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Discussion Starter #1
Ha, I guess my title says it all. I am considering switching Agnes and Dexter onto raw diet but I would like to feed something in between Dr. Pierson's fresh ground recipe and prey model/frankenprey. I don't want to grind meat/purchase a grinder but I am also not confident in a ready availability of a variety of organ meats and don't feel confident with prey model unless I could provide at least pancreas along with kidney and liver, if not thymus and spleen as well.

Basically what I would try is using the same supplement slurry from Dr. Pierson's recipe but mixed with chunked, rather than ground meat and the addition of bone meal. Something like that with the addition of raw meaty bones a few times a week for the nutritional benefits of fresh bone as well as the dental benefits.

Anyone tried a raw style like this our have any thoughts to it's potential? Thanks.
 

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I basically do a rough 'frankenprey' model diet. Initially, I was shopping for all the meat myself and feeding primarily chunks of meat and organs I bought at the local asian market. Before I started I visited the market a few times and saw what they had available generally, rarely, and only by request.

I'd suggest you start with that, because it'll give you an idea of what you can get locally - and you might be surprised! Also, since cats are so small a pig spleen or kidney will last quite a while. They don't need much of it at all - so you can just buy one when you see it, then freeze it in smaller portions and take a bit out once a week or so. It'll last quite a while that way.

Before you plan to use bone meal try for actual bones. Bone meal is made using quite a few chemicals, and (I believe) is cooked during the process. Since it's also ground it isn't dangerous, but raw bones will be much better nutritionally speaking and it's really simply to get kittens chomping them down with very little trouble. I started feeding raw when Muffin was 4 months, within a month he was chowing down on chicken wings very happily - with no help from me!

Currently I feed an odd diet, lol. I was lucky enough to live in the delivery zone of a local family owned small business that makes raw food for pets. They started out making food for local police dogs, and branched out. Their business has grown a LOT since I started buying from them nearly 5 years ago, and I'm very lucky to be able to buy from them. They offer a wide range of meat, ground and unground, along with pure organs, and mixes that also have veggies and organs already in. This includes some whole ground animals - filling the need for odd organs nicely.

If you can't find the 'weird stuff' you can also get around that by getting your kittens used to some whole prey meals. TBH I chickened out on starting my boys on whole prey until it was too late - now both will lick and play with whole mice, but simply don't see it as food. Remedying that is on my (long, lol) 'To Do' list...but it'll take WAY more effort now than it would have if I'd started them on it right away. Kittens are very adaptable!

I'd try going to a local pet store (more expensive), or contacting a local reptile fanciers group to ask about who supplies feeder mice (probably cheaper). You can get frozen mice from either source and I'd start encouraging your kits to eat them ASAP! That way you wouldn't have to worry about sourcing odd organs, you could just feed each kit a mouse once a week. Done.

IMO there's really no need to get a grinder. It's better for your cats to eat chunks, it's easier, and it's much closer to what they were designed to eat. It's nice to have the option sometimes, but you can get good quality ground meat from a local butcher you trust for those occasions...or contact anyone you know who hunts. Kitties DO like game meats, if you get them used to it. All four of my cats go nuts for moose, elk, deer, bison, etc. They don't get it often, but they LOVE it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Library chick how often do you offer bone in (rmb) vs boneless? And what types of bone in meals would you offer besides whole prey? Chicken wing tips? Chicken necks? And lastly what, if any supplements do you use? I already have offered Agnes a few chunks of raw chicken for a treat and she goes crazy for it so I am feeling hopeful about it's potential.
 

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Don't just do wingtips, you'd be amazed what they can chomp down at what age, lol. You want them trying to chew it, even at their age. Split wings between the two big pieces and just let them at it :)

You want to aim for 10% edible bone, so they'd get bone 5:7 days at least once.

Personally I don't supplement, I just make a point of buying a good amount of dark meats (heart, tongue, game meats) to ensure they get enough taurine, and making sure they get their organ varieties. Doran, Muffin and Jitzu have all had blood tested in the past 2 years and they are doing wonderfully. Jitzu sometimes gets glucosamine in the winter, but only if I notice she's feeling 'creaky' - so not often.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So I just offered them their first raw meal. I gave them each a quarter of a boneless chicken thigh and half of a chicken wing. They both ate the boneless thigh with no problem but they had trouble with the wing. Agnes had the fatter portion of the wing with the thicker bone and she stripped the meat off the bone but left the bone. Dexter had the thinner wing portion and he didn't touch it.

So is that ok for a first attempt? Did I give them too large of a portion? Maybe I should not have given the boneless meat together with the rmb because they filled up on the boneless stuff first. Any more tips on getting them to get into that bone? Maybe I should crack open the bones so they can smell the marrow.

