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  1. #1
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    Primal pet chatter =)

    Just posting here as a spin-off from the "CW moments" thread to avoid more hijackery!

    I have a "funny CW moment" every time I get into a discussion with someone who's anti raw-food-for-pets. The first question I ask is when the last time is that their doctor told them to eat more highly processed, pre-packaged factory food for better health. There's usually a <crickets> moment, and if I'm lucky, the lightbulb flicks on ;0). For some reason, people are often willing to make that leap on behalf of their pets even if not for themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by elainevdw View Post
    Ours was a rare case, but I still get paranoid about that stuff. I'm trying to figure out an inexpensive way to do raw at home without the vet getting all up in my face about salmonella and toxoplasmosis. :/ She said that stuff doesn't bother the cats with their carnivorous immune systems, but she thinks it's irresponsible regarding the humans living with the cats.
    What... the... junk? I know winencandy already pointed this out, but how does she think people accomplish feeding themselves if raw meat is a direct pipeline to disease city? Two words: "basic sanitation". We feed all our critters together in the utility room on their own mats. The cats know their food is protected when in their feeding area, but the minute they pick it up and try to run off with it, it's fair game for the dogs. The cats are very good about staying in their feeding area.
    The dogs were no problem from the start. Anything particularly sloppy gets fed outside anyway.

    If there are kids in the house, just make sure everyone knows not to allow licks/kisses for an hour or two after feeding. If there's a litter box in the house, kids are at far greater risk for toxoplasmosis exposure than in a raw feeding situation anyway. Unless you're killing and gutting your own wild or badly commercially farmed rabbits (and not following basic sanitation rules while doing it), you're not going get toxoplasmosis.
    What a weird concern. I've heard all kinds of panic over e-coli and salmonella, but... toxoplasmosis? Anyone with a cat and a litter box is at risk. Raw food has nothing to do with it, absent the rabbit killing which most people aren't doing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gravyboat View Post
    Seriously. My vet pushes Science Diet, which despite its marketing ploy is really not great. When my cat got a bladder infection at one point (probably from her 100% dry diet at the time; she doesn't drink much), the vet told me I should switch to Science Diet.

    Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Chicken Liver Flavor, ...

    Uhhh, no. Thanks. "Healthy whole grains" and processed food can flip right off, both for my cats and for me.
    Funny story about SciDie: I worked in the retail pet industry right about the time that the premium pet food explosion happened. Up until that point, SD was pretty much the only premium pet food on the market. Then a bunch of others came along, Iams and Eukanuba were early big players and both made a pretty good name for themselves as better alternatives. Then, Iams got sold to Proctor and Gamble who promptly revamped the formula to make it cheaper to sell at Wal-Mart and grocery stores. They tripled the amount of corn, went from meat meal to wet-weight meats (further reducing the total volume of meat in the finished product), and basically all-around crapified it.

    This new, super-cheap grocery store version of Iams? Very nearly identical to Science Diet's maintenance formula.


    Quote Originally Posted by sires6 View Post
    We feed grain free as dogs only get minimal grain in the wild (stomach contents of animals). But I do know the passion for this is similar to the passion in people over Primal/CW.
    It's been a while since I was doing a lot of active research into wild canid nutrition, but I think it's true that wolves don't actually eat the stomach content of large prey animals. They pull the stomach out, open it up, and shake the contents out before eating the stomach itself. If I'm trusting my memory correctly, that comes from L. David Mech, who isn't a raw food proponent, just a wolf biologist.
    In any case, the actual grain content would be slim to none. Wild ungulates may eat wild grains, but they're eating far more of the stalk and grasses than the grain itself. Of course they'd get the whole stomach if they're eating rabbits, rats, etc, but in that case the grain content would likely be even less.

    I'm a real geek about raw feeding. All the animals in our house get biologically appropriate, whole-foods diets. It's a bit of a PITA at first, but once you get into the swing of things, it's cheaper than premium packaged foods and doesn't really take any extra effort. And I can't remember the last time we were at the vet for any reason.
    Like someone else said, I'm amazed it took me so long to make the connection to my own feeding patterns and needs.
    Last edited by mixie; 01-31-2012 at 01:54 PM.
    “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

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    I'm interested in doing a raw diet for my overweight calico (if I take her off my parents' hands, otherwise my boyfriend and I will be adopting together as the lease only allows one cat). From what I've seen, calicos are often overweight, so I have no idea if raw would really help with that. She's healthy otherwise, though very lazy. My biggest concern is the cost of going raw, or at least more appropriate processed food (definitely grain free). Can anyone comment on the cost of "primal" cat food as opposed to conventional (ie. the cheapest bag of dry food labelled "organic")?
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    Oh! Also, adult cats who have always been conditioned toward dry food may have a much harder time transitioning to whole-foods raw. In that case, your best bet all the way around is an all-meat commercial food. RitaRose: I have a friend who just switched his cat over to either Blue Wilderness or something similar. It's only been a few weeks and he just called us up to tell us how his cats are sleek and shiny for the first time, ever. And not that they were getting cheap food before, just that the switch from "premium" grain-based foods to an all-meat kibble made a world of difference. Cheers for you and kitties!
    “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."
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    Quote Originally Posted by namelesswonder View Post
    From what I've seen, calicos are often overweight
    I have two tortoiseshells (same exact tri-color genes as calicos but less white) and they are not overweight. I would argue that most CATS are overweight, because most people feed them food with wheat gluten and corn fillers.

