Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
24 Feb

The Primal Eating Plan for Cats

If we subscribe to the idea that our bodies are hardwired to thrive on the food consumed by our ancestors, it should follow that the same is true for domesticated animals. After all, we are little more than domesticated hunter-gatherers. A few months back, we discussed the Primal eating plan for dogs. Using the same principles that guide the Primal Blueprint, it makes sense that the descendants of wolves would thrive on raw meaty bones. This prompted a few readers to ask about cats. Can cats thrive on a Primal eating plan?

The answer is unequivocally yes. For anyone who’s ever owned a cat, this should come as no surprise. They’re natural hunters, always stalking something, whether it be your toes moving underneath a blanket or bugs of all kinds. They even have the same gait of the big predatory cats, skulking around like they own the place.

Whereas dogs are happy getting their food from the pack leader (you), cats have an undeniable individual streak. Let them outside and they’re liable to get in a turf war with the tabby down the street, or plunk a bird carcass on your doorstep.

Getting more technical, cats are outfitted with all the accoutrements of your classic obligate (as in “must eat meat to survive”) carnivore: sharp teeth perfect for ripping and tearing; and a short intestine designed for meat digestion but ill-suited for vegetation. They can handle vegetables, and even eat the stuff to throw up sometimes, but they’re certainly not required for optimum feline health.

As you may have already guessed, commercial cat food simply doesn’t cut it. We liken it to shopping on the inside aisles of the grocery store – buying canned soups, potted meat, and frozen dinners – and shunning the perimeter. That wouldn’t be feasible for a person trying to eat right, and it’s the same situation for a domestic cat. It’ll certainly survive on kibble, but it won’t thrive. And isn’t that what the Primal Blueprint’s all about? Thriving, rather than merely surviving; optimizing one’s health, instead of just getting by; and living a full, energetic, active life well into old age. If all that stuff matters to you, it may be a good idea to try out a Primal cat diet (or just for the reduced vet bills, if it’s a financial issue).

We won’t lie – converting a cat to a Primal eating strategy can be tricky. Cats are notoriously finicky eaters, and they have no qualms looking at you like a crazy person if you offer them something unpalatable. They also have more specialized nutritional requirements, especially compared to dogs. “Throw a dog a bone” doesn’t exactly apply to cats here. “Throw a cat a meaty bone that’s pliable and small enough for them to break up, with plenty of meat for a good phosphorus-calcium ratio, along with some beef liver for taurine content and powdered bone meal if the little guy won’t eat actual bones” is more accurate. Sound confusing? At first, it is. But let’s try to shed some light on the Primal cat diet (because your vet – who probably pushes a certain brand of commercial food at exorbitant prices – definitely won’t be much help).

The Primal cat diet should (roughly, not hard and fast) approach the approximate dimensions of your typical prey animal:

80% Muscle meat (including fat, skin, tendons, sinew, cartilage)
Chicken
Beef
Fish – especially oily fish like mackerel, sardines, or herring (which thankfully are a lot cheaper)
Turkey
Ground meat

10% Organ meat, half of which should be liver
Kidneys
Liver
Hearts
Brain
Pancreas

10% Edible bones (as opposed to a huge beef shoulder or something)
Chicken wings
Whole fish with small bones
Chicken/turkey necks and wing tips
Carcasses

If you’re feeding kittens, give them as much as they’ll eat. Adult cats only need meals amounting to about 2-3% of their body weight each day.

Cats need taurine to live. It’s good for their hearts and their eyesight, and most commercial cat foods don’t supply enough. Taurine is also very heat sensitive, so overly processed dry food degrades a lot of the taurine before it even gets to the cat. Luckily, taurine is readily available in organ meat, so don’t skimp on that. Calcium is another important part of the Primal cat’s diet – if your cat refuses to eat the bones or the organs, you can supplement their diet with bone meal or a taurine powder.

Raw foods naturally have more moisture, so don’t worry if your cat isn’t drinking as much water as before.

The Transition

If you’re lucky, your cat will take to the Primal eating plan like a regular MDA reader. If not, here are a few tips for transitioning your commercial-fed cats to raw.

