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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum, new to being a cat mummy and new to raw! :D I have read quite a few resources (feline-nutrition.org, catinfo.org, etc.) about the dangers of dry food and am in the midst of transitioning my 4 month old Aggie into a completely raw diet.

However, the amount of resources is really overwhelming, especially in terms of getting the right balance of nutrients. Some say grind, some say you don't need to, some say add supplements, some say it's fine not to as long as you get good variety. At the moment Aggie is eating a breakfast of 20g dry (yes, I know it's bad for the digestive system but we are in the middle of transition and eventually will replace with raw), lunch and dinner of about 60g of raw food. Total raw = 120g

The raw I am giving her consists of mostly muscle meat (chicken thigh and breast with a little skin), a little bit of crushed bone and a tiny bit of liver and heart. She has taken to it really well :) but I am worried that she is not getting all the nutrients she needs, which is especially important at her age. Since feeding her raw, (started about a week ago), her stools have been more loose as well so I've reduced the organ meats.

Anyone have any tips on how to sift through all this info and create a balanced diet for my kitten? I also live in a country where it's a little trickier to get supplements and raw mixes. Really really really appreciate any advice! Thanks in advance :D

(Here's a photo of my cutie patootie!)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I'm quite worried. Aggie hasn't eaten her dinner (last night) and breakfast (though finally ate the dry very reluctantly). She's also not been herself, bitey and scratch-y and not her usual calm loving self. The vet said it's the raw food (which I already predicted she'd say)... and I don't know what to do... I am very hesitant about putting her back on raw but if it's making her sick then I don't know what to do :( Please help
 

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Welcome to the forum, Aggie is so cute. I do not know much about raw, maybe someone else could help there. Have you tried to buy some wet higher end food?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your reply :)

Nope I've not yet tried, the good brands are quite pricey where I live but I need to check out the specific ones available. (Vet said I should try to put her back on dry just to stabilise her and gave me some probiotics for her diarreah)

Hopefully someone with more experience can advise re: raw?
 

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If she's not feeling herself it could be a number of things...but not the raw. IMO it's nonsensical for your vet to blame a behavior change on raw.

Since she's not being any help here's what I'd do.

- skip the kibbles today and tomorrow. Get some grain free canned food in a few flavors, if she's still not taking the raw you can sub in the canned.
- crush up some of the kibbles (hammers and food processors work equally well), then sprinkle some on her next raw meal. Set the food down and walk away, cats hate hovering when they're trying to eat.
- offer something she likes a lot: chicken heart, chunks of chicken breast, w/e she usually hoovers down.
- if that doesnt do it grind or chop whatever it is to small bits, add hot tap water and kibble dust.

Chances are her attitude is either unrelated (growth spurts can make grumpy kits), or is caused by hunger
as for the rest of it...IMO: chunks are better than ground, variety is KEY to raw feeding, and try not to over stress on it. My boys were both kittens when I switched them and i panicked at every little thing. Do your research and you'll do just fine. Kittens, as far as raw goes, are just smaller hungrier adults. There are no special mice for kittens to eat in the wild. ;)
 

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aggie is gorgeous! I've always wanted a cat that looks exactly like her and just can't ever find one. I would try a higher end wet, grain free food if she can't tolerate raw or won't eat it. chewy.com usually has much better prices than pet stores like petsmart/petco.
 

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I do not raw feed my cats yet, however I raw feed my dog.

- From what I've read, cats can be very picky about what raw meat they eat. Some won't touch expired (or even near-expired) meats, others won't eat certain types of meat (usually things they'd never eat in the wild, i.e. game meat), etc. Is the meat you're feeding fresh? What type of meat is it? Has she eaten this type of meat before? What temperature is the meat? A lot of cats will refuse to eat food unless it's room temp.

- I believe I read somewhere that cats may need minor supplements on a raw diet (dogs, on the other hand, never seem to). My pup has a slightly sensitive digestive system, so I supplement her food with daily chewable digestive enzyme supplements. They help with her digestion and also have the added benefit of being packed with other great vitamins and minerals. Sadly, they are only for dogs, but you can check out this, this, or even this. You could probably find other daily supplements there as well. But, beyond the Omega fatty acids (which, I believe, is what cats need extra doses of when they're on the raw diet? But don't quote me on this), I don't think you'll need to worry too much her not getting enough vitamins/minerals.

