I thought raw was supposed to be cheaper than canned?

misskalamata

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I got the Primal Rabbit and Stella & Chewy's Duck Duck Goose frozen foods for my cat to try.

The Primal is a 1 lb bag for $12. The instructions recommend 1 cup/day for a 10 lb cat. It also says 1 cup has a net weight of 4 oz. So, 1 lb = 16 oz = 4 cups. This $12 bag will last 4 days.....$3 a day, just for one cat!

I know the rabbit formula costs more than the poultry ones. And I'm sure that the bigger bags are a slightly better value than the small one. But still! Three dollars a day for one cat! That is absurd, and a heck of a lot more expensive than canned food!

The Stella & Chewy's calculated out to a little better $2/day/cat, but that's still pricey. How are you supposed to afford to feed multiple cats?

So, why is it purported that raw is cheaper than canned?
 

nansiludie

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If you make the raw food yourself with fresh or frozen chicken and livers it does work out to be cheaper. I get a two week supply of food for two cats, for $6.90 for ten pounds of raw chicken leg quarters and then $2.00 for a container of livers. The supplements I buy off amazon last about 4 to 6 months.
 
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misskalamata

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Kudos to those of you who make homemade cat food, but I'd really rather not do so myself. I find meat disgusting ... if cats weren't obligate carnivores, mine would most certainly be vegetarian. I feel for the poor little chickens and rabbits who died so my cats can eat. I prefer cat food that doesn't look like a dead thing.

On the other hand, though, pet food is a racket. People will spend on their fur family members what they're unwilling to spend on themselves... pet food companies know this and hence can charge exorbitant prices. And I guess the only way to get away from all that IS homemade food.

What surprises me is the fact that a 1 lb bag of raw food only lasts 4 days. A number of people had told me that cats eat less raw food because it's so densely packed with nutrition. But 1 cup of raw formula, volume-wise, is as much or more food than a daily serving of canned food.

I guess I should have researched raw diets more beforehand.
 

maureen brad

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I find cats do eat less when fed raw. I honestly would not necessarily go by what the  back of any cat food tells you to feed.I don't care if it is raw or not commercial sellers want you to buy food sooner than you have to.

Commercial raw food, if that is all you feed is more expensive than kibble but, I fed three cats commercial raw when I started out and it was less than quality canned.

I Still keep some bags of Stella & Chewy's FD around , I sometimes ( rarely) get some Rad Cat but otherwise I use Hare Today .For me it really beats trying to continually keep up with canned food prices/sales.

Raw is not for everyone I guess.
 

lisahe

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I find cats do eat less when fed raw. I honestly would not necessarily go by what the  back of any cat food tells you to feed.I don't care if it is raw or not commercial sellers want you to buy food sooner than you have to.

Commercial raw food, if that is all you feed is more expensive than kibble but, I fed three cats commercial raw when I started out and it was less than quality canned.

I Still keep some bags of Stella & Chewy's FD around , I sometimes ( rarely) get some Rad Cat but otherwise I use Hare Today .For me it really beats trying to continually keep up with canned food prices/sales.

Raw is not for everyone I guess.
Same here: our cats seem to get filled up faster on raw food and I don't follow the feeding guidelines on cat food packaging, either. They're just too general -- even our two littermates have slightly different food needs! 

I also find commercial raw food cheaper or the same in price as canned, largely because there's no waste with raw food. Though the cats have gotten better about finishing their canned foods, I do sometimes end up throwing a little away.

I've found that the big thing about commercial raw food -- and any food, really -- is to shop around. I find the prices can vary tremendously on RadCat, for example, in local stores.
 

lisamarie12

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I have actually cut my costs feeding commercial raw although I know it is more expensive than homemade raw.

Prior to raw, I was doing canned only, mainly NV to feed to very active four year old cats.  Initially when I started feeding FD raw, the cats were eating quite a bit, however, now they do eat less, seem to feel more sated. I go through one large bag of FD Primal (48 nuggets) which lasts me a week, $25 so $100 a month on the FD.

At night, the cats split one 3 oz can food.  I do the occasionally the frozen raw but mainly it's FD and a little canned.

Depending on which canned you were feeding, I guess commercial raw can be more expensive. The  benefits, however, for me at least, far outweigh the cost. My little guys' IBD is cured and his FHV symptoms have decreased significantly. 

And less waste in the kitty box for me to scoop daily. :)

Sometimes it takes a while to work it out, trial and error as far as cost effectiveness. Maybe you could do a combo, e.g., half raw / canned.
 