No more 24-hour buffets
If your cat has constant access to unlimited stores of dry kibble, you need to limit that access. Don’t just plunk down a big bowl every day; instead, give your cat access to dry food only a couple times per day, for about half an hour each time. This way, your cat won’t be constantly sated. A bit of hunger will serve you well in the transition to raw, and it will get the cat accustomed to scheduled feedings.

Don’t use starvation to induce acceptance
While a hungry cat (see above) is more likely to try new foods, completely starving your cat in order to force it to eat raw is dangerous. When cats don’t eat for a couple days, they go into survival mode. Their livers start to process body fat for energy, but a cat’s liver is easily overwhelmed by the sudden flood of fat. The liver can become swollen and damaged – hepatic lipidosis – which leads to extreme nausea. Nausea means no appetite, which starts the terrible cycle all over again. Left untreated, hepatic lipidosis can kill. If the cat refuses to eat raw, don’t hold out on the kibble.

Consider canned
Canned wet food can be a nice intermediary between raw and kibble. If your cat’s already accustomed to wet food, you can probably cut out the kibble altogether and use a raw-canned mix for the transition.

The bribe
As you’re reducing the amount of commercial food and increasing the raw food, sometimes it helps to trick the cat into eating the new stuff. You can drizzle tuna juice, rub crushed kibble, or even smear some wet cat food on the raw meat if your cat isn’t taking to the Primal eating plan. He’ll come around eventually.

Appeal to their sensibilities
A dog will eat a half-frozen turkey drumstick in a second. A cat won’t even consider it food. Because cats are hunters (whereas wolves are often scavengers), they’re more attracted to fresh, warm meat. Especially when starting out with the Primal eating plan, be sure the meat is at room temperature, or even a little warm. Half an hour before you feed your cat, just put the meat in a ziplock bag and place it in a bowl of warm water. Never microwave, because that can cook bone and cause them to splinter.

Start small
Start with just muscle and organ meat. Your cat probably won’t take to chomping chicken bones right off the bat, and minced meat isn’t too far off from what they’re used to. Eventually, you can start including chicken wings and other small bones; chop these up too, if he’s still squeamish, and monitor the feeding. Gradually move on to whole hunks of meat and organs, along with whole bones. Before long, your cat should be grabbing entire carcasses and ripping hunks of meat off.

You could always, of course, buy commercial raw food for your cats. It’ll be far more expensive than making your own or feeding kibble, but there are some good brands out there. Just make sure the ingredients are 100% meat, with plenty of bone meal and organ meat listed, and you should be fine.

Thoughts on feeding your feline family members? Let us know in the comment board!

Hotash, Geoffrey van Dijk Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

The Primal Eating Plan for Dogs

The Definitive Guide to Primal Eating (for Humans)

Raw Meat (for Humans)

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Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. If your cat is too “finicky” to go primal then teach the cat what primal really is… eat the cat! ;-)

    The SoG

    Son of Grok wrote on February 24th, 2009
  2. My dogs have been eating raw since 1995, and I love the effect it has on their health and longevity. My cat, alas, has never been willing to switch. She won’t even eat canned catfood or even canned tuna. To her, dry cat food is the only edible substance. I’ve tried many types of meat (both cooked and raw) and she acts like they’re all poison. Eventually, the dogs get whatever she rejects.

    If you can figure out the magic key to get her to switch, please tell me! She’s old no (about 18) and very small and slender (about 6 pounds). I hate feeding her dry kibble, but it’s the only thing she’ll eat.

