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Cindus

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Hello everyone. I started my two cats on a PMR diet about a month ago. I have a lot of questions, but I'll try not to bog down my post too much.

First, where do you source small bones? Are chicken necks acceptable? I've been cutting up chicken, but it never yields very many bones.

Can I feed pre-ground organs (e.g., from Hare Today) in a PMR diet? If so, would I need to add supplements? Chicken liver is easy to find, but other secreting organs are not. I just bought pig kidneys from a butcher but I'm not looking forward to cutting them up.

I've been going back and forth over whether a raw diet is the right thing to do. I only fully committed to it after the death of my 16-year-old cat from kidney disease. It broke my heart. Ironically, she's the one who loved raw meat the best, but didn't live long enough to enjoy more than a few meals.

I'm still working out the details of the diet. One of my cats has lost a little weight, which makes me anxious. He's the picky eater and doesn't always eat everything in his bowl. They both like bones and organs, but neither will eat beef and only reluctantly eat pork, so I worry about variety too. At this point they're only fully comfortable with chicken.

Ah, this post got long anyway. Sorry. lol. It's just so nice to find a forum like this. :)
 

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Hello everyone. I started my two cats on a PMR diet about a month ago. I have a lot of questions, but I'll try not to bog down my post too much.

First, where do you source small bones? Are chicken necks acceptable? I've been cutting up chicken, but it never yields very many bones.

Can I feed pre-ground organs (e.g., from Hare Today) in a PMR diet? If so, would I need to add supplements? Chicken liver is easy to find, but other secreting organs are not. I just bought pig kidneys from a butcher but I'm not looking forward to cutting them up.

I've been going back and forth over whether a raw diet is the right thing to do. I only fully committed to it after the death of my 16-year-old cat from kidney disease. It broke my heart. Ironically, she's the one who loved raw meat the best, but didn't live long enough to enjoy more than a few meals.

I'm still working out the details of the diet. One of my cats has lost a little weight, which makes me anxious. He's the picky eater and doesn't always eat everything in his bowl. They both like bones and organs, but neither will eat beef and only reluctantly eat pork, so I worry about variety too. At this point they're only fully comfortable with chicken.

Ah, this post got long anyway. Sorry. lol. It's just so nice to find a forum like this. :)
Hi!
We've fed raw for a lot of years and chicken necks are a hit here, for cats and small dogs both.
We're not experts, we just do what works and if that doesn't work we find something else that does, so take my advice with that knowledge =)
As far as chicken necks go, if your cats are gulpers or like to scarf 'n' barf (a phrase I heard here awhile back and still makes me crack up), feeding larger bone in pieces might help slow them down.
We source small bones (wings, etc.) from butcher shops and farms/ranches that have an over flow. They usually have a lot of hearts, gizzards, livers, etc., on hand, too. Just ask and tell them what you're doing. Wings and offal don't usually sell as well as other pieces (breast, thigh, etc.), so most of them see you as doing them a favor by taking on parts that might not always sell well.
These are not always organic, pastured (usually farms and ranches are, but some butcher shops are not), so if this important to you keep this in mind.
HT looks excellent on the organ blends, but keep in mind heart is usually fed as a muscle meat, not an organ (secreting).
We do feed heart with organ blends because we feels heart is very taurine rich and very nutritious. Our organs other than heart usually consist of liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, and usually a bit of tripe thrown in just for a good measure (lots of enzymes in tripe, and pancreas as well.) We mix these up, ground, in a huge bowl and portion them in small baggies, date, then keep them all in a freezer-safe bag with the date and ingredients. The cats and dogs both get these, and a few of the older dogs get small chunks of beef liver 2-3 times a week.

Aside from the necks and organs, what are you feeding and in what form? If you're feeding chunks of meat and stuff, my personal feeling is supplementation is rarely necessary unless you're supplementing for a reason (skin/coat health, etc.), but an addition of taurine is not a bad idea. Any excess will be peed out so the worst that will happen is you're paying for expensive pee =) If you're feeding mostly grinds, supplementation with taurine probably IS necessary, and is inexpensive and easy to dose.

There's no "perfect" way to feed raw. What works for us might not work for you and what your cats do well on might not work for us. That's the good thing about preparing their meals at home if you can, you can control things like bone content, organ content, carbs (if any), fat content, supplements, etc.

