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Why do you want to feed raw?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Since there have been a couple of recent threads about raw food feeding I thought I would put out the inevitable "why" question.

I think it would be interesting to hear from not only people who are currently feeding raw but also from people who would like to feed raw.

I'll start with my reasons. It's really long cuz I've been thinking about this for a long time!

First, let me make clear that this is in no way meant to be a criticism of what others have chosen to feed their cats and I don't mean to imply that not feeding raw will result in serious ailments in cats. These are merely my reasons for choosing to feed raw. Nothing more.

Several events have occurred within the last year that were the "triggers" for my determination to switch them to raw.

Coco had loose stools for the entire first 6 months after I got her. After months of researching and trial and error I finally found that if I give her a digestion supplement her stools are perfect. The supplement provides what exists naturally in raw foods but which is destroyed by the high temperatures used to produce commercial canned and dry foods. Given that the loose stools of several other cats from the same cattery as Coco were "cured" by feeding raw I'm confident that once I get her switched to raw she will no longer need the supplement.

After Cocos problem was resolved I continued to monitor several online forums where people can ask questions and get help with their kitties ailments. I'm shocked at how many cats in their early teens develop chronic ailments like diabetes, CRF, IBD and cancer. Most if not all can be avoided with the proper diet. It's heartbreaking what these kitties and thier owners go through during the treatment of these disorders. Feeding raw may not be the only way to lessen the risk of these ailments but I believe it is the easiest and the most effective way to.

About a year ago a friend who feds only processed foods, mostly dry, had a cat diagnosed with diabetes. He has been through alot trying to keep the cats blood glucose regulated. He has had to endure frequent "out of litter box" episodes in the mean time. Diabetes is virtually unknown in cats fed a raw diet. This same friend also has spent thousands of dollars on cancer treatments for another cat. There is compelling evidence that cancer rates are much lower in cats fed a raw diet.

Another privotal event was the pet food recall of 2007. We have no control over where the ingredients of the pet food we buy comes from. Even after the recall pet food manufactors still get some ingredients from China which has virtually no quality control on anything they produce. This was far from the first pet food recall needed because of contaminated ingredients. With raw feeding I have much more control over the ingredients.

Earlier this year Zara started throwing up after feeding her a food that she has eaten for years. They had changed the formula and it now contains an ingredient that she can't tolerate. It took me weeks to realize that it was that food that was causing her to throw up. It was hours after eating that she would throw up and since it was a food she had been eating for so long it took me a while to suspect it. Another reason to want more control over the ingredients of their food.

Jeta recently had a bout with struvite crystals. These form when a kitties urine pH is too alkaline and is something that can happen when commercial processed foods are fed. My vet insisted that the only way to prevent the crystals was to fed her, for the rest of her life, a prescription food specially formulated to prevent them. The first ingredient listed on the prescription food was corn! After researching possible non-prescription foods she might eat that would prevent the crystals and which had ingredients I considered acceptable I realized that even if I found foods that both she and I agreed on I would have to continually monitor those foods and her urine pH to make sure the ingredients weren't changed in such a way as to make them inappropriate for her.

Jeta's crystal problem was the last straw. I knew that if she just ate a species appropriate diet she wouldn't have the problem. I decided to try feeding her raw rather than the prescription diet. Fortunately, Jeta took to the raw immediately. Since she started eating only raw, her urine pH has been perfect. Time will tell if she will stay free of crystals but I fully expect she will because her urine is now acidic enough to prevent their formation.
post #2 of 18
I decided to feed raw for a few reasons. First, I have pedigreed cats for the first time ever (neighbor is a breeder and had a couple that had faults so she gave them to me). I immediately noticed they seem more delicate healthwise than the street or shelter kitties I've always had. One has probably chronic herpes in his eyes, the other one seems prone to injury. After much reseach, I decided "raw is best" and I decided to try it in order to maximize the health of my kitties.

I like to cook and mess around with recipes. I have been doing things for MY health in relation to food, etc, so decided to do something for my pets as well.

The mfrd. pet food crises of late---SCARY. Don't have to worry as much with homemade foods.

Lastly, I've been consulting with a homeopath who also treats pets. She's been treating my herpes kitty, and highly recommended raw food.

