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Discussion Starter #1
How does feeding raw compare price-wise with a high-end dry/wet diet?

I'd be interested in feeding raw a couple times a week- because that's as much as I could afford. Is that okay for cat's systems?

It should be said that these are not just my cats, but my mom's as well. She takes care of them while I'm away at college 9mos of the year, and she would not be enthused with doing 100% raw, but I could possibly convince her to offer it a couple times a week.
 

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It depends a lot on where you live for the price of buying meat. Also it makes a differance if you can get free meat (off of craigslist etc).

It takes $10 a day for my 20 cats. However they are barn cats and it has stayed below freezing for about a week now. I think if they were house cats they'd be needing to eat half the amount they have to now to keep up body wieght. I do not get any free meat, I will once I can get a freezer of my own :)
 

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Its on average $0.50-1.50 per day to feed one cat. I can feed my four kitties for about $1.15 per day. Comparing to regular Innova feeding a 13oz can from a bulk buy case will cost around $0.65 to feed one cat a day.
 

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MUCH cheaper than canned. I spent a little under four dollars for 11 or 12 meals of chicken thigh. Obviously chicken is the cheapest meat but it's all still quite cheap compared to good wet food.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the replies guys.

At this point, the fact is that my mom will probably not switch to all raw. Maybe when she retires- she just can't warrant the time/complication of learning something new (yes yes, I know it can be easy and fast, but this is my mother, trust me.). Our cats are healthy on the dry/wet we have them on now. I might be able to convince her to do some raw chicken necks/legs, etc. a couple times a week.

Will that be okay for the kitties systems?
 

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A little is better than none, for sure! Just make sure that the rest of the diet is high-quality canned.

I get a lot of my meat for free, thanks to the ads I place on freecycle, Craigslist, etc. I often get venison, which is great meat (better than beef unless it's grass fed). B/c of the free stuff I get, I feed 3 dogs (2 of whom are 55#) and 3 cats for around $150 a month. And I order mice and other special stuff for the cats (not absolutely essential), which drives up my total.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I had never even heard of free meat until I came here- the world of feeding raw is generally new to me.

Do you have to pay particular attention to where you get the raw meat? Or would the occasional chicken wing/neck from costco be fine? I don't think my mom would be keen on giving more expensive beef or pork to the cats.
 

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imissmycats said:
Do you have to pay particular attention to where you get the raw meat? Or would the occasional chicken wing/neck from costco be fine? I don't think my mom would be keen on giving more expensive beef or pork to the cats.
You have to watch out for enhanced meat. This is most common in chicken and pork, and you'll see it more often in stuff that's sold frozen versus stuff sold "fresh." "Enhanced" means that broth (i.e., SALT) has been added to make it more flavorful for salt-addicted Americans. ;) If it says "broth added," "enhanced" with anything, or has more than 80 mg per serving (this will be on the label), DO NOT feed it to animals. The salt is no better for them than for us and can make them sick (diarrhea, vomiting, etc.). Many problems that newbie rawfeeders report can be traced back to enhanced meat.

One often inexpensive source of meat is Asian markets. Look for one in your area.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So you don't have to worry about salmonella or other bacteria/microbes in uncooked meat? As in, if it happens to be in the meat you give your cat, does it not affect them like it does us? (as so many places worry about undercooked meat)
 

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imissmycats said:
So you don't have to worry about salmonella or other bacteria/microbes in uncooked meat? As in, if it happens to be in the meat you give your cat, does it not affect them like it does us? (as so many places worry about undercooked meat).
Well, you're not a cat. ;) Cats are SUPPOSED to eat raw meat. So they have strong stomach acid and a very short GI tract in order to deal with bacteria, etc. More here:

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

http://www.rawfedcats.org/carnivores.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just thought I'd share a little update-

Posh has readily enjoyed a few small scraps (no more than a teaspoon) of pork. I'm still doing research about any dangers of raw food, so haven't really worked on integrating it yet. She won't touch beef. And enjoyed a little smoked salmon which probably wasn't the best for her in the world, but hey, it was Christmas.
Hallie, as I suspected, won't touch anything. I have, however, gotten her to eat several flavors of Natural Balance wet. And her coat is already getting less staticy! This was helped by putting both girls on a timed feed schedule.

