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  • #31
    Hello all,

    I was very interested to find this thread about "primal" pets, as I came to Primal Blueprint/MDA because I have been feeding my cats Raw for about ten years and I always thought, "There should be a human version of this diet" And here it is!

    Anyhow, I wanted to share a bit of our journey (Husband, Jim, and I) in getting our cats on a raw food diet and in superb condition.

    We have multiple cats. When we met, we each had 2 cats and we have pretty much had between 3-5 cats for the last 13 years. We fed our cats iams dry food and left it out for them to graze and basically eat whenever they wanted to. Hey, the vets recommended it along with Science Diet.

    About 10 years ago, one of our tabbies, Olivia, a petite girl with white boots, started really having digestive issues. She was around 10 years old, thin, with dryish fur and some dander. She would eat and then almost immediately throw up. I was worried every day that I was going to find her dead. That's how ill I felt she was. I had no idea of what to do for her and the vet could only suggest another prescription cat food.

    I happened to go into a local bookstore (not many of them left) and was looking over the cat care books. I found one called "The Natural Cat" which really changed my entire attitude about feeding our cats. I was just looking for some advice on how to help Livvy (Olivia) when I read the section on what was in most commercial cat foods...including Iams and Science Diet. Suffice to say, those foods are literally (yes...actually and literally) filled with disgusting garbage. All of the meat parts, diseased, dirty, etc that are unfit for humans are sterilized, homogenized, preserved and made into cat/dog food. The author recommended either a raw food diet or human quality cat food.

    I wasn't sure about the raw, so I found a human quality food...Wellness brand. At that time they were one of the better human quality foods. I bought both canned and dry and started my guys out it. The results were quite good. Livvy started to improve and did not throw up her food as much, the other cats liked it too. So, I thought, "in for a dime" and I decided to try raw food.

    "The Natural Cat" offered a very sensible rationale for feeding raw to cats and a recipe that did not seem too hard. (Today, I think they missed the boat by adding wheat germ and sometimes grain to their mix, but at the time it was a step forward) The book explained that cats are obligate carnivores. This means that in a natural setting, they will eat other animals for their sustenance. They get a small amount of seeds or grain or whatever is in a mousie's tummy, but otherwise...all prey. Cats in the wild never hunt for grain. They hunt other animals.

    This was a revelation to me because I just had never considered the genetic background and natural history of the cat! I just accepted that of course cats eat purina cat chow from a bag...because that's what was advertised and promoted by my vets. Once I started thinking it through, it was OBVIOUS that of course pet cats are almost identical to small wild cats and need to eat in a similar way in order to have optimal health. Think about it...no zoologist keeping wild cats feeds their expensive animals cat chow! Nope, it is ground turkey or chicken or even larger chunks of chicken or other birds.

    I started grinding up raw chicken, adding nutrients like extra calcium and special vitamins to try to simulate a prey animal. It was tough at first to get my cats to switch over, because they were used to grazing and eating dry food. Now, they only had raw chicken and they had to eat at specific times. (Another aspect of an obligate carnivore is that their bodies are optimized to kill and eat their prey and then spend a few hours digesting. They should never free feed...it is just not a natural state for them) I had one major hold out, my Forest Cat, Dani. I had to move the dry food entirely out of the house in order to get her switched over, but she finally gave in and ate the new food.

    Our results were spectacular! Our cats, old and young alike became sleek and glossy and super fit. Livvy gained weight, no longer spit up and her fur became soft and thick with no dander. Her brother Ollie, who had been overweight, slimmed down, put on lean muscle and his fur also became thick and beautiful. These two older guys started playing and acting like kittens again...at least some of the time.

    My two forest cats, Kitten and Dani, put on muscle and also became very fit. My other older cat, binky (a dilute calico) also put on just the right amount of muscle and her plush double coat no longer was dry or dander-ry

    Remember: I thought Livvy was on the verge of death just a month or two earlier. Now she was the picture of cat health.

