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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I am actively researching raw food diets for cats. We do not have any cats yet but plan on getting 2 in about a year. In the meantime, I am researching raw food diets for cats - a new topic for me. (I grew up with dogs & cats most of my life and knew nothing about raw food diets.) What I am concerned with is the cost.

Question #1: Cost of Freeze-dried Raw Food
I am noticing the cost of freeze-dried raw is much higher than other options. For example, I have been looking at companies that provide packed freeze-dried raw foods like Smalls, Hare Today, and Stella & Chewy's. The cost of feeding 2 very active cats every month would be really expensive with their products.

Question #2: Quality of Raw Food (not freeze-dried)
Raw food that is not freeze-dried and comes prepackaged in bags or cans from companies like Open Farm, Blue Buffalo, Wellness, and Darwin's, is a much more affordable option. How does the quality compare to the more expensive, freeze-dried options? Are these products just as healthy?

Ultimately, I am trying to compare the monthly cost of purchasing pre-packaged raw food versus making my own raw food for cats. I am not sure if buying the meats and grinding them at home myself will be cheaper than buying the pre-packaged versions.

I am trying to create a budget for raw cat food, but really need feedback from people who have experience. Your feedback on how much you spend monthly on raw food for your cats, as well as whether you are purchasing the raw food or grinding the raw food yourself, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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I haven't fed my cats fully raw for many years. When I did, I had 5 cats and I didn't use commercial raw. I basically fed them franken prey. Some days they would get organs, others bone in cuts, and other days they would get eggs, fish, or more meaty cuts. I never grinded the food since it degraded the nutritional value of the food. After a short while, cats develop the jaw strength to eat through bone easily. Not huge bones like pork or cow bones, but they can tear through most chicken bones (except maybe thigh bones) without a problem. You just have to work them up to bigger bones starting with small ones first. There is a company called Hare Today They sell all kinds of ground whole animals with some more exotic animals like Alpaca, cavies, llamas, etc. They do whole prey or just certain cuts and they sell it ground in large sausage-like packaging. For me, that was a good starting point.

Thing about doing it on your own vs commercial is you need to feed a variety of meats, organs, fish, eggs, etc. to ensure you are meeting their nutritional needs. Commercial foods are generally balanced for this. I am not saying it can't be done, but you need to ensure you can source the variety necessary and have the freezer space. I actually had a whole chest freezer devoted to the cats and would butcher meats and place everything in pre-measured meals for the week to make it easy for myself. At the time, I lived near an Asian market, where it was easy to get organ meats most people don't buy (lungs, hearts, livers, kidneys, etc.) as well as chicken carcasses. They would place 2 carcasses, which were previously stripped of the breast, legs/thighs, heads, and wings. These would sell for a dollar, and I would quarter them. The back of the chicken has a good amount of meat and my cats loved eating the skin as well. So basically, I could feed 4 cats one meal with 1 carcass. I would buy about a dozen of these bags and store them in the freezer.

The other thing to consider is where to feed. When cats eat raw, their primal instincts really are drawn out. They snarl and chew and sometimes drag the food across the floor. You need to do it somewhere that the flooring can be easily disinfected. Because we had multiple cats, this was a bit more challenging, but I do think it's worth mentioning. I can say that while my cats were on raw, the vets were amazed at how soft their fur was, they never had any kidney or urinary issues, they were lean and had tons of energy, and their teeth were tartar-free. I only stopped feeding this way because we moved away from that specific neighborhood and the meat became much more difficult to source.

As far as pricing, I can't really help you because it's going to depend on a lot of variables. You will need to do your research to figure out what's best for you and springboard from there. I can tell you that some vets also will not be onboard with raw diets. I was told so many times I was going to kill my cats due to parasites. This is easily remedied by making sure that the meat is frozen solid for a few days and regular deworming.

Anyways, good luck and I hope you find this information helpful.
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