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to raw or not to raw..

2816 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  cinderflower
that's the question.
Inspired by some treads on our forum, I decided to give a try with raw diet. I just came back from stores with beef liver, chicken hearts, winners and t-bone steaks (these two last are my raw diet, which I have no problem whatsoever)..anyway.
I cut beef leaver to small pieces and served to my fellows cats. They came, sniffed it a little and...walk away. So sad, I'm trying, they don't care. Do I have beef liver for my today's dinner?
I'm aware there are some tricks, maybe I will try some. My 1st question would be, should it be frozen before serving?
If you know any golden way to make them eat, please let me know. to mix it with dry or wet food?
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Liver is not the best to start with... it has a weird texture and my cat is not very fond of it. I would try the chicken hearts first. My cat loves them. Put them in a small baggie and run it under warm water for a few minutes first, you dont want to give it to them cold. You can cut them up in small peices, and mix with a little canned food if they don't try it right away. You can also sprinkle some parmesean cheese on top. It is not a good idea to mix raw with dry kibble....kibble takes too long for cats to digest and it can create a "back up" which then enables them to get sick from the raw. Raw food naturally goes through their digestive tract fairly quickly.

I have heard other people ask about freezing meat first...I don't unless I am making a large batch ahead of time and want to save it. I don't really understand what the benefit would be of freezing.

Any who, this explains it way better than I can, and check out the raw diet forum...there are tons of great links there:

How to Transition Your Cat to a Raw Diet
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Freezing kills parasites, I believe.

If you are feeding human grade food bought from a grocery store, I wouldn't worry too much about that. If it was gotten off someplace like craigslist or from a hunter then I would worry.
Freezing kills parasites, I believe.

If you are feeding human grade food bought from a grocery store, I wouldn't worry too much about that. If it was gotten off someplace like craigslist or from a hunter then I would worry.

Okay, thanks. That makes sense. I only feed meat from the grocery store so I should be okay.
The golden food that they like right off can take a bit to figure out. My Panda went nuts over beef liver. It was the first raw item she really ate with enthusiasm.

Finely mince your boneless meats.

I did find that it helped to let her get a bit "hungry" before I gave up and gave her something else to eat. Give them a couple of hours peace to get hungry and be willing to explore and play with it before you decide it's a no go that session and give them their regular food. If I played with it or hovered too much Panda would leave it alone. Usually she wouldn't eat it until it had been in the bowl for about an hour.

Edited because kitty likes the nice warm keyboard as a bed.-
Bryan, you have your heart in the right place, but please please please do some extensive reading on raw feeding before you start giving it a try. A balanced raw food diet is the best thing you can give your cats, but an unbalanced, home-made raw food diet is one of the worst things you can do for your cats' health. It's complicated trying to navigate all this information on your own, but it must be done right, so be very careful.

You can't just pick up random pieces of meat and organs from the grocery store, bring it to your cats, and feed it to them at random. That can cause some serious nutritional deficiencies. Cats need to get the right proportion (which isn't exact, but a close approximation) of muscle meat vs. organs vs. bone, they need taurine, calcium, etc. I've done so much reading about this, yet I still do not feel like I know enough to attempt this on my own, so I use a high quality commercial raw food intended for cats (which is ground, but is supplemented with taurine and has the right proportions) and supplement it with some organs and meaty bones 3x a week so that my cat gets to chew. This is something you may want to consider.

Here are some resources:
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
Feline Nutrition & Raw Diets for IBD Cats
Feeding Cats Raw
Raw Feeding Instructions

Keep in mind, some sources have contradictory information on certain fine points or raw feeding... and on certain not-so-fine points. But read as much as you can and try to make the best determination, to the best of your knowledge.

Okay, so now that we have THAT covered... you also need to learn how to transition your cats to a raw food diet. Many of these links already cover that, but in concept it's fairly simple, so I will mention here as well.

You can't expect to bring home some raw food and have your cats just eat it up when they've been eating something else their whole lives. Cats are creatures of habit and can be picky eaters. You must transition them slowly into any new diet, not just because of that, but also because their digestive systems need to get used to the new diet.

