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Do all the articles regarding the dangers of feeding cats raw meat by veterinary associations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association, British Veterinary Association and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, etc. scare you? Even just a tad bit? I don't know. I am very confident about it. But the warnings scare me and all the vets talking about how a lot of cats come in every year because of deficiencies and illnesses acquired through raw feeding, it makes me second guess myself. I understand there's a chance the homemade diet was inaccurately prepared. But I don't know. Where do you guys buy your meat from? I get a lot of weird looks when I tell people I get my raw meat from grocery stores. I mean thank goodness I have a specialty pet store that is about 30 to 35 miles away which carries raw meat but is there really a difference? Grocery meat is fine, correct? I do make sure it's not enhanced or anything. Is it possible to find grocery store meat that isn't loaded with growth hormones and antibiotics?

I just love them so much. They are my best friends. And when people say things like "you're better off feeding EVO and Wellness like you used to than doing this raw thing. It can kill them" it's scary. I mean I know I pretty much understand what to feed them and how much (thanks to a lot of people on here mostly and some other websites) but still paranoid. Is this normal? I just started. Maybe I need to read up more.

Do you know how long some of the cats that were fed raw diets lived? Are there any statistics?
 

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If your worried about nutrition. Use this http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ or http://www.nutritiondata.com/ while looking at http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm ... 99&aid=657 . It should answer about 95% nutrition worries. The other 5% is tiny bit more difficult but the information is out there and somewhat clear. Every diet (including dry and wet) has risks. You just have to decide what risks you are willing to take. Are the people, advising you not to feed raw, aware of the some of the recent dry food recalls and deaths? Can certain forms of food and/or ingredients help contribute to specific health conditions that may result in the premature death of a cat?

I buy my meat from the grocery store. IMO If its good for me, its good for my kitties.

There are many that report cats living healthy lives off of raw food. But no statistics since this is a unconventional diet.
 

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I googled "oldest living cat" and came up with this:

In 2004, it was reported that the oldest living cat (verified) was a 27 year old Burmese called Kataleena Lady owned by Mrs V Hayward of Melbourne, Australia. Kataleena Lady was born on March 11th, 1977. In March 2005, a cat called Amber from west Wales was a contender for the oldest living domestic cat. Amber was a fully grown stray of 2 - 3 years old when adopted by Diane Sleeman of Ferryside in 1978. Diane believes Amber is approaching 30, which would make her almost 5 years older than the verified record holder, however Guinness World Records require evidence of Amber's longevity. Amber was toothless, but fit and healthy although less active than she used to be. Diane attributed Amber's longevity down to a diet which included hot cod, chicken and prawns in addition to regular cat food. In March 2005, the oldest living cat (verified) was 23 year old Spook from Ontario, Canada.


A 31 year old (unverified) tomcat called Kiko was reported from a small village in Estonia in 2001. Although Kiko looked like a 10 year old, the vet believes him to be 31. Kiko's claim is based on that fact that he had been a present for the owner's 2 year old son; the son was 33 years old in 2001. Kiko had glaucoma, but was otherwise in good health. Kiko was believed to have reached this age because he did not roam, lived mostly indoors and had a good diet including egg and fresh milk. Kiko apparently still chased dogs.

Well, it sure sounds like they got some real food included in their diets. Chicken and egg are regularly fed by raw feeders!

Edit to add: I ordered the August 2008 issue of Cat Fancy from the library. Quite sure that was the one that had the contest results for oldest living cat...and what they ate. I know my mom rolled her eyes at what they were eating...and am quite sure it was some sort of raw food at least as a supplement to their diet. The "feed only dry Science Diet cat food or your cat will die" attitude is sure fun isn't it :roll: And it couldn't be further from the truth!
 

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Poorly constructed raw diets certainly CAN cause problems. However, as long as you stick w/ the 80% meat/10% bone/10% organ (half of which must be liver) rule, you'll be fine. Add some fish body oil for omega 3s, and if you're worried about it, you can add a little taurine powder. There's plenty of taurine in raw muscle meat, but it's a water-soluable nutrient so you can't overdose them. If it makes you feel more secure, add it.

Problems come in when people mess too much w/ Mom Nature. I.e., adding veggies, which take up valuable tummy space while providing nothing the cat can really use; feeding only boneless meat; feeding mostly or only ground meat. Stay as close as possible to nature and you'll be fine!
 

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I do sometimes have a bad feeling about raw.. just because I'm generally a "back it up with scientific research" kind of girl, and there's not a LOT on raw, and what there is seems pretty evenly divided between "it's the best thing ever" and "it's killing your cat/dog"

and I think it's so weird that the two schools of thought are SO varied. i'd like to be able to find more info in the middle ground, but tough to do.

but every time I get worried about it, I just look up the process of making cat food, or even just read the ingredients in some cat food I have around the house, and I really think that doing this, from a common sense perspective even, makes sense.

I've decided NOT to talk to my vet about it, because I think she'd react much like when I tell my MD that I've seen the naturopath lately.. it's not something they believe in. and I really think a vet might just decide your cat is sick because of the raw diet, when she could be sick for any number of reasons.

sometimes though, even doing prey model diet, I get worried about deficiencies.. esp calcium. has anyone ever used Feline Future? what did they think?
 

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euphoria066 said:
I do sometimes have a bad feeling about raw.. just because I'm generally a "back it up with scientific research" kind of girl, and there's not a LOT on raw, and what there is seems pretty evenly divided between "it's the best thing ever" and "it's killing your cat/dog"
Just keep in mind that dogs and cats have been eating raw for MILLIENIA. Dog and cat food only became commonplace 50-80 years ago. So the balance is tipped in favor of plenty of 'real world' research on the raw diet. ;)
and I think it's so weird that the two schools of thought are SO varied. i'd like to be able to find more info in the middle ground, but tough to do.
Not sure what you think the "middle ground" would be. Raw meat is what cats/dogs evolved to eat and what they DID eat primarily (along w/ some table scraps) until 50-80 years ago. The reason the pet food manufacturers have gotten such a stranglehold on how we feed our animals is b/c of the massive amount of cash that they pour into vet schools.

sometimes though, even doing prey model diet, I get worried about deficiencies.. esp calcium. has anyone ever used Feline Future? what did they think?
If you're feeding 5-10% bone you're feeding enough calcium. Too much is just as bad as too little, remember. I do not recommend supplementing a raw diet, other than with fish body oil and, if you're an esp. nervous Nellie, a little powdered taurine (can't hurt b/c it's water soluable). Otherwise, save your $$ for MEAT! :)
 

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The only thing that ever worries me about raw is that I'm doing it wrong and he is not getting enough of something. I also have pretty low self esteem so that may be part of it. Also Willie is a pain in the butt when it comes to organs so that's the other part. I trust the recommended percentages I just worry I'M not measuring right or he's not eating everything I give. I occasionally worry about choking but not much.
 

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Re: Feline Future, and vet opinions...

We are lucky - Gracie's vets are cat specialists*, and they believe in wet food, without grains or fish or vegetables, and encourage raw food, too. So not all vets have the same mindset. I guess that is one of the advantages of living in Southern California - there's plenty to complain about here :roll: but plenty to praise :) too, and progressive or alternative medicine and nutrition, for both humans and animals, is available if you look for it.

We use the powder mix from Feline Future, and Gracie seems to be thriving on it. I like the idea that her raw meals have the appropriate supplements provided by the mix. My only comment that would be slightly negative is the amount of water recommended to mix with the powder, the meat mix can get pretty gloppy or watery sometimes, so I occasionally cut back on the water. I do follow the directions and freeze portions for her first (in an ice-cube tray) and by the time they are thawed back out for her to eat, the consistency has improved. The mix recommends any of a range of meats or poultry, plus a proportion of fresh liver, or a separate liver powder which they also sell. I mostly add chicken liver but sometimes use the powder, depending...

We also give her canned, because I have been finding it hard to track down much variety in meats and poultry other than chicken, turkey and quail. In the canned, she can have the benefits of other meat sources, like venison and duck (Evo 95%). I do give her beef bits if we are eating steak or hamburger, but most other meats we don't give her. We don't buy organic steak, we mostly get the next best - free-range, because it is more affordable. I don't know if the cattle go through feedlots at the end of their lives or if they are entirely range-fed. I also don't give her pork, because I don't trust how pigs are raised in this country (another topic altogether), and I have never seen organic pork locally. I figure with her body size and cats' inability to handle chemicals and medications in general, it is best to be cautious for her. I am trying to stay away from brined poultry, too - I was not really aware of how many producers of chicken put extra salt into their birds.

Sorry this is such a long post, I hope it has something useful in it! :roll:

Fran

(* they also treat birds - there are a few pet chickens and a duck that sometimes hang out in the waiting room, sometimes the cats get a little nervous! they're a lot bigger than the sparrows at the birdfeeder!)
 

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Fran, do you feed real meat or are you grinding it or cutting it up? Seems as if it would be hard to mix a powder into real meat. I very much recommend against grinding and chopping -- cats need to USE their jaw muscles and teeth!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What about diced meat when I'm feeding boneless meat? They're beginners and get a little confused when I put a large chunk of meat into their plate.
 

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For beginners it is fine to chop it up, they are still learning and may get discouraged if the first few meals is really hard for them to eat. Start small and get bigger over time until you can give a large chunk.
 

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I am feeding rough chunks, not ground. I feel like I have to balance Gracie's need to chew with her impulse to wolf down a whole plate in one gulp! I would hate to see her choke.

When the bones are small enough, I leave them in - especially chicken wing bones and the quail bones :). The quail I buy are frozen whole quails, four to a box. The little 'wishbones' sort of break my heart when I see them :( they are so tiny and delicate, and I love the wild quail that come through our yard...

Fran
 

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Fran said:
I am feeding rough chunks, not ground. I feel like I have to balance Gracie's need to chew with her impulse to wolf down a whole plate in one gulp! I would hate to see her choke.
But see, that's MORE likely if you cut it into smaller chunks. When I feed boneless, each cat gets one big piece -- "big" meaning 2 oz or so. ;) They will chew it as much as they need to, which, honestly, isn't much. ;) If the piece is too big it will come back up and they'll chew more. IMO they're more likely to choke on "bite-sized" chunks b/c, well, that's just not CAT bite-size!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I started the raw diet like Thursday or Friday so mine are still getting used to it. The organs are soooo easy to feed (because it's such a small portion and so soft). The hardest part are the bones and muscle meat. For the muscle meat they WILL eat it all eventually if I dice it up. They are just being lazy because the first time I ever gave them raw meat they ate a huge chunk. Now they will only eat if I cut it up. They don't want to make the effort unless I put some canned food over it or add some dry food on top (like two or three pieces of kibble). But then again, so far I have only offered them chicken breast, chicken drumstick, cornish game hen and beef heart. Tomorrow I will give them boneless beef and I'll see if they eat a huge chunk.

The hardest part about this is that I have to actually sit there with them for almost 30 minutes until they finish their food. I have to sit their with a knife and keep pushing them to eat it or else they lose interest and walk away. I have a feeling they liked their EVO and Wellness canned food better than this. Well, on the bright side at least they finish all of their raw meals completely, even though I have to sit there with them like they're babies.
 

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I think cats take a while to get used to the idea that raw meat is their meal.. it really doesn't smell, and canned food is SO stinky, you'd think it was made of entirely different ingredients.

