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Discussion Starter #1
I feed him raw chicken wings, liver and breasts but he won't eat them if I don't cut them in very small pieces. His teeth look healthy and he's young, and he doesn't complain while eating. His diet is based on dry food pellets.

I found him in the street and he seems to be an abandoned house cat. Could it be he's not used to big chunks of meat?

I personally would like him to exercise his jaws, use his teeth and chew (and eat) a (raw, big, harmless) bone. I don't believe in cooking and pureeing everything he eats...

I'm now marinating a half chicken wing in Felix gravy, will see if he takes to it...
 

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How long has he been eating raw? Some cats seem to take to large pieces slower than others, for the reasons you describe. If he's used to kibble and/or canned he may need some time to build up the jaw strength and skills necessary to sheer the meat on his own.

I'd start with just small cut up pieces of raw chicken, and then introduce larger pieces, and eventually small bones like chicken ribs or quail/cornis game hen bones. Once he gets used to those he can tackle larger bones like chicken necks.
 

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Saitenyo gave you good advice. It sounds like it will just take time to work him up to larger pieces of meat and eventually bone. Some cats are very set in their ways and have a hard time with change.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the great advice! Indeed, he wouldn't even look at the chicken wing a few days ago, and today at least he ate small chunks of it.

I so wish he could tell me his story...
 

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Thank you for the great advice! Indeed, he wouldn't even look at the chicken wing a few days ago, and today at least he ate small chunks of it.

I so wish he could tell me his story...
I know what you mean! Apollo is a total raw noob, clearly, but the skill with which Athena chews meat always makes me wonder if her foster or someone else fed her raw before I adopted her. Or perhaps she's just a natural!
 

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I so wish he could tell me his story...
Don't we all ;)

Some cats are just better at it. Between my 3, Azalia is always the dainty and picky eater. Egypt is like a garbage disposal and her jaw strength is kinda frightening. And Lacey, who came to me at 6 mos and was never fed raw, took to it right away and has had no trouble eating any larger pieces, but the bone had to be worked up to.
 

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I give my cats chicken neck couple times a week. I skin off the neck, chop it to 1in length, then hammer it so it's soft...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Prince doesn't have a problem with raw. His problem is with big pieces or pieces attached to the bone. I can give him the best food he loves and if it's not cut in tiny pieces, he won't even attempt to eat it. He just leaves it there. He's not making any progress...

This thread shouldn't have been moved to this new forum, as his problem is with cooked meat too.
 

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Prince doesn't have a problem with raw. His problem is with big pieces or pieces attached to the bone. I can give him the best food he loves and if it's not cut in tiny pieces, he won't even attempt to eat it. He just leaves it there. He's not making any progress...

This thread shouldn't have been moved to this new forum, as his problem is with cooked meat too.
How long has he been at it?

Apollo is the same way about all food too. He won't eat his ground raw, or canned, unless I mash it up for him or at least separate it out into smaller chunks. He doesn't seem to like chewing, just licking (and his teeth/gums are perfectly healthy).

I'm told it sometimes just takes time, but I haven't been at it that long with Apollo so I'm not sure. I suppose it's possible some cats will just always refuse to chew.rip large pieces of food.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Saltenyo, it's been just 2 weeks, and I've been trying to give him bigger and bigger chunks, gradually, but he won't eat them. He does tackle heartily a big slice of cold-cuts or roast-chicken skin, though. His reaction to a big chunk of food is as if it wasn't food - he smells it and goes away. Then I cut it tiny and he'll devour it with gusto. Maybe so much kibble makes them lose the taste for bigger stuff... You know, on the other hand, he chews on his hard-plastic toys like a tiger! :)
 

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Cheetah has the same problem, it has not been completely resolved, but he is getting better.

He won't eat big 1 inch meat cubes before, but if I cut it into smaller pieces, he would swallow it without chewing. So he did not get chance to exercise his jaws.

So I tried to cut it into thin long pieces, like 1/3 inch wide and 2 inch long. so it is a small enough piece to get into this mouth length-wise, but it is too long for him to swallow without chewing. Now he eats chicken of reasonable sizes and shapes, like 1 inch x 1 inch x 2/3 inch piece.

For pork, he is still not too happy about big pieces, but he will eat 1 inch x inch x 1/3 inch piece with no problems now.

Another thing I found out is I have been feeling them too much. Since they are 16 mos and I am not sure if they have finished growing, so I just feed more, and so Cheetah has the chance to be picky. Now I am pretty sure they have done growing, so I just slowly reduce the diet to the 3% body weight amount, and Cheetah finishes his food 90% of the time, even with I include a half quail breast with bone sometimes.

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That's a good idea, I'll try giving him less and less kibble and bigger and bigger chunks of meat, we'll see what happens...
 

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Cheetah has the same problem, it has not been completely resolved, but he is getting better.

He won't eat big 1 inch meat cubes before, but if I cut it into smaller pieces, he would swallow it without chewing. So he did not get chance to exercise his jaws.