If they aren't already, transition your cats into fully canned first. No kibble... no free-feeding. Just 2 or 3 scheduled meals of canned food only. Once they are used to that, start mixing in tiny amounts of raw food into their canned food. Slowly increase the amount of raw food (and decrease the amount of canned) as they get used to the new tastes and smells. Eventually, you will be able to feed them mostly raw food, with very little canned. And once they are used to that, you can get them on full raw.

This transition can take a few weeks... or a few months. It depends on the cat, and older cats in particular are very hard to convince to change habits and diets. Patience is key. Even if it takes a whole year, be patient... keep trying. Even if you're just giving them a little bit of raw with canned food, that's still a huge benefit for them. See every little improvement as a milestone, and keep trying to trick them into eating more raw food. But whatever you do, don't go 24 hours without feeding them. You can make them a little hungry by delaying a meal a few hours, or giving a smaller meal in the morning so they'll be hungrier and more likely to eat whatever you give them in the afternoon (for example), but don't let them skip full meals for long periods of time. Sometimes that means giving in and letting them just have the canned food for a meal. But keep trying...
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However, if you want to feed your cat a good quality canned and give raw bits on the side as a treat that's doable as well.

Meaning, you CAN offer raw while you are still feeding canned and not worry terribly about the ratio of bone/meat/organ(within reason) so long as it's not the majority of their food.
Agree with the others. Kudos for wanting to do raw! It's awesome, and will make your kitties so much healthier. :D

You need to start slow, though. Liver is not a recommended "first food" for a few reasons: 1. It's organ, and will cause cannon-butt (and on your long-haired kitties that would not be fun!). 2. It's sometimes an item kitties tend to be hesitant of even when already used to raw meat.

I would start with chicken thighs, or breasts. Quail if you can find it (not small chickens, actual quail - asian markets are good for these) for bones (they're soft and small, and you can crush them easily if the kitties need help). No organ meats until they're used to raw in general is always a good way to start. :)

Cutting the meat small wiith a sharp knife, and mixing it with their canned food if they're hesitant, will help the transition. Some cats prefer to just eat chunks right off the bat! Others need to have it hidden in food for a while to get them used to it. It will depend on your kitties. :)
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I had today beef leaver with onions for dinner. The one that was suppose to be for my cats. It was delicious. I had to prepare it myself because my wife is in Europe. Tomorrow I think I will have chicken hearts:)
I think I will hold on this raw transition until my wife will be back.
How about some party?:wiggle
You can always chop up a tiny bit of hearts for your meows! They may be interested in those, especially if the pieces are tiny and mixed in canned food. :) You're such a good cat-daddy!
My finicky sixteen year old cat's favorite treat is raw 70/30 hamburger I get at the organic butcher. Apache has no teeth, has borderline hyperthyroid disease and is completely spoiled. She has decline to eat most dry and canned cat foods and will only take small amounts of Fancy Feast Tender Beef with its juice. Thyroid medication for her condition has not helped much and she does also have borderline liver problems. Apache was born a feral cat and lived her first three months under the wood pile in my Dad's yard. When her mother was killed on the road in front of my parent's home, Dad and Mom heard her keening for her mom and went out and trapped her, bringing her into the house and putting her in a dog crate. My Dad then called me and told me I had to take this cat for him; that he rescued her and fed her some canned salmon and I just had to take this cat in! I did, of course. It two me two weeks before I even laid eyes on her after I put her into the spare bedroom for quarrentine and it was six months before she would allow me to touch her without slashing and biting. Now she is my stickel-burr cat, always on me. But she is getting so skinny and I am running out of things she will dain to eat. I remembered yesterday she used to love to catch and eat mice. So I contacted Hare Today and got some ground frozen mouse and I am going to try that and see if she likes it

I am at the end of my rope and hope keeping her alive. She is my heartcat, the cat my daddy gave me and I will try anything to keep her with me.
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Clapping my hands for you and your kitties!

My kitties first raw is chicken meat. I prepared my dinner and cut a piece of chicken off and hand it to them. They took it right away and chased each others around the house fighting for that chicken.
if your cat has hyperthyroidism, it really doesn't matter what you feed it. until you get that under control, it's impossible to keep weight on them. they can eat all day and still end up with their ribs and hipbones sticking out.

do you know the level value? anything over 4 is definitely abnormal and needs treatment.
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