Global Love: How I switched my cat from kibble to raw
Guest Post by Kathy Mercure
When I brought home my 8-year-old boy cat, Minuit, in March, I hadn’t had a cat in nearly 30 years. But since my dog Lulu eats a raw diet and I’ve seen huge improvements in her health, I knew I wanted to try to switch Minuit to raw as well.
Luckily, the folks at the Global Pet Foods in Moncton had already tapped into his favourite type of canned food — gravy-style (he was the beneficiary of the leftovers from Global’s #PetPros demonstration on canned). So, when I went to the Dieppe store to get his supplies before he came, with the help of the amazing staff, I started on Weruva. For a boy of his nearly 11 pounds, it meant I would be feeding him 2 full cans a day. However, because he was used to dry, I kept with his diet at first as it had been at Global — a mix of dry kibble and wet.
It was just as well, because starting out in a new home, with a dog, new owners, and new smells, was a bit overwhelming for Minuit, as I expect it would be for any cat.
Making the switch: the bad and the ugly
After we’d had him about a week, Minuit was eating just fine (I keep his food bowl in my office, so he has privacy), so I was ready to start on raw.
Global staff are so knowledgeable, caring, and committed to helping find the right food, and they assured me if he wouldn’t eat something, or it disagreed with him, I could bring anything back. Another lovely thing is that the Primal brand of food offers small 6 oz. trial packs of raw and Global gave me a coupon to try it free, before buying a whole bag.
It was a disaster… the 1 oz blocks of raw meat, organs, bone, and veggies had such a different texture and taste from the canned and kibble, Minuit would have nothing to with it. In fact, he vomited several times over the next few days, poor fella (probably because he was on a hunger strike).
Finding our happy place: the good and the awesome
So, back I went… I am like a hovering mother hen about my pets when they are out of sorts, but one of the staff assured me this was completely normal. Cats are fussy eaters, big time, they don’t like change, and mouth feel is super important. Her brilliant suggestion: Start off with mixing about a quarter of a 1 oz. cube into his favourite canned food on the first day and then gradually lessen the amount of canned while increasing the raw each day until he is completely switched over. I also added water to the canned, which is not only super good for a cat’s urinary tract, but as a gravy-lovin’ cat, he didn’t mind at all.
Within a week, Minuit was fully on raw and loving it! I feed him Primal’s salmon/chicken and salmon/beef formulas. He wasn’t keen on the pork version of Primal (probably because it tastes so different from the salmon combinations) Global took it back without question. I may try it again some day to add more variety in Minuit’s diet.
According to his size, he eats 5 cubes (5 oz.) of raw each day, and I split it between, morning, dinner, and at night-time I give him the last cube (because he let’s me know in no uncertain terms he is HUNGRY!). I make a stew out of his cubes by adding warm water and he laps up the water first, then comes back a bit later to eat the meat. He’s super happy. And he pees like a racehorse! My hubby looks after the cleanup of the litter box, but I experienced him peeing once and it just went on and on and on!
Tartar control: brusha, brusha, brusha!
Depending on the cat, sometimes those who eat canned foods can get a tartar build-up (especially if the food has starchy foods in it), but this isn’t typically a problem with raw, as the bits of bones in the food help scrape the teeth, plus, there are no carbs to form plaque. I give him cat treats each day in the morning and after supper. His favourite are the Wellness Kittles. He’ll chase them, so he gets a bit of exercise as well as some serious crunch, but as a fish-loving cat, he also eats the Acana Pacifica kibble that I give him as treats. It’s super fishy and there are no grains in any of his treats.
One day was cutting the meat off a chicken breast I’d mistakenly thought was boneless, and Minuit went wild. I gave him a small piece with bone and he gobbled it up happily. So know I give him a small bit of raw chicken back too when I give Lulu hers. He only eats a bit, so if I give him too much, he leaves it. But man, does he get mad when Lulu gobbles it up. Kids!
The benefits I’ve seen in two months
- When I first got him, he had a wicked bad case of dandruff. Between the raw diet, and his Aqua Veggies seaweed sprinkles I give him as a supplement, his coat is glossy and he’s sleek like a panther.
- Feeding Minuit a raw diet is actually less expensive than feeding him canned food — by at least 50 percent! It’s also very convenient. I just defrost 5 cubes in a container each day in the fridge, leaving the rest of the bag frozen. Even though he loves salmon chicken and salmon beef, there is no fishy smell, it almost smells like fruits…
- With all the moisture he gets, he’s got super urinary tract health
- His urine doesn’t smell strong at all
- Raw also means he poops waaaay less — and there is hardly any smell when he does. Trust me, my hubby has a super smeller and sleeps right outside the poo-zone.
- His dental health is excellent (no bad breath and no tartar)
- He’s super happy and contented
- He’s got amazing energy despite fact he is going grey (yes, white hairs on his neck, and face are coming in, who knew?!). He loves his Cat Go wand toy.
- Even at 8 years old, he can jump nearly five feet without any trouble to watch his birds from our basement ground level ledge
- He looks forward to each and every meal (and lets me know when it is time)
- He fetches a ball, or a milk container plastic tab thingy… I know, it’s not a benefit per se, but it’s so cute!
He knows the routine now, so as soon as my hubby gets up to go to bed, he runs downstairs for a little attention. He’s a wiley one… he knows that every night my husband Cyril cleans out his litter box, so Minuit also supervises that job. Then he immediately does his. After that, he comes upstairs to cajole me into feeding him. He eats, then joins me in bed, snuggling right up beside me and Lulu (as long as I’m there, they are fine being side by side) for most of the night.
Next on my agenda with M. Minuit, is to get him outside. Especially since he is declawed, I don’t want him going outside to wander, but he soooo wants to be outdoors. I spend a fair bit of time on my deck in warm weather, so I’m going to try him on a collar/harness and lead to see how he does. I’ll report back!