What is kefir?
Kefir for your Pets:
What are kefir grains?
What do I need to make kefir?
- A glass jar that can hold a minimum of 250ml of milk, preferably that has a lid that is not too airtight, as gas needs to escape while fermenting.
- A fine-meshed sieve or strainer (plastic is better, stainless steel is fine, avoid other metals)
- A spoon (again, plastic is better, stainless steel is also fine, avoid other metals)
- Full cream milk. Full cream milk produces a thicker nicer kefir than low fat or skimmed. You can add a touch of cream to your kefir to make it thicker. Do NOT use UHT/long-life, skimmed or nut milk – it will not work. Preferably organic, or a reputable dairy shop’s milk is also fine, as supermarket milk may contain growth hormones and antibiotics which may damage your kefir grains.
- A warm spot to culture your milk. Ambient room temperature is fine.
- A refrigerator to store your kefir.
How do I make it?
- Add 2-3 teaspoons of hydrated kefir grains in a clean jar, and add a cup of full cream milk of your choice. (Dehydrated grains will require steps 1-5 to be repeated a few times until they are culturing properly)
- Cover with lid, not too tightly, to allow gas to escape.
- Leave to culture for 24-48hours, in a warm place (ambient temperature ranging from 20C-25C is best), but away from direct sunlight. Colder temperatures will result in kefir taking longer to culture.
- After 24-28 hours, give the kefir a good stir or shake and pass the contents through a sieve, strainer or very clean mutton cloth, into a clean glass jar to store your kefir in.
- Gently squeeze or stir the kefir through the strainer, or just pick out the grains with your ‘clean’ fingers if grains are large enough.
- Either mature/ripen your kefir as per the “How do I reduce the lactose in my kefir” section or store the kefir in the refrigerator for consumption.
- Put your separated kefir grains into a clean jar and repeat the process.
How do I know when the kefir is ready?
Is there lactose in kefir?
- The lactose content of the milk you started with;
- Amount of time that your kefir is cultured for; and
- How soon you consume your kefir (whether you consume immediately or choose to ripen your kefir)
How do I reduce the lactose in my kefir?
- Take your freshly cultured kefir with grains removed, and pour into a clean jar, filling no more than ¾ of the way full.
- Place the lid on the jar, but don’t seal tightly, as a lot of gas will build up during this process.
- 1-2 times a day tighten the lid, and give it a good shake to loosen everything up.
- Loosen the lid again slightly.
- Store for up to 5 days at room temperature on warmer days, and up to 2 weeks during cooler times.
- Tighten the lid and consume as needed.
How much should I feed?
- Start slowly, and work up gradually to around one tablespoon per 15kg for dogs per day.
- Humans should also start slowly – around 3-5 tablespoons initial, and build up gradually to about a cup per day.
How long does the kefir last?
What should I do if my kefir is too tart?
When should I split my grains?
What should I do when I split my grains?
Help, my grains aren’t growing in raw milk!
Taking a break from making kefir:
- If you’re not getting through drinking all the kefir (bummer) and want to take a break from making it every day or two, strain the kefir grains and put in a jar with enough milk to cover it and leave in fridge for a few weeks.
- Rinse off the milk when you want to start using it again, and repeat process as per normal.
Managing your kefir grains colony:
Kefir Exchange Programmes:
Itchy pets are the top reason why most people switch over to a raw food diet, and probably the most asked question on our page. Since we concentrate more on the raw feeding side of things, we will always recommend ditching the kibble first. Some raw fed pets still have itchy skin, and there is really very limited advice that we can give over and above what your veterinarian will offer you.
Please note that allergies can always be present, even though the symptoms don’t show. Repeated exposure increases the histamine levels until it’s at such a point where it physically shows and where it presents as what we think to be skin allergies.
When histamine levels increase, you become itchy as your body tries to copy with the “foreign” substances. Holistic vets will try to increase the cortisol levels (anti-inflammatory hormones) in order to decrease the histamine levels and attempt to find a balance that your pet is comfortable with.
