Thursday, July 9, 2015

My new grinder for making raw food is AWESOME!!


Jack waiting for me to drop pieces of chicken for him while making cat food,
affectionately called 'chicken raining from the sky day'
So making raw food for seven cats is not fun but it is completely worth it.  I credit a good diet as a major reason why Jack is still with us, as well as a few other of our cats, and my younger cats having amazingly clean teeth.  I wish my cats would eat 'frakenprey' and I wouldn't have to grind it, but I have at least one cat that won't eat even muscle meat, let alone chew on a bone, so I could never be sure my cats got a balanced diet, not to mention I don't think my husband would like the idea of dishing out livers every day (because I know I don't) or kidneys, or other organs... so we grind.

Which is one reason why I am a full supporter of 'do what you can'.  Feeding mice and chicks appear to be the healthiest way to feed a cat, frakenprey (bits of meat on bone a bit of organ) would be the next option, ground raw, canned, and then kibble (not sure if I should put freeze dried food before or after canned, as I think it is pretty subjective). I also believe if you know better you do better.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but at some point you'll find yourself questioning things and hopefully because I and others talk about it you will be more willing to do it.

So.. we grind.  When I first started making raw food years ago I purchased a basic grinder that was recommended. The idea of raw food was so overwhelming that I didn't want to dive into the middle of the ocean (aka way beyond the deep end) so I bought the lower end model. It works well enough, but in order to get the chicken thighs (which I do not cook, but I follow the rest of the recipe at catinfo.org) in the grinding tube I would have to cut them in half or in thirds. I would cut near the bone so I would have one side with bone, and one side without. I HIGHLY recommend you spend money and get yourself a fabulous knife*, this isn't something you want to hack your way through especially if you are making 60+ pounds of food. I would grind the bones first, add the supplements (and something green - because without a very small portion of green veg {parsley, or cooked green beans or cooked broccoli} which generally comes out to about 2% of the recipe) then grind the meat.

Doing it this way it would take an hour or more of just grinding. For a month of high quality food for my cats it is totally worth it, but every month I would dread it more than going to the dentist.

For my birthday I asked for the 3/4 HP model, and OHMYCOD.. I am actually sad we didn't do this years ago.


I know that is a horrible photo, but I was in the middle of making food, and I had to stop and take a photo for this love letter to my Weston Electric Meat Grinder.. Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways..

Okay, honestly there is only one way, that it grinds the entire freakin thigh!!  There were a few very large thighs that I would have previously had to cut into thirds that I only needed to cut once, but that was rare. This round I added some boneless skinless thighs to round out the thigh weights to five pounds per batch, some chicken breasts cut up into cubes for chewing on for my cats who are willing to do that, and some green beans. I found some 'canned' beans that were not in cans so I didn't have to worry as much about BPA, although they were in plastic bags, so I'm sure there was some chemicals in there I wish weren't, but I can't micromanage everything... and considering everything I know I've weeded out by making my own, I will allow myself to make choices that make this easier for me.

This went so much faster, that we are planning on filling up our freezer next time. We are going to have to buy more containers to put the food in, and we need to eat up some of our own food that is in the freezer, but I'm actually looking forward to that.. and that alone was worth the price.

Although Jack might not be happy that there will be fewer "chicken raining from the sky' days..



* seriously, even if you don't make raw cat food, you need to own a really good quality knife, I mean a $100+ knife, it will change your life, it really will.

15 comments:

  1. I'm a wimp and not ready to do this, but - you actually buy chicken legs and thighs and just grind them whole?? No cutting off the bone or anything? Wow.

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    1. did I mention I won't touch raw chicken to feed myself? So you are talking to the biggest wimp out there, and some how I did it. Although I did have additional motivation in that two of my cats blocked.. but yes, 90% of the chicken thighs I bought that had bone in them went into the grinder right out of the package. the rest were a little large and I just cut a big chunk of the meat off and fed them through separately. easy peasy.

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  2. I hope that someday I can convince the hubby that going raw is the ONLY WAY TO GO! I make a big deal out of buying cans, and fuss and worry over the content of the canned food, and how I've read that raw is really what we want. He once was a meat-cutter for a living, and all of those training sessions about germ contamination are buried so deep in his brain, that he cannot see past that...right now. What I need to do it get him to a live demonstration, where he can see for himself. I'm totally sold, and this post just makes me MORE determined to do it! And your love-letter to the new grinder is wonderful; keeping your kitties healthy, made by your own efforts, is the reward. Good for you!

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    1. well a cat's stomach acid has a PH of 2.0 so for the most part any pathogens that are on the meat are taken care of. remember that cats will eat carrion, and you know rotted flesh is not pristine.

      Not to mention that commercial foods have had far more incidents of contamination then raw foods ever have :) and you get the bonus of knowing EXACTLY what is in your food.

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  3. Is it electric? As you know, I feed raw to two and canned to another currently, but I did make my own raw for a short period for Tucker years ago. I'm glad this investment will pay off.

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    1. it is electric, and so much quieter than my old less powerful grinder.. it's AWESOME! oh wait, did I mention that.. well it is! lol

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  4. This is really fascinating. I've always asked people if they make their own and most don't. We buy raw frozen here and a lot of times the cats get tired of it and I can fall back on another flavor. Until they get tired of that... but we've never tried making it. I've always been a little squeamish about it, or afraid I'll mess up. But then again it seems hard to mess up because in the wild they'd just have at it and eat what they wanted off the animal...I need to take a leap at some point when I buy a freezer and figure this out... Thanks for sharing!! - Alana.

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  5. Dang, I'm plenty hungry now and we''ve thought about that idea too!

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  6. Wow, we think you should have titled this post: Chicken Raining from the Sky Day. There is not a person who reads cat blogs who wouldn't stop in to see what that was about. Mom has not ventured into making raw food and suspect that with eight of us to feed, she won't. But we do appreciate reading about what others are doing and their recommendations. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

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  7. We're hoping that one day the head peep will do this, too. Your grinder makes it sound like it's easy. Every time she looks into it, she backs off of the idea because of how hard it's going to be, but you're giving us hope... especially Newton, who really liked eating frozen raw until it became hard to find reliably.

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    1. seriously, raw is NOT hard.. it is like treating a diabetic cat, the learning curve is a bit steep, but once you do it it's nothing.. Heck the hardest part is shelling out the money for the grinder.. because you are going to be all like 'what if they don't eat it, what will I do with it, it will be a waste of money'..

      It won't be, it will be worth it, do it :) (and if it doesn't work out you can probably sell your grinder on craigslist and recoop most of the money back)

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    2. seriously, raw is NOT hard.. it is like treating a diabetic cat, the learning curve is a bit steep, but once you do it it's nothing.. Heck the hardest part is shelling out the money for the grinder.. because you are going to be all like 'what if they don't eat it, what will I do with it, it will be a waste of money'..

      It won't be, it will be worth it, do it :) (and if it doesn't work out you can probably sell your grinder on craigslist and recoop most of the money back)

      Delete
  8. Paws up to you for making your own food. The mom says she just can't do this...at least not right now. We don't eat a lot of raw food, mostly the freeze-dried variety.

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  9. Chicken raining from the sky sounds pretty great! It is wonderful that you do this for your kitties and I know you have wealth of info about it. I can imagine for those on the fence about this decision, a grinder like this could make a big difference. Congrats on getting it!

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  10. Mum is interested but she 1. misses time, 2. is afraid of not having all the nutriments we need. We eat high quality canned food because we haven't found raw food (or frozen raw food) to buy here. Purrs

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