This is going to be one for the books! Transitioning Lucky, Bugsy and Hope to Raw.... Challenges Gal

carolina

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As many probably know, I am one who was never pro-raw..... Known to give Auntie Crazy a "bit" (just a bit :lol3:) of trouble, she said she just about fell off her chair when she received my PM asking for help in transitioning my kiddos to raw :flail:
Truth is, I have always known the theory; the logic behind it..... Cats are carnivores, and yes, that is a fact, and it doesn't take too many brain cells to figure out that we make kibbles and feed them because it is convenient..... I always knew that.... I also always knew that cats can live a very long and healthy life on kibbles.... I had healthy cats on kibbles, the same as I had on table scraps. Cats and dogs....
I have been thinking about raw for a very long time for Bugsy, for his digestive issues. I have always been afraid of it, which is the reason why I have never been here before. At the same time I knew for a regular IBD cat raw could be wonderful, I was always afraid of what it could do to Bugsy - I will get into that a bit later..... and that always stopped me. He is not a typical cat in any way....

But recent events with the Purina scare - if they are in fact a real concern or not, pushed me to learn more about the pet food industry...... the AAFCO.... and I also got to know a first hand experience from our dear Aunty Crazy, who lost her darling :rbheart: Ollie :rbheart: in the 2007 recall. Bottom line is, I do not want to be a slave to the pet food industry, and have them dictate what I feed to my babies, when the "regulatory" "agency" behind is so weak and does not protect my furfamily. I want to have control. And to me, this is the best way.
It is not a matter of theory anymore.... as I always knew the theory..... it is a matter of taking control and ensuring their health the best way I can.
As a plus side, I hope their health to be improved and to prevent the health issues that will come along with age, may they continue in a bad diet - especially Bugsy.....
So, without further ado, let me post my challenges, as they are MANY - as I said, this is going to be one for the books.

Challenge #1: My Lifestyle:
I travel quite a bit for work.... When I am in town I work out of my home office, which is great, but I can travel as much as once or even twice a week sometimes. I try to make my travels as short as I can, but sometimes it is not possible and I can be gone for 4-5 or even 6 days. When I am gone, I need to rely on Kelly, my petsitter. There have been times when her schedule at work was less than optimum, for which having kibbles out come quite handy.
Kelly does sleep here when I am out, so she can, in theory, feed 3x a day - in the morning before she lives to work, as soon as she comes home, and once again before she goes to bed.
My fear is if she doesn't make home on time for their second meal, and that upsets their tummies.

Challenge #2 Bugsy - The BIG one

This is my BIG challenge, and the reason why I am so excited about this change, and so fearful about it.
Bugsy is my "Murphy's law" kitty - everything that can possibly go wrong, will. His immune-system is completely wacky. He has stomatitis (for which he takes daily medication), IBD - but can not take meds, has had a BAD reaction to vaccines that knocked him down, a bad UTI, for which he was treated with Clavamox........... that gave him months of explosive diarrhea......... and a year and 2 months later, his digestive system is still not normal and he STILL has soft poop. During his treatment, he had reactions to the drugs used, his liver got affected, so he can not be in any drugs (can not tolerate steroids, nor they have shown effect) - the only one he needs to be, and accepts well is the one for stomatitis. But because it is a mixture of drugs, he gets a liver panel every 6 months just in case...... He also had a BAD reaction to steroids...... He has food intolerance and for a long time had explosive diarrhea with chicken in all forms - in kibbles, canned, cooked and raw.
Basically, when it comes to Bugsy it is a shot in the dark - he can be ok, but can have very bad reactions - to just about anything.
Bugsy is obese..... Keep in mind he is a large breed - he is a purebred male Ragdoll, and they are large cats.... But he is, no doubt, FAT.
Bugsy's diet:
1/2 cup of mixed Hills Z/D and Royal Canin HP (Measured free-feed)
1/4 cup of ZiwiPeak Venison and Fish or Venison in the morning
1/4 cup of ZiwiPeak Venison and Fish or Venison at night
In addition, for his digestive system, he takes:
morning:
1 Capsule of Proviable-DC
1 Capsule of Align
5 drops of Runnipoo
1/2 capsule of Vetasyl (fiber)

Night:
1/2 Capsule of Vetasyl
5 Drops of Runnipoo

If he doesn't take these supplements, he has liquid diarrhea. His poop now is formed, but jelly - and anything will put it off. Definitely not normal, but the best we have been since Clavamox.
Goals for Bugsy: Better Digestive System, lose weight. He currently weighs 19lbs. Bugsy is 4 years old, will be 5 in May 2012.

