|Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 7:28 am: || |
We have two cats and one dog, the cats are both 4 years old and the dog is 3. One of our cats, Honey, was getting sicker as time went on but we couldn't figure out what was the problem. These were Honey's symptoms: bloated, irritable (didn't like to be touched), inflexible, matted fur, inability to jump, weight gain, accidents outside litter box. We took her to the vet regularly and never had anyone suggest any treatment or diagnosis. Finally, the last time we took her, the vet said that her blood sugar was slightly elevated and sold us some really expensive prescription kibble for diabetics. Once we got home I read the ingredients and was mortified to find that corn by-products were the first three ingredients (anybody would know that high protein diet would be the way to go) so I started doing research. After making the MSG connection, we had applied our new knowledge to our pets and bought pet food that had less msg and were already looking for better foods (to no avail). Well, to make a long story short, we threw out the Hill's Science Diet and bought raw chicken (no added broth) and started feeding them that. Now our Honey is getting better every day. She has lost that bloated, overweight look and she is more affectionate and friendly. She has resumed using the litter box (and not right outside the edge) like she used to. Her coat is fluffy and soft (long haired) and she is just much improved overall.
Now besides all the obvious improvements to our sick cat, the healthy cat and dog have improved as well. Our dog has always been rather nervous and neurotic but now he is so brave we have been astonished at times. Our healthy cat looks sleeker and lost all excess flab (we didn't really realize she was overweight until she lost it). She is also more affectionate and happy (she was quite anti-social before). Another unforeseen benefit is sweet breath and clean teeth - marked difference right away.
While raw feeding is a little more complicated for cats than just giving them raw chicken, it is just as easy as every other way of feeding. We do buy a lot (with variety of organs/meat/bone) at once and chop and mix it into containers for the freezer. We were already familiar with this "bulk processing at home" since we make ten pounds of homemade sausage at a time for ourselves.
Not everyone wants to feed animals raw meat, but I think more of us should look at what our animals are eating when trying to figure out what is making them sick. I thought I would post this here to help remind everyone to read labels of pet food because it took us a while to put this together.
|Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 8:02 am: || |
My 14 year old cat developed the symptom of obsessive licking and after she licked a lot of her fur off, I took her to two different vets (who could find nothing wrong and put her on Science Diet RX which she refused to eat) I finally decided to make my own. I cooked it, but maybe raw is the way to go. What do you have to do to make sure there aren't any bacteria on the raw chicken? She is now on Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry and Blue Buffalo Spa select beef canned. She reacts less to these two varieties, everything else sets her off biting and licking again, even though she is still on prednisolone, and I'd love to get her off that.
|Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 12:37 pm: || |
Hey Melinda, The problem with cooking meat for cats is that it destroys the taurine and cats can't make their own...that's why pet food manufacturers add it back after the cooking process. I supplement my cat's raw with a dash of taurine even though it is raw because it gets frozen and I want to make sure they get enough (I'm not positive if the freezing effects the taurine).
About bacteria, there may very well be bacteria but their digestive system is different enough from ours that they have no problem with it. I am very careful about cross-contamination as I would be anytime that I mess with raw meat, but it really isn't a problem. The real problem was getting our cats to give it a try. They were total kibble lovers and didn't want to even taste it at first. We were also bad about leaving kibble there 24 hours a day so that had to be changed first. I read a quote from a vet that said that the worst canned food is better than the best dry food for cats. By that he meant that cats get almost all of their water intake through food and have a very poor thirst drive. Kibble-fed cats are prone to kidney and bladder problems because of this and this is also why raw is the way to go.
Even though Blue Buffalo is high quality, expensive food it is still cooked and they do add things beside meat. Cats are total carnivores and have no use for grains or vegetables. In fact, in the wild they tend not to eat the stomachs and contents of their grain-grazing prey. Anybody with a barn cat knows they will eat small critters exclusively if left to their own devices. There is actually a company online that sells ground up small critters for pet food. I feel that would best mimic the food they should naturally eat but am unwilling to go that far....I wish I could. I have considered buying ground rabbit (whole carcass) online because I hate modern chicken so much (that's a whole other subject) but I think they need to chew/tear the pieces of meat for their teeth. You honestly wouldn't believe the difference in their teeth and gums since the change - they have no tartar at all anymore.
