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Hi cat lovers-

I am investigating a raw diet for our three cats: one adult with many allergies and two kittens one of whom has CH which causes her to be very unbalanced and a little bit shaky. I guess she's considered moderate severity.

I am wondering if anyone here has any experience with CH cats and eating larger pieces of raw meat and bones. I am honestly a little concerned she might choke, she's kind of a ginger eater even with the grain free canned we're feeding her now and I haven't seen her touch the dry food at all. Even water is a bit of a challenge, it takes her a few minutes to get calmed down before she can really get any water- when she's excited she shakes more so she's basically just faceplanting in the bowl until she calms down.

With how busy I am and the relatively small size of my kitchen, I am thinking a commercially available raw diet might be a better match for us, supplemented with some frankenprey esp organs and bones IF Kiera can eat it without choking. But I'd love to hear some first hand experiences...?
 

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Hi,

I've never had cats with CH, so I can't comment on that. It could definitely help your cat with allergies though, because you'll have absolute control what goes into your kitty's food.

Choking is a hazard that only applies if you cook meat with bones. I only heat up cold foods from the fridge and place it on the lowest heat in my toaster oven for a few minutes, check to see if it's "mouse temperature" and feed. One of my cats tend to vomit up cold foods otherwise, and I make sure he doesn't intake his food too quickly. Maya can inhale her foods and yet never vomit, so it'll depend on the cat. To get kitties used to eating raw meaty bones, you can smash them with a hammer or cut chicken necks into "coins". Too much bones in the diet can cause constipation, so you'll need to check their eliminations as well. Hope you've been doing some research on raw!

Have you already tried feeding her some bits of raw mixed in with some canned? That's usually the best way to transition, but some cats can go cold turkey. Good luck!
 

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Yes, I gave them chicken breast today, diced up small. It was right out of the fridge (I was prepping dinner). They ate it readily and happily which I am quite pleased about!

Our older girl Abby will be a greater challenge, I can't even get her to eat wet food. :(
 

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Oh! Well that's a great start for your kittens! :thumb

One thing you can do to save some money--YOU eat the chicken breasts, and buy chicken thighs, gizzards, hearts, livers, drumsticks instead for the kitty! The reason is that you want the cats to get lots of taurine in their diet. Taurine is an essential amino acid that is absolutely required in cat food, and is loaded in raw meats--especially dark meats. Cooking destroys them as well as digestive enzymes and proteins naturally found in raw meats, so never serve it cooked. Taurine is also most abundant in working muscle meats, so that's why you want thighs, drumsticks, and heart rather than breast. Hearts are considered muscle meats rather than organ, and it's the hardest working muscle, so it will have the most taurine content. Gizzards also work hard in grinding seeds, so that's also considered muscle meat, and the chewy texture is excellent on kitty's dental and psychological health. Don't be surprised if you hear your tiny kittens start growling while they eat, it often happens in the beginning, and quite normal...it's their little carnivore coming out! :wink

Ok...I'm done with my raw speech for now.

For Abby, let's see...how long has she been eating kibbles? The longer the cat has been eating it, the more difficult it is for them to transition. Has Abby ever eaten canned before, do you know? Sometimes it is a matter of finding out what types of canned food she likes...
 

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We have had Abby for a year- she showed up at our house during our wedding shower mostly hairless, bleeding from where she chewed her skin off, and underweight. I believe people were feeding her but probably cheap kibble. At some point she was taken to the vet to be spayed and he prescribed prednisone which one of the neighbors was giving. Once she came to live with us we put her on grain free kibble and more strictly enforced the meds. Before that, it's really anyone's guess.

I'm going to go out to the grocery store to scout out good dark meats for the kittens. I think my husband understands the benefits of raw but he still gets freaked out seeing his precious girls eating dangerous raw meat! We all have our things, he had to talk me off the ledge yesterday when Kiera ate a feather off one of her toys. :wink:

Thanks for the advice!
 