Cortisone injections literally fool the body into reducing cortisol over time if it’s done too much and too often, and hence the fact that so many people complain that their pets’ cortisone injections don’t last as long as before.
You can put all sorts of creams, lotions and oils on the skin to ease discomfort, however you will HAVE to treat the cause to find long-term relief.
I would strongly suggest that if you don’t find the cause within at least 3 months, to seek advise from a holistic vet. Skin allergies become increasingly difficult over time to treat, as the body starts to react to all sorts of triggers. Hence the fact that blood allergy tests aren’t recommended for older animals.
Please find below a quick check-list to narrow down the possible cause for itchiness in your pet(s):
Check ears for yeast (give a good whiff, yeast smells strongly like Fritos), check for red, watery eyes and nose (allergy), check for yeast around mouth and chin area (pink/red/purple skin), run hand through fur from top to tail checking for parasites, obvious grass seeds, pollen or burrs that may be caught in fur, check for tree sap, bumps and scrapes etc that might cause a reaction.
Roll pet over, check belly for pink/red/purple skin for yeast and allergies, check under armpits for grass seeds or foreign objects (ticks like to hide there), check for tree sap, bumps and scrapes.
Check between toes and pads for foreign objects and parasites, and check for red/purple skin for yeast and allergies.
Lift tail and check for red/purple skin for yeast and allergies, possible parasites under tail and bum area.
Use a flea-comb and check for fleas, ticks, other parasites and insects like ants etc. Fleas aren’t always visible to the naked eye (they spend very little time on your pet(s). Let your pet stand on a white surface then agitate the fur a lot, concentrating on the base of the tail, belly and rump area, letting dander and hair fall on the surface. Take a spray bottle with water and spray over the speckled area – if any specs turn brown, then it’s a confirmed flea problem.
Brush to remove dander, loose undercoat and hair
Rinse down with plain water (can add soaked oats or rooibos tea) and
Shampoo with a mild natural shampoo and rinse well (rinse twice more after you think you’re done). This is optional, but recommended if your pet has fleas.
Give a good rub down with olive oil after toweled dry after a bath/rinse especially if skin or fur is very dry
Rinse itchy paws off as soon as pet comes from outside
Apply aloe leaf gel to sore irritated areas, or make your own soothing comfrey balm: https://www.facebook.com/notes/we-feed-raw-sa/soothing-comfrey-balm/1637624116294424/
Make your own hotspot/yeasty solution: https://www.facebook.com/notes/we-feed-raw-sa/purple-stuff-yeastyhotspot-solution/1553350361388467/
For ticks, fleas and mites and other parasites:
Treat house and environment accordingly
Apply a natural repellent (search through our site for natural remedies and visit the link at the bottom of the article)
Remove ticks and fleas manually twice daily and vacuum house very well, dispose of contents outside in a sealed bag.
Treat ears for mites (a natural treatment is to apply olive or mineral oil, rub ear folds for 30 seconds, then let pet shake out excess oil) only if confirmed as mites by your veterinarian.
Some bumps may be from insect bites, so monitor the environment where your pet frequents for bees, wasps, spiders and all sorts of other biting goggas.
Feed a balanced raw diet:
Feed a balanced raw diet including different protein sources from different suppliers if you can. Free range, grass-fed and meat from younger animals are always more desirable due to the reduced exposure to possible toxins and treatments.
Feed balanced Omega 6:3 ratio, supplement with oily fish and/or Omega 3 fish oil, especially if feeding a lot of chicken. Dry skin and fur is usually a dietary deficiency and Omega essential fatty acid imbalances are the biggest culprits
Include sufficient fat (10%-15% overall) to your pet(s) diet, animal fat is preferable, however olive oil and coconut oil are good in moderation
Eliminate kibble, especially brands that contain cereal, maize or grains
Add a good quality probiotic or feed kefir and/or fermented vegetables
Offer fresh, filtered water that is available all the time
Reduce or eliminate vaccination frequency.
Reduce or eliminate chemical parasite treatments.
