How To Begin

So you have decided to start!!!! Switching to raw can be different for every cat. Some take to it like their salvation has arrived. Some tentatively try it. Some think you are trying to poison them and will bury it. Don't be discouraged, even the worst dry food junkie can learn to eat raw. Think of how you would react if you were raised on Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and suddenly all you were offered were peas and carrots.

 

DO NOT fast cats or they may develop fatal Fatty Liver Disease. They MUST eat something in every 24 hour period. Old or fat cats are at even higher risk.

 

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Here is a quick overview on how I switched a large group of cats from free feeding dry food to a raw diet, this included some very reluctant ones. My plan caters to the hard to convince. Michelle Bernard's book also contains many helpful ideas.

 

1) What worked for me was first going from free feeding to two daily feedings (I was feeding only dry food). I did that for a week or two until they got used to it and stopped constantly harassing me. 

2) I began to include some canned at each feeding. Cats like the taste of Wellness Turkey & Salmon or Natural Balance. If you run into problems you can make wet food from your current dry food (see below).

3) My next step was decreasing the amount of dry that was available. I didn't mix the two foods.  I kept decreasing the amount of dry and increasing the wet food until there wasn't any dry. My dry food junkies were also the biggest pigs. They flew through the dry and still wanted more, they had no choice but to start on the canned. 

4) I began putting out some raw for those that would eat it. At this point I had everyone on either canned or raw. 

5) [You can skip this step if your cat is already interested in the raw.] My next step was to switched the canned to Wysong or Evo All Meat canned. It isn't as tasty as the brands that are full of junk. Each day I mixed a little more of the Wysong or Evo into the previous brand of canned food. Raw food was also available at each meal. Before I had gotten the processed food hold-outs totally switched over to All Meat canned, most had decided on their own to go raw. I gave half a case of canned food to our local shelter.

6) If your cat is on a canned diet at this point begin to mix a tiny bit of raw into the their canned food. Slowly increasing the amount. If they stop eating, go back to the amount they will eat and progress at a slower pace. Don't get discouraged. They will all switch over eventually and you will be so glad you stayed with it!

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Other Tips

If your cat already likes canned food, but wants to bury the raw, you can begin by mixing a VERY small amount of raw into the canned. Slowly increase the amount of raw. If your cat stops eating, decrease the amount. You are going too fast. If they eat around the raw, put the raw into the blender with the canned food. 

 

You can create wet food from dry food by putting it in a blender or a new coffee grinder (your cat will not eat food that smells even remotely like coffee). Then add 1/2 cup water to each 1/2 cup food. Refrigerate what you do not use, discard after 24 hours.

 

It is easier to switch if you do not use any supplements in the raw at first. Cats can smell a vitamin from 100 miles away. I started with ground turkey, then added the supplements little by little.

 

I had one diehard holdout. Each day I would offer the raw. When she didn't eat I would wrap her in a towel and spoon-fed her. On day five she started to eat the raw on her own.

 

If you search for economical meat sources, raw can be less expensive than processed food. A 12 lb bag of Wellness Grain Free costs $49.92 ($4.16 per lb). The cost of 12 lbs of ground turkey and TCfeline is a total of $2 per lb. Deduct future vet costs and raw becomes an even better bargain.