So I tried to cut it into thin long pieces, like 1/3 inch wide and 2 inch long. so it is a small enough piece to get into this mouth length-wise, but it is too long for him to swallow without chewing. Now he eats chicken of reasonable sizes and shapes, like 1 inch x 1 inch x 2/3 inch piece.

For pork, he is still not too happy about big pieces, but he will eat 1 inch x inch x 1/3 inch piece with no problems now.

Another thing I found out is I have been feeling them too much. Since they are 16 mos and I am not sure if they have finished growing, so I just feed more, and so Cheetah has the chance to be picky. Now I am pretty sure they have done growing, so I just slowly reduce the diet to the 3% body weight amount, and Cheetah finishes his food 90% of the time, even with I include a half quail breast with bone sometimes.

Good Luck!
This is good advice and a neat trick I hadn't thought about before! (Something more to add to my library of "tips"!)

Saltenyo, it's been just 2 weeks, and I've been trying to give him bigger and bigger chunks, gradually, but he won't eat them. He does tackle heartily a big slice of cold-cuts or roast-chicken skin, though. His reaction to a big chunk of food is as if it wasn't food - he smells it and goes away. Then I cut it tiny and he'll devour it with gusto. Maybe so much kibble makes them lose the taste for bigger stuff... You know, on the other hand, he chews on his hard-plastic toys like a tiger! :smile:
Straysmommy, the cold-cuts and roast-chicken skin isn't good for your kitty. It could also be some of the problem with his reluctance to try other foods as they - the cold-cuts and roast chicken skin - are processed, smell very strong and probably have a strong taste, too, leading Prince to expect all "food" to have the same smell/taste.

Fresh raw meat obviously wouldn't meet with those expectations, having very little odor / flavor comparatively, and he actually might not think they are edible.

Best regards!

AC
 

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Discussion Starter #14
AC, you're absolutely right, and I'm the same way - I'm addicted to junk food and won't eat anything else. I've decided not to buy any processed foods anymore that smell and taste as you say, so he won't go crazy for them each time I open the fridge due to the smell. It'll do us both good. I'll keep the turkey pastrami frozen so it won't smell, only for trapping needs.

Prince is now eating meat and organs excellently, he totally loves them, but still only in very small cubes. Looks to me like he doesn't know how to break a big piece of food into smaller pieces... Any piece I feed him that is a little bit bigger, he'll leave in his bowl. Should I stop giving him small pieces altogether so he's forced to try the bigger pieces?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I forgot to say that this goes for small, thin, long slices too (except turkey pastrami, of course). But one other thing I noticed is that he leaves the turkey pastrami slice too if it gets stuck to the bowl - he can't get it unstuck from the bowl.
 

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AC, you're absolutely right, and I'm the same way - I'm addicted to junk food and won't eat anything else. I've decided not to buy any processed foods anymore that smell and taste as you say, so he won't go crazy for them each time I open the fridge due to the smell. It'll do us both good. I'll keep the turkey pastrami frozen so it won't smell, only for trapping needs.

Prince is now eating meat and organs excellently, he totally loves them, but still only in very small cubes. Looks to me like he doesn't know how to break a big piece of food into smaller pieces... Any piece I feed him that is a little bit bigger, he'll leave in his bowl. Should I stop giving him small pieces altogether so he's forced to try the bigger pieces?
You have to move at the cat's pace. Increase the size of his food chunks slowly enough that he doesn't realize they're becoming larger. That may mean holding the same size for three days, then making an incremental increase, holding for three days, making another tiny increase, etc. (Make sure you're not overfeeding him so he is more inclined to eat everything on his plate.)

What you don't want to do is discourage him or put him off the raw altogether.

You could try using Koobe's trick too. Small diameter, long strips - this gets him chewing without being discouraging.

And, for now, keep the tougher meats, like gizzards and beef, small. Once he's eating larger pieces of other meats comfortably, you can start increasing the size of the tougher products.

AC
 

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Discussion Starter #17
AC, that's a wonderful idea!!! I'll increase the size that way, thank you!

As to beef and gizzards - are they necessary in their diet? I ask because even the semi-starving strays left the gizzards because they're so hard to chew. And because beef is very-very expensive in this country.

I'm really sorry for asking you so many questions...
 

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AC, that's a wonderful idea!!! I'll increase the size that way, thank you!

As to beef and gizzards - are they necessary in their diet? I ask because even the semi-starving strays left the gizzards because they're so hard to chew. And because beef is very-very expensive in this country.

I'm really sorry for asking you so many questions...
Never apologize for asking questions. :wink

As long as you are serving a balanced menu - 80 meat / 10 bone / 5 liver / 5 other organ - it's the variety that's important, not the specific ingredients, so no, neither beef nor gizzards are necessary.

AC
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you, AC!
 

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It does take a LONG time for cats. Cheetah has been eating raw for a year and he is still kind of picky on the sizes.

He still won't eat whole chicken hearts, even half hearts. He will only eat it if it is cut into swallow-able pieces.

Even Panther, he won't eat whole hearts, he is okay with half hearts.
Mui Mui will eat whole hearts, even turkey hearts.

I give them duck jerky twice a week hopefully they can practise jaw strength too, just make sure the jerky is not too hard for them to lose interest on chewing.
 
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