Challenge #3 Lucky:
This one will be a challenge simply because nothing for her is food aside from kibbles :rolleyes: She is a die hard kibble addict!
The ONLY thing that she will go NUTS for, and I mean NUTS is Halo - and yes, brand specific :lol3: Freeze dry chicken treats. She will nearly make a hole on the floor looking for them - attack my hands, try to eat the bag, cry, beg, talk....... She LOVES them!
Very, very finicky eater!
She doesn't have many health issues, but she does have constipation, which led her to a blockage this year, reason why she is on Purina ProPlan. After days of syringe feeding her, I went to the store and let her pick a food to eat - it was better than nothing. The vet ordered a hairball formula, and even though it is nasty, it has been working for her hairballs, I have to admit. Her poop is still not where I would like to be, but she no longer has an issue...... for which I am glad.
With this purina scare however......... I am transitioning her for a better kibble (I know Auntie says there are no good kibbles..... Sorry AC, but this will be a long transition, and I refuse to buy Purina again) - I am working now on transitioning her to Orijen. She loves that food, as far as kibble goes, to me, there is no better, and hopefully it won't be for long anyways.
She is a female Ragdoll, her weight is normal for the breed at 11lbs (vet agrees). She is 3 years old, going on 4 in March 2012.
Lucky's Diet:
Shares with Hope 3/4 cup of Purina ProPlan a day - not on schedule (they seldom finish it). Currently transitioning to Orijen.

Challenge #3 Hope:
I don't see Hope being much of a challenge - she can easily be transitioned to wet only, and put on a schedule.... In fact, I am already working on it. She is currently having tummy issues due to stress (my belief, with all the indications and symptoms of it), and I am taking the opportunity to transition her right now. She has been eating every meal with gusto, and doing well on it.
She has eaten raw in the past and loves it, however she threw it up - I am not sure why......
She has had in the past a bout of IBS (not IBD), and for a long while was not able to digest any protein unless hydrolyzed - little by little I introduced them back into her diet, and now she does fine with pretty much everything.
She has no health issues.
Hope's diet:
Shares with Lucky 3/4 cup of Purina ProPlan a day - not on schedule (they seldom finish it).
1/4 cup of ZiwiPeak Venison and Fish or Venison in the morning
1/4 cup of ZiwiPeak Venison and Fish or Venison at night
***Currently transitioning to all ZiwiPeak
I believe Hope weighs in just short of 11lbs - she is very fit - you can not feel any fat on her, and very very active. Her weight is normal. I was not able to weight her, as she is not feeling well tonight - will update this when I can. She is 4, will be 5 in July 2012.

So...... with all of the above stated...... Auntie gave me some (LOT) reading to do :lol3::lol3::lol3: I will post it here if anyone is interested:
http://catcentric.org/raw-feeding/taking-the-plunge/
http://catinfo.org/docs/Tips for Transitioning PDF 1-14-11.pdf
http://feline-nutrition.org/nutrition/how-to-transition-your-cat-to-a-raw-diet
http://catcentric.org/raw-feeding/a-frankenprey-and-whole-prey-feeding-guide/
http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood
Auntie Crazy feeding schedule

Finally, because of Bugsy's immune-system and plethora of issues, we came to the conclusion that the safest way (and the easiest for me to transition to) would be Nature's Variety, which has a 100% pathogen free guarantee and works under the FDA guidelines. Their facilities are FDA inspected and approved, and I am comfortable with that. They have a nice variety for rotation too, and my Pet Supplies Plus carries all their foods. I just wish they carried the chubs..........but even with the bags, I calculated for the 3 kitties will cost me $131/mo., which is less than what I would spending canned - ZiwiPeak is EXPENSIVE at $2.79 a can!!

Thank you SO much AC for your help....... and wish me good luck............ God..... let's hope this is even possible! :lol3:
 
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auntie crazy

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Congratulations on your decision to come over to the dark side, Carolina! Bwaaahhhaaaaa! 


I'm sending you major boat loads of good luck, but I have all the faith in the world that this is not only possible, but a great step for you and your kitties. Given the current perception of raw, and your kitties' particular issues, I think you're very brave (and very smart) in making this change.


I look forward to reading about your adventures in transitioning your little - or, not-so-little in Bugsy's case! - furbabies. This'll be the first thread I pop to every morning when I log on to TCS!


AC
 
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carolina

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Thank you AC! If there is one member that can help me here is you...... although, I gotta say, I wish I could just hire you as a transition consultant - bring you over for a couple of weeks..... jet.... set..... go!
wanna do it? hey, there is an idea of a job for you!
would be sweeeeeet!!!! :clap::clap::clap::clap:
 
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ritz

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Welcome to the club!  "Progress not perfection" applies to transitioning too!

You probably know this for those who don't:

Sign up for Nature Variety's emails.  They frequently run promotions and email you coupons.  NV has new one-pound portions of their raw food. $3 off.  And they give high end pet food stores sample bags (12 ounces) which in turn you can sometimes get for free and/or get coupons for.
 

otto

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Nothing to comment, just posting so I will be subscribed, to follow your journey.

:vibes::vibes::vibes:
 

mschauer

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I'm looking forward to hearing how while your babies do on raw. Particularly Bugsy with his digestive issues.

How old is each of your babies?

Stella & Chewy's also utilizes the Hydrostatic High Pressure (HHP) process that NV uses to kill pathogens in their products. Their cat products are freeze dried though.
 
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carolina

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Oh Lord, Send me a Miracle
Cause you know I don't know what's good for me
Oh Lord, send me a miracle
Cause you know what I need (The Bigger Lights)​

Yep, a Miracle is what I need :rolleyes:
Let me start by saying my canned food costs $2.79 a can.
By transitioning Hope to it, she has to eat about 1 1/4 can. Bugsy has to eat almost 3. That puts me at pretty much FOUR cans a day - at a cost of $11.16 a day :thud:
I can not go long on this plan without going bankrupt :flail: This is far, far more than my own cost in food.

This is only problem 1.
Problem 2, is that Bugsy has never eaten more than 1/4 cup of food per meal - that is the MOST he has ever taken. Now he needs to eat just short of a can :thud: This is also just short of impossible.
To make matters worst - they ALL seemed to read my mind today......
Hope who was eating her wet food like a little champ, didn't.
Bugsy turned his nose completely.
Lucky ate just a little before I picked up her kibble and put it away........
Poor Bugsy sat there where his kible bowl used to be and looked at me with the most confused face...... Mom...... are you forgetting something? Where is it?
Seems to me, they will starve themselves today, and I don't like that idea.
Bugsy is running away from his food........ which is weird, since it was a new can...... makes no sense......

So the plan today was to remove the kibbles from Bugsy and Hope; put Lucky in a schedule.
I want to feed Lucky 3 times.

I am considering whipping up some more wet because I am starting to thing there was something wrong with this particular can. That was weird.
Also - do I feed Bugsy per his weight, or per his optimum weight? I think 16lbs is where he should be.

God give me strength!

OK, by the way, here are the calories for the wet food:

ZiwiPeak
Venison and Fish: 185.56 per can
Venison: 198.15 Per can

Bugsy's weight: 19lbs - optimum 16lbs
Hope's weight: 11lbs

How much should I be feeding him? 20 calories x 16?
 
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feralvr

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:clap::clap::clap::clap: Carolina - I am very interested in reviewing your post more throughly when we get home and reading Auntie's link's. We are in the car and driving home from up North. I am getting car sick :lol3: :lol3: :barf: :barf: (Larry told me I would if I got on the computer :rolleyes: - he was right) Anyway - I am very, very curious about raw too..... and have been adding some into my cat's/dog's diet. I really hope this will be a miracle diet for your babies - especially your sweet Bugsy. :cross: More later..... :hugs:
 
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carolina

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I made another batch of wet, this time in Venison..... it seems to be official - Bugsy is determined to starve himself, and in the process, drive me to insanity. :smshfrk:
I do not like that at all with an obese cat....... Letting him starve is not on my plans...... so if he doesn't eat by his third meal, I think I will have to feed him kibbles.... I will think about it. I know I should not give into frustration...... and I am not as worried about Hope and Lucky either..... But Bugsy scares me.
He is sitting where his bowl used to be, making a statement: I-am-boycotting-you :wait:
 
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carolina

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I'm looking forward to hearing how while your babies do on raw. Particularly Bugsy with his digestive issues.

How old is each of your babies? Lucky is 3, Hope and Bugsy are 4 this year........... turning 4 and 5 respectively in 2012 :)

Stella & Chewy's also utilizes the Hydrostatic High Pressure (HHP) process that NV uses to kill pathogens in their products. Their cat products are freeze dried though. This actually might be a good alternative for Lucky, for her transition, as a treat..... she LOVES Halo, and might love this too :scratch:
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Oooh, I'm so excited to see how you progress, as I'm been seriously thinking about going raw too.  It might be just what I'm searching for since I've got one way underweight guy and one overweight guy and two normal weight ones.  But my very underweight guy is CRF, so I guess I need to check with our Vet before attempting anything!  Plus, the reason I've been putting it off is I just can't fathom having raw meat on my floor, and we all know that the cat's aren't very fastidious about keeping their food on their plates
  But I'm certainly going to read all those links AC provided.

p.s.  Hope Bugsy doesn't boycott too long
 
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carolina

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I boycotted their boycott :flail:

I took a lunch break and went to Pet Supplies Plus - unfortunately they didn't have Halo, but did have Stella and Chewy Freeze Dry raw treats....... which I bought to entice them to eat their wet meals....... and it worked! :clap::clap::clap:
I crumbled some in and mixed well, then I crumbled a treat and sprinkled it over it. While they didn't eat the whole thing, they almost finish their meals - hopefully they will eat it up soon. I think this is the biggest wet meal Bugsy has ever had in one sitting, so I am happy :clap::clap::clap:

Unfortunately Miss Lucky doesn't like these treats - she only likes Halo :rolleyes: So I ordered some from Amazon to give her as a snack during her transition and to sprinkle the raw with it.

I also bought a large bag of NV raw! :clap::clap::clap:
Haven't decided when how I am going to feed them yet, but we will see..... I don't think I am going to transition Lucky to wet then to raw - don't want to do two transitions - I think she will go to kibbles straight to raw :nod:
Hope has the runs (not too bad....) and I hear it is not good to transition to a new food while sick - she might relate the bad tummy feelings to the new food :nod: So I might wait until she gets better..... She is feeling better physically, I guess, as she is no longer hiding :clap::clap::clap:
If she continues to do well, tomorrow I will defrost a patty to serve them.
Lucky is being put on a schedule her bowl in the station is empty. Today I am doing 4 meals as she eats very little per meal. Tomorrow I will do 3 meals.
Thanks for the good wishes everyone! :wavey:
 
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ritz

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Yeah I like the sound of boycotting the boycott.

You can always mix the NV with the wet food.  Consistency is the same.

The runs can also be due to simply a change of diet.
 
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carolina

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Yeah I like the sound of boycotting the boycott.
You can always mix the NV with the wet food.  Consistency is the same.
The runs can also be due to simply a change of diet.
Thanks for the tip on mixing the raw.....
on the runs for Hope..... She didn't have a change of diet. I am fairly convinced it is due to stress - by the way she was acting, her personality, a recent chain of events in here, and her diarrhea itself (LOTS of mucous - sorry to be gross). Mucous - lots of it indicates a large intestinal track diarrhea, which can be caused by stress in kitties like her..... There was the death of Gracie, Bugsy tormenting her - which made her SUPER stressed, a stressful vet trip - which she didn't handle well, and also a fall from the cat shelf. Right after that fall she started hiding, and the next day she had the runs. Vet trip was the same day as the fall..... She fell on the couch, and I checked all her limbs - she is NOT injured.... however she was sleeping and got absolutely startled by it. Hope is an ex-feral and she gets extremely stressed out by anything..... and lately it has been one thing after another.....
I am pretty sure this is a stress diarrhea...... :nod:

She is on Diagel 2x a day, which is about the best thing for that, btw..... and she is also on Proviable-DC..... She should be fine..... :cross: Her behavior is better already too - as I said, she is no longer hiding, which is a tell tale of her feeling bad. Whenever she has tummy pain/trouble, she hides. Having her on the shelves/window sills again, tells me she is feeling a ton better. Right now she is laying down comfortably on the window sill :nod:
 
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ritz

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It's great that Hope is feeling more like herself; aren't window sills great!

Can Hope tolerate Rescue Remedy?   I mix RR with commercial raw when I know Ritz is about to be stressed (repairmen in house, keeping a new cat for several hours).  Really works for Ritz.

Ritz has stress-induced FLUTD.  She lived on the streets for the first four to six months of her life and is still startled by sudden noises and movement two years later. 
 
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carolina

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Plus, the reason I've been putting it off is I just can't fathom having raw meat on my floor, and we all know that the cat's aren't very fastidious about keeping their food on their plates :lol3:   But I'm certainly going to read all those links AC provided.
Ok..... about this - I have never fed Frankerprey - so I can not say anything about that - by reading Auntie's journal, I think it does get a little messy :lol3: But she has her techniques too, which makes it easier, I guess...... :bigthumb:
On the other hand...... I have fed a couple of commercial raw meals before, and it was no different than feeding wet - the consistency is very similar, and it was all in the plate from start to finish. The only difference was the way to handle the food - the usual raw food handling guidelines.... being very clean and meticulous with their plates, sink etc before and after they ate. But no.... not messy..... At least on those few meals I fed.... :nod:
 
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carolina

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It's great that Hope is feeling more like herself; aren't window sills great!
Can Hope tolerate Rescue Remedy?   I mix RR with commercial raw when I know Ritz is about to be stressed (repairmen in house, keeping a new cat for several hours).  Really works for Ritz.
Ritz has stress-induced FLUTD.  She lived on the streets for the first four to six months of her life and is still startled by sudden noises and movement two years later. 
Thanks for the tip!! I completely forgot about that :nod: While I don't have RR, I DO have Pet Calm - which does a very good job...... I will start giving her that...... I am spraying the heck out of Feliway too around the house :nod:
 

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How exciting! :clap: And I'm so glad you're journaling it. :nod: This will be SO helpful to a lot of people - not just you! :lol3:

Right now, I think just focus on the first hurdle - getting them to eat timed meals. :nod: The transition to raw will come - and you'll crush kibbles, use Halo freeze dried chicken, or whatever you have to in order to entice them to eat what you want them to. :lol3: But right now, you can use the freeze dried raw as treats in between meals to help their tummies adjust to timed meals, and help them adjust to eating more at the meals they are getting.

But GREAT they finally ate! :clap: And :woohoo: on Bugsy eating what he should!

And I'm pretty sure the 20 calories per pound will be a good guide for Bugsy. I don't know how active your kitties are. Ours seem to need only around 15. Some think that sounds nuts - but I basically split one 5.5 oz can between them at each meal, and they get four meals a day. When I fed them more, they all started getting fat. :dk: So my crew all weigh around 12 pounds (Lazlo and Ming Loy less - Shel and Laz should weigh a little more, so they get slightly larger portion of can, and Ming Loy and Flowerbelle get a little less).

So they each eat 3 - 4oz of wet food a day. Laz, Tux, and Flowerbelle still eat a little kibble here and there. But Tux and Flowerbelle are more at an amount of kibble that I would consider is the equivalent to "treats" at this point. (And I feed NO treats to the cats, so no extra calories here and there from anything. Oh - Chum gets about 60 calories in pill pocket calories a day).

If I were to transition to raw... I figure I'd need 3-4 ounces per cat per day? Probably ought to ask AC. :lol3: IF that's right, that works out to 1.5 - 2 pounds of raw per day with the 8 cats.
 

auntie crazy

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Looks like we're off to a good start, so yay! Very exciting!

You can begin offering the NV even while you're switching to a timed meal schedule. Just put a little dollop on the plate next to whatever food they're eating. Even if they don't start eating it immediately, every meal they eat with the smell of raw in their noses will bring them that much closer to considering it food.

When feeding in under- or over-weight cat, you want to feed towards the optimal weight, not the current. However, three pounds is a fairly large drop for a cat, so I would split the difference and feed for a 17.5 pound cat to start with.

Remember, however, that it's not the number of calories that are important, it's all about where those calories come from. Calories from protein are always utilized by the cat in one form or another (never turned to body fat); calories from carbs are invariably either not thoroughly digested and passed through to the litter box or processed and turned into body fat. The higher the animal protein content, the more building blocks (amino acids) and energy that cat will have to repair and run its body. Conversely, no matter how much protein is present - or lacking - in the diet, the cat will NOT ustilize carb calories for anything but body fat storage. This last post by Dr. Perterson discusses this topic in great detail: Can Increasing the Amount of Fat or Carbohydrate in a Cat's Diet Compensate for Low Protein Intake?

In sum - don't bother counting the calories.... just feed by volume and keep the transition going. As the food intake shifts to an ever higher protein / lower carb balance, the cats will naturally begin gaining muscle and losing body fat. 

- - - - - - - - - - -

As for messiness, Carolina's correct - ground diets tend to be exactly the same as canned diets in their level of mess, but whole prey and frankenprey diets both come with the risk of the runaway diner, or even worse, the player. *eye roll* I addressed this by crate training my cats for meals. Not only is the food confined to a single, easy to clean area, but the cats can be kept in their crates until they finish their meals, however long it takes. This gives me quite an angle for leverage when I want them to eat something they might not be so keen on. Heather, for instance, sometimes balks at eating beef... so I sprinkle the beef with a whole lotta her favorite Whole Life's freeze dried treats, cover her crate and leave her alone for ten or fifteen minutes. When I check on her at the end of that time, the beef's invariably been eaten.  :-}

Regards!

AC
 

ldg

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Looks like we're off to a good start, so yay! Very exciting!

You can begin offering the NV even while you're switching to a timed meal schedule. Just put a little dollop on the plate next to whatever food they're eating. Even if they don't start eating it immediately, every meal they eat with the smell of raw in their noses will bring them that much closer to considering it food.
Oooo, love this idea! :clap:
 
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