    Theresa wrote on February 24th, 2009
    • I wanted to say that it took me over 2 years to convince one of my cats to eat raw. She didn’t even want to eat canned either.
      First I got her eating canned and then to raw.
      I put dry into the canned cause she was crazy about the kibble and in order to eat the kibble she had to eat some of the canned too.
      I also tried other things she liked, like sardines etc to add to it.
      Once I got her eating dry and canned then I started working on canned and raw.
      With this I gave her canned with a little raw in it and gradually added more raw to canned. If and when she refused cause of to much raw I took a step back to more canned less raw.
      Then I searched for a vitamin that she liked and started adding it. Took me a few to try with her but finally found one. Once I got her used to this in her food I started giving less canned again and the vitamin helped a lot to get her onto totally raw and allowed me to stop canned.
      Now she scrafs her raw down and will eat canned also. And of course dry but I have totally taken all my kitties off the kibble. They get mainly raw with occassional canned if time is tight.
      I feed only canned food that has no grains. The one I feed my guys is Wellness some of it has grains some doesn’t so you have to check them also.
      Anyway with time and patients you can switch them but don’t be afraid to experiment with things to add and top with that can help you get them switched over.
      I have 5 kitties and all have different likes and tastes even with the supplements I add for them so I adjust each ones meal to their likes and this keeps them happily eating their raw.
      Don’t give up just take it slow and mix the dry with canned and then the canned with raw.
      With the kibble and canned they have to be able to smell the kibble in the canned so smushing it into the top of the food enough to where they can’t just pick it out and have to eat some canned to get the dry but not totally mixed in is a big help.
      Then when you start canned and raw I started with very little raw to canned and just did it very gradual.
      Like I said took me over 2 years but she is there!!! WoooHoo!!!
      Good luck and don’t give up.

      agd wrote on January 30th, 2010
  3. I remember a study a couple of years ago in which researchers tested numerous foods to find out the best diet for a cat. You know what they came up with as the perfect food containing all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions? A ground-up mouse!

    Surely, a dedicated primal pet lover wouldn’t mind throwing a mouse in the blender every day, right?

    dragonmamma wrote on February 24th, 2009
    • Well you can actually order ground up mice from a place called Hare Today Gone Tomorrow!
      So if your willing to pay for it you can get it with out having to deal with the messies part of it to boot!
      Cheers!!

      agd wrote on January 30th, 2010
      • Hare-today also sells whole, frozen mice. I feed one mouse to my 17-year-old cat every morning. She gets fed something else later in the day. Now two other cats of mine are becoming interested in the mice.

        One cat just loves the week-old quail.

        Joanne wrote on December 26th, 2010
    • why not just throw a live mouse in a bath tub?

      pixel wrote on December 25th, 2010
      • Open your front door and let your cat outside a few hours a day. They will find all the mice, birds, squirrels, lizards etc they need, Fresh and Free!

        cathy wrote on February 6th, 2013
        • They also stand a good chance of being killed.

          Dakota wrote on August 26th, 2013
        • Cats are an invasive predator that wreak havoc on native species. Please don’t let your cat outside to kill all of the local wildlife, when you could do the responsible thing and provide it with a proper diet. Not only that, cats are safer and healthier when they remain indoors. I have 2 cats which I feed a raw diet, and besides giving them plenty of attention and playtime inside, I also let them safely enjoy the outdoors in a 4×8 enclosure on the patio.

          liz wrote on March 26th, 2014
  4. I have fed out kitten Raw food since we brought him home. All pet stores carry many brands now where I live. There is one that is all meat and very identifiable bits of organs and bone in it.

    It is very satisfying to see the little guy tear into some meat and crack some bones. Awesome.

    I don’t eat grains, why would I feed it to my carnivorous pet?

    I was waiting for the vet to question it, but perhaps they picked up on my ‘readiness to defend it’ stance and didn’t pursue it.

    The foods are usually beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit, salmon. I can’t visualize a pack of cats taking on a cow though. I emailed the owner to include a ‘budgie’, ‘mouse’ or ‘squirrel’ blend. :)

    Great post.

    Jason N wrote on February 24th, 2009
  5. I agree entirely. The Primal Cat Diet makes perfect sense. They are nutritious, high in protein and healthy fat, and relatively low in carbs. Anyone could thrive on cats, I know many who do. You mention that cats are 80% muscle meat, 10% organ meat, and 10% edible bone, but don’t leave out the fur. I’d say cats are another 20% fur, which adds up to a total of 120% deliciousness. I very much look forward to this Primal Cat diet, I’m glad it is finally being accepted into Earth’s society.

    Alf wrote on February 24th, 2009
  6. Great post Mark,

    If someone truly loves their cats/dogs they won’t feed them the typical corn/wheat based crap that gets passed off as food. As in humans, just look at most pets in our country . . . O-B-E-S-I-T-Y is epidemic, and many of the same diseases that accompany it. Of course, most blame lack of exercise, rather than placing 80% of the blame on diet–partially excessive access to & quantity, but mostly the corn and wheat insulin response, allergens, and anti-nutrient components. I’ve heard the arguments: e.g. the cost difference between real food versus the price of 50lb sacks of grain–well consider the real, long-term costs with supporting your vets business, not to mention your pets health, vitality, and longitivity . . . If your pet has to have some dry nibble food to help extend the real food, consider a lamb/rice mix–not ideal, but much better than the corn/wheat disease promoting stuff that looks just like it did when it gets scooped as when it was in the bowl b/c it wasn’t digested–think about that too.