- Regarding her loose stools; too much MM (muscle meat) can cause loose stools as well. I imagine it's harder for a cat than it is a dog to eat more bone, but if it is the MM causing the loose stools, then a digestive supplement/enzyme should hopefully help with that in the meantime. At least until your kitty is ready to eat small bones by herself.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks very much for your help and thoughts Augustine, really appreciate it.

- So far I have been feeding her chicken (just started raw feeding about a week ago), with a combination of muscle meat, liver, heart and pounded soft bone. I take the meat out of the fridge to let it come to room temp before giving it to her. My worry is she might have caught a tummy bug from the raw, because although the meat was fresh for cooking, perhaps not for raw? Though I know cats are quite resilient to bacteria etc.

- I haven't added any supplements yet, as it is difficult to get a hold of those things where I live (SE Asia)... and am strongly considering getting some online but once again the prices with shipping are quite high for my budget

Thanks again!
 

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How long do you leave it sitting at out for it to get to room temperature? A quicker method is to put the meat in a little plastic bag, and then sit the bag in warm water.

I would also be trying to sub out the dry food for a good quality wet food. Dry food takes a long time to pass through the system, and raw food is very quick and I've read that feeding the two too close together can cause some issues, but I'm not sure if the one's you've mentioned are included.

Is Aggie itchy and scratching herself, or do you mean that she's scratching you? It could just be a growing up phase as well. Given that she's only 4 months old, raw food can give a cat more energy, but isn't going to make them misbehave. How long had raw been in her diet before the changes?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I leave it about 15-20 minutes out at room temperature. Thanks for the tip about the warm water/plastic bag :)

Yes, I think that would be the second best alternative, to feed some good quality (grain free) wet food. What do you feed your babies?

She is scratching me... but she also scratches herself, but that's been around since I got her and she's been checked for fleas/lice and is clear of them according to the vet. Well I started her on raw exactly a week ago, it wasn't until last night (so after 6 days) that I observed stools becoming very liquid and her avoidance to eating completely. Thanks Azerane :)
 

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I'm a canned/raw feeder. I suggest you always start kitties on canned before raw (like most people have already), that way when kitties have tummy issues like you are now, there is back-up food plan. For kittens, it's not always easy to say what's causing the loose stools, unfortunately. It could be due to the food changes, worms, parasites, stress, or something else. However, keep in mind that kittens also get dehydrated quickly, so it's really important that you keep an eye on her hydration status. Pinch the back of her neck and see how long it takes for her skin to naturally spring back. The longer it takes, the more serious the issue. Canned diet will help increase her moisture intake than kibble (if you've read catinfo.org, there's a ton of info about the cons of dry). If she's really dehydrated, you'll need to take her to the vet asap! Hopefully it's not to that extent.

If you're only feeding raw, and you've suddenly got a kitty with loose stools, I'd suspect it's too much organ meats that's causing it, not muscle meats (hearts are considered muscle, not organs). Adding more bone will help firm things up.

You can get quality grain-free canned foods from your local independent pet store if you're in North America. Brands I buy include: Nature's Variety Instinct, Merrick, Wild Calling, First Mate, Wellness, Tiki Cat (chicken flavors only, no fish). You can also add probiotics to the wet food during the transition stage to help prevent stomach issues, sometimes that helps cats, especially after deworming treatments or antibiotics mess up their normal gut flora.

Not really sure where you're located, so it's kind of hard to suggest things, but in general, there are 3 types of raw diet: Ground raw, like one from catinfo.org, then some prefer doing the prey model raw or frankenprey diet, and finally there's the whole prey diet. More info here:
To Grind or Not To Grind? - Feline Nutrition

The thing with raw feeding is, you have to do a lot of research, there's no easy way about it. Start feeding your kitty on canned, and take in all that info slowly. Take notes, weigh out the pros and cons of it all, including the fact that most conventional vets do not advocate it and will probably discourage doing so, partly due to the fact that some raw feeders do NOT know about balancing their pet's diet appropriately and can cause a lot of health issues, and because they themselves are uncomfortable and do not know much about it. Those websites you have mentioned have good information and are both pretty reliable sources regarding information on raw feeding. There are others, like BARF, too. :wink:
 

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Just realized in you're in SE Asia. Unfortunately, I've no clue to suggest food items available to you, though I'd expect American and Canadian brands to be expensive, if you find those brands I mentioned. :( I think it could be a challenge to find something not from Purina, Science Diet, or Royal Canin...