I talked to my vet about doing raw and he said that he has had cats come in that got salmonella from raw food. I understand that he might be influenced by food companies, etc, but I'd love to know if you've heard any negatives about raw food.
I've seen a lot of positives, but I really like to be aware of things that could go wrong- I'm not saying that this will turn me off of rawfeeding, but I just want to be aware.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
hoofmaiden said:
Cats are SUPPOSED to eat raw meat. So they have strong stomach acid and a very short GI tract in order to deal with bacteria, etc.
In my layman's mind, I'd think that a shorter GI tract would not allow for as much digestion. How does it help?

Does the shorter GI tract have to do with why Cats cannot tolerate NSAID drugs?
 

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Just read through this, wanted to touch on a few things.

imissmycats said:
I talked to my vet about doing raw and he said th at he has had cats come in that got salmonella from raw food. I understand that he might be influenced by food companies, etc, but I'd love to know if you've heard any negatives about raw food.
Your vet is probably referring to a paper published in 2003 which is a case study of 2 cats that (allegedly) died from salmonellosis from their raw diet. The abstract is here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14736718. This paper has caused a lot of stir in the raw food world, but there's a couple points that are important to make, imo:

1) The cats were fed ground meat rather than whole. Ground meat, in general, is much more prone to bacteria growth (more surface area etc) and I feel like this makes a huge difference. This is why, for example, you can eat a steak rare but you HAVE to cook your hamburger well-done.
2) Assuming raw food is for sure the cause of their death, this is 2 cats that have died from salmonellosis... Out of how many? This is pretty much the only case that they have, and even then it's a bit iffy that raw food was the sure-fire cause and not improper handling of the meat, etc. Honestly if you compare this study to how many cats have died from poisoning from commercial foods, it's pretty insignificant.
3) There is a difference between "getting salmonella" and "getting salmonellosis". Your cat absolutely will get salmonella - but they are prepared for this and are very capable of dealing with the amounts of bacteria that are typically in raw food. Salmonellosis, or the illness caused by the toxicity of the bacteria, is very different and, as discussed above, very rare.

imissmycats said:
In my layman's mind, I'd think that a shorter GI tract would not allow for as much digestion. How does it help? Does the shorter GI tract have to do with why Cats cannot tolerate NSAID drugs?
The length of the GI tract is less important that what's in it. Our stomach is acidic to deal with breaking down foods, right? Well, cats' stomachs and intestines are MUCH more harsh than ours in order to break down all the protein. Way more acidic in the stomach, way more basic in the intestine. This is why they are able to break down protein so fast, and why bacteria die so much faster. The bacteria are killed off in the stomach from the acidity, so by the time they reach your intestines (when stuff gets absorbed into the bloodstream) there's nothing left to harm the cat.

Okay, for NSAID drugs, excuse me if I get a bit technical here, and I am applying human physiology to cats. I am assuming it works the same way, but you may need to ask your vet if I am correct. NSAIDS are called "Cox inhibitors". COX, or cyclooxygenase, is an enzyme that does a whole bunch of wacky stuff, there are a few types actually. Cox-2 is the kind effects pain. Cox-1 regulates stomach acidity. So a Cox-inhibitor will block both Cox-1 and cox-2, which will stop your pain but also affect your stomach. This is why some people with more sensitive stomachs get an upset stomach when they take Ibuprofen, since it makes their stomach acidity really wacky.

I am assuming, and this is totally extrapolated from my knowledge of human physiology, that NSAIDs affect the stomach of cat's so much because their stomach acidity is much more important than ours since they're breaking down tough things like protein and fat, while we are breaking down easier stuff like carbs and veggies. Plus, what may affect humans a tiny bit will affect cats a lot more simply due to their size. Not to mention that we all know how sensitive kitty stomachs are to begin with!

Interestingly, the stomach problems caused by NSAIDs led researchers to look for Cox-2 inhibitors, which would block only pain but not affect your stomach (since cox-1 and cox-2 have very similar structures, but are slighlty different so you can block one but not hte other). This is what drugs like Celebrex and Vioxx are - Cox-2 inhibitors.

Hope this helped :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks KM!
When I heard about the danger of NSAIDS, I remember something more along the lines of that....they don't have a complete enzyme...chain....it was a long time ago, hahaha! But your explanation does make sense.


My vet said that HE had had cats come in that had gotten ill from raw food, I never heard about that study.
All that aside, I'd still like to hear about any dangers/downsides to raw. I get nervous if all I hear are good things! :lol:
 

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I'm in the same boat as you, with the just starting raw food, and being a little wary about the fact that all I hear are good things.