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lisamarie12

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lisahe

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Originally Posted by LisaMarie12  

And less waste in the kitty box for me to scoop daily. :)

Sometimes it takes a while to work it out, trial and error as far as cost effectiveness. Maybe you could do a combo, e.g., half raw / canned.
Re: the litter box: Ours is less smelly, too, even on a raw/canned combo.

Re: feeding raw and canned: That's what we do, around 60/40, raw/canned. It works well for humans and cats!
 

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I believe the way raw truly gets cheaper than canned is when you make it yourself.  Commercial raw, I'm not so sure it can be cheaper.  I have at times gotten it to be around the same cost as the cans that I buy.  But it usually takes a special sale or coupon to do it.  The main commercial raw I've been buying over the last several months is Stella & Chewys freeze dried, chicken variety.  I got it at about the same cost per meal as Weruva Cats in the Kitchen cans that I have also bought in the past.  But coming up on running out I don't seem to have a way to get it that low again.  I stocked up heavily because I have enough space and it doesn't require being kept cold or anything.

So on those good deals I get down to around maybe $1.60/day per cat, but I have small cats!  That's the common cost of one of those cans, which is a whole day's worth for my 8lb cat (6lb eats a little less).  Otherwise I'm probably getting closer to $2/day each.  Been a while since I've had to buy a significant amount of food without a nice 20% discount coupon but I'm just about running out of the Stella & Chewys I bought a few months ago.

I do recommend that instead of using the volume (cups) for measuring a meal you use the more precise weight.  The manufacturer usually publishes a calorie amount per weight (per ounce or similar), maybe not on the package but at least on their web site.  The thing is, in the case of the Primal rabbit, that actually suggests your cup measuring is on the low side.  Usually estimates for calories start around 20 calories per pound per day, as long as the cat is at healthy weight and is just going to maintain that.  For a 10lb cat that would be 200 calories.  The frozen rabbit says it's 39 calories per ounce so that would mean more like 5 ounces per day.  Sooo...I just made the cost worse!  Sorry.  LOL.

Freeze dried is sometimes more economical.  For example, Primal freeze dried turkey, it's 148 calories per ounce (the water is removed so the food will be much denser in calories for the same weight, but it also costs more for same weight).  So you'd need about 1.35 ounces per day to get the 200 calories.  It comes in a 14 ounce bag so you'd get about 10 days out of one bag (10 1/3 days if you're careful, hehe).  But these cost around $25 usually, so you'd still be at around $2.50/day for this cat.

So actually, judging by my math for my own (if I haven't messed something up!) if you think you got Stella & Chewys down to $2/day for your 10lb cat, I'd say you're doing pretty well on commercial raw cost.  As usual anything you can buy in the largest quantity package will help too.  Primal frozen can come in a 3lb bag.  The cost per meal can go down significantly with the larger packages sometimes.

I use the same weight-based portioning for canned foods, by the way.  My 8lb cat needs to not get any larger (should lose a half pound or so really) and if I put out too much food she is prone to eventually eating more than her share.  They tend to switch off bowls in the middle of the meal!  The 6lb cat regulates well and has gained only a few ounces since she came home over a year ago.  So my main defense against weight gain (and also against wasting food) is to put out only the right amounts for each to get enough and then keep the food down only for a fixed amount of time rather than all day or all night.
 

mschauer

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So, why is it purported that raw is cheaper than canned?
I know everyone else has already answered your question but just to add my 2 cents worth: My home-made comes out to about $ 0.18 / oz. That compares to about $ 0.21/oz for Fancy Feast using a current sale price on petfooddirect of $0.63 / 3 oz can.

So, as others have said, the cost savings comes mainly from making your own. Some people go to truly heroic measures to find the cheapest possible prices for their home-made ingredients and so have costs much lower than mine. I just use what is available at my local grocer. 
 
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nansiludie

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Kudos to those of you who make homemade cat food, but I'd really rather not do so myself. I find meat disgusting ... if cats weren't obligate carnivores, mine would most certainly be vegetarian. I feel for the poor little chickens and rabbits who died so my cats can eat. I prefer cat food that doesn't look like a dead thing.

On the other hand, though, pet food is a racket. People will spend on their fur family members what they're unwilling to spend on themselves... pet food companies know this and hence can charge exorbitant prices. And I guess the only way to get away from all that IS homemade food.

What surprises me is the fact that a 1 lb bag of raw food only lasts 4 days. A number of people had told me that cats eat less raw food because it's so densely packed with nutrition. But 1 cup of raw formula, volume-wise, is as much or more food than a daily serving of canned food.

