Raw Cat Feeding (Plus Cat Food Recipe)

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Raw Cat Feeding (Plus Cat Food Recipe) | I don't believe in spending exorbitant amounts of money to keep an ailing animal alive, but I do believe in humane treatment and loving care as much as possible. When our cat Ezra’s kidneys were ailing, I researched good diets that could help her. Over the recent years I had not given much attention to the type of diet a cat should eat: rather than Friskies, a diet fitted to the feline nature. | GNOWFGLINS.com

When my husband-to-be and I had known each other for only a few months, we bought a cat together. We were young and in love, and I guess we knew our lives would be knit together in one way or another. Ezra, our new cat, followed us separately from college apartment to college condo, until at last she settled down under one roof with the both of us after we were married.

She proved a devoted cat over the years. It was wonderful to have her around, especially when our home crawled with scorpions. She slowly aged, and we prayed that she would live long enough to be buried in the land we hoped to settle. And so we buried Ezra, our beloved cat, under the old magnolia tree in our yard a few weeks ago. Since we are not quite done remodeling yet, she moved onto our new place before we did, but she now occupies a spot where we can remember her for years to come.

Considering (and Changing) Our Cats’ Diet

Although I do not believe in spending exorbitant amounts of money to keep an ailing animal alive, I do believe in humane treatment and loving care as much as possible. When we had a hunch that Ezra’s kidneys were ailing, instead of rushing to purchase the nearest pharmaceutical-grade food, I researched good diets that could reverse her condition or help her. I bemoaned the years of Friskies. We had fed her what we could at the time, but over the recent years I had not given much attention to the type of diet a cat should eat: one fitted to the feline nature.

Hours of researched convinced me that our cats needed a raw food diet — simplicity at its finest. If my cat lived in the wild, what would she likely eat? Rats, mice, small rabbits, chickens, etc. After finding rabbits too expensive, I decided to rely on the next best alternative: raw chicken. One meat grinder, a few varying vitamins, and an hour of smashing and grinding later, Ezra and our other cat had their first “natural” meal. I divvied up individual portions to store in the freezer for each day’s feeding.

What The Cats Thought

Initially, the cats weren’t too excited about their new food. They tasted it, went away, visited every so often, and then after a few hours, finally polished it off. I was dumbfounded. Why wouldn’t they devour this hearty meal from the get-go? After further research, I discovered that pet foods have many addictive additives, which provide such an initial “yum” that cats prefer junk food over a more traditional diet. Based on the current American obsession with fast food, this sounded all too familiar. So for subsequent meals, I mixed the new good food with the old bad, planning to transition them into an all-raw diet. The cats took well to this compromise.

What About Ezra?

This new venture is one I wish I had considered a long time ago, especially for Ezra’s sake. I believe the raw chicken and vitamins provided her with needed nourishment before she died, but it also came too late — her kidneys were already too close to failure. I am, however, continuing the diet with our other old cat, and I hope to implement a raw food canine diet soon as well.

Somehow, the death of our cat symbolized the passing of an age of innocence for me and my husband. Through all of the many pivotal moments in our lives, through the times of change these moments have brought, by the grace of God, I am blessed to see progress in our walk with the Lord. Of course, great learning curves and roadblocks have hindered the way, but the youthful mindset of living for oneself has, for the most part, passed us by.

Although the desire to live unto self remains at times, we see responsibility wherever we turn: in our children, our animals, our land, our time, our commitments, and most importantly, in our devotion to the Lord and His people. I have learned that, in all things, we need to work unto the glory of God. Even in this area — pet food — may the Lord be glorified and may we nourish the creatures in our care according to their nature and need.

Below I include a simple recipe for chicken-based raw cat food.

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Raw Chicken Cat Food Recipe

  • 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) whole chicken, ground (bones, meat, and all)
  • 200 grams (.44 pound) chicken liver, pureed
  • 4 raw egg yolks, whisked
  • 4 grams iodized salt (it’s for the iodine)
  • 4000 milligrams salmon oil or fish body oil (emptied out of capsules)
  • 4000 milligrams taurine powder (emptied out of capsules)
  • 400 IU Vitamin E

Adapted from this recipe by Natascha.

Combine all ingredients. Feed 1/4 cup, 2 to 3 times a day. To store, divide into serving size portions (or daily amounts) and freeze. Thaw frozen packets in a cold water bath or in the refrigerator overnight. Scale up the recipe to make it in big batches.

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What are your thoughts and experiences with pet care or cat food, raw or otherwise?

