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Discussion Starter #1
I've mentioned before my difficulties in doing homemade raw due to lack of organ variety (I seem to live in some kind of void with no butcher shops, and local stores don't have much other than standard muscle meats).

My cats are on commercial raw at the moment (Primal, and trying out Rad Cat now that I have found it locally) but I would really love to add some actual meat chunks to their diet, for their teeth and to help with Athena's desire to chew (I'm still trying to coax her to chew chicken wings with little success).

Since I can't find all the organs I'd need to do only homemade raw, do you guys think doing a few meals a week with meat chunks and a supplement would be a good option to add some more variety and chewiness? I've always been a "supplements are never as good as the real thing" sort of person but I see they use all-natural (and recognizable!) sources for their supplements.

So anyone have any experience with this stuff? Can you do it with chunks of meat instead of grinding? Their site seems to suggest you can but I can only find instructions on how to use it with ground meat.
 

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I did use the TC premix for a while right after I switched for the same reason's you're listing. A few things stand out for me.

I did do chunks rather than ground, and I tried both their 'with liver' and 'without liver' mixes with the same result. The kitties loved it for the first two-three meals, then got bored and stopped eating the 'sauce' that was the mix.

I found the mix to be runny, like water. Not the thick sticky gravy I was envisioning. It smelled like kitten formula, which was a plus since Muffin had just been weaned off the formula shortly before, and the cats thought it was a treat.

They got bored of it to the point where they stopped eating the meat! However they did like just the powder without water added, so I tried just adding he powder to the meat with much greater success.

I thought originally that there was no where I could possibly get organs, but once I started really thinking about it, looking around, and asking people I found 2 places a 1/2 hour drive away. Since I was only going once a month to source food that wasn't a big deal. I stopped using the TC and haven't gone back since.

Overall I found the TC to be decent, but overpriced. I could source all the meat waaaay cheaper than just the muscle meats and adding powder. The powder cost almost as much as the meat did, once shipping was factored in. Since one of my main goals with switching to raw was cost effectivness it wasn't going to work.

I say, if you have the money to afford it and your cats like it go ahead. But buy a sample pack first and try it out to see how you and your cats like it before commiting to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I just looked at the price after writing this thread and...I feel it defeats the other purpose of wanting to do more homemade (the high cost of commercial raw). :/

Hmm, perhaps a better solution for me then would just be keeping on the organ sourcing search? I mean I'm sure there are places I could go more towards LA but boy do I hate driving over that way. However I can't imagine there's nothing anywhere around here. I just need to keep looking I guess!

Are there people here who do a combo of frankenprey with commercial raw (or canned)? I know frankenprey is usually balanced over a longer period of time but I'm a little confused at the prospect of how to balance it while also offering stuff that's already balanced for some meals.

I mean I would love for just homemade to be my eventual long-term goal but having not done it at all yet I am still nervous about the time involved, the grossness, the sourcing, and the balancing. I keep waffling back and forth on it...but I sure would love to be able to give the cats more options and more dental exercise.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Heh I get the feeling I am probably just hitting the wall that a lot of people hit before they start homemade raw...it looks overwhelming before you do it, but I guess so did balancing and preparing healthy meals for myself at first.
 

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lol that's exactly how I felt saitenyo. I did make the jump and my first few months I weighed everything down to the oz! Now I just sort-of eye-ball it. Some meals are bigger, some are smaller, some have bones/organs, some don't. *shrugs* I know there are people who have been doing it longer than me who are still super careful, but I'm comfortable balancing everything over a longer period of time now.

If you're near LA then there should be some sort of an asian or other ethnic market nearby. That's where I was getting my organ meats for quite a while. I know from reading your other posts you're looking for organic meat mostly, so another route might be to check out a local farmer's market and talk to the organic farmers to see what they could do about keeping organs for you. A cow liver would last forever with just 2 cats!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm in LA county, but right at the edge (it's a huuuge county encompassing several cities), so I'm about 45 minutes from the actual city (longer if there's traffic, which there usually is). The closest ethnic market I found is about 30 minutes away (without traffic) but yeah, I'd rather get stuff from farmers markets if I can.

There is a Sunday farmer's market right in my city...of course that's the one morning I usually can't go since that's when I go out to do my laundry. :roll: My schedule is a bit more flexible now that I'm working from home though, so I may have some more options.

I'd probably have to stick to chicken livers as Apollo vomited the last two times he had raw beef. He may be allergic to it.

I've been able to find a wide variety of muscle meat, some meat on small bones (like chicken wings) and some chicken liver...just nothing else so far (not even beef heart, but I'm not sure I could feed Apollo that anyway). So hopefully the farmer's markets will be more fruitful!
 

