't know if that's too much or not enough, but it's what seems reasonable to me. As the other poster warned, do NOT use fish liver oil (cod liver oil). Use fish body oil only.

I don't feed fish, either, but if I did, I don't think I'd do so more than once a month. There's the heavy metal issue, and then there's something in fish that inhibits the absorbtion of some other essential nutrient, and then there's the association of fish eating with urinary and/or thyroid problems, and then there's the possibility that your cat could become so addicted to fish that she refuses to eat other meat sources. All in all, fish just seems too potentially problematic to me. If you do choose to feed fish, though, make sure it is offered raw. Cooked bones become brittle and can cause internal damage. Raw bones are softer and more digestible and pose little risk of puncture.

Aside from fish body oil, the only other supplement I provide is taurine. Since taurine is so critical to the feline diet, I don't want to take a chance that the raw meat/bones/organs I'm feeding could be deficient in that particular amino acid. Chances are that the raw diet is providing enough taurine on its own, but I'm just more comfortable covering that base with a little supplemental sprinkle of taurine on their meat.

There are lots of tips and tricks you can use to convince your girl to try raw meat. You'll no doubt find that she has preferences and that those preferences may change a bit over time. My cats all LOVE the little liver piece they get each day, but I've read that other folks can't convince their cats to touch liver. My cats will also eat every other organ they've been offered (kidney, spleen, testicle, lung). They tend to be pickier about the muscle meats. A couple of my cats are rather finicky and may refuse one type of muscle meat or another depending on their moods du jour.

Variety is the key, both in terms of providing well balanced nutrition and in broadening your cat's palate so that she's willing to accept whatever you put on her plate.

Good luck!

Laurie
 

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If you can get him to eat bits of meat you are WELL ahead of my Neko lol, I don't think you'll have too much of a problem based on what you've described. I could be wrong of course but he sounds similar to the way my Willie was. He really liked cooked chicken so I fed him a meal of that, next meal I mixed in small chunks of raw which he ate and after that one small piece of cooked chicken to show him it was meal time and he'd eat the rest of the meal raw. He basically needed to know the raw stuff was FOOD and then he was fine.
 

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Congrats on coming over to the wild-side, wEngelw! :D

I don't feed fish, but I do drizzle salmon oil capsules over their food a couple of times a week (one 1000mg capsule per cat).

A trick I've learned to encourage a reluctant cat to chow down is sprinkling Whole Life freeze-dried 100% meat treats over the food. I have five cats and it has never failed to help the cat beat it's uncertainty.

Congrats again. Once you get your kitty on raw, you'll never look back. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, actually, she doesn't seem to like cooked chicken. I gave her a little piece yesterday and she sniffed it and walked away. I think I'll probably have to use her wet food to be the "filler" until she is fine with all raw. But, yeah, like your Willie, I think she just needs to figure out that it's food, and then she'll eat it no problem. :)

Auntie Crazy, I'll definitely keep the trick in mind if I'm having trouble convincing her. Thanks for the tip!

laurief, Is there ever a worry about them getting too much taurine? I am also paranoid about shorting her on something essential, but I'm just as paranoid about overdosing her on something. I've read other people post about the danger of too much vitamins A and D (I think?). Is taurine also something that may have a negative effect if there's too much?

Thanks everyone for all the info and support :D
 

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Taurine is water-soluble, so you can't overdose it.

Are you planning to feed her a raw diet, or a cooked diet? Cooking destroys many of the nutrients that make raw so beneficial. Some folks do put their cats on a cooked-food diet, but they have to supplement extensively to cover for the missing nutrients.
 

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Auntie, her mention of cooking was because I said that when i started transitioning Willie I started with cooked chicken because he liked it and recognized it as food. The OP is planning to do raw.

But yes as auntie said any taurine the cat does not need will dissolve and be peed out. Vitamin A (don't know about D but sure why not) can be overdosed. It is found in organs, liver has a lot of vitamin A. That is why liver and other organs only amount to about 10% of the diet. But don't worry, you'd REALLY have to feed a lot to OD the cat, as long as you just feed a small chunk once or twice a week you're safe.
 

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Lots of good info.

I would worry about this semi technical stuff I am about to write. IMO a few drops of oil and you will be fine. And as others have mentioned variety as much as you can.

Fatty acids are recommended to be fed in ratios. The general recommended range is 10:1 to 5:1 (omega6:eek:mega3). So, using the first number, for every part of omega 3 there needs to be 10 parts of omega 6.

Not sure how much exactly 5 grams of chicken fat is (after crunching some numbers it may be 1 teaspoon) but we will say that the raw pieces we feed has about 5 grams of fat attached. We may feed more or less fat but at 5 grams the numbers are easier to follow. 5 grams of fat has about 1.03 grams of omega 6 fatty acids. So with the common salmon gel cap being 1000mg (which equals 1 gram) you would just need to sprinkle 1/10th of it on.

For me, one gel cap last about two days between 4 cats at 2 drops in each dish. So a gel cap is roughly 16 drops. That means to have the 10:1 ratio you would need to add about 1.5 drops. To have the 5:1 ratio you would need to add 3.2 drops.

