Tag Archives: Cat food

Our Complicated Feeding Routine


Over the years I have been tinkering with the way I feed our cats but the tinkering has mostly stopped and a routine has set in. I am including links to many of the products I use so you can see details about them. Some of the links are Amazon affiliate links but I do not recommend buying pet food from Amazon if you can find it locally because Amazon tends to be overpriced when it comes to pet food.

Here is a photo of all the foods I have right now, although sometimes the brands will change based on availability and price. If a high-quality brand is on sale I may pick up some cans or a bag to try.

For breakfast, they get one 5.5 ounce can of Earthborn Holistic Chicken Catcciatori. Amazon sells a case of 24 for $50, I buy it locally for $1.79 per can which is less than $43. Plus, I get ten percent off when buying a case. The downside is they don’t always have what I want. The last time I shopped there they were out of the Chicken Catcciatori which is why I have none in the photo. They seem happy with other flavors though but I stick with mostly poultry flavors.

I am not I big fan of dry cat food but Chris loves it. The main reason I keep giving it to them is that I have a hard time getting Chris to eat his wet food, but I try to keep it to a minimum. Shortly after breakfast Chris wants dry food and will annoy me until he gets it. I resist for a while and then get up and do something else, like clean the cat dishes, so he doesn’t think the annoying behavior works, and then I will give him, and Frankie and Floki, a few pieces of Stella and Chewy’s. In this rare instance, Amazon’s price is the same as my local price.

I like Stella and Chewy’s because it is essentially a freeze-dried version of a raw meat diet. I would replace the dry food with Stella and Chewy’s except for two reasons. It is more expensive, although not by much if you add water to it, and it might be dehydrating if they eat too much of it dry. They do like it with water added to it but they like it better dry. Plus, it is more convenient that way. Dry kibble is also dehydrating but I suspect slightly less so. I have not researched it so I don’t know that for sure.

They are usually satisfied for a half-hour or so and then Chris starts bothering me again. Sometimes he lies by the empty food bowls and talks to me whenever I walk by. So again, I hold out as long as I can and then give him a little dry food. I usually buy the Rawz brand of dry food. This is one of the best on the market but I sometimes switch it out for another brand, usually when I need food but can’t get to the store that sells it so end up at Petsmart or Petco. When I put down dry food, Frankie and Floki come to get some too. I give them just enough so that the bowls are empty in less than five minutes. Usually, Chris eats his and then takes over Frankie’s bowl. I put Floki’s bowl on the table so that is protected from the Kibble Monster.

I then take care of what chores I have left and get ready for work. When I leave I give them five more minutes worth of food if Rose is home. If she is not home that day I double it. Sometimes I even put food in their feeder ball if Rose is away and I know I will work a full day. The feeder ball, or whatever it is called, lets them work for their food. I don’t always put it in the same place so they have to find it. This ensures that all the kibble won’t be eaten by a certain piggy before I make it out the driveway.

If Rose is home, or if it is the weekend, they get one small can of Fancy Feast or a can or package of another low-cost wet cat food. I use a lower-cost brand because the smaller cans are way more costly per ounce than the bigger cans and I do not have a money tree growing in the backyard. I read somewhere that the worst wet food is better than the best dry food. I agree with this in principle but I think there are some bad wet foods out there that I would not buy. For example, years ago I bought a box of what I am pretty sure was Meow Mix. One of our cats puked it up and we were left with a stain on our carpet that we could not clean because of the food coloring. The fact that it was puked up was another strike against it.

When I buy Fancy Feast, I never buy the pate and I try to keep it to poultry flavors but I sometimes buy fish or beef just for the variety. Our cats prefer sliced or gravy lovers the most. This week I have a brand called Natural Balance which I happened to see on sale so I picked up several packages. Our cats really like it but I wouldn’t get it at full price for their mid-day snack.

Sometime after their lunch and before dinner, I will give them just a small amount of dry food or Stella and Chewy’s to hold them until dinner, which used to be after 5:00 but since Rose is usually home and I don’t work full time anymore, dinner has changed to between 3:00 and 4:00, depending on how annoying Frankie or Chris become.