Reduce or eliminate chemical “over-the-counter” remedies. Allergex in particular is a chemical histamine blocker and does not resolve itching, it only suppresses the body’s histamine production in reaction to an allergen, which is a natural bodily reaction.
Reduce the use of cortisone and corticosteroids, they perform a similar function as above by blocking histamine production.
Reduce toxins around your house and especially around areas where your pet(s) frequent.
If you suspect your pet has a yeast allergy, take him/her to your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis, especially where ears are concerned. Please don’t home treat for ear problems unless you are certain what the issue is.
Povidone Iodine is an inexpensive anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-septic to keep around your house. Use the 10% solution and dilute it until it resembles tea and use it for yeasty foot soaks, final rinse after bath for yeasty skin, clean out yeasty ears or wipe yeasty bums, otherwise colloidal silver is an equally good substitute.
- Make sure that you are feeding a good quality probiotic and an Omega 3 supplement.
- There are so many things that can cause atopic dermatitis, from environmental, to seasonal, to contact allergens and to a LESSER degree, food related allergies.
- Eliminate chemicals from household (floor treatments and laundry chemicals, air fresheners, deodorants are all known irritants including essential oils)
- Eliminate chemical treatments on grass or any surface your pet comes into contact with, eliminate access to grass if it’s a known trigger.
- Triggers could be new plants/flowers/trees. New plants blooming from neighbours, new walking routes, new parks visited. Pollen from grass, shrubs etc. New pets, birds, etc.
- Dogs can be allergic to dander.
- Bathe regularly and wipe feet down when coming in from outside.
Usually only present at certain times of the year due to plants, flowers, pollen, grass, seeds etc.
This type of allergy present itself with runny watery eyes and nose, and symptoms can be treated with raw local honey, local propolis, nettle, rooibos, Quercetin, liquorice root etc.
- Contact and environmental allergen dermatitis is treated by identifying and removing the known irritant, bathing pet regularly to remove irritants and to soothe skin, adding povidone iodine or colloidal silver to help with possible infections and yeast issues and wash off irritants.
- Possible new triggers could be new floor cleaners, aerosols, washing powder, fabric softener. Even toilet sprays, hand lotions and perfumes can cause reactions. Change to more natural products.
- Food intolerance is established by implementing a food elimination trial. You choose one protein, and feed the entire protein for 2-3 months to see if condition improves/worsens.
- Change supplier, eliminate fruit and veg, eliminate all supplements and stick to one brand only for 4 weeks minimum.
Food for Thought…
True protein allergies are very rare, and it’s more than likely something that is included in the premade you’re feeding, or something that the protein source was being fed prior to being slaughtered.
If you have recently added a new food source and your pet is showing signs of discomfort, then either eliminate that from the diet or change the source to see if symptoms persist. Seafood can be a trigger (consider fish oil/Omega 3 supplements too), as can tripe (grass allergies, and possible corn in feed (if fed)).
Sometimes excessive scratching is behavioural, sometimes it can only be identified by doing a blood allergen (IgE) test, which is what we recommend to prevent unnecessary and costly self-treatments especially in the case where your veterinarian cannot pin point the cause of the itchiness.
Consult with your veterinarian and arrange for a full health check-up to eliminate possible health related issues such as thyroid etc. and to pinpoint yeast, mites or contact dermatitis.
If your self-applied remedy does not offer relief within 3 days, please consult your veterinarian or seek a holistic veterinarian if your current veterinarian can not pin point the issue.
This is a general “Getting Started Guide” for newcomers who have just ventured into the realm of raw feeding their furkids. From how, to where and how much is all covered in this article.
Do I want a premade or make it myself?
Pros: Very convenient. Balanced and packaged into convenient packaging. Easy to defrost and serve.
Cons: Requires freezer space. Contents are minced. Risk feeding minimal protein sources. More expensive than DIY. Recipes, balance unknown. Supply chain shortages.
Pros: Have control over what you feed in terms of quality and quantity. Can adjust according to budget. Feed chunky or whole food. Feed wide variety of protein sources as per what’s available to you. Can feed on-the-fly or prepare bulk batches. Feed whole prey (ideal).
