Several posts ago, I wrote about the Ryan and I researching kitty anatomy and making the choice to switch our cats over to a raw diet. After many weeks of transitioning them over from kibble to wet food, our little black trouble maker Lestat finally decided to refuse to eat his wet food as well (no, he is not sick, he’s just a diva), prompting us to go ahead and make the final transition from wet to raw.
In our research, we found that pre-made raw cat food is pretty darn expensive. The highest quality pre-made raw cat food that you can buy has been Feline’s Pride across the board. We have read many websites by many veterinarians and all have come to that conclusion. The only problem for us was that a few pounds of cat food, along with shipping, came out to be a bit over $100. Yikes! Our cats together eat one pound of food every 2 days, so that was a bit much for our liking. That’s where the Ryan, being the resourceful dude that he is, found a comparable and highly-rated Feline’s Pride competitor by the name of Rad Cat. And it just so happened that a holistic pet store down the road from us sells the stuff. (If you live in the greater District, Maryland and Virginia area, and are interested, click here for the link and address to where you can score some Rad Cat for yourself.)
So we did what any curious cat owners would do and we punched the address into our GPS and headed off. The cat food still is expensive, coming in at $8.59 a pound before tax (which is around $30 a week in cat food!), but at least we don’t have to pay shipping. It’s not too far from our house, either, so we are definitely spending less in gas than we would in shipping.
Our goal is to acquire a meat grinder and eventually make our own cat food – the Dutch market sells giant bags of chicken hearts for cheap, and entire rabbits for about $19. They also sell turkey necks and all kinds of other lovely animal parts that our cats would go gaga over. Broken down per pound, if we were to make it ourselves (grinding bones, buying and splitting up/adding the supplements and all), the cost is significantly less – more along the lines of $1-2 per pound as opposed to almost $9. The time and pain-in-the-butt-ness is more, but after seeing the reactions and the behavior differences that are already apparent in our cats, it is worth our time and the extra effort. That extra money per month that we would be saving my making our own cat food would quickly add up as well, so it’s definitely the right choice for us.
Because the food is raw, it is frozen to keep it safe (just like we freeze our own meats), and should be thawed out only when you are portioning/ready to feed your cats the food. We bought our cats chicken and turkey, but they also sell lamb. Since organic lamb is not something the Ryan and I can get our hands on, we chose not to buy that flavor.
In order to portion our cats’ food, we decided to go with filling each of these 8 oz containers with 4 oz of food – 2 oz per cat per container. Our cats weigh 11 and 13 lbs, so 4 oz per day for each cat is about right for their respective weights. We bought these reusable Ziploc containers at our local grocery store, I believe that we got like 8 of them in a pack for $3-4. As you can see in the background, we used a food scale to measure the amount we put into each container for the best accuracy. Don’t be too disgusted with it – it looks gross, and as it thaws, it BECOMES gross, but it is what it is. It’s raw meat. Ground up raw meat. With supplements in it. It’s not going to be pretty.
Freeze the food you are not going to use immediately and refrigerate what you will use. We choose to have two containers in the fridge, and as we feed the cats breakfast/dinner, we drop a new container from the freezer into the refrigerator so it can begin thawing to be ready for future use.
Again, not glamorous, but Lestat likes it so much he has taken to meowing his face off and attempting to climb our legs while we prepare the food. He’s smart enough not to use his claws while he “climbs” us, which works out in our favor, but leaves him looking rather ridiculous. We have only been feeding them the Rad Cat for about a week, but we have already noticed that they are more playful, more alert, and seem to be held over longer by this food than prior food. After they eat, they each lick their paws and their whiskers to clean up and then they run around playing for a while. It’s nice to see them so spry and happy.
Lestat has also had severe abdominal/digestive issues, and suffered from extreme bloating with his prior foods due to his sensitivity. I am happy to report that the bloating reduced significantly when we took him off of kibble and switched him to wet food (I believe now that the bloating wasn’t really a problem with him specifically so much as his body’s inability to process the grain), and now that he is on raw, the bloating is completely gone. I believe that if his intestines could say thanks, they would. He seems to be much more comfortable as well (he used to go hide and lay down after his meals, I guess to ‘digest’ comfortably..now he plays and cuddles us instead).
If you would like to compare notes between Rad Cat and Feline’s Pride, or you would like further reading about feeding your cat a raw diet, I have provided a list of links below for you:
Cat Info.org – Site run by a DVM
Cat Nutrition.org, Not run by a vet, but partnered with one.
Costs of Raw Food and Other Info – a Yahoo! database of information and facts about raw food.
And lastly, I found an article written by a friend of mine’s sister, about the American Veterinary Medical Association’s new decision to try to institute a formal resolution basically stating that a raw diet is “bad for” your pet (because feeding your pet non-species specific food containing grains and other such things that its body cannot digest or process is good for your pet??). She explores the financial connections between veterinary associations and dry-food producers such as Hill’s Science Diet and Purina. It’s interesting, and both sides of the argument should be explored. But since my friend’s sister is a vet, and since I have researched and support raw diets (as do many in-the-know vets), I am clearly going to take the “This is all about money” stance on this matter. If you choose not to, suit yourself. Everyone is entitled to think what they wish.
Take from this information what you will. I am not selling nor endorsing any of these products, this is simply an update about my personal experience thus far with the decision made for the health and well-being of my own pets.
And PS! Completely off topic, but if you DO live in the area, and you DO choose to head over to Mighty Healthy Pets, check out the Mom’s Organic Market a few doors down! We found avocados from California there, and I bought a bunch and made guac with them – THANK GOODNESS I found this market close to us! The Ryan is much happier eating this guacamole now that it contains the avocados he’s used to. :D And bonus: we’re supporting domestic farmers by purchasing these goodies!