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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! My kitties and I are newbies to the raw food world and need some guidance. I apologize for asking questions I'm sure have been previously discussed, but I'm kind of burnt out on research right now!

Ok, so to see if this would work for us, I started out with a small package of Instincts IC Plus premix (felinefuture.com) recommended by CatNutrition.org. I mixed this with raw chicken chunks and have been feeding 1/4 cup once a day to each of my 2 cats. For their second meal they are each getting 3 oz of Wellness canned food - hoping to make the move to 100% raw but am taking it slow. So far so good.

This week I started experimenting with small pieces of bone-in chicken wings. My 13 yr old girl dove right in & munched away but my 3 yr old boy didn't know what to do with the bones. Hopefully that will change! I really don't want to grind meat and bones.

Here are my questions:
1. While I am doing 50% Wellness canned, will the meaty boneless chunks (without the Instincts premix) provide them with all the nutrients they need?
2. Is there any problem feeding the all raw with the Instincts IC premix and no raw bones - ever?
3. When we make it to 100% raw, if I stop using the premix and feed them a mixture of meaty chunks (w/10% liver and taurine supplement) how many times a week should they have raw bones and how much? And if my boy never eats the raw bones, what are some other options?
I4. I've poured over Dr. Lisa Pierson's site (catinfo.org) and she suggests to 3 lbs meat add 4 oz of liver, 2000 mg of taurine, 400 mg powdered Vit E, 100 mg Vit B and 2000 mg wild salmon oil. What are other's thoughts on this? Are the supplements necessary?

I'm obviously very concerned about them getting the correct amounts of bone, liver, taurine, etc. I'm also worried that if only one cat will eat raw bones, one will get too much calcium and the other not enough. I know this is right thing for my cats - one who is overweight with IBD and the other who has been hopitalized with struvite stones -but it's scary!

Thanks for reading and for your help. Sassy, Hugo & I really appreciate it.
 

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Elly said:
1. While I am doing 50% Wellness canned, will the meaty boneless chunks (without the Instincts premix) provide them with all the nutrients they need?
2. Is there any problem feeding the all raw with the Instincts IC premix and no raw bones - ever?
Yes. They need the bones, and these premix things are just a way for people to make money. Work to get off off the commercial stuff ASAP! If you're just using this to transition, fine, but I don't see a need for the premix thing. Just mix canned into the raw, gradually increasing the raw and decreasing the canned. Start offering bone-in stuff ASAP to get them thinking about it -- Cornish game hen quarters are a good way to start. Lots of food info here:

http://www.rawfedcats.org/practicalguide.htm
3. When we make it to 100% raw, if I stop using the premix and feed them a mixture of meaty chunks (w/10% liver and taurine supplement) how many times a week should they have raw bones and how much? And if my boy never eats the raw bones, what are some other options?
He will. It can take a little time, but keep at it. Remember that cats who are on commercial food have NEVER used their jaws as Mother Nature intended. They have no jaw strength, no muscles built up. Once the cats are eating smaller meaty chunks well, increase the size -- to the size of a mouse. Chewing apart larger chunks is not only great for the teeth but also strengthens the jaws and prepares the kitty for bone.

It took my cat Lincoln (age 11) 5 weeks to eat bone well. That's not too bad. Took Calvin (age 6) about 3 weeks.
I4. I've poured over Dr. Lisa Pierson's site (catinfo.org) and she suggests to 3 lbs meat add 4 oz of liver, 2000 mg of taurine, 400 mg powdered Vit E, 100 mg Vit B and 2000 mg wild salmon oil. What are other's thoughts on this? Are the supplements necessary? [/quote
No. Add salmon oil at least a few times a week--making sure it has no soy added. You can add taurine if you like, but as long as you are feeding plenty of dark muscle meat (beef, venison, beef heart, dark chicken), your cat is getting more than enough. I do add taurine (sprinkled on top of beef or venison usually) a few X a week just to be safe and b/c it's easy and can't hurt. The other stuff is unecessary.

I like Dr. Lisa's site for the info it provides generally, but I don't recommend anyone follow her recipes. WAAAAAY too complicated, and unecessarily so. Just feed 80-85% meat, 5-10% bone, and 10% organ, half of which should be liver. Feed that over time, not daily. I feed mice 4-5 meals a week, which have bone in them, so I only feed bone-in chicken (Cornish game hen) 2-3 meals a week. All other meals are meatymeat, with liver and kidney added several times a week.