For dinner, I feed them homemade, raw food made from ground chicken. You can read about how I make it here. I tried turkey and beef but they only like the chicken. I buy the supplement powder from a company called TC Feline. They are a Canadian company that has the best premix that I have found. You can buy the original premix where you just add your own meat, liver, and eggs, or you can buy the premix that already has the liver. That is what I usually get because it is easier but I sometimes like adding my own liver because it adds some health benefits. I just have trouble finding good liver since I moved farther away from Whole Foods.

I keep the raw food in plastic containers in the freezer and make sure I have three in the refrigerator at all times. I then take the top container, which is about the same size as a large can of cat food, and warm it up in the microwave for twenty seconds. While I am doing that, I grab a frozen container and put it on the bottom of the two remaining containers. I know that heating raw food is not good but twenty seconds just takes the chill off. If I have time and remember to do it, I will instead place the container in warm water for ten minutes.

The raw food is the food the cats like best and usually lick the bowls clean. A couple of years ago that was the only wet food that I gave them but they got tired of it and I ended up throwing a lot of it away. So even though I would like to give them only raw food, I have to play the hand I was dealt.

Sometime after dinner they get more Stella and Chewy’s and after that a little more kibble. The bowls are usually empty when we go to bed so I put just a little more dry food in them to end the day.

A word about variety: I know the conventional wisdom is to feed cats the same food or they will get sick. They say if you want to change their food you have to do it gradually. I have no evidence one way or the other but I believe it is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. I think the reason they get sick is because they have been eating the same food not because they switched. In other words, eating the same food has made them overly sensitive. I suppose it may be related to the fact that kids raised in a too clean environment develop allergies. I am certainly not giving you medical advice since it is just speculation on my part, but I do think it is something you should think about, and research, if you want to try giving your pets a variety. I will say this, none of our cats seem to be negatively affected by the various foods that they get. Frankie does puke sometimes but he has been a puker since we first adopted him and it seems more related to how much he eats and not what he eats.

What do you think? What does your pet’s diet look like?

A Cure for Frankie’s Puking


When we adopted Frankie in February of 2014, we noticed that he puked a lot. To be honest, I don’t remember if we took him to the vet for that specific problem but he has been to the vet a few times since then and I can’t imagine I never mentioned it to the vet. I think we just assumed that he ate too much too fast and then puked it up.

We don’t know Frankie’s backstory. I used to think that he was bulimic but now I think he must have had gastric bypass surgery before we got him and his stomach can’t handle eating too much food at one time.

For a long time I have been feeding our cats a large 5.5 Oz can of cat food in the morning and another later in the afternoon. That is 1.83 Oz per cat and actually a little less because I would often end up with uneaten food on at least one of the plates. It doesn’t seem like that much food but you have to account for the extra that Frankie was eating, usually at the expense of Chris

When I was working full-time I would feed them when I got up in the morning and again when I got home from work. This year I’ve been working almost full time in addition to working at home. Rose has been working from home more and usually Frankie bothers her so much that by 3:00 she feeds them.

That was the routine when we lived in Florida. Very often, but not always, Frankie would quickly finish his food and then he would finish Chris’s for him. A little while later I would have to clean up puke.

When we moved here to West Virginia and I took a two-month hiatus from my job I decided to buy the smaller, 3 ounce cans of cat food and feed them three times a day instead of twice.

I think the smaller portions have worked. Frankie has only puked twice in over two weeks. The first time was probably because I had brought the larger cans with me and used them up the first few days we were here. The second time he puked was after I gave them a large can of tuna as a treat.

I don’t like paying more per ounce for the smaller cans but considering that a lot of it was getting wasted it probably comes out even. Plus, I don’t have to clean up puke as much.

Another Change in Our Meal Plan


Chris’s addiction to kibble has always been a real problem. I have not eliminated kibble because he eats very little wet food, even when faced with starvation. Instead, I buy the highest quality kibble that I know of, a brand called Rawz, and try to keep it to a minimum. I have also been giving them homemade raw cat food twice a day that I make using chicken and a premix from a company called TC Feline.

