starting raw for my kiddies

dahlialia

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I have one 4-year old male, Whiskers, who has likely IBD, or possibly small-cell lymphoma.  And one 5-month old female, Lucy.

The 4 year old has always eaten kibble, I had switched him to canned before he got sick (he had urinary crystals), but since getting sick he wants nothing to do with it.  (I had another thread here http://www.thecatsite.com/t/249844/likely-ibd-in-cat-what-to-feed-complicated-maybe)

The 5 month old has also always eaten kibble.  She will eat canned, but generally not the firm pate stuff.  She will eat chunks in gravy, or loose, soupier foods.

My DH is on board with switching them to raw.  We ourselves eat paleo and are much healthier for the switch :)

I would consider making my own, down the road, but for now I prefer the idea of a commercial preparation (for pathogen reasons and for simplicity - I have young kids and am very busy with work too).

I live in Canada.  I have easy access to Nature's Variety frozen raw.  There are other, smaller company options, but less info about reliability, etc.  Given the likely IBD, and small kids in the house, I like the idea of their food safety guarantee.

Whiskers was previously free-fed dry food.  Now we put down food for them both, but they still get several small meals (my dh and I work at home).  I would say they probably eat a little, 7-8 times a day.  Whiskers just eats dry at these meals, Lucy eats canned for 3-4 of them, dry the rest.  Given the bowel issues I'm reluctant to transition them to fewer, larger meals.  I don't want to mess with what's working, but then when we go away, a pet sitter isn't going to come 7 times a day to feed them raw...

Feeding frequency aside, my current thinking is to start just putting down a little raw with their morning and evening food.  I suspect that Lucy will try eating it, and Whiskers will just gradually get used to the smell.

I guess I am looking for comments on brand, meat type, feeding frequency, and the approach I am considering.
 

ldg

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Oh I'm SO glad you're going to try raw for your kitties. It certainly isn't a cure-all, but when it comes to IBD, this switch is usually all it takes. :)

Here is a list of brands available in Canada. Carnivora is not pathogen-free guaranteed like Nature's Variety is, but it is a VERY well respected company with no prior problems, and an excellent food. Someone on the forums is using it and having great success with it. http://www.thecatsite.com/t/248687/canadian-raw-food-suppliers

For IBD kitties, the simpler the ingredient list, typically, the better. :nod:

I think your plan for making the transition is just perfect. And your ability to feed 7 - 8 small meals a day is really ideal for cats. My husband and I work from home too, but sometimes we have to be gone all day, so eventually I moved them to 3 meals a day. But you can decide what to do about that down the road. :nod: The more frequent meals is also better for crystal problems, as it helps even out the pH (pH tends to spike after a large meal).

Carolina transitioned a die-hard kibble addict with a history of digestive issues, and that's exactly what she did. She just put a very small amount of raw on the dish next to the kibbles. She did coat the raw by powdering a treat her kitty LOVED (freeze dried chicken). If I remember correctly, it took Lucky 35 days before she tasted the raw. She finally took a lick of it... and at another meal, licked a little more.... and I believe it was only a few days after that she wanted the raw, but not her kibbles. So patience is what's going to win this one. :nod: I do think the idea of coating the raw with something he loves so he'll be tempted to lick at it is a good idea (and that way getting at least a minute taste of it with the lick). Even crushing the kibble into as much of a powder as possible and dusting the top with that? :dk:

FYI, the raw diet, because of the methionine in the meat, will produce the proper pH for their urine. I have three boys that had blockages from crystals, and we've had no problems since the switch to raw 10 months ago - and no problems with the switch to three larger meals a day. :cross: :D

Please keep us posted!

:wavey:
 
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sugarcatmom

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I live in Canada. 
Yay! There are lots of great raw food suppliers here. Where abouts in Canada are you? If you can find a store that stocks Red Dog Blue Cat, they have a smorgasbord of different high quality protein sources (even kangaroo!) and it comes in vacuum sealed packages (in 2 sizes - 1/4 and 1/2 lb) to prevent freezer burn. My cats LOVE it. There's also Natural Instincts, which has a few varieties that use a calcium supplement instead of bone or bonemeal.

Glad to hear you're considering raw.
  If you need any support during the transition, there are lots of us here that can help you. Oh, and I feed my 5 cats 2 raw meals a day and leave canned out for nibbling in between (one of my guys is diabetic and needs food available). Good luck!
 
