The Primal Feline - how to feed a toothless carnivore?
I'm thinking of switching my cats to a raw diet. I know this has been brought up before (prior threads have been a WEALTH of knowledge and help thus far!), but I have a couple of specific concerns. I thought maybe some people here would have a helpful perspective.
I have two cats - we'll call them Fatso and Special Kitty. Special Kitty is a breed that's known for developing allergies to things. In fact, one of the reasons I'm attracted to the idea of a raw diet is the ability that comes with it to rotate the meats I give them, thus reducing the risk of Special Kitty's being overexposed and developing an allergy to any given meat.
Anyway, one of Special Kitty's less charming prior allergies was the enamel on his teeth, so now he has none. I mean, we tried steroid shots, we even had him on a hypoallergenic, grain-free food (on my then-grad-student-stipend...ouch!), but his gingivitis was just so bad, he wouldn't eat. He was wasting away until we yanked his teeth, and then he REALLY bounced back!
Special Kitty can actually throw back dry kibble with the best of them, teeth or no teeth, and I have no doubt he'd make short work of chopped-or-ground muscle and organ meat. It's the bones that have me stumped. I've got a food processor, but no meat grinder. What to do? Is it possible to buy bone meal? I don't suppose bone broth would fill that void (probably not adequately). I'll throw some whole raw bones in for Fatso at any rate, but how best to accomodate Special Kitty? Any ideas? Do you think he could handle fish bones with no teeth?
Concern number two: I live in a part of the world where it's not always possible to tell how your meat was raised or what it ate prior to slaughter. What are your thoughts on the safety of raw food for cats - including in particular liver - when you can't guarantee you're buying pure, sparkly, grass-fed wholesome goodness?
Thanks in advance for your wisdom, oh hive mind of primal pet owners! :-)
Why do you think that they must eat bones?
Regarding her being toothless, it actually doesn't matter - cats gulp, they don't really chew. The teeth are more for ripping skin and pieces of meat off their prey. In a domestic environment, if the meat is soft or cut into small pieces, it's not a concern. My vet very stupidly informed me of it right after I paid $750 to have one of my cats' teeth cleaned/pulled...you bet I never paid for dental work for them again.
I am a cat owner of a small herd, and I feed raw among the kibble. I have one that has been 100% raw for a while now. For the bones: I have the same problem - no good way to grind bone. Since I am here in Ohio, I have contact with a place called "A Place for Paws" in Columbiana OH. They grind their own raw mixes on premises for dogs, cats, ferrets; with or without veggies; and sell by mail as well as do pick-up. A Place for Paws - Columbiana, Ohio - Home
But, they also sell something called Eggshell Calcium, which is what I use in a pinch from them, and is just powdery-fine ground eggshells. This will help.
My thoughts on raw food: if you would eat it yourself (albeit cooked), you can certainly give it to your cat. For Fatso, I would take a meat cleaver and chop up the longer (thigh and leg) bones of chicken into discs and put them out. I do this. I have never done fish bones, tho, and I haven't yet found a good way to crush beef bones except to buy the Paws raw beef blend (for the beef bone content) every now and then for variety.
Hope this helps!
I dont know if this is helpful to your question, but I do my chicken broth for 24 hours. Bones are so soft and grind right up in my blender.
Originally Posted by Sasha the Cat
Interesting!!! Would you provide your recipe/method here for me? I make homemade chicken soup using a whole chicken, but cook the bones no longer than it takes to soak all the flavor out of the flesh/skin/fat. Thanks!
Originally Posted by gopintos
I save my bones, skin etc from my baked chickens or whatever. I put them in a crock pot, or even on the stove on low. Add veggies like onions, carrots, celery, garlic. Any other spices you want. And water and a little Vinegar. Vinegar is key to drawing out more of the goodness. After 24 hours, you can smush up the bones with your fingers. I just grind it all up, veggies, bones and all in my blender.
Originally Posted by Crabbcakes
I havent heard anyone say yet that I should not grind up the bones, and so I do. If I dont have much skin in it, I go ahead and grind it right away. Otherwise let it cool off in the frig and take the fat off the top. High PUFA and damaged beyond repair, so says Mark regarding Chicken fat.
Cooking with Bones | Mark's Daily Apple
I have also been giving my dogs the whey off my homemade yogurt. One drinks it, one doesn't.
Thanks! I, too, add vinegar.
Originally Posted by gopintos
A few more questions, please...
After grinding in the blender, then you drink cups of it like soup? And - do you personally use this method (grinding bones) with other types of animal bones as well (like beef or lamb), or do you process only chicken bones in this way?
Edit - thanks for the link to Mark's article - just read it.
Last edited by Crabbcakes; 12-19-2012 at 04:45 AM.
Our kitty has been on raw food for a few years now... it's the only thing that she doesn't throw up, and even then, she can't tolerate all the raw cat food available. She can really only eat the raw rabbit.
We use Natural Instinct raw rabbit. It contains rabbit, some vegetable matter, and bones, all ground up together, so that it's like when they bring down an animal themselves, and eat the innards, etc. Anyway, she is thriving on it, and we have switched our new kitty over to it, and she is also doing very well.
Lack of teeth shouldn't matter, since it is wet food. We get it frozen, and just thaw out a couple days' worth at a time.
we can get whole minced chicken necks here for pets. i dont bother as mine all have teeth but you can prob just mince them yourself if you cant buy them. or mince up chicken wings which we get as whole raw pet food. i wouldnt give a cat or dog cooked bones myself, even if they were minced up.
I feed my girl Primal Raw. Seriously! That's the name! Guess my kitty was primal before me
Misty (my snowshoe siamese) gets terrible intestinal issues if I give her dry or canned food. Trust me, the litter box is not a pleasant place if she's had food with grains in it. I switched her to raw a year ago and she hasn't had one issue with a bloody or smelly litter box since. The Primal website has a store locator, so it might help with tracking down a local provider. The food comes frozen in 1 oz nuggets that you thaw out. Bones and such are ground in, so you don't have to worry about chewing. When thawed, the food is pretty mushy and easy to eat. Sometimes, it almost falls apart when I'm moving it from the fridge dish to her food bowl.
For additional cat food info, I highly recommend Liz's list of Best Cat Foods on the Natural Cat Care blog. She has a facebook group too where you can chat with very knowledgeable cat people.
Best of luck getting Special Kitty's needs worked out! Those little fur balls bring so much frustration and joy into our lives, don't they?
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