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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello to all! :) It's been a while since I've been on the forum I know. Let me also say to those who know that I've said in the past that I would NEVER feed raw, "things change", and you just have to go with it sometimes. :lol:

For over a year I had been having problems with itchy kitties, and went to 4 different vets for help. No one could help even though they did a few brief tests, and no one offered much more than to tell me they didn't know what it was, and send me home with some meds.

Long story short, after a lot of research on my own, and paying close attention to what the kitties symptoms were telling me, I figured out this was in fact, a food allergy. I immediately took them off canned food, and anything with chicken in it, and switched them to Nature's Variety Rabbit. The change was immediate, and amazing! But after time, they started to revert, and I figured it must have something to do with the chicken eggs in the feed.

Fast forward to today. Thankfully I have a supplier where I can get fresh ground rabbit meat, any way I'd like it made, within an hours driving distance. They've been on it now for a month, and the change is even better, but we still have some issues. So I'm hoping I can get a little help to finalize my recipe, and make sure I'm doing things right.

Auntie Crazy, if you are reading this, I really owe you a big thanks, because the site listed in your signature was very helpful! I'm using the recipe listed there, but I've had to substitute using rabbit.

One of my questions is this. After reading another post here, one pinned at the top of this forum, I now read that rabbit should not be the sole source of the feed, and that makes me a little nervous, because that's what I'm doing, and I wonder if that's why I'm still having some shedding and itching issues.

I'm using the whole rabbit, including the head and brain. Basically everything but the fur, feet, guts, and ears. I'm adding in the supplements as listed in that recipe, including the extra taurine, and excluding the salmon oil because of the fact that I'm including the head and brain in my mix.

So my questions are this:

1. Knowing the kitties are allergic to anything chicken/turkey related, what can I safely add in with this mix, because the rabbit is so lean? Something that isn't to smelly, because two of the kitties are extremely picky! Could actually adding in the fish oil replace this needed additional protein?

*One note. I was still adding in a bit of natural cod oil when they started on it, and have since stopped doing that. They seem to be shedding more since stopping it.

2. HOW should it be added? With or without bone?

3. How much should be added if the original recipe is calling for 4 1/2 lbs of protein source?

4. I have read in the other post as well, about how much to feed, and am having problems with two of them eating anything more than 3 oz a day. I feed 4x a day. Sometimes they will eat more, but most the time it's 3 oz. If they are not eating more than that, how can I feel confident they are getting the minerals and vitamins they need, and that part of the shedding problem isn't from them not getting enough?

Thank you!
 

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Hello to all! :) It's been a while since I've been on the forum I know. Let me also say to those who know that I've said in the past that I would NEVER feed raw, "things change", and you just have to go with it sometimes. :lol:

For over a year I had been having problems with itchy kitties, and went to 4 different vets for help. No one could help even though they did a few brief tests, and no one offered much more than to tell me they didn't know what it was, and send me home with some meds.

Long story short, after a lot of research on my own, and paying close attention to what the kitties symptoms were telling me, I figured out this was in fact, a food allergy. I immediately took them off canned food, and anything with chicken in it, and switched them to Nature's Variety Rabbit. The change was immediate, and amazing!
Hi, OwnedByACat!!! I love your attitude about the switch - that's awesome, and I'm so very glad that your cats are already feeling better. (Sad, though, that so many folks are brought to raw feeding because of similar problems with their kitties. It's just so hard to believe the pet food industry would market such an unhealthy product for our littlest family members. *shakes head*)


But after time, they started to revert, and I figured it must have something to do with the chicken eggs in the feed.

Fast forward to today. Thankfully I have a supplier where I can get fresh ground rabbit meat, any way I'd like it made, within an hours driving distance. They've been on it now for a month, and the change is even better, but we still have some issues. So I'm hoping I can get a little help to finalize my recipe, and make sure I'm doing things right.

Auntie Crazy, if you are reading this, I really owe you a big thanks, because the site listed in your signature was very helpful! I'm using the recipe listed there, but I've had to substitute using rabbit.

