Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What I know - Why feeding raw isn't that expensive

So, in the past I've extolled the virtues of feeding a raw diet to your kitty. Often I hear, but it is expensive, I can not afford to feed my cat raw..

I totally understand that, I do. I've been homeless so I have run almost all of the gambit of the financial situations people can be in (I'm still waiting for the wealthy part..  if anyone has a couple of million to spare to help me achieve that, I'm game! )

I also understand change in and of itself can be expensive.  A lot of cats will not transition off their food due to the simple fact that they are cats and it is in their nature.  If they have been eating just one food or one type of food their whole life, getting them to try something else can be very very difficult.  But I implore you to all try it for the simple fact that one day you might NEED to change your cat's diet (be it on to raw, or something else for some reason we can't even think of yet) and if you are left with a stubborn cat who refuses to eat anything but what they have been eating you might be in a life or death situation.

So anyway.. price..

I ran out of raw food the other day and ran down to my local pet store and purchased not only a 5lb container of raw food, but four packages of dehydrated food so The Crew would have something for dinner. I picked up four packages of Stella & Chewy individual servings.  I knew this was not going to be a full dinner for seven cats but I had something else at home to complete the meal.  Each package was $1.89 and was designed to be equivalent to one 3 oz can of food.

Now I highly highly doubt that you feed $2.00 cans of food to your kitty.  A prescription can of cat food can run you almost $2.00 but those generally are 5-6 oz cans so it is per day.. a good quality canned food can run $1.50 a can, Fancy Feast is $0.58 per can so $1.16 per day and your generic Walmart brand of cat food works out to $0.44 a 5.5 oz can..  Non generic store brand cat food works out to about $0.50 a 5.5 oz can.. The general consensus is that canned food fed cats eat between 5-6 oz of food per day

Dry food?  The general consensus on feeding a dry food is 1/2 to 1 cup per day.  I would imagine the higher quality 'grain free' dry foods would be fed at the lower amounts while your general store brand cat foods would be at the higher amount.. but for the sake of this post not being a mile long lets just go with a cup. A three pound bag of food holds 12 cups.  Now we all know you can buy a bag 3lb of food for under $5 which works out to $0.42 a day a 3lb bag of grain free food can be $12 which is a dollar a day (and it goes up from there)

Raw?  I bought one five pound container of raw food at my local store. They come in 2, 5 and 10lb containers. The larger the container the smaller the per serving price and if I buy a case at a time I get a further discount. I thaw it out, and I feed my cats. I store the remainder in the fridge and it keeps for just shy of a week (I can make it last a whole week but it starts to smell a little stronger than I would like.  My cats still eat it just fine and have never had an issue when the food sits around)  If we thaw out more than we will feed in a week we will often refreeze it in smaller containers.   My big strong strapping kitties eat 2-3 ounces of raw per meal and we feed twice a day.  That five pound chub of food cost me $12 which works out to $0.15 per ounce or $0.60 to .90 per day.

(btw, all prices are based on buying in bulk.. 24 cans at a time, 3lbs of dry food, etc)

I can bring that price down even further if I make my own food.  Granted to do so you need a grinder (actually you don't need a grinder as a lot of people feed their cats what is called 'frankenprey' but often getting an adult cat on to non ground raw food is a bit more complicated so that would be information for another post) Buying chicken thighs, livers, eggs and a few supplements often means you can feed for .09 or .10 an ounce, bringing the cost to $0.36 - 0.60 per day..

Now, admittedly feeding generic food is cheaper, but in our own diet eating a continual diet of McDonald's food is cheaper than what we generally eat, but we generally do not do that because it is not healthy.  We eat not only to feed ourselves for the day, but to sustain our body over our lifetime. Eating species appropriate foods and avoiding overly refined and over processed foods keeps us healthy and helps us avoid heath issues such as diabetes, kidney disease, and to some extent cancer. This is no less true for our own cats. Removing the grains, and the fruits and vegetables from our cat's diet improves their health dramatically and often helps the cat lose weight while actually eating better more nutritious food. (and then there is the reduced litter box odor, reduced litter use, reduced waste of cans etc)

and I am not the only one to think so.. Check out this page..

And according to the kittens.. raw is much more fun!
The first video is 6 minutes of four kittens eating 25 chicken hearts..
The second video is Smedley trying to eat his..


  1. Very very interesting! Thank you for sharing all of this information. I have thought about switching so this is very informative.

  2. Smed seemed to be having some difficulties there. Agreed - it is interesting to see it all laid out like that....

  3. One thing you didn't mention about feeding raw (or at least very high quality grain and mostly carb-free canned food) is that it is cost-effective when you factor in the improved health of the kitties - fewer health issues later on can really save money! People don't necessarily see that because it is "invisible" savings.

  4. I couldn't agree more with you Sparkle, and I've said that in the past, but since you can't ever know which kitties will have health issues and which ones will sail through life with nary a problem, a lot of people discount that 'savings' as something that isn't tangible and thus unimportant.

    But seeing it in black in white that actually feeding raw isn't that much more expensive than what they are feeding now ounce per ounce, it might make a huge difference to someone who has been considering it but has been worried about their weekly budget.

  5. very interesting. it's hard to balance the need vs the budget sometimes.

    emma and buster

  6. That looked like so much food, but they ate it all! I'm not sure if mine would touch "real" food but I'm going to try picking up some chicken hearts and see. I gave my last dog a marrow bone for breakfast every morning and she loved them. Her teeth and breath were fresh and her coat shone. I got so many compliments on her.

  7. Very interesting to see your cost breakdown for this. I always wonder if the cost of things like the supplements increase the price a lot. I think that for a lot of people, myself included, I mostly worry about whether or not I would do it correctly!


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