Anyone feed whole prey?

da hoomin

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Was browsing thru Hare Today and found whole prey - as well as ground mouse! 


Both sound interesting to add to The Kids' diet later on down the road.

I did  get some pinky-mouse-sicles from a snake-food site. They just got here and I've got a couple thawing out to see what The Kids think of them. 
 
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missmimz

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I don't feed whole prey, but there a few people over in the cat facebook groups that do. There are other places you can buy whole prey from like day old quail and other feeder mice. I have fed both the hare today whole ground mouse and whole ground rabbit. My cats like them alright. 
 
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da hoomin

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I just did the most disgusting thing . . . thawed + warmed a couple of pinkies and then snipped them into smaller bits with the kitchen shears - cuz The Kids don't like "big" chunks . . ..

Hope the little buggers at least taste them! 
 

dhammagirl

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One of my three cats eats whole prey. From Hare Today I get him whole jumbo mice and extra small guinea pigs. (I started him with the little pinkie mice.) He loves them! There's a learning curve for domestic cats starting to eat whole prey and chunks. Keep an eye on them at first in case they need help so they don't choke.
 

Willowy

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Eww, I would hate to have to cut them up, yuck! I think mice pinkies are small enough to be bite-size ;).

I don't deliberately feed my cats whole prey, but I have pet snakes, who are ball pythons so they're picky, and whenever they don't eat their meal the cats get the rodents. I order frozen rodents from Big Cheese. If you're going to feed whole mice, rats, and quails/chicks, the snake food sellers are usually cheaper than the raw cat/dog food sellers. Hare Today is good if you want some other kind of prey.

My cats didn't like the ground mouse :/. They did like the ground rabbit though. But I didn't get the rabbit with fur, I think that's why they didn't like the ground mouse even though they like whole mice. Ground-up fur is weird :tongue2:.
 
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da hoomin

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LOL - I got pinkie mice, mistakenly thinking they'd be small enough that all I'd have to do is thaw and pop them in The Kids' dishes. Nope. They're still too big for cats not used to chunks. *sigh*  Have to snip them into itty bitty chunks with the kitchen shears. They still haven't eaten one - or even a bite of one. But I put pieces in their dish once in a while so they get the idea that _I_ think they're food. I can see their dishes from the living room, so it's easy to keep an eye on them with this new idea of not mostly pureed food. I leave a pinkie for Stinit once in a while. I know HE appreciates them! 

Thank you for the Big Cheese recommendation! I love that they match the size of our order to the box, not the other way around!   
  I'll definitely give them a try when The Kids are ready! Also love that the snake feeder companies will ship just one little package instead of needing a huge order from HT. [I just don't have that kind of $$]

The bit about fur is also good to know for future reference. [My notebook is filling up!]
 
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fufpaw

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I have thought about doing this, but what about toxoplasmosis?
 

lavishsqualor

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The first time I put down a pinkie mouse, Atticus, my two year old grey male tabby, went CRAZY.  He devoured that mouse in one bite.  Then he head-butted me until I had bruises.  (Not really.)  I ended up buying him an adult mouse and he polished it off the next day.  My female tuxedo, Thirteen, was totally revolted by the whole affair and wouldn't even deign to walk in the same room with the pinkie mouse.  Different strokes for different cats.
 

msserena

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I've tried the pinkie mice, day old quail, day old chicks & pinkie rabbits. I have 3 cats & only 2 now eat the quail. They all ate them when I first got them, but my little picky girl only wants to roll around when we go outside. I don't feed them this stuff everyday as a meal, more like a treat a couple times a week
 

cat7bird

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My cats are obsessed with whole prey. They've been on prey model since kittenhood, so were always used to chunks. Their first whole prey was pinkie mice from HT and they easily progressed to eating bigger prey (e.g. adult mice, 2-week quail, weaned rats, chicks etc). I do a sizable rodent pro order 1 or 2X/year. I'd exclusively feed whole prey if it didn't cost a gajillion dollars, but it's only affordable for me to give them a few whole prey meals/week. The pace obviously depends on their historic diet, but I definitely recommend it -- my cats will simulate hunting and often play with the prey for 30 min or so before eating, which I think is really positive for them. I adopted an older cat a few years back and when he became gravely ill from a lifetime of exclusively eating kibble, I eventually transitioned him to raw ground (it was an ordeal but he did it) and I bought the whole ground mouse as a treat and it was his fave. 
 

sophie1

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It would be great if some of you whole prey feeders would report some details on the transition, food sources & costs etc.  I've been thinking of introducing my cats to whole prey, now that they're experts at dealing with chunks.