    Can anyone comment on the cost of "primal" cat food as opposed to conventional (ie. the cheapest bag of dry food labelled "organic")?
    I mentioned in the other thread that my cats eat Wellness Core (grain-free ultra-premium dry). Between my two cats, they eat a 12lb bag (~$40) in 2 months. So ~$10 per cat per month. I also buy about 10 cans of wet food per month (~$5 per cat) and they get a lot of my meat trimmings as well (effectively free, since it would otherwise just go in the trash). I also mentioned that cats on grain-free will eat a lot less than cats on crap food because it fills them up more, just like low-carb does for people.

    I can't comment on feeding raw because I haven't tried it yet, but I would really like to look into it more.

    Anyway, I think your cat is probably fat because she is corn-fed and insulin-resistant and basically has a big wheat belly just like everyone else on SAD. I think if you switch her off the crap food she will recover quite nicely. (And you can show her the Before & After thread and make her read the MDA blog if she doesn't believe you.)

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    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.
    “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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    Quote 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?

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    Quote 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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    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&#39;s Dinner - YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by the1stpsycho View Post
    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
    Yaar =). My cats will eat whole chicks but don't seem to know what to do with mice when they don't first try to run away. Whole-prey feeding is absolutely possible, but very pricey unless you're raising your own critters. Also you have to be comfy with whatever diet the prey animal is fed. In a commercial operation, they're eating lab blocks and alfalfa pellets. Alfalfa is probably fine for commercial rabbit diets, but lab blocks are exclusively grain food. One of my cats reacts poorly to grain-fed beef (barfs spectacularly, everywhere) but can eat grass-fed, no problem. On the other hand, he'll eat frozen/thawed day-old chicks from corn-and-soy fed hens but won't touch f/t commercially-fed mice. Go figure.

    @Shanster: some smart guy ( ;0) ) once said "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good". I'd happily feed a commercial, grain-free food if that's what my situation allowed. I'm fortunate to have good access to a wide variety of cheap or free local-source animal foods, but if I lived in Yuma, Az? I'd definitely not be beating myself up for not having access to free fish heads.
    Last edited by mixie; 02-02-2012 at 09:57 AM.
    “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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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabbecky View Post
    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?
    What canio6 said, and more. I don't actually spend much on animal food, but I do a little extra legwork to save the money. My overall goal is under a dollar a pound for anything, and a great deal of the food we get is pennies per pound or free.
    I scout Craigslist especially just before and after the major hunting seasons. Also, meat processing plants, butchers, fish markets, game processors, the grocery store, carnicerias and asian markets... plus my friends all know the situation and will call me up when they have a couple freezer-burnt chickens to get rid of, or whatever. That sounds like an insane lot of work, but it's really not. I don't check all those places weekly or even monthly. I know when the kill day is at my local meat processing place and will go out and bring back a haul of elk legs and green elk tripe maybe two or three times a year, for example. Or the local fish market for a 30lb box of sashimi-quality heads, tails, and chum scraps for $5 maybe every two or three months.

    If it helps to think about it from another direction, consider that what you're paying for now is mostly indigestible corn. It moves right through your pets and you wind up cleaning it up from your yard or litter box. You'll end up saving money in the long run feeding more highly nutritious and digestible food because they simply won't need to eat the same volume of calories to be satiated and nourished (sound familiar? =) ).

    It's hard to say with any degree of certainty what raw feeding costs, given different concerns about the cost and availability of animal foods, but most folks I know who are willing to do a little "hunting and gathering" are able to keep their costs very, very low. Others would rather spend the money for convenience and not the time. There's plenty of room for balance in whatever suits you and your pack. We save a great deal of money not just on the food bill, but vet bills too.

    ETA: to answer the first question more specifically, I'll feed more or less anything that used to be alive. Somewhere around here I've got a photo of the inside of our pet food freezer which, at the time, had something like sixteen different species of animals represented =P. We'll feed marked-down grocery store beef one day, and wild-caught nutria the next. It also helps to remember that dogs are scavengers too and will eat just about anything they can get down their throats. My dogs don't seem to care how green or slimy a thing is, and they'll happily chow down on stuff that makes me gag to smell it. That's not to say I'm going around scraping up roadkill or anything, but certainly if my butcher's freezer goes down over a weekend I'm the first one he calls to come pick up a load of sour, slimy lamb ribs.

    Also, if it's helpful, I wrote a Q&A for my dog club's newsletter a while back that answers a bunch of the basic questions: http://www.rawdogleather.com/DACARawArticle.html --I hope it's okay to link here, that is my commercial website but the article isn't selling anything ;0)
    Last edited by mixie; 02-02-2012 at 10:06 AM.
    “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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