The raw deal – a quest to go 100%

There is a lot of literature out there on feline nutrition which promotes feeding raw food to cats. Cats, being obligate carnivores, need to eat meat, and if possible, in its biologically appropriate form. They also need moisture in their food. Raw food meets these criteria.

All this while, I had been feeding the cats some raw food (Cubgrub) but they also eat canned food and kibble. Their diet has been a sort of “semua mau (rojak)” type – raw, canned and kibble. I noticed that the more variety I offer, the more demanding they become and usually, they will go for the tastier food. Unfortunately, as with human food, “tasty” does not necessarily mean it’s the best.

Lately I had been having a great deal of problem trying to figure out who wants what to eat. There’s just too many varieties (this started when Vincent was ill and I had to get all sorts of food to get him to eat and it continued with Zurik, so it’s really been more than a year of doing this). Feeding became a real problem when there are eight of them and I could no longer figure out who wants what in which meal.

With so much literature on the benefits of raw food, I do want the best of all our cats, but I know converting them to raw food would be an uphill task, especially for our fussy, picky and demanding geriatric cats!

But I wanted to try. This is especially so when they are all aging and a few of them already have kidney issues. They definitely need quality protein and moisture.

So, three days ago, with the encouragement and guidance from my friend, Cathy (who feeds raw food to all her cats and successfully converted even her older ones but with much persistence,tenacity and admirable effort), I began a quest to convert all our cats to raw food….

I know it’s not going to be easy, of course. But if raw food is the biologically appropriate food for cats, then I hope this will give them better health and wellbeing in the long run.

After all, “you are what you eat”.

I started my quest with these:

I am using Cubgrub and Primal, the latter being more of a treat and as sprinkles. And I need this weighing scale too.

Each cat’s daily portion has been calculated and each meal will be weighed.

I’m going for slow and gradual change here, so based on their current weight and “ideal weight” to be achieved (in stages, of course), these are their daily portions. I’ve also worked out how much to feed if it’s two sessions per day or three sessions per day.  The “Boys” include Cow, Bunny, Indy and Ginger.

Ginger is on serious weight-loss while Pole is on serious weight-gain. The rest are not as urgent.

It’s been three days now and so far, the one who needs the most discipline is….me. I must learn to be firm and not falter or give in to their demands. Initially I was so worried that they weren’t getting enough because they had been used to snacking all their lives – If one cat asks for a snack, the whole “village” gets it. This bad habit has to stop now.

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when Cow and Bunny only ate their 37g portions and did NOT ask for more. The rest took some persuasion, but they finally ate their portions too (with extras for Cleo and Pole because they would do well to put on some weight). It’s been almost 5 hours now and so far, no one has demanded for anything else.

For three days now, no one has eaten a single pellet of kibble too – not even Indy. To replace the previous kibble-treats, I use Primal. Maybe they don’t miss kibble so much because I had never used kibble as a full meal. It’s always been used as a snack or treat.

Seven of them have eaten only raw food for three days now. Only Heidi has refused Cubgrub (but she eats Primal and raw chicken fillet). She is still on canned food (but also no more kibble). She will be a tough nut to crack. But I’m slowly introducing a tiny bit of Cubgrub into her canned food but she would eat AROUND it. Well, one tiny bit by tiny bit at a time then…slowly. The reason I want to use Cubgrub or Primal is that both are balanced food. Raw chicken fillet isn’t balanced.

Cow and Bunny are the most obedient – they eat whatever they are given. The biggest brats are Indy, Ginger and Cleo. Indy will make a lot of noise to demand for what he wants. Ginger will sniff-go off-come-back (repeat 5-6 times) before he finally eats. Cleo will go on a hunger strike.

In this transition period, to be fair to them, I will ensure they eat at least once a day. So far, when all else fails, Primal still works. I have not needed to revert to canned or kibble…so far.

One thing I noticed is that ever since I stopped giving the “rojak” food of raw-canned-kibble and put purely on raw, Bunny’s vomiting has stopped. Otherwise, he is very prone to vomiting. All this while, I had been reluctant to put Bunny purely on raw food because he always had digestion problem. So, I’ve been mixing raw and canned for him. On hindsight now, I think perhaps the vomiting was a result of the mixing. Maybe when canned (cooked) and raw enter the stomach, it creates a problem for the digestive enzymes. So my assumption all this while had been wrong. So wrong! And I’m glad at least I know now that I was wrong. Hopefully, Bunny will continue to do well on 100% raw.

I took a very bold move to convert everyone to raw.  I really hope it will bring about better wellbeing and health for them. It would take very strict discipline on my part, of course, and that is something which I’m uncertain if I can achieve. But I shall certainly do my best. Cathy has been offering a lot of support, help and guidance for which I’m extremely thankful and without which I would never have got started in the first place!

Meal time!

This evening, Heidi must have had a memory lapse and forgot that she doesn’t like Cubgrub. She suddenly started licking the Cubgrub which I happened to place next to her! There was at least five good licks before she realised what she was eating and then she stopped! I didn’t dare move a muscle when she started eating because it was a magical moment!! By the time I reached out for my camera, she had stopped eating.

Previously, Heidi ate Cubgrub but for a few months now, she doesn’t want to eat it anymore. I hope I can get her to eat it again.

She is the last one to convert!

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