Saturday, April 14, 2012

Experiements in food

20+ years ago when I became a pet parent officially for the first time, I believed the rhetoric that all commercial food is the same (I mean my vet told me that so it must be true) and that dry food is good for the teeth.  So that is what I fed.  Emerald became diabetic.

Food was mentioned in her treatment, that high fiber would help slow the transition from food to glucose, so I attempted to put her on W/D, and she had explosive diarrhea.  I wasn't ready to contend with problems of diabetes and diarrhea, so with my (at the time) vet's OK I put her back on the food big bag of dry food that I bought at the local grocery store. Tig started peeing around the house eating that food.  He disappeared before we realized we should get him to a vet as he was an outside kitty.  Sometimes now I wonder if he didn't block and die a horrible death because of the food I fed him, but I prefer to think he found himself another home.. (Tig is one of my major regrets in life - but I did what I thought was best for him at the time, so I try not to let it get to me)

I started to hear talk that "premium" food was better then grocery store food.  That cheap food had cheap ingredients so I did some looking around at the pet store, and I picked out a dry premium food.  While feeding it one of my kitties blocked.  Then another.  While dealing with that, Em started losing weight, so I did MORE reading on nutrition.

I switched them all over to raw diet I made at home.  I had five cats, I spent an hour a month grinding up food.  I was still fostering and our clowder kept growing.  We had seven cats and it took more then an hour and we were grinding up 40-50lbs of chicken thighs at a time.  The smell of grinding bone is unique and after a year of it I started having visceral reaction to that smell.  It would turn my stomach and make me light headed.  I'd have to take a break half way through.  I decided to look into buying it commercially.

I bought Feline's Pride for a while, but the distributor (they don't sell it to pet stores, just independent distributors or online - and shipping was prohibitive to me) was two hours away and was a little sketchy to me, and I really started feeling very uncomfortable (she since is no longer a distributor) and so I looked for something local.  I went with Oma's Pride and fed that for some time.  Then some of my cats became ill and another ended up with a piece of bone stuck on his tooth the size of a dime.  I wrote to them and they couldn't have cared less and were very vague in answering my questions so I went in search of something else.  I've been feeding Bravo in chicken for quite some time.  We have tried other brands other flavors but none got the paw approval of all the cats.   We are not into feeding multiple flavors in a meal - that and we aren't into fostering competition in our cats.  But I am of the belief that having multiple sources of food is a good thing.  Granted they all will eat pretty much anything out of a can and all kibble, but at this point I equate kibble with cookies for humans and I don't think it is a source of real nutrition.

So long post short  (ha ha ha too late)

I made a purchase from Hare Today

Mice is one of the cat's natural prey, and it is the ideal diet.  Why no one makes a commercial mouse diet I have no idea, but Hare Today does sell ground up whole mice.  They also sell pinkies which are whole baby mice.  I'm glad they sell them ground up because I could NEVER feed mice into my grinder and I could NEVER feed them whole to my cats.. There is a lot I will do for them, but crying over their food is not one of them.  Hare Today also grinds up whole rabbits (more crying from me, as I have kept rabbits as pets so unfortunately I can't feed it) and grinds up goats and llamas and many other types of animals. 

(Kit just walked in with a toy in her mouth, I so love it when my kitties bring me toys)

It is sad when you think about it, but then again that can you popped open this morning or that bag of kibble you poured out also started with an animal being ground up - so we just won't go there.  This is the circle of life we are talking about..

I know full well that cats are creatures of habit and if they weren't introduced to it as young kittens then the chance of them accepting new foods right away is pretty low.  But we opened up a pack of ground mouse this morning and offered it.  Twee and Fleurp enjoyed it.  Jack took a few nibbles (wow, really? Jack eats anything I would have thought he would have enjoyed it) Eli was happy he found the chicken on the plate. 

Muffin was incensed.  But she's easily incensed.  She's kind of a diva.  No, she is a Diva.

Skippy.. Skippy I found quite interesting.  He has an extremely high prey drive and I thought he might have found it interesting, but then again it is food on a plate and not really prey.  I brought him back to it and encouraged him to give it a try.  He gave it another sniff, then turned away and shook his back paw at it.. I almost fell down laughing.

I'm trying to decide if I want to push the issue.  I could get them to like it by mixing it in with their current food and gradually increasing the amount over time.  But again shipping is prohibitive to me.    I can buy in bulk and they ship for a flat 19$ rate, but bulk is pretty bulky ($1000) Not that we can't handle that amount of food (we have a large freezer and a smaller one that isn't running at the moment) but still...

I also bought some llama and goat to try, I can't wait to see how that goes.
Fleurp is eating mouse, Eli has chicken
Since it wasn't a huge hit with The Crew, I thought I'd bring some down to Meira and see how that went. I stupidly did not bring my camera.. I had to run upstairs and get it and by that time the girls had eaten enough to slake their hunger and walked away.  They had descended upon it like little vultures and it made me laugh..

and when I finally left the kitten room I saw this..
I wonder what they were thinking.. either it was good, cause that stuff was gross! or hey, maybe we'd like to give that another try..


  1. I don't know about the llama and goat, because our domestic cats, even left to run wild, won't be bringing down either of those as prey. But mice and other rodents makes sense to me and I've also wondered why someone wasn't offering it as raw.

    If someone could come and convince my boys that raw was food, I'd be so thrilled to feed it. I'm just not up to the struggle, especially given that Derry barely even recognizes canned as food. That was struggle enough for me, and if that makes me a bad cat "mom," so be it. I don't think I'll ever be adopting again anyway, so my "bad" cat mom years probably are limited. :-P

    Let us know how it goes, though--I'll be curious!

  2. Anonymous1:18 PM

    I've always said minced mouse should be a cat food flavour

  3. My Mommeh has thought about ordering from Hare today, too! She feels sad when she thinks about all the years she fed me kibble. It took Harley being so sick with EGC until she researched and learned more about nutrition.

  4. I can so understand the back leg flipping thing. My cats also "bury" the food they deem as yucky after making a face at it. It's hilarious.

    After Cosmo's second hospital stay for blockage, I decided to homecook for everyone after looking at the ingredients of the prescription diet he was to eat for life (Cosmo won't go near raw) and he's been doing very well ever since. He's also a lot more active and has lost all the flab from eating too much carbohydrate from the dry kibbles.

  5. Even my human's DENTIST believed the myth about kibble being good for teeth! My human had to explain that it was like her recommending that her patients eat cookies all the time to keep their teeth clean!

    Now my human is wondering if I would like it she brought me home a raw organic chicken leg. All I know is I like KFC and chicken cat food in a can!

  6. This is really interesting as I have been thinking for a while that dry food is not good for Austin. Trouble is he loves Purina all in one so much! He isn't fat and doesn't seem to have health problems except for his teeth which he's always had. Our vet said that hard food is good for his teeth!!! Will be interested to see how things progress.

  7. What an interesting post. I too had a (former) vet who told me that prescription dry food was "best" for Tucker. But that's a long story for another time. . . shaking his back foot at it--I would have doubled over in laughter.

  8. Although mice makes purrfect sense, it also makes the mom a little queasy. I guess she thinks their vermin. She had the same reaction to raw chicken too, if you remember. She's not good with that kinda of thing and is probably better off not knowing what's in cat food.

  9. Interesting...its funny but I was offering little shrimps to the shelter cats this morning and I tried to offer them to about 12 different cats before I found one that would eat it! :P


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