I've finally found a source for organ meat, the last ingredient I needed. Turns out my favorite grocery store sells both chicken and beef kidneys; I never saw them because the beef only comes in once a week and the chicken needs to be special ordered. I picked up a couple months' worth of beef kidney today and I'll order some chicken tomorrow.
I also found a butcher about 45 minutes away that sells pork kidneys and placed an order with them. I'll keep looking for other organs, but the need is no longer critical, thank goodness!
I gave the cats some beef kidney, beef heart and bison meat this afternoon as a snack, just to see if they'd eat it. Everyone chowed down with gusto. Rachel surprised me - she ate everything without any of the Whole Life treats I sometimes have to use to tempt her, especially the beef heart. So yay!
I have ascertained that Rachel was, indeed, being lazy about properly chewing her beef chunks. I've been cutting her pieces in half before offering them to her and we've had no more upset stomach issues. Problem solved.
The cats have been on raw food for three weeks and three days now, 100% raw a little over half that time. I have sources for everything I need and I've worked out the majority of the kinks in a feeding methodology that I can sustain and addresses all their needs. Oh, and I bought a lovely set of knives.
I've seen several changes in the cats: no more tuna breath (I kinda miss that, actually
), a drop in poop quantity and odor, and an increase in the softness and shine of their fur, to name a few. By far, however, the biggest change is the increase in activity level. I now have five kittens, not two! It's astonishing, actually, how much more energy and.... playfulness my cats have.
The indications are conclusive - the high-end, mostly grain- and fish-free cat foods I was feeding clearly weren't providing my furchildren with everything they need to be their happiest, healthiest selves. I am blown away at the difference in them.
I strongly recommend everyone switch their cats and dogs to a natural diet. I won't preach to you guys - who doesn't detest lectures? - but I can't not say anything at all. And I offer everything I've learned - if you have a question, pm me! I'm a research fanatic and if I can't answer your question, I promise I can direct you to someone or someplace that can.
Getting your cats on a raw food diet is worth the initial learning curve, it truly is.