    Once Jim and I started on the raw food path for our cats, we kept researching and looking for more information about it. Luckily our vet at the time was somewhat supportive, but we found after a move that not many vets know much of anything about the nutritional needs of cats (dogs too). Most of what they are taught in Vet school is taught by the pet food manufacturing companies. That seems odd, but then GPs don't get a great in-depth training in people nutrition, either. We had to search for a vet that would fully support raw feeding and we found Boulder Natural Animal. Not only do they support raw feeding, one of the vets actually feeds whole, raw food to his cats...that's a whole other level...which we don't do.

    The upshot is that Livvy lived to be almost 20 years old and Binky lived to be almost 19. They were in good health until the end and loved their raw food. The only downside is that it is work, though we have the process down to a science now...we grind about 60-100 lbs of food at once and freeze it in one-two day packs. (we also feed our son's cats) The good news is that any cat who eats this food will be lean, muscular and neither fat nor thin. Their skin and fur is perfect and they are filled with fun and vitality. I heartily recommend that every cat be on this type of diet. Many, if not ALL of the maladies that afflict our pet cats is brought on by dismal nutrition, as advocated by the pet food industry.

    Here is our method: buy large quantities of chicken, we buy thighs and it is good if you can find reasonably priced organic...not always possible, I know. Thighs with bone and skin. 5% or so yams or pumpkin or a similar squash or root veg.(cooked and mashed) 10% hearts liver organs (pureed). Mix everything, distributing the veg and organs as evenly as possible. Push the entire mixture though the grinder, bones and all. We add fish oil and vitamins when we feed the cats. Note: we bought a more powerful grinder so we could put bone in the food. This saves lots of time and is better for our pocket carnivores. Before this, we deboned all the chicken and made a rich calcium broth from the bones...took twice as long!

    This food is cheaper than canned high quality food and is much better for our cats health. There are other, probably better, recipes out there, but this works for us right now. If you want your pets to be in optimal health (in the same way that the Primal Blueprint will help us to do so) Raw is the way to go! (Remember that dogs are omnivores, though. They can and should eat a different diet than cats....there are sites out there with lots of info for dog owners too)

    Summary:
    1-Cats are obligate Carnivores...they need mostly animal protein and fat and almost no carbs
    2-Cats should eat a mouse-sized meal once or twice a day. Food should never be left out for them to munch whenever they feel like it (grazing is for herbivores) We feed 2x / day
    3-Don't feed your cat dry food as their main source of food. Cats need water and a diet of mostly animal protein there is little water in dry food and usually too much carbohydrate.

    Check out this site for great info on cat nutrition from Vet Lisa Pierson.
    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
    http://www.catinfo.org/docs/zorans_article.pdf

    Here's a site that sells ground as well as whole animal protein for making your own food as well as already ground food, ready to feed your pets. (Its a little strange because they sell whole mice too, for feeding a whole prey diet)
    https://www.hare-today.com/

    I've been very long-winded, but when I saw this thread I wanted to offer my experience and encouragement

    Now I need to start reworking my own diet and health to get some of the benefits my cats have gotten from their lifestyle change. I am reading the Primal Blueprint and I am already cutting refined carbs and grains and eating more fruits and veg. I need to lose weight and get off some meds and I think this is the way to go. The blueprint seems so logical and sensible....it is something of an epiphany, just as when I first read about raw feeding my cats.

    Thanks for reading my "War and Peace" of posts.
    Helen

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    • #32
      This is really way long...my apologies for being so very long winded!

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      • #33
        Hey there Helen-- a million thanks for all the good info and no apologies whatsoever; there are at least a handful of folks who are looking to take the leap and any personal experiences transitioning adult cats are golden. Thanks for taking the time, and what a great story! It seems like raw food for dogs has been gaining traction for some time, but I'm awfully cheered to see so many good resources out there for feeding our obligate carnivores.
        I'd love to see photos if you're a shameless pet pic poster! =D
        “Falconry is not a hobby or an amusement; it is a rage. You eat and drink it, sleep it and think it. You tremble to write of it, even in recollection. It is as King James the First remarked, an extreme stirrer up of passions.” --T.H. White, The Godstone and the Blackymor

        "The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."
        - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

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        • #34
          @hhelenhh Great post! I love reading stories about the benefits that people actually expeirence when they transition to raw. There is so much negativity about it in the veterinary world. I used to work at a clinic and I learned to keep my mouth shut about what I fed my cats unless someone saw then and said "Your cats look great! What do you feed them?"