Photos are of Wardee’s family’s kittens in July 2013. :)

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or veterinarian. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You are responsible for your own health and for the use of any remedies, treatments, or medications you use at home.

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Comments

  1. Leslie says

    Cats have teeth that are made to grind their foods. It is better for them to have the whole piece of meat instead of pre-ground. My cats have enjoyed eating whole egg yolks, bones, muscles, and organs for years. If they get enough meat, they do not need additional taurine. Their teeth are healthy, coats shiny, and they are energetic. My only regret is feeding them GMO-fed chicken. Cats do not need as much food as we think they do, and thus, it is worth feeding them organic, preferably pasture-raised chicken for their long-term health.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Leslie,
      Thank you so much for sharing with me. I would love to hear exactly what you use – or rather your feline feeding protocol. I must confess that I am learning still with the raw food diet for our animals, so am happy to glean whatever I can. Thanks in advance for your input!

  2. Lisa in Lone Star says

    YES! EXACTLY! Great article! We’ve recently come to the raw food diet “table” for our current dog, a rescued Jack Russell terrier.

    Our first dog was a pit bull terrier, a gentle, kid-loving soul who was plagued his whole life with itchy skin, skin rashes, lick granulomas, and accompanying bad body odor. We spent tons of money on the poor fellow. He took pills, had allergy injections, had frequent baths in noxious shampoos, and heard the phrase, “Bailey! stop licking your feet!” constantly.

    We now know through our own whole foods journey that his diet was to blame. He likely had a severe gut yeast overgrowth causing all his symptoms due to his dry kibble diet. Commercial dry (and most wet) dog food is high in carbohydrates which cause/exacerbate yeast overgrowth in both pets and humans.

    Through research, we have learned that dogs do best on raw food due to the anatomy and physiology of their gut. So we spend about 45 minutes a month making up a month’s worth of raw food for our dog. We use this recipe: 10 pounds raw ground beef, 18 boiled eggs with shells, 10 cups cooked white rice, a tube of LickOChops, and 2.5 cups Dinovite powder for dogs. (A dog with more skin symptoms may need more Dinovite powder.) We mix it all together and form it into 1/2 cup patties and freeze it. We feed one refrigerator-thawed patty twice a day. We got the recipe off the http://www.dinovite.com website, and purchase the LickOChops and Dinovite from them.

    We looked at other recipes, but this seemed the easiest and most complete recipe. YMMV. Our vet thinks we’re nuts, but even she has to admit that our dog, Annie, has a wonderful coat and condition, and her teeth/gums are very healthy with very little tartar. She receives no chew bones or rawhide. The only treats she gets are dog-appropriate fresh vegetable bits and some fruits bits – no “people food” allowed.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Lisa,

      Thanks so much for sharing. I will go to that website you mentioned. We just got a few Livestock puppies to protect our animals and I am doing a semi-raw diet with them right now until I find a good one I am confident in. Thanks for your time and input- as well as encouragement! God bless!

    • says

      Another dog owner checking in. The first one was bought for me as a birthday gift when my husband and I were just engaged. We’ve since rescued three more ~ all shih-tzus. :)

      We also have issues with allergies, big time, and we have a foot licker that drives us crazy.

      I’ll have to take a look at your recipe Lisa and see if it will work for us. Thanks so much for sharing this. When I saw this post I was wondering if there was something similar that could be done for canines.

  3. Janine says

    What a blessing this article is! My husband and I were just talking about pursuing a raw diet for our kittys. We lost our oldest to kidney failure a few years ago. It was because he ate an entire peace Lilly plant. I had no idea they were poisonous to cats.
    But we managed to keep him going a lot longer than expected with grain free food.
    Later our dog got a form of cancer that is believed to be caused by food and we learned a lot about pet foods and how really bad they are. We were able to keep him happy and enjoying life for another year when the oncologist gave him a few weeks at the most.
    We know just how important what they eat is and bemoan all the bags of the junk we fed them because it’s all we could afford.
    Your recipe doesn’t look expensive at all! I’m really looking forward to trying it.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hi Janine!
      I am sorry to hear of your loss. Losing animals has always been such a painful experience- a good reminder of sin and the un-natural state of death I suppose. I hope the recipe might work for you- I would love to hear how it turns out as you experiment!
      God bless!