    Calvin wrote on February 24th, 2009
  7. Ok I agree with whats in the article but for me the question is what is least expensive way to move in the direction of feeding a cat this way? For example what raw meats can I ask my butcher for that might be very cheap and suitable for cats?

    Greg wrote on February 24th, 2009
  8. My next door neighbor has mother and daughter cats. She feeds them tuna fish and they love it, eat it all up.
    My grandma had a cat and she fed them raw meats, it was as healthy as her, skinny as her, and that cat lived a loooong time-so did grandma, they were so much alike:)

    Donna wrote on February 24th, 2009
    • Tuna is lacking an essential amino acid, perhaps the taurine mentioned in the article, anyways it is lacking something essential for cats health. Salmon or other type of fish would be a better choice plus organ meats.

      Robin wrote on April 21st, 2011
  9. I feed my cat a grain-free commercial kibble. Its not the most ideal, but it’s what I can afford and it’s convenient. He also loves to sneak some kale/spinach/collards/other greens whenever he can!

    Sally wrote on February 24th, 2009
  10. this is perfectly aligned with all the studies by Francis Pottenger

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_M._Pottenger,_Jr.

    and there is of course the Weston Price/ Francis Pottenger Foundation

    http://www.ppnf.org/catalog/ppnf/pottenger.htm

    where they advocate an almost identical style of eating as Mark proscribes. They are friendlier to carbohydrates than MDA and they advocate more fermented carbs and more dairy and dont address exercise at all.

    that said, Hooray for Pottenger and Price.

    as for getting cats onto it…it can be tricky. starting them off young seems to help.

    matt wrote on February 24th, 2009
  11. SOG LOL ;-)

    My cat loves my cod fish liver…..she stares me down until I share.

    Marc

    Marc Feel Good Eating wrote on February 24th, 2009
  12. Well done. Actually, what got me to eating Primal was the research I did before adopting our greyhound, who has been eating raw for the past 13 months. The change in his appearance was astounding. So that got me to thinking. And here I am, 10 months later, eating very similarly.

    No cats here, although we have toyed with the thought of getting a cat for the greyhound. ;^)

    Bill wrote on February 24th, 2009
  13. I had some leftover fish bones the other day. I thought “If I were a cat these would look delicious” so I gave them to my cat. She smelled it, look at me like was crazy and walked away. Go figure.

    Kat wrote on February 24th, 2009
  14. I use Evo. It’s processed but is grain free, has a bit of plant nutrition, but is otherwise 95% whole animal, including bone and organ.

    http://evopet.com/

    I use for my dogs (no cats), but they have a cat line. There’s nutrition info on the site, and it’s pretty impressive. I

    It’s done wonders. My 11-yr-old male rat terrier dropped 20% of his body weight and is now more active than when he was 6. Essentially, he’s as active as the 3-yr-old female. In addition, I give them a dollop of lard in their food just about every day, and a few dribbles of fish oil, which stinks horribly, but they love. I also split one gel cap of Carlson’s CLO (good A to D ratio) once per week, along with some K2 (MK-4), i.e., a single drop (1 mg) in a can of food split between them over 2-3 days.

    http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/2008/09/keeping-the-animal-free-pets.html

    Richard Nikoley wrote on February 24th, 2009
    • Tried this with my guys for a very short while cause they gained a ton of weight and had the smelliest poos EVER!

      agd wrote on January 30th, 2010
  15. My cat would rather feed himself. He eats the kibble, but only in winter, in summer there are plenty of mice. (His coat is not thick enough for winter, he tries but the cold drives him back in)

    Henry Miller wrote on February 24th, 2009
  16. “Primal Pooches” was probably one of the best picture/caption combos on this blog!