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I feed frankenprey and commercial no grain canned. I balance out the raw as if I was feeding entirely raw (percentages of bone, organ, and muscle meat). However, for their evening canned meal, I only feed about 1.5 oz of food or else they gain too much weight so the bulk of their diet is homemade raw. Every time I take one of them to the Vet, they always ask what are you doing? Their coats are lustrous, silky, and shiny, and their teeth are perfect. They haven't had any health issues for over a year and simply go to the Vet for their annual check ups.

I also wanted to go the organic, cage free, etc. route, but I found these meats weren't as varied as I needed and way more expensive. I have 4 cats, and that would've added up very quickly, but the main reason to turn to the Asian markets for my meats is variety. I hope you do find a workable middle ground that makes you happy, but sometimes you just have to settle for what you can do instead of the ideal solution.

Good luck!
 

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Have you asked your local supermarket if they have organs in the back that they don't do anything with? Or your local "meat market"? Someone must have something you can use--a farmer who does their own butchering, a zoo supplier, a local restaurant? As long as you can get kidney and liver? Here where I live, liver is pretty easy to get, kidney not as easy, but it's such small amts that they need, when I was feeding raw even a small portion lasted quite a while with the two kitties. Admittedly, though, the majority of the stuff I found at the supermarket was beef liver and kidney. Hmmm.
 

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FireFlye,

Part of the hurdle Saitenyo is facing is most supermarkets in the US sell very limited varieties of meat to begin with and particularly if you want to only buy organic, hormone free, and/or cage free animals. Unfortunately, a traditional supermarket would not suit her purposes.

Hare today might be good for bulk ordering though...that's actually a pretty good option.
 

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Hi saitenyo,

I use feline instincts powder. I do a mix of their food and frankenprey. (My cats like to plate share and trying to get them each to eat their own so the ratios are even close to right is a pain!!!!) I use 1/2 of the meat in the recipe ground the other half chunked for chewing. They absolutley love it! (Ok, so figaro still doesn't adore lamb, but he never really did, lol). I have some trouble with finding organs but I am getting better. I live in North San Diego county and I actually have some good leads going but I have to order fairly large quantities of most things so I may be looking for someone to go in on with ordering. My sister lives in the LA area so you probably wouldn't ave to drive to SD to get it, as our family gets together at our parents in Riverside fairly regularly and I can send it up to LA with her from there. PM me if you are interested. I have a good lead with a local butcher who says he can get me almost anything I want, and he has several other local raw feeders he currently supplies.
 

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I'd probably have to stick to chicken livers as Apollo vomited the last two times he had raw beef. He may be allergic to it.

I've been able to find a wide variety of muscle meat, some meat on small bones (like chicken wings) and some chicken liver...just nothing else so far (not even beef heart, but I'm not sure I could feed Apollo that anyway). So hopefully the farmer's markets will be more fruitful!
Mikey can't keep beef down half the time, but he so far has had no problems with eating beef liver or beef heart. It could be differant enough that it doesn't trigger a reaction.
 

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FireFlye,

Part of the hurdle Saitenyo is facing is most supermarkets in the US sell very limited varieties of meat to begin with and particularly if you want to only buy organic, hormone free, and/or cage free animals. Unfortunately, a traditional supermarket would not suit her purposes.
Ah, gotcha--that does complicate things a little bit (a lot!).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Have you considered just ordering from Hare Today (even though it might be pricey) for JUST the organs? A bulk order or organs every 6-12mths might be easier?
Yeah, I looked into Hare Today and the costs were even higher than commercial raw, to ship to my area. Plus I couldn't order that infrequently to save on shipping costs, as I don't have much freezer space. :/ We're considering moving in a year or two and at that point I would hopefully have room to actually get a large freezer to solve our limited space issue. Currently we're working with just a tiny freezer box at the top of our fridge which is packed full of our food and the cats'.

Have you asked your local supermarket if they have organs in the back that they don't do anything with? Or your local "meat market"? Someone must have something you can use--a farmer who does their own butchering, a zoo supplier, a local restaurant? As long as you can get kidney and liver? Here where I live, liver is pretty easy to get, kidney not as easy, but it's such small amts that they need, when I was feeding raw even a small portion lasted quite a while with the two kitties. Admittedly, though, the majority of the stuff I found at the supermarket was beef liver and kidney. Hmmm.
I can get liver I believe (I think I saw chicken livers at the grocery store), just haven't found kidney yet. I still have yet to try the farmer's market. Last time I asked at the supermarket they weren't super helpful.

