1 Aug 2016

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (crack)
While looking for help with my Party Cat problem1 on the blog of cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, I came upon the concept of raw feeding for cats. I read more at first out of curiosity, but eventually wanted to try it, and I was able to convince [personal profile] waxjism that it would be a good idea.

We had always free-fed our cats almost exclusively dry food, with occasional treats of wet food; but because our cats suffer from what I now know is the extremely common habit of just licking the sauce/jelly from canned wet food and leaving the meat bits, we had pretty much given up on wet foods as a waste of money.

But after talking about it and reading about it, we at least wanted to try to
  1. transition the cats to eating at specific mealtimes, which is the necessary 1st step in all the recommended solutions for Party Cats (we did it and it hasn't worked, but I guess hope springs eternal; plus, it's better, at least, and I'm not out of options) and

  2. remove most or all of the carbohydrates from their diets (we did it and we discovered that it makes their poop smell WAY better and also decreases, though doesn't eliminate, the frequency of their barfing).


We started by transitioning gradually to wet food, but this is a tall order because:

  1. All the cheaper wet foods and many of the expensive ones are bits-in-jelly-or-sauce and, as mentioned, the cats won't eat the bits, which is much more nutritionally worrisome when you're trying to make up the majority of their diet with it.

  2. The vast majority of wet cat food, including most of the really expensive ones, are so-called "supplementary" foods that aren't nutritionally adequate.

  3. The foods they like the best are the most expensive (Applaws, Canagan, Schesir, Thrive) but are somewhat too low in fat so even if we were made of money it wouldn't be good for them to just switch to those.


This is where the raw diet looks attractive, because it's fairly popular in Finland and high-quality, domestic pre-prepared raw foods for dogs and cats are easily available, and cheaper than feeding a canned diet (the drawback is that they're frozen, but it's worth it).

However, the cats didn't have the best reaction to my first few attempts.

  • Cubes of beef liver? No, they wouldn't touch it.

  • Cubes of ground salmon? They'll lick it and nibble it, but they won't eat it alone, and if it's mixed into canned food, they won't eat the canned food at all.

  • Ground turkey (a mixture of meat and organ, so not like the ground turkey you've encountered for people) today was the best result so far. Snookums eventually ate both portions of it, but the BB wouldn't even lick it off my fingertip.


The comparative cost of buying nutritionally-complete wet foods that the cats will actually deign to eat is going to get burdensome if we can't replace a good chunk of that with either raw or dry. In fact, that's why we introduced gluten-free dry foods again after initially tapering off the kibble they were eating before: we tried to just add a little of the old food back in after a couple of weeks and the sudden return to the old level of cat poo stink made us realize that while we hadn't even noticed when the stink was suddenly reduced, we can't live like that anymore.



1. I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but I mention frequently on Twitter that Snookums has a habit of waking me in the middle of the night because he's bored, and if I don't get up with him, he'll wake [personal profile] waxjism when she needs to get up early for work.

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