    Ryan Denner wrote on February 24th, 2009
  17. My cats (5) won’t consume a diet that is 100% raw. Accordingly they are fed canned foods that do not contain grain, potatoes or wheat gluten. Oh yeah… what’s with that eh? Feeding wheat gluten to dogs and cats? Bizarro!

    gkadar wrote on February 24th, 2009
  18. Nice post! Obesity in pets is a huge issue with me. I don’t understand why we “love” our pets to death with excess and poor food choices. On good diets and feeding quantities that correspond with body composition pets can life long, healthy lives.

    And don’t even get me started on the lack of exercise most owners provide. I don’t have a cat but I hate to hear about hyper dogs on drugs when all they really need is a good run everyday and some mental stimulation.

    onelasttime wrote on February 24th, 2009
  19. Nice timing, I’ve got an 18-year-old cat who just endured her second surgery for thyroid tumor. She’s been anorexic and down to under 7 lbs. I know it’s crazy but I love this cat. She’s been a feline eating machine since the surgery and bounced back so well eating off my plate–chicken, steak, pork and her favorite SALMON. She already is visibly gaining weight, five days after the surgery. I was thinking that sharing my meat with her would be short-term, just until she got her weight back. But maybe I will just continue to let her eat this way. A side note: My daughter had a pet corn snake until recently and it ate mice that we ordered frozen on dry ice and thawed in warm water in the sink. One day the thawing mouse disappeared. My teenager thought maybe she was losing her mind…I was SURE I had a mouse in there, she said. The 3rd time it happened she watched, and found my big white-pawed house cat snatch the snake’s mouse and chomp it down! Of course it’s what they are meant to eat. We actually have a school cat at our two-room country school here in rural Oregon. She lives off ground squirrels three of our four seasons(along with some birds, voles, pieces of my jerky, etc.) When she gets a ground squirrel, she leaves NOTHING but the intestines and tail and a big bloody streak. She always seems to do that right by the front entrance when the school board is coming to visit! The kindergarteners are so impressed by this cat. They dictated a story once in which the cat took down one of the elk in the pasture! I think they really believe she could do that. She’s black and white with short legs and a barrel chest. Sweet as can be with the kids. Sometimes she dumpster dives after the kids scrape their lunch trays. I actually saw her go in the trash one day when the kids had had “mexican hot dogs” for lunch (probably not even real meat) and then she changed her mind, came up with nothing and I watched her go out to the field and nab a vole! She’ll eat their leftover grilled ham and cheese though.

    Danielle T wrote on February 24th, 2009
  20. I wonder if frozen pinkies (baby mice, available frozen for feeding to small snakes) would be a nutritious snack for cats? They’re not fully developed yet, but they still have organs and bones and a little muscle.

    Mike B wrote on February 25th, 2009
    • I have been told to start with the pinkies and then move up to larger due to the fact that the calcium to phos ratio is not correct in the baby animals since they are still growing and developing.
      I don’t know how true this is but it does make sense.

      agd wrote on January 30th, 2010
      • I’ve fed my cats small rats and mice for a long time, they much prefer it. To add some mix, I add some quail for them. I started this for them because African wildcats(What cats are domesticated from.)eat mice and some birds mostly.

        Michael Hitch wrote on March 21st, 2012
  21. My first cat had cancer and later died due to renal failure. He was severely overweight and I was never happy with the prescription food from the vet (mostly corn). I vowed to feed my new cats and new dog better food. I fed them a mid range food from a pet food store that was recalled as part of the Chinese wheat gluten melamine scandal. Luckily all 3 are okay. I still feed them commerical food, but the wet food is grain free and the dry food is wheat/corn/soy free. I believe it to be a good compromise for now. All 3 are at healthy weights.

    While I was reading to figure out what to feed them, I started thinking about all the bad things in human food. Eventually that lead me to your site. I used to eat semi-veg with a lot of pasta and potatoes, low-fat and way too much sugar.

    My husband and I aren’t primal yet, but we are working on it. As part of a weight loss challenge at work he has lost 11# and I have lost 6.5# in 3 weeks. We think this is a good start. I thought this would be harder because I am really picky about meat and he is really picky about vegetables. Mostly I am relieved to not be trying to cram in 6-11 grains each day. We are still eating grains maybe a couple of times a week, but that is much better than what we ate before.

