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Discussion Starter #1
The switch from low-quality canned to grain-free premium canned has made me an absolute believer in feeding the best you can give to your cat...the changes in their coats, energy levels, not to mention the litter boxes are too strong to ignore. And so after months and months of debating and questioning, I'm finally going to just do it already! XD I did get some premade raw sample packs, so we'll be finishing those up first, then moving onto homemade.

I won't be able to get started switching to raw till next week, but I wanted to clear up a few questions/concerns first. Big shout out to Saitenyo for your awesome thread and getting quite a few of my own questions answered (I'm a chronic worrier, so I love your thoroughness!).

I don't have a reliable organ source, and this is one of the main reasons I've been so hesitant to try raw. I found a raw supplement called Alnutrin, where all you do is add the mix with water, in with your raw boneless ground meat and fresh liver (the only organ I can get). I'd be giving the supplemented meal most feedings, and then I figure once we move up to bone (not gonna lie, bone terrifies me), I'd get random with it and give maybe 3/4 supplemented and 1/4 bone-in meals (separate meals not mixed). Does this sound adequate? Is that enough bone-in meals to make a difference on their teeth or would a more half and half ratio be better?

I know variety is good, but I'm only really going to have access to really common meats, like chicken, beef, and turkey. I may get lamb in there, if I'm lucky. I can also do sardines in water as a snack occasionally. Is that enough variety to go around? I worry because Samantha gets bored with flavors very quickly...

I guess thats all I can think of for now. I'll be picking up a nice food processor early next week, and I've got my awesome scale and handy-dandy notebook all ready to go. I'm so excited to finally try this out! I hope the girls get as into it as I am. :p
 

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Congrats! I was extremely against feeding raw, simply because of the gross factor, but after feeding raw for a few months now, I can honestly say you get over it, and it's really no big deal. Now, I can't ever imagine how I dealt with the smell of those awful cans of processed cat food! :p THAT'S gross!
 

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Hehe, I'm glad my own chronic worrying can be helpful to others. :)

I totally know exactly what you're going through right now, being there so recently myself. You see these dramatic changes and it just "wows" you. Just wait until they start eating the raw! If they're already healthy cats the most change you'll probably notice is softer coats and waaay less litterbox smell. For me it was like night and day though because of Athena and her digestive issues, seeing them completely resolve on raw. I'd never been so excited over poo. XD

I'll leave the detailed advice to more experienced raw feeders, as I'm still using premade with occasional tidbits of chunked raw. Like you I'm still struggling to find a good organ source.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Geri - Haha, yeah, I think canned smells pretty terrible too. Even the premium stuff. I actually had a lot of fun getting the samplers all cut up, portioned, and ready for small additions to their food. They've been getting chicken liver as the occasional treat, and Alice and Samantha are already taking it whole...I have to cut Rochelle's up pretty fine yet, but at least she's eating it. :)

Saitenyo - Seriously, your thread is awesome. You asked many of the questions I wanted to, and I got so much info there from the replies and from your own experiences. It's amazing that a change of food could do so much for Athena! Alice's stools have always been on the softer side, but the past few days they've really firmed up. Samantha has had chronic ear infections since I've gotten her, but I can already notice a significant drop in amount of ear scratching and discharge (I'm wondering now if it was something she was allergic to). And this is just switching to grain-free canned. I can't wait to see what raw will do!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Got another question. There's dehydrated mixes out there like Honest Kitchen's - Prowl. With chicken liver as my only fresh organ, could I get away with using something like the Prowl as a base, with a bit of chunked raw meat for their teeth mixed in?

I think Rochelle might really like something more watery based, as she looooooves gravy...I'm thinking it might be easier to transition her to raw that way. Not to mention, I got a free sample of this stuff from one of the pet stores I've visited over the past week.

Would I need to add extra Taurine with this stuff? I'm slightly confused because the back of my package says that the Guaranteed Analysis of Taurine in the product is min 0.12% max 0.14%. But there's no extra Taurine listed in the ingredient list.

Thoughts on the dehydrated stuff? Yay or nay?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah I just found a nutrient list on their website that says "As Served (Hydrated) - Taurine 0.05%". Isn't that a little low? Would the raw meat and liver, along with a sardine here and there be enough or would I have to add Taurine myself? Just being hypothetical here...I'm interested in whether this stuff is worth it or not.
 

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I am not that crazy about Honest Kitchen. It contains vegetable, honey... eh... for what...? Also, I don't know how much of such "fillers" that they added.
After I did commercial raw food, I transitioned to semi-homemade using the premix, similar to the stuff that you mention. I used tcfeline mix. There is an internet order and it's free shipping for more than $10 order.

My cats loved it but I did not like it because I am not giving them all the benefit of bones and it is not as cheap as fully home-made. I think the premix+meat mix is good for a short term before you do the complete home-made.

