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Old March 31st, 2011, 08:47 AM
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Switching to raw - with a hand grinder?

Long story short, after doing some reading on the side and combing through this forum for advice, I'm fully sold on the idea of feeding my 3 cats raw.

However, there may or may not be a technicality in the way: The freezer part of my fridge is kind of tiny, so feeding whole prey is out of the question (I can't stuff 2-3 weeks worth of parts in there, and the idea of having to deal with the mess of cutting more often than that is a little nauseating ), thus leaving me with ground option. I will buy an electric grinder if I absolutely, /absolutely/ have to (soooo not in the budget right now ), but I already have a manual one I've been using to grind all sorts of meat for sausages, patties and whatnot, and even though it's a bit of a workout I'm quite happy with it... but I've never tried grinding a bone.

So all this babble is to ask, can it be done? Will it be ground finely enough - or coarsely enough - to be safe for cats? What should a ground bone for kitty dinner look like anyway in terms of size? Does anyone maybe have a picture of their final product? I've seen the pictorial on Anne Jablonski's page, but those pics are kind of small :/
I just keep having these horror visions of a tiny piece of rib or something chipping off in the grinder and getting stuck in the cat's throat Any input would be greatly appreciated!

P.S. Do I buy taurine online, or can I find it somewhere in Montreal?
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Old March 31st, 2011, 08:01 PM
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Apparently I didn't search hard enough; for anyone else with the same problem here's a topic: http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=60536

... it's just not at all encouraging

I'll see if I can somehow re-organize that measly freezer (so it would hold at least 10 days worth of food) and try feeding frankenprey anyway. Sigh.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 11:03 PM
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You could just use the meat portion and save the bone for when you can afford a grinder. Yes, it will take a bit more time taking the meat off the bone but it's worth it. I have an electric grinder and it won't do bone period. I'm not putting the money out for a more expensive model either.
When I did manage to grind bones I didn't like the feel of them. I would much rather just give my cats a chicken back to chew on. But I understand space is an issue.
I googled where to buy taurine for you. I can find it here in one of the health food stores but not sure if you can in your area. There's lot of good info there.
http://www.google.ca/search?aq=f&sou...+I+buy+taurine
You can also feed your cat(s) beef heart but it is important not to grind this. Give it to them whole. Grinding increases the surface area of the meat, exposing more of the taurine to the air. This results in oxidation of taurine and decreases the amount that is useful for the cat.
There is a lot of information available in our raw food forum. We also have a few folks who feed exclusive raw to their cats. Hopefully they will pop in soon. I'm still in the switch over stage with my gang.
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Old April 1st, 2011, 12:26 AM
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14+ Do chicken hearts have taurine in them too or just beef hearts?
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Old April 1st, 2011, 07:56 AM
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14+ Do chicken hearts have taurine in them too or just beef hearts?
Yes TQ, all muscle meat has taurine.
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Old April 1st, 2011, 04:39 PM
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You could just use the meat portion and save the bone for when you can afford a grinder.
That's what I ended up doing - although I didn't grind the meat in the end, it wouldn't save me much space and apparently my gang loves gnawing on bigger chunks - but I also discovered that if I cut the backs into 3-4 inch pieces and leave out the breast bone completely I can arrange it all in one big flat glass dish for freezing. Ditto for wings, so in the end I managed to squeeze in 4 cut-up chickens (along with all the human food already in the freezer) and there would still be room for little more. When there's a will...

Would feeding beef hearts on regular basis completely eliminate the need for supplementing taurine? (I'm not trying to cut corners here, it's just that giving them as much as possible - of any nutrient - from food rather than pills, powders and whatnot feels somehow closer to "the real thing".)

Thanks for googling stuff for me (oops ), I asked mainly because I'm new to Montreal and still a bit lost when it comes to looking for things. I'll try my health food store then ... and thanks a lot for your help, 14+
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by fleolicious View Post
Long story short, after doing some reading on the side and combing through this forum for advice, I'm fully sold on the idea of feeding my 3 cats raw.

yay, a decision you won't regret!

However, there may or may not be a technicality in the way: The freezer part of my fridge is kind of tiny, so feeding whole prey is out of the question (I can't stuff 2-3 weeks worth of parts in there, and the idea of having to deal with the mess of cutting more often than that is a little nauseating ), thus leaving me with ground option. I will buy an electric grinder if I absolutely, /absolutely/ have to (soooo not in the budget right now ), but I already have a manual one I've been using to grind all sorts of meat for sausages, patties and whatnot, and even though it's a bit of a workout I'm quite happy with it... but I've never tried grinding a bone.
We used to hand grind and it was some work to do.


So all this babble is to ask, can it be done? Will it be ground finely enough - or coarsely enough - to be safe for cats? What should a ground bone for kitty dinner look like anyway in terms of size? Does anyone maybe have a picture of their final product? I've seen the pictorial on Anne Jablonski's page, but those pics are kind of small :/
I am making some today and will post pics.

