MeOW-llo Welcome to Service Cat Furiday. Here we tackle any topic and answer any question you may have about the frisky feline in your home. Ifin you’ve missed any post in this series or want to reread any, just click the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. And purrlease leave your questions and topic suggestions in the comments section below or send us an email via our Contact page. Fur the last few weeks, we’ve been talking Nutrition, one of the most impurrtant aspects of kitty’s life. We’re getting some great questions, so purrlease stay tuned; and get your questions in. Today, we’ll be talking about how to switch kitty from kibble/pet feed to Raw. Of course, this technique will work fur switching kitty to any new food or even feed ifin that’s your choice. Still to come in this mini series is a look at Supplements fur a Raw fed kitty, the actual Nutritional value of a Raw diet, Prescription Diets vs. Raw, and Common fears and misconceptions regarding a Raw diet.
The following post will be written in human English for reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Training Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal training, cats in purr-ticular. And to offer insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, successful Training is all about Repetition and Rewards.
Today, mommy’s going join me to tell you about me’s switch from a kibble addicted kitty to a happy healthy Raw fed girl. It all started when mommy saved me. Me came to her half dead and much younger than expected. It turned out, me was a worm filled 3 weeks old and not on solid food yet kitty. And altho’ mommy knew how bad kibble was for kitties, she didn’t have much money. The closest pet store was 45 miles away and sold only junk or big company pet feed. We didn’t have a computer, so no real options for finding much less ordering something better. And, there was still much confusion about Raw diets and no support. So, me became a kibble kitty. And not just any kibble, me insisted on Blue Buffalo grain free only. Mommy says me is the first kitty she’d ever known that wouldn’t touch canned food. Me was truly a kibble addict.
And for the most part, things seemed fine. Dezi grew and appeared to be healthy. Of course, that’s often the problem with a poor quality diet. Things look good until they aren’t. One day, Dezi began to visit the litterbox more frequently and deposit less at each visit. And then she started sneakily urinating by the door. I’ve lost 2 male cats due to complications from Urinary Tract Infections, so I recognized the signs right away. My heart sank, this was the very reason I had said no more male kitties. I couldn’t go thru this again. Off the vet we went and of course, along with antibiotics to treat the Cystitis, the vet also recommended a prescription diet. By this time, we had a computer, I had more knowledge and support and a lot more options. I also had 2 dead baby boycats that had eaten those prescription diets and still died; so the vet’s recommendation fell on deaf ears.
However, Dezi’s situation was at the life and death stage, either she switched foods or I was going to lose her. Our fight began and the battle of wills was on. I hadn’t brought her back from the brink of death at 3 weeks old to lose her now. So, I resolved that no matter what it took, she would be a raw fed kitty. I had done the research, read all the studies, spoke with pro’s and other Raw feeding pet parents and knew this was the way to go. Not only for her particular problem, but for her overall health.
When it comes to switching kitty’s diet, the recommendation is to do it slowly by adding about 1/4 of the new food to kitty’s current diet. This should be done slowly over time by increasing the desired food and decreasing the old. Some raw feeders recommend switching a kibble addicted kitty to wet food before transitioning to Raw. Naturally, knowing we were on a clock and time was running down quickly, and we had canned food for Lexi, I offered Dezi several of the canned options we had. She immediately turned her nose up and refused to eat.
The antibiotics were kicking in, but she was going to be right back in the same place if we didn’t make a change. So, I did what I do best and decided I was more bull headed than Dezi. Rabbit is one of Dezi’s favorite proteins, so I ordered Wysong’s freeze dried raw rabbit food. (Disclaimer: Freeze dried raw is meant to be served with water or other liquid added to reconstitute the pieces.) I made one plate with water added and one dry. I cut/broke the pieces up to the size of the kibble Dezi had been eating, and I served it. Of course, Dezi turned her nose up and walked away. She expected me to replace it with her favorite kibble, as this had been our dance for years, every time I tried to switch her to something else. But, I had made my resolve and there wasn’t any kibble in the house. There was no other option, either she ate the freeze dried raw or she went hungry. She meowed and purred and continued to examine her plates and walk away.
After an hour, I took the food away and waited for the next meal. She had spent about 10 seconds longer examining the dry plate, so at the next meal, that’s what I offered. This was really expensive food after all, and my finances were still stretched to the max. Again, she turned up her nose and walked off. I decided to add a little topper to see if that would help. I sprinkled some bonito flakes across the top of the dry freeze dried raw rabbit meal and waited. Dezi showed interest, but still didn’t eat. Again, I took the plate away after an hour and waited till the next meal. At the next meal, I also added a couple of pieces of freeze dried raw chicken breast; a favorite treat of the girls. By now, Dezi had gone hungry for 3 meals. Yes, I was worried and scared, but I was going to lose her if she kept eating kibble, so I stood firm. She finally ate. Only a few pieces, but it was a start. Over time, I began to add a teaspoon of water to each meal. Increasing the amount by a teaspoon every week or two until we finally had reconstituted Raw and gravy. And we’ve never looked back. Altho’ we did switch brands and have continued to expand the choices and proteins.
There are several Topper options you can use to tempt kitty to eat a new food. Most kitties love Bonito flakes, and a little sprinkled over their food might tempt them to try it out. Nutritional Yeast is another great topper, especially for kitties who like cheese. This is not to be confused with baking/rising yeast. Some people have had success with Brewer’s yeast, but Dezi doesn’t like the smell. Freeze dried treats are also a great topper for kitties who like them. A little tuna juice only, can also be used to get kitty eating, or a few pieces of roasted chicken which some kitties really like. And of course, many swear by Fortiflora, saying it tastes like kibble. I find it to be a bit expensive and personally haven’t tasted it or kibble, but prefer to stay away from kibble all together. I do give the girls a probiotic just to maintain good gut health. We use Pro Bios. Another great option is dried Egg Yolk. This has the benefit of also helping with hairballs.
Dried Egg Yolk for Hairballs:
Place Eggs in Water and hard boil for 15 minutes. Let cool and separate yolk from the whites. Crumble yolk and place on a baking sheet or parchment paper and place in oven. Bake on 150° for about 10 hours. When dry, crumble again or give a whiz in blender or food processor and store in airtight container in refrigerator. Sprinkle 1/4 TBSP, approx. 1 tsp over meal daily. The lecithin in the yolk will help break up the hair so it can pass thru kitty’s digestive tract. NOTE: Lecithin is the ingredient used in hairball prescription diets. More proof you don’t need to feed expensive prescription feed, just the active ingredient.
Well, we’re gonna wrap fur today. Me sure is a stubborn one. As our humans, it’s your job to make the right decisions for us and even ifin we don’t like them, it’s up to you to implement them. Especially ifin our lives/health depends on it. Whether switching your kitty to Raw or another food/feed, it’s important for you to “stick to your guns” so to speak. Obviously, ifin kitty has some kind of serious illness or disease, care should be taken to make sure kitty isn’t over stressed or doesn’t go too long without eating something. The most important factor to remember, is that kibble isn’t good for kitty. Cats were never intended to eat dry pelleted starchy vegetable laden food. And, as we previously explained, kibble shouldn’t be left available fur kitty. Once the transition is made, keep the kibble out of the house. You and kitty will be happier and healthier without it. Remember, you can find the rest of this mini-series and all our Service Cat posts by clickin’ Training Tips and Everything Feline in our menu bar above. Get your questions in now so we can include them in coming posts. And let us know if there’s somethin’ you’d like to read ‘bout here by leavin’ a comment below.
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Till the next time………………………………………………………………………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses