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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I'm trying to feed my cat raw food which is commercial product that comes frozen. I want to thaw it in the fridge, but just wanted to make sure I'm doing it safely. I don't eat meat, so this is new to me.

I have a fridge thermometer that I believe to be fairly accurate, and from some tests I've done over the last few days, it seems the temperature in my fridge fluctuates quite a bit.

I've tried to get it to sit between 0-4 celcuis, but it will fluctuate between -4c and +6c. In terms of thawing small packets of raw meat, and storing some half used can food for half a day, would this be cause for concern?

I don't know if it has issues or if it's just a bad fridge, or is that normal? Opening the door obviously has some effect, but it still seems to fluctuate even when closed. I guess the fridge cycles the compressor?

Anyhow, the solid food didn't appear to freeze when it went below 0. If it's refreezing the thawing meat is that an issue, besides obviously taking much longer? I cant really set it to a higher temp, as it was already getting up to 5-6c at times.


Any advice most welcome.... thanks
 

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I buy commercially ground raw and thaw in my fridge. I open my fridge all the time, and I'm sure I have temp fluctuations as well - it's an old fridge.

However, I don't worry about it too much. I thaw the meat for a day or so before it's thawed enough for my cat to eat, and I feed it to her for 3-4 days after that before I throw away whatever's left.

I've bought several different brands of commercial raw and each one has said it's okay to refreeze, so I imagine that it's okay if your batch is refreezing and then rethawing.

I think your fridge is just fine, even with temperature fluctuations, to store canned food for a day or two, and to store thawed raw meat for 3 days or so - I wouldn't go over 3 days, though, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. I'm probably overthinking it.

With the fridge fairly loaded, and limiting door openings, it seems the temperature stays more stable.

I'm still not really sure about 'danger zone' I hear about, i.e anything about 4c.
What would be a reasonable amount of time for raw meats to be at the higher temperature before they would become suspect?

I assuming when it has gone above 4c in my fridge it hasn't been for that long before its cooled again. Also my pseudo-scientific guess is this actual food temperature would take slightly longer to warm than the air temp.
 

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I try to make sure the meats are in smaller portions so that it's not in the fridge too many days. You could divide the meats out in smaller containers, that way it'll thaw in less time and you don't have to worry about spoilage. I don't concern myself with fridge temps, but I do place their food in the back part of the fridge and away from the light bulb.

If it's bad, you'll certainly smell it, or your cat will simply not eat it. If it's in smaller portions already, you'll also have less waste.
 

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this is a really good question.

I'm also surprised you can feed commercial raw for 3-4 days? plus its in the fridge for a day before that? That's a long time for raw food to be in the fridge... I think most people wouldn't bother even cooking it if its been in the fridge for that long, let alone feed it raw? Are there preservatives in the commercial food I guess?
 

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LW buys commercial raw, which comes prepackaged frozen--as in rock hard (I assume). So when she says she puts in in the fridge for a few days, I'd imagine it's done to thaw out the meat. It depends on the brand and the packaging it comes in, but if it's in a tub like RadCat, it can take a few days to defrost it in the fridge. It can take about 2 days to completely defrost, depending on the tub/container size, from my own experience.

I haven't bought any raw food that has preservatives, that would probably go against what most people want in their pet's food...to get away from the "unnecessaries", fillers, etc. Raw food should be fresh for felines, so no preservatives which includes no added salt, sugars, artificial ingredients.
 

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For how long is it ok to keep raw food in the fridge? I just made a large batch yesterday, I would portion and freeze it but not sure how much could I leave out. Enough for today? for the next day too?
 

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Frankly, mine's in the fridge for 3-4 days as I mentioned before - that's from full frozen, though, so factor in thawing time. I personally would keep thawed raw for three days in the fridge, tops.

You can follow the general food safety storage times:

Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer | FoodSafety.gov

...and to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't have a problem with tacking on ONE extra day to most of their estimates, since I'm feeding a cat and not a human. Cats' digestive tracts have some pretty gnarly defenses against bacteria and they are especially resistant to e. coli and salmonella, for example. They've evolved to eat meat, and in a "wild" setting, they probably wouldn't bat a whisker at eating things that had been dead for a while.

http://tcfeline.com/bacteria-on-raw-meat/
 

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yeh it's not necessarily a "will I harm the cat", but "will I have to throw this again, because the Princess can't stand it unless it's super fresh"

Thank you for the link, very helpful :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Anyone in australia?

Hi,

I'm looking to transition my cat to a raw diet, and would like to start by trying raw meats with a supplement, and then hopefully to a prey model doing everything myself. I just want to make sure I get it right.

