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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading a lot about raw food recently on this forum and on catinfo.org and I'd really like to give it a shot.

Leelu is a very picky eater and a grazer. I keep rotating cans, but I throw away so much because it doesn't strike her fancy any particular day. She's pretty thin as it is, so I don't want her not to eat. I always feel like she gets bored of the same old and eventually refuses to touch what was the best food ever 4 months ago. I'm starting to run out of brands to try! I read people pretty much feed the same recipe all the time, do you have any issues with cats not wanting more of the same?

The other thing I wonder about is the grazing. Leelu has never managed to just eat a meal at mealtimes. She takes a few bites, wanders away, then back for a few more, etc. If I remove the food for too long, she'll gobble it up and promptly throw it up, even if it's just a little bit. For those of you who are out of the house during the day and feed raw, do you have any issues not having any food out while you're gone with grazer cats?

Right now pretty much the only cans she loves are one of the seafood weruvas, which I try not to feed more than once a month and the addiction venison. I'm thinking of buying more of the seafood stuff to help with the transition to raw. I don't really want her on a seafood diet, but I think I'd have the best success. She just picks at the other cans, so mixing in raw probably won't help. I have bought some premade raw pouches and she doesn't care for it just like that, she isn't interested in any raw trimmings of human meat either. In fact it took a few days to make her realise the premade pouches are actually food! She sniffs at it, looks at me like I'm insane and maybe takes one lick before turning up her nose and refusing to eat. Sigh...

I know I'm in for a battle of wills and will need a metric ton of patience, but I really want to try. I'm convinced it would be the best for her and her sensitive stomach.



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Yup, you have to out stubborn them as well as keep them eating! It can be a challenge.
I mixed the raw with Whiskas Fishy pouches (horrid I know but that's what all four would eat reliably) and slowly reduced the ratio of pouch to raw.
I also used things like very finely ground Parmesan cheese, bonito flakes & a little ground kibble sprinkled on top of the raw to get the 'this is FOOD' message across. This helped a lot. I still do it on occasion if necessary.
My IBD girl - Lisbeth, has thrived on Raw and hasn't had one attack (aka the big D) since starting it. She has had a couple of episodes of anorexia which we worked through but they were early on and she's doing really well now. She is also a grazer and this has been a challenge. She will initially sniff her meal then walk off coming back about 1/2 hr later when she will usually eat most of it. I read that some cats need to 'prime' their appetite hence the sniff, go, come back and eat. I used to fret a LOT about her eating as she lost weight when she was anorexic but she is maintaining beautifully now. What I've figured out works for her is that in the morning I just have to be around for that first 30-45 mins so I can uncover her food for her to eat when she turns up - it is covered to stop the others chowing down on it! I feed them 3 times a day. Sometimes, especially now it's summer, she won't eat her early evening meal but she makes up for it later. I separate Lisbeth and Tyrion from Effie and Coco overnight and I now just leave L & T's supper portion and well as any uneaten evening portion out for them and they eat it through the night. In fact, once I've put the 'big girls' to bed with their supper, Lisbeth will often start eating more readily. I think she needs peace and quiet and to feel safe and calm in order to eat happily and without anxiety (she's a very anxious wee cat).
 

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I have had GREAT success the past two days with the raw (turkey thighs recipe). I sprinkle Fortiflora (Amazon) on top and they just gobble it up! I now have 3 out of 5 on raw. YEA!! You may find that Leelu eats more of this, therefore less hungry between meals. I found this to be true with Lacey! Also, I have not had any vomiting since I switched to raw!

I copied the recipe from Catinfo.org to post on my pantry. I added the psyllium husk because it was in another recipe on the same site. My cats tend to deal with a bit of constipation so I figured it wouldn't hurt. If the poop is too soft, I will delete it the next batch. Some of the quantities are compromises between a couple recipes I found there:


Raw Cat Food Recipe *


1 cup warm, NOT hot water
2 eggs – use the yolk raw
2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon food grade bone meal
5000mg fish oil
400 IU (268mg) Vitamin E
3000mg Taurine – 1000 mg more if freezing for more than a month
50mg Vitamin B-Complex
½ tsp Morton salt with iodine - 3/4 tsp if using lite salt
4 tsp psyllium husk powder
3 lbs poultry – thigh meat with skins
4 oz chicken livers

Mix all ingredients except meat, making sure all the caplets and oils tabs are dissolved.
Grind meat and add to wet mixture. Freeze until ready to use.