The problem has always been getting Chris to eat the homemade food, or any wet food. I usually give him about half of what I give Frankie and Flokie, who both love the homemade food, but typically he only eats about half of what I give him before one of the other cats come and take it away from him. Sometimes he leaves his food before anyone shows up and I have to follow him around with his plate. I might also put some on my finger and feed it to him like a baby. That usually works once or twice before he turns his head and refuses to look at my finger.

Not long after I feed them, Chris is hungry and wants dry food but the bowls are empty, so he lies down next to the bowls and talks to anyone that will listen.

Sorry about the quality but I accidentally under exposed it.

My wife and I joke that he is “holding vigil at the food bowl.” When this doesn’t work he comes and annoys me in hopes that I will give up and put food in his bowl. Sometimes it works.

Lately he has been eating even less of the homemade food. Sometimes he wouldn’t take even one bite. I did not want to stop giving them the homemade food because it is the healthiest option and Frankie and Floki love it, but I did want Chris to eat something besides kibble, so I decided to split the difference. I decided to give them a can of food in the morning and the homemade food in the afternoon.

Since Chris is also picky about canned food I decided to go back to a food I found after much experimentation years ago that seems to satisfy everyone. It is a food from Earthborn Holistic called Chicken Catcciatori. This is the most universally accepted canned food I have found that is also somewhat healthy. While it is not as healthy as homemade, it is better than kibble.

Please note that the above link and that of the Rawz food are Amazon affiliate links. I included them because there is a lot of information about the products on Amazon but I would recommend that if you are interested, check your local pet supply store first because both products are overly pricey on Amazon.

It has been over a week and I can report that Chris is eating a fair amount of the canned food. Not as much as I would like but much more than he was eating before. He is even eating slightly more of the homemade food. Perhaps he just needed the variety.

Rawz Dry Cat Food


As you may know, I tend to switch our cats’ dry food quite frequently. Part of the reason is that I don’t believe the conventional wisdom that changing their diet is a bad thing. I think variety is good. I also would like to get them off dry food completely but since Chris is stubborn and eats very little of the wet food I give him I need to have some dry food available. Since I don’t believe any dry food is good for cats, I have a hard time settling on a particular brand. That being said, I did find one that seems to be at the top of the list for quality dry foods.

A few weeks ago I was at our local natural pet food store and asked the clerk what she thought was the best quality dry cat food. She had two suggestions. The first I have forgotten but the second, and the one I decided to get, was a brand called Rawz. I decided to get it because it is less processed than most brands, it contains no rendered proteins, such as chicken meal, and because 100% of profits are donated to charity. I think the last one was a deciding factor.

I bought the chicken and turkey recipe for cats and all three of our boys seem to love it.

Rawz cat food

I still plan to buy other brands or other flavors of this brand so our cats won’t get bored with the same food but I think I have found something that I can keep coming back to.

I was not compensated in any way for this post.

NomNomNow Cat Food Review


A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Caren from Cat Chat with Caren and Cody. The folks at NomNomNow were looking for recommendations for a couple of bloggers that could review their premium cat food in exchange for some food. She thought I would be good for some reason. I don’t know why but I appreciate the confidence.

I told her I didn’t want to do it. I tend to be too honest and I didn’t want to be disappointed and have to give a bad review after getting free food. I did reconsider after reviewing their website and the ingredient list and committed only to talk to their rep.

So a few days later I spoke with Kevin. He was very nice and talked about the veterinary nutritionist that formulated the recipes and about how the food is made fresh and shipped overnight to your door. In addition, the quantity of food is based on the current weight of your pet and the ideal weight that you want your pet to be. I got the impression that it was a small operation staffed by people who really care about the health of my pets so I decided to give them a try.

I told Kevin about my cats and gave him the information about their weights. There is a pretty cool tool on their website that does the math and figures out portion size. If you have more than one pet the packages are numbered so you can tell which one is for which pet. They also sell food for dogs so you could probably order both at the same time but I am not sure about that.

As of now, they have five recipes for dogs and two for cats. I chose the
“Chicken Chow-Meow” because all my cats love chicken and I didn’t want to take a chance with the uncertainty of the “Flavorful Fish Feast.”

It should be noted that the way I feed my cats doesn’t fall into their carefully calculated meal plan. I usually give our cats one 5.5 ounces can of cat food and follow that 10 to 30 minutes later with about the same amount of homemade raw food. They seem to like the variety and I like them to have a variety. My feeling is that I can replace the canned food portion with the NomNomNow food.

