Raw feeding when you travel?

idon1404

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I am considering moving to raw food with two cats currently eating kibble and a little wet in the morning and evening.
My dilemma is when we travel for 3-7 days. How do you handle raw feeding with cat sitters that come once a day?
TIA!
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
Someone who does raw feeding uses a timed feeder and if I understood it right, puts a frozen portion in a slot of the feeder in the evening so its thawed for the morning meal, and a frozen portion in the feeder in the morning for the evening feeding. Something like that might work for your travel situation?
 
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idon1404

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Thanks for the reply. That’s kind of what we’re thinking but we have two cats so aren’t sure if we need two timed bowls…and need to train the to eat only from their bowls!
 

Furballsmom

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What if instead of the feeder arrangement, you had a safe tightly closed container in the refrigerator (several so you could swap for a clean one each time) and just let the raw food thaw in the fridge prior to mealtime, then feed it and get another couple portions, (1 for each cat or however this might work) out of the freezer?

I'm guessing you'll find an effective, efficient method of handling this that will work for you, the cats and cat sitters 👍 :)
 

daftcat75

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I don't like the idea of raw food in the timed feeder. Frozen raw food is still raw food. Eventually, it will thaw enough that the same food safety concerns will come into play.

Two ways you can do this.

1. Keep some canned food in their diet so they aren't 100% raw. This is a good idea anyway as you will run into supply (can't get it), production (forgot to make it), or even demand issues (your cats don't like a certain batch) with raw, and it's helpful to have a backup plan. But it's also helpful to keep a canned backup in their diet for just the reason you bring up. If you need to leave your cats in someone else's care (even an overnight vet stay), it's easier if you can give them a can of food rather than a batch of raw and safety and handling instructions.

2. Train your cat sitter(s) well ahead of your travel days. Hire them for practice feeds. Don't travel until you're confident they will feed your cats correctly and handle their raw food in only safe and responsible ways. I find that teaching a sitter to handle raw is best when you keep it simple. I tell them my three rules for raw: 1. Don't cook it. If you need to thaw it or warm it up for feeding, use only warm water (a little cooler than you like your shower.) 2. Don't leave it out for more than an hour (this is why I don't think raw should ever go in a timed feeder.) and 3. Don't leave it in the fridge for more than three days. (Maybe it lasts longer. But I'd rather be wasteful than sorry.)

You can work both too. You can ask your sitter to feed one raw and leave some canned in the timed feeder for the other meals. If your cats don't eat the raw right then and there, then ask her to feed only canned. Raw isn't for nibblers and grazers.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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We did exactly what daftcat75 daftcat75 proposed...trained our catsitter exactly what to do, including having written instructions just in case, AND have some canned items as back-up. We use Feline Naturals wet food for the back-up, which is still pretty close to raw (they make raw food as well.)
 

iPappy

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I had a neighbor that traveled a few times a year and she had raw fed cats. She asked me to come by once a day and I'd feed them their raw meals. But she did have Tiki cat dry in timed feeders for them. The cats never had a problem going back to all raw. I know kibble isn't ideal but in a pinch like this, a higher quality option for just a few days (if they know that Kibble Is Food) might save you a lot of headaches. My raw fed cats are eating dry/wet in the mornings, and raw at nights, because of what daftcat mentioned. The supply chain is messed up, I can't always get what I need (I am dangerously low on RMB's and am using a premix to get us through until it's restocked) and while I can source rabbit, it's not cost effective to use as the base protein for several healthy cats and a healthy dog that do just fine on less expensive proteins.
Another option would be paying your cat sitter to come two (or even three) times a day if possible.
 

iPappy

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I don't like the idea of raw food in the timed feeder. Frozen raw food is still raw food. Eventually, it will thaw enough that the same food safety concerns will come into play.

Two ways you can do this.

1. Keep some canned food in their diet so they aren't 100% raw. This is a good idea anyway as you will run into supply (can't get it), production (forgot to make it), or even demand issues (your cats don't like a certain batch) with raw, and it's helpful to have a backup plan. But it's also helpful to keep a canned backup in their diet for just the reason you bring up. If you need to leave your cats in someone else's care (even an overnight vet stay), it's easier if you can give them a can of food rather than a batch of raw and safety and handling instructions.

2. Train your cat sitter(s) well ahead of your travel days. Hire them for practice feeds. Don't travel until you're confident they will feed your cats correctly and handle their raw food in only safe and responsible ways. I find that teaching a sitter to handle raw is best when you keep it simple. I tell them my three rules for raw: 1. Don't cook it. If you need to thaw it or warm it up for feeding, use only warm water (a little cooler than you like your shower.) 2. Don't leave it out for more than an hour (this is why I don't think raw should ever go in a timed feeder.) and 3. Don't leave it in the fridge for more than three days. (Maybe it lasts longer. But I'd rather be wasteful than sorry.)

You can work both too. You can ask your sitter to feed one raw and leave some canned in the timed feeder for the other meals. If your cats don't eat the raw right then and there, then ask her to feed only canned. Raw isn't for nibblers and grazers.
As far as leaving food in the fridge for more than 3 days, the rule of my house was always "Freshest for the cats, and the 5 day old stuff for the dogs". (This didn't apply to Tag when he was sick with cancer though. He got the best of the best.)
Another instruction, DON'T FEED GROUND RAW WITH FROZEN CHUNKS IN IT IF YOU HAVE A GULPER. This is a great way to create a very dangerous choking hazard.
OP if you feel the sitter is reliable in knowing the do's and don't's of raw, I'd do as daftcat mentioned above and make sure they're 100% comfortable and knowledgable feeding this type of diet. When you say you travel for 3-7 days, how often does that happen?
 

sophie1

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It's a headache, all right. Now that business travel is starting up again, I'm once again struggling with this too. My solution is to get a sitter who will either stay in the apartment with my cats, or come twice a day. It's not just about the food, they also need human attention especially at feeding time (they're Siberians and don't tolerate being left alone as well as most cats). It's heartbreaking to come home and find piles of vomit everywhere, as evidence of how stressed they are when I leave. Also, timed feeders are very unreliable. Could you have the paid person come once a day to do one meal and deal with the litter box, and then get a neighbor to drop by for another meal feeding?

To simplify things for the sitter, I bag up each meal individually, one baggie per cat, and put them in two labeled bowls (one per cat) in the fridge. If I'm going to be gone longer than a day or two, I stash baggies in the freezer and the sitter knows to transfer meals to the fridge a day ahead.

I do have the sitter use a timed feeder for my one cat who truly needs to eat a minimum of 3x/day, to reduce vomiting. Leaving raw food out for hours is fine - the "food safety" concern is way overblown IMHO. My cats have eaten raw food all their lives, including times when the food has been left out for 12-24 hours when I was letting them free feed. They're now 9 years old. There's never been a problem.
 
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