I’m posting these as encouragement to all of you contemplating the switch to raw feeding, but still a bit leery of all that it entails. You CAN do it!
Foo / Baby, Kosh, Squeakey and Wuzzworth / Spike and Clyde / Zaqkeri, Penelope, Jasper, Elliot, and Mia / Bugsy / Egypt, Azalia, Lacey, and Sasha / Sassy and Moxie / Lazlo, Sheldon, Spooky, Tuxedo, Flowerbelle, Ming Loy, Billy and Chumley / Isis / Jitzu, Torri, Doran, and Muffin / Samantha, Rochelle, and Alice
Foo came to me about three years ago. He was starving and covered in fleas. He was five weeks old, if that. Tossed from a car in Missouri and brought back to the grooming shop I worked at. I called my husband and said come pick this baby up.
He tested negative for FIV and other diseases so off to the quarantine room, till his URI was gone. Once he hit population he fit in well and started to thrive. I fed kibble and canned at that time and did not know better.
One day he started drinking large amounts of water and vomited it back up. He was lethargic. We rushed him to the vet and the vet gave Clavamox for a UTI. He handled the antibiotic ok so I thought. Soon after he started having semi soft poop. Not too bad but not good either.
Enter the Rose Pup; we were so happy to have our new hound puppy. We got her around Christmas. Mikes Mom was here too for the holidays. Our pup puked after swallowing a rawhide and something told me something was wrong. She had Parvo.
Enter big stress and kennel cough leading to pneumonia for Rose.
Cats started coughing and sneezing so off to the vet we went. I did not know that stress could bring on the herpes virus, or that lysine would stop the shedding and clear the virus. I gave the recommended Clavamox.
Artemis, my CKD girl responded badly and the vet gave her transdermal Baytril. Foo was not so lucky.
Foo started having explosive diarrhea. He had no appetite. One day I reached down to pet him and felt nothing but hipbones. We had done stool samples, Metro, Albon, no parasites and nothing working. Started Prednisolone, 5 mgs a day for an 8 lb cat that used to be 10 pounds. I cut out kibble and put him on human grade canned. He was only about one and a half years old and so sick. He hunched and he hid. He did not play anymore. I tried all canned, Hills/I/d. No change and just a sick baby. Had him tested for Pancreatitis. Negative.
I started to think about trying Leukerin because prednisolone was not working. Nothing was working. My baby was wasting away in front of my eyes and I did not know how to fix it!
Somewhere I saw that raw might help. I went out and bought Natures Instinct lamb. He ate it!! He vomited seconds later. It had clove and other things cats did not need. I was devastated.
I tried novel proteins, lamb and venison in the canned formulas, I could not find a rabbit without veggies and did not want to feed a carnivore veggies. Foo continued to have explosive diarrhea.
Six months later, I found Vital Essentials Rabbit for dogs. The lady at the store said supplement with taurine. I bought it and fed it. Three days later I had solid poo!!!! Three days!!! Foo loved it, and I loved it too! His fur remained spiky and I passed that off as IBD. I was afraid to take him off the pred. He started getting constipated.
I found help in the raw groups on face book and realized he was getting too much bone. I started adding raw pork chunks. What a difference that made. Now we are cutting the pred to every three days. Fur looks good and Foo has a kitten’s energy. I am working on getting him to eat more whole raw, and off the ground. I cannot believe how good he looks now.
Love from a very healthy Foo!
~ Carol; February 2014
Our trip to raw food began about 6 years ago. Wuzzworth was eating dry on demand and wet food twice daily, but was beginning to vomit after each meal. The vet told me he was ‘allergic’ to something in the food, and to try a different brand. So I switched, and all was well for about 6 months before starting all over again. This pattern was repeated over and over for 2 years, but the time without vomiting was getting shorter and shorter. And as an added bonus, he had frequent gas, and his bowel movements (diarrhea) were so amazingly stinky he would jump out of the box and gag. I’m not kidding, the stench was powerful enough to wake you. I tried candles, air freshener, Lysol. NOTHING could cover that smell! Poor Wuzzy had dropped some much needed weight, was always hungry, and now he was a gas bag.
Then I met my husband Scott in 2009 and he had 3 cats of his own, all with different needs: Kosh was a special needs kitty and was on prescription dry food. The vets had removed his entire urinary tract due to blockages about 12 years previously and he didn’t have complete control over his bladder and was losing weight. Baby was extremely overweight and Squeakey was on the skinny side and needed to gain about 2 pounds.