I think the cost is similar to that of a high quality canned food but the ingredients are better. I compared their ingredients with that from a can of Earthborn Holistic Chicken Catcciatori, the canned food that is most common in our house.

Earthborn Holistic Chicken Catcciatori:

Chicken Broth, Chicken, Potatoes, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, Tricalcium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Magnesium Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Oxide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Iron Proteinate, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Biotin.

NomNomNow Chicken Chow-Meow:

Chicken thigh, chicken breast, chicken liver, carrot, asparagus, spinach, cantaloupe, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, citric acid (natural preservative), taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), sodium iodide.

Since ingredients always start with the largest ingredient and end with the smallest, it is the first few that are most important. That being said, some chemicals can be unhealthy in small amounts so they should all be considered.

In the Earthborn food, the first five ingredients are Chicken Broth, Chicken, Potatoes, Sunflower Oil and Natural Flavors. Chicken broth is okay but I never saw a broth as the first ingredient before. I don’t consider potatoes to be a very healthy food for humans and less so for cats but it is number three on the list. Sunflower oil is not considered a healthy oil. Number five is “natural flavors.” When you see this on the list, be wary.  A natural flavor starts out natural before being sent to Dr. Frankenstein’s lab. Considering that Earthborn is a premium cat food, I don’t even want to know what is in Cat Chow.

The NomNomNow Chicken Chow-Meow has Chicken thigh, chicken breast, chicken liver, carrots and asparagus for the first five ingredients. It isn’t until the eighth ingredient that I found something I didn’t recognize, dicalcium phosphate. I looked that up and it is a calcium supplement, which is necessary because there are no bones in this formula.

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The food arrived the other day while I was at work and my wife opened the box and put the food in the refrigerator.  I saw the empty box so I knew it was here but I didn’t have time to do anything with it because our cats are trained to expect food as soon as I get home and any delay results in a meow-fest. So I gave them a can of food and then took a shower.

When I got out of the shower I grabbed three bags of the food and placed them in warm water for a few minutes before scooping it onto their plates. I didn’t see any directions so I just winged it. I took a video of this so that the cats could do the review for me.

They all seemed to like it. Even Chris who I struggle with to get to eat wet food. Floki especially liked it but Chris and Frankie stopped before they finished. That was probably because I gave them too much. It didn’t look like there was much food in the bags but once I scooped it onto their plates I could see it was way too much considering they already ate some canned food.

Also included with the order was a flavor packet and a container of beef broth.

I saw the beef broth in the fridge but didn’t know what it was for until later when I found the instructions and the card with the flavor attached. Both are to help finicky eaters. I moved them to my desk to take the above photo and returned the broth to the fridge but left the flavor pack on the desk. You can guess what happened. The next morning I saw Frankie licking the desk. It was still too dark to see what he was licking but I felt something gritty so I turned a light on and saw this the torn up flavor packet on the floor.

Nom Nom Now flavor packet

Also included in the order was a sample of chicken jerky.

cat treat

It was well received by our boys but our carnivores can be like little babies sometimes. I needed to break them up into smaller pieces to make it easier to eat.

cat treats

We also received a sample of the Flavorful Fish Feast which our boys gobbled up.

As of now, it looks like I found a great replacement for our canned food but I still plan on also feeding them the homemade raw food as well. I think if I were to give any advice to the company I would recommend grinding the vegetables into smaller pieces so it is more difficult for the cats to avoid.

What do you think? Is this something you would be willing to try? If you are interested, click here for their website and more information. They have a special offer that gives you 50% off your first order. I am not compensated in any way for this post except for the food I already received.

Turning the Cat Feeding Rule on its Head


The following post in my unprofessional opinion and should not be considered advice.

I know the rule. When changing your cat’s food you should introduce it slowly while gradually reducing their current food. Everyone knows that a sudden change in diet will cause intestinal problems for your cat that include vomiting, diarrhea and possibly other problems.