I started on the wikipedia article which was pretty informative, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_feeding#Bacteria.2C_viruses_and_parasites

this is an article just discussing pottenger's cat's and the raw food issue (in relation to humans, but there's still a lot of good information) it's not positive or negative, but informative. http://www.beyondveg.com/tu-j-l/raw-cooked/raw-cooked-1h.shtml

this is a straight up "not good for your animals article" I don't know how well sourced it is, but it has some information that's good to know. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FKA/is_6_67/ai_n13788104/?tag=content;col1

this is a great article introducing you to dr.ian billinghurst who is probably the most cited vet in the raw food world that I can find http://www.barfworld.com/html/dr_billinghurst/meet.shtml

this is another "don't do it" article, it's about dogs, but all of that seems to apply to cats too, (though at one point in the article, he writes "there are over 72,00 chemicals in use" ..72,00? weird number, I'd take that with a grain of salt.) http://home.att.net/~wdcusick/raw.html

here's a short and concise article about some of the salmonella dangers of raw feeding in dogs. (it's a .pdf.)http://www.avma.ab.ca/animal_health/Raw-Food-Diets-fact-sheet.pdf

^now personally, I find some of the findings in that one a bit weird, like the idea that a dish that had raw food on it could go through a dishwasher cycle and over half of the time still have salmonella bacteria on it? I don't know about anyone else, but I use dishes to thaw raw meat all the time, even when it is not for my cat to eat, and I don't even HAVE a dishwasher, and have never once gotten salmonella from eating off a freshly cleaned plate that was washed with soap and water. I have a hard time digesting that as a risk.

anywho, I'm not doing this to discourage or confuse you, just inform you... for instance, it seems that cats and dogs CAN get e.coli and salmonella, despite the fact that most people on this forum and others I've been on deny it.. but at the same time, I haven't seen anything on any of the boards where someone has talked about their pet dying.. so... I'm not sure. my feeling would be, give it a shot if you like the idea, I think it makes sense, but it's definitely not without it's risks, but neither is feeding commercial, so... ??
 

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Wow, finally! Thanks euphoria! I'm glad I'm not the only one

I will definitely check out all those links! :) you're right, I just like being informed.
 

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Quote from cat fancy re: salmonella:

"If you feed a cat Salmonella, it kills 98% of it before it comes out the other end. As soon as the stuff touches its mouth, a process starts."

"Nadeau is referring to an enzyme in cat saliva called lysozyme, which attacks bacteria as it enters the mouth. From there, any remaining contaminants enter the animal's extremely short and acidic digestive tract. Any pathogens surving the acidic bath have little time to latch onto before ejection"

"Between the cats natural cleansing system and its rapid metabolism, the chances of developing salmonella, toxoplasmosis and other ailments associated with raw food are slim."
 

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Good for you for looking in to this and getting all the facts. I have been feeding my 9 month old cat (Mathias) a raw diet for well about 7.5 months of his life with no sickness problems (I made a few mistakes :wink: which led to some interesting times) but on the hole it has been great and really great for Mathias his condition could not be better. Solid mucle and fur so fine and long you would think you were petting a rabit. So this diet gets a hearty 2 thumbs up from me and assuming you follow all the safety rules for handling meat and use good quality meat you should not get in to too much trouble. After all this is what cats have been eating for melina in the wilds and before the existents of commercial cat foods. His food costs me around $40 a month or $1.33 a day but I try to buy organic food for me and my cat when I can afford it of course. A lot less when I do not buy organic I have not been able to get free meat, no storage space.

If you do your research so you have a good idea of what a complete diet is for a cat when you start and when you run in to trouble get help. Then what you feed your cat should be a million times better for your cat that even the "good" canned or dry packaged foods.
Good Luck!!
Wizzel

PS I would not feed raw pork for the simple reason that there is a paresite that is comonly in pork that could have advers afect on any animal. Cooking kills this paresite.
 

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wizzel said:
PS I would not feed raw pork for the simple reason that there is a paresite that is comonly in pork that could have advers afect on any animal. Cooking kills this paresite.
(1) Trichinosis is not a problem in the US.
(2) Freezing kills it, too. ;)

I feed pork regularly w/ no problem. They love it!
 
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