So now there were 4 kitties in my life, all with very different needs I thought. We started Wuzzworth on hypo-allergenic food and he seemed to be doing well for about 6 months but then the vomiting returned. What now? I started doing research and came across a startling fact: cats are obligate carnivores. This stunned me. No wonder he was sick, he couldn’t digest his food!
I entered research mode, and read about cat’s dietary needs for 2 months. I came across a recipe for raw cat food (ground) on a vet’s website, discussed it with my husband and we decided to give it a try.
I started out slowly as this would be a huge change for the little guy, and I cooked the ingredients and ground them up. He really seemed to enjoy the food. But here’s the amazing part: after 2 days he didn’t have gas. After 4 days no more death stench from the cat box! And after a month I noticed other things like his fur was shinier, and the pads on his paws didn’t look ashy, and he was sleeping less and playing more. He was a new cat!
I slowly stopped cooking the ingredients (I still grind 80% of it as Wuzzy has some missing teeth) and he’s so happy with his food. Then I turned to the other cats. If it did this well for Wuzzworth, why not them as well? It wasn’t easy to get Baby & Squeakey to switch. They had eaten dry food their entire lives and weren’t pleased with me at all. It took almost a month and every trick I could come up with before Squeakey would make the switch but it was worth it. Kosh’s weight had dropped to an alarming 4 pounds and that prescription food was not helping him. Thankfully he regained all his lost weight and started playing again. Baby lost some much needed weight, and Squeakey has filled out nicely.
November 2013 will mark 3 years of raw food. Kosh passed away in his sleep 3 weeks ago at the age of 18. We had 2 more quality years with him thanks to raw food. Wuzzworth continues to do well, no vomiting, no gas, no diarrhea, and will be 16 in September. Baby continues to lose weight is is down to a voluptuous 12 pounds. She’ll be 15 this year. Squeakey is up to 8 pounds and has never looked better. She’ll be 12 this year.
~ Selena Withrow; March 2013
I had been following CatCentric for some months before I made “the change.” It was clear that my kitties weren’t getting the nutrition and stimulation they were meant to have. The last straw was finding out that the pet food industry was using euthanized pet in their products! Things had to change!
So, I went “cold turkey” – literally. My big boy, Spike, was a stray and very used to eating prey. His little brother, Clyde, was a feral kitten familiar with the scent of prey and no doubt had tried some himself.
They took to this raw diet like it was a gift from cat heaven. No turning up of noses; no digestive problems at all. They overcame any qualms quickly, including being crated for meals. In fact, Clyde learned to unlock his crate in short order! Quite a surprise. Also, their litter box is, ahem, sweeter smelling and we use less of it. They are indeed processing most of their food.
All in all, I’m totally sold on raw feeding. Our kitties are happier, sleeker, and enjoying each other more.
Thank you, CatCentric, for giving cat parents the knowledge and instruction we need to give our furry felines what they crave and need to “live long and prosper.”
My cats salute you! ~ Laura; April 2012
“We switched from kibble to canned, then canned to raw about 5 years ago. I was sick of seeing my cats vomiting, shedding, and being lazy all day. They were overweight, and stiff. My elderly cat had stopped walking, and would cry and cry for me to stay with him. The vet said he was just constipated, but I knew it was something else.. a mommy feeling, you could say. Turns out he has severe arthritis in his hind end and cancer.
He was the reason we switched! This cat is my soul mate, and I couldn’t stand to see him in pain any longer. The switch to canned food was good for all the cats, they lost weight and their fur got softer. After two weeks of detox (the worst runs! Yuck!) we started to learn about raw – and contacted a local woman who had just started out making her own ground raw.
Our transition was a long one, with four cats (ages 6 mths to 13 yrs) with wildly different backgrounds and personalities, it took us EIGHT MONTHS to switch from canned to raw only. Then another while to get them off ground raw and used to chunks/bones. It was a long process, but totally worth it in the end.