I don't know about your cat's licking and tearing out hair but I know that my cat's symptoms reminded me so of my own and itching is included. Reading the ingredients of Blue Buffalo illuminates one of the reasons I tried raw. Even the expensive stuff still had Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, and so many vitamin "enrichments" (which we know are problem ingredients). Here is the website that has the most helpful info: http://rawfed.com/
Let me know if you have any other questions.
|Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 2:03 pm: || |
Thank you Kristy!
I changed my cat to "Wellness" dry food because it was the lesser of the evils. She doesn't eat much raw meat. She loves Fancy Feast but it has so much junk in it that I feel bad giving it to her. I am going to offer her more raw meat now. It only makes sense. She is allergic to fleas and gets really BAD, BAD scabs on her back near her butt, chin and neck areas if I don't use Advantage. That stuff is so toxic but the only thing that releaves her insufferable itching. I feel so bad for her.
Anyone have similar kitty symptoms and a possible positive solution?
|Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 3:04 pm: || |
Kristy, I am sold on trying out (slowly incorporating) a raw diet. So do you ever feed fish like sardines, mackerel, herring? Egg yolks? Organ meats, if so, from what animals? Bones, if so, from what animals? Do you just stick to chicken, is it organic, or what kind do you get? I went to rawfed.com - very good info with lots of other links that I haven't visited yet, but plan to. Thanks for all your help.
|Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 5:06 pm: || |
Hi Miss Kitty, I never use advantage on our cats because they never go outside but I do use it on my dog. I think I am going to try going without it and look for a more natural solution since it worries me what affect it has on him (he recently had a seizure and it was so scary - I think the flea stuff caused it but have no proof). I need to do more research on that. We had changed to Wellness right before Honey's last symptom kicked in which was going right outside the litter box. We later figured out that she was having flexibility issues and thought she was already in all the way when she wasn't. We actually fed her raw for three weeks or so before we saw a dramatic difference in size, but she quit "missing" the litter box after just a week.
Dianne, I am happy to hear you want to try raw. I think you will see such a drastic improvement that it will be impossible to go back to manufactured food. I don't feed fish but only because I don't have a good source here (I wouldn't even feed farm-raised to my animals) for wild caught. I haven't tried eggs because none of us can tolerate eggs so we don't ever have any. I do mix livers and gizzards (plentiful in country grocery stores, apparently humans eat them around here) in with the breast meat. I haven't figured out bones yet because they refuse to eat bone-in. I tried wings, necks, thighs, pieces of breast w/ribs but they look at me like I am crazy and beg to be fed. I hear that kittens that grow up fed raw will just tear into thighs or wings, but mine are not having it. One thing that is very important with a cat's transition is that they should not fast more than 12-18 hour period because of a fatal liver reaction to fasting. You will have to wean your cat to raw slowly if you try feeding a few pieces of chicken at meal time and she doesn't even try it(you might get exceedingly lucky and have your cat go for it right away but I doubt it at her age). It was pretty easy to get them to eat raw by starting with little pieces of liver in with canned food. Then I increased raw/can ratio until I no longer fed any canned. The hard part was getting them to eat the right size pieces so I didn't have to dice it fine. I bought a grinder to do bone-in pieces but I can't do it without my husband's help and he is magically never available when it comes time (grinding is gross compared to cutting for some reason). So I have a good knife and cutting board and just cut it into chunks. I would like to try other meats but I am using what is widely available around here - both of the country grocery stores have chicken with no added broth but no organic. I do think you should start with chicken (because it is a readily available meat with manageable size organs) and stick with it thru the transition and for a while after before trying too much variety.