VOILA!! :) You're on the right track -- just don't make it more complicated than it needs to be. It isn't rocket science. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much for your response and the link. I did purchase the premix for the transition.

Please bear with me while I ask a few more questions. So are you saying that if I feed meats like chicken thighs I don't need to add heart or taurine? I have seen chicken gizzards and heart in the grocery store together (mostly gizzards, the package says). Would it be plausible to mix up a batch of meat w/10% liver & kidney and freeze in small portions? Could I add some taurine and salmon oil to the mix?

I'm still not clear on the amount of bone. I definietly think I am more of a 'frankenprey" person, so would a meal including meaty bones like twice a week suffice? Would a whole small fish be a good idea?

And yes I am overthinking it, but that's just me! Thanks again for sharing your insight and experience!
 

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Elly said:
Please bear with me while I ask a few more questions. So are you saying that if I feed meats like chicken thighs I don't need to add heart or taurine? I have seen chicken gizzards and heart in the grocery store together (mostly gizzards, the package says). Would it be plausible to mix up a batch of meat w/10% liver & kidney and freeze in small portions? Could I add some taurine and salmon oil to the mix?
When I hear "mix up a batch" that says to me that you're chopping stuff up. Once you've trainsitioned, you want to be giving big pieces, not little ones. Heart is a muscle, which is why it has a lot of taurine, but so does any dark muscle meat. Some taurine is lost in freezing, but not a lot. If you WANT to add taurine, that's fine. As I said, I sprinkle a little on myself a few times a week.
I'm still not clear on the amount of bone. I definietly think I am more of a 'frankenprey" person, so would a meal including meaty bones like twice a week suffice? Would a whole small fish be a good idea?
Yeah, I started off as a frankenprey person too. Actually, I'm vegan, so I started out as "OMG I CANNOT DO THIS 8O." And here I am now, feeding mice! B/c they ARE the perfect food for cats (and very high in taurine).

That said . . . Yes, if you give something like Cornish game hen quarters 4-5 meals a week (assuming you're feeding 2x a day), that would work out about right. I recommend CGHs (i.e., tiny chickens) instead of big chickens b/c you can give more of the bird at once (i.e., closer to whole prey) and the bones are more appropriately sized for cats. I also give bone-in rabbit chunks (http://www.hare-today.com). I find ordering some of the stuff online works for me, and it was esp. helpful in the beginning when I was freaking out about the meat department. Plus rabbit is hard to find.

Fish I would be careful of. Once a week tops. Too much can cause thiamine deficiency and can be problematic re: urinary tract issues.
 

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Elly said:
I4. I've poured over Dr. Lisa Pierson's site (catinfo.org) and she suggests to 3 lbs meat add 4 oz of liver, 2000 mg of taurine, 400 mg powdered Vit E, 100 mg Vit B and 2000 mg wild salmon oil. What are other's thoughts on this? Are the supplements necessary?
Dr lisa adds taurine because I don't she can find any hearts. I add taurine also. Vitamin E is usually added to all ground diets because it reduces oxidation to meat. Some will add a Vitamin B-complex for fear, at least what I have read, of commercially produced meat being low in the B vitamins. Though I personally analyzed my prey model diet using the USDA food nutrient database and found that it was sufficient, meet and exceeded the AAFCO minimum guidelines, in the b vitamins. Salmon oil is added for omega 3's.

IMO if you have a varied prey model diet, 80%meat 10%bones 10%organs(half liver), then the only supplements you need to add is taurine, if you can't find hearts, and salmon oil. She also adds egg yolks to her diet. You can feed yolks also. They are very healthy. Just not alot of them since they are fairly high in fat, about 26%. Since salmon oil is very fragile I would recommend adding it right before you feed it. I usually add taurine right before its fed also
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks again. You guys know your stuff - Hugo ate his first raw bone (chicken wing) today. I was very proud of him!

I've been looking at the hare-today site and it occurred to me I hadn't read much about feeding raw duck. I would think with all the dark meat it would be a good meat source. Have any of you had success feeding duck?
 

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Good question about the duck - I can let you know how mine like it in 2 days or so :lol:

I got a whole duck today, its frozen so I need to let it thaw and then I'll feed it. Hopefully they like it, if they don't it was on a huge sale :D Perfect size for my group - 5.5 lbs...thats about what I use in a day to feed all my cats (23 right now each night, I expect that number to rise as the weather gets worse again and more of them hang around).
 