Hope this helped a bit.
 
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Cindus

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Thank you very much for your reply.

Right now I'm feeding chunks of muscle, organ, and bone in the 80-10-10 ratio. The protein is usually chicken, the organ (so far) only liver, which I know isn't a good thing. In fact, I bought pig kidney to use as the non-liver 5% but it "melted" in the refrigerator and it's now mostly a bag of blood. That's too much for me to handle. :( I can barely deal with chicken liver without gagging. I'm going to look into Hare Today's organ mix and see if I can make that work. It's expensive, but it would only be a small part of the diet.

I'd consider grinding, but I live with relatives and have very little space of my own. I also really like feeding meat in chunks, though it feels weird saying that since I haven't eaten meat myself in a long time. Just seeing my cats do that head-tilt as they work through a strip of muscle or a bone somehow feels "right."

The butcher I visited can get chicken necks for me, but he wasn't enthusiastic about offal or chicken wings. I took a chance and told him I was using it to feed my cats and he very adamantly told me that raw diets were only for large, aggressive dogs, not cats. Another customer chimed in, questioning why I was going to so much trouble for a cat, and it was just not a pleasant experience.

At this point I may have to switch to commercial raw or even (very reluctantly) go back to canned, at least temporarily. My 11-year-old cat took the death of my older cat even harder than I did and his appetite still hasn't recovered. He has more energy than he's had since he was a kitten (it's crazy) but he's still too skinny. I'm worried that I'm messing up this diet and harming him.

I want to make this work. I still think a raw diet is the best thing to feed my cats. I just need to find a way to do it that works for both me and them.

Thanks again for your help.
 

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Thank you very much for your reply.

Right now I'm feeding chunks of muscle, organ, and bone in the 80-10-10 ratio. The protein is usually chicken, the organ (so far) only liver, which I know isn't a good thing. In fact, I bought pig kidney to use as the non-liver 5% but it "melted" in the refrigerator and it's now mostly a bag of blood. That's too much for me to handle. :( I can barely deal with chicken liver without gagging. I'm going to look into Hare Today's organ mix and see if I can make that work. It's expensive, but it would only be a small part of the diet.

I'd consider grinding, but I live with relatives and have very little space of my own. I also really like feeding meat in chunks, though it feels weird saying that since I haven't eaten meat myself in a long time. Just seeing my cats do that head-tilt as they work through a strip of muscle or a bone somehow feels "right."

The butcher I visited can get chicken necks for me, but he wasn't enthusiastic about offal or chicken wings. I took a chance and told him I was using it to feed my cats and he very adamantly told me that raw diets were only for large, aggressive dogs, not cats. Another customer chimed in, questioning why I was going to so much trouble for a cat, and it was just not a pleasant experience.

At this point I may have to switch to commercial raw or even (very reluctantly) go back to canned, at least temporarily. My 11-year-old cat took the death of my older cat even harder than I did and his appetite still hasn't recovered. He has more energy than he's had since he was a kitten (it's crazy) but he's still too skinny. I'm worried that I'm messing up this diet and harming him.

I want to make this work. I still think a raw diet is the best thing to feed my cats. I just need to find a way to do it that works for both me and them.

Thanks again for your help.
In short, your butcher is an idiot =) The idea that raw meat is for aggressive dogs only is just plain stupid, as is the idea that somehow feeding them meat will make them murderers...he needs to move past 1947 =)

I wouldn't grind, personally, if your cats do well with it. I think you're doing fine.
We've fed canned in times of illness and never had problems switching them back whenever the time came to do so.
Another option would be switching to canned for now, and offering things for them to gnaw on as something they can eat fully but will keep their teeth cleaned up a bit.
Organ meat is gross. This is why we feed it ground mostly, I can handle liver OK but kidney and pancreas is just...:help:
Stressing over diet shouldn't happen regularly. If you're happier feeding canned, I'd do it. Sometimes our stress (over their diet/ratios, etc.) transfers to them.
Ever heard the idea that people shouldn't argue at the dinner table because stress screws with digestion, etc.? Same for them.
Feed what they like, what you're happy with, and what won't stress you out.
Again...I think you're doing fine.
 