Some people get their cats to eat meat with bones but mine just won't do it. I will try from time to time just to see if they change their mind, but I think I am going to start buying eggs and giving the eggs to the dog (I'm not sure about cats and eggs?) so I can dry out the eggshells and grind them in a coffee grinder. Some people supplement with bone meal, but I don't like the idea of that (it is in the same category as vitamin enrichments in my book - where and how do they get it?!). If I do eggshells at least I will know what was done to them and where they came from.
It is really pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I have a cutting board and table and chair so I can just take my time and chop. Once it is all chopped I mix it all together in a big bowl and then scoop about three days worth into glad bowls and freeze. I wouldn't put more than three days worth into each bowl because cats are picky about freshness.
|Posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 - 8:39 pm: || |
I have some raw goose breasts in my freezer that my husband shot last summer, do you think that would be okay to feed the cats?
|Posted on Tuesday, June 09, 2009 - 12:38 am: || |
Hey Dianne, You might want to start with chicken because you don't have enough goose for every day. It would be fine for her to eat, but I think it is easier if you start with boring and predictable at first. Many people do feed wild game of all kinds and I would if I could get it.
|Posted on Tuesday, June 09, 2009 - 12:46 am: || |
By the way, my son was thrilled to see a response to this post because he insisted that we post about Honey. We have been amazed at the change in ourselves and now our pets, so we had to share. I was reluctant at first because I didn't know where to post it but he said we had to try - maybe it could help someone.
He sees how everyone in our family refuses to believe that we have found the answer to our health problems despite the vast improvements before their eyes. He thinks it is the same kind of thinking that makes vets so reluctant to advocate raw feeding and therefore pet owners are unaware of it as an option. He loves this board as much as I do because people here are so open-minded.
|Posted on Tuesday, June 09, 2009 - 8:40 am: || |
kristy, thanks to you and your son! you are both a credit to this board. By the way, I did feed one of my cats two tiny pieces of raw goose a little while ago. I'm going to go real slow for several weeks.
|Posted on Tuesday, June 09, 2009 - 10:47 am: || |
I will double check research. I have worked for vets for 23 years. Mine is not big on raw food.
Problem seems to be different amounts of organisms and paracites in the meat/fish Plus you do not know where it sat for how long before "processed"
we recommend cooking(boiling seems to work)
many additives in lots of foods/plus we tend to bounce between flavors-so if they are allergic they tend to react to that flavor/brand
our barn cats do not live as long/tend to be loaded with paracites
we see most urination issues with neutered cats
not sure if this helps
-we have lots of rescued cats on the farm
what you use for fleas and ticks depend on the area you live in and how bad they are. We have a 2 foot tapeworm that came out of a puppy ....hookworms are nasty and can kill....people can get them....ticks carry lots of diseases one fleas or tick can make thousands of babies. different things work in different enviroments
this is my preference
I have been using revolution on my cats
have not had any reactions and it truly helps with the earmites/fleas/worms
advantage is good here too
I use it while they eat and give them a small amount of milk to lick as I do it
that way it goes right between the shoulder blades
|Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - 6:09 am: || |
Debbey, Do you know if freezing the raw meat kills any parasites, bacteria?
|Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - 6:48 am: || |
I believe freezing kills many, but not all, parasites. It doesn't do so much for bacteria.
Raw meat is good if the animals were healthy to begin with. I wouldn't eat a wild rat even if it was cooked. (Of course that implies I'd eat a non-wild rat - don't think I'd do that either, but if I had to choose....)
I have quite a bit of experience keeping reptiles, and the carnivorous ones need whole prey items. Frozen (thawed) rodents are the gold standard. Dunno about giving them to cats, but from my perspective, it's the logical choice. Easy to obtain, and parasite free.
|Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - 1:33 pm: || |
Thanks Jennifer. I think maybe I'll cook the rest of the thawed out goose - don't really want to get into exchanging one problem for another.
|Posted on Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 11:05 am: || |
Dianne, If you choose to cook the chicken don't forget to supplement with taurine since cats can't produce their own. Cats go blind from eating dog food or canned tuna exclusively for this very reason.
|Posted on Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - 2:52 am: || |
kristy, what brand and form of taurine do you recommend?