01-13-2013 11:53 AM - edited 01-14-2013 07:36 AM
Why make and feed a raw diet to cats? It's easy. It's inexpensive. Your cats will love it and they will become more active, lose excess weight, and their coats will be glossy and they will never have dandruff again. Cats are obligate carnivores. Virtually all they eat is meat, and when they eat grain or vegetables in the wild it is usually incidental and in the form of stomach contents of prey animals. Yet many commercial cat foods are full of grains, vegetables, potato starch, peas, cranberries, corn meal, rice and a whole host of other things cats do not need. Will they eat them? Yes. But you and I eat twinkies and potato chips, don't we, and neither of these is part of a natural human diet! High carbohydrate foods cause obesity, diabetes, renal failure and many other problems for cats. Some cat foods contain almost no meat, despite the fact that cats need a very high percentage of protein and fat. Often the protein in commercial cat foods is derived from meat by-products, chicken "meal" or even high protein legumes like peas. If you make your own food, you know exactly what you cats are eating.
1. Equipment: I use a Tasin Grinder (model TS 108). In my recipe, both bones and meat are ground, so a grinder is necessary. There are some other options available if you do not want to grind the chicken with the bones, and I will touch on them at the end. This piece of equipment cost about 150 dollars.
2. Ingredients: Supplements are Salmon Oil (4000mg), Taurine (4000 mg), Vitamin B complex(200mg), Vitamin E (800 mg), and Salt (1.5 teaspoon).
3. Ingredients: Chicken leg quarters (5 pounds), chicken livers (8 oz), 4 egg yolks, 2 cups cold water.
4. In a large bowl combine egg yolks, taurine powder, salt.
5. Put salmon oil and vitamin B and E gels into the grinder with the chicken livers and grind. Stir all ingredients.
6. Use a boning knife, separate chicken thighs from legs. Then cut along the bone to remove about half the meat. This will allow you to feed the chicken pieces into the grinder.
Put all the chicken though the grinder, and. . .
7. Stir the entire mixture. Add two cups of cold water gradually and stir thoroughly. Divide the ground meat into containers or zip lock bags. Can be kept refrigerated for two days when thawed, so freeze it in portions your cat(s) can eat within that time.
8. There it is: fit for your little carnivore. Now, choose a wine. Blush or white is best, but it's up to you. The wine is for you, after all, you deserve a reward for all your effort. . .
9. Serve: I don't know why Charisse always jumps on the counter. They never get fed up there! I guess it's just the excitement and anticipation of a really good meal.
10. That's better. On the floor Niccolo. There's a good boy!
Young Again Pet Foods makes a supplement powder that greatly simplifies this process. It can be used to replace all the supplements and ingredients used in this recipe except the water and the chicken. It has calcium too, so you won't even need to grind the bones if you use their supplements.
Some cats may experience constipation or loose bowel movements. A teaspoon of Psyllium husk (fiber) can be added to the recipe if need be. To be honest, all of my cats took to this food without issues. Even my oldest cat (for whom I had been using Science Diet "Sensitive Stomach" formula) took immediately to this diet without any issues. No psyllium required.
I make a double batch (about 12 pounds) for my four cats about once a month. Excluding the cost of the supplements, I figure I spend about twenty dollars for 10 pounds of chicken, a dozen eggs and a pound of chicken livers. If you have fewer cats than I do, you can see how economical this is.
This recipe came to me by way of Sally Gaetjens of Sahja Siamese Cattery. She is the breeder of all four of my cats and I was so impressed with the condition and vitality of her cats, I became a repeat customer! This recipe can be found on her website along with invaluable information on commercial foods so you can select the best cat food available.
01-18-2013 07:40 AM
01-18-2013 08:11 PM - edited 01-20-2013 04:01 PM
Thanks for your responses and inquiries.
Yes, Kats, the grinder is an all-purpose kitchen appliance. I sometimes put beef, pork, pancetta and a little bacon into the grinder with some fresh garlic, parsley,salt and pepper. Then add some eggs and bread crumbs and make some pretty great Italian meatballs!
This recipe seeks to replicate the nutritional profile of what a small wild cat would typically eat as a prey item: a mouse, vole, rat or small bird.
As my vet said, feeding a raw diet can be one of the best things for cats, but simply giving raw meat can be one of the worst things. What she meant was that ground beef or pork isn't a complete diet. In this recipe, chicken is ground--including the bones-- which are essential for providing calcium and other nutrients. I doubt that the nutrients and minerals from the bones would be sufficiently represented if one simply substituted beef or pork. My grinder can easily handle chicken bones: I don't think it would handle beef or pork bones! I know there are commercially prepared raw diets available (e.g.. Nature's Variety) that are made of quail and rabbit which incorporate ground bone, and these seem more natural sources of prey for an animal the size of felis domesticus.
So I don't know if you could substitute the chicken for beef or pork. I suspect you could occasionally do so BUT ONLY IF you used a complete supplement powder that contained all the necessary nutrition. My cats like this recipe and I feel that we sometimes create fussy eaters by acting as if they are little humans and pitying that their diet doesn't have more variety. Then they fall in love with a food that may not be the best option for them, but it is we who have created this issue.
I tend to trust this recipe because it has come to me by way of people I respect who have bred many successive generation of cats feeding mainly this diet in combination with other high quality dry foods.
I will try to find out the cost of the individual supplements and vitamins I use. The Norwegian salmon oil is from the Carlson Laboratories Company and I bought a HUGE quantity for a small amount of money. And they gave me two small free bottles of additional salmon oil as part of a promotion the were running. My local pharmacy chain was running a "two for one" sale on vitamins, so I stocked up on the vitamin B and E. I have been grinding my own food for four cats for 18 months and I have only run out of theTaurine so far. I need to visit the GNC (General Nutrition Center) for Taurine powder before I make the next batch, and I must do that this weekend, because I am down to my last frozen container of food!
Regarding the complete supplement powder manufactured by Young Again Pet Foods: the company makes two versions of supplement depending on whether you are grinding chicken with or without bones. All you need to add is the salmon oil, water and chicken. The supplement (for those grinding bones) comes in a 1.4 pound jar and is enough to mix with 40 pounds of ground meat. The cost is about $30 a jar, but they give you quite a price break if you buy 4 at a time ($99) which would be enough supplement to make 160 pounds of raw diet. Their supplement powder for use if you are not grinding bones is slightly more expensive and is enough to mix with 37 pounds of meat. For now, I am still making the original recipe, but My friend Sally who makes about 50 pounds of raw diet at a time, appreciates not having to separate all those eggs (40!) each time she grinds. . .
I can usually make a double batch in 45 minutes or less including clean-up.
My calculation for a double batch of food:
$16.00 (about 10.5 pounds of chicken leg quarters)
$ 1.80 (one pound chicken livers)
$ 1.40 (eight eggs)
$ 1.12 (taurine)
$ .50 (salmon oil)
$ .15 (vitamin E and B complex)
$ 20.97 total cost for about 12 pounds of food or about $1.75 per pound.
Standard cans of cat food are 5.5 ounces (about a third of a pound) and cost upward of a dollar apiece, so you can see what I was saying about economy is true. I should also mention that I bought the eggs, chicken and livers at an ordinary grocery store (Dominick's) which is okay, but certainly not the cheapest grocery available to me. So there are further ways to economize. But think about this: my cats are eating grade A meat, fit for human consumption, not by-products, peas, chicken-meal, or some other frail excuse for protein. And still it comes out much cheaper than high quality store-bought canned food. According to the prices for canned food on this website, it costs about the same amount as 9 Lives. Compared to Innova, however, it is about a third the price.