  4. Monica says

    Thank you! I just started giving my cat raw liver, but she wouldn’t eat it right off the bat. Once she did, she began begging me for it. Thank you for answering the question about why cats refuse good food. I’ve never understood why she wouldn’t eat things I offered her. Is raw liver too rich by itself? On a whim I gave her some chopped up when I made pate for us.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hi Monica,

      From what I understand, they are to have a balance of the meat, not just organ meats or breast meat, etc… but a good variety. I am assuming the liver was not too rich, but just not as tasty as all the additives in her other industrial feed? That has been my experience with our cat.

      I hope you are able to find a good mix- don’t give up. In my opinion, a little raw is better than none and hopefully she will slowly let you work up to more. : )

      God bless!

    • Ma Kettle says

      People aren’t the only ones who need time to adjust to a new diet! Mom always fed her cats raw liver & most lived into their late teens, one until age 23! Crazy as it sounds, she claimed they preferred liver from a certain store over any other.

  5. says

    I’m glad you were able to take such good care of your old animals. Losing a pet is the saddest thing in life. Mine are my babies and, although their life span is short and you don’t expect them to outlive you like human children, it still sucks the life out of me when they go. I’ve been a vegetarian for more years than I can remember. A vegan unless I can get eggs & milks from happy animals. I don’t remember when I made the connection between what I eat and what I feed my cats. They get Primal brand raw food. But I shudder to think about what is probably factory meat & God only knows what kind of salmon in the the food. I just say a prayer every time I feed them and vow to go back to rabbits after these guys are gone. Thanks for the wonderful story.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Thank you for sharing. Industrial food, whether human or animal grade can be so disparaging at times- especially when you see it affect your loved ones- human or animal. May you be blessed with your meowing companions as long as the good Lord gives them life.
      God bless!

  6. Nicole says

    I am not a vet neither am I certified in any way to give advice on feline nutrition, but I have done a great amount of study on the topic. I just want to mention that although this diet is a wonderful step in the right direction, it is not entirely suitable for long-term feeding. The optimal diet for our cats is whole raw foods, in which case extra supplementing is non-essential. If we are going to feed our cats exclusively meats (as is more convenient for us humans), they will miss vital calcium and several other mineral levels will become imbalanced. They are made to digest parts such as bone, hair, skin, connective tissue, and other body parts that are missing in a diet such as the one here. If these parts are not included in a diet they must be supplemented in the form of vitamin and mineral supplementation; primarily calcium in the form of ground bone, eggshell, or pure calcium powder. There are some fairly healthy sources of pre-mixed supplements for adding to diets such as this on the internet – do some searching around and decide whether to go the pure and simple route, or try to master the tricky balance of ‘take out and add back in.’ Thanks for the good article, though – good step in the right direction!

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Nicole,
      Thanks for your time and thoughts. You helped bring an error in my post to light- thank you – the entire chicken is to be used, not just the meat. Bones, skin, tissues, everything that can be salvaged, especially if using your own chickens, should be processed. I have not tried though giving those parts in their entirety without being ground as I do with our dogs. I really appreciate your catch as I do not want to lead others in the wrong direction.

      I hope that helps clarify the recipe a bit. I would love to hear your thoughts based on the fix above. Do you think taurine is still necessary?

      God bless,

      Tracey

  7. says

    I wholeheartedly agree with the raw diet for cats. Growing up, our cats primarily ate raw kangaroo meat. They ended up being much stronger and larger than my friends’ cats who were fed tinned food. Plus they didn’t have any serious ailments, with one passing of old age after almost 18 years. Would love to see how your cats are doing now. (Yes, shameless request for more cat pictures!) :)

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Raw kangaroo meat- did you grow up in New Zealand? Australia? Very interesting. : )))

      Thanks for sharing Kate. Do you have cats now that you feed a raw diet to?

      I would love to share some pics of our cat and our beloved cat who passed, however, we are in the process of moving, and my hard drive with pictures is in a box somewhere around here.
      : ((((

      God bless you!