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dahlialia

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I'm in Guelph, Ontario.   I can get Carnivora locally too.  I like the idea of it not containing a bunch of other ingredients.  Red Dog Blue Kat would be a long drive to get.

Now I am confused!  Reading elsewhere (here for example http://www.felinenutrition.net ), I've seen the ratio of 1.2:1 being the ideal Calcium:phosphorus ratio, to check if foods contain the right amount of bone.   The carnivora foods are higher calcium than that (and indeed higher than the max. suggested 1.4:1), as are most of the Nature's Variety ones (their chicken one looks to be a good ratio but is much lower in both than the other foods).  

What else should I be considering, in choosing a food?
 

carolina

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OHHHHHHHH Natural Instincts!!!!! :woohoo:
Sugarcat mom, I went to their site, but couldn't find any information as far as the ingredients for their cat formulas - I LOVE the fact that they are supplemented with Ca supplement instead of bones - that is a real bonus for IBD kitties, and GREAT that you have that option in Canada too :clap::clap::clap::clap:
Here we have Rad Cat and Nature's Menu that fit that bill, but I wasn't aware of a bone-free food in canada....
How is the quality, acceptance by the kitties, pricing, and how do the ingredients look like? Vegetables fruit?
Anywhere we can see the full list? :wavey:
 
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ldg

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I'm in Guelph, Ontario.   I can get Carnivora locally too.  I like the idea of it not containing a bunch of other ingredients.  Red Dog Blue Kat would be a long drive to get.

Now I am confused!  Reading elsewhere (here for example http://www.felinenutrition.net ), I've seen the ratio of 1.2:1 being the ideal Calcium:phosphorus ratio, to check if foods contain the right amount of bone.   The carnivora foods are higher calcium than that (and indeed higher than the max. suggested 1.4:1), as are most of the Nature's Variety ones (their chicken one looks to be a good ratio but is much lower in both than the other foods).  

What else should I be considering, in choosing a food?

The range for Ca:p ratio is usually given as 1.1:1 to 1.5:1. :nod: With bone-in meals, at least my understanding, is that it's OK if it's at the high end, because the bioavailability of bone itself isn't as high as powdered bone or a calcium supplement.

But that's really interesting about Carnivora. It's whole ground animal, like the Hare-Today ground foods available in the U.S. I've always suspected there was "too much" bone in those... I think large animals have bigger structural bones per meat, so naturally have a higher Ca:p ratio than small mammals.

I never looked up the Ca:p ratio, but I did look up the ingredient profiles, and NV states they target 15% bone in their foods. Several of my kitties got constipated on it, so I just fed them some plain raw meat. That is an option if feeding Carnivora. :dk:


Choosing a food.... I used NV because it's what was available locally and I had really limited freezer space. When I first started feeding raw, I wanted the "other stuff" (anything not meat/bones/organs) limited to 5% of the food, which ruled out a number of commercial foods. Once I was feeding raw, I wanted no fruits/veggies - just meat/bones (or calcium supplement)/organs and limited supplements.
 

whollycat

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The range for Ca:p ratio is usually given as 1.1:1 to 1.5:1.
With bone-in meals, at least my understanding, is that it's OK if it's at the high end, because the bioavailability of bone itself isn't as high as powdered bone or a calcium supplement.
a little bit...


Yeah, I've seen a ratio as high as 2.0:1.
I'm not comfortable with that, though. I aim for 1.3:1, but it can vary a bit since we see such variations of recommendations for the ca:phos ratio. I would feel okay with anywhere from 1.1:1 - 1.4:1, but would still vary the diet within these ranges. JMO.


Gonna have to disagree a bit about the bioavailability of bones, Ms Laurie.
Regarding bones (which I use--ground--in my raw mix), if a kitty has been eating a raw diet then their stomach has an acidic environment and can process and use bones because this highly acidic environment promotes the breakdown of raw meats and raw bones, into soft digestible material.

The above also means that if transitioning a kitty to a raw diet from kibble or canned, you should take your time (low end is a week to 10 days) because it takes at least that amount of time for their gastric environment to become more acidic (as it should naturally be) to be able to digest the new diet, including bones, properly.