Recipe from http://www.catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood#The_Recipe
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Pkbshrew thanks for the reply! Just to clarify, you leave the raw out overnight? Right now, I feed her in the morning and at night and leave it out all day/night and if it happens to be a can she likes, she will eat it. Thankfully she isn't too picky when it's starting to get a bit crusty, but I thought the raw food can't be left out? She's an only cat, so if it's safe to leave it out then I'd be happy to do that and she can nibble at it during the day.

Interesting about priming appetite. Leelu often wants a treat first and then she'll get hungry. It's like I have to remind her to eat or something. Strange kitties. Lol


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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Marcia. I haven't invested in a meat grinder yet, but I will. Did you ever feed any premade raw pouches like Amore? I'm assuming the taste wouldn't be all that different, but maybe I'm better of making what I plan to feed down the road than the premade stuff.


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I do, but having said that, they've generally finished it with in two hours :) and it is only about 10c here over night at the moment so it's not going to go off.

In the morning I'll leave it out - uncovering as necessary, for about 2 hours. After that I let Miss Effie finish it off. It's funny, Effie had NO idea Raw was food for ages and now she tries to steal everyone else's!
 

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Thanks Marcia. I haven't invested in a meat grinder yet, but I will. Did you ever feed any premade raw pouches like Amore? I'm assuming the taste wouldn't be all that different, but maybe I'm better of making what I plan to feed down the road than the premade stuff.


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No, I've not tried that brand. I have tried some prepackaged cat food that was in the refrigerator section, but all of my cats hated it. Total waste of money.

Most of the non meat ingredients I listed are not expensive and will go a LONG way - probably last over a year. You can purchase a hand grinder for not much $$$. I calculated that the raw per pound was about 1/2 the cost of canned - so very economical and the ingredients and grinder will pay for themselves over time.

I bought one of these years ago and it works pretty good for the money!
[ame]http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-Grinder-Mincer-Pasta-Maker/dp/B0002I5QHW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384722712&sr=8-1&keywords=food+grinder[/ame]

although I think for just a few dollars more I'd get the more heavy duty model:
[ame]http://www.amazon.com/Weston-Heavy-Manual-Tinned-Grinder/dp/B000BQSW44/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1384722776&sr=8-7&keywords=food+grinder[/ame]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hmmm, that's actually much cheaper than I thought! And if you use bone meal then it's not much of a workout to just grind the meat manually, is it? How long does the recipe above last you? And how long can you keep a thawed portion in the fridge?

I know Amore has a bunch of veggies in it that I don't think are necessary at all, so maybe I'm better off just getting the ingredients, make a batch and go from there. Maybe I could even get a butcher to just grind up a few pounds and go from there.


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I freeze mine in daily portions - which is 600gms for my 4 cats, and use it within 24hrs. They have made it VERY clear (especially Wee Lisbeth) that anything older than that it totally unacceptable .... hehe.
 

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Hmmm, that's actually much cheaper than I thought! And if you use bone meal then it's not much of a workout to just grind the meat manually, is it? How long does the recipe above last you? And how long can you keep a thawed portion in the fridge?

I know Amore has a bunch of veggies in it that I don't think are necessary at all, so maybe I'm better off just getting the ingredients, make a batch and go from there. Maybe I could even get a butcher to just grind up a few pounds and go from there.


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I made a batch of 3 pounds a couple days ago and with 3 cats gobbling it up I'm ready to thaw the 4th package (I put it in 5 small containers). I am going to make another batch tomorrow, slightly bigger and put them in larger freezable jars. I will keep a container in the fridge for 3-4 days but so far I haven't had keep it that long there yet. I seem to be going through it pretty quickly. Our friend is a hunter and bagged 2 deer this weekend. He had about 20 pounds of scraps to toss so I took 10 pounds. I'm going to make a small batch of venison tomorrow and see how that goes over - may be too gamey for them.