Cons: Requires some planning to procure meat, offal and meaty bones. Risk unbalanced meals if research not done beforehand. If preparing bulk batches, you need to set at least 3 hours’ aside for prepping, portioning and cleaning up. Requires considerable freezer space if feeding large dogs or buying in bulk.
Where do I get what?
If you want to try doing it yourself, you can have a look under our Files section for Raw Meat Suppliers in your area(https://www.facebook.com/notes/we-f…). You will have to visit your local butchers, farmers, markets, deli’s and lastly supermarkets to see what you can source in terms of boneless red meat (goulash, trimmings, cheek, tongue, trimmed brisket and chuck, white meat like whole chicken, duck, rabbit, pork, organs like heart, lungs, raw green tripe, liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas and raw meaty bones like wings, necks, carcasses etc. Pilchards, egg, soup bones (for bone broth, not feeding) are all good additions to look for as well.
How do I start?
All it entails is dumping the kibble and switching the next meal over to a raw meal. Your pet(s) might have loose stool for a few days at most, just ensure that you are feeding a good quality probiotic and be patient, it will ease up as long as you’re keeping to our recommended guidelines.
For those pets who are reluctant or unsure about the meal being offered to them, the gentler approach of going slow entails offering a little bit of raw food together with whatever they are currently eating, and gradually increasing it over a few days’ time. Stick with one protein only, chicken is normally the best choice here, or choose a single premade choice and offer the same batch over the transition period.
Monitor for loose stool, remember to add a good quality probiotic during this transition period, and increase the raw food offering until pooch or kitty is eating the raw food completely on it’s own.
Once completely transitioned, offer different types of raw food and or premade brands and again, monitor for loose stool.
Some dogs and cats (just like children), have preference over certain meat and organ types, as well as preparation thereof. Reluctant offal eaters will sometimes happily consume liver and kidney if well hidden amongst yummy tripe or slathered in yoghurt or broth, and some prefer searing the meat ever so slightly, however do reduce the cooking time so that eventually they are consuming the meat and organs completely raw. Don’t offer cooked, roasted, steamed or seared meat with bone in at all.
If pooch or kitty doesn’t like a meaty bone on it’s own, consider chopping it slightly smaller as the size might be a little bit daunting, offer it slightly frozen or minced otherwise.
Always offer edible bones with lots of meat on them, and always supervise your pets while they are eating meaty bones. Recreational bones that are inedible should be removed once done and either discarded or packed away for another time to reduce the risk of fractured teeth and possible guarding issues among dogs.
A 5kg cat eats roughly 4.5-5kg of food a month, a 15kg staffie eats 11kg-12kg food a month, a Labrador eats 30kg-35kg food a month and so on.
Most people prefer purchasing in bulk as it offers a price benefit, however keep available freezer space in mind when ordering in bulk. Premade food generally takes up less space due to the roll sizes or contains that are used that contain minced food, chunkier premade or DIY food will require larger containers and thus more storage space.
- 175g Chicken necks (4-5 skinless necks @ 46% bone)
- 100g Pilchard (2-3 fresh small fish, whole, or use tinned, rinsed pilchards)
- 400g Boneless Meat (200g Beef, 200g Venison, look at our Prey Model Guide for ideas)
- 40g Liver
- 40g Kidney (or spleen/milt, pancreas or other secreting organ)
- 75g Heart (Increase if feeding cats as their taurine requirement is higher than dogs’)
- 75g Green/Unbleached Tripe (Omit if cat won’t eat tripe and add 75g heart or dark white meat like chicken thighs)
- 1 Whole egg without shell
- 50-100g Broth/Rooibos Tea plus additional blood from all meat and organs
How much do I feed?
The general guideline is 2.5-3% of expected adult weight for maintenance. Reduce daily amount if weight loss is required and feed more if weight gain is required or if your pets are more active. Cats generally eat slightly more at 3% of adult weight, but also reduce and increase according to activity level and weight loss/gain required.