  8. Barbara says

    Hey Tracey! Your recipe is very similar to the one i have been using for 10 or more years now. I have a few differences tho…..I would not use regular “table” salt….it is really just “table” sodium…..I use Celtic or REAL salt, even Himalaya salt, and then I add a drop or two of Lugol’s iodine. The 85 plus other minerals in the SALT besides the sodium are trace minerals and extremely important, but the sodium alone can be dangerous. Also, I add a capsule of B vitamins, a good couple of tablespoons of diatomaceous earth, and a teaspoon of chlorella or spirulina. It has a fishy smell so they don’t think twice about it. The DE keeps parasites down, and also provides silica for strong bones and teeth, and healthy skin and hair.
    Also, I debone a few pieces, sometimes a whole chicken, and cut the pieces into mouse-sized chunks for them to gnaw on with the ground meat/bones/skin to the side. Contrary to popular but misguided information, it is NOT dry kibble that keeps their teeth clean and gums healthy. It is the chewing of the muscle meat and the bones so raw muscle meat for them to chew is a must. If yours like to hunt, like mine….(and I just saw one out the window bringing up a large rat he just killed and is eating it. Yum. Not. And these are house cats too!) and you know they get this kind of food outside, you can grind the whole chicken.
    Since cats are “obligate” carnivores, I do not add brown rice, or veggies or fruits to their food. They get pure meat/organs/bones/skin plus the nutrients. Dogs can have about 60% meat…and they do well on a few veggies (shredded carrots, chopped spinach, even chopped apples and cores) so i do add a little.
    Because of this diet– and I have FIVE rescued cats–we have NO worms at all, and no heath problems. No one has excess weight even tho all are spayed and neutered, and EVERYONE is full of energy and zest for life. Even the oldest who is at 15 now. She plays like a kitten still, and just finished a walk with us around our 40 acres. She stayed ahead of us the whole time, running the whole way, jumping and playing and chasing the dog (all of them act this way) and you would never believe she is even close to 5, much less 15. She’s never been to the vet for anything other than spaying–and I only vaccinate mine against rabies. Our rescued lab from the dumpster is the absolute picture of glowing health also on this diet, altho for her I do give more red meat (venison) and the occasional sweet potato and chopped organic spinach in with her “suppers”.
    I purchased the Tasin grinder and could not believe that it did such a beautiful job, and quickly, with super easy cleanup….all for $150! It’s the best investment I’ve ever made. I use it when we process our venison too. Here is where i purchased mine. http://www.onestopjerkyshop.com/tasin-ts-108-electric-meat-grinder-1/ Most of the holistic vets I’ve followed use this one and I see why. In a pinch, and i used it for years, those manual, clamp-on style grinders work too….just a little more elbow grease is needed. And i save ALL of my cooked chicken bones and most of my neighbors save all of theirs for me too!! A handful of bones ground up makes an excellent addition to chunks of meat and veggies for the dog, and even a great snack for the cats.
    If you cannot grind your bones, put them in a large bag and freeze until you have a bag full. Plop them in the crock pot, cover with water and a pinch of Celtic salt. Cook on low for 72 hours. I used to have a dedicated crock pot for their bones before i started grinding them. After 72 hours, let it cool. Even the densest thigh bone will now turn to mush when squashed between your thumb and finger. I don’t mash them…..i pile them on a plate and they think they are in heaven!!! You should see the cats even devour them! And, regarding chicken bones….RAW chicken bones CAN be given to both cats and dogs…..just not any cooked bones that have been cooked LESS than 72 hours. My cats love the first and second sections of the raw chicken wings as a snack.
    Also, I was talking with a friend who works for a large commercial poultry company whose name you would recognize. She was getting a dog from us that we had rescued and brought back to health. When she asked what we fed her to make her so beautiful, i told her. She asked if she could just use regular dog chow….and what was wrong with it. I told her that one of the scary things is that when those chickens go through the line, and there is a cancerous wing, or thigh or drumstick, it gets lopped off and then the rest of the chicken goes on through, to be cut up and sold as chicken parts individually, or on to places who do chicken. The cancerous piece, however, goes on to the rendering plant and is picked up by the pet food manufacturers. She said there was no way that happened. I told her that she worked there, albeit in the office….go check it out. She did, and called me a week later….sick to her stomach. Moral of the story….unless you are buying organic….buy a whole chicken. And don’t feed your pet food made from cancerous meat, along with all the toxic stuff in there with it.
    Sorry to be so long, but this is definitely what you want to do to keep your pets healthy and living a long life. I mean, isn’t that why we have them in the first place????

