Friday, October 8, 2010

A Happy Birthday and Cat Food day…

This weekend will be a very busy one at Primcats House. Saturday is cat food day around here and Monday is Mr. Primcats big 36! WooHoo! (Happy Early Birthday Honey!) We are not thrilled that cat food day is arriving on his birthday weekend…but it is what it is so we make the best of it. You can’t change the delivery date of 200 pounds of chicken! O.O

Now I know what you’re thinking… What in the world is cat food day and what do you do with 200 pounds of chicken?!?! Well… that’s what I’m going to share with you today. Mr. Primcat and I feed our cats an all natural raw diet that we prepare ourselves. You see… I am not a conventional cat mom. I do things a lot differently than most. I suppose the first thing you must understand is that our cats are our children in every sense. catluv I love them as much as any mother loves their child. I know to some that would seem like a rather quirky statement… but it’s the truth. Ask anyone who knows me… my cats are my kids. Mr. Primcat feels the same… maybe not to the extreme that I take in for caring for them… but they own his heart and soul too. So we are the crazy cat house. And I am the crazy cat lady… sans the crazy… double the cat lady. ;o)
Tails 3
Now back to the point. Cat Food. About 4 years ago I was feeding our 14 cats what I thought was a top quality food. It was Wellness Dry and Drs. Foster and Smith Dry. With a daily shared portion of a 12oz. can of Grain Free Wellness for dinner. Not to shabby of a diet even considering what I feed today. I’ve fed worse over the years. Wellness and Drs. F&S are two of the top dry foods (if you can call any dry food “top”.) They do have the most meat based ingredients and everything in them is human grade ingredients. It certainly wasn’t scrapings off the packing plant floor or corn and glutens like most all the common store brands such as Special Kitty, Meow Mix, Friskies, Purina, Iams … etc. Shoot, even those super expensive so called “prescription foods” that vets push upon their clients like Science Diet and Purina RX have worse ingredients than what I was feeding. I thought I was doing right by my cats. But alas… I was almost deadly wrong. Twice.
In December of 2006 one of our babies got very, very sick. Phat Boy, a neutered male, started peeing blood… a sure sign of urinary distress. In his case crystals, as I was to find out later, caused by the most common cat food on the market… deadly dry kibble. After 2 months of vet visits and numerous rounds of antibiotics, urinary acidifiers, garbage science diet foods and a wealth of other “fixes” that really weren’t fixing anything at all I realized it was time to search elsewhere for an answer and I started my quest for a cure. Within a week I had the answer to the problem in my hands but I wasn’t yet willing to implement that answer because of what it involved. I found the answer at A wonderful website created by a vet who desperately wants to help cats around the world live longer healthier lives. Dr. Pierson’s site straightforwardly explains in lemans terms why feeding a dry food diet causes so many problems and even the majority of deaths in housebound felines.
I was afraid of this diet because of mass media propaganda that said the choice I was considering was wrong.
Phatty17 Then in January of 2006… the worst of the worst… I found Phat Boy collapsed in the middle of the living room floor …not moving. I rushed him to the vet. They took an x-ray and unbelievably he had a stone the size of a dime blocking his flow of urine in his bladder. He could not urinate and was being poisoned by the backup of toxins in his system. He had emergency surgery on a Friday night. It was our worst nightmare and we were lucky he pulled through at all.
Baby Bear A week later, Baby Bear collapsed. An x-ray reveled he had a huge stone in his kidney. Surgery wasn’t an option and there was nothing we could do. He would likely die. The vet said just take him home and give him hospice care.
That was all IT. I was done killing our cats. I knew what was causing it, dry food, and there was no way I was going to be responsible for their suffering when I knew I could change it if I just changed way way of thinking and let go of that ridiculous yucky factor I was holding onto over raw meat. I mean for pete’s sake… raw meat is all cats eat in the wild! I started my mission to feed a species appropriate diet to our babies and hopefully save Bear and the rest of them from any future problems.
I read and learned and absorbed and questioned and when I finally felt ready I bought a grinder and all the vitamins and supplements that were needed and Hubby and I got to work on our first cat food making endeavor. It took us almost all day (12 hours) that first time to process and mix about 100 pounds of food. lol! Today we can whip out 280 pounds, 2 months of food for 14 cats, in a mere 3-4 hours!
The cats took to the new food much faster than I expected. Everyone I had talked to warned that the transition process can be hard on cats that had been kibble fed all their lives but 13 of our 14 started eating the raw meat as their main diet right away just as if they had always known it was what they were meant to eat.
Another bonus to feeding an all natural raw food diet was the cost. With 14 mouths to feed kibble had become VERY expensive. The Raw Food is about 1/3 of the cost. The average daily cost per cat comes out to between $.26 to $.32 cents per day. That’s right… cents! You can’t beat it!
A month or so into feeding raw everyone was doing great. No problems in sight and the transition had been made completely, no more dry kibble in the house for us! Raw all the way. Everyone's coats had shined up and the fatties of the group were slimming down while the skinnie’s were meating up. Even the dreaded dry food vomits and hairballs were gone, and with 14 cats you deal with a lot of vomits and hairballs! Both hubby and I were highly impressed.
The most important thing that happened though was what you couldn’t see. The inside medical issues that we had been dealing with all but DISAPPRERED. No more urinary tract issues, no more bladder stones and kidney stones. Bear’s stone dissolved and he completely removed in 6 weeks. No more vomiting and diarrhea. A 9 year old cat with IBD was completely cured once removed from kibble and transitioned to Raw. No more allergies causing hot spots and ear itches' and ear infections. And most appreciated… no more vet visits for the usual myriad of illnesses. We had been spending about $4000.00 a year on medical issues with all 14 of our cats. Now after almost 4 years of raw feeding we barely spend a few hundred and that is only for a once a year wellness check where the vet comes out and gives everyone the once over. :o) Even he, as a strictly conventional man of medical science, is impressed and supportive with what the raw diet has done for our pride! It’s impossible to argue when the good is purring at you right in your face.
As the years have passed we’ve streamlined our process and have a helper on cat food day to speed up the process. She works super cheap, we pay her in cat food. ;o) We’ve also joined a co-op to buy our all natural meat (both for us and the cats) at unbelievably low prices. And we stepped up our grinder to a commercial one that cut the grinding time from 12 hours to 3. We only make ct food 6 times a year and we know what were doing so it goes super fast!
So… that’s my cat food story and I encourage anyone interested in improving their cats (or dogs) lives to look into raw feeding. I know it’s not for everyone but for those interested and willing to put in a little effort the benefits are undeniable!
More info can be found at:
Have a blessed day!

Until Next time…
Carmen and the healthy Primcats


Ann said...

Carmen, Thank you for sharing this information. I feed my 2 Iams, but am thinking to switch over too. I'm sure you store in the freezer? I have to ask- what kind of litter do you use? Your litter bill must be huge, unless you make this too? I'd be interested in hearing. ~Ann

Loafer Mountain Primitives said...

Hey Carmen!
I'm so glad I'm not the only nutty fur Mamma!
I raise English Mastiffs and I too feed an all natural diet! People think I'm nuts but that's Okay! It's cheaper and My loves are in much better shape for it!

Carol/Firecrackerkid said...

Well, I'm convinced now. Thanks Carmen! I've put your links on file. We've lost too many beauties to dried cat food.