Zaqkeri, the eldest, was actually an easy one to switch. I’ve had him since he was a kitten. This guy would eat ANYTHING I gave him, as long as I was the one to feed it to them. He took to raw like a fish to water, and even when we switched to bones and chunks, he did just fine. He loved eating pinkie mice and whole prey as well! There were so many changes with my old man, once switching to raw. He was initially overweight, and stiff. He never played with the others, just spent his time sleeping and eating. His fur was dull and brittle, and his teeth were awful, he vomited multiple times a day, and he had recently stopped walking from pain in his hind end. Only weeks into raw, he surprised me one day by batting at a toy on the floor near a cardboard box. I was so elated! THEN, he started to wrestle the toy, running around the box, rolling around in the box, and being a general goof! I just sat there, crying. This cat who a month prior refused to walk because he was in so much pain, was PLAYING. I hadn’t seen him do that in at least 5 years. His teeth cleaned up within 6 months, but it took his fur a LOT longer to grow out the brittle/unhealthy stuff. The best part is probably that he has almost stopped vomiting altogether! He still gets the odd hairball (from being the only cat who will clean EVERYONE else and so he ingests all their hair too) and that causes him to vomit – but going from multiple daily piles to a hairball every month or so is a HUGE improvement! He also seems to be sensitive to certain meats (where none of the other cats are) and will regurgitate any tripe or venison. I am sure the hairballs and sensitivity to random meats are caused by my ruining his digesting tract with so many years of kibble. He is 17 now, and doing wonderfully.
Penelope was a rescue we got at 4yrs. She was HUGE! Poor ladycat, just a giant pile of fat in fur. We were told she was antisocial, hated to play, and didn’t like affection. Her story is pretty easy, she was fed Alley Cat with her previous owners, switched to raw with us (from canned) and lost ALL her excess weight. She also loved my boyfriend more than life itself, and tolerated me just fine. She came out of her shell once we switched to raw fully, became a playful and affectionate (in her way) kitty. She liked to sit behind you on the sofa and groom your head, it was her way of saying “I love you!”. She was a gem. (Penelope sadly passed away last year, she had a large inoperable tumor in her abdomen. She was only 6.)
Jasper was the next kitty to switch, he has terrible IBS on kibble. At 12 weeks old he would get the runs so bad we’d have to wash his bum off every day! Switching to canned helped a lot, but he still had anal gland issues (which caused him to have a VERY stinky butt – cuddling was NOT fun). Once we switched to 100% raw, he hasn’t had the runs or anal gland issues! He is a much happier kitty when he goes to the litter box now.
Elliot was a VERY sick kitten when we got him. I found an ad on Kijiji for a sick, black, kitten. I saw the picture and my heart broke. He clearly had a terrible URI and wasn’t getting treatment. I emailed them immediately and they brought him over the next night. They had told me he was 9 weeks old, and they had taken him from his feral mother a few weeks prior. This kitten was tiny enough to fit in the palm of my hand, and so skinny he was literally just a sack of bones. They said they were feeding him kibble, and their large dog was harassing him so they needed him gone. I set him up in our bathroom, and he couldn’t even eat the kibble they gave me! I had canned food and he ate that perfectly fine, we went to the vet the next day and they let me know he was actually only 6 weeks old. Which means he was taken from his mother at FOUR WEEKS and fed nothing but hard kibble. The vet was surprised he wasn’t dead yet. He got some antibiotics and we went home. The next day, he stopped showing any interest in food. We had to force syringe feed him for two weeks, every few hours, to keep him alive. Because of this, he is extremely bonded to me, but still very much a feral cat. He loves raw, and had NO issues switching over. He has allergies and herpes, and switching to raw made his flareups from herpes all but disappear AND his allergies not as horrible (they didn’t go away completely until we re-homed our birds – who knew a cat could be allergic to birds!).
Charlie was on death’s door when we found her with a terrible eye infection in both eyes that left her 90% blind. She was a kibble-fed barn kitten (12 weeks) someone begged me to take in because they knew she wouldn’t survive the winter. Her infection was so bad you could smell her face rotting. I had a friend rush her into the vet for me the next day, as I had to work, and they were amazed she was still around with an infection that bad. We switched her to raw IMMEDIATELY, and the next few weeks she did a complete 180! The vet said he’s never seen such a quick turn around in such a sick kitten; he had been sure she wouldn’t make it. A few weeks later, she went back in and other than losing one eye completely, and being 90% blind in the other (and most likely losing most of her sense of smell) she was healthy and ready to live! In my opinion, raw saved her life – the medications helped, but the vet said he thought she’d be dead even with the antibiotics.