          My own kitties get raw from Hare Today and I am incredibly happy with their products and service. I did some math and it cost me about $4.86 per day to feed my three cats. I would grind my own but the husband said "Absolutely not!" Since we live in a small NY apartment I kind of agree with him Although, it would be nice. My cats also get a supplement called Platinum Performance which I love and is not included in the above cost.

          Raw feeding doesn't have be difficult and it doesn't have to be expensive. Good quality canned food is more expensive than raw (at least where I'm at) and only one of my cats will eat it. The other two think I am trying to poison them.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by bloodorchid View Post

            Don't you love their white teeth?

            Originally posted by bloodorchid View Post
            winencandy i love the ribs pic
            It was a MOOSE!

            I gots more





            Oh, and raw feeding does NOT turn them into blood thirsty fiends!



            unless you try to take Lily's venison away:

            "Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut
            "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Douglas Adams
            "Moderation sucks." Suse
            "Wine is a vegetable." Meaty
            "Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow and the day after that." Cmdr Chris Hadfield


            Winencandy

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            • #36
              Originally posted by winencandy View Post
              ...unless you try to take Lily's venison away:

              Holy crap, I love that picture!
              Durp.

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              • #37
                While it's true that wolves and dogs don't eat the stomach contents of large prey animals(have you seen how HUGE they are?), they do eat the stomach contents of smaller prey - such as rabbits and rodents - which make up a large part of their diet.

                Cats, I've seen catch mice and eat them, but leave the guts.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by RitaRose View Post
                  Holy crap, I love that picture!
                  Me too. He has that look that says, "Yeah, I killed it. Perhaps you are next...."

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                  • #39
                    I had a smal epiphany reading hhelenhh's post... what about the possibility of a whole-prey diet?
                    I know that snake owners regularily buy humanly killed mice and rats for their pets, why not cat owners? Seems like instead of feeding chicken, and supplementing with the nutrients in a mouse, might as well just feed them a whole mouse.
                    Checking prices online, you can get pre-killed feeder mice shipped to you for about $0.50 each. Two a day for only a buck?

                    Edit: Seems like you can get jumbo rats (that weight over a pound!) for $1.99. Better buy than 50gram mice for $0.50. (I was checking rodentpro.com, they also sell animals like chicks and quails for pet feeding purposes)
                    Last edited by Tealia; 02-02-2012, 01:14 AM.
                    There aren't many problems in life that can't be solved by sleeping it off, or adding more butter.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by mixie View Post
                      I've never heard that calico cats are any fatter than any others. Spayed females in general tend towards tubby, and calicos being universally female, maybe that's it?

                      It's been dogs' years since I was really looking into the price of premium pet foods, but I spend maybe a few bucks a month feeding my cats. The most expensive thing they eat is canned sardines as an occasional treat. Otherwise much of their food is cheap or free. We generally never spend more than a dollar a pound on any animal food. I sacrifice a little in the way of convenience and I'm feeding a lot of critters, so YMMV on that count. There are several brands of pre-packaged raw foods, too, and both of my local butchers make their own in-house meat/bone/organ blends for around a buck a pound.