That rule always seemed wrong to me. I learned long ago that for humans, variety is healthy and necessary, as long as the various food is not junk food. Cats, too, do not always eat the same food in the wild. A wild or feral cat might eat a mouse for breakfast, a bird for lunch, and a lizard for dinner. They might even have a bug or two for a snack. Why don’t they get upset stomachs?

Maybe eating the same food day in and day out, over and over, may be the cause of the problem and not the solution. It could be like a drug addiction and change could induce withdrawal symptoms. I’m just guessing and I have no evidence but logic tells me eating the same thing all the time is not what nature intended for cats.

I have gradually moved our cats from sameness to variety with no abdominal distress except for Frankie who has been a puker since we adopted him. I think he just eats way too fast and then pukes it up.

Currently, I feed them high quality, grain-free canned cat food as well as homemade raw cat food. I also give them dry kibble but I limit that to a small amount per day in an attempt to break Chris’s addiction to dry food.

I had been feeding them the same canned food and homemade raw food but I would buy a different dry food. I always chose a high-quality food but bought what was on sale at the time. Recently, I started changing the canned food as well because the Earthborn Chicken Catitorrie suddenly became less desirable to our cats. Perhaps they became bored with the same flavor.

I chose several different brands and varieties and decided to do a test to see which ones they liked and which ones they didn’t like.

canned cat food

Our boys seemed to prefer the two b.f.f. varieties shown above. The chicken and lamb and the chicken and turkey were a big hit even though they seemed quite watery to me. They liked the Dave’s almost as much but they left the Tender and True almost untouched. The other foods fell somewhere in the middle.

The important point here is that during this trial none of our cats got sick. In fact, I don’t recall Frankie puking at all during this period.

So my feeding routine now starts with a can of B.F.F. in the morning but since one of the pet food stores I shop at doesn’t carry it, that will change from time to time. Next, after they digest their food a little and start looking for more, I dish them out some of my homemade raw cat food. This is usually made from chicken thighs or chicken breasts and it does not change because they won’t eat it if I use beef or turkey.

During the late morning, if I am home, I try to avoid going in the kitchen because I have to listen to Chris’s pathetic cries for kibble. Sometimes I feel bad for him and give him some and other times I wait but they always get a small amount of kibble between meals. If I go to work, I give them a small amount of kibble when I leave. I do this because Chris does not eat as much wet food as Frankie and Floki do. For dinner it’s the same thing; Canned food and then raw food. Then it is a little more kibble before bedtime but not too much.

This is my experience with my cats but this probably won’t work for all cats. I am curious, though, if anyone else feeds their cats a variety and how do they do with it?

Cat Food Too Good to Buy


I have been buying our cats the same canned cat food for a few years now, Earthborne Hollistic’s Chicken Catcciatori, but I have been wishy washy about choosing a good dry food. Lately I settled on the Earthborne Hollistic’s brand but a few weeks ago the store was out of it so I bought another brand that happened to be on sale during the month of January. What I bought is called Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken.

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I soon discovered there is a major problem with this food. The cats like it way too much. In a similar situation many years ago, our cat Tigger almost died because I bought a new food that was too good. He ate so much food so fast that a clump of it had become stuck in his esophagus and he was having trouble breathing (see story here). We had to find an emergency vet open at night. The difference between then and now is that the food I bought back then was a much lower quality. It should be noted here that I was not paid nor did I get free or discounted food for talking about this product (although I am an Amazon affiliate).

cats Floki and Chris

I don’t worry so much about another vet visit but I do worry the cats will get fat(er) eating so much food. I did buy a second bag hoping that they would get used to it and like it less, but that hasn’t happened yet and the bag is almost gone. Since I already let their food bowls remain empty for parts of the day, I think I can get around the problem buy not giving them more food They will just have to deal with having empty bowls for longer parts of the day. Another possible solution is to try a different flavor that they might not like as much.  I could also go back to the last food I gave them. What do you think?

Making Homemade Raw Cat Food: Batch Two


When I made my first batch of raw cat food, I was afraid the cats wouldn’t like it, which is why I bought only a small amount of the premix from TCfeline. I needn’t have worried because they loved it. Granted, I started with only two ounces mixed with a 5.5 ounce can of cat food, but it was a better start than I expected.