    Riley & Tiki's Mom wrote on February 25th, 2009
  22. I’ve been thinking of going primal with my cat. Since my boyfriend and I have been doing ourselves, we sometimes give him a little raw meat or fish. He really enjoyed the raw meat the other day. Please comment on quality of meat.

    My cat is an indoor/outdoor cat so he’s been a hunter since birth. When he was sick a few years back, I experimented with different foods- he loves sweet potato and some other flavors of baby food, avocado, and good yogurts. I found out he like yogurt when I was eating some and he jumped up on my lap and stuck his head in my bowl.

    Colleen wrote on February 25th, 2009
  23. A year ago (when the infected cat food incident happened) my siamese developed severe allergies –nearly scratched herself to pieces. The vet prescribed steroid pills which I used out of necessity. Thankfully, on this site I heard of Felines Pride. They process natural raw foods for cats and since feeding Taffy this diet solely she has pretty much stopped scratching. I have been able to stop the steroid pills (after 3 months). It takes that long for things to get out of a cats system. If she happens to injest even a small morsel of anything else the scratching starts again. Going primal for her is absolutely necessary.

    Marilyn

    marilyn zorn wrote on February 26th, 2009
  24. I got the best advice from the breeder I got my two Siamese babies from – feed my cats a high quality dry food (no meat by products, etc) and supplement it with a high quality protein, baby food being a great source.

    So ever since they were kittens I have fed them a tablespoon of chicken or turkey baby food (or alternatively, canned tuna) every evening. (And it lures them inside for the night too.) They are now 6 years old, and neither one of them are overweight or have had even one health problem.

    I decided against feeding them any of the larger prey such as beef or pork – it’s not something they would eat in the wild. I also don’t mix their proteins either – in the wild they eat one source of protein at a time, not several.

    I also tried to find canned rat, as it would be the prefect food, but seems it just doesn’t exist. Maybe I’ll try the frozen…

    Ailu wrote on February 26th, 2009
  25. Ailu,

    Thanks for the information. It never occurred to me that baby food would be a good source for the cats. My other siamese almost died of kidney failure due to the “bad” recall food. She has recovered completely, thankfully. I am going to try the baby food, as it should be free of extra additives. Have you read the labels on these pet foods? Chemicals I have never heard of………….

    I try to eat natural myself–don’t do extreme primal, but I keep making small changes and I know that my health has improved as a result.

    Why don’t the medical doctors get it?

    Marilyn

    marilyn zorn wrote on February 26th, 2009
  26. If you feed your cat baby food, make sure it does not have onion in it. Onions are toxic to cats.

    Riley & Tiki's Mom wrote on February 26th, 2009
  27. to & quantity, but mostly the corn and wheat insulin response, allergens, and anti-nutrient components. I’ve heard the arguments: e.g. the cost difference between real food versus the price of 50lb sacks of grain–well consider the real, long-term costs with supporting your vets business, not to mention your pets health, vitality, and longitivity . . . If your pet has to have some dry nibble food to help extend the real food, consider a lamb/rice mix–not ideal, but much better than

    ken wrote on March 7th, 2009
  28. “consider a lamb/rice mix”

    I need new glasses, I read this as a lamb/mice mix

    Trinkwasser wrote on March 8th, 2009
  29. If you live on the East Coast, you can get ground or whole mice, as well as turkey, rabbit, pinky rabbits, chicken, beef, pheasant, you name it, from Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow. Be warned: warmed up ground mice stinks.

    The best part of feeding a cat a raw, whole prey diet is their sh*t doesn’t stink. I can actually pick it up with my fingers and hold it to my nose without wretching, which is what happens when I smell feces from a kibble or canned food diet.

    Joanne of Open Mind Required wrote on May 13th, 2009
    • How very true! Our kitty was an exceptionally stinky one, and I’d gag walking by her litter box if it had only been a day since being completely cleaned out. We use a non-clumping litter so it’s a dump-once-a-week kind of deal.

      Then we started her on a whole prey model raw diet (which she took to like a charm right off, unlike most cats), and suddenly the litter box didn’t reek at all. We were so used to the extremely smelly reminder that at first we kept forgetting to empty it! Poor kitty… but we’re better at remembering now.