We have since transitioned another kitten (Mia) to raw, and our two chihuahuas are raw-fed as well (Betty & Goose). Everyone is doing well, and we’ll never go back to crapple!” ~ Kelly; March 2012
“We knew nothing about cats when that first litter turned up in our yard in 2002. One gray-and-black tiger striped kitty was abandoned by his family, so what else could we do but bring him inside to care for him full time? And when the vet suggested we feed kibble, we didn’t know any better. He’s a vet, we trusted his knowledge. It met the need for their natural hunting pattern, he said, many small meals a day. That sounded logical to us. Of course… the vet didn’t point out that cats are true carnivores, and almost nothing about a diet of kibble meets their natural nutritional needs. But that “tiger” kitty, Lazlo, launched a love of feral cats and rescue. Two years later, with five cats inside-only, one of the boys was constantly in and out of the box. Off to the vet we went. When the other two boys subsequently blocked, the vet suggested we put them on a prescription diet. He also suggested we provide two wet meals of food a day (of prescription food) to increase their water intake.
It wasn’t until 2010 when we rescued our FIV+ boy, Chumley that our “world of nutrition” began to evolve. He had chronic diarrhea (about 20% of FIV+ cats do), and our regular vets were unable to solve the problem. We sought a holistic D.V.M. The first thing she addressed was his diet. And her response was startling. “There is NO reason for a cat to be eating kibble. EVER.” She advocated raw, but we weren’t ready. Instead, we made the switch to an all canned diet.
Her short speech did spark at least a mild interest in cat nutrition, and I began some half-assed research. I tend to be a “science based” person, and there were no well designed, “definitive” long term studies comparing cats on raw with cats eating canned or kibble. So I just focused on what canned food to feed them – what will cause the least harm approach. But I didn’t dig very deep. And what information I could find on feeding raw was either anecdotal, theoretical, or supported my fears.
On a cat health forum, I argued against raw because of my cursory knowledge and the little research I had located. And Tracy was always on the other side of that argument. It was Tracy’s knowledge, patience and non-confrontational style that enabled me to make the right choice in the end. She might have been sitting at her keyboard, wanting to pull her hair out (or mine! LOL) on several occasions, but if that were the case, she never let on. She kept providing resources and information.
Despite her well informed arguments and seemingly tireless effort, it wasn’t until the debate shifted its focus from raw food and its benefits and risks to what we are actually feeding our cats when we buy canned or kibble (even most of the “super premium” brands), that I became less and less willing to feed that “food” to my babies. When I realized that we’re feeding our cats something that can only barely be considered food (and never mind the toxin content) when we pour a bowl full of kibble or pop the top on a can, the guilt in doing so became overwhelming. Yet Tracy was not waiting there with an “I told you so.” Tracy reached out with a helping hand and offered support, encouragement, and yet even more information, help, transition tips, and menu planning.
I am compelled to add that I was truly astounded at the change in my cats’ behavior. They weren’t even eating 100% raw when I began to see the changes. With eight cats living in a small space with two people, the impact was stark. We’ve been very creative about providing vertical space to maximize the usable space they have. But hisses, spats, bops and whaps were not uncommon. We just thought it was normal with this many cats in this kind of space. Well, I have to adjust that statement now. It was normal with 8 kind of cranky cats – cranky, because they didn’t feel as well as they should or could. All of our cats are feral rescues, brought inside at different times and ages. After I started feeding raw, the other kitties stopped chasing down our pariah kitty, Spooky. In fact, Spooky and Billy (the one most notorious for chasing her down) have been playing. Yes, tails-up PLAYING together. Our pariah is also quite a pissy girl. She has taken an increasing amount of time to accept new introductions. Our last rescue (Chumley) was 1½ years ago, and Spooky was, until recently, STILL hissing at him if he entered her line of sight. Imagine our surprise when Chum was sprawled out on the bed, and Spooky hopped up, looked at him, LICKED HIM ON THE HEAD, and continued on for her snuggle! *thud* Tuxedo, our feral baby boy deemed too aggressive to be adoptable, had most recently been beating up on our handicapped (cerebellar hypoplasia) kitty, Ming Loy. It had been a daily event for going on two weeks, and regularly required our intervention. Just two or three days into feeding them raw food, the aggression completely stopped. Cats that historically haven’t seem to like each other have been grooming each other; cats that have had an antagonistic relationship have been playing with each other! And while there hasn’t been an actual kitty pile, they’re far less territorial, much more tolerant, and … just generally… happier!