I made a second batch last Sunday and decided to photograph the process because I forgot to do that last time. This time I decided to give them variety and used beef instead of chicken. The decision was also helped by the fact that I had a $5 off coupon for two pounds of beef at Whole Foods using their app.

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I thought I would cut it into chunks instead of having it ground so I went home to do the work myself. Often, the way I envision things going are very different from the way things really go. This is one example.

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Even though I am no chef, I am still embarrassed to say that I didn’t have a knife sharp enough to cut two pounds of beef. With much effort, I was able to cut this hunk of meat into slices but then gave up.

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Instead, I pulled out my Ninja blender and stuck the pieces in there. I don’t think it was designed for grinding meat but it did a good job cutting it up and it worked quite fast too.

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A meat grinder may have been more suited to the task but I noticed one advantage to this method. The Ninja didn’t do a very good job of cutting up the gristle which made it easy to pull those pieces out of the mixture.

I then put the beef into a large mixing bowl.

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I added two egg yolks, but not the egg whites since they are bad for cats.

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The instructions then call for a cup of water (I use spring water) and a quarter cup of the TCfeline premix, which I then added to the bowl.

 

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All that was left was to mix it up.

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Put it into containers.

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And stick them in the freezer.

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I still had some of the chicken mixture left and wanted to use that while I let the beef mix freeze for at least 24 hours (three days is ideal) as an added precaution against parasites.

I didn’t fill the containers as high this time. Part of the reason was to allow room for expansion when frozen. Another reason was because I wanted to increase the raw food to caned food ratio by using the entire container per meal instead of half the container. Before taking that step, I needed to make sure they liked the beef mixture, so I continued to give them only half.

The first feeding of the beef went well, at first, but when everyone was done eating there was still food left in the bowls. That told me they weren’t crazy about the beef but as the week progressed, the amount of food left over decreased. The last couple of days there have been no food left over so, it seems, they are happy with the beef now.

I have to make another batch today so I will probably go back to chicken, or maybe turkey, if they have it. I also have to buy more of the TCfeline premix. This time I will buy a bigger container. I will also have it ground at Whole Foods which will cut the prep time in half and make my work much easier. Who doesn’t like easier?

 

Making Homemade Raw Cat Food


I have been talking about making my own raw cat food for a while now but there has always been one thing or another that stood in my way. I could have done it much earlier. I think fear that they wouldn’t eat it was one reason but there were others as well.

The first thing I had to resolve was which meat grinder to buy. I read various reviews and one stood out as a possibility; The STX-3000-TF . It is affordable and many people wrote that it does a good job grinding chicken bones but the manufacturer warns against it and that concerned me that it would void the warranty. Of course, there are very expensive grinders out there for that purpose but I don’t want to spend a boatload of money to make cat food.

Despite the warranty concerns, I was still considering buying the grinder but my other major concern was finding a good source of fresh organic meats. A Whole Foods store opened near us about a year ago and I just didn’t think about them at first for some reason. I considered another health food store nearby but they didn’t have the organs, like heart and liver, which are so important.

I put the issue on the back burner until we started thinking about adopting a kitten. I then began looking into grinders again. I soon became frustrated with that endeavor and a thought occurred to me.  I thought about Whole Foods and asked them, via email, if they had organic chicken, including organs and bones, and could they grind it for me.  I was contacted by the local meat manager and was surprised to learn the answer was yes to all those questions. The only condition was that I give them 24 hours notice because they “need to take certain persuasions when grinding poultry with bone.”

Now that I didn’t have to worry about the grinder or meat, I just needed to find a good source of supplements. When I first considered making food in 2010, I did not see anybody selling all the necessary supplements in one package. There also seemed to be disagreements about which supplements to use and how much. The whole thing seemed risky, like choosing the wrong religion.

A while ago I read about certain companies that provide all the nutrients a cat needs in one package, for meat with or without bones. I didn’t save any of that information but I knew they existed so I searched for them again. There are now many companies that make supplement packs for people making their own cat food. Some are for with or without bones and some are for cooked or uncooked. There are also some that require organs and some that do not.

After looking at many reviews and checking the ingredients, I decided a company called TCfeline made the best raw food premix for my use. The company was making cat food premixes in 2010 but I was not aware of it then. I decided to purchase it from The Total Cat Store, which I believe is in Pennsylvania.

