So..... You want to feed raw..... But of course you have a ton of questions - where do I begin, what do I do, My kitty is a kibble addict, how, where, when, why, How Much to feed?
Well..... I think we already spoke plenty about the "whys" - so let's skip that part and jump right at it.
There are two kinds of kitties out there - the ones who already eat wet food, and the ones who eat 100% Kibbles, more often than not, free-fed.
The most challenging to transition are the kitties I call the kibble addicts - those are the ones who were always fed kibbles and nothing else - their entire lives - i.e. My Princess Miss Lucky. Oh, she tested my patience, alright!
Today we are going to discuss these kitties - my dearest kibble addicts <3
I am a true believer that any cat can be transitioned to raw..... and also that any food change should be done slowly - and it is no different to here.
The very first thing you HAVE - and again, I can't stress this enough, HAVE HAVE HAVE to do, is to put your kitty on a schedule - kibble addict or wet eating - doesn't make a difference.
If your kitty is used to have food around all the time, you have to do this very CAREFULLY - you should never, EVER starve a kitty into a diet, as Hepatic Lipidosis might set in fast, and that is something not to be played with.
For a kibble addict, I highly suggest first transitioning the kitty to a high protein/high calorie/low carb kibble in order to do the schedule change - imho - the best is EVO Turkey & Chicken Cat Food - the reason for that is, EVO is so calorie dense, that most kitties achieve their caloric needs with very little of it! Most Dry foods contain 300kcal/cup, EVO has 538 kcal/cup!
I want to stress that this is a short term transition, used as a tool to place a cat on a schedule with the ultimate goal to transition it to raw.
Go ahead and slowly transition your kitty to EVO, as per the instructions on the bag, always monitoring its progress - if the kitty is ok, keep going. if you notice some side effect, take a step back - this will also be your approach when transitioning your kitty to raw.
Now we are ready to start working on a schedule.
Always keep in mind that cats work on a rewarding basis.
At the time I transitioned Lucky, I had Three cats - the other two, Bugsy and Hope, I immediately put them on a schedule and pulled the kibble since they ate wet - I had to feed them on different rooms.
For Lucky, my kibble addict - this is what I did:
The schedule was to be three times a day - in the morning before work, early evening, and late evening, right before bed time.
As you know, cats prefer kibbles fresh off the bag - and as you also know, they love Company - I used these two things to my advantage. She also liked EVO much better than Purina Proplan which is what she was eating...... Another card on my pocket!
Every feeding time I would set the canned food for Bugsy and Hope, and would lock myself up with Lucky in a separate room. In there, I would spend 20 minutes on the clock. I would offer her my undivided attention, and fresh EVO, right off the bag.
Once she ate, I would measure it down against my quarter cup (you MUST measure down how much they are eating to make sure they are getting enough food on schedule!!), and when I left, I would leave ProPlan for her to graze on.
Lucky was the only one with access to the room - I did not let the others in.
Since she is very spoiled and attention seeking, she started eating more and more while I was in there in the room, and grazing less and less. All the while I was measuring her intake with me in the room - I was finally ready to take out the night time plate.
The more she ate with me, the more I took out the free-feeding plates. Note - I was there on the clock, and only for 20 minutes at a time!
Finally, in less than a week, she was on a schedule - it was time to transition her to raw.
Lucky had never eaten wet food in her life - wet food for her was POISON - I kid you not.
There was no sense to transition her to wet and then to raw - I decided to go straight to raw.
This is what I did:
Now you don't need to make these meatballs anymore, as Nature's Variety Raw Cat foods already come like this :D
The Freeze dried Chicken I use and LOVE (not me, but my crew, is this: Whole Life Freeze Dried Chicken.
The First day I put ONE - A Single ONE on her plate next to her kibble she ran from her plate like the devil runs from the cross! It was a Nooooooooooo Waaaayyyyyyyy!
Lesson learned - I started offering these meatballs meal after meal, but in a different plate, right next to her kibbles. Day in and day out she ignored it.
Then she ate a meatball...... (I moved them next to her kibbles) Then she ate two...... Then three......
All the while Hope and Bugsy were already being introduced to Rad Cat, which, IMHO is the BEST commercial food available out there.
It was time to "Upgrade" Lucky as well!
I started with the same method - 1/2 tsp of rad cat, heavily coated by a thick layer of FD Chicken. Of course she completely ignored..... Meal after meal she ignored - but I kept going - doing the same thing every meal - THIS is the KEY friends - consistency and persistence is the name of the game!
One day she started meticulously - and I repeat - meticulously licking the FD chicken - she was such a pro, that she would take the entire powder and NONE of the raw!
But then....... Miracle happened! And it happened just like that!
By total accident, Rad Cat hit her tongue...... and guess what? She liked it! But for my dismay, she started rejecting kibbles.......... and to make matters worse, she would eat only 1/2 tsp of raw at a time! OMG What was I to do now?
I had to come up with a plan fast - I immediately pulled the kibbles and started feeding all raw. I figured how much she had to eat, and my goal was to slowly increase the qty, and decrease the number of meals. We started with 10 meals or something crazy like that - but by the end of the week she was eating on the schedule, regular size meals!
I used all sorts of tricks for that - instead of making one big blob of food, I served her in several balls of meat, as you see below - she ate one by one, and by the time she finished, she had eaten a whole meal!
This was when she first started eating with the big boys :D
One of the questions most people have, is how much you should feed - Since most of the food is utilized, cats need quite a bit less food when eating raw, than when eating other types of food.
The best way, IMHO to calculate the QTY, is by OPTIMUM weight. So if your cat is 13lbs, but should weight 10lbs, calculate the amount for 10lbs.
Raw is fed based on percentage of weight - and not on age/size.
You feed 4%, 3%, or 2%.
If you are transitioning to raw, I highly recommend buying a baby scale to monitor their weight weekly - it might be pushing, but that's what I did. Bugsy was morbidly obese at 21lbs, and although I wanted him to lose weight, I didn't want him to lose too fast - don't be fooled - they can easily GAIN weight if overfed too - ALL mine did in the beginning.
So, here we go - if your cat is 10lbs and doesn't need to lose weight, you can start him/her at 4% so it doesn't get hungry:
160*4% = 6.4oz/day (You will feed this in three equal meals)
Here is an example in MY house: Bugsy - 13lbs, he eats 6oz/day = 2.9%
If I feed my cats 4% they WILL gain weight, and have done in the past.
The 6oz a day in an increased amount for the winter - they usually eat 5.25oz.day.
My suggestion would be start them at 4% to get them comfortable and monitor their weight..... From there you can feed more or less depending on the weight gain or loss.
This is a scale similar to the one I used during my introduction, and still use to monitor their health (mine is no longer produced): Baby Scale
When to feed?
It's important to note that cats produce an increased amount of acid to digest the higher protein/meat intake. To avoid acid vomiting, feeding three meals, specially a late night meal, and breakfast is quite important.
I also highly suggest the use of a probiotic and a digestive enzyme, at least during the introduction. All my pets take both daily, and will continue for life.
For Probiotics, here is what they take:
Nexabiotic Probiotic 21-strain Multi-probiotic Supplement with Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Infantis, Saccharomyces Boulardii
And for Enzymes, here is the one we use: Prozyme Plus
Well friends, I hope this was a bit helpful! Please feel free to ask any questions - I will do my best to help you out!
*Disclaimer - Some products shown on this Post are Amazon affiliate
Comments, Meows, Woofs, Paws up and Furrwards are always apurrciated!