This post is part of our “Journey to Raw” series, published every Wednesday, and comes to you in her own words from retired pet groomer, Carol Dorr. Carol has worked with animals most of her life and is currently owned by six cats and two dogs, all rescues. Since retiring from grooming, Carol volunteers at a local cat-only shelter.
My journey into feeding raw was never affected by a fear of raw food, and it came about due to a fear of losing one of my precious cats. Years ago I fed kibble, good kibble, so I thought. My cats all lived to be old and they had no health problems. That brings us into the present time.
Artemis moved with me to Colorado. She hid a lot, but I just put it off to stress. She lost weight, and then one day she stopped eating all together. The vet said she needed to have some teeth removed. We did the blood work for the dental and discovered her kidney numbers were high; she had stage 3 CKD (chronic kidney disease). I did not make the connection to the kibble I was feeding. It had been ok in the past, so I thought, was the same brand and not a grocery store brand. She started eating again after her teeth were pulled and I gave her the fluids and medicine to help her get better. Her numbers did get better. She refused to eat the vet script food so I bought a kidney food online. Things were ok so I thought and I resigned myself to having to give sub-Q fluids to a six year old cat for the rest of her life.
We brought a puppy into our house and she came to us with kennel cough and Parvo. The cats all caught the kennel cough. Yes cats can get Bordetella, something I did not know at the time. Our vet prescribed Clavamox. I had two cats on meds at this time, Artemis for her CKD and Foote for his IBD. prednisolone and a wet vet script diet were keeping Foote ok, and Artemis was doing well on the fluids and meds, and canned food. I was keeping my vet in business with all the meds and the vet visits and the script food I was buying for Foote. Artemis responded badly to the Clavamox, so she was given transdermal Baytril. It worked for her, Foo was another story, he reacted badly to the Clavamox.
Foo is the kitty I almost lost. He began to have explosive diarrhea, and it did not go away after stopping the Clavamox. I took him back to the vet and we tried Flagyl, Albon, and prednisolone. Nothing was working! I had the prednisolone dosage upped, but refused another round of the Flagyl, (metronidazole). It tastes like battery acid, yes I did taste it, and it has made him shy of anything I try and give him in a syringe. He continued to vomit, have runny diarrhea, and lay around in the meatloaf position. I could tell he was miserable. He was losing weight, and his quality of life was declining. My next step was chlorambucil, it’s a chemo drug for cats with lymphoma, but is also used for cats with severe IBD.
I was six months into the meds and script food for Foo, and this new drug was expensive and scary for me, it’s a chemotherapy drug! I was terrified. I now know that cats do not get the side effects that humans get, but it still did not seem like a good option. I had read somewhere that raw food could help. I went out and bought different raw foods. I did not read the labels well, one had clove and Foo vomited that brand up instantly. I found some raw patties made of rabbit, nothing but rabbit, bones and the blood added back in. I added some taurine and in three, yes three, days I had solid poop!!! I was ecstatic! But it took a while before I was confidant enough to start all my cats on a raw diet.
Dre is the reason I finally started feeding all raw. I had switched to high quality canned for my cats. When we foster failed sweet Dre, my food bill went up so much I was constantly worried about if I would have enough money to feed everyone. One of the CatCentric FB group admins (Beth Laubenthal) had started writing an E-book on how to feed a Prey Model Raw (PMR) diet and I read what she had written. I did a bit more research and put all my cats, and my dogs, on a PMR diet. My food costs went way down.
Artemis, who did lose all her teeth but the canines and her front teeth due to Stomatitis, had her kidney values drop back to the normal ranges. She no longer needs sub-Q fluids, script food, or the meds. She has had normal kidney values for the last two raw fed years. I do substitute eggshell for her bone content sometimes, but she does also love when I cut her bones up small with the game shears. She does not act her age anymore, she is eleven years young now!
Foote is off the steroids and healthy and playful, Foo is the most mischievous little troublemaker and my one ton of Mega is a healthy weight. Feeding a species appropriate diet is the best thing I have done for my animals.
The transition for some was not easy. Stubbz was a kibble junkie. It took six months to convince him that raw meat was really food. It has taken even longer to convince Mega and Stubbz that liver and other organs are food, and I still need toppers, but it has been a very rewarding journey.
If you feed a home-prepared raw menu to your kitties and would like to see your story featured here, please contact us via private message through Facebook on our page or in our group or leave a comment below!