Just before buying, I changed my mind and decided to start with the food that I thought my cats would be most likely to eat. Therefore I chose a mix that didn’t require bones and organs. I only needed to add boneless meat.

TCfeline raw diet premix cat food

I contacted our friendly neighborhood meat manager again and asked him when organic chicken was delivered to the store. He told me Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, which was good because that means there is a high turnover rate there. My goal is to buy the best quality meat that is safe for my cats and prepare it as quickly as possible and freeze it.

The concern many people have about a raw food diet is the risk of food poisoning from bacteria like Salmonella and e. coli. I was concerned too, and still am. That is why I want to buy organic meat that is as fresh as possible, and then grind it, prepare it and freeze it as quickly as possible. The truth is, the majority of cases of food poisoning come from animals that are improperly raised and slaughtered, like those in a so-called concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO). Cats also have a digestive system that is short and highly acidic. This kills off most pathogens and gives the rest very little time reproduce in their systems.

Parasites are another common concern but I don’t recall ever reading about this being a problem. It seems that parasites are mostly found in the intestines of prey animals. Since we don’t feed intestines to our cats, the risk is pretty low. Freezing lowers the risk even more because it is known to kill at least some of the parasites.

I decided Sunday was a good day to start so I went there on Sunday afternoon and spoke to someone in the meat department. He asked me if I wanted white meat or dark meat. That was something I didn’t consider. He said the dark meat had more fat than the white meat. I didn’t know if a little extra fat was bad for a cat. I hoped it wasn’t because the dark meat was about half the price of the white meat. I decided that variety was good so I bought a pound of each, which, if my memory isn’t too faulty, averaged about $10 per pound or less. I planned on cutting it in small chunks but Rose thought having them grind it would be better. I thought a little chewing would be good for them but I agreed that this first batch needed to be as easy for them to accept as possible.

I also bought fresh, organic eggs while I was at Whole Foods because the premix no longer has dried eggs in its ingredients. According to The Total Cat Store website, the owner “could not continue to buy dried egg yolk powder for the premix because all that was available came from battery-caged hens. She could no longer support such treatment or behavior towards chickens and now provides a product that will ‘be free’ of all animal cruelty.”

I believe it was this statement that convinced me to spend a little extra money and buy this product over another that I was considering. There are good, caring business owners out there and good deeds are not always a marketing gimmick. That fact was confirmed to me when I started working at my current job. They make herbal health products and the owner goes out of the way to make sure all of the ingredients are the best quality possible.

When I got home I put the meat in a large mixing bowl along with two egg yolks (raw egg whites are bad for cats). I only bought one sample package to try and was about to dump it into the mix when I decided to read the directions first. Fortunately, I did because there was enough in the package for three batches.

I measured out the appropriate amount and mixed everything up well. I then started scooping it into four-ounce containers that I bought for this purpose. It was at this point that I remembered that I wanted to photograph the entire process.

That didn’t go as planned but here are pictures of the finished product.

TCfeline raw diet premix cat food - finished product

TCfeline raw diet premix cat food - finished product

I put one container in the fridge and froze the rest.

TCfeline raw diet premix cat food - finished product frozen

As you can see from one of the containers, I didn’t account for expansion and overfilled it, which caused the top to pop off. Lesson learned.

I have been mixing half a container (2 oz) with a 5.5 ounce can of cat food and they love it. I expected it to be a struggle but even Chris likes it. Usually, he eats a few bites of his wet food and walks away but now he seems to spend more time at the bowl. He still walks away from it too soon but Rome wasn’t built in a day. At least he is eating a little more wet food, which I hope translates into a little less dry food. Soon I will increase it to 3 ounces. If that goes well I may start buying the smaller cans of cat food, which I don’t want to do because the cost per ounce is so much higher. I guess I will cross that bridge when I get there.

I will be making another batch tomorrow and plan on using beef or turkey to give them a variety. I also need to reorder the premix soon. I may get the one that needs fresh liver, but if that tastes different, it could be a problem.

What do you think? Do you feed raw? If so, do you use a premix? Do your cats like it or do you mix it with wet food?