Raw Pet Food

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    Natural Diet Information Resources

    Auntie Crazy
    Auntie Crazy

    Posts : 90
    Join date : 2009-02-15

    Natural Diet Information Resources

    Post  Auntie Crazy on Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:58 pm

    This thread is an attempt to put together, in one area, all the info and resources someone new to raw would need to feel comfortable feeding their cats the diet nature created them to eat.


    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.


    To determine how many ounces to feed your cats on a daily basis, multiply the cat's weight by 2%, 3% or 4% (*N1). 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. (If you have multiple cats, add the weight of all the cats together, multiply that by 2%, 3%, or 4% to get the total daily allowance, then divide that by however many meals you feed to see how many ounces to prepare for each meal.)

    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 (*N2)
    10% = ounces of bone to feed each week (*N3)
    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.

    N1 - 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.
    N2 - For raw feeding 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.
    N3 - 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.

    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 Feline Nutrition Education Society, Cat Info and Cat Nutrition sites all have good recipes.


    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.


    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.

    Auntie Crazy & Crew: Allen, Rachel, Meghan, Spencer, Heather, and Oliver (RIP)

    Posts : 1
    Join date : 2011-08-15


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