Is anyone adding a supplement to raw food? The only one I can find so far available here in Australia is:

Complete Mix for Cats - Vets All Natural

Which looks quite different to the ones available in the US and elsewhere:

EZComplete Fur Cats - 130 Servings
http://tcfeline.com/tcfeline-canada/
A Guide To A Balanced, Homemade Cat Food - Alnutrin Supplements

It seems there's some issue with customs seizing these items, so I don't think they ship here.


I'm also interested if anyone is sourcing fresh meats specifically made for pets. Again, the options here seem limited and I haven't found much. From what I understand they have benefits over butcher/supermarket meats based on the fact they are frozen sooner and less likely to have spent time in higher temperatures.


Any advice/thoughts appreciated,

thanks!
 

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Hawaii -

Do NOT use that supplement! It contains dried garlic and that can be highly toxic for kitties.

I am stunned that any "vet approved" cat product would contain even trace amounts of garlic. As little as 5 grams of garlic can cause damage to cats.

I personally use Alnutrin, but they don't ship to Australia. I'll do a bit of poking around and see if there's any comparable supplement in Australia.

The ACTUAL downside to "grocery store" meat is really only in ground meats - because they are ground, they have more surface area for bacteria to colonize. Regular meats bought at a supermarket should be okay - and you can always give them a quick washing-off or a light baking/cooking before you feed to your cat.

See:

Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition :: healthy cat diet, making cat food, litter box, cat food, cat nutrition, cat urinary tract health

and

http://www.catinfo.org/makingcatfood.php
 

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Yeah, a lot of commercial "raw" brands available in America (both frozen and freeze-dried varieties) have tons of fruits, vegetables, and herbs in them. In my opinion, these ingredients are marketing gimmicks aimed at us humans - "oh, it contains kale and blueberries and acai, it MUST be healthy!" with absolutely no regard to the fact that a cat lacks the enzymes and physical digestive equipment to get any value from things like kale, carrots, apples, and so on.

But of course us humans eat those things and feel that we're eating healthy because we're told that kale and fruits and such are healthy (and they are... for herbivores and omnivores!) So, we literally blindly will buy cat food labeled as "healthy" and "complete" that are packed with veggies because we think we're feeding our cat a healthy and complete diet. What feline, be it lion or feral domestic cat, will seek out fruits and kale? Yes, people will say cats will eat grass - but that's when they need fiber to settle digestive upset - they instinctively have a notion that it will pass undigested through their system. They don't go "hunting" blueberries and the like.

I'm just really nervous about a supplement that contains garlic, even in small amounts - and nervous that that product's site states that garlic is "safe for dogs and cats in small doses." From everything I have read, and from what I have heard from my vets, even a tiny bit of garlic powder can cause damage - which is why, when my vets have recommended meat baby food for my cat, they specifically mentioned not to get a type with ANY garlic or onion powder on the ingredients - meat and water ingredients only. I don't know, it may be safe, the garlic may be in such a trace amount that it won't harm a cat - but if it's in such a small amount, it's not doing any nutritional benefit either.

From: https://thepetauthority.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/how-much-onion-or-garlic-is-toxic-to-pets/

"Garlic is more potent than onion; it takes about 5 g of garlic per kg of body weight to cause hemolysis in dogs. Cats are much more sensitive as they have more fragile RBCs. That sounds like a lot of garlic, and it is if you’re talking fresh garlic; but powdered garlic or onion are much more potent and more likely to cause toxicosis than fresh. Onion and garlic powder can be present in a lot of foods, but usually in very small amounts. Exceptions would be things like onion-flavored soup or gravy mixes and some baby foods, which can have considerably higher levels of onion/garlic. Cooked onions/garlic are hazardous because they are more concentrated than fresh and usually are highly flavored with what they were cooked with (e.g. liver and onions), so the animal is motivated to eat more of them. I believe the estimation for cats was less than a teaspoon of cooked liver and onions has caused clinical illness in cats. When inducing Heinz bodies for research studies, generally cats are given onion powder at the level of 1-3% of dry matter intake."

A lot of the stuff I'm reading states that most of garlic's true toxicity comes from chronic exposure - and if giving a cat a raw diet with a supplement containing garlic, that cat is going to be eating SOME garlic with every meal, which qualifies as chronic exposure.

I might have to drop these companies an email and ask them exactly how much garlic their formulas contain - I'm curious as to their reasoning why they consider chronic garlic exposure okay for cats.
 
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