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Author Topic: For those interested in fresh raw feeding....  (Read 9884 times)
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Auntie Crazy
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« on: August 30, 2009, 03:18:40 PM »

I put this together for another site some time ago and thought some of the folks here might find it helpful...

RAW FEEDING METHODOLOGIES

Grinding: All ingredients are ground and mixed together. Advantages = Every meal is nutritionally balanced, easy to feed after (fairly lengthy) preparation. Disadvantages = Doesn't do anything for dental health, doesn't make cats work for their food, taurine is destroyed in the grinding process and must be supplemented back in.

Frankenprey: A variety of animal parts are fed in chunks. Advantages = More natural method of feeding than grinding, good for dental health, cats get their chewing workout, fairly easy to source, cost effective. Disadvantages = Requires a feeding schedule to maintain diet balance, may require more daily prep than either grinding or whole prey.

Whole Prey: Whole animals are fed. Advantages = Most natural and nutritionally balanced method of feeding. Disadvantages = Sourcing and cost of the food, "squeamish" factor.

HOW MUCH OF WHAT TO FEED

To determine how many ounces of raw food to feed your cat on a daily basis, multiply your cat's weight by 16 to convert it to ounces. Then multiply that total by 2%, 3% or 4%. Divide that by however many meals you feed each day to get the ounces to feed per meal. Most folks feed three times a day, some feed two; never feed less than two.

Your starting percentage depends on your cat's current weight and activity level; the leaner the cat and the higher the activity level, the higher the percentage you start with. If you're not sure what percentage is best, start with 3% and adjust as needed. You should be able to feel your cat's ribs, but not actually see them. If you can't feel them, slowly reduce how much you feed; if you can see them, slowly increase how much you feed.

For example, an overweight, inactive 15.5 pound cat would be fed about 4.96 ounces of food a day (15.5 x 16 = 248; 248 x 2% = 4.96) , while a lean, active 10 pound cat would be offered about 6.4 ounces (10 x 16 = 160; 160 x 4% = 6.4).

That tells you how much to feed. If you're not offering whole prey, your next step is determining how much of WHAT to feed. You can do this using daily numbers, but it's easier to calculate by the week, so take that daily total from above and multiply it by 7 to get a weekly total. Now multiple that weekly total by:
80% = ounces of meat to feed each week (*N1)
10% = ounces of bone to feed each week (*N2)
5% = ounces of liver to feed each week
5% = ounces of non-liver organ (spleen, kidneys, etc.) to feed each week

That sounds like a lot of calculations, but you only have to do this once and after feeding raw for just a short time, you may even become comfortable estimating the weight by eye. The numbers don't have to be exact, they're just guidelines, although you don't want to go over too much on the bone (your cat might become constipated) or on the liver (Vitamin A overdose). Keep an eye on the body wastes - diarrhea means too little bone, constipation means too much. Also keep an eye on your cat's weight - if it goes up too much, cut the amount you feed per meal back a bit; if it drops more than you want (or faster than half a pound or so a week), increase the amount per meal.

*NOTES:
N1 - For rawfeeding purposes, skin, hearts and gizzards are considered muscle meat. They count toward the 80% muscle meat percentage, not the 5% organ requirement. Skin is quite fatty, so watch your cat's weight and cut back if necessary (I actually don't feed skin); heart is a great source of taurine and makes a wonderful addition to your cat's menu; gizzards are great for exercising your cat's jaws or slowly down a really fast eater.
N2 - Weight-bearing bones are more difficult for cats to break, so try to stay away from them. Chicken rib, neck and wing bones are good, as are quail bones. Start small and easy and work your way up. Wacking a bone with a hammer is a perfectly acceptable way to help get your cat used to eating bones. (NEVER, EVER feed cooked bone, as they can splinter and cause serious complications.)