That's about it. Kitties still loving the raw here! Dogs enjoying chicken necks with their dinners, too!
post #3 of 18
I have two kittens and they are my very first pets ever. I fed used to feed them Wellness and Halo for the first month after weening.
They don't have any health problems since they are only kittens, but I started to read the ingredient lists on processed food and decided to look for other options. I read a bunch of books on pet nutrition althoght they may be biased.
Sometimes I feel that I maybe gambling on my kittens' health by feeding raw only, since most people aren't even aware of the possibility of feeding raw to their pets. I'd feel a lot safer if more pet owners can share their experience with raw food, whether positive or not, so we can overcome the lack of experiments needed to "prove" that it works.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by birco View Post
I have two kittens and they are my very first pets ever. I fed used to feed them Wellness and Halo for the first month after weening.
They don't have any health problems since they are only kittens, but I started to read the ingredient lists on processed food and decided to look for other options. I read a bunch of books on pet nutrition althoght they may be biased.
Sometimes I feel that I maybe gambling on my kittens' health by feeding raw only, since most people aren't even aware of the possibility of feeding raw to their pets. I'd feel a lot safer if more pet owners can share their experience with raw food, whether positive or not, so we can overcome the lack of experiments needed to "prove" that it works.
You need to read "Your Cat" by Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins. She is a well credentialed vet with 30 years experience in practice and research. She is a strong advocate of feeding raw or low carb canned food and has even used them as "treatments" for some ailments she sees in her practice. I was already sold on raw when I read it but I feel even better about it now.

Don't worry lots of people have fed raw for a very long time.
post #5 of 18
My reasons are similiar to mschauer's. I have two kitties with very different health issues. The one that really got me to switch was my purebred with chronic diarrhea. We've gone through about every test imaginable and treated for a few things that showed up, but the diarrhea still persisted. My vet told me he wanted her on a one-meat only diet if the treatments still hadn't resolved it, so I began researching raw. Since she's started on it part-time and gone to grain free wet foods, it seems to have completely resolved. I will likely keep a few of these cans in her rotation just for variety purposes as she seems to get bored easily with her wet foods.

My other kitty is 10-years old, obese and has numerous health issues. She has been diagnosed with FLUTD/IC and is now showing early signs of kidney problems. She's not in renal failure yet, but we're keeping a close eye on her. She was on Science Diet S/D for FLUTD for 5 years and I blame this food for all of her health problems. She is now eating Max Cat Adult Chicken but I hope to eventually move her on to a kidney friendly raw diet as well. As of yet she wants nothing to do with it so I'm just focusing on the little one until I can concentrate more on her.
post #6 of 18
I feed raw in rotation do to research ... I had one with CRF who thrived on half raw half canned ( most cans( ie the true premiums without excess grains ) are low carb so I dont specify ) ... I have one with a ph problem who is now getting some raw ( thou in some cases this diet could make it worse he had no crystals and no UTI )..one has a condition not even written in the books but it has gotten better since the grasshoppers are out( ie she likes he raw very very fresh and just without a pulse ).. The other just well likes it as he is a kitten and the world is a big toyland still. I also have to chronic issue dogs ( issues in one likely all genetic as it is common in that breed the other is some genetic some prior feeding)...

Is raw a cure all ... Nope, in a few instances it can be downright dangerous ... But in my house with other food types it helps maintain and aleviate specific issues ...

Oh yes raw has been done along time , the current methods( ground or made) thou only one company so far is trying to get thru AFFCO feeding trials ( which the bar is not to high but it does aid in givng basic knowledge a diet truely can sustain life )
post #7 of 18
My reason's pretty simple, cats are carnivores so i feed them meat. Over here raw is common, most vets will ask you to feed it at least a few times a week along with necks/wings to clean teeth.
post #8 of 18
Great post.
People should read this part again!

Quote:
I'm shocked at how many cats in their early teens develop chronic ailments like diabetes, CRF, IBD and cancer. Most if not all can be avoided with the proper diet. It's heartbreaking what these kitties and thier owners go through during the treatment of these disorders. Feeding raw may not be the only way to lessen the risk of these ailments but I believe it is the easiest and the most effective way to.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
You need to read "Your Cat" by Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins. She is a well credentialed vet with 30 years experience in practice and research. She is a strong advocate of feeding raw or low carb canned food and has even used them as "treatments" for some ailments she sees in her practice.
Yeah, I read her book too and it was one of the reasons why I switched to all raw. It was very informative but at the same time I was so frightened of all the diseases cats may get from dry food!

