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Advice on feeding kitten raw diet

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Eamonn, Jul 14, 2020.


  1. Eamonn

    Eamonn PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all,

    I’m a fairly new cat dad, with a twelve week old Scottish Fold girl who’s absolutely adorable and has such a perfect temperament.

    I just wanted some advice regarding her diet. The breeder fed her Natural Instinct kitten weaning paste and I’d done some research and a raw diet sounded really appealing with all the reported benefits so was happy to continue this. I was advised to get 6 packs of 2x500g of the weaning paste and that one 500g should last five days, with two daily feeds. Additionally she has Royal Canin mother and baby cat biscuits to graisse on, which she does occasionally.

    My little girl loves her raw natural instinct food and initially one pack of 500g would last the five days but now it’s more like four days as her appetite is growing.

    I took her to the vets yesterday for her second jabs and the vet advised me against the raw diet, she said it can cause stomach problems, bugs and they may not be getting enough nutrients such as protein. She advised to transition to a cooked diet when I’ve finished with the raw food and I can reconsider a raw diet when she’s an adult cat.

    I’m a bit conflicted what to do now, I really value the vets expert opinion but also have read great things about the raw food.

    I was wondering what people’s thoughts were?
    1) Should I be feeding my girl a raw diet?
    2) How much should she be eating at the moment (I think she’s eating around 100-120g of natural instinct weaning paste a day, two meals of 50-60g)? This seems a lot more than what I’ve read on the internet but was what I was advised by the breeder. How often should I be increasing the portion amounts?
    3) Should I feed her less but more often? E.g. three-four times a day?
    4) When should I put her on regular natural instinct food if I’m to keep her on a raw diet? She probably has about 4kg left of the kitten weaning paste and the amount I bought 6kg in total was recommended by the breeder.

    Weight wise she was 1.16kg on 13/07. Her weight before then was 0.66kg on 19/06. The vet was happy with her weight and overall health.

    Sorry for the million questions! Slightly anxious first time cat dad.

    Thank you :)
     
  2. catzz

    catzz PetForums Senior

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    I wouldn’t profess to be an expert by any means but I do know that there are people who feed kittens a raw diet very successfully- mother cats don’t cook mice for their babies after all! Also I do know that vets aren’t necessarily experts in nutrition although I think this is improving. I’m led to believe that they get very little teaching on nutrition. Most people on here would advise against dry food as it’s not great for their kidneys etc.

    Would be great to see some pictures of your little one!
     
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi @Eamonn and welcome :)

    Feeding your kitten a raw diet has to be based on personal choice. There are quite a few forum members who feed their cats (or kittens) a raw diet.

    I don't understand your vet's objection to a raw diet being based partly on it lacking enough protein. The opposite is likely to the case, i.e. the kitten will get far more protein (and of a higher quality no doubt) in a balanced raw diet than they will get in a cat food diet.

    Lack of proper nutrients could be an issue if the raw food is not balanced with the correct ratio of muscle meat(including heart), offal and bone. Do Natural Instinct claim their raw cat foods contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals for cats and kittens? Or do they advise adding a "completer" (a supplement suitable for adding to raw meat - which would need to be calcium free if there is bone in the raw mixture)

    Raw meat always contains bacteria on the surface. If it is minced then the surface area is larger, hence higher levels of bacteria. However cats and kittens do have a pretty robust digestive system for dealing with reasonable levels of bacteria in their food.

    I can't advise specifically on quantities of raw for a kitten, but generally the advice on feeding a kitten is to let them eat as much as they want.

    I would certainly recommend feeding a kitten 4 meals a day though.
     
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  4. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    Vets get little nutritional based training and what they do get is usually done by a representative of one of the big food manufacturers such as Royal Canin or Purina. Hence the reason these type of food products are pushed.

    In answer to your questions:

    1) Should I be feeding my girl a raw diet?
    Yes, if that is what you are happy to feed. A raw diet is a good natural way to feed
    Felines. Just ensure you stick to normal raw meat handling hygiene protocols and I'm sure all will be fine.

