Saber-toothed- House Cat
|Purred: Thu Dec 30, '10 11:23pm PST |
|This isn't actually a question, nor was it written by me but I thought of this forum when I read it so I thought I'd share. It was written by a member of my Holistic Ferret Forum and is shared with her permission.
General Raw Feeding Guidelines For Cats and Ferrets
Use at least three different meat sources, and more is better. A variety of sources ensures a more complete balance of nutrients as well as enrichment through different tastes and textures.
Avoid processed meats and those with added sodium solutions. Poultry labels especially need to be watched for added solutions.
Bone must always be served raw. Cooked bones lose nutrients and become brittle, posing choking hazards and may puncture or obstruct the digestive track. Do not defrost boned foods in the microwave, this also makes them brittle.
Small bones (chicken, duck, rabbit, quail, etc) are completely edible. Turkey necks and ribs can work, though their leg bones tend to be too dense for most animals.
Large bones (beef, pig, sheep, etc) are too hard to be edible. With meat and marrow attached, they can provide some nutrients and enrichment, but should be avoided if the pet is a vigorous chewer to prevent damage to teeth.
Starting out, pets may not want to switch. If this is the case, sneak small amounts of either blended or ground raw mixed in with a food they do like and gradually increase the amounts until they will eat the raw alone. Then gradually increase the size of the meat and bone pieces until they are eating the desired size chunks. This process also gives their jaws time to build up the muscle strength necessary to crunch through bone. Larger meat and bone pieces are necessary for healthy teeth, so while feeding ground/soup mixes it's important to brush teeth to prevent build-up.
Cats can be very difficult to switch straight from kibble, so switching to a moist canned food (as it's closer in texture to a ground raw) and then following the above steps may help. If a cat won't eat at a certain step, go back to the last mixture they would eat, be patient, and try again later.
The larger the pieces of meat, the longer it can be safely left out. Ground meats and soups generally are fine for 6 hours, larger chunks for 12, whole prey can be left for 24 as the skin also provides protection.
Heart meat is considered a muscle meat (not an organ) and it's one of the best sources of taurine, which is an essential amino acid for cats and ferrets. If ample quantities of heart meat cannot be provided, taurine supplements can be purchase at most GNC-type stores and sprinkled into the food. I feed about 10% heart.
These proportions best emulate the whole prey model:
75% muscle meat
10% edible bone
10% organ meat
Some people prefer to omit the roughage and feed that extra 5% as edible bone. Roughage can be canned pumpkin, baked squash, spinach, basically any high-fiber/low sugar veggie. Onions and garlic are toxic and should not be fed, and these veggies should be cooked til soft and/or blended to prevent obstructions. This roughage basically takes the place of the skin, fur, feathers, and possible stomach contents they would consume from the whole prey and seems to support healthy intestinal flora.
Cats may require less bone and organ than ferrets so the above ratios can be adjusted to approximately 83% muscle meat, 6% edible bone, 6% organ, 5% roughage if feeding only cats and constipation or other stool issues become apparent.
Organ meat should be half liver and half other secreting organ (such as kidney or spleen). Most animals dislike the taste of straight organ meat, it can be disguised by grinding and mixing it with some ground muscle meat and the roughage. Organ and fish meats are particularly rich and, especially in animals new to raw, may cause tarry, smelly stool and gas.
Common raw diet types are commercial (often ground or freeze-dried), frankenprey (creating your own diet using the above ratios), and whole prey (feeding whole prey animals such as mice and quail). One may split up meals (for example chicken wing one meal, pork chunks and liver the next, a whole mouse for another), or one may opt to bag everything together as I do in my recipe. These styles can be used in tandem as long as the proper ratios and meat source variety are provided over the course of each week. Also, stools will change color and consistency depending on the meal fed.
A blender/food processor can be used for making raw soups or mixing the organs, but I prefer an old hand-crank meat grinder for easier cleaning and to keep my blender from smelling like liver. I found mine for $5 at a local Goodwill.
Animals fresh to raw feeding will eat more the first few months as their body takes in the nutrients they've been missing, and animals also tend to eat more in the fall and winter as they bulk up for the cold.
Following is the general recipe I use since I can get these ingredients cheap, though if I find something good on sale (like different cuts of beef, cornish game hens, turkey, or rabbit) I'll make substitutions while still following the ratios on the previous page.
This recipe makes approximately 20 pounds of food and lasts my 3 cats and 4 ferrets approximately 2 weeks and usually costs $35-40. I scoop 1 cup portions into sandwich baggies and freeze them in a rubbermaid tub. Each portion takes the animals anywhere from 10 minutes to 10 hours to polish off, but on average it takes around 6 hours. With larger (or less spoiled!) animals, one should be able to get away with even larger pieces like whole wings, but my guys aren't quite there yet. The whole chickens I buy when on sale at a regular grocery store, but practically everything else comes from the local Asian Market.
When feeding cats only, you may omit the * items as well as the chicken breast and thigh bones after the meat has been removed. I find the ferrets help regulate the bone content by stealing many of the larger pieces before the cats get to them.
2 whole chickens, breasts set aside
1 lb pork shoulder roast, ½ set aside
1 lb chicken gizzards, sliced along the tendons
1 lb chicken hearts, whole
1 lb beef/pork heart
1 lb chicken feet*
1 lb bag mixed duck parts if available (feet if included*)
1 lb beef stir fry scraps, ½ set aside
1 lb lake smelt, some left whole
Chop the above into roughly 1/2”-2” chunks unless otherwise noted, crunch any thick bones with a meat mallet so they're also about that size.
breasts from chickens
½ pork shoulder
½ beef scraps
1 lb beef/pork/chicken liver
1 lb pork kidney/spleen
½ lb unbleached blanket tripe
½ acorn squash, seeded and baked til soft
A handful or two of chopped spinach
Grind the above, mix well, then mix it in with the stuff from the top so everything's well coated. Freeze in appropriately sized servings and thaw as needed.
A Practical Guide for Raw-fed Cats
Written by justahannah at: http://holisticferret.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=gen&action=displ ay&thread=6631
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