I now feed my cats the food made with recipe from catinfo.org and feline-nutrition.org. I also give them chunk piece of meats as snack or part of their meal to get their jaws exercised.

I understand frankenprey is a good choice but I am just not able to provide a lot of variety to balance their diet so I am sticking with meat+(liver/heart)+bone+egg yoke+supplement mix.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ccomaya - Thanks for your reply and for your insight on dehydrated and pre-mixes. *sigh* Unfortunately, we always come back to the dreaded bones. I am very interested in the recipe you linked, in that it doesn't force me to have all organs on hand...liver is enough. I guess I should start price checking those supplements and see where I can get them cheapest around here. :)

For the transition from canned to raw, I think I'm going to use the Honest Kitchen Prowl mix, because I don't want to jump into bones right away (and why not, it was free?). I figure getting them used to bigger and bigger chunks of meat is more important first. So a mix of Prowl and meat bits/chunks for the transition. And once I get all these supplements and taurine and bone figured out, I'd like to do the recipe you linked full time.

Is this plan sounding feasible so far? :eek:rcat
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hmm. I've been running across recipes that use dried egg shells in place of bone...this is something I could easily make myself and add to my own recipes. But I'm worried about the nutritional value.

If I were to make my own batch of homemade food, and used egg shell powder in place of bone, would this be sufficient for calcium/bone minerals in the diet, when not getting bone-in meals? If I were to do this, the egg shell raw would only be supplemental, and at least one bone-in meal (wing, thigh, rib meat) would be served each day.
 

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Egg shell is a pure calcium. You could use bone-meal... However, I really recommend to use the fresh bone because it;s not just the calcium that makes the bone beneficial to cats.
I also agree that you should go at the pace that is comfortable to you and your cat. I shuddered at the thought of giving my cat raw food at first, that was why I used commercial at first. Even that took some getting used to. When I first fed Piper can+itchy-bitchy of raw patty, I checked on her every five minutes to see if she shows any sign of tummy trouble. :)

I don't know how often and how much to feed if I add meaty bone meal (or chunky meal) in addition to the ground meal... I was wondering about that too.
 

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I agree that real raw bone is really the best option. I know some people use bone meal, but I've read that often bonemeal is cooked at high temps which degrades a lot of the nutritional value, and it can sometimes contain toxins not safe for cats.

I too was very nervous about bone at first. I admit I haven't done much unground bone yet (simply because I can't find any bone-in-meat smaller than chicken drumsticks yet) but the groun bone pieces in the Primal I feed are more chunks than finely-ground, and I really worried about that at first. I kept expecting to see bloody stool or some other indication of stomach or intestinal irritation. But sure enough I was just being paranoid. :) My cats have never had any issues with the bone pieces in their food so far and they've been eating it for several months.

The real benefit to whole bone as opposed to ground is of course the dental care it provides. That's why I'm still on the lookout for small enough bones for my cats to gnaw on.
 

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I can't offer any help on the commercial side of things - although with the ever-increasing number of people who are asking questions about commercial raw, I might start looking into the necessary research - but I can offer some tips on the bone-in meals.

Any of the bones from quail and Cornish Hens - which can be purchased at many grocery stores - are great for bone-in cat meals. Chicken wings can be cut into three separate sections and the wing tip and middle pieces - which can be further cut down the center, between the two bones, if necessary - are also good choices. The meat off the thicker section can be a separate meal, so none of the wing is wasted.

Chicken ribs from bone-in chicken breast and ribs - another item sold at most grocery stores - are also excellent choices. Like chicken wings, the rib bones quite often need to be cut down a bit and the thicker/harder pieces stripped of their meat and tossed.

There is truly absolutely no reason to fear offering bone-in meals to cats. Truly. :patback

As for transitioning, here are some articles that might be helpful:Best regards, all!

AC
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks all for the insight on bone. It's still scary, but we're going to try a little later this week (ahhh! XD) with some wing tips to start! I figure those would be softest and easiest? Or should small rib bones be first? I think it's the sizing that scares me...I'm afraid I'm going to have too big of a piece in there and one of the girls is going to break a tooth. :?

The girls are already doing fine with small chunks of meat, and their meals are about 40% raw 60% canned right now. I can't get Rochelle to eat liver though...maybe chopped up and masked in her meals will be better.

Thanks for the replies everyone! I'm so happy to finally be hopping on the raw train!

As a side, this morning the girls got a meal of 100% canned for breakfast because I went to work waaaay early and my boyfriend had to feed them. He's not real comfortable with the raw yet. I noticed the litter boxes were pretty full and stinky when I got home, whereas I've noticed a real nice change since starting the raw, in that there's less smell and the poops are smaller.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Tonight I made my first homemade raw mixes! :wiggle I made a pork mix and a chicken mix, just in case someone doesn't like one or the other.