    2) How much should she be eating at the moment (I think she’s eating around 100-120g of natural instinct weaning paste a day, two meals of 50-60g)? This seems a lot more than what I’ve read on the internet but was what I was advised by the breeder. How often should I be increasing the portion amounts?
    On average an adult cat should be fed 3% of its body weight in raw food per day but a kitten needs at least 6% of its body weight, so around 100g is correct at present for your girl. Weigh her every week and adjust the food up as necessary as she grows.

    3) Should I feed her less but more often? E.g. three-four times a day?
    Personally at that age I'd be giving three meals a day rather than two so the individual meals can be slightly smaller, ensuring she eats the lot within minutes.

    4) When should I put her on regular natural instinct food if I’m to keep her on a raw diet?
    I never gave mine 'kitten' raw, they all ate the same. So I'd say you can switch her when the stuff you have is finished but stick to the same flavour (chicken?).

    The only issue I have is the brand you are using. I wouldn't let it over the doorstep, let alone near the cat's but each to their own. All I can say is please, please do not ever feed any of the game or wild meat foods from Natural Instinct, stick to farmed meat only (chicken, beef, lamb).
     
    #4 Tigermoon, Jul 15, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  5. Eamonn

    Eamonn PetForums Newbie

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    That’s very true and I get what you’re saying. Thanks for replying.

    Here’s my little Pebbles, I’m obviously biased but I do think she’s gorgeous!


    I hope you can see the pic!
     
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  6. Eamonn

    Eamonn PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Chillminx, thanks for the welcome :)

    Yea I was a little confused about that as well, I did think maybe she wasn't familiar with the brand as it does claim it has all the finest ingredients and is balanced to provide a perfect diet to maintain strong bones, muscles and digestion. They don't advise about adding anything else and a lot of personal reviews I've read from people, the majority speak of the benefits in terms of their pets appetite, their coat, energy levels etc. My little girl absolutely loves it too, scoffs it down.

    Thank you, I had heard about the feeding as much as they'll eat too and I'll definitely spread her meals out more throughout the day now.

    Thanks again for your reply, super helpful!
     
  7. Eamonn

    Eamonn PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Tigermoon,

    Thanks for your reply!
    That make sense about what brands they push.

    I'm super happy to feed her a raw diet, and of course I'm very strict with where its kept, how long I'll keep it for after it been open etc.
    Oh great, I think 100g is around what we feed her, maybe a tad more. I'll continue to increase it gradually then.
    I was thinking about switching her then, so thanks for clarifying. Yeah I think she's on chicken so I'll get her the same.

    Oh really, what is it you don't like about the brand?

    Thanks so much for your response, it's really useful.
     
  8. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    There have been some issues with Natural Instinct's venison, which I believe has now been withdrawn from sale but like @Tigermoon I still wouldn't trust them.
    The are several good companies out there, producing balanced raw diets for cats so have a look on the web.
    As a breeder I feed my kittens raw and have had no health issues in doing so. I am also fortunate in having a vet who is pro raw feeding.
     
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  9. catzz

    catzz PetForums Senior

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    What a gorgeous little poppet!
     
  10. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    As Lymorelynn mentioned there has been some issues with the NI most recently with the venison flavour but before that, there was another issue with a wild meat product they made. There is a thread relating to the venison issue on the forum.

    I've used a few different raw suppliers over the years, but if I had less mouths to feed I would probably stick to Purrform as it is complete, easy to feed and the cats really liked it when I tried it out. However it is expensive so with 11 cats munching away, it is too costly for me at present.
     
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  11. urbantigers

    urbantigers PetForums VIP

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    I feed raw to my cats and avoid NI for the reasons mentioned by others. The commercially prepared brands I feed are Luna & Me and Purrform. Neither are cheap, but are very conveniently packaged.
     
