After reading up on cat nutrition, I decided to start incorporating some raw food into Molly and Lucy’s diet. I pictured my little darlings crouched like lions over a bleeding hunk of their ancestral diet: they’d tear fiercely at it, eating as nature intended, and then we’d all curl up on the couch together and watch TV.
So, I stopped at All The Best Pet Care to pick up my first real package (read: not a sample) of raw food. I chose Natural Pet Pantry‘s Beef & Tripe recipe, took it home, thawed it out, locked the beasties in the bathroom so they couldn’t harass me while I prepared it, and made up a couple of plates of it.
It didn’t smell as bad as I expected it to. The consistency was fairly firm, so I broke it up into chunks and took it in to my girls. I figured I’d feed them in the bathroom because it has a tile floor, so I could clean up after them.
They knew I was carrying something different from their usual food, and went even more nuts than usual. I put one plate in the corner, and one in the bathtub, hoping the messier of the two (probably Lucy) would eat the food in the tub.
Unfortunately, before I could close the door, Lucy had grabbed a large hunk of bleeding meat and raced, snarling, from the bathroom. She got into the bedroom, giving me nightmares of unintentional voodoo done by virtue of cow blood spilled under my bed, but came back into the kitchen without setting it down. I dragged my growling, snarling fluffball into the bathroom to finish her meal, and checked on Molly, who was eating a lot more demurely — but no less enthusiastically — in the tub.
After they finished up, both cats came out into the kitchen. They perched on the dishwasher and howled for more food. I looked at the package and realized that I’d fed them slightly less than the half a can of food they usually get per meal.
I’m already a bit concerned that I’m not feeding them enough, since they are always ravenous and I tend to be awakened in the middle of the night by two furry beings doing their best impressions of hollow-eyed Dickensian waifs, at which point I am like, “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH EVEN THOUGH YOU JUST WOKE ME UP AND I AM AN INSOMNIAC AND FALLING ASLEEP IS LIKE FINDING THE HOLY GRAIL FOR ME AND I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR YOU AT THIS MOMENT THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE ME GETTING OUT OF BED OR OTHERWISE STAYING AWAKE.” But as I struggle back into sleep I do tend to worry that maybe I am starving them. The vet says they’re happy and healthy, but I still feel guilty.
And those were the faces they gave me while they sat there on my dishwasher. *gulp*
So I gave them Course #2, which was actually just more of the same. Lucy snarled some more and pounced on hers and made sure it was thoroughly dead. Molly jumped in the tub, sniffed hers, then went back to the door and asked to be let out. Before I could get it away, Lucy devoured Molly’s portion as well.
I went to the sink and began cleaning up, and Lucy came out of the bathroom and started eating a pile of raw food near the door…WAIT. That’s barf. Apparently Molly has a sensitive tummy. I dragged Lucy away and cleaned it up as well.
Molly seems more than fine, now — in fact, she’s more energetic and playful than I’ve ever seen her. Lucy is swanning around striking noble poses, but is back to her sweet and cuddly self.
All in all, I’d rate it as a success for Lucy. I purchased some Bison as well, and I’ll try it again with Molly tomorrow night. If she throws up again, I guess I’ll have to throw it out.
However, even if Molly doesn’t throw it up again, I don’t think I’ll purchase any more. It was fairly affordable, but the package doesn’t list the ingredients or the nutrional analysis. I trust All The Best Pet Care not to carry anything crappy, and I like supporting small companies, but to me that’s unforgivable since their website also doesn’t give any sort of breakdown of what’s in the package.
Bottom line: fresh-smelling, clearly attractive to the cats, but lack of nutritional information means it won’t be a repeat purchase.
I am left with some lingering questions about raw feeding that dont’ seem to be answered anywhere on the otherwise very-helpful web, such as:
- How long does it take whatever bacteria are on raw meat to die in the cat’s mouth? I’m a little leery of letting the girls lick me since they’ve just eaten raw meat…how long should I worry about keeping their tongues away from my skin?
- Is there anything you can do to safely speed up the thawing process? (E.g. putting the package in slightly warm water?)
- I get that raw food probably activates more predator instincts than canned, but how do I get my already food-aggressive kitten to calm down enough not to shred my hands while I’m giving her her food?