When you buy fresh meat, make sure you know it's from a good source (maybe a local farmer that doesn't use antibiotics, hormones, chemicals, and that these chickens/animals are healthy and not couped up, etc?) I'd also make sure to wash the chicken clean first at least, and then keep it in the freezer for maybe a week or two to kill off any possible parasites lingering. After that time period, you can slowly thaw the meat in the fridge (not outside on your kitchen counter). After it's completely thawed out, you'll have to work quickly to cut up small pieces of meat into bite sized pieces and place them back in the freezer in smaller containers so you can take out a few days worth at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
TabbCatt, thank you so much for your thoughts and advice, I really appreciate it :)

I checked my local pet store that carries imported food brands and we have - Wellness, Taste of the Wild, Halo and Merrick - for grain free raw food. While I have no problem with getting her some of this, the pocket says otherwise hehe :) For a 5.5 oz can it's about $3 more or less and that's a lot of money... I will be going today though just to take a look. (And yes, the majority of brands promoted by vets and available commercially/cheaply are Science Diet and Royal Canin :( - no no no!)

As for the raw I was feeding her, I would clean it and freeze right away but maybe I did the introduction too fast... Since the probiotics (which will be for the next 2 weeks), she seems a little better, she ate most of her dry food breakfast and stools were formed, which is a bit of relief for me! But I would eventually like to get her completely off dry, so hopefully introduce grain-free wet food when she is fully better.

Thanks also for the tip on taking things slow and assessing all the pros and cons. I might have dived in too fast.

Thank you!


EDIT: I pinched the back of her neck and it sprung back pretty quickly. I am trying to keep an eye on her water intake too as our climate is warm :p
 

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Yes, I think that would be the second best alternative, to feed some good quality (grain free) wet food. What do you feed your babies?
Currently I don't have any kitties, I've simply done way too much reading up on raw diets lately because it's what I want to feed when I next have a cat :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think what caused her to have a stomach upset was because I mixed raw with dry food. I didn't know how bad it was :( until I read people's posts on here...

She seems better now and her stools are more formed and firm. Also got a selection of grain-free wet for her to try, hopefully when she is more stable.


On a slightly different topic - do you guys get slack when you tell people you feed your cat raw? I just told a friend and he just flipped out, saying I could have KILLED her! It was a little upsetting to be honest.
 

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They wind up to give me slack....stops very fast when I ask them when the last time they seen an outdoor cat, feral cat, or wild feline of any type catch their prey, clean it to get parts of the meat, cook it or dehydrate it before eating. Did the cat start a fire to cook it? How many felines have they seen add some grains or veggies to their cooked/dehydrated foods? They usually get a thoughtful look, mutter something about me having a point, but make a face.
 

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Zuma,
That's a Great Link, and I really like Dr. Becker! I'm subscribed for her news letters!
I'll bet TC is too!:p
Sharon
 

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I tend to ask them something cute like "What do you think wild cats eat?" Or "Can you imagine a lion with a bowl of kibble? Or a chef deboning and cooking all their meals?"

Personally, I find that the combo of them holding and petting my super-healthy kitties and me making it a joke takes any tension down a bit. And then I tell them that my litter boxes don't ever smell ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wow thanks for all your replies! So glad I'm not the only one getting grief for raw feeding :) My friend was saying that the meat industry, especially chicken handling is so bad and should never be fed raw... Especially to a small domesticated animal. I explained that cats have a resilient digestive system and are able to protect themselves from things like salmonella - but to no avail, he was very very angry and condescending. Oh well. I guess some people will always have their opinions. Made me feel like a bad kitty mummy for a bit though! :(

1. Will be trying Aggie on wet food this week and hopefully adding with raw. Is a combination of wet/raw a complete balanced diet for cats?

2. Also, is it possible to do raw without additional supplements?


Thanks everyone! :D
 
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