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Adding texture to a pre-prepared complete, frozen, ground diet?

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your cat's diet, please contact your vet!

  
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Gypsy

1210790
 
 
Purred: Sat Nov 24, '12 12:05pm PST 
I have a 16 month old cat. She's a slender, muscular 8 1/2 lbs. I've just started her on a frozen ground complete line of foods (Furry Foodie), chicken, turkey, and rabbit. She prefers the poultry to the rabbit, but I'm trying to get her used to eating a variety of meats.

She had been eating Weruva canned and Before Grain kibble.

She's mostly taken to the new diet, but she prefers to chew chunks of meat, rather than lapping up ground meat.

I'd like to give her something she can sink her teeth into without messing up the "complete-ness" of her diet.

Possible options are chicken hearts, gizzards, livers, necks, wings, thighs, breasts, as well as chunks of stew beef.

There's an international food store nearby where I could probably get some other stuff (like I noticed they had chicken feet).

I don't really trust myself to get the whole frankenprey thing right, but I would like to supplement her ground food with something she can chew.

Any suggestions?
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Sun Nov 25, '12 4:53am PST 
This happened to me with BK. I started him on ground but he let me know fairly early on that he would prefer chunks so I eventually switched him to Frankenprey. It's really not difficult, but you should feel more comfortable with it before you start. You'll get there! Meanwhile, chicken hearts and gizzards are great snacks that require chewing and clean cats' teeth. You could also throw down a wing or piece of Cornish hen to see how she does with bones.
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Gypsy

1210790
 
 
Purred: Sun Nov 25, '12 6:07am PST 
I started putting a chicken heart in to defrost with each meal, and at each meal, she's sniffed around, picked out the chicken heart, and eaten it first. Then she'll start licking around the rest of the plate.

I'll try getting some chicken wings. To the best of my knowledge, she's never had bones before. I'm not sure where to get quail, but I'll look at that international food store.

I'll also look through the forum here for a "frankenprey 101" or "dipping your toes" kind of post.

Meanwhile, if I give her gizzards or wings (or find some quail), I'm not "displacing" enough of the complete ground food to throw off her nutrition?

Thanks,
James
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Gypsy

1210790
 
 
Purred: Sun Nov 25, '12 8:17am PST 
I just checked, and the international food store has a pack of 6 frozen quail. I guess I get a pair of kitchen shears and defrost them, then quarter them, and I guess I can put each quarter in it's own freezer bag to refreeze?
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Mon Nov 26, '12 3:20pm PST 
Quail would be perfect to try!

That's exactly what I do when I get any meat for BK. I portion it into meal size while it's still partly frozen and put each one into those little baggies. If you use the kind that don't "zip" they're much cheaper. Then I put all the bags into a zipping freezer bag and label it with the meat and date. That way I can just pull out one meal at a time as I need it.

If you're just trying things occasionally or using hearts as treats (like one a day) then I wouldn't worry about balancing it. You'll be able to tell from her poop if the bone balance is off - too hard and dry means too much bone, too soft and wet means not enough.

I did an article on raw feeding for Alex's IBD site that might help you get started: http://www.ibdkitties.net/rawinstructions.html
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Gypsy

1210790
 
 
Purred: Tue Nov 27, '12 3:45am PST 
I don't think I'm quite ready for frankenprey yet, but I have some chicken hearts to use up, and after that I'll get mixed chicken hearts and gizzards.

I've been giving her one heart with meals, so I guess I'll continue to supplement her ground meals with a heart, or gizzard, and if I get adventurous a bit of bone in quail.

And just pay attention to the litter box. As long as her stools are firm but not chalky, I can assume I'm not throwing off her diet as a whole.

Her other papa is good with the idea of quail (oh sure, because I'm the one who's going to be doing all the messy work), but he's extremely nervous about giving her anything with bigger/tougher bones until she's used to them.

A 6pack of quail fed in little portions should last me a good long while, anyway, especially when it just part of a rotation of chicken hearts and gizzards.

Also, I read somewhere a sardine a week... is that like a sardine from a can? Like from the tuna aisle? Or frozen whole sardines from the international food store (if they have them)?
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Tue Nov 27, '12 12:46pm PST 
It's all just a process. She'll let you know what she likes and what she's ready for. There's no rush and any raw is better than none!

Personally, I stay away from fish although I know other people feed it. I worry about BK's allergies and I just don't trust what's in our fish. Cats are so little that I worry about mercury content and other impurities. But that's just my opinion. One thing you can do is get some fish oil capsules and squeeze some oil onto her food - she might love it!
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Gypsy

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Purred: Tue Nov 27, '12 12:49pm PST 
So, if I'm reading all this stuff correctly...

My cat is 8-9lbs. Let's say 9.

9lbs x 16 = 144oz

144oz x 3% = 4.32 oz per day

4.32 oz x 7 = 30.24 oz / week

30.24 oz x 80% = 24 oz of muscle / week

30.24 oz x 10% = 3 oz of bone / week

30.24 oz x 5% = 1.5 oz each of both liver and organ / week

So, I can see weighing out those amounts, then splitting them into meals and freezing them.

What I don't get is how the heck to know how much bone I'm getting in a quail, or chicken wing (tip, middle, or even drummette if she learns to crunch through those bones). Those are really the only sources of bone I think I'd have access to.

How do I weigh out chicken wings or quail parts (or cornish hen, whatever), to get 3oz of bone?
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Thu Nov 29, '12 3:00pm PST 
I had a lot of trouble figuring out bone amounts too. At first I would give BK a 1-2 oz. chicken neck twice a week. The litter box let me know very quickly that that wasn't enough. Now he gets a neck a day. They weigh about an ounce but it seems like less than half of that is bone! Some of it is trial and error but you've got all the basics now. Get started, see what she'll eat and work it out as you go. But your calculations look spot on!
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Gypsy

1210790
 
 
Purred: Fri Nov 30, '12 7:15am PST 
So, essentially, it seems like it doesn't hurt anything if they get extra muscle. So, start with the right proportions of other stuff, and add some amount of raw meaty bones, and if it's not enough, her poo will be soft. If it's too much, it'll be white and chalky.

So, I guess my long term plans are

1. Continue to give the pre-ground raw, supplemented with a chicken heart each meal until my chicken hearts run out

2. Buy mixed chicken hearts and gizzards, and follow #1 above, except she'll either get a chicken heart or gizzard with the pre-ground.

3. After she's been eating gizzards for awhile, buy a pack of quail and murderize it into small bits, and follow #2 above, except bone-in quail pieces get added to the rotation with chicken hearts and gizzards.

4. After she's been eating bone-in quail for a while, add chicken wing pieces to the rotation. Then maybe chicken neck pieces. It sounds like everyone's primary source of bone is wings and necks.

After she knows all of the above are food and she's able to eat them, then try moving to the frankenprey model. I don't think it'll be difficult to move her off of the pre-ground at that point, because she really does prefer scissoring through pieces of meat.

When I get there, I'll probably need advice on how to get her to eat kidney or whatever weird stuff I get from the international food market, and what kinds of proteins to give her, but I can save all that for when we get there.

Thanks so much! The whole frankenprey thing seems incredibly intimidating at first, so thanks for the hand-holding while I dip my toes in the water.

BTW, after 3 weeks on the pre-ground raw, our cat's coat looks GREAT. She's more playful, has more energy, almost like she's a kitten again (which includes the occasional kitty crazies, though not as bad as when she actually WAS a kitten).
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