On Dr. Pierson's website she makes very large batches and freezes for up to several months. I don't mind the effort it takes to make a batch so I will probably do it more frequently like every other week or so so it's not frozen long. Veggies are human thing, NOT a cat thing. Totally unnecessary. I'm excited about my cat's new diets!

Over the past couple days I have found that the raw food bowls get lapped up totally clean while the canned cat food gets left behind by half. That means I'm throwing 1/2 of the canned food away and very, very little of the raw that is not eaten. At the rate I'm going I will be 100% raw within a few more day for 3 of the cats.
Happy, happy, joy, joy!!
:yellbounce
 

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Fantastic progress Marcia - congratulations.
I'm about to make a month's supply (I normally do 2 weeks at a time) which is around 18kg of food. SIIIIIGH. I'm having surgery on Weds so need to get the next month covered .... Heh!
 

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Zuma, pick up some Fortiflora - that was a key topping. It reeks but they seem to really like it sprinkled on top. It is a probiotic but can be used as a flavor enhancer. Even if they don't NEED the flavor booster topping quality of it, it won't go to waste because it's good for them too. Available at Amazon in packets. Even if the packet expire it can be used as a flavor enhancer (according to Dr. Pierson at catinfo.org). I could not be happier with this process - it's easy to do and the benefits and cost savings are wonderful!! I wish I could shout it from the rooftops!!

"HEY EVERYONE MY CATS ARE EATING RAW FOOD!!!"

Loses something I think.
 

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LOL makes for an interesting evening news headline, I think

.... and this, just in.... Marcia's cats are EATING RAW FOOD!... more on that after a few words from our sponsor, Butcher Pete, for that fresh, just killed taste, cats love! hahahahahahahahahahaaaa
 

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Just wanted to pop on to say thanks for these recommendations - I too am planning on making the switch to raw once my little Zoe's urinary stone is dissolved. A couple of my friends who feed raw have recommended some brands to me but I would rather make my own, if I can. I thought grinders would be so expensive but the Norpro one is very affordable and has fairly regular good reviews.

The only thing about the switch to raw that I'm a little concerned with is that she doesn't eat ANY human food - chicken, cheese, ham... nothing. She will sniff it and walk away. The only thing she will eat that isn't her cat food is tuna. So I am concerned that she's going to turn her nose up to raw. We will see!
 

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You don't need to have a grinder to make raw food!

Chunks of meat provide mental stimulation when they chew, improve dental health, and have higher nutrient value than ground food. Grinding itself breaks down some of the nutrients, which is why you need to add all those supplements. It just doesn't need to be that hard.

Right now I feed about 1/2 ground and 1/2 chunks, and my cats ALL prefer the chunks. It might take a bit more work to get them eating it...but TBH not all that much more.

Cut some chicken breast into thin strips, as thick as a pencil and about an inch long. Space those out on a plate and put it down, then walk away. If they eat it then you do that a few more times (as a snack only) and once you're sure they'll eat it start making the chunks bigger.

Your cats will need to learn how to eat chunks, and learn how to chew properly. that's the part where most people get put off, since that usually involves trying to swallow chunks that are too big then hacking them back up. The trick is to gradually increase the size of your chunks. All of my cats have no problem at all taking down a 2 inch cube of meat, and they don't just inhale it, they chomp on it. They've been doing that since Muffin was 5 months and Doran was 8 months. The girls were 1 1/2 and 3 when we switched to raw.

You still feed the same ratios, but with chunks you don't need to add bucket loads of supplements, and it's WAY less work. 80% muscle meat (tongue, heart, stew meat, chicken breasts, cuts we would eat, ect), 10% bone (always best when it's IN the meat, chicken necks, chicken wings, cornish game hen bones (all of them), quail, ect), 5% liver, 5% other organ (kidney, spleen, brain, testicles, ect. If it secretes something it's in this category).

