Friday, 13 April 2012

The cat food saga: the dry and the raw

I used to feed my 2 cats dry because my vet said so. All the places
I've been to - RSPCA, animal hospital, vets - sold mostly dry food
like Hills Science so I figured that was accepted good practice. Main
complaint I would have was the stink of their poo. One of the cats has
always been fanatical about covering up his offerings, but it still
had a strong smell despite being buried in the litter. In the mornings
my wife would always wake me up way earlier than I'd like to make me
clean up the litter boxes.

Then a recent spell of cat gastro made me change their diet to mainly
raw meat, and it's completely all for the better. In Australia, wild
kangaroo meat is commonly sold as raw pet food. Kangaroo meat is very
lean, as kangaroos are not farmed animals. It's all from the wild.

Now i'm not 100% sure if it was the change to raw meat or if they were
already getting better. The smell is gone in the mornings. The stench
of the litter boxes don't fill up the house. It's possible it was just
something in that particular dry food didn't agree with them, but I
wasn't prepared to go and try out umpteen kinds of dry food to test
that theory.

Another impact of this is that they're using the litter box way more
to urinate, and it was starting to get expensive with the clumping
litter, but I've started trying out crystal litter which seems way
better and less expensive at dealing with cat wee. From the number of
times they urinate,I would say they now consume a lot more water
because of the wet food diet.

The transition to raw food was actually pretty uneventful. While
dealing with the gastro issues I did a timeout of 24 hrs on feeding
them, and this gave us a break on the cleanup and made them very
hungry and pretty receptive to ANYTHING that I gave them. They
finished their first bowl of raw meat very quickly! One of them was a
bit reluctant so for a few days I gave him his own mix with raw meat
and dry food.

I've started using canned cat food as backup, in cases where I'm out
of raw food or it hasn't thawed out yet. I've found this more
agreeable with them than switching back to dry food, or mixing wet and
dry in the same bowl. They still seem to be sensitive with changes to
diet, so I've just stuck to some canned brands that they like. I still
have some leftover Felidae, so the dry food remains as a last resort
or on the few times that I can't feed them myself.