Pregnant and lactating bitches and queens have higher caloric requirements, so increase their food intake to 5-6% of her weight prior to pregnancy, and offer more if she asks.
Puppies and kittens generally eat the same amount of food through-out their life stages which is roughly 3% of expected adult weight until they reach 12 months of age.
Puppies and kittens can be weaned onto raw food as soon as they are interested. They can eat the same food that mom eats, and offering chunky meat and meaty carcasses with help strengthen their jaw muscles. Remember to offer a variety of different protein sources so prevent them from getting fixated on a single type of meat.
Do consider that they have really tiny tummies and require frequent offerings of food, so even if a kitten has to eat 150g of food a day, she cannot finish it in one meal, Hence, feeding them 4-5 times initially and then decreasing it gradually to 3-4 times at around 16 weeks and then 2-3 times from 6 months onward.
Between 4-6 months, increase their meaty bones slightly to compensate for additional calcium requirements for teething purposes and reduce when teething is done. Gnawing on meaty bones will offer much relief to itchy gums too and keep them away from your furniture and favourite shoes.
What is balanced?
Whole prey including fur, consists roughly of 80% meat which includes sinew, muscle meat, heart, lungs, cheeks, fat, and then 10% bone which includes the entire frame or carcass of the body, and 10% offal which includes liver, kidneys, spleen, brains, eyes, testicles, pancreas and other secreting organs.
Because we do not have access to feed our pets whole prey which would be ideal, we make up meals considered “frankenprey” to make up a meal consisting of the same components that they would find in a field mouse or a hare for example using the prey model guide below.
When starting out, use the 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver +5% other secreting organ guide and monitor stool very closely. 10% bone is the minimum bone that you should be offering, and it should not exceed 25% of the diet otherwise it leaves little room for other essential nutrients.
Do not feed too much of a single item, try to keep in mind that you are “building” a prey for your pet, and no single sheep consists of 50% tripe, and gizzards in a chicken only makes up 1% of it’s nett weight. You don’t need to build an exact model, you just need to exercise common sense and balance food items. Our prey model guide lists which items should be limited when feeding.
Bone and offal tolerance is observed through monitoring stool. Too much bone will produce hard crumbly white stool immediately, and will require boneless meat to be added to meals if the same stool is produced all the time.
Essential food items:
Muscle Meat: Muscle meat contains over 20% protein, the essential building blocks of all living beings. It also contains phosphorus and magnesium, is low in calcium and also contains essential fatty acids such as Omega 6 and 3.
Bone: Bone contains really high amounts of calcium as calcium carbonate as well as phosphorus at a 2:1 ratio and about 4% magnesium and other trace minerals.
Liver: Must I feed liver? You don’t have to, but then you will have to supplement to make up for the valuable nutrients that you lose out on this very inexpensive raw food. It’s extremely dense in protein, vitamin A, B,C,D,E, essential fatty acids, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, zinc, potassium and copper; and it’s very low in calcium. It needs to make up at least half of your pets’ offal requirement.
Eggshell is pure calcium so take care not to feed a bone heavy meal together with eggshell as it may cause constipation if fed in excess.
Egg yolk is great to include in your cats’ diet overall, as it contains lecithin which aids in resolving hairball issues.
Fat: Fat is essential in your pets’ diet as they use it for energy. Don’t be over-zealous to trim away excess fat and consider that certain cuts of meat are completely devoid of fat and will require supplementation. Aim for 10%-15% fat overall in your pets’ diet, and reduce accordingly if calorie restriction (weight loss) is desired or due to health-related issues such as pancreatitis.
Heart: Although not technically required, it is another muscle meat that is so nutrient dense and inexpensive to feed. It’s rich in vitamin B, taurine (requirement for cats), Coenzyme Q10 (patients with heart disease) and iron.
Green Tripe: Another muscle meat that is technically not required, however it’s nutrient dense and offers a myriad of digestive health support. It has a near perfect Ca:P ratio and should always be fed from grass-fed animals, not grain fed.