Not sure if this sounds crazy, but I had sooo much fun making it! I really enjoyed mixing and weighing all the ingredients, and portioning it out. I felt like I had all the power to make the best food possible for my girls, and it felt great knowing exactly what was going into the food. I did use bone-meal this time, only because my little food processor can't handle whole bone. But we will be trying out some real small soft bones (chicken ribs or wing tips) later this week or early next week depending on how well they do the next few days with 100% raw (they're almost there...at about 80% raw/20% canned).
 

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That's great! It really feels good to feed the food that looks good too! Compared to the commercial raw, I think the meat quality of home-made is no match. :)

I hope you cats will be equally excited about the food as you are. Please keep us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The girls will be starting on my homemade food tomorrow morning for breakfast. I'm working on getting through the last few samples of the premade stuff (Primal quail is the last of it, and will be served for dinner).

The verdicts so far?

Nature's Variety chicken frozen raw was rather "meh" across the board. It took some tuna juice drizzled on top and a squishing down of the food (they wouldn't eat it in the chunky medallions) to get them to chow down.

Frozen raw Primal (the sampler pack) has gone over super well. The cats love it, and all three will happily eat it in the little bricks. Yesterday for breakfast and dinner, all three girls ate everything...but left all the tiny pieces of bone in the bottoms of their dishes. This morning however, they cleaned their dishes, bone and all (Alice had one tiny piece in her dish left).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
As of dinner tonight, the girls are on 100% raw! Yay! Tonight they had the rest of the Primal quail, and I made beef and broccoli with rice for dinner, so I gave each girl 2 small thin strips of beef.

Rochelle is adorable. She was not quite ready for beef of the size I gave her, so after licking at it furiously for about 5 minutes, she looked at me and pawed at the beef (yeah, it was really darn cute)...and repeated the gesture until I figured out that she wanted it smaller. So I cut it up and she ate it happily after that. :love2

Both Alice and Samantha however, tore into those beef pieces like nobody's business. They loved it and it was really cool to watch them eat like that, all gnawy and wild like.

And I'm happy to report that everyone kept down their dinner, and that there was no indigestion or loose stools in the litter boxes. I didn't think it was supposed to be this easy. Well, we'll sure find out if it's easy or not tomorrow morning for breakfast, when they get the first taste of my homemade...I'm so hoping they like it! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes!

:kittyturn The girls ate what I made...and they liked it! YAY! Breakfast's main ingredients were a mix of chicken breast, pumpkin, egg (raw yolks, lightly cooked whites), and liver...the chicken was either mixed with the other ingredients/supplements in the food processor or chunked for their teeth. I had portioned the meals using ice cube trays, and I'm happy to say I think it's a perfect amount, for now at least. They'll be getting the chicken mixture for the next few days, so I can watch and see how they all do with it (any allergies, loose stools, and such). Then we'll move on to the pork mixture and see how that one goes.

Rochelle slowly made it through the chicken chunks without me having to chop it smaller this time, so that was great. Alice and Samantha went through the chunks at lightning speed again (watching them eat is really entertaining, like I have my own wild cats or something!).

And now I know what the "raw zoomies" are, hahaha! Alice was running around here like a crazy nut (more so than usual) right after breakfast. She was bouncing off walls and cupboards, launching herself straight up in the air, attacking her tail, and making little "brrrrt!" noises everywhere. It was so funny. XD

And I think I might have excellent news, but I won't know for sure until tonight or tomorrow when I can get there, but... I THINK I FOUND A SOURCE FOR ORGANS! :D It's an asian market in the next city over, and I've gotta go and check out if it's a reliable source or not, but I've heard they have pancreas at least, so thats encouraging! If this is a reliable source for what I need, then there is nothing stopping me from going full "frankenprey"! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well the asian market came through...I found organs and heart!!!! :D

I picked up the girls some duck gizzards, chicken heart, and beef kidney. Yay!
 

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I hope nobody minds all the posts. This is a good place to gather my thoughts and ideas, and journal whats happening. :)

Tonight's story!

While I was preparing the kidney, gizzards, and heart I bought from the asian market, Samantha and Alice were all over me, so I gave them each a tiny piece of heart to see if they liked it...they inhaled it. So, I figured I'd pick out the tiniest hearts from the package and work them into tonight's dinner.

And the verdict?

They were a huge hit! :2kitties

Samantha and Alice actually took theirs whole (the hearts weighed maybe .3 oz each), and just went carnivore on them. Alice dragged hers off her dish, but stayed really close. These two go at these chunks like pros!

Rochelle needed hers cut up smaller for her, but she still ate just about all of her meal...she left a very small bit of heart, which was swiftly descended upon by the other girls.

I'm really glad they are all taking this so well!
 
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