Well, we are now about four weeks into the raw feeding trial here. Again I am pleased to report that Cora, Brodie, and Shadow are still doing extremely well on their new diet (which is still, and likely to remain, in a state of flux, for variety's sake if nothing else). Nobody has grown wings or become telepathic or anything -- I am certainly not one of those who believes raw food is some sort of Miracle Serum, but everyone seems plenty active, playful, etc.
On the gastrointestinal front, I continue to be astounded at how little the trio's poops stink these days, and how even Brodie's, er, deposits have been so consistent in their consistency. Even on the grain-free regular cat food (which was far more friendly to his system than some of the early grain-based foods I tried) he often seemed to have intestinal gas. As in, I could hear his guts gurgling from halfway across the room -- which can't have been comfortable for him. That's possibly the thing I am most pleased/excited about in this whole endeavor...Brodie just seems to FEEL better to a degree he never could on anything else we tried. Yay!
We've had a mere one incident of puking in the past month. I don't know who it was, as it was one of those "woken up by the Hork Alarm, but cats are all arranged at opposite corners of the living room by the time I manage to get out there" affairs.
I am not super concerned about this, though -- anyone who lives with cats for any length of time tends to learn firsthand that the feline approach to reverse peristalsis borders on the recreational. Moreover, all the cats had eaten some grass (from the yard, during one of their supervised outdoor jaunts) the previous day and of course there's always the Hairball Factor to consider.
Truth be told, only one incident of Gastronomical Splatter Art in the course of a month is kind of amazing when you live with four cats! So whether it was grass, hairballs, or perhaps a tad too much liver (it's very rich and I've since been strictly portioning it out so nobody gets more than a dime-sized piece per meal), it doesn't seem to have been a sign of anything sinister.
So, I expect I'll be keeping this up. It's actually far more logistically easy than I ever imagined -- I mean seriously, plopping one-third of a whole thawed quail down in someone's dish isn't appreciably more complicated than setting out half a can of wet food.
That said, the kitties are still also getting some commercial cat food, though probably less than 20% of their diet is currently comprised of this. I know some raw feeders encourage a complete switch as soon as possible but as I am taking an evidentiary approach rather than an ideological one, I figure I should probably not rush things or even necessarily assume before I have more data that All Raw, All The Time is the Absolute Best Ideal Cat Diet.
I am convinced at this point that there are aspects of raw feeding that are truly awesome and ought to be studied/explored/acknowledged, and my cats seem to be doing great so far, but I see no reason to make a religion out of it.
But I digress. The trio take their supplemental taurine no problem when it's mixed into a spoonful of meat-byproduct-pate', and while their "crunchies" (dry food) have pretty much been reduced to "treat" status, they each end up getting some of those most days as well.
I find that the crunchies are very handy for "enrichment"-type games...like putting a few of them into a tall cup on the floor and seeing if they can figure out how to knock it over (yep, they can). Or putting them (the crunchies, not the cats!) into weird apparatusses (apparati?) like the one in my Informal Cat Cognition Experiment.
The youngsters also LOVE the "chase the crunchie across the floor" game, and Shadow has become incredibly proficient at catching his treats in mid-air (yet another thing he taught himself to do...I really must post a video of it sometime!)
I still haven't tried raw with Nikki and I am kind of afraid to. She is such a "Princess and the Pea" about food and pretty much everything (this isn't an insult...she just has extremely keen senses, even for a cat, and her sense of taste is particularly acute) that I suspect even a micron of raw chicken mixed into her Fancy Feast would set off her alarms. I would still like to try at some point but give how picky she is I am reluctant to risk potentially putting her off the only well-hydrated thing she will (at least when she's not going through one of her "I Hate Everything" weeks) accept.
Oh yeah. And the bone thing. Wow. I have never SEEN such enthusiasm at mealtime. Shadow especially LOVES his chicken and quail wings and legs and ribs, etc. LOVES them. Like to the point where he will stand up on his hind legs, paws on the kitchen counter (he is REALLY tall now!), shrieking at me as I portion out the carcass of whatever it is I'm preparing.
And then when he gets his Meaty Bone Of The Day he sits there gnawing on it and growling and making noises that literally sound like "OMNOMONONONMMNOM!"
Cora does this occasionally as well which just amuses me to no end because she's so little and sweet-looking...she is truly the epitome of badass adorable.
Brodie, meanwhile, tends to stand off in a corner (or, lately, under the dining room table -- he seems to prefer eating with a "roof" over his head) politely and methodically chomping away, then licking up the bits and quite daintily cleaning his paws when finished.
I've actually been having to put Shadow in a different room once he's finished his own meal, as he can be a bit on the pushy side and Brodie (the resident gentle Gamma boy) is more of a pushover. He doesn't challenge Shadow if said brother tries to steal his chicken wing...he's more liable to be all "Okay, bro, no problem...take it...backing up now, I'll just be over here..."). This is turning out to be a wholly manageable situation, though, and with the raw stuff I prefer to watch them eating anyway so monitoring isn't a big deal.