I just keep having these horror visions of a tiny piece of rib or something chipping off in the grinder and getting stuck in the cat's throat Any input would be greatly appreciated!

P.S. Do I buy taurine online, or can I find it somewhere in Montreal?
Taurine can be bought at a store that sells health supplements.

You are right about the size of bones that should be in raw. I find my ginder and even the hand grinder did grind all the bones small enough that I don't have to worry about one getting stuck.

Chicken bones are not a problem to grind with a hand grinder. What I do is I smash up the bone with a meat cleaver before grinding, it makes is soooooooooo much easier. I will try to get pics for you when I am making it. I am old though, and my memory is not what it was so I may forget

I also leave chucks of chicken for my semi-feral to much on and some large pieces with bone in it to help clean her teeth. Will try to get pics of those too for you.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 03:39 PM
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What I do is I smash up the bone with a meat cleaver before grinding, it makes is soooooooooo much easier.
Oh, clever! Maybe that would have helped, because... I tried grinding, but it didn't work out very well at all - meat turned into a mushy paste real quick, and tendons and bones just got stuck in the curves and refused to come out. I didn't give up though, so after an hour or so of struggle I had a meat mush and pieces of bone maybe 1/3 of an inch long, which seemed exactly like something cat could swallow whole and then have it rip something on the way out

I did some freezer reorganizing so I was able to fit whole chunks and pieces in there and I think I will just skip grinding altogether if they keep doing OK with whole.
One thing that worries me is that Gnosis and Pretzel got the hang of bones right away, but Kamikaze doesn't seem to understand they are also food - he either strips pieces of meat or just licks around the bony parts... but this is only our third day of raw and I'm still feeding 50/50 with canned, so I'm hoping it will dawn on him eventually. In case it doesn't, though, or he just plain doesn't like it, I will be grinding for him after all so those pics would be super useful!

Thanks a bunch
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 04:58 PM
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Here are the pics I promised you:

I use a meat cleaver to break up the bones into tiny pieces so they are pliable :
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Here is what the leg looks like when I am about half way done with the leg and thigh:
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Here are the small pieces that I leave for the kitties to chew, when I say kitties, I really just mean Rose my semi feral. She survived on her own for 3 years so chewing bones is what she was brought up on. Now I do leave ligament that keeps the tiny rib bones attached. That way, Rose is forced to put the meat to the side of her mouth with most of it hanging out and chewing as she swallows.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 05:01 PM
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Here is what my end product looks like, there are no bones left for choking:
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I freeze them in no-name medium freezer bags, I flatten out the meat to eliminate as much air in the bag as possible and it makes for better storage in the freezer:
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You are lucky that your kitties will chew the bones. Only Rose will do so in my clan.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 05:04 PM
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Just a couple of notes. Cats don`t get their vit D from the sun, but from the skin of the animals that they eat, so giving them meat with skin on it is important. Also liver provides them with their vit A and many cats don`t like whole liver, hopefully yours will.

There is taurine in all raw meat, but especially in hearts.

And finally, cats require the highest levels of B vitamins per pound, so I add a few raw egg yolks (no whites ) to their food.

Good luck!
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 05:27 PM
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Fantastic, Love4himies, thank you so much!

But yes, your bone pieces are much finer than mine were, and the whole mix looks way more uniform; I just had really ugly paste and really worrisome bone chips :/

I left most of the skin on, and they absolutely adore liver, hearts, any sort of intestines really; I was giving it to them as treats since they were little, so I've got that part covered. I'll try beef heart tomorrow, hopefully that will work out too

As for chewing bones, I don't think I've ever seen them so excited about any kind of food before I was expecting some confusion at least in the beginning... but no, happy crunching and fuzzy excited tails right away Except for Kamikaze, but he was always a little slow on the uptake with new food - he'll try anything, but every time we switch (from pate to chunky kinds of canned, for instance, and sometimes even if it's just a new flavour) I have to hand-feed him a few meals until he's absolutely positive it's food.

One last question for now: can I give them ground eggshells as well, or is that just for dogs?
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 05:36 PM
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(sidenote for love4himies) if you use a straw and your vacume, or your damn...whats the name of the liquid sucking up stuff?? *L* you use it to suck up the juice when your cooking?? bulb on the end? (damn I hate getting old) anyways, I stick it in the corner of the zip up bag (squeeze the ball first, and zip up most of the baggie) then when you let the ball go it sucks the remaining air out of the bag, man I'm a loser *LOL*
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 05:46 PM
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(sidenote for love4himies) if you use a straw and your vacume, or your damn...whats the name of the liquid sucking up stuff?? *L* you use it to suck up the juice when your cooking?? bulb on the end? (damn I hate getting old) anyways, I stick it in the corner of the zip up bag (squeeze the ball first, and zip up most of the baggie) then when you let the ball go it sucks the remaining air out of the bag, man I'm a loser *LOL*
think you are thinking of a Baster....now i'm feeling old is that how you spell it? patti
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 05:50 PM
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(sidenote for love4himies) if you use a straw and your vacume, or your damn...whats the name of the liquid sucking up stuff?? *L* you use it to suck up the juice when your cooking?? bulb on the end? (damn I hate getting old) anyways, I stick it in the corner of the zip up bag (squeeze the ball first, and zip up most of the baggie) then when you let the ball go it sucks the remaining air out of the bag, man I'm a loser *LOL*
Good idea
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 05:51 PM
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Fantastic, Love4himies, thank you so much!

