We were asked to do another impromptu Q & A with a Bengal cats group on facebook. Here is a recap of what we discussed
Q: Are all meats frozen.. or is it ok to feed non frozen fresh raw meat?
A: Fresh meats for example from the grocery store, farmers or meat suppliers are fine to use fresh. What you do want to freeze (for about 3 weeks) is any wild game that you or a friend may have hunted such as deer, rabbit, wild turkey etc.
Freezing in general will help preserve any meals or extra ingredients you may have, ready for the next time you are ready to feed.
Q: Everything I feed comes from the grocery store.
A: Here are some other ideas of where to source that can save you some money:
Join a co-op
Ask friends and family who hunt for scrape meat, organs and bone
Raise your own
Local Meat Suppliers
Put ads on craiglists, online yard sale groups or in the newspaper for freezer burnt meat
Q: How does one introduce a raw diet to cats that are eating commercial cat food?
A: There are two methods
Method #1: Cold Turkey
This involves stopping all commercial food including kibble and canned food and replacing with an almost balanced raw meal. In this method feed 80% muscle meat, 5% liver (note this is half the normal organ recommendation) and 10% bone for two weeks. This can help avoid stomach upset due to the richness of the organ meats. If there is no upset after 2 weeks you can feed the full organ recommendation.
Method #2: 7-10 Day Transition
If you are transitioning an cat especially one that has been fed a kibble diet most of its life and refuses to transition using the cold turkey method, using a high quality canned food is your best transitioning tool. It is recommended you transition over a 7-10 day period. If your companion eats a kibble based diet, now would be the time to transition to a canned food. Canned food is getting closer to raw feeding as it contains more meat, less carbohydrates, is full of moisture and easier to digest. Over this time period you will want to use 25% of the new food to 75% old food the first day, continue this for a bit, then move into 50% new and 50% old food. In a few days, transition to 75% new food, 25% old food. Than finally on the 7th to10th day your companion should be consuming 100% raw.
A list of high quality canned foods include:
Natural Planet Organics
A few notes:It's not recommended to mix raw with kibble. Kibble and raw food digest at varying rates and can cause digestive upset. Furthermore commercial food which is loaded with carbohydrates (alkalizing agents) reduces the stomach acid preventing the animal from effectively neutralizing and destroying bacteria as well as limiting the ability to break down meat and bones.https://www.thenutritioncode.info/mixing-raw-and-kibble
DO NOT practice tough love. Cats can and will starve themselves. This can result in a potentially life threatening condition known as fatty liver disease.
Q: I would really like more info on feeding raw. Do you add vitamins? How often should you feed? How do you prepare the meat? How much should you feed each cat? Do they need a pro biotic?
A: You do not need to add any kind of vitamin or mineral supplements in you are follow the ideal ratio. This ratio is 80% muscle meat, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs (pancreas, kidney, spleen etc.) and 10% bone. Whether you make it yourself (which is most cost effective) or buying a premade, if this ratio is followed it is balanced. this ratio is based off of the prey animal in the wild. You should also rotate proteins. Just like human food all meats, organ and bone contain varying nutrient profiles. When you feed these in a rotation you are providing everything your cats need to thrive. Here is a charge that displays this concept. http://www.thenutritioncode.info/no-need-to-supplement
You want to feed adults at least twice a day, kittens should be allowed to eat 3+ meals per day
Adult cats should be fed 3% of their body weight. So for example my 8.6 lb female gets 4.2 oz per day. She gets to meals so this amount is split in half. My kittens eat from a balanced batch at least three meals a day. Between the two, they eat about 8 oz per day. You want "free feed" in this manner until they reach adulthood
Preparing the meat is the same as if you were to do so for yourself. I personally chop all the ingredients into about 1" bites, throw in a bucket and mix together. I now have five raw fed cats, when I had only two, I would chop up enough ingredients for a week than evenly portion into 7 containers for each cat.
Most cats don't need probiotics as their body natural produces them on a raw diet. When the body is fed natural foods they are meant to eat they are able to appropriately digest the food they eat. If you re experiencing some digestive upset still you can use slippery elm or kefir as a natural digestive aid.
I have attached a cheat sheet below to give you more of an idea.
Q: Why does the deer and wild stuff have to be froze for three weeks?Will feeding raw make them use the litter box less?
A: Some wild animals MAY (but not always) contain parasites that can be killed via the freezing process. It's just a precaution. Many people safely feed venison, rabbit and other wild game.
Fecal matter greatly is decreased. Raw meat, organs and bone is about 90-95% bioavailable (commercial diets about 70%) so more is absorbed and less is excreted. What they do excreted is small and doesn't smell. My cats probably produce fecal matter every 2-3 days. On the other hand raw does contain at least 70% moisture (versus 7-10% of kibble/dry food) so they do urinate more. However this is important. Not only is water essential for life but urinating flushes the body of bacteria and waste. With this high moisture contact raw can help prevent UTI's, stones, crystals and kidney failure. So in the end this is a healthy change for cats.
Q: Can I go straight from cooked meat to raw immediately?
A: You certainly can try some cats will surprise you others need a transition with some wet canned food
"Update.... started raw food on Tuesday first poo just now and it’s formed hurray hurray. Thank you so much to everyone who suggested raw food. I seem to have waited so long for a normal poo"-November 2
Q: I feed my Marble raw but my Snowshoe won’t touch it. Any ideas that won’t starve him in the process?
A: Here are some tips and tricks that may help with transitioning and making them think it’s their idea hehehhttps://www.thenutritioncode.info/transition-and-troubleshooting
Q: Any suggestions for turkey necks and giblets.. I want to collect them from friends. Have a recipe for them ?
A: Of course! I would try to get necks from hens versus the Toms. The ones from toms are huge lol what else do you have? I can develop a recipe https://www.thenutritioncode.info/recipes-generator
Q: Maybe a dumb question but, how do you actually incorporate bone into the diet? Does it need to be ground? Also what about fish in a raw diet?
A: Thank you for your questions! no question is dumb!For cats bone can be whole prey (mice, rats, guinea pig, quail, chicks, rabbits, fish) or bone parts like poultry wings, necks and feet, rabbit limbs and ribs etc. It should preferably be whole but if this doesn't work for your cat you can do ground. You can feed fish. Just be aware of fishes higher in mercury and/or thiaminase. I have five raw fed cats and half of them don't like whole fish so i use krill oil instead. it comes in a convenient pump bottle!
Q: Do you know the bone percentage of an average drumstick? On of my pregnant queen refuses any other form of calcium...and meat at the moment except for chicken hearts which she'll guzzle but I'm concerned her calcium ratio is getting off.
A: About 33%https://www.thenutritioncode.info/meat-to-bone-ratios
Can you do ground eggshell one eggshell is approximately 750-800 mg of calcium
Thank you. That's quite high. She leaves the ends off but still... Maybe I can double wrap it in thigh meat! No sure she can be fooled though
It is high if you feed this daily depending on your females size but just remember it's a ratio. So 33% bone and 67% meat. This means if the average drumstick weighs about 4 oz than there is 1.32 oz of bone and 2.68 oz of meat. To put this in perspective an adult non pregnant/lactating adult that is about 12 lbs and is fed 3% of their body weight would need 0.5 oz of bone a day.