One of my questions is this. After reading another post here, one pinned at the top of this forum, I now read that rabbit should not be the sole source of the feed, and that makes me a little nervous, because that's what I'm doing, and I wonder if that's why I'm still having some shedding and itching issues.

I'm using the whole rabbit, including the head and brain. Basically everything but the fur, feet, guts, and ears. I'm adding in the supplements as listed in that recipe, including the extra taurine, and excluding the salmon oil because of the fact that I'm including the head and brain in my mix.
Can you be very specific in what you're feeding and in precisely what quantities?

And you are quite correct - you don't want to be feeding your cats a rabbit-only diet.

I feed frankenprey rather than ground and I don't use any supplements at all.... I have to wonder if some of the supplements are causing your kitties that last little bit of itch. If so, we may be able to weed out the culprit after you list exactly what you're feeding.

So my questions are this:

1. Knowing the kitties are allergic to anything chicken/turkey related, what can I safely add in with this mix, because the rabbit is so lean? Something that isn't to smelly, because two of the kitties are extremely picky! Could actually adding in the fish oil replace this needed additional protein?

*One note. I was still adding in a bit of natural cod oil when they started on it, and have since stopped doing that. They seem to be shedding more since stopping it.

2. HOW should it be added? With or without bone?

3. How much should be added if the original recipe is calling for 4 1/2 lbs of protein source?

4. I have read in the other post as well, about how much to feed, and am having problems with two of them eating anything more than 3 oz a day. I feed 4x a day. Sometimes they will eat more, but most the time it's 3 oz. If they are not eating more than that, how can I feel confident they are getting the minerals and vitamins they need, and that part of the shedding problem isn't from them not getting enough?

Thank you!
1.
- Have you tried feeding raw chicken or turkey? As often as not, it's the commercially-prepared "version" of chicken that cats are allergic to and they can eat fresh, raw poultry just fine.
- Pork, beef, lamb, quail, venison, duck - any real meat source is acceptable.
- No, adding in fish oil will absolutely not replace any protein portions.
- Instead of using an oil, why not offer a sardine a week?

2. The diet should consist of 80/10/5/5, which is to say, 75 - 80% meat, skin, and sinew (hearts and gizzards also count as meat) / 5 - 10% bone (with meat attached) / 2 - 5% liver / 2 -5% any other secreting organ.

If a third of your cats' diet is whole ground rabbit, then use the percentages only on the remaining portion, because the whole ground rabbit is already - NATURALLY - perfectly proportioned. Make sense?

3. It would still be 4.5 pounds of meat - it doesn't matter what kind of meat.

4. Especially with a ground diet, every bite is "balanced". As far as how much your cats should be eating, that depends on the cats' weight, body type and activity level. The recommended amount is 2% to 4% of the particular cats' body weight (three ounces a day would definitely be too much for some of my cats!)

Good to talk to you, OwnedByACat!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you!!! :)

Ok, I've included the recipe below as I am using it. So are you saying that 1/3 of the 4.5 lbs of protein should be the beef? What type? And I assume no bones?

4.5 lbs whole rabbit with everything but the guts, ears, feet, and fur.
8 to 16 oz water.
4000 mg Taurine.
800 IU Vitamin E
200 mg Vitamin B Complex
1 ½ tsp Lite Iodized Salt

I've also been giving them daily, 1/4 tsp enzymes, and I started adding back in 1/4 tsp natural cod fish oil. I was adding in religiously, a quality probiotic, but I ran out, and havent replaced it yet, but they were on it the whole time they were going through all these food changs. It really helped them transition.

Re: the fresh chicken or turkey. Before any of this food change started, I did try feeding them fresh chicken, but because I hadn't yet realized this was truly a food allergy, and wasn't ready to make the change to raw, I tried a recipe for cooked chicken food. Added minerals and vitamins per the recipe. It made them 100% worse!