I guess I should have researched raw diets more beforehand.
Yes, making raw food isn't for everyone, I did myself, get a little quesy when the grinder was going at first but now I tolerate it.  I want to thank you for putting your cats' needs ahead.  Maybe, as others have suggested you could buy the freeze-dried food in bulk? Might be a little cheaper that way. For me, I make my own and I've noticed that it keeps them fuller longer, not really eating any less. I rotate canned food and raw meat.
 

stephanie42

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I know everyone else has already answered your question but just to add my 2 cents worth: My home-made comes out to about $ 0.18 / oz. That compares to about $ 0.21/oz for Fancy Feast using a current sale price on petfooddirect of $0.63 / 3 oz can.

So, as others have said, the cost savings comes mainly from making your own. Some people go to truly heroic measures to find the cheapest possible prices for their home-made ingredients and so have costs much lower than mine. I just use what is available at my local grocer. 
i was eating mainly vegetarian when i decided to start making my cats' food.  it wasn't fun but once i got the system down and realized how much money i was saving feeding my three beasties, it was a lot better.  i feed about 50/50 homemade partially cooked and commercial freeze dried raw.
 
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misskalamata

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Finally I'm getting back to this thread.

Thanks everyone for the replies. I guess I'll look into freeze dried raw and see if maybe that's cheaper. And see if I can order commercial raw food online for less (much as I'd like to support my local natural pet food store, if they can't offer good prices, I can't patronize them!)

(As far as homemade food goes, I'm too lazy to cook for myself let alone make homemade cat food! Worrying about organ-to-bone ratios, and how much to add of which supplements, is way more of a headache than I can handle.... I guess, in life, no matter what you do, you're either wasting time or money. If you save money by doing things yourself, you're also wasting precious time. If you save time by letting someone else do the hard work, you're wasting your hard-earned money. Ya just can't win.)
 

lisamarie12

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I guess, in life, no matter what you do, you're either wasting time or money. If you save money by doing things yourself, you're also wasting precious time. If you save time by letting someone else do the hard work, you're wasting your hard-earned money. Ya just can't win.)
I'm glad things are falling into place more MissKalamata.

I wouldn't say that making homemade cat food is a waste of time nor is it a waste of money to buy commercial raw.  A raw food diet for your cat, whether homemade or commercial, will likely offer far more benefits for your kitty pal than the alternatives. Sure, everything is give and take, but in this case, the pros far outweigh the cons, mainly just finding out what works best for your time and wallet. :)
 

LTS3

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(As far as homemade food goes, I'm too lazy to cook for myself let alone make homemade cat food! Worrying about organ-to-bone ratios, and how much to add of which supplements, is way more of a headache than I can handle.
It doesn't have to be complicated
For raw food, one easy way is to use ground meat with or without bone and organs and add in a pre-mix such as TC Feline or Alnutrin. The pre-mix contains all of the vitamins and minerals a cat needs in the right amounts. Just mix the X amount of ground meat with X amount of the correct pre-mix and X amount of water. Then portion into containers and freeze. Easy


For cooked diets, there is a pre-mix called U Stew.  The instructions are basically the same as for raw pre-mixes with the one exception being that you have to cook the ground boneless meat first.

Commercial raw pet food is always an option though can be pricier than if you make your own raw.
 

nansiludie

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I do not like the idea of using pre-ground meat as the bacteria load is very high, I grind my own meat and bone but even so, I would grind my own meat without buying store bought ground. 
 

LTS3

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I do not like the idea of using pre-ground meat as the bacteria load is very high, I grind my own meat and bone but even so, I would grind my own meat without buying store bought ground. 
Buying whole cuts of maet and grinding or chopping it yourself is certainly an option
I meant ground meat in general, not necessarily the type you can buy at the supermarket. Chubs of ground meat from the independent pet store (various brand names like Primal and Bravo) or Hare Today or other supplier are also options.

This has more info about cost among the different types of food: http://catcentric.org/nutrition-and-food/raw-feeding/how-much-does-it-cost-to-feed-my-cat-or-i-can-afford-to-feed-commercial-raw/
 
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rubberboots

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We are looking to switch our cats over from their canned food too raw. Right now they have unlimited access to kibble and they only get half a container of wet food at night just before bed and they don't even finish the wet food completely. I'm hoping that if they get into raw and like it that we can give them some raw in the morning as well. Not sure if that's enough to eliminate kibble but it would be cool if it was. Any thoughts on this? I guess my point was we don't follow the guidelines on the canned food as to what is considered a serving.
 
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