Raw raw raw..so many different ways.
There are many different ideas about how raw feeding should be done (whole prey, frankenprey, grinding recipes etc) and whether supplements (and what sort of supplements) are needed. And I think this confuses people as to what is the “right” way to feed raw.
Many have asked whether I get supplements. And the answer is I don’t get regular supplements…because Mummy follows the “frankenprey” method and the idea/concept/theory behind the frankenprey model is that it simulates the proportion of bones to meat to organs in a whole prey and therefore I should be getting all the nutrients I need from my food. Mummy tries to feed me a little heart in every meal and lots of chicken thighs because these are higher in taurine and as much grass fed meat (for Omega 3) as she can get/afford. If you cannot feed lots of grass fed meats then the recommendation is to supplement with some Omega 3.
This is the “purist” frankenprey feeding way which Mummy has so far been following although it’s not because Mummy is a purist. It’s largely because it’s very difficult to feed me supplements. I won’t eat my food if there is weird vitamins/oils on it. I’m not easily tricked into eating food with vitamins/oils on it even if they have been mixed in, drizzled with tuna water or “dusted” with crushed treats (believe me Mummy has tried). The only sure way to get supplements into me is to “pill” me which really sucks cos I hate it and will struggle like mad and become very grumpy. And working through how much supplements is safe to give, how to give, when to give etc etc is kind of a chore and Mummy does believe that raw feeding should not be a chore or be so complicated.
Mummy also doesn’t believe in grinding meat/bone because grinding causes a lot of nutrient loss and she cannot understand grinding and losing all that nutrient only to try to put them back in with vitamins. Also grinding seems to just expose more of the raw ingredients to bacteria growth. Mummy likes the idea of me chomping on chunks of meat and bone because it helps to clean teeth and is kind of like face exercise. Some raw “recipes” only grind bone and organs but keep the boneless muscle meat in chunks. Mummy can’t understand that especially the grinding of the organs…if I can eat chunks of boneless meat, why can’t I eat organs as is? She thinks maybe the reason for the grinding is to create a base/slurry that all the supplements can be mixed into so that they can be portioned out equally for each day.
But having an open mind and continual education on nutrition and raw feeding is important for the well being of a kitty. I don’t think one can get caught up on one way of raw feeding and say that is the only right way. I’ve heard that there are discussions on various raw forums that can get pretty heated up with people disagreeing on what is the right way to do things and Mummy has even seen one person claim that she was kicked out of one raw group for suggesting that the frankenprey method of feeding is not good enough and supplements are needed.
Some raw “recipe” feeders or people who believe in supplementing feel that the frankenprey way of feeding is not ideal in terms of ensuring sufficient nutrients or balancing these nutrients. With frankenprey, you also can’t say with any certainty how much of a certain vitamin or mineral your kitty is actually getting. Although if you compare this with a human, which human is able to determine exactly how much vitamins or minerals they are getting from each and every meal? Some humans take supplements, some humans don’t. Some humans take certain types of supplements, others take different types of supplements. Is the human who doesn’t take supplements an unhealthy human in risk of serious health issues? Not necessarily…i think it does come down to an individual’s approach, what you’re able to get and what you’re able to get kitty to eat.
There are certainly some basics which all raw feeding camps would not disagree on…that raw is better than commercial food and if you’re not feeding whole prey, you need boneless muscle meat, calcium in the form of bone or maybe eggshell powder, liver and organs. Mummy has looked at some of the raw “recipes” online and in terms of proportion of boneless meat, calcium, liver and other organs, the recipes are very similar to frankenprey’s 80:10:5:5 guideline. What’s important is reading as much as you can, understanding as much as you can, having an open mind and then deciding what works best for you and your kitty.
Mummy has also realised that the frankenprey way of feeding cannot be oversimplified into just 80% boneless meat, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other organs. Another key to frankenprey feeding which is very important but from what Mummy has seen not stressed as much is VARIETY. Variety in types of animal and variety in parts of animal. Different types of muscle, different types of bone and different types of organ. Every part is going to have a different composition of nutrients.
This is why we try to post and update everyone each time Mummy finds something different for me. And she does try to find as much variety as she can which she can realistically buy for me. Some things are a little tough. A packet of sweetbread when I eat on average less than 5g of other organs per meal (because I get diarrhea with too much other organs) could feed me for months and months. But Mummy isn’t too comfortable with the idea of keeping one packet of sweetbread for 6 months. So the easiest other organs to buy me is kidney (like pig kidney which is readily available in Singapore and inexpensive) or cow spleen (from the wet markets and is also very inexpensive).
Mummy thinks that even with her efforts, I’m still not getting as much variety as I should be getting. The only bones I get are chicken wings and rib bones, rabbit ribs and quail bones because I won’t attempt anything bigger or harder than those. I’m kinda lazy about bones. So what do we do? We don’t really know…keep doing what we can to get as much variety as we possibly can into my diet I suppose.
The idea is to get as close to whole prey as possible…although technically an appropriate whole prey for a kitty would be mice and other smaller animals and not an entire cow. I think there are some raw feeders who believe that the only appropriate whole prey is small prey which a kitty would naturally be able to eat as opposed to an entire chicken which would have the wrong balance of nutrients for a kitty and therefore a “recipe” is needed with supplements to balance the diet. But how do you know how much of the supplements are meant to make up for the nutrient lost in grinding, how much is to make up for the “inappropriate” species and how much is actually for balancing purposes? And how can one say or determine that a frankenprey fed kitty is definitely not getting a balanced diet over time?
Mummy is still kinda on the fence about this idea of compulsory supplements to balance the diet…to be honest I’ve been doing pretty well on the frankenprey model with almost no supplements and I’m not showing any signs of deficiency in anything right now. And there are people on the forums who have been feeding frankenprey for a much longer time who also don’t seem to be having health issues.
So Mummy still thinks that the frankenprey way of feeding is perfectly fine without many additional supplements but you must remember to feed varietyy, parts which are high in taurine as much as possible and if you are not feeding grass fed meat to add an Omega 3 supplement. And as I said I won’t eat food with vitamins mixed into it so Mummy wouldn’t be able to heavily supplement me anyway. So she can only supplement selectively and as needed.
Isn’t this all extremely INTERESTING?????? Mummy’s inner geek came out and she started getting very “academic” about the whole thing. Even after 2 years of feeding raw there was and probably still is so much Mummy doesn’t know especially about cat nutritional needs. She bought some new books that she hasn’t managed to start reading yet…but she’s joined several new forums/groups and it’s really informative reading the different views and input from others. There are many on these forums/groups who are really knowledgeable. It really amazing!
Photos added just so that this wouldn’t be an extremely boring verbal diarrhea post : )