Since these are my first cats and I didn't know anything about pet food before, I guess I should just trust your experience and have more confidence in raw food! Thanks all for your opinions.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by optionken View Post
Great post.
People should read this part again!
Many will beg to differ ... as the ave cat lifespan is also playing a Huge role in these ailments ... there are very few true clinical studies on the matter ... ie a cat who gets diabetes at 4 yrs old likely has a bad gene pool vs a cat getting it at age 14 which much is simply organ aging and wearing out as we have prolonged kitty life
post #11 of 18
I would like to feed raw to my boys, but I don't believe I can afford to (especially considering feeding chicken is not an option for us).
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteforest View Post
I don't believe I can afford to
For me it's cheaper (my decision has nothing to do with cost though) feeding wet would run me over $10 day, raw is around 1/2 that.
post #13 of 18
i have tried so many times to switch my cats to raw. my siamese is 11 and has always been prone to vomiting. my dsh is almost 7 and chubby (i say chubby because i don't like the word fat, but i know he is overweight and is on a diet). i am pretty sure that raw would greatly help both of my kitties. the book that i really liked is the complete guide to natural health for dogs and cats by dr. pitcairn. it really opened my eyes to the dangers of feeding processed foods. my problem is that no matter how hard i try i cannot get my cats to eat raw. i was trying for a long while to get them to eat urban king cooked first but they would not eat that either. my vet, who treats with alternative and homeopathic ways as well as traditional vet services, told me the other day that cats (and ferrets, since i was in there with one of my ferrets) form their tastes very early in their lives, something like 4 months old, and it is very difficult to switch them after that. since my kitties are getting close to senior, or are already senior, it is a big thing for them. my vet also suggests that raw is not the best choice because of bacteria. most animals have defenses against bacterias such as salmonella but the problem is they can pass it on to you or your children just by kissing you. they also pass the bacteria in their stool so you have to be super careful that no one gets sick. my vet thinks that home made lightly cooked is the best for everyone in your household, so there is no chance of bacteria being spread. i really would like to feed this type of diet to my cats, dog, and ferrets, but it is expensive, and my cats and ferrets just don't like it. i know that home made is best, but it is not good if they just won't eat it.
post #14 of 18
I had those same questions when my dog became ill and I started looking at nutrition. The "diet" prescription Hills Sci kibble she was on had NO meat source and contained crushed peanut hulls. I started out cooking for her with the food she needed for the illness. Way cheaper than kibble. Then I looked at raw. I'm sure someone with experience can help more, but it seems that it is a myth about the bacteria problem you mentioned. Vets have very little nutritional training and even less on raw feeding. Look here http://rawfed.com/myths/zoonotic.html . This is just one opinion about dogs and raw. I am just starting to look at raw for my cats.

You handle raw chicken, beef, etc. in your kitchen and clean up after. Same precautions with feeding.

Kibble fed animals have bad breath because of bacteria (same for humans). Article explains about an enzyme in the mouth/saliva of dogs that kills bacteria and raw feeding. There is an "old wives tale" about letting a dog lick the skin where you have a scratch or abbraision and it would heal. My DH is a physician and he reiterates what the article said about the dogs mouth has an enzyme that kills bacteria. Whew, I'm getting too lengthy !

I'm just saying there is more current information out now than what the vets were taught. We just have to research dependable sources. www.holisticat.com I am in the midst of researching myself. Good luck to you and your furry babies.
post #15 of 18
i have done TONS of research and did not come across a lot that mentions bacteria either, but i do trust my vet full circle vet alternatives . dogs are scavengers and i know that their bodies can handle it. and i do know that we handle raw meat all the time and clean up after and that is fine. but, when you take your doggie out to go potty you can pick it up but it is not all picked up no matter what you do. same as a litter box. no matter how much you scoop there will still be small amounts of fecal matter left. cats get in, dig around, and get out and then walk on you. it can get back. i just don't want to take the chance of someone in my household getting sick. lightly cooked is good too.
post #16 of 18
I was at a cat show just this weekend and had a chance to chat with a Royal Canin rep. I had to ask for her opinion on raw food and she said that raw food may not have all the essential nutrients cats need in their diet, but they are added to all their products.

I remember reading somewhere that the nutrients are not added to the store brand raw food, since they do not get destroyed during the manufacturing process.

And I was also wondering if any of you raw feeders also cook for your kitties too. If so, what kind of meals?
post #17 of 18
I have yet to have a cat who likes my cooking.. the dogs love it /.//

the nutrient thing is the same with cooked foods as all animals are unique in what they need ... raw food i add some supplements to not due to a lack of but the animals I am feeding haveing "special needs"
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by birco View Post
I was at a cat show just this weekend and had a chance to chat with a Royal Canin rep. I had to ask for her opinion on raw food and she said that raw food may not have all the essential nutrients cats need in their diet, but they are added to all their products.
Obviously an RC rep isn't going to say "Yeah, feeding raw is better for your cat than our products."

As to the nutrient thing, what nutrients are needed by cats is not some super secret information that only the makers of processed foods have access to. If they are able to add all needed nutrients to their food, anyone can.

Quote:
I remember reading somewhere that the nutrients are not added to the store brand raw food, since they do not get destroyed during the manufacturing process.
That's right. That is one of the advantages of raw. Kitties get more of the nutrients they need in a natural way.

Have you checked out www.holisticat.com? Sandy, the site owner, is absolutely anal about making sure everyone knows how to feed raw properly and she always has credible research to back up what she says or else is completely up front about her reasons. If I remember correctly she used to feed homemade cooked and her book includes a section on it. If feeding other than processed foods still makes you nervous I strongly suggest you check out her site. There is a forum where you can ask questions and get enough information to do your own research if that is what you need to be more comfortable.
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