The idea of whole prey being a complete meal requiring no supplementation or any other preparation is really appealing.  Not so appealing is the idea of having small animal parts end up under my bed :-).  My two cats are a little competitive about food, and sometimes they do tend to run off with their little "prizes".
 

dhammagirl

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Hi Sophie1!
Of my three cats, only one, Zeke, is a consumer of the whole prey. (Bilbo is missing too many teeth, and Chloe catches some prey outside, shrews, chipmunks, birds, which we try to rescue when we can) For Zeke I get, from Hare Today, large mice and extra small guinea pigs. I started him on the little pinkie mice, and he's taken to whole prey and large, 3oz, chunks readily. There was a learning curve, as at first he'd try to practically swallow it whole, then he learned to chew off chunks. In addition to the mice and guinea pigs from HT, he sometimes gets prey that Chloe catches and kills but doesn't eat. Once a large pigeon hit the glass door and died, and I gave him that. I removed most of the feathers and the wings, since that's a lot of bones. When I give him a guinea pig, I remove the stomach and intestines, but not with the mice or other small prey. He eats everything, there's nothing left! He gets one or two large mice for breakfast two or three times a month. He gets a guinea pig as an extra large meal if we're going to be gone overnight. He was my primary motivation for switching the kitties to raw, as he was over twenty pounds, and always hungry. It's been almost a year, and he's lost over three pounds, and is more satisfied. I looked into getting mice or rats from another supplier, like one that sells to snake owners, but it doesn't work out cheaper,at least for the quantity we get, so I'll stick with HT. If you were to feed whole prey exclusively, or mostly, you might get an amount that would be more cost effective. We finally invested in a small, 3cu ft, chest freezer, so we can order the largest box from HT, which is a savings. Now there's room for those big chubs of ground whole carcass rabbit, ground turkey, chunks of rabbit, mice, cavies, and containers of prepared ground food.
 

joshywashy79

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I plan on feeding my new kitty a raw diet, but not live. I am petrified of rodents, besides rabbits and squirrels...
Since I plan on feeding my soon to own cat a raw diet, I've been pouring over a lot of articles. I decided on Primal Raw freeze dried. Any ideas on how much I should feed it? They have a feeding calculator but it's a bit confusing. Any help?
 

cat7bird

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I order from Rodent Pro and for less than $200 a year my 2 cats can have a whole prey meal 1-2X/week (though I'd like to increase to one whole prey meal every other day). They have discounts on various products at any given time and I take advantage of these. I also buy a bag of baby mice -- usually hoppers -- for them to have as a weekly treat (though one of my cats doesn't like them as much for some reason). I'd love to feed exclusively whole prey, but it's cost prohibitive. I calculated the costs per/pound of some of their products, to get a sense of how it compared to what I spend on meat. For instance, a bag of adult mice from Rodent Pro converts to about $15/pound. So it would cost significantly more than feeding HT boneless rabbit cubes all the time. Like the boneless rabbit, I can only afford the whole prey to make up a fraction of the diet, not the bulk. But yes it's extremely appealing. Now you have me contemplating REALLY pricing annual cost with bulk orders a few times a year to be sure I can't do it, because making cat food is like the bane of my existence, but I think it would cost like 3X their current (HT prey model) diet.

It wasn't something I had to really transition my cats to since I started them as kittens. I simply offered it, and like going from ground to small chunks to bigger chunks, I just went up in prey size. But it's not like feeding them other meals. They throw it around the house to simulate a hunt and while they usually don't leave any remnants (except some feathers from quail), they have lost their prey under the oven or the fridge -- though I always noticed from their frantic pacing and trying to get to it, and was able to fish it out for them, so I haven't had to experience uncovering a stinky rodent, or remnants, days later. I do have to separate them to feed whole prey, because they get territorial and growly and they will snatch each other's meals (they're posturing, not actually aggressive but it brings out wildcatness). Mouse would probably end up simply eating all the food while Linus just stared at him if I didn't supervise whole prey meals. Linus sometimes doesn't finish, and when it's clear he's done I allow Mouse his remains (and he licks the floor clean). It's not hard to supervise a few times a week, but it would be hard for all their meals (so maybe I don't want to feed this diet 100% of the time). Linus typically eats next to the bed, incidentally, so I'm glad he doesn't take his prey all the way under the bed and leave parts (in my case Mouse would eat these regardless, but otherwise I'd have to move the bed to clean up and that would be a pain). Linus has jumped on the bed with his prey but I redirected him off and they seem to understand to keep it to the floor. You get to know their habits, but again it would be difficult to pay attention and trust that there weren't animal parts in various corners of the house if they were eating these meals 3X/day unsupervised, though I expect their hunting time would usually be cut down or non-existent if this was their whole diet because it wouldn't be novel and they'd want to just eat because hungry. 

To the poster above -- we are talking about frozen whole prey, not live. 
 
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Willowy

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From Big Cheese, medium rats (about 4 ounces) are $1.75 each. With a normal raw diet, most cats eat around 4 ounces, but I don't know if that would be sufficient when it come to whole prey. Large rats are $1.99. 4 adult mice would come to $2.20. So, yeah, it would be somewhere around $2- $2.50 a day for whole prey :/. But that's cheaper than some canned foods. . .all depends on the budget.
 

cat7bird

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@Willowy  that's actually about 1/2 my calculations. I think it's conservative due to feeding variety and smaller prey costing more/ounce and high shipping costs etc. But hmmmmm, you have me thinking...
 

sophie1

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Thanks cat7bird, dhammagirl and willowy!

I calculated the same with costs:  in the $15-$20/lb range, which means it's no more than a meal or two a week.  I'll take the plunge with pinkie mice.  I can't wait to see what they do with it.  They are quite expert now with meat chunks, and also enjoy the dehydrated rabbit ears from Hare Today - which really do look like rabbit ears, so I guess if I can handle that I should be ok with whole prey.

Not to get gross about this but..."removing stomach and intestines" from a larger animal sounds daunting.  Can you describe this a bit more?
 
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