I'm not to keen on trying the frankenprey, simply because I have 2 girls here who will turn up their noses every time I make a switch to anything. With Patches, it's a complete transition if the food doesn't even smell the same meal to meal. The ground is just easier too because hubby does the morning feeding, and if I stick to one formula it has been easier. My only fear about this, is if they start to become allergic to this way of feeding as well.

Re: the vitamins and minerals. When I first went to this current raw feed, I didn't have my minerals and vitamins in yet, but I started to transition them on it anyway. It took a week for the minerals and vits to get here. During that week without the added supplements, the itching and overall quality of their fur got really bad. After adding in the supplements, things improved drastically, so I don't think it's the addition of the minerals. As we get further along into this as well, I'm seeing more improvments, so maybe it will just take more time.

So, I guess the only thing left to do is complete my recipe with whatever I need to add in, and then make sure I can transition Patches into it again, because I know once she smells the new addition, she'll turn into a little diva, and have her little food melt down! :p

One tip for anyone trying to transition. This has worked so well for Patches, who is terrible about accepting new foods. I bought a bottle of all natural wild cod fish oil, that I found recommended on the Little Cat Big Cat website. It's supposedly scentless, but she absolutely LOVES it! When I transitioned her onto the raw, I put in her dish, some of her favorite kibble, and on the side the fish oil with a tiny amount of the raw blended in. Every couple days I would increase the size of the raw, and cut down on the kibble. Within about 1 1/2 weeks she was on full time raw with her 1/4 tsp fish oil, and no more kibble. It worked very well, and Patches is s a tough one to transition!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I forgot to add........one of the things I LOVE LOVE LOVE about feeding raw, is that I have not had but maybe one hairball on the carpet, and I have not found any "surprise mystery piles" downstairs in the basement since starting this!!! :smiles
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Auntie Crazy, can you clarify the meet ratio, I am still a bit confused.

If I need a total of 4.5 lb, how much of the beef should I put in? Right now, they grind everything for me at one where I am getting the rabbit from, so I have nothing to do with the percentage of anything, it's the whole carcass going in the grind.......with the exception of the fur, ears, feet, and guts.

I have a local butcher shop about 5 miles from here, I can pretty much get any kind of beef I need. What would be the best type to add in the mix?

Thank you! :)
 

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Auntie Crazy, can you clarify the meet ratio, I am still a bit confused.

If I need a total of 4.5 lb, how much of the beef should I put in? Right now, they grind everything for me at one where I am getting the rabbit from, so I have nothing to do with the percentage of anything, it's the whole carcass going in the grind.......with the exception of the fur, ears, feet, and guts.

I have a local butcher shop about 5 miles from here, I can pretty much get any kind of beef I need. What would be the best type to add in the mix?

Thank you! :)
Any kind of beef would be fine.

You can add however much beef you want, OwnedByACat. Just make sure that however much it is, you also add 10% of that weight in bone (or some type of bone supplement - but someone else will need to tell you what kind and how much) 5% in liver and 5% in some other organ. That "recipe" only has one ingredient - whole rabbit - and some supplements.

Alternatively, see if you can source some other type of whole prey (like pheasant or duck). Then you can just add however much of either one you want.

As for the cats doing worse before you added those supplements and better after... it may just be possible that the cats were ridding themselves of toxins (for lack of a better word) found in the commercial food they were eating, got the worst of it out, and have been steadily improving since then.

I don't come across it often, but there are accounts of this very thing happening, and it's nearly always through the skin. Oh, and stools, too... they look worse before they look better.

I will tell you up front that I'm not a fan of supplements. If you're feeding whole prey, even if it's ground, I doubt you really need all that other stuff (especially salt!), but this is totally a comfort call. Lots of people who grind use supplements; hopefully, some of them will chime in here.

Hope that clears things up a bit.