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Perhaps the easiest way to figure out what you need to prep and feed per meal is to do the calculations first. How much does Hugo weigh?

Hugo's weight times 3% = how many ounces of food to give him each day. If he's over-weight or very active, you can make it 4%; if he's under-weight or a couch potato, you can use 2%. If he weighs 10 pounds, that's 3 ounces of food each day and if you feed him three times a day, that's one ounce per meal.

Multiple his daily amount by 7 to get his weekly amount. Keeping with a 10 pound Hugo, that gives us 21 ounces of food per week.

Multiply the 21 ounces as follows:
21 x 80% = 16.8 ounces of meat per week (note that for raw-feeding purposes, meat, fat, skin, sinew, connective tissue, heart, and gizzards are all considered muscle meat)
21 x 10% = 2.1 ounces of edible bone per week
21 x 5% = 1.05 ounces of both liver and some other secreting organ (kidney, brain, spleen, etc.)

Now, knowing how much to feed per meal and how much of each product Hugo needs each week, you can plan out a menu fairly easily.

My cats get fed three times a day. I feed three bone-in meals a week (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday) and two organ meals a week (Tuesday and Friday). All other meals are simply some type of chunked meat (chicken, turkey, beef, pork, heart, gizzards, etc.).

Hope this helps!
 

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Auntie Crazy, you have miscalculated a bit. In order to feed a 10 lb cat 3% of its body weight daily, you must first determine the cat's weight IN OUNCES by multiplying lbs X 16. So, a 10 lb cat weighs 160 oz. Then multiply 160 X .03 (3%) to get the number of OUNCES to feed the cat daily - in this case, 4.8 oz. Of that 4.8 oz, 80% (3.84 oz) should be muscle meat, 10% (.48 oz) bone, 5% (.24 oz) liver, and 5% (.24 oz) other secreting organ. In order to get weekly amounts of each element, multiply each daily figure by 7.

The way I was taught to determine a reasonable starting portion was to make these calculations based on the cat's ideal weight - not necessarily his current weight. So if your cat weighs 16 lbs but should weigh 12 lbs, make the calculations for a 12 lb cat, then monitor your cat's weight at 2 week intervals to make food portion adjustments as necessary.

Laurie
 

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laurief said:
Auntie Crazy, you have miscalculated a bit. In order to feed a 10 lb cat 3% of its body weight daily, you must first determine the cat's weight IN OUNCES by multiplying lbs X 16. So, a 10 lb cat weighs 160 oz. Then multiply 160 X .03 (3%) to get the number of OUNCES to feed the cat daily - in this case, 4.8 oz. Of that 4.8 oz, 80% (3.84 oz) should be muscle meat, 10% (.48 oz) bone, 5% (.24 oz) liver, and 5% (.24 oz) other secreting organ. In order to get weekly amounts of each element, multiply each daily figure by 7.Laurie
Oops, Laurie is correct. All of her calculations are exactly the same as mine, except I forgot to convert the original weight into ounces, which definitely changes the results.

Good catch, Laurie! I did my cat's initial calculations so long ago, I completely forgot about this step. :roll:

laurief said:
The way I was taught to determine a reasonable starting portion was to make these calculations based on the cat's ideal weight - not necessarily his current weight. So if your cat weighs 16 lbs but should weigh 12 lbs, make the calculations for a 12 lb cat, then monitor your cat's weight at 2 week intervals to make food portion adjustments as necessary.Laurie
I agree, but in a limited way. Someone who is new to raw should get the diet established before tweaking the numbers. I recommend picking a starting % as previously detailed (2%, 3% or 4% based on over/under-weight and activity level), get established, THEN adjust as necessary (as a general guideline, one should be able to feel a cat's ribs, but not actually see them).

Of course, as in so much else, there's no hard and fast rule in this. I'd just rather folks get comfortable with raw before they start reducing how much they feed, so I make my recommendations accordingly, that's all. :)
 

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chris10 said:
Dr lisa adds taurine because I don't she can find any hearts.
It's a common misconception (which I'm surprised Dr. Lisa shares) that the only way to get sufficient taurine is via heart meat. It's not. Heart is a muscle and muscle meat has the most taurine, but there are PLENTY of muscular parts of the body other than heart. If you never feed heart but feed plenty of red meat and dark poultry (legs, thighs), you'll be feeding plenty of taurine. Doesn't hurt to supplement it if you want to -- but it's not all about heart. ;)
 

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From what I understand, taurine is present in the largest quantities in muscles that do the most work. That's why the heart muscle contains the largest concentration of taurine; it's the hardest working muscle in the body. Leg muscles also are hard-working and have greater concentrations of taurine than other body muscles.