When I wondered about the connection between the diet and their behavior, Tracy provided an example I immediately understood. If you’ve been on a junk food binge, and start eating only health food, it takes just a day or two before you have more energy, you sleep better – you all around feel better. You’re more patient, more tolerant, and less “snappy.” And cats fed a proper, species-appropriate diet, feel better. They not only have more energy, they’re happier. And that cannot be measured in any study.
Tracy, our kitties and I thank you!
Laurie (and Lazlo, Sheldon, Spooky, Tuxedo, Flowerbelle, Ming Loy, Billy & Chumley!)” ~ Laurie; March 2012
“Bugsy is the love of my life….. He also knows well how to keep me on my toes! Since the day I got him, it seems to have been one problem after the next….. I was told by his first vet that this was most likely due to poor breeding…… Bugsy’s first diagnosis upon coming to my care, were LPS Stomatitis, IBD, and he also seemed to be allergic to chicken.
His Stomatitis, thank goodness, is being handled with daily medication (no steroids) and annual dentals, but we have never got a good handle on his digestive issues.
After doing a through elimination diet, we finally settled on Orijen fish…. and for wet, more fish based foods as well. He did do well on that…. Until that one day I woke up at 2am with him jumping in and out of the litter box – he had also a lot of blood…. all that fish and dry had finally caught up to him in the shape of an UTI.
The ER vet put him on Clavamox, and so my nightmare begun – that was October 11th, 2010. From that first dose of Clavamox on, Bugsy was never again the same. He developed a violent diarrhea that would persist, no matter what, for the next 14 months.
I can’t list how many rounds of metronidazole we have done…. Sulfazalazine…. Prednisolone…. Tylan…. Amforol…. You name it. Reglan for emergencies…. oh yes – tests, emergency visits, different diets, different probiotics…. Dry, wet, grain free, high fiber, high protein, hypo allergenic foods – from different RX companies – in both wet and dry…. You name it, we tried it… to no avail.
All that medication at one point took its toll on Bugsy’s liver. His ALT and ALkP levels started shooting up and kept going up – we had to suspend all medications, including his stomatitis medications before his liver was seriously compromised.
This had, of course, a negative impact for his teeth….. His stomatitis got so bad, he had a sudden periodontal disease “attack” along with it and ended developing deep abscesses in several of his teeth, and had to have multiple removals. After his recovery, we waited a couple of months to check his liver and finally received the “all clear” to put him back on stomatitis meds again – thank goodness!
His diarrhea, with time, got as good as we could get with a hypoallergenic diet, 2 probiotics – one of which was align, which made a big difference for him, and a herbal supplement. He could no longer take drugs… This was “the best” we could do. He never got all better though…. While he did not have violent diarrhea anymore, he did not have formed poop either – it was always very soft, a lot in volume….. and just not normal. I am sure he did not feel ok.
His only option, since he could not process drugs, was exploratory surgery…. And I did have that scheduled twice. On the first time I decided to cancel it from shear fear….. after a talk with my mom….. And on the second… Well…. That is where Raw comes into play.
For the longest time I have been fighting against raw…. Literally. I was always afraid of this diet, and for any advantage Tracy, or as I call her dearly, 🙂 Aunty Crazy :), would tell me about Raw, I would promptly throw back an equally defensive reason to be away from the diet, and to not feed it. I did this F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Until the day I ran out of options – on one side it was exploratory surgery – with not only all the risks, but also with the acknowledgment, that very likely I would not be able to treat him anyway as he couldn’t take the drugs for whatever the diagnosis would be…. So really – what was the point of all that pain and risk? And on the other side….. This diet… against which I had fought SO much for so long! Well – Raw it was!
Well… Because of wacko immune system, we started him slowly, and on HHP meats…. and he did beautifully! Long Story Short (well, not so much, really 🙂 ), on day eight of his transition – ONE DAY after being 100% on raw – ONE DAY – he had 100% formed, divided, solid poop. And he never, ever again had a bout of diarrhea – not a single one. His energy levels have increased considerably – his mood has changed SO much! The kitty who was always alone, isn’t so any longer – he now plays with the other two kitties and jumps everywhere around the house.
His vet is extremely pleased, and believes now that all the additives in commercial foods were pushing his IBD. He said there was no way for Bugsy to get away from that aside from being on raw.
He also believes there is a high chance of the stomatitis inflammation getting better with time, as they are often related with IBD, and once take care of one, you help in reducing the other too – he will be monitoring his gums carefully with the goal of removing him from all meds in the future.