More notes:
- The harder a muscle works, the higher its taurine content. For example, chicken thighs have more taurine than chicken breasts, and heart, of course, has the greatest taurine content.
- Rabbit is a very lean protein source. Cats require more fat in their diet than we do, so, while rabbit is great as a part of the diet, it shouldn't be the sole protein source.
- Beef, pork and venison are perfectly acceptable meat ingredients, but some cats may be reluctant to eat them.
- A few folks believe when organ products and meat products are fed together, they should be from the same source (i.e. chicken liver with chicken leg quarters, beef kidneys with beef chunks). Many folks don't, and I haven't heard or read of any biological reason that proves such matching is necessary, so I am comfortable not making the effort.

EXAMPLES
I know what I wanted most when I first started was examples, so here are two. The Frankenprey version is what my cats are currently eating and the Frankenprey/Grinding example is what they started out eating (keep in mind I have five cats):

Frankenprey only:

Breakfast: Around 8ozs of beef round (comes in precut stew pieces), pork loin chunks or beef heart chunks I cut and packaged myself.

Lunch: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, they'll get something with bone in it - chicken wings, half a quail, a quarter of a Cornish Hen, or half a chicken breast with ribs.

Tuesday and Thursday, I serve 5 ozs of beef liver and 5oz of beef kidney.

Saturday and Sunday, they'll eat either a turkey drumstick with the bones and skin removed or a chicken leg quarter with the bones and skin removed.

Dinner: Alternating between a turkey drumstick with the bones and skin removed and a chicken leg quarter also with the bones and skin removed. The drumsticks range in weight from 11ozs up to 18ozs each (as packaged), while the chicken quarters vary from 8oz to 14oz.

Every now and then, I'll try something different, like bison meat or a whole mouse, just for the fun and variety of it.

Part-Frankenprey / Part-Grinding:
(In this example, the weekly totals of bone, liver and organ are ground separately, mixed thoroughly, and then divided by 7, packaged and frozen.)

Breakfast: About 8 ozs of the prepared ground mix.

Lunch: About 8ozs of beef round (comes in precut stew pieces), pork loin chunks or beef heart chunks I cut and packaged myself.

Dinner: A chicken quarter or a turkey thigh with the bones and skin removed, weight (after prep) ranges anywhere from 8oz up to 14oz.

I don't have any recipes for ground-only diets, however, the Cat Info and Cat Nutrition sites both have good recipes.

SOURCING MEATS

Online Vendors:   Rodent Pro     /     Hare Today     /     Prey 4 Pets

Alternate Sources: Ethnic markets are often good sources for hard-to-find organ meats.

Barter groups and coops. There’s usually an annual cost, but everything you get is fresh – a benefit to your pets and your family.

Tell friends and relatives who hunt and fish that you are interested in animal parts they don't want. Talk to restaurants and caterers and ask for organs and other meat pieces they throw out. Also try the restaurant suppliers.

Your local butcher. Ask for the meats and organs they would normally throw out, including items that are nearing expiration.

For the non-squeamish…

Taxidermists. Local animal breeders and farmers (don’t forget to ask about culls and still-born animals).

Slaughterhouses, meat and poultry packers and distributors. Ask for organ meats that normally get tossed. Also ask what else they throw away.

Livestock auctions (the animals can be butchered for you).

Cost-Cutting Tips: Ask about bulk purchasing everywhere. Watch for sales and marked-down meats, even in your local grocery store. (I get chicken liver and beef heart for less than a dollar a pound sometimes.)

Join a Costco, Sams Club or other similar club store.

Craigslist and Freecycle. You can watch for deals as well as advertise that you’ll pick up hunting and fishing remains, cleaned-out freezer meats, etc.
 
HANDY TOOLS

Kitchen shears, medium and large carving knives, freezer bags and/or plastic containers. A scale that registers down to the half ounce (mine is actually a baby scale). A knife sharpener (skin dulls a knife fast!!). A chest freezer. If you grind any bone, you'll need a meat grinder; if you grind just meats, a good-quality blender will do.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 09:46:32 AM by Auntie Crazy » Logged

AC & Crew: Allen, Rachel, Meghan, Spencer, Heather & Ralph

CatCentric.org
: Raw feeding, feline nutrition & related health blog, article and resource site.
5CatMom
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2009, 02:33:22 AM »

Auntie,

Thanks for that info.  I printed it out to add to my kitty cookbook Grin.