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Cindus

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Thank you for your kind words. I think what I need most right now is support. Just the fact that I don't eat animals myself and here I am cutting up animals for my cats is bizarre enough without added stress. :rolleyes:

I just placed my first order with Hare Today. I hesitated for quite a while until I realized I'd never had an issue sending the same amount of money to Chewy for similar stuff in a can. I'm just getting better quality and more control by ordering from HT. I'll probably post my calculations later this week, just to get a second pair of eyes on them. I enjoy advanced math, like calculus, but I've always had trouble with smaller figures for some reason.

Tentatively, I think I can achieve 80% 10% 10% with various combinations of whole ground, organ ground, chicken necks, boneless meat, and chicken liver. We'll see. I also have to fit 31 lbs. of raw meat into a chest freezer. Never a dull moment. :biggrin:

Thanks again for your warm welcome and advice. Just the thought that I can really make this work makes me so happy!
 

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Thank you for your kind words. I think what I need most right now is support. Just the fact that I don't eat animals myself and here I am cutting up animals for my cats is bizarre enough without added stress. :rolleyes:

I just placed my first order with Hare Today. I hesitated for quite a while until I realized I'd never had an issue sending the same amount of money to Chewy for similar stuff in a can. I'm just getting better quality and more control by ordering from HT. I'll probably post my calculations later this week, just to get a second pair of eyes on them. I enjoy advanced math, like calculus, but I've always had trouble with smaller figures for some reason.

Tentatively, I think I can achieve 80% 10% 10% with various combinations of whole ground, organ ground, chicken necks, boneless meat, and chicken liver. We'll see. I also have to fit 31 lbs. of raw meat into a chest freezer. Never a dull moment. :biggrin:

Thanks again for your warm welcome and advice. Just the thought that I can really make this work makes me so happy!
You're very welcome!
How are you storing the food (in ziploc bags, original packages, etc.)? This can make a big difference in utilizing freezer space.
I've heard people say the owners at Hare Today are helpful if you have questions that aren't answered on their website, too.
80, 10, 10 is a good rule to shoot for and an excellent guideline, but don't be afraid to switch things up a bit if he's not doing well. A few of our dogs require WAY more bone than 10%, yet one dog seems to feel poorly on much bone at all (he gets eggshell calcium on boneless days), etc. A few of our cats are the same, and most of them seem to do best with a bit more organ meat than 10% but not all.

And ALL of them think pizza is a nutritious pet friendly raw food that should be fed at least 3 times a week...:disappointed:
 
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Cindus

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I store the food in these little plastic containers with screw-on lids I bought at the grocery store. My problem is knowing how much to keep in the refrigerator -- I'm always underestimating how long it takes meat to thaw and overestimating how much my cats eat.

How do you know that some of your dogs require more bone? Is there a way to gauge how well my cats are doing on the ratios I'm using? That's interesting. I didn't realize it could be that precise.

I decided tonight to backtrack a bit and put out some canned food mixed with a few pieces of raw. My poor little tabby needs to put on some weight. My HT order is shipping tomorrow (luckily, my order slipped in under the wire for their current shipping dates). I think he'll like the ground raw because he's so used to canned.

It's funny how picky they are. I made the mistake of adding a single piece of beef to one of their dishes this morning and not only would they not eat the beef but they wouldn't eat any of the chicken that was near it in the bowl. :rolleyes2:
 

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:hellocomputer: Hi Cindus Cindus ! Welcome to TCS!

One tip for cutting meats easily is to freeze the meat on baking sheets for a couple hours before cutting, or if your meat is frozen solid, only defrost enough to get a knife through. It will cut cleanly and is less messy and gross...especially things like kidney.

For liver, I throw the entire tub into a blender and puree, then pour into individual cups to freeze for future batches. I've been making 150oz batches lately, so I weigh out 7.5oz of pureed liver in the 1 cup plastic storage containers. I do 2-3 tubs at a time and don't have to mess with it for a while (but I do have 3 freezers).

Speaking of freezer space, the average is 25lbs of meat will fit per cubic foot of freezer space.