But yes, your bone pieces are much finer than mine were, and the whole mix looks way more uniform; I just had really ugly paste and really worrisome bone chips :/

I left most of the skin on, and they absolutely adore liver, hearts, any sort of intestines really; I was giving it to them as treats since they were little, so I've got that part covered. I'll try beef heart tomorrow, hopefully that will work out too

As for chewing bones, I don't think I've ever seen them so excited about any kind of food before I was expecting some confusion at least in the beginning... but no, happy crunching and fuzzy excited tails right away Except for Kamikaze, but he was always a little slow on the uptake with new food - he'll try anything, but every time we switch (from pate to chunky kinds of canned, for instance, and sometimes even if it's just a new flavour) I have to hand-feed him a few meals until he's absolutely positive it's food.

One last question for now: can I give them ground eggshells as well, or is that just for dogs?
You are so lucky! Ground eggshells are good for them too!!!
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 05:54 PM
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you use it to suck up the juice when your cooking?? bulb on the end?
Baster? Or, in my household at least, turkey stuffer? This thingamabob?



Good plan, I approve
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 06:00 PM
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You are so lucky!
Oh lord, I know... and to think I've read so much advice about tricking your cat into eating raw, lol! But I'm not complaining in the least.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 06:11 PM
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One last question for now: can I give them ground eggshells as well, or is that just for dogs?
Would the ground eggshells be in place of bone? You could certainly use them as a calcium supplement if you were to grind just the meat without adding bone. You'd have to calculate the correct amount to use to balance out the phosphorus. Ideally you want a ratio of about 1.2-1.4:1 of elemental calcium to phosphorus (eggshells contain about 39% elemental calcium). Here is a link to some info on calcium: http://www.abyssiniancats.info/calciumsupplements.php

And here is a link to a nutrient database to find out how much phosphorus is in the meat your feeding: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/index.html Remember to also subtract the small amount of calcium that is already in the meat.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 06:54 PM
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Would the ground eggshells be in place of bone?
In place of, or in addition to some of the bone if I have to feed ground to one of the guys and my grinder keeps misbehaving.

So, the math says: for every 100g of chicken (I'm cutting up and mixing different parts of the meat) there's 198mg of phosphorus, which would have to be balanced by 240-270mg of calcium, 10 of which are already in the meat... so if I was using eggshells only I would need roughly about 640mg per 100g of meat. If total daily requirement for my 5kg cat is ~ 150-200g of raw food, but only 90% of that should be meat and organs, that's 135-180g... we'll round it up to 160... to even out the phosphorus I need to add a bit over 1000mg, or 1g, of elemental calcium?

My head is spinning Mostly because that number is below 0.6% of body weight per day calcium requirement, which in a 5kg cat would be 3g, so 3 times as much.

Please tell me I messed up my math
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 08:48 PM
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Fleo...I will leave the cat-advice to those who actually know something but I'd like to throw in my and say that once you understand the basics of proportions and necessary nutrients don't let yourself get too stressed over *daily* amounts. When I was solely raw-feeding, at first I was teaspoon-ing this and weighing that obsessively. Then I realized how much time I was spending on it on a daily basis and ... ...I relaxed and looked at balancing their (dawgs) nutrition over the course of a week.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 09:40 PM
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think you are thinking of a Baster....now i'm feeling old is that how you spell it? patti

DUH!!!!! Baster *L* thank you pbpatti....geesh, my senior moments are coming faster and faster lately *L*
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Old April 14th, 2011, 03:36 PM
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Just a quick follow-up: Kamikaze had an epiphany and now he really likes bones He started off slowly and with smaller pieces, but yesterday he picked clean a nice juicy upper wing bone with no problem. (Can you say 'tooth brushing'? I'm SO happy everyone is willing to pick and gnaw! )

Anyway, here's a yucky pic of the merry bunch at work (Pardon my lousy phone camera )
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Old April 14th, 2011, 03:38 PM
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I don't think that's so yucky....makin' me kinda hungry, as a matter of fact.

They do seem to be enjoying the bounty!!
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Old April 14th, 2011, 10:38 PM
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Lol, silly
Normally I'd agree, but for some reason pictures strike me as... unpleasant. In person and in action, though, it's pure pleasure to watch them eat - there's something beautifully natural about all that crunching and growling and tearing at meat, I get hungry too
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Old April 15th, 2011, 12:33 AM
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crunching and growling and tearing at meat

sounds like my inlaws have come for dinner..lol

those cats look like they are pretty happy munchig on the chicken.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 06:44 AM
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What a success

You are so lucky to have cats that will do that. Only my Rose loves to crunch on those chicken bones.
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