I used to have to "encourage" the eating too, but now it seems to be a learned behaviour, jango knows that if he doesn't eat it, it's not like it's going to be replaced with yummy dry anymore. I still babysit.. and sit there for the whole 15 minute meal if there's bones in it, and don't go far even if there isn't.. but the cats DO get faster at eating, too. I occasionally sprinkle a little dry parmesan on the meat to stink it up a little if he doesn't seem too enthused. Jango's not crazy about chicken in general, he seems to like beef much more, so definitely keep trying different meats.

so fran, you feed the feline futures mix PLUS a little bit of bone occasionally? that doesn't make them constipated or anything too much for them? I like the idea.. and I've been having trouble sourcing a taurine supplement irl too, but I could always look online. my problem is just as much the choking as the imbalances though.. I feel like jango is just going to eventually manage to choke on something seriously instead of constantly choking not seriously, and I'd like to do my best to prevent it.. as I'm NOT 100% confident in my cat-heimlich technique, having never ACTUALLY done it.

I've also considered grinding the bone and some meat with it, and feeding that in the mornings when I'm rushed and don't have time to supervise a breakfast. (right now he gets canned those mornings instead because there's no way he can choke on that.. but grinding would essentially be the same I imagine, except keeping him on raw those mornings too.) anyone have any thoughts on that? better or worse than supplementing with something like feline futures and nixing the bone altogether?

by middle ground, I just meant more opinions and outcomes to research that are like "yes, it seems that cats' health improves on the raw diet, but long term effects are still mostly unknown. I recommend the diet, but continue to hold some reservations about it." I can't seem to find ANYONE of an opinion like that.. everyone is either all praise or all condemnation. I know a lot of it is about being positive to newbies too, no sense in worrying unnecessarily, or on the other side, using exaggeration to prevent people from doing something that might cause harm, but it's all very vehement! (haha I just realized how political that sounds... looking for a middle ground.. between left and right wings.. well, I'm canadian, and we're always pretty middle in our politics, maybe we also are in our cat feeding!)
 

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catlady2010 said:
The hardest part about this is that I have to actually sit there with them for almost 30 minutes until they finish their food. I have to sit their with a knife and keep pushing them to eat it or else they lose interest and walk away. I have a feeling they liked their EVO and Wellness canned food better than this. Well, on the bright side at least they finish all of their raw meals completely, even though I have to sit there with them like they're babies.
You need to be patient while they build up their jaw strength. But you also need to not sit there w/ a knife and cater to them. I would cut it into maybe 3 pieces and that's it. Separate them for meals so each gets what he/she should get. Leave them alone and let them eat. Come back after 30 min and whatever wasn't eaten goes bye-bye. The main thing is that they MUST eat something every 24 hours. If they eat a little less at meals for a few days, while they're learning that you are NOT, in fact, their own personal sous chef, that won't kill them.
 

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euphoria066 said:
so fran, you feed the feline futures mix PLUS a little bit of bone occasionally? that doesn't make them constipated or anything too much for them? I like the idea.. and I've been having trouble sourcing a taurine supplement irl too, but I could always look online.
Any natural food store will carry it, but I get it online b/c it's easier:

http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Taurine- ... s/852?at=0

You don't NEED a taurine supplement, remember. If you want to add it, go for it, but I have mostly stopped bothering. Muscle meat is FULL of taurine, so as long as you're not grinding the meat (exposing it to air and hence, denaturing the taurine), your cat is getting plenty.
my problem is just as much the choking as the imbalances though.. I feel like jango is just going to eventually manage to choke on something seriously instead of constantly choking not seriously, and I'd like to do my best to prevent it.. as I'm NOT 100% confident in my cat-heimlich technique, having never ACTUALLY done it.
See, I very much doubt he's gonna choke. What makes you think he will? Does he occasionally swallow too much and hack it back up? All cats do that. ;)
I've also considered grinding the bone and some meat with it, and feeding that in the mornings when I'm rushed and don't have time to supervise a breakfast. (right now he gets canned those mornings instead because there's no way he can choke on that.. but grinding would essentially be the same I imagine, except keeping him on raw those mornings too.) anyone have any thoughts on that? better or worse than supplementing with something like feline futures and nixing the bone altogether?
I wouldn't do it. You waste a lot of time doing the grinding for no good payback. You lose the dental benefits and gain nothing. He's no more likely to choke on meat than on kibble (actually, he's MORE likely to choke on kibble!).
by middle ground, I just meant more opinions and outcomes to research that are like "yes, it seems that cats' health improves on the raw diet, but long term effects are still mostly unknown. I recommend the diet, but continue to hold some reservations about it." I can't seem to find ANYONE of an opinion like that.. everyone is either all praise or all condemnation.
Actually, the few vets I know of who don't freak out about raw fit into that category -- and IMO it's a potentially dangerous position, b/c it usually means that they push ground diets, commercial "raw" diets, etc., many of which aren't appropriate at all. So this opinion is out there. I don't see much good in it, but it's out there.
 