I have no doubt in my heart that Raw saved Bugsy from a grim future…. A future of possible Pancreatitis, and God Forbid, Lymphoma. Untreated IBD, never stays at only IBD…. and today, it fills my heart to know that we are looking into a brighter, healthier future, all due to a very simple concept…. Feeding the diet nature intended – sounds logical, doesn’t it?
Tracy…. Dearest Auntie Crazy 🙂 Thank you so much for never, ever giving up on us…. Thank you for working so close with us, every day, no matter what time, to make this possible…. Because of what all I learned from you, I have three little carnivores in my house today…. And there are not enough “thank you”s for that – hugs and love from all of us –
Carolina, Bugsy, Lucky and Hope.” ~ Carolina; February 2012
“I have been feeding my gang frankenprey in the morning and canned food at night for a good period of time now…. Initially, all my cats were weaned from commercial foods, both dry and wet to the diet they eat now. In that time, the most notable aspect has been the condition of their coats. When I first got them, they all had variations of dry, dandruffy fur, and Lacey had a really greasy coat. Today, all except Sasha have very luxurious silky, shiny coats and I no longer need to bathe them unless they get soiled by other cat means.
The other wonderful benefit to this diet has been the maintenance of a very normal weight, high activity level, and visible muscle tone. I can honestly say my cats are very physically fit and they feel great! Egypt is 4 years old and she acts the same as my 9 mos old kitten. She plays, she frolics, she runs and climbs…she’s full of life!
When I first got Egypt, she had a very bad Herpes flare-up and I had to give her L-lysine regularly, but that stopped about 6 months ago and she’s had no issues since, except a flare-up when she was boarded due to the stress. When we got back home, after about 2 days, her eye was weepy and the sneezing began, but I got my handy L-lysine and in about 3 days, she was back to normal; it’s almost a year later, and nothing.
Azalia’s poo would wake the dead when she was on dry. Literally, I was woken a few dozen times or so only to run to the bathroom to shut the door to contain the foulness of that defecation. I tried so many foods: Wellness, EVO, Iams, etc. and the smell would not get any better. Don’t get me wrong, she will always be a stinky butt, but no longer to that extent. Once the poo is buried, the smell dissipates unlike before. This is the benefit I am most grateful for.
The last time I took Egypt to the Vet, she had an oral exam and passed with flying colors. I was very worried since I adopted her with 2 broken upper canines. At the shelter, they said most likely her teeth would have to come out in the near future. Her new Vet was amazed at how clean her teeth were for her to be 4 years old. Not only has she kept them, but she chews through bone like a champ.
And the last thing I have noticed that really makes me feel warm inside to have chosen to switch their diet is the utter joy I witness when they eat their raw. They truly enjoy what they eat. Of course, they’re excited about food in general and they eat dry treats every now and again, but Azalia will hunger strike if she doesn’t get that raw in the morning. There is no question what they prefer here!
I know many of us wonder if we are doing the right thing by going a bit unconventional and I am here to state that for my kitties, this was absolutely the best thing I have ever done for them hands down!!!” ~ Dweamgoil (moniker); December 2011
“As of the beginning of March, we have been one hundred percent raw!” ~ Dweamgoil; update April 2012
I have a 14 year old cat and a 2 year old cat who both went from eating low quality kibble, to better quality kibble, to canned, and then eventually to franken prey raw. I have to say I’ve seen the biggest change in Sassy, my 14 year old cat. She spent years eating nothing but Nutro kibble and canned tuna. Despite that she managed to avoid any major health issues – and before doing my research I always thought that meant she was healthy. But it’s the little changes I’ve seen in her that have made the most impact on me. Nothing anyone tells me will ever convince me to go back to a kibble only diet for my cats.
Sassy used to have an extremely dull, dry coat with terrible dandruff. She had a very low energy level, and the last few years I noticed she suffered from a little stiffness in her joints. She would no longer jump onto the table, she would jump onto a low chair and then onto the table. She would hesitate before jumping off of things, and occasionally even ‘ask’ me to come over and put her on the ground. I brought my concerns up with a vet but was assured that kind of thing happened when a cat got older, and was then told to buy some prescription kibble for cats with arthritis.
Sassy has always been a very petite cat. Before I started switching her food she started losing weight, to the point where I realized one day that I could feel every bump on her spine when I would pet her. Another vet visit, this time with blood and urine tests – another clean bill of health and a recommendation for a completely different prescription kibble. It was then I decided to get serious about improving both my cats’ diets.