AC
 

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Hi, Geri! *waves*
Wow. I remember the difficult time you were having with your group and reading about your experience is making me think differently about raw-feeding.
I am finding this very interesting and am taking note.
h =^..^=
 

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...I will tell you up front that I'm not a fan of supplements. If you're feeding whole prey, even if it's ground, I doubt you really need all that other stuff (especially salt!), but this is totally a comfort call. Lots of people who grind use supplements; hopefully, some of them will chime in here. .....AC
Except for taurine. I'd definitely keep providing that. For one, excess is secreted, so it's hard to overdose cats with taurine, and two, rabbit, especially ground, is likely to be too low in taurine.

Can you get other whole prey items, OwnedByACat? That would be your best bet for sure. If you purchase your own grinder, you can even order whole prey online and then grind it when you get home.

Well, you can if you have a strong stomach. *rolls eyes at self*

AC
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You know, I haven't looked yet, haven't had time. Just picked up a new batch of rabbit, and I think for right now, I'm going to try a beef source, and see how that works. It doesn't have the bones or any organs with it, but it will have to do for now until I can pin something else down. I just bought a small amount of the beef to test it, and in the mean time will look for something else. The thing is, I've gotten quotes on shipping for meat to my home, and holy moly, it's 3x more expensive than the actual meat, so I don't know that's really going to be an option unless I can find it local. I'm going to check it out though, I mean, I did find rabbit meat somewhat local. :wink

Hi Heidi!! Yes, big time issues, I was almost to the point of giving up out of sheer frustration, and just giving in to the fact that I couldn't fix this. But, I have to say, this has been a great move! I've even noticed with my older girl, Patches, she has been so much more active since switching to this raw, as compared to anything store bought.

She is running around, acting so hyper at night, and jumping back and forth from the couch to the one cat tree, which is quite a big jump. Tonight she was attacking the most recent fave toy, a tape measure, while Dave was wiggling it back and forth on the floor. She'd jump down, attack it, and jump back up! Then she jumped on the couch, grabbed the tape measure from Dave, and jumped back to the cat tree with it in her mouth, and dragging behind as she jumped! That is just not normal for Patches! She's supposed to be the grumpy one! LOL! :) It's so good to see this, especially after everything we've been through!!!
 

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....

Hi Heidi!! Yes, big time issues, I was almost to the point of giving up out of sheer frustration, and just giving in to the fact that I couldn't fix this. But, I have to say, this has been a great move! I've even noticed with my older girl, Patches, she has been so much more active since switching to this raw, as compared to anything store bought.

She is running around, acting so hyper at night, and jumping back and forth from the couch to the one cat tree, which is quite a big jump. Tonight she was attacking the most recent fave toy, a tape measure, while Dave was wiggling it back and forth on the floor. She'd jump down, attack it, and jump back up! Then she jumped on the couch, grabbed the tape measure from Dave, and jumped back to the cat tree with it in her mouth, and dragging behind as she jumped! That is just not normal for Patches! She's supposed to be the grumpy one! LOL! :) It's so good to see this, especially after everything we've been through!!!
What a wonderful testimonial. Yay, Patches! :love2

I saw the difference in my own cats when I made the switch (and I was feeding the "highest quality" canned available) and it was the enormous leap in their energy and playfulness more than any other change that turned me into such a passionate advocate of raw feeding.

Seeing the same thing happen to others just makes me all teary-eyed. *sniff*
 

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I have to say, this has been a great move! I've even noticed with my older girl, Patches, she has been so much more active since switching to this raw, as compared to anything store bought.

She is running around, acting so hyper at night, and jumping back and forth from the couch to the one cat tree, which is quite a big jump. Tonight she was attacking the most recent fave toy, a tape measure, while Dave was wiggling it back and forth on the floor. She'd jump down, attack it, and jump back up! Then she jumped on the couch, grabbed the tape measure from Dave, and jumped back to the cat tree with it in her mouth, and dragging behind as she jumped! That is just not normal for Patches! She's supposed to be the grumpy one! LOL! :) It's so good to see this, especially after everything we've been through!!!
Bwahahahahah! You described that so well, I was sitting her grinning and then LOL'd about her running off w/ the tape measure!
 
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