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Pseudo--

I also want you to know, that eventually, since you're going frankenprey, you'll want your kitties to eat a variety of proteins, so don't feel compelled to buy just chicken or stick to poultry. I think because some kitties' GI tracts are much more sensitive than adult cats, you may want to introduce red meats like beef, pork, lamb, etc a bit more slowly. But please understand that frankenprey or (PMR) diets from all my readings mentions the importance of variety in their meats. You can mix duck gizzards and pork shoulder in one meal, for example (just weigh the appropriate amounts) or turkey thighs and beef hearts in a serving, etc. It's all these combinations of menus that I'm currently working on, week to week that's driving me nuts, lol.

For your husband's freak out (or anyone else you find that objects raw diets), you can suggest him to read and watch this video by a holistic veterinarian, Karen Becker, DVM. I found it to be quite educational myself:

The Completely Healthy 'Pet' Food Your Vet Probably Vilifies

For Abby's conversion from kibble to canned, Lisa Pierson's site seems to be best and very detailed. Have a read when you have time:

http://www.catinfo.org/docs/TipsForTransitioning1-14-11.pdf

All the best!
 

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Thanks for the video- I watched it and I think it's a good resource. I'll show it to my husband.

I grabbed some beef chunks, chicken hearts, and chicken wings at the store. The kittens readily and happily ate the chicken hearts though I can see a developing problem in the form of wandering dinner for Kiera. She likes to grab a piece, run away with it, and then play with it while she eats it. She will growl if Emma comes near. I am going to try feeding in separate dishes to see if it's just not wanting to share or feeling pressured because she eats slower.

For Abby I chopped up a couple of hearts fine and mixed it in with her dry food. She was interested in the hearts I gave the kittens but didn't want to eat them, so I was surprised to see that while she didn't finish her kibble all of the heart chunks had been eaten. That definitely gives me some hope for her!
 

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I laughed when I heard your "wandering dinner" story. I've been feeding my kitties raw chicken since they were little. It came down to them trying to find a sort of "grippy" surface that would help them manage the bones, especially before they were strong enough to crack them with just their jaw strength.

Chicken wings and leg pieces tend to "wander" the worst because of the large bones. Also anything with un-slashed skin is a little awkward. What I did was start them on small bones (I was able to find cornish hens cheap at an outlet) and breasts, rib-sections, necks, wingtips, etc. I slash up the wings and legs so they can sink their teeth in right off.

And I sat there, drinking my coffee, supervising every meal. If they tried to walk off with a piece, I'd scold and place the piece back on their feeding mats (old yoga mat covered w/newspaper). After a long time of this they built up the strength and skill to feel comfortable eating on the mat. Now at 9 months I can be doing dishes in the kitchen while they eat without worrying about a kitty darting behind me with a bloody shank.

Also, "sharing" is DEFINITELY an issue with raw meaty bones! Keep 'em separate.
 

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Oh wow, that is definitely great news for Abby! Yay! :D Sometimes a cat can go straight to raw from kibbles, so she might just be the "rare" ones that do! ;)

I know my kitties reacted exactly like your kittens did initially, they'd drag their pieces all over the floor, guarding it from each other and I've got mostly carpeted floors, even though I technically feed them in the kitchen/dining room area. Serving them on seperately on a large, flat dinner plate or an appetizer type flat dish could help. Others use placemats or trays and feeding the kittens away from each other, like feeding one in a kennel or a bathroom for that short duration. My two eventually got used to it and no longer growls or drags food, thank goodness. But ugh, what a mess the first few times were! Lol. Be especially wary of liver but that's always a very small portion--5% of their diet, so luckily not too bad.

You're off a great start, pseudo! You should be proud and happy with your current 3! Soon you'll be rewarded with scentless poops and scooping won't be such a terrible chore! Your husband can't argue with that positive benefit! ;)
 
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