When I switched Sassy to a grain free kibble I saw slight improvements in her coat quality. When I switched her to canned food only she had more energy, she stopped sleeping so much and started wanting to play again. I was pleased then, but I was committed to going raw because I wanted better control over what my cats where eating (I dealt with some moldy and one terribly smelling can of food, and was just not pleased with commercial food in general).
It took weeks to get Sassy to the point where she would chew raw meat, where she recognized it as food. Once we got there I made the final leap to cut out canned food as well, and went 100% raw on August 29, 2011.
It took two weeks on 100% raw before something amazing happened. I was preparing breakfast and Sassy was super excited for her morning meal. She was impatient for her food, meowing and winding through my legs, and then she suddenly stopped and put her front paws against the side of the counter. She stretched up as far as she could, checking the distance to the top, and when she decided she could make it… she hopped right up onto the counter where I was preparing her food. Like it was nothing, like it was effortless for her.
I really, truly almost started crying right there. She hadn’t been able to do that in years. Before that I’d had moments where I would be watching my cats eating raw chicken or crunching bones and I’d wonder what the heck I was doing with this raw thing – but I knew, right then, that this was absolutely the right thing for them, and that all the time I’d invested had been completely worth it.
And today Sassy is almost a completely different cat. She has zero issues with dandruff, her coat is probably the softest and shiniest it’s ever been, she has the energy to run around chasing Moxie (my other cat), she’s actually started playing again, she doesn’t seem to have any problem jumping onto or off of her favorite perches, and best of all… She’s gained weight! I can’t feel her spine or hip bones when I pet her anymore. And on those occasions where I’m low on time and give my cats a meal of canned food Sassy does not view it as a special treat – I have to sprinkle something tasty on it just to get her eat it! These were the canned foods she used to love, and now she much prefers her raw food.
As for Moxie, my younger cat… She took about half a second to switch over to raw food. Moxie knew real food when she tasted it, and it was her confidence with raw beef heart and raw chicken wings and raw anything else that helped reassure me that raw meat really was perfectly safe for them. And once on raw food Moxie’s weight problems also resolved themselves – she lost weight gradually, and is finally looking about ideal weight wise.
I just do not have enough good things to say about switching my cats to a raw diet.
Auntie Crazy, you were definitely a big part of helping me gain the confidence to try raw food with my cats in the first place. When I started researching I thought raw cat food required a meat grinder and all kinds of weird supplements, and it was all so confusing. And then I came across your melamine to frankenprey article…
All the information you’ve posted online and the calm, rational way you talk about feline nutrition really reassured me that raw meat wasn’t going to damage my cats in any way. And of course it did quite the opposite – but I might never have gotten the courage to take that plunge without seeing for myself that raw fed cats can thrive on a natural diet. (DUH!)
Now it all seems so painfully obvious. Real food is better than processed food! Carnivores should be eating meat; not corn, soy, wheat, berries, potatoes, etc.! ~ Miranda; September 2011
“Hi there! I just wanted to thank you for the advice you left in my thread about ‘How To Get Isis To Gain Weight’. You mentioned that I should buy Whole Life Meat Treats for her food. I bought the pure white chicken meat and the liver treats and so far, she has gained 6 oz.
Thank you so much, I have learned so much from reading all your posts and links to webpages. I am slowly transitioning Isis to raw and plan on moving my dog, Sasha in that direction as well.
Thank you so much again! Take care.” ~ Heidi; September 2011
“You very patiently answered my billions of questions when I was first starting out, and encouraged me to take my time and become comfortable with feeding them this way. I really think that your helpful mentoring reduced a lot of my stresses and concerns with raw feeding.
Myself and my kitties all thank you!” ~ Becky; August 2011
“I just wanted to say a quick thank you for all the effort you put into the Raw Forum here. Your experiences, transition story, menus, and advice, have all really pushed me to go 100% raw, which I’m happy to say we finally are! … This is something I never thought I could do for animals, but your passion about it made it a lot less scary, and I think I’m ready for it (even bone!).
Thanks for your insight and experience, and for making the quality of life better for my three girls…they thank you too!” ~ Brianna; February 2011
Bailley, Mooch, Patches and Phantom ~ Beth Laubenthal; December 2009
Created 12/02/11; Updated 09/19/14