Why am I such a proponent of feeding real bones? For the following reasons: About half of bone is made of the carbonated form of hydroxylapatite. Bones also supply smaller amounts of cartilage (natural glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate to help prevent arthritis), bone marrow, and include minerals like boron, magnesium, manganese, silica, fluoride, sodium, potassium, copper, zinc, and of course, calcium and phosphorus, which are all vital for bone health. (Mineral list excerpted from a book I own by Lynn Curtis, Feline Nutrition.) The key is to find a bone to meat/organs percentage that isn't too high, nor too low because of the phosphorus content of bone. I've seen recommendations for anywhere from 10% to 25% bone. Me purrsonally, I aim for between 10%-15%. It is my understanding that bone contains a 2:1 calcium to phos ratio. How that works out mathematically, I'll let someone else with a non-insomnia fogged brain to weigh in.


One thing I'm not comfortable with is feeding bones that haven't been pre-ground--with one tiny girl kitty exception.
Abby was a kibble cat, then canned, now raw (been raw for many years now). He never ate bones except for maybe a few weeks of his life. Maxie had never eaten bones, just canned food. Izzy is my one exception. She was a feral kitty and can devour a mouse or chick in a couple minutes or less (depends on the size of the mice, chicks I provide her with from Rodent Pro). She's even tackled pheasant legs, and even though these bones are on the smaller side, it made this kitty mom uncomfortable because she's so tiny. The other two look at her like she's gone off the deep end of crazy.
So, since the other two have never eaten whole bones, I grind them just to be on the safe side.

Sorry for "hijacking" this topic a little.
 

ldg

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Gonna have to disagree a bit about the bioavailability of bones, Ms Laurie. :) Regarding bones (which I use--ground--in my raw mix), if a kitty has been eating a raw diet then their stomach has an acidic environment and can process and use bones because this highly acidic environment promotes the breakdown of raw meats and raw bones, into soft digestible material.

The above also means that if transitioning a kitty to a raw diet from kibble or canned, you should take your time (low end is a week to 10 days) because it takes at least that amount of time for their gastric environment to become more acidic (as it should naturally be) to be able to digest the new diet, including bones, properly.
:D

And to continue the hijack... ;)

Well, 10 days is questionable, then. Because two months into feeding raw (I was using Nature's Variety, 15% ground bone), Spooky became very, very constipated. And Ming Loy got a bone piece stuck in the roof of her mouth. Both had x-rays, and both had those little pieces of ground bone from stomach to colon. The vet was completely unconcerned, but the x-rays made it quite clear they were not digesting all that ground bone.

Also, from the study, Estimation of the dietary nutrient profile of free-roaming feral cats: possible implications for nutrition of domestic cats, Plantinga et al. 2011 ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22005434 ), the natural diet of a feral cat had a Ca:p ratio of 1.5:1, and the discussion regarding that is:

Data on bioavailability of micronutrients and trace elements in felids consuming whole prey items are lacking. Further research is needed to determine the precise nutrient digestibility of the natural diet, especially with respect to minerals such as Ca, P, Mg and Fe, which are consumed in relatively high concentrations compared with recommended allowances determined using empirical methods. It is likely that the absorption of minerals such as Ca and P is much lower in prey items compared with the forms used to supplement commercial feline diets.
Speculation, yes. But these are the source of my comments as re: bone.

:)

.
 
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carolina

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I'm in Guelph, Ontario.   I can get Carnivora locally too.  I like the idea of it not containing a bunch of other ingredients.  Red Dog Blue Kat would be a long drive to get.

Now I am confused!  Reading elsewhere (here for example http://www.felinenutrition.net ), I've seen the ratio of 1.2:1 being the ideal Calcium:phosphorus ratio, to check if foods contain the right amount of bone.   The carnivora foods are higher calcium than that (and indeed higher than the max. suggested 1.4:1), as are most of the Nature's Variety ones (their chicken one looks to be a good ratio but is much lower in both than the other foods).  

What else should I be considering, in choosing a food?
Because of Bugsy's IBD, it was important to me to feed a boneless diet as it was more easily digestible. I started him with NV because of my paranoia as I was petrified of his weak immune-system. But as soon as I could I changed him to Rad Cat. Rad Cat uses human grade bone meal instead of bones.
I fed NV for very very little - I wanted to feed a veggies/fruit free diet. I kept it mostly bone free with Rad Cat and Nature's Menu, but I also fed Hare Today, which did contain bone in my rotation.
Today I feed a home made diet, also bone-free, supplemented. They do really well on it and are all thriving.
I posted on Natural Instincts' facebook page asking about their ingredients for you, as I can't find information anywhere. They are boneless supplemented raw, which might be a good option for your IBD baby, if you want. Here is where they sell it http://www.naturalinstincts.ca/locations.html
I am not sure if any of these places ship.... They are only in BC or Alberta....
 
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