So a few days for one cat might look like this:

Breakfast: 1/2 quail
Dinner: pork chunks (stew meat)

Breakfast: chicken thighs, meat only
Dinner: Beef heart

Breakfast: 1/2 chicken neck (bones smashed for new raw feeders)
Dinner: Pork tongue

Breakfast: small piece of liver with ground beef (some cats won't eat it unless it's mixed in)
Dinner: 1/2 quail

Ect. Bone doesn't need to be fed daily, liver should be about once a week if you're feeding it in chunks. The amount of liver a kitty needs is about the size of a quarter once a week...so not every meal, lol.

I bought a grinder when I first switched to raw...and ended up selling it on kijiji and losing $50 without ever opening the box!

Before you go ground TRY the chunks, it really is so much better for your kitties and WAY easier to make.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks librarychick. I definitely want to feed some chunks, but my idea was to start with the ground up stuff and once she likes the taste, I'd add the chunks. Reason being that I've tried to mix in pea sized meat into her canned food and she will lick them clean and walk away. I've seen her eat one or two, but I think she doesn't care for the texture yet. Though I fully admit that I didn't try very hard. Now I will take thermite and get there eventually.

I also have to admit that I'm a wimp. I want her to eat the best food available, but I can't see myself buying or cutting up pork tongue or similar, so the idea of just grinding it up a bunch of thighs and liver, seems easier to me. Thanks very much for your reply, I'll do more researching about what exactly I want to do.


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That's why making strips is key! The teeny squares they can lick off, but a strip will be more likely to get into their mouth, lol.

When I first started (5 years ago!) I could barely touch raw meat! Now I'm perfectly happy buying a full chicken to break down to put in the freezer, it saves us lots of money and I learned by buying cheaper chickens to pull apart for the cats! Once you start thinking 'I'm doing this for the good of my pets!' and making yourself do it a few times it gets easier. I had a hard time with the tongue for a while, but it's really cheap and the cats LOVE it. The heart isn't as bad because chicken hearts you can feed whole, ditto turkey hearts...and beef hearts come in big chunks that just look like meat. The pork hearts are tougher 'cause you do need to cut them down a bit.

The thing is that it's much easier to switch them to chunks in the beginning. You can always get them to eat ground, but if you START with ground it's harder to switch up to chunks.

What I did was started feeding chunks as snacks until they were eating big enough pieces I know they'd eat it as a meal. Then I switched to bone-in snacks, with the bones smashed (ps...don't smash bones at night if you have close neighbors. it is loud!) and once THAT went fine we switched to 100% raw.

I felt safer knowing they were eating the canned food, so were getting all the minerals ect they needed, and it gave me that buffer to get them used to raw. I used sibling rivalry to get them all eating it, that and a bit of tricking them into thinking it was something they were not at all allowed to have...then letting them steal it ;) worked like a charm.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Interesting! I kinda figured that once she realises that raw meat is actually food and she's consistently eats it, she'd like the chunks too. I get what you're saying though. I have a couple of chicken breasts in the freezer, I'll cut some strips and see.

I had one more premade raw pouch at home and mixed it in with a can last night. About half and half and she ate it all. So I think I can get there! I'll get the fortiflora Marcia mentioned and then start mixing in more and more raw.

My grandma used to cook beef tongue and we always had to eat it and I think I'm kinda traumatized. Lol I can manage organs I think, but if it looks like a body part or whole carcass I'm not so sure. We'll see, maybe I'll be cutting up stuff too in 5 years! But I think I'll start out with a grinder for that stuff.


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I have only used the Norpro one for cooked turkey and chicken, not raw. My gut tells me it may clog more easily which would require dismantling to clean it out but for the $$$ if you don't mind the minor aggravation it might be fine. Next time I make a batch I'll try it on the Norpro a report back.

You could just finely cut some raw and see if she'll take it. I had some ground turkey for turkey burgers and I offered a teaspoon to the cats and 2 of them like it fine. That was when I knew this may be doable for me.

I don't do chunks because Missy only has about 4 teeth left and Zipper has had 4 removed over the years. Dr. Pierson, the feline nutritionist at catinfo.org didn't say ground was not good for them.
 
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