I also got a couple frozen mice to try. I am going to offer them tomorrow. Any tips on those? My thoughts on offering them were: offering as is and see what they do, splitting them in half (ick), or dab a little canned food onto the mouse fur to get them started.

And as of now they are getting three meals a day. I am switching one meal to raw and hope to increase from there!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
They ate the mice! I put the mice to defrost in warm running water and then played with them with Da bird for twenty minutes (to whip them onto a predatory state I hoped.) Then I took the defrosted mice and cut open their bellies a little and saved a teaspoon of canned food on top. Agnes snatched her mouse off the counter and preceded to bat it around and kick it. I set Dexter's mouse down and he growled and hissed at Agnes then took his mouse under the table and got down to business! When he was finished he went and tried to steal Agnes' mouse! I had to put him into his room at that point. Agnes finally got the picture and chowed down on her mouse!

Is it weird that I am proud of them? I feel a strange sense.of pride for their natural carnivorous instinct. I am glad though that the mice were already dead!
 

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Nope! You just sound like a proud pet parent!!
And I think other's have toyed with the idea of feeding their cats frozen mice!
So maybe, you've ended up being the tester!!:p:D
Sharon
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Progress/questions on bone consumption

So I have been offering my two about half raw for about a week now. In the morning I am offering half a chicken wing to each cat, at the midday feeding some boneless chicken with some canned food, and in the evening just canned. Next week I am going to two full meals of raw and one of canned.

But I am having a bit of a struggle with the bone, especially with Agnes. Dexter usually eats all of the meat of his wing and some of the bone, which I think is great. Agnes hasn't eaten the bone more than a few times. I try and give her the thin portion of the wing but she still is gnawing the meat off and leaving the bone, which worries me a little. I know it is a process but still. I am thinking about buying some Cornish hens and breaking them down to offer instead of the chicken. Does anyone offer Cornish hens? My thinking is that the bones will be slimmer and easier to munch.

Any other advice for getting her to eat the bone? Am I just being unrealistic about the time frame that she will pick it up in?

The week after next they are going full out. I was thinking of doing chicken, Turkey, Cornish hens, beef, mice and sardines (canned in water). With bone sources from chicken, Cornish hens, and mice. Organ sources from beef and mice. I am just worried about getting Agnes to get into those bones.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I will try the hammer thing tomorrow morning. I think tomorrow is my last wing so if that doesn't work I will look for the ribs (do you buy as breast with rib attached? ) as well as Cornish hens. I am going to pick up the sardines as well and I understand they are bone in as well but have a low meat to bone ratio.

Thanks!
 

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My kitties get Cornish hens sometimes, they do have an easier time with those bones. If your guys are chomping bones at all at this point you're doing well. Add to that the successful mouse meals and they're doing wonderfully :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Success with the chicken ribs and breast! They both ate the bone! What a relief. I still think that with the meat to bone ratio on chicken breasts they aren't quite getting what I want but hopefully this will be like a gateway bone. They are still getting canned too so I'm not worried about calcium deficiencies yet. Next week we are going full raw. I am going to do one meal a preground blend with the 80/10/10 ratio, that way I am more confident they are getting what they need, at least for a few weeks.
 

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Smaughunter,
Are you also still feeding the mice? Since mice have tiny bones, I think that's a good intro to bigger bones, like you find in the cornish game hens, quail, chicken, etc!
Sharon
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, I am still feeding the mice. I can only offer them once or twice a week though at 12 dollars for four. I need to start shopping around town! On the days they get the mice though it is a relief to know that they are getting everything they need in perfect proportions.
 

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Egads! $3.00 a piece? For frozen? It's $4.00 a piece for live ones...I can remember way back...when you could get mice for .50 cents each!:eek:
 

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You can get them cheaper, but you'll have to stop buying at the pet store. look up your local reptile club, or snake breeder, and see who they get their supply from. It's usually quite a lot cheaper than the ones at pet stores.
 

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Thanks Librarychick! That's a Great idea!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the tip. I don't think we have a reptile club per say but I do know we have a reptile community. I know a few people who may know some people as spiders and reptiles are like venn diagrams.
 

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If you've got a big freezer, you could order it in bulk from online sources like rodentpro.com as well, or order them with other reptile pet owners, too. They currently have pinkies/mice/rat sale going on, but it's shipping is what makes it super pricey. So, the more you order in bulk, the more you'll save. Perhaps finding one or two other people in the reptile community and in your area could help curb costs? I'm sure reptile owners probably are more informed about ordering and pricing on food.

Good luck, I'm glad your kitties are adjusting well on their raw diet, too.
 
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