Fish and Omega 3: All meat contains Omega 6 and to a much lesser degree, Omega 3 which are essential fatty acids. Due to farming methods, and to a greater degree the unavailability of true free-range animal meat produce, our diets including our pets, tend to be highly inflammatory with high levels of Omega 6. And ideal ratio is 2:1 Omega 6 : Omega 3 and without supplementation, this ratio sits around 10:1 for most diets, especially diets containing a lot of chicken.
Feeding fresh vs frozen vs cooked:
Always, always, always feed fresh raw meat and bone. When sourcing your own meat for your pets, buy human grade food, which essentially means meat intended for human consumption. This reduces the risk of parasite and bacterial load overall. Your pets can handle “not so fresh” raw meat more than you can due to the gastric acid that their stomachs produce, but in lieu of having a healthy pet overall, be sure of your raw food supplier’s ethos and food supply.
Eating frozen food also consumes more energy from the body overall so you may find that feeding this way results in a slight increase in amount being fed overall.
Feeding raw meaty bones frozen is a great way to slow down overeager gulpers and keeps your pets entertained for longer. Take care when feeding recreational bones frozen as an already hard bone is now even harder and may fracture teeth.
Cooking and oxidation denatures food, it’s trace minerals and vitamins and bioavailability of essential fatty acids. Consider that your pets are completely dependent on you to provide the bulk of their daily food and if left to their own devices, would eat raw, freshly killed prey. No cooking involved.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do take care in planning your pets’ meals. They are completely dependent on you and for some of them, it’s the most exciting part of the day.
- Do feed human grade food if you DIY
- Do feed a variety of different protein sources. Try not to feed one type in excess
- Do feed a balance of muscle meat, organs/offal and bone over a 7-day period at least
- Do feed size-appropriate meaty bones that are edible
- Do always supervise your pets when they are eating meaty bones
- Do add extra moisture to your pets’ food, especially cats
- Do weigh your pets and their food from time to time. I can almost guarantee you that going by eye only will result in weight gain at some point in time, especially with smaller breeds.
- Don’t add too much (if any) grains, maize, cereals, starches like rice, pasta, pap etc. as these are nutritionally deficient and maize specifically is highly inflammatory
- Don’t dilute your pets’ food with too much fruit and vegetables to “make it stretch”
- Don’t be over-zealous in feeding “road kills”. Feeding whole prey is ideal and only if you know where it has come from and how long it’s been wherever you found it.
What to avoid/unnecessary food items:
- Anything processed: You don’t need to add packet gravies, or tinned pet food to make your pets’ food appetising – a yummy home-made broth with do just fine.
- Vitamin & Mineral Supplements: If you’re feeding a variety of fresh whole food, you don’t need to supplement at all. The only recommendation we make is an Omega 3 supplement and only if you’re not feeding any small oily fish.
- Low-fat anything: Just don’t even think about low-fat yoghurt. Full cream, full fat and preferably home-made is what they need.
Why not feed raw?
- Small, hard poop with almost no smell is possibly the biggest winner for most
- Better oral and digestive health
- Clean teeth
- Better body condition overall, some breeds have better definition
- Less frequent vet visits, if any (although you should still go for annual check-ups)
- Beautiful coat shine, soft silky fur for most breeds
- Knowing that you are feeding a species appropriate food and possibly adding a few years onto your pets’ lives.So, why not feed raw?
The article below is a very loose guideline to help those who are struggling to transition their cat/s to a raw diet. First and foremost, do your research beforehand and do discuss changing your cat’s diet with your veterinarian if you are concerned.
This is probably the most frustratingly difficult task most people ever have – switching your kibble junkie over to a raw diet. Some cats take to it quite naturally, we find this especially with younger kittens, and some cats are more adventurous than others.
And then there is Tinkerbell. Your 7-year old rescue who will only eat Hills, and will rather die before staining her dainty lips with that muck on her plate. You try enticing her in a high-pitched voice, you try dangling it in front of her, you try dropping it nonchalantly on the counter in front of her nose, you try mixing it with some wet food… And then you start grinding your teeth, and start cursing and threatening to starve her. All the while she disinterestedly carries on grooming herself, ignoring the full plate of raw food you painstakingly researched and sourced, and lovingly prepared for her this evening.