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing. I am so thankful to write and communicate in this setting- I end up learning so much from all of the readers. Thanks for sharing your knowledge as it is a blessing!
      Tracey

  9. Linda Adsit says

    Very good article. Raw meat is a cat’s natural diet. But we all had to learn this. I’ve had cats my whole life, and fed them what was advertised on TV, like most people did. And of course many of them died from medical problems. After I lost my last remaining immediate family member, her 15 y/o cat, and then my 17 y/o cat, I grieved hard. For one thing, I didn’t want any more pets to lose to death. But my heart kept reaching out, and I took in a stray, abandoned calico. That was 8 years ago, and I’ve never fed her canned or dry cat food. Why? Because while grieving I read a book about wild cats and finally understood how the pride is organized. I became a cat to my new friend. We’re both happy with this arrangement. She eats some of the same food I eat, but hers is usually raw. Raw organic soy free chicken, raw grassfed beef liver, raw grassfed ground beef, raw organic ground chicken, yeast flakes, local organic yogurt, extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut milk, pastured egg yolks, raw milk grassfed cheese and sustainably caught tuna. Occasional bites of cooked chicken or roast beef with me. She’s strong and well adjusted to being brought indoors. My house is cat friendly. Perches and boxes in each room and although it took her over 5 years to summon the courage to get on my bed, she now takes her daytime naps there. We play every day. And I built her a screened enclosure on my porch so she gets outdoor time and fresh air and can watch the world go by. I can’t imagine not having a cat. Sorry this went long. Bottom line, you are what you eat, cats included. She is a predator.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Wow, thank you for sharing. I am sorry for all of the loss you experienced at once. I pray time and fond memories have been a comfort. We too purchase the quality meat that you are describing- just out of curiosity, how much do you think it costs to feed your cat, lets say every week or month? Do you grind the meat or just give it as is with bones?

      Thanks!

      • Linda Adsit says

        Thank you for your kind words, and for your prayers. Death is a reality of life, but it sure hurts. If I didn’t have Jesus in my life, I would Never have survived it.

        Second question first: No, I don’t grind it. I cut it up in 1 inch squares. No bones; she acts like they’re rattlesnakes. She might like it ground, but I don’t have a good grinder.

        Now the other question. Money. Well, since it’s all food that I eat myself, I’d have to guesstimate. The chicken, liver, beef, yeast flakes, tuna, cheese and eggs probably come to around $60/month, or $2/day for her portions. Yes, it costs way more than canned cat food, but I wouldn’t want to eat from cans every day.

        Please pardon me while I get up on my soapbox. Friskees is the Fritos of the cat world. I used to be a Frito Bandito until I finally wised up. And every day, I thank God that I’m still alive at 60.

        Blessings and peace to you. Linda

  10. Susie says

    I feed both my dog and cat raw food. I didn’t start that way though. My dog had horrible skin issues and we hoped that the raw food would help but unfortunately it didn’t. However, the cat… She’s 13 and acts like a kitten. Healthy as can be! Raw food is expensive and I would encourage beef and lamb as well as chicken. The kind I get has bones ground up in it for calcium. The dog gets raw bones as well which is great for their teeth.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Thanks for the thoughts, Susie. I need to reach out to local butchers- there is much venison and beef processed around here. Glad to hear that the raw diet works well with your cat! : )

  11. Sheril C says

    Thank-you so much for this info. After seeing this post a few months ago, I was able to switch my cat over to raw, something I had previously been unsuccessful with. Now she is very happy with her raw food and her health is improving! I’ve had to play with the recipe a little due to my own preferences and circumstances such as I don’t keep any table salt in my house so I put sea salt and lugol’s which I do keep in the house and now I see someone suggested the same already in the comments! I wish for my family, myself and now my cat that I could move away from zoning restrictions and raise oodles of chickens, ducks, squab, etc. in their healthiest ways, but I know I’ve made a step in the right direction. So again, THANK-YOU.

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hi Sheril,

      Thanks for your comment. I have a question for you – the only reason why we have table salt is for my homemade dishwasher detergent and cat food as we also use sea salt. What percentage of Lugol’s are you using (2% or 4%) and what is the ratio of sea salt/Lugol’s if you don’t mind me asking. Has it been successful?

      God bless,
      Tracey

  12. Julia says

    Forgive my ignorance here, but how do you grind up the bones and other tissues along with the “meat”? A food processor?

    As a side note, I am looking forward myself to relocating to the Middle Tennessee area sometime within the next 12-24 months! From the rolling hills, fresh air, and beauty that abounds, it’s a little slice of heaven! I am so excited for so many new-to-me aspects of a “southern” climate and region with the exception of mega-sized bugs/spiders and Tornadoes!

    • Tracey Vierra says

      Hello Julia!

      I have a meat grinder that I use. : ))) There are some fairly good ones for under $100 if you spend some time looking.

      How great that you are moving to Mid-TN- it is absolutely beautiful here- you will be coming at a nice time of year as summer fades and all the fall splendor decorates the country side. The bugs aren’t too bad, even the chiggers can be solved with a little sulfur powder around the ankles: ) Where are you moving to?

      God bless you in your move.

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