Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Raw and Whole Prey Feeding: A Trial Run something I've actually gotten up the nerve to try recently. There will probably be several lengthy posts about this, but for now here is a picture of Cora polishing off a quail:

I should also note that I am not doing 100% raw for the moment...I am still learning about and evaluating what research there is regarding this sort of thing. But the younger cats have been getting around 50-60% of their daily diet in the form of raw meat, bones, organs, etc., for nearly two weeks now. (Nikki won't touch the stuff but that's no surprise -- for the moment I am just glad she is back to liking grain-free wet food.)

Briefly I will also say that:

- Nobody has gotten sick
- Poop output and stink seems to have been reduced by at least half
- Coats are getting softer and shinier
- Brodie seems to have a lot more energy (which makes me wonder if he is just really, really bad, even for a cat, at getting any benefit whatsoever from carbohydrates, which even grain-free commercial cat foods generally have some of)

Hence, so far I would say things look very promising!

(And yes, I am supplementing with extra taurine -- technically cats "should" be able to get all the taurine they need from raw prey or prey-model food containing enough heart and dark muscle meat and such, but I don't want to take ANY chances with that particular amino acid.

One study in which two groups of cats were fed, respectively, a commercial diet and a diet of whole ground rabbit, resulted in one cat in the raw group suddenly dying of cardiomyopathy due to severe taurine deficiency. When examined, other cats in that group were also found to have signs of deficiency, so their diet was supplemented with taurine for the remainder of the study. So while I would guess tentatively that the process of grinding the rabbit was responsible for the loss of taurine, again, not taking any chances here.)

I also tried (in addition to the chicken, turkey, quail, and beef that the trio have been quite happy with so far) getting some frozen feeder mice at one of those pet stores that caters to reptiles. Yes, I know, kind of gross (and the mice were so cute despite being dead!), but in a way I sort of feel like feeding whole prey is a way for me to really come to terms with what a carnivore is. Store-bought kibble may come in cute little shapes reminiscent of children's cereal, but it still (if it's of any quality) contains dead animal bits and something in me finds it a bit unnerving to be so disconnected from the "source" of said animals. If that makes any sense at all to anyone.

In any case, so far only Brodie seems willing to actually eat the mice. Cora and Shadow played with them a bit, but didn't seem to recognize them as food. (Which I am sure Brodie is just fine with...he got what they didn't eat!).


  1. Makes sense to me. Pet kibble kinda reminds me of low-grade sausage, only worse.

  2. 403: Heh, yeah. Though I am sure what most humans would consider "low-grade sausage" would probably be a gourmet treat for most cats! Things like chicken fetus and entrails and kidneys and tripe and such are probably quite delicious and nutritious for a carnivore.

    That said, (and this is where the "only worse" modifier comes in) I really would rather my kitties not be eating stuff like sawdust (which I've read sometimes get swept up and mixed with pet food) and ground-up styrofoam trays from supermarket meat. Rancid restaurant grease as a component of their diet doesn't thrill me either. I mean I am all for recycling, but yeesh!

  3. I was thinking low grade sausage as in "40% meat-flavored soy filler" (formulated to retain "meat" as ingredient #1). Not what I want to buy when I'm purchasing an animal product for myself to eat, much less for any carnivores in my life.

    But, true, assorted animal parts are likely quite tasty to cats, and I had no idea that so many inedible things were accidentally included in pet food.

  4. Oh yeah, ew. Reminds me of that Buffy episode where she had to work at a fast-food place, and it turned out that the restaurant's "signature meat blend" was actually soy flavored with lard or something like that. Personally I really like "fake meat" (Morningstar Farms griller patties are yummy) but then again I am a vegetarian-leaning omnivore who prefers her meat and fake meat to stay separate!

    Re. inedible things in pet food, I am sure some people exaggerate the degree to which these things are included, but the fact that they're included AT ALL gives me the willies. Standards, people!

  5. Just curious but how did you end of doing with whole prey or the raw diet currently? Still trying it or not really?


  6. Just curious but as of now how is the whole prey diet or raw diet going? Or did you not continue with it?


  7. Khadija: Hi, sorry about the delay and the moderation thing -- I've been so busy offline that I've been neglecting my blogs lately.

    That aside, to answer your question...I am happy to report that the three younger kitties here are still eating raw and doing wonderfully. I've ended up going with more of a prey-model diet than a whole-prey one for logistical reasons, though -- the only way I can see getting whole prey affordably would be from one of those bulk wholesaler companies, and since I don't know anyone in the area who I could share shipping with (not to mention the fact that I lack freezer space!) it just hasn't been feasible.

    But, the local grocery stores still have plenty of chicken, turkey, beef, quail, etc., and Cora, Brodie, and Shadow are quite happy with any/all of those. They also like pork (as I recently discovered) and I might start working some of that in. And these cats are just ridiculously healthy: active, glossy coats, and their teeth look wonderful. They also barf less often than most other cats I've met, which could be due to the additional moisture/fat in their food helping hairballs through.

    Nikki (the 10 year old senior feline resident here) still won't touch raw, but frankly I'm just happy she will eat canned food. She was a lifelong crunchie addict when she moved in and I still actually give her some dry so she doesn't lose too much weight (she has a tendency to get skinny due to her picky habits and high activity level for her age) but I know the wet is better for her kidneys and whatnot, especially as she gets older. Every so often I try mixing in a tiny bit of raw with her Fancy Feast but so far she's just eaten around it. Vet says she's as healthy as a horse, though, so I am not too worried.


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