      Incidentally, another benefit of the diet is simply being able to appreciate our animals for the predators they are. Watching our fluffy little housecat’s eyes dilate as she sinks her teeth into a chicken wing and crunches through the bones without blinking is an incredible experience. It kind of makes you take an involuntary step backward when you see such remarkable ferocity.

      Isis wrote on April 26th, 2011
      • I feed my cats ground meat/bones/organs and chunk meat. They get along pretty well when they eat the ground meat, but when it comes to chunks they grab their share, run to a corner, and growl at anybody (except me, of course) who comes near. True carnivores in the kitchen.

        Joanne wrote on April 26th, 2011
  30. Hi!

    Does anyone know the solution for cat’s with kidney failure due to meds? Please help ASAP.

    Teresa Ann Foxworthy wrote on May 14th, 2009
  31. My siamese almost died from the food recall in 2007–caused kidney failure. My vet put her on iv and supportive care–thankfully, she pulled out of it and seems just fine these days. Other than that, I don’t know of any other treatment that you can do.

    marilyn wrote on May 14th, 2009
  32. I also put my cat who had kidney failure on subcutaneous administration of saline solution, did it at home. It brought her out of kidney failure the first time, but the second time her kidneys failed it didn’t bring her out of it. But definitely worth the try. Also, buy some calcium carbonate powder at the drug store and mix 1/2 tsp with water and give it to her with a dropper; it will calm the acids in her stomach that build up from the kidneys failing. It really, really helped my cat to feel better.

    Ailu wrote on May 14th, 2009
  33. We found early on with our cat that she would eat nearly anything that came her way if it didn’t eat her first, but due to wild cat in her gene pool, she suffers greatly when it comes to most things she might consider eating. Grain was a MAJOR issue for our cat from the start, but when she got pregnant, she began wasting away as we desperately sought alternative foods she could digest properly. The vet had expensive “grain free” alternatives, but nothing worked. We tried nearly every brand available to us in the many stores, from large chains to online, to small specialty stores: to no avail. Finally, we found the Merrick line of canned foods, and Acana brand. Both may contain rice, but the magnesium content is extremely low, and they are otherwise grain free. They also have several kinds of meat and flavors, the Merrick canned stuff is human grade, and both are good choices in our book for both finicky eaters, (as her kittens mostly were when born) and good for health. The Acana is about as Primal as we have found short of the Raw Diet foods (we can’t order them where we live). Certainly worth a look, the Acana is available throughout North America and Europe, and the price is worth every penny.

    Abby wrote on November 13th, 2009
    • We also suppliment their wet food with powdered variations of kelp, which they certainly don’t mind, and can be bought sodium free. They also have an extra bowl with roasted seaweed (usually Nori sushi wraps torn into shreds), which they will nibble at throughout the day between meals. For more finicky eaters, we found that starting them with the seaweed soaked in tuna juice or mixed with tuna worked wonders. Our cats are siamese polydactyls with both N.A. lynx and bobcat close in their genes.

      Abby wrote on November 13th, 2009
      • I thought I would mention that I have been told that you need to be careful with kelp and seaweeds due to iodine with kitties. Kitties have a tendency to be hyperthyroid the kelp/seaweed has an effect on this. So be careful.
        Didn’t know if you were aware of this as I know its used a lot as supplement.
        One of mine actually does very well on a seaweed supplement. I will give him some occassionally for a while then change him back to another so not to over do but I do think there is something in there that he needs so I give him some but my others don’t do well on it so I don’t give them any.
        Trial and error is a lot of it with supplements esp when your dealing with health issues or allgeries.

        agd wrote on January 30th, 2010
        • I gave my cats 1 to 2 drops of iodoral in their water bowl thinking they needed the iodine. In just over a week on of my cats salivated profusely for 16 hours, meaning he left puddles of saliva where ever he went.

          Now my cats get sardines mixed in with ground turkey about once a week. That should take care of the iodine.

          Joanne wrote on December 26th, 2010
        • If we give our pets filtered water to eliminate the fluorine and chlorine the municipality adds, it will go a long way to help our pets iodine balance.