Hi saitenyo,

I use feline instincts powder. I do a mix of their food and frankenprey. (My cats like to plate share and trying to get them each to eat their own so the ratios are even close to right is a pain!!!!) I use 1/2 of the meat in the recipe ground the other half chunked for chewing. They absolutley love it! (Ok, so figaro still doesn't adore lamb, but he never really did, lol). I have some trouble with finding organs but I am getting better. I live in North San Diego county and I actually have some good leads going but I have to order fairly large quantities of most things so I may be looking for someone to go in on with ordering. My sister lives in the LA area so you probably wouldn't ave to drive to SD to get it, as our family gets together at our parents in Riverside fairly regularly and I can send it up to LA with her from there. PM me if you are interested. I have a good lead with a local butcher who says he can get me almost anything I want, and he has several other local raw feeders he currently supplies.
Thanks for the offer! I'm actually right at the edge of LA county though (bordering Ventura) so it would probably be quite a drive still. That's the problem with LA county, so spread out! There are places I could go closer to the city or in the valley, it's just such a nightmare driving over to that part of town because of our traffic.

I know there are produce farms out this way, in Camarillo and such, which isn't too far from me. I keep assuming there must be some local farmers I could get stuff from. Just have to try to get to the farmer's market.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ah, gotcha--that does complicate things a little bit (a lot!).
Yeah, my desire to find free-range meats probably makes it trickier (it's one of the reasons I've gone with Primal and am trying Rad Cat). I know it doesn't matter to everyone, but it's really important to me from both an ethical and nutritional perspective. I don't even eat meat myself and would feel much more comfortable buying from sources like small farms. I dunno if you've ever seen any documentaries on our factory farming industry over here, but I have some real problems with how it operates, and the junk they feed the livestock reduces the nutritional quality of the meat.

I checked Trader Joe's again last night in vain hope (because they're a great source of free-range, antibiotic-free, grass-fed meats) but 90% of what they have is just boneless chicken breast, beef, fish, and no organ meats at all. :/

There's an organic market that just opened up locally that I still need to check out...not sure if they'd have the same lack of variety as TJ's but it's worth a shot.
 

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hi saitenyo, i am currently feeding the kittens commercial raw along with canned, and giving them chunks of meat occasionally. right now they are still working on their jaw strength so i haven't tried bones yet. i know the frankenprey part is not entirely balanced as they currently are not getting organ (other than heart which i know counts as muscle) and bones in the mix, but i am hoping this is temporary and the commercial raw and canned are providing the nutrients they need. good luck in finding organ meats! i would love to hear your progress
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That's another alternative I was considering littlesushi. Until I can find organs, I wonder if it would just be okay to give them a little bit of chunked meat or a chicken wing a day with most of their diet being the commercial raw/canned mix?

I still haven't gotten Athena to eat bones but I am hoping I can work her up to it.
 

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Sorry if you'd tried this before, but what about going to the butcher/management of TJ's and speaking with them? It's hard to find hearts in town, and I know my local grocery store (large chain) can order them in (much more expensive mind you) if I need them. Is that an option? I just bug as many people as possible. :p Also, consider perhaps posting an ad on Craigslist or Kijiji asking for smalltime farmers to get in touch with you, or possibly even hobby breeders (of stuff like small birds/rabbits/etc) and see if you can't buy old breeding stock that has passed away or babies? Might be a wee bit icky getting the organs out, but these are just id-ee-ers. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks, those are good ideas!

I have at least found some potential alternatives to the Primal for now. I tried a sample of Rad Cat with the kitties tonight and wow they inhaled that fast! It looks chunkier than Primal too, which is what I was hoping for.

I also did some price calculations tonight and found out that without shipping, Feline's Pride (a food I've been wanting to try them on forever) is cheaper than Primal! With shipping it's not, but I actually found a local reseller. I've contacted her to see what she has to say.

If I could do a diet of one of the above brands with chunked meat/bone treats I think that would satisfy me (and the cats) a lot more than our current situation.
 

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Hey there! Have you been able to get to the farmer's market? I'm sure that if you spoke to the farmers and found out what they did with the innards/"non-desireable" parts, you might be able to buy directly from them.

Also, kijiji and craiglist for hunters too...find out what they do with their killings. I've had success with people I know who hunt.

Also, did you just do a google search for Asian marketplaces? How big is your city? Sometimes they are not quite "big" enough to show up in searches... some eastern Asian places here in NorCal are Lion Supermarket, Mitsuwa, Ranch 99, and Seafood City. Maybe you can search and see if there's one of those in your city?

Another option, I apologize if you've already done this, is go to your local pet store(s) and talk to the workers there and see if they know of anyone who feeds raw...maybe you can get in touch with them and see what they do. Maybe even set up a "carpool" to go further out (you pay them 1 time to pick you up some things, then you go pick it up next time and they pay you...etc) or, perhaps, you can buy in "bulk" somewhere. Since you have 2 cats to feed, it would definitely be more cost-friendly.

There has to be a hidden gem somewhere! :)
 
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