Sounds familiar? Yes? You’re not the only one 🙂
First of all, the basic guidelines:
- Don’t free feed: – If you’re leaving a bowl of kitty kibble for madam to snack on at her leisure, stop. Feed her twice a day, three times if you can. She will whine and bemoan her misery and make you feel miserable as a fur-parent, but persist. You’re not starving her.
- Understand what makes kibble so yummy: – Kibble is sprayed with animal digest – a lovely protein soup made of questionable animal carcasses (officially, it’s material obtained from hydrolysis of animal tissue). It is highly palatable to cats, and I like to call it kitty “crack”.
- Understand what makes raw food so repulsive:– You are now forcing madam to put her dainty lips on something that smells foreign. Ever seen a cat sniff… and sniff…. and sniff… yeap. They don’t leap in like dogs do – if it doesn’t smell like food, it simply cannot be anything that shall pass her lips.
- Transition to canned wet food first: This is normally the best approach especially for stubborn cats that will only eat kibble. Follow the steps below to introduce canned wet food, and once she is eating it comfortably, introduce some raw meat.
So now what?
- Start small. Don’t be very ambitious, seriously a small knife point of raw food is what you will probably have to start off with. Present it on her bowl or plate. With every meal. Don’t get discouraged, she will show interest. Eventually.
- What can I give her? Anything really – it’s easy to start off with a sliver of chicken, or a small piece of liver
- I don’t want to make it myself: It doesn’t matter what you use initially, purchase a quality premade cat raw food, defrost really small amounts at a time, and offer a small amount with her food.
- What if she doesn’t eat it – must I throw it away? Cats are fussy about fresh meat, so you will have to discard the uneaten food within 2 days, depending on temperature, or just give it to pooch who will be hovering around anyway for kitty left-overs.
- She showed some interest: Yay!
- But wait, she didn’t finish it… bummer! Don’t worry about it, offer it again for supper, breakfast etc.
- She finished it, but took a long time to eat it. It’s a start – Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- She isn’t showing any interest. Don’t worry about it – keep on offering. Do not stress yourself out about it, she will come around. Offer the same sliver of meat with the next meal, and then change it to a sliver of something else with the next meal. If you’re feeding premade, keep on offering it, and add a little topping to it which I will discuss a little bit later.
- The Great Pretender: Yes, you need to resort to tricks and sometimes pretend that you are feeding your cat something that resembles kibble, so this section is about toppings, and what you can try to make it a bit more palatable for Madam FussyPants:
- Kibble: Be sneaky, and grind her kibble into a fine powder and sprinkle it over her raw food.
- Pilchards: (Tinned is best here) Mash a tiny bit of pilchards up with her food, most kitties like pilchards. Add some of the juice or sauce and mix in well with the food.
- Full Cream Yoghurt: Cats like the creamy taste of yoghurt – try mixing a tiny bit of Greek yoghurt with her food.
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes (preferable) or Brewer’s Yeast: Brewer’s Yeast isn’t the best topping, but better than kibble. I managed to transition my most difficult kitty with nutritional yeast flakes, plus it’s rich in some Vitamin B nutrients for those worried about thiaminase from feeding fresh fish.
- Full cream cheese, especially Parmesan
- Scrambled egg in butter
- Pureed Liver (Smallest amount)
- A touch of Marmite mixed with warm water
- Extra Blood
- Get rid of the bag of kibble: Seriously, put it in the deep freeze if you have to, these feline critters can smell if there is kibble around, I kid you not.
- Ramp up on your patience, ambition and determination: You are going to have great days, and you are going to have days that you want to huddle in a corner and cry because Miss FussyPants will not touch her food. Just pull up your big girl pants, and try again. It is pointless getting angry.
- Don’t starve Miss FussyPants for too long if she’s old, overweight or not very active: Sadly, a lot of cats are seriously overweight on kibble. Although not recommended, it’s quite fine for cats to skip meals, however