          Kenny wrote on September 28th, 2012
  34. If you’re interested in preparing your own nutritionally complete raw-food diet for your cat, I’d recommend you read “Natural Health Care for Dogs and Cats” by Dr. Richard Pitcairn et.al., and “The Natural Cat” by Anitra Frazier. These books both have recipes for a variety of tried and true, holistic-vet-tested diets.

    As for vets’ attitudes toward raw diets, my long-time (conventional) vet was just fine with my feeding my cats a raw-food diet. She asked me where I was getting my recipes and I told her I’d using recipes from the books above, and she was just fine with it. But then again, I’d been a long-time client, my cats were extremely healthy, and she knew from talking to me that I am a very conscientious and responsible pet caretaker.

    My personal belief is that it’s better not to assume your vet’s going to be adversarial about feeding your cats a raw-food diet. The vast majority of vets went into the field because they love animals and want to help people keep their animal companions healthy. If your vet knows you because you’ve been taking your cats in for regular checkups, and s/he knows you know what you’re doing, from my experience it’s more likely that s/he will be your ally rather than your adversary.

    JaneA wrote on April 13th, 2010
  35. I have a question regarding this. I have been feeding my cats total raw for about a month now. Yesterday, we cleaned out the litter boxes to find no feces. They had urinated, but that was it. They all seem to be feeling okay, but I am a little concerned. Is there something I can feed them to help them clean out their bodies?

    Heather Babcock wrote on November 15th, 2010
    • Do you have doggies? Reason I ask, is they love kitty tootsie-rolls. Would think that ones derived from a higher protein diet would be pretty hard for them to resist. May explain the empty litter box. dunno… lol

      Ailu wrote on November 15th, 2010
      • LOL. Healthy dogs won’t usually eat poo, but if that’s a concern in your house, you might also try using a toilet trainer for your cats to keep the dogs out of them. We use the Litter Kwitter for our kittens when they’re born…works wonders for keeping poo out of reach of little ones…both human and other.

        Abby wrote on November 15th, 2010
        • Most all dogs want to eat cat poo because it is so high in unprocessed proteins.

          Cats didn’t evolve to be efficient digesters, they evolved to be efficient killers!

          Kenny wrote on September 28th, 2012
  36. We feed ours bentonite clay in their water, and diamotaceous earth to clear parasites and chemicals out. You could try that if they’re not passing food through. Some extra virgin olive oil works to help pass blockages as well. Are they taking in enough water and moisture? I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless it pass into 3 days, then see a vet. (eating those two clays won’t hurt humans either, if you get it in food grade)

    Sumer wrote on November 15th, 2010
  37. Thanks for all of the responses!

    We have no dogs in our house, so that rules out any poo eating. I added olive oil to the water this morning before work. They do drink a bit of water and they seems to be feeling fine so far. I did notice two little piles this morning, but not sure that all of them are going. I have called my vet due to the length of time since last poo.

    @Sumer- Where do you find the clay and earth?

    Heather Babcock wrote on November 16th, 2010
    • We got the bentonite suspended in water from the health food store, and the clay needs to be food grade only for consumption and use with pets and humans, so we ordered it online. It wasn’t hard to find cheap on Ebay either. As for the olive oil, it’s best to put it in a dropper and give them a cc of it directly, they won’t likely drink it on their own, and it may mold that way in contact with water.

      Sumer wrote on November 16th, 2010
  38. Hi
    I’m a paleo & am trying to turn my cats paleo as well. Can you give me an example of a “menu” for the cats. I get the idea but am wondering about execution. For example, if they weigh 10 lbs, 3% of their body weight is 5.8 oz. In that example, I just givem them 5.2ish oz of chicken wings and .52is oz of organ meat? And they can eat the bones?

    Becky wrote on September 15th, 2011
  39. I *Love* that this is posted, however this is the same diet recommended (percentage wise) for dogs (no veggies necessary!).

    Becky – wings are pretty boney (something along the lines of over 40% bone), so that would be way too much bone long term. Add in other meaty pieces and you’ll be good to go. Just make sure they are eating every day. Some cats take a while to transition over (picky little buggers!).

    We’ve been feeding prey model raw to our dogs/cats for two years now. They are so much healthier for it!

    Abbe K wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  40. I thought chicken (and all other) bones were a choking hazard to cats…?

    Lisa wrote on October 5th, 2011

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