                      Keep in mind that even if you're shelling out for pre-packaged raw or all-meat commercial foods, you'll save a fortune in the long run on vet bills. The biggest upside in my mind to prey-model raw is the dental care that comes along with it. Ground commercial foods (even good ones) make for manky teeth and big dental bills.
                      Mixie - can I ask what you get/feed? I have between 3-5 dogs (2 of our 5 puppies need new home) and depending on the season 8-14 cats (in the winter a couple of the primarily outdoor Toms and spayed females tend to stay inside as the weather is cold and the hunting is sparse). I am on a ridiculously limited budget when it comes to food - human or animal - but if I can stretch my food dollars to feed my animals better I would love to do it. Currently the dogs go through a regular non-premium 50lb bag of dog food in a week or less - at a cost of $20 a bag it certainly isn't cheap... the cats - at least in the winter - are going through a $20 25lb bag of food (Commercial, non-premium) in a little over a week. So on average I would say pet food costs over $100/month. In your experience would it be possible to feed my animals on a raw food/real food diet for close to the same cost?
                      Originally posted by L8F
                      ... I drank the fermented koolaid, and am totally on board...

                      I'm alergic to carbs - they make me break out in fat!


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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Fabbecky View Post
                        So on average I would say pet food costs over $100/month. In your experience would it be possible to feed my animals on a raw food/real food diet for close to the same cost?

                        I've yet to do it, but on some raw feeding forums I have read about people feeding their animals freezer-burned meats, which they get off craig's list for next to nothing. Another source is hunters cleaning out their freezers from last season to store this year's kill. If that is not an option you could try the closeout meats at stores. Buy it the day it is on sell-by-date, and freeze until needed.

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                        • #42
                          We had a kitten that had horrible problems on any food other than raw - I read a fair amount on it to switch her over. We have 5 cats which when I did the math was pretty spendy to feed raw. We feed the kitten with issues seperate and I read that some of the "non-premium" wet foods are better than dry..... I realize they aren't optimal...

                          I began reading labels... there are 2 flavors of Fancy Feast where the first 2 or 3 ingredients are real meat and there is no grain, berries, veggies or anything in them.

                          Like I said - I know it's not optimal and I realize feeding raw saves lives and prevents vet bills because the animals are healthier. The wet food with more real ingredients is better than dry food with grains when you are feeding many or if your budget or another issue won't allow you to feed raw.

                          I was suprised to discover this... read that info in the Lisa Pierson DVM site Making Cat Food by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM :: homemade cat food, cat food recipes another good site was cat nutrition - home

                          Cheers and heres to our happy, healthy, long-lived and well loved pets!
                          We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. - Oscar Wilde

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Tealia View Post
                            +1! Super cute

                            You guys should hear the sounds that come out of our 8 week old kittens when I give them beef fat... They will fight you for pieces of raw beef or pork bigger than their heads
                            Originally posted by L8F
                            ... I drank the fermented koolaid, and am totally on board...

                            I'm alergic to carbs - they make me break out in fat!


                            Comment


                            • #44
                              You cant definitely feed whole prey. Rodent Pro is a site that a lot of people buy mice from. Harte Today sells whole rabbits and I believe chicks as well. If your cat will eat them, and you don't mind having bodies in the freezer. My cats were not thrilled about mice. I even cut them open (kinda gross!) for them. They get whole chicken thighs and game hens on a semi-regular basis, which doesn't include any organ meats. As a part of a rotational diet they are fine.

                              Video of the youngest eating. Much better with sound

                              Oliver's Dinner - YouTube

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Lily Marie View Post
                                While it's true that wolves and dogs don't eat the stomach contents of large prey animals(have you seen how HUGE they are?), they do eat the stomach contents of smaller prey - such as rabbits and rodents - which make up a large part of their diet.

                                Cats, I've seen catch mice and eat them, but leave the guts.
                                Right, but in a truly wild situation, rabbits and rodents don't eat a whole lot of grain. Certainly they may get some wild grains but they're certainly not eating a concentrated diet of grain-foods the way that commercially fed animals are. What proportion of their diet small critters makes depends entirely on the prey population of their area.
                                “Falconry is not a hobby or an amusement; it is a rage. You eat and drink it, sleep it and think it. You tremble to write of it, even in recollection. It is as King James the First remarked, an extreme stirrer up of passions.” --T.H. White, The Godstone and the Blackymor

                                "The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."
                                - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

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