  12. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    I won't feeed Purrform after almost losing an entire litter due to the bone content in their rabbit mixes. Their customer service isn't great either if you have a problem. Now that I have downsized, I use Luna and Me. It's not cheap, but the meat seems very well tolerated in this house, and there's rarely left overs. Nutriment is almost identical to Natural Instinct, but the quality is much better, and I'd trust them a lot more than I would NI. NI have had problems since they split from the folks who went on to make Nutriment. I have heard directly from the horse's mouth about things that would make me never, ever use that brand for any reason at all.
    PalioRidge is good too as they do smaller tubs for a single cat. However, the mince is coarser, and some cats won't have it..

    In terms of feeding her, feed as much as she will eat at this stage. I do not weigh food for my cats ever. They clear the plate, then are offered more. If they're hungry, I continue to feed until they are full, then the food goes away once they refuse it. This has resulted in cats who moderate their own weights beautifully.

    So, in short: Raw is fine as long as it is 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% kidney or other secreting organ. I would class Luna and Me as great, AlaskaCat from Kiezebrink as also great although messy, Nutriment and PalioRidge as fine to feed, and Purrform as convenient but certainly never my first choice for a kitten, unless you are very stringent about poo checking, and can bulk it out with other emats if you notice it is too bone heavy.
    Feed as much as she will eat, in 3-4 small meals a day. I tend to let my kittens graze to enable them to feed when they need to, as their sugar levels do drop so quickly.
     
  13. Seb_the_Siamese

    Seb_the_Siamese PetForums Junior

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    Most of the important stuff has already been said. Although, I would like to add a little bit re 'should I be feeding my girl a raw diet'

    My vet(s) had the same answer that you got when they found out that I feed Seb raw. I think it's important to be fully honest and say that I have definitely had my reservations. I have tried (unsuccessfully) to find a scientific paper that truly advocated for a raw diet and I still have not found one - much of the evidence for a raw diet is observational, from the owners that feed raw.

    As a medic, I am obviously biased towards the statistics, but I have to say - it really is your experience that matters most here. If you are comfortable feeding raw and you see that your kitten is doing well on it, by all means definitely go for it. Only you can really decide. After seeing Seb's progress after a transition to raw, both vets have conceded that he seems to be doing well with this new diet.

    A balanced raw diet is probably harder to get wrong than to get right (assuming you've done some reading, and especially if you are buying ready-made) and when done right, a raw diet can really work wonders! It definitely helps with peace of mind to clean and sanitise things regularly, to make sure the household is safe for both yourself and your pretty little girl!

    When we started Seb on raw (at about 10 weeks old) we fed him 4 times a day, and are currently down to 3 times (at 18 weeks old) we feed him as much as he wants.

    Hope this helped!
     
  14. Rachey

    Rachey PetForums Junior

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    Hi, I'm also trying to transition my kittens on to raw (they're 19 weeks), out of interest how long do you leave the raw down for? I'm still slightly concerned about it going off but my kittens are grazers
     
  15. Seb_the_Siamese

    Seb_the_Siamese PetForums Junior

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    At the moment we feed seb at 08:00, 14:00 and 21:00 so thats about 6-7 hours between meals, although it tends to be gone within three. Some people claim to leave theirs out for 12 hours but I would be weary of doing this. If it has gone off, the kittens won't eat it - so in that sense you'd largely be safe.
     
  16. urbantigers

    urbantigers PetForums VIP

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    Personally, if it’s not eaten fairly quickly I’d take it up and throw it away then put more down later. Obviously with kittens there is going to be some waste as they need to eat several times a day, but they’ll soon realise that if they don't’ eat it within a certain time frame it gets taken away. I’ve always fed scheduled meal times (easier when you have more than one) even with kittens and they soon get the hang of it.

    I think it’s hard to find a vet who supports raw, and they have a point in that many people may think it just involves feeding raw meat and don’t provide a balanced diet. It’s shame more can’t be helpful as it puts us in defensive mode when we aren’t supported and don’t feel that we can ask for advice or admit to any difficulties. My vet gave me some articles/papers that indicated raw was not safe, but they were ones I’d seen before on here and weren’t overly conclusive. Eventually she grudgingly admitted that my boys seem to do well on it and has stopped trying to advise me against it.
     
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