Want to start on homemade raw, but I have some knowledge gaps

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your cat's diet, please contact your vet!


Bouncing Around
Purred: Tue Jun 5, '12 2:57pm PST 
So I spent most of this week, while pretending to work, researching raw diet online. I was first introduced to the idea about 2 years ago, by a holistic-focused vet. I did some very shallow research and dismissed the idea because at the time for my 3 cats, the idea honestly just seemed daunting. Recently, though, I read an article written by a woman who finally got her cats to make the switch after a YEAR LONG transition. This got my attention because at least 2 of my cats are literally obsessed with raw food. I throw them table scraps when I am cooking on occasion and they have drag-out fights over the last piece. Then they won't eat canned food until they are starving, holding out for more raw. It seems nature is giving me a hint.

I am going to try to give them their breakfast tomorrow raw, and see how it goes. I don't plan on transitioning them completely, as I am not prepared yet to ensure they are getting a balanced diet.

If I buy a chicken and just put a bunch of pieces parts in a bowl...is that all there is too it (discounting suppliments for now). What about the liver/heart? Would they just eat that? I am not concerned so much about germs, as I accept that cats are built for different diets than humans. I spend $130 a month on premium canned food, and if I can reduce that in addition to creating a more natural diet for my cats, I am all in.

Edited by author Tue Jun 5, '12 2:59pm PST


Olivia,- Tanner, &- Finn

The Dyna Cats!
Purred: Tue Jun 5, '12 4:24pm PST 
So glad to hear you're going to be giving raw feeding a try!

And how LUCKY you are that your cats are so receptive to it. It took me the better part of two years to fully transition my two older cats (now eight and six years old - they were four and two at the time we started the transition). They first took to ground meat, then boneless chunks of meat, then organs, and finally bone-in items. Funnily enough they won't eat ground meat anymore.

In answer to your question - yes, initally, it's pretty much as simple as just cutting the chicken or Cornish hen into suitable sized chunks, bone and all. I use kitchen shears for this rather than a knife. After they do ok with that, you can add in small amounts (roughly 5% each, overall) of liver and kidney, and then introduce additional proteins - incorporating as much variety as you can reasonably source and afford. Hearts and gizzards (especially heart) are also great choices - heart is taurine rich, which is so important for cats.

Good luck!


Bouncing Around
Purred: Wed Jun 6, '12 7:04am PST 
So, for anyone who is interested in hearing about the first stages of a transition, I wanted to let you know how my night and morning progressed.

So last night I went to the farmer's market and got two 1/2 lb organic free range chicken thighs - total cost was $4.70. That is a little less than the cost of a single day feeding for my cats (3 cans @1.89 a can). I did not get thighs with the bone in, as I don't have a grinder or anything, but they did have all fat and skin. I cut the pieces into half-inch cubes and weighed them into 2-oz. portions and stored them in baby food tupperware containers. I labeled the cups so I can track how much each cat eats. My cats are about 12 lbs, so I plan on splitting the cups of chicken into two 1-oz. feedings, and leaving a single can out at dinner to make up the extra, as they will probably be a little hungry still. I am home from work this week so I have time to give them attention and monitor how good of an idea this is.

For those interested, I have 3 cats but only 2 have any interest in raw food. The third cat is older and lived most of her life - as far as we can tell - on the street so I am very much hoping to move her to raw eventually. Not sure why she decided against raw after living on what I assume were NYC subway rats for years party

The only thing keeping me from going head-first crazy into this is my schedule with work (and, in 2 months graduate school) makes it hard for me to split my cats meals into two. I usually drop 1 can per cat and come back at night to freshen/refill bowls. I am not sure how I will make a raw feeding schedule work yet frown

The first feeding went off pretty well. I expected them to want more than they ate but considering I usually drop a single piece as a treat they probably just got a little bored. Raw food tends to make my cats run around like wild tigers for 10 minutes, and today was no exception. They growled a little at each other, even though they had separate plates, so I had to separate them at first, and then they both decided they would rather drag raw chicken all over the house until they found the perfect place to chew, and then go back and do it all over again for each of the 10 or so chunks. That's going to be annoying, as now I have to disinfect my whole apartment LOL

I am going to put up a blog to track their progress and also make notes for myself so I can learn from my mistakes. I can post the link when it is up if anyone is interested!


Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
Purred: Fri Jun 8, '12 3:56pm PST 
Hey BB - congrats on giving raw a try! I just want to point out that once you get your cats used to raw and bones there's no reason not to try the bone-in thighs. They're probably too big for a cat that's not used to raw - they have to build up their jaw strength to be able to chew them. You might want to start with ribs or wing tips to get them going. Also, unless there are health issues, you don't necessarily need organic meats. Yes, they're probably better but if you have a budget it can get expensive. I did an article for Alex's IBD site that might help you get started on a balanced diet: http://www.ibdkitties.net/rawinstructions.htmld
Good luck and please feel free to come back and ask questions. And let us know how it's going!

Merlin - An Angel- Forever

Purred: Fri Jun 8, '12 5:03pm PST 
Great job on starting a raw diet smile It's ok for a cat to be a little hungry. They'll have a good appetite for the next meal smile A cat does not need to feel satiated all the time.

Remember, feeding just chicken meat isn't a complete nutritious diet. You need to supplement, whether is be bones and organs or a pre-mix or some other powedered supplement. Are you still feeding canned food?

Invest in a programmable timed feeder way to go That way you can feed your cats multiple meals throughout the day. A multi-comaprtment one, such as the PetSafe 5 compartment feeder, will work. You may need two feeders so the cats aren't squabbling over who gets to eat the food. Canned food works great in a timed feeder. You can add extra water to the food to keep it from drying out too fast. Or you can freeze the canned food and put the frozen chunk into the feeder to slowly thaw out. Use fresh canned for the first meal or two and frozen for the later meals. It's hard to eat a barely thawed chunk of food laugh out loud

I would not put raw food in a timed feeder, though. Bacteria can quickly grow in raw meat that's left out for hours.

Here are some web sites with food info about feeding raw:

http://catinfo.org/?lin k=makingcatfood

Edited by author Fri Jun 8, '12 5:06pm PST