Saturday, March 6, 2010

Is raw meat right for your cats?

At a recent Green Drinks, I held forth on the raw meat mixture I make for my cats. Since not everyone was totally bored by my monologue I thought I'd add information on it to the blog.

When two of our older cats were diagnosed with kidney problems I did some research and found out about raw meat diets for cats. Many people believe that cat foods that which include vegetables and cooked meat are responsible for many cat diseases including kidney problems.

Cats are pure carnivores who don't know how to cook so the thinking is that their food should resemble the food they eat in the wild, which is basically whole raw mice and other small mammals. Since ground raw mice are not available in stores, and breeding, slaughtering and grinding mice is just gross, mixtures that use chicken instead have been developed.

I use Dr. Lisa Pierson's raw meat formula. But my cats wouldn't touch the small chunks of bone that the meat grinder produced or the ground chicken skin so I use boneless skinless thighs instead of leg quarters.

I grind up two 4 pound packages of boneless skinless thighs which produces enough chicken for 3 batches. I use a Maverick electric grinder. (The grinders sold by Northern Tool are also supposed to be very good.)

Along with the thighs I grind liver. I set aside two 2 1/2 pound batches of the ground chicken/liver mixture and freeze them for later use.

I add the required vitamins and nutrients to the last 2 1/2 pound batch. After mixing it well I put into some ice trays that I use for nothing else. Once they freeze I take the meet cubes out of the trays and store them in a ziploc bag.

My cats continue to eat dry food along with the raw meat, which is unusual among raw meat eating cats and may not be recommended. But since they won't eat the bones or skin I hope that the dry food provides some missing nutrients.

Two years after starting my two elderly calicos on the diet, one is doing well while the other passed away a couple of months ago.  Until her kidneys completely gave out the last week or two of her life she thrived.  She ran, jumped, climbed, played and explored. (She was also bulimic but that's another story.) Once one of the calicos passed away our other inside cat started eating the raw meat. She and her surviving auntie seem to really enjoy it.

It takes me about an hour to prepare each batch and to clean up. If you try the diet I recommend that you try to use the leg quarters. They are much cheaper than the thighs and the bones and skin provide essential nutrients.

Be sure to read up on the diet and decide whether you think it is safe and effective.

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