I haven't read anything about problems with giving cats large doses of fatty acids. Not sure what would be considered a large dose. IMO you will probably be okay with anywhere from 2-5 drops. If you go over its not a big deal as long as you are not doing it everyday. Feeding cats is not an exact science. If you stay close to the rough guidelines of the prey model diet IMO you kitty will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Great info! Thanks, chris. I sure had no idea how much omega6 is in 5 grams of chicken fat. Now I know! And where else would I find such info if not here? :D You guys really do your homework.

Yes, Siameseifuplz, you are exactly right. The cooked chicken comment was because of what you said about Willie.

One last question (well, at least for now :) ): What's a good way to prepare this? Is it ok to make one big batch (for like a week) and freeze it into small, one-day portions and then just thaw out before feeding? Also, I've seen some people say the meat should be frozen for at least three days prior to feeding to kill the bacteria. Is this true? How do you guys do this?

Thank you all again for your help! It's starting to look much simpler and not as daunting a task as I'd imagined :D
 

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wEngelw said:
And where else would I find such info if not here?
This site has just about everything a cat owner needs to know about feeding cats. Mainly just the basics and most of the time the basics are all you need. I over analysis a lot of things in feline nutrition. More than there really needs to be. But I feel it helps add to the foundation we already have. And helps others grow as they continue to learn about nutrition. Not saying everything I write is correct but it adds another opinion/perspective to the mix.

I think the best nutrition data we have available to us are these two sites. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ http://www.nutritiondata.com/ Both are pretty much the same just the first is a more official government site and the second is easier to understand. The first also lets you have better portion control, you are not limited to a few sizes.

If you can a monthly batch should be easier for you. A little extra work but you only have to do it once a month. Or every three weeks or two, whatever you have room for. Small one day portions are good. And thawing until slightly warm, I think technically its recommended to try and thaw until you reach mouse temp. Somewhere near a 100. But as long as its not cold they should eat it.

I know that its usually recommended to freeze pork for a certain amount of time. I don't think their is a time frame for any other meat.
 

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wEngelw said:
...One last question (well, at least for now :) ): What's a good way to prepare this? Is it ok to make one big batch (for like a week) and freeze it into small, one-day portions and then just thaw out before feeding? Also, I've seen some people say the meat should be frozen for at least three days prior to feeding to kill the bacteria. Is this true? How do you guys do this?

Thank you all again for your help! It's starting to look much simpler and not as daunting a task as I'd imagined :D
I bought a chest freezer just for my cat food. :lol: I buy and package food to feed five cats a month at a time.

As for freezing to be rid of bacteria... some folks are strict about it and others not so much. I freeze my cats' food but only because it would go bad otherwise. I don't track days in the freezer because, between a cat's unique digestive system and the rare instances of trichinosis (which is usually why freezing for a set period is recommended), I'm not concerned about harmful bacteria causing a problem.

I'm glad you're feeling more comfortable about feeding raw, wEngelw! It's really not as difficult as it may seem and it is sooooo much healthier for cats.
 

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Just to chime in, some of the commercial products are pretty easy to use, in my opinion.

We've been using Feline Instincts supplement powder as a base for Gracie's raw food - it has egg, taurine, calcium etc. - it has put my mind to ease about whether or not her diet includes exactly the right balance from one day to the next.

I usually roughly chop up the main meat (chicken thighs, turkey, whole quail which I found in a Mexican market in the freezer section (!)) and either add chicken liver or liver powder, and then freeze it in an ice tray. We've been giving her half raw and half canned (Evo 95% or By Nature Organics), and two pounds of meat lasts almost a month.

:) Fran
 

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Just to let you guys know that in my previous post, my ratios were challenge on another forum. So fyi my ratio's are from conventional vets, mainly from http://www.peteducation.com. I do feel they are starting to think outside the box on cat care and some of their views almost parallel ours. Unfortunately I can't find anything about what the ratios are in natural prey. And the person that challenged me just stated what her vet (with a nutritional degree) told her. Not to be rude to that person but its an unsupported challenge. So far out of the 5 vets with nutritional degrees I have either listen to or read their work. None of them have completely the same view of cat nutrition. My view is just to try and mimic prey as much as we can.

So I guess to sum it up. IMO it may be good to start it off at a 5:1 ratio. I don't think you can overdue it. But oils add calories. So in large amounts you may want to cut back on the fat a little.

Any thoughts?
 

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chris10 said:
So I guess to sum it up. IMO it may be good to start it off at a 5:1 ratio. I don't think you can overdue it. But oils add calories. So in large amounts you may want to cut back on the fat a little.

Any thoughts?
kinda off topic but would you say add more fat and fish oil in the winter for barn cats? It doesn't get cold here compared to other states the lowest in the typical winter is 15 degreesF. but i feel sorry for them, i work at a dairy farm in their calf barn and it is cold being out there for only 2-3 hours and can't imagine being them and have constant cold even though they do have shelter in the barn.
 

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IMO only if they seem underweight. But if you wanted to I don't think it will hurt. If they start gaining weight then you might want to cut back a little.
 

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Anytime you increase fat and/or oil in an animal's diet, you need to keep an eye out for loose stools and dial back the fats if diarrhea occurs.

Laurie
 
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