Taurine is destroyed by heat, which is why canned cat food is deficient in taurine (something I learned recently). Canned food is heat-sealed, and that heat destroys much of the taurine that is supplemented even after the cooking of commercial canned food. Homemade cooked pet food also loses taurine during the cooking process. I am less clear about whether or how much taurine is lost in raw foods that are ground and/or frozen. Because of this lack of clarity, I do supplement taurine in my cats' raw meals just to make sure that that critical nutritional base is covered.

Laurie
 

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laurief said:
Taurine is destroyed by heat, which is why canned cat food is deficient in taurine (something I learned recently). Canned food is heat-sealed, and that heat destroys much of the taurine that is supplemented even after the cooking of commercial canned food. Homemade cooked pet food also loses taurine during the cooking process. I am less clear about whether or how much taurine is lost in raw foods that are ground and/or frozen. Because of this lack of clarity, I do supplement taurine in my cats' raw meals just to make sure that that critical nutritional base is covered.
A a little is lost via freezing but not much. More is lost via grinding:

http://rawfed.com/myths/ground.html

Even if you feed plenty of muscle meat and whole prey, I think it's a good idea to sprinkle a little taurine powder on a few times a week just to be safe. :)
 

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hoofmaiden said:
I believe that processing meat can destroy taurine. But unfortunately this site, I think this site is a good starting point for people getting into raw, is only an opinion. And IMO can't really be used to prove a point. If it referenced any studies done, then it could be taken into consideration. The site owner should of used something like this to back up their info http://www.cfa.org/articles/health/role-of-diet.html It semi supports some of their claims.

"It is also possible that bacteria in the carcass of the ground rabbits or in the intestine of the cats broke down some of the taurine" winn feline

"that the proliferation of bacteria means a decrease in valuable nutrients like taurine" rawfed

rawfed.com essentially says bacteria will decrease taurine while this article written by,IMO, very knowledgeable people says its a possibility. "Vitamin E levels in our raw rabbit diet were low and this can cause the meat to lose taurine as it is processed and ground (Lambert et al., 2001). And I am sure there are more factors. I don't want to sound mean. Just wanted to point out solid arguments need solid info. I have been in many situations were my info that I was preaching was disregarded because of its validity. And they were right to do so because my info wasn't sufficiently backed up with reputable sources. We are all in the fight together. Hopefully we can have solid info to fight with.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
You've all been so helpful - thank you. From what most of you are saying it seems I don't have to worry about too much taurine, so sprinkling a capsule over their food once or twice a week should be fine. Same with the salmon oil.

I can easily get chicken liver in the store but I haven't seen kidneys or an other secreting organ. Is there any subsitute for the second organ?
 

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I have only been able to get kidneys through the local food co-op. Another good place to try would be the butcher; you could probably get some free stuff from them.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
update: the cats are wild about the raw food - they eat every drop. Here's a question - I am feeding Hugo 2-3 oz twice day. It seems like plenty of food for him but every time I'm in the kitchen he starts whining for food. Could he be hungry or is he so in love with this food that he just wants more?
 

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Sorry if you already mentioned it but how much does the cat weigh? that will be helpful in determining how much he needs to eat. The amount you mentioned sounds like enough for most cats but some cats will take more. Keep an eye on his weight (leaning more towards look and feel and not actual poundage, cats on raw may put on muscle which would cause weight increase but the cat would still look perfect if not better), that will tell you what you need to know.

Glad to hear the cats like it! Hope the success continues!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
He weighs 12 lbs and muscular but does have a little bit of a belly. As long as I'm not in the kitchen he behaves so I'm leaning towards thinking he just wants to eat for sake of eating. Hopefully he will adjust!
 

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The farm cats get differant amounts depending on the weather - at this point they are getting 4 oz each a day but it is fall and cold and damp.

They really try make you think they are starving. They will meow to you whenever you walk into the barn and keep meowing until you feed them. :lol: Then what they get they will eat extremelly fast (especially their boneless meals).
 
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