5CM
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Auntie Crazy
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2009, 04:26:58 PM »

Cool. I love making healthy food for cats easier to understand.  Grin
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AC & Crew: Allen, Rachel, Meghan, Spencer, Heather & Ralph

CatCentric.org
: Raw feeding, feline nutrition & related health blog, article and resource site.
petslave
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 08:40:19 PM »

This is probably the totally wrong way to go about adding raw to cats' diets, but it's the more important issue for them right now.  I'm interested in giving them some bony parts to clean teeth, massage gums and exercise jaws.  These are all older cats with varying amounts of crummy teeth issues so I can't go chicken thighs with them. 

I was thinking wing tips or necks, although the necks seem like they have some rather sharp points on the vertebrae.  Any ideas?  Is it bad to give such bony parts instead of starting with all meat and working them up to bone?  I have fed some commercial raw in the past, and sometimes one of the cats grabs a chunk of raw while doing prep for cooking, so they aren't total strangers to it. 

They don't seem that interested in eating bone though.  They left behind big bits in the commercial raw and sometimes one of them will get a rib in their cooked meals (poor QC on my part) and will just set it on the floor next to the plate without trying to eat it. 
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Auntie Crazy
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2009, 07:31:33 AM »

Cooked bones are very dangerous, so it's good your cats have been ignoring them. Cooking makes bones brittle and sharp, and you can imagine what that could do to a kitty's insides.   Shocked

Feeding raw is not a hard science and transitioning cats to raw even less so; whatever works for each individual cat or cat family is the right way for that situation.

That said, the drawback to starting with bone-in meals instead of meat is the learning curve. Cats are accustomed to swallowing wet food and chomping once and swallowing dry food; they have to learn how to break down bones and they need to build up the jaw strength necessary to snap bones. Typically, this learning and strengthening is done with meat, starting with smaller pieces and working up to larger chunks as they learn and their strength grows.

You can try to start with bone, Petslave, but your cats may not be able to manage it and may become discouraged if they try and fail. You can help this by breaking the bones up (necks and wing tips are fine) and slowly increasing the sizes you offer.

Generally speaking, it's hard to transition cats to raw meat and harder to go all the way to bone, so starting with bone is going to be difficult.

None-the-less, there's nothing that says you can't try.   Grin
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AC & Crew: Allen, Rachel, Meghan, Spencer, Heather & Ralph

CatCentric.org
: Raw feeding, feline nutrition & related health blog, article and resource site.
mainecoonpeg
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2009, 10:36:47 AM »

Poco, thank you for thae searing idea on the liver.
Mine seem to ignore it when it's cooked through but try to shred me to ribbons when I am prepping the raw.

How did Poco's cat friend like this?




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sharky
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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2009, 05:36:28 PM »

Poco the light searing has worked well for me ...
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Cato
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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2009, 06:14:06 PM »

Yay!  Now I know where I can buy feeder mice!  Been meaning to do this, but my daughter threatened to disown me if I fed live mice to my cats... well, she's not with me anymore and these feeder mice are quite dead, right?  Wonder if Cato will have fun with a live one...  but I think my heart won't be able to stomach it... I rescued so many rodents from Kaffe when we were in Manila...

But there's something in mouse heads that cats love...  taurine?  must be
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lesliek
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2009, 06:26:29 PM »

Cato- Punkin always eats the heads ! Sometimes I get the bottom end,or just the spine & intestines but the head is always gone. If I had the stomach for it I would buy them feeder mice.
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sharky
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2009, 07:34:59 PM »

the brain evidently is yummy.. though I have yet to have any of mine eat them...
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JustMe
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 07:09:25 PM »

AC or anyone else who can answer this.  You know I don't feed raw, but I still read about it and am curious about it. Heck, I set up the raw sections for you all to use.   Tongue  It's just not practical for me or something I can afford to feed 16 cats and 2 dogs with nonorganic supermarket meat/poultry. 

