Raw pet food

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Raw pet food

Postby abbie » Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:39 pm

So, these babies


are going on a transition to home-made raw food. Looking at all the literature on raw vs cooked for cats, it seems cooked food is horrible out of tune with their digestive systems and makes them infertile (not that it matters for spayed cats but hey), higher incidences of disease and a shorter lifespan. Plus, tinned/processed pet food is a joke anyway. Amongst other things it also makes their shit smell better (hurrah!), which is super handy because these guys are inside for a few months before i move home. So- do any of you prepare or cook meals from scratch for your pets? Any tips/advice/cat-tasty recipes?

Heres my current plan

-the-best-meat-i-can-find (focus on free-range, organic, offal and buying whole so that more preparation saves money and minimises waste)
e.g. chicken, beef, turkey, rabbit etc

-bones from carcass-
give to cats raw. though my cats are lazy and have too much sass to gnaw at a bone, so have been making a cooked stock by just boiling up skin and bones in water with a tablespoon of vinegar to help leach out the goodness into the stock. that way the calcium is extracted nicely. It becomes a big gelationous goo that way too and they seem to find it VERY tasty. If you cook the bones though, DON'T feed to the cats as they splinter up really easily and could get lodged and cause nasty problems. I'm concerned that cooking bones and using stock isn't sufficient, so I might buy organic bone meal to create recipes that are higher in calcium. I am using the skin/fat trimmings of meats like chicken just now because my kitties were just rescued a couple of weeks ago and were quite ill with a virus from the cattery when I got them so were off their food for a while. Generally, too much fat is bad in terms of causing pancreatitis, excessive weight gain, but they do need a bit and remember naturally they would eat most of a whole bird anyway. Various online recipes give you an estimation of protein/fat/other ratios which can be helpful.

a bit of veggieness- like brocolli, yams, carrot (apparently this is important, in a small percentage comparative to meat content as naturally the cat would eat the whole carcass including stomach contents of its prey). Cats need a high protein ratio in meals so this should be kept minimal. Emphasis on high quality veg though- small amount but nutrient dense.

Grains- e.g. brown rice, oats, polenta,

this is a contentious issue, apparently. The problem being that this is obviously not a natural addition. Cats don't cook up a pot of rice to go with their mice. BUT, these cats shouldn't be in my home anyway, they shouldn't be domesticated, but they are and they are safe with me and such is life. If by adding a bit of grain to their diet at not much expense to their health, but in doing so contribute less to commercial meat industries and the ecological cost of meat production, then it becomes an okay compromise. It saves me money so that I can buy the 'good', woodland chicken versus the value chicken.

Not too many but say for 3lb of meat/bones/skin, use two eggs. The yolk can be raw but it is best to cook the white a little. Eggs provide a high protein content and most cats find them super tasty. Uncooked eggs can result in a b vitamin defiency so either limit the use of eggs or cook them a bit. I've yet to use eggs but when I do it will be organic, woodland eggs.

Then there is the supplements. You can argue til the cows come home about whether cats should be supplemented (or whether humans should be for that matter), but my theory is, meat these days is untrustworthy, and my money supply is untrustworthy. Since good quality meat/offal needs to be carefully sourced, it is not always possible 100% of the time. Thus, supplements help to ensure my cats get everything they need, regardless of my inability to be 100% time devoting to their needs. When I have money I can buy the supplements, when I don't, I have a store. Plus things like salmon oil taste good, apparently. I am all for scientifically improving my own health, so I see no reason why I can't, with upmost consideration of the relative merits, supplement my cats diets. The focus is and always will be on the raw meat, but these are just sweet additions to help them along.

Taurine (ESSENTIAL! Using about 2,000mg taurine for 3lb meat/bones/skin. It is found in high concentration in offal like hearts, but I have yet to find a cheap/reliable source. Having said that, yet to go to the butchers. Also, since I am freezing/fridging meats taurine gets lost and so important to replenish)

Brewers yeast (for B vitamins) or nutritional yeast since it is tastier for kitties but is so expensive/not easy to buy in bulk in uk. Could buy vitamin supplements, but again, but this includes zinc and high quality proteins. Promotes healthy skin, hair and prevents fleas by making the cats release a stinky, anti-flea odour. Nice.

Wild Salmon oil (2000mg, for essential fatty acids)
Lecithin- essential fatty acids, glossy shiny coat. may aid liver/kidney function (remember cats often die from liver failure/kidney failure)

-potentially but yet to buy kelp and bone meal,

The main things to remember are

-some things cats just can't tolerate. this website is good for that:

-weigh out your meat/offal/bone/skin etc ratios properly with scales following guidelines you can find on websites. This ensures if you have meat/offal/bones from various sources, you get a good calcium to phosphorus ratio and the right potential proportions of proteins, minerals and vitamins.

-cats may be picky. the first thing i did was add chunks of raw chicken to a bit of cooked chicken, just to see if they would eat it. One did, one didn't. By the next day, I did it again, each meal adding say a teaspoon of raw meat to 2-3 tablespoons of cooked/processed meat. Eventually all was eaten. I am going to go through the week doing this each day til we get a higher ratio of raw/cooked. I have ordered a meat grinder, supplements and am stocking up on containers to fill so I can make batches and fridge/freeze to ensure permanent supply.

-Until two days ago, I had never touched or prepared meat in my life. It was a strange and difficult experience, even the scent of it cooking wafting through my kitchen. I think maybe I'll get used to it though. The cool thing about raw meat is you don't get that barrage of grease spraying everywhere and ruining pans. You can be very zen about it and thank the being that had to be killed to keep your cats alive. I don't want my cats to be vegetarian (with supplements or whatever), because that just isn't my choice to make, imo.

- Get inside your cats head. They want tasty food, not food that tastes like medicine. Hence, keep to the minimum supplement level and maximise taste with high quality meat and a squirt of fish oil or whatever. Keep it varied too....turkey and rice, chicken, liver and oats, beef and polenta....

-It is a total faff but totally worth it. I really kind of enjoy the process. I get to spend time preparing food even more than I already do! It makes them purr alot too.
When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with. Anais Nin
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