Knowing how much to keep in the fridge: My 3 cats eat about 15 ounces of food per day, across 3 meals a day. I've been packing mix into recycled liver tubs, which hold about 20 ounces. A tub lasts one day, "plus some"...usually a fourth meal. When I open one tub, I pull another out of the freezer. That's usually about right for defrosting, though occasionally the mix is still a bit frosty. In that case, I let it sit on the saucers for 15-20 minutes to bring the temp up a bit. One of my cats will eat fairly frozen food. :lol:

You should be ok to keep food in the fridge 3-4 days. I just prefer to keep it as fresh and cold as possible from preparation through feeding. The cats won't eat if it's not fresh enough, even if it smells ok to you. That's when a dog comes in handy. :p
 

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Heya! You've gotten lots of good advice already here, and I don't make my own raw so they all have much more experience than I do. I just wanted to say that I think it's really easy to put a ton of pressure on yourself about your cats diet. Especially when you think diet may have contributed to your last cats illness. It's okay to take a break and feed a quality canned meal every couple of days. You don't have to feed exclusively raw and you don't have to feed exclusively home made raw.

I feed a whole range of food. I buy a local commercial raw that follows the 80/10/10 rule, and that makes up the majority of my cats meals. And when I forget to thaw, she often gets some freeze-dried raw. She gets a little snack in the evening, and this could be anything from canned to the Ziwi peak Air-dried kibbles (essentially jerky for cats), or even a small raw bone. She likes the variety, and it gives me a break. Sometimes, I just don't feel like defrosting and portioning out a ton of meat. So I give her canned or freeze dried for the day, and portion out a few weeks worth of raw the next day.

Oh - and I use small containers too and they fit one days worth of raw. I pull out a new one every morning at breakfast, and it's thawed by the next day. Keep at it, and go easy on yourself. You can definitely make it work
 

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I store the food in these little plastic containers with screw-on lids I bought at the grocery store. My problem is knowing how much to keep in the refrigerator -- I'm always underestimating how long it takes meat to thaw and overestimating how much my cats eat.

How do you know that some of your dogs require more bone? Is there a way to gauge how well my cats are doing on the ratios I'm using? That's interesting. I didn't realize it could be that precise.

I decided tonight to backtrack a bit and put out some canned food mixed with a few pieces of raw. My poor little tabby needs to put on some weight. My HT order is shipping tomorrow (luckily, my order slipped in under the wire for their current shipping dates). I think he'll like the ground raw because he's so used to canned.

It's funny how picky they are. I made the mistake of adding a single piece of beef to one of their dishes this morning and not only would they not eat the beef but they wouldn't eat any of the chicken that was near it in the bowl. :rolleyes2:
Most of the time it's a reaction to stool. Straining means give a little less bone (and maybe a bit of organs) and loose stools means give a bit more bone and hold the liver for a day or so!
 
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Cindus

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Thank you everyone for your comments and support. I had been looking all over for an active raw-feeding forum and was lucky to find TCS. It seems like most people have gone to social media but I don't participate in those communities.

I've gotten such good advice here! I'm going to start making up smaller containers so I can just do the daily swap and don't have too much sitting in the fridge for too long. I'm also going to keep mixing canned with raw since that's the only way my tabby is motivated to eat enough. I'm surprised at how little canned it took (like a spoonful) to turn their poop stinky again, but I'll just have to deal with it for now. :cringe:

I need to remember that tip about refreezing meat. I knew it was easier to cut partially thawed but it never occurred to me to put it back in the freezer (lol). Thank you!

I really think I can make this work. It's been quite a learning experience, but in the end I think it's a good thing for both myself and my cats. They get a better diet and I get a confidence boost. Making a homemade diet for them has been unexpectedly empowering. :)
 

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Thank you everyone for your comments and support. I had been looking all over for an active raw-feeding forum and was lucky to find TCS. It seems like most people have gone to social media but I don't participate in those communities.

I've gotten such good advice here! I'm going to start making up smaller containers so I can just do the daily swap and don't have too much sitting in the fridge for too long. I'm also going to keep mixing canned with raw since that's the only way my tabby is motivated to eat enough. I'm surprised at how little canned it took (like a spoonful) to turn their poop stinky again, but I'll just have to deal with it for now. :cringe:

I need to remember that tip about refreezing meat. I knew it was easier to cut partially thawed but it never occurred to me to put it back in the freezer (lol). Thank you!

I really think I can make this work. It's been quite a learning experience, but in the end I think it's a good thing for both myself and my cats. They get a better diet and I get a confidence boost. Making a homemade diet for them has been unexpectedly empowering. :)
If you fall under the amount you need, thawing is really quick and easy if you submerge it in a sink or large bowl with cold water. Small portions thaw very quickly this way, ready for feeding!
 

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