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I'm not going to address any specific thing in this thread, but I have a thought as to why so many people are so nervous.

I think the root of a lot of this hesitation is because once we put our cats on raw diet, we become completely responsible for their health (in terms of nutrition). If I feed my cat Purina and he develops iron deficiency or gets salmonella, then I get to point my finger at Purina and say "You did this to my cat, you monsters!!! I WILL SUE." but if the same thing happens to my cat on raw... well, there's no one to blame but myself. It is a much bigger responsibility, but at the end of the day I think we'd all agree that it is worth it :)

That being said, I highly recommend that everyone here go to a reputable nutrition database (such as this one: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ ) and look up the amount of taurine, calcium, iron etc in the meat you give your cat. There is no way that they are going to run a deficiency.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Honestly, and I don't know if it's because I just started, but sometimes I feel like I'm taking a big risk and playing with my cats' lives. I mean, would I do this if I had a baby? Would I take a similar risk with them? I'm not sure if I would due to the limited empirical research supporting raw feeding. Most people that are concerned about their cat's or dog's well-being choose to feed them raw meat (that's what I noticed so far) and these people seem educated and seem like they know what they're talking about. For example, Lisa Pierson who has been studying feline nutrition for years strongly advocates raw feeding. However, the very few websites that are available are mostly based on logic and reasoning like "Oh lions ate raw meat so now domesticated cat have to eat it too." Cats have been domesticated for years and along with their domestication, their anatomy has evolved as well. So maybe they aren't as immune to the pathogens as they used to be before hundreds of years of domestication. But then people say cats just recently started eating processed food only 50 years ago, I don't know if that's true or not. I would like more scientific facts, research and much more validation. Unfortunately I have noticed that more than half of the world is satisfied with feeding garbage food like Fancy Feast, IAMS, Friskies, etc. So maybe the world isn't really making the effort to explore better options. Ultimately, I think raw feeders take their cats seriously, that is why I choose to side with them. And I guess one of the main reasons I also chose to go with the diet is after my veterinarian said it would be a good idea. But I'm still uncertain. I feel like even though raw food may be better nutritionally compared to stuff like EVO, Wellness, etc., it may not be safer than those. But that's just how I feel. How often do you read credible articles or get criticized by numerous licensed veterinarians that your cat will die if you feed them EVO 95% canned food? Never.

I guess the fact that it is so unconventional is what scares me the most. I like to be different but not when it comes to something so serious as a precious life. For something like that, I like to stay on the safe side. But then you look at what IS conventional and see that most people are OK with feeding their cats grocery store food and then it feels like maybe it's a good thing to be different. Idk. This probably doesn't even make sense :? Overall, I GUESS I made the right decision.

Anyone have any personal experiences or know anyone whose cat lived to be like 15-20 years old while being fed raw food? Seems like most people just recently started the raw diet on here.
 

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I agree, KM -- I think that's part of it. And that's probably why I feel comfy doing it--I generally am NOT comfortable leaving important decisions up to others, and prefer to have final control over them myself. I've never been one to just tell an MD or vet, "Do whatever you think." I prefer to be the one shouldering the responsibilty, and I think I'm capable of making good, well-reasoned and well-educated decisions after doing the appropriate research. I think most people are, but not everyone wants that responsibility.

I never liked not knowing what was in my pets' food, having zero control over quality or ingredients, etc. and that got worse as time went by. The only reason it took me so long to go raw was the fact that, as a vegan myself, the whole idea was just REALLY hard to deal with emotionally. But once I got over that hurdle I was all about it.
 
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