My question is, when I read various websites about raw, they compare raw to a cat's natural diet.  Wouldn't a cat's natural diet be a freshly killed rodent, bird, or some other hapless creature?  Is it anymore natural for a cat to eat something that has been dead for at least 24+ hours than it is to eat processed food?  I'm not against raw, I'm just curious how this fits in with the whole raw philosphy. 
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lesliek
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2009, 08:23:36 PM »

I know Punkin at least doesn't always eat his kill right away. Sometimes he does,& sometimes he hides it under the deck for later. Mine won't eat raw thats been in the fridge longer than a day,it has to be kept frozen or apparently doesn't taste fresh enough to them. Even frozen & thawed its more like their natural diet I think. Maybe because their teeth & digestive systems seem to deal with it more like fresh prey.
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Auntie Crazy
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2009, 06:56:28 PM »

Raw meat, organ, etc., regardless of how long the host animal has been dead, is still in it's natural form. Commercially-produced products are sourced from all the meat cuts people don't want (and worse) then cooked, boiled, baked, extruded, etc., until there's nothing of carnivorous nutritive value left, never mind recognizable to a cat's digestive system as food.

So, yeah, even an animal that's been dead a while is still comparable to a cat's "in-the-wild" diet. It's kinda like the different shades between a cream color and a chocolate color. The spectrum slowly changes from one to the other, but there is a huge difference between the two ends.  :-)

It's not a well-known fact, but cats in the wild have been documented burying their dawn-meal leftovers and digging them up for their dusk-meals, so even what difference there is between wild and over-the-counter may not be as much as you think, JustMe.
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CatCentric.org
: Raw feeding, feline nutrition & related health blog, article and resource site.
Mark T
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2009, 09:26:37 AM »

For those of you feeding raw, how much do you typically feed per cat per day?  

The reason I ask is that several numbers do not add up for me. The National Research Council recommends 280 Cal/day for a 10lb cat and 360 Cal/day for a 15lb. However, if I look at the default setting on the Alnutrin site: http://www.knowwhatyoufeed.com/RecipeBasicnonmetric.htm   it shows that a fairly standard raw mix would give 27.3 Cals/ounce. That means I would have to feed my 12 lb cats about 12 ounces a day/cat !  What am I missing?
« Last Edit: October 25, 2009, 11:17:04 AM by Mark T » Logged
Auntie Crazy
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2009, 02:14:21 PM »

I can't talk to NRC or the Alnutrin site (never heard of it before), but I can tell you that an adult mouse has 5.25 kcal per gram and typically weighs plus 10 grams (see here for reference), so that's approximately 52.5 kcal per mouse. I can also state that cats get their energy from protein; they are not biologically set up to get if from carbs. This means the higher the protein percentage, the lower the amount of food they need to eat. Mice are about 55% protein.

I don't know what that means in ref. to either the NRC or Alnutrin info, but the recommended raw feeding calculations are as follows:

To determine how many ounces to feed your cats on a daily basis, multiply the cat's weight by 16 to convert it to ounces. Then multiply that total by 2%, 3% or 4%. Divide that by however many meals you feed each day to get the ounces to feed per meal. Most folks feed three times a day, some feed two; never feed less than two.

For example, an overweight, inactive 15.5 pound cat would be fed about 4.96 ounces of food a day (15.5 x 16 = 248; 248 x 2% = 4.96), while a lean, active 10 pound cat would be offered about 6.4 ounces (10 x 16 = 160; 160 x 4% = 6.4).

(My original post is incorrect, by the way, as it skipped the initial conversion to ounces step. Unfortunately, I can't seem to correct it.)

I know this doesn't directly answer your question, Mark T, but I hope it helps!
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AC & Crew: Allen, Rachel, Meghan, Spencer, Heather & Ralph

CatCentric.org
: Raw feeding, feline nutrition & related health blog, article and resource site.
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