Thursday, June 27, 2013

Feeding the Cats

I've started giving the cats Nature's Variety Instinct frozen raw chicken medallions as one of their daily meals. I serve the little 1-ouncce medallions thawed, of course, but cold — straight from the fridge. I don't do this willingly but under threat from three ravening, howling beasts who refuse to let the food warm up on the counter. They must be fed NOW. (There's also a silent Wendy, with better manners but pleading eyes.)

Wendy eats by the doorway so she can flee if one of us tries to kill her.

Everyone digs in like they've never seen food in a bowl before, although Wendy needed a little persuading for her first raw meal because she is not accustomed to cold food. All it took was a sprinkle of bonita (dried fish) flakes to grab her attention. Now she knows. But she is a dainty nibblers, and takes much longer to finish her meal than the boys, so I try to keep their various noses and paws out of her bowl.

The first time Harris tasted the raw food, he grabbed his patty and ran with it into the living room, where he dropped it on the floor and made menacing growls as he ate it, as if it were precious prey. I've never seen a cat so enthusiastic about a meal, and I've seen a lot.

Eventually, I expect to be feeding mostly frozen raw food, at least 75% of their diet. It's not only more nutritious than the quality canned foods I buy, it's about 25% cheaper. But I'm transitioning the cats slowly, partly because both kittens have had "issues" in the litter box lately, a rare occurrence on their canned diet. I think it's because they are adjusting to raw food; I hope it's nothing worse.

Even so, there's never much in the litter box these days, since cats digest high-protein food so efficiently. If one compares the tiny pellets we find now, after they eat canned and raw food, to the huge, smelly messes from low-quality, grain-based kibble, it's striking visual (and olfactory) proof that better food really makes an immediate and wholesome difference to a cat's system.

5 comments:

  1. Poppy gobbles her raw food cold and like cats, dogs on raw produce much less and much smaller waste material. They use it all!

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  2. Thank you so much for this post! My vet is a huge proponent of raw diets and while I feed my Lyra the highest quality canned food, I've had that niggling thought in the back of my mind that I should be working raw into her diet.
    Your recommendation (and the cats') here is terrific. I just picked up some of the chicken medallions at my local pet food store and will start working them into Lyra's diet tomorrow. Fingers crossed that she'll eat them!
    It feels a little like cheating, benefiting from your exhaustive research. Thank you again!

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  3. I agree with Dawn K....I feel bad that my life is so hectic that I am very very interested in your research. Where do you find these raw medalions?? I will have to check out my local family owned pet supply place. I wish I had known to feed better years ago. We just lost our Freddy. He was 20+ tho. But I'd have liked to have fed him better. Thank you for shoring what you learn!!

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  4. Anne, I'm so sorry for your loss. We lost Snalbert at 18 at this time last year and I'm still feeling it. But you should feel proud that he lived that long — you took great care of him! Like you, I wish I had fed ours better, especially during the many years when we just poured the same Hill's kibble into bowls twice a day. The frozen Nature's Variety Instinct medallions are available at pet stores with freezers, and there are lots of other good brands out there besides that one. Check around, and make sure that whatever you get is truly nutritionally complete for cats. (With some brands, you have to add as many as eight supplements.) And if you can't find it locally, just sit tight, this raw food trend is growing and spreading. I found an amazing little pet store that carried frozen brands I can't get in Boston — and it was in Hellertown, PA!

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  5. A note for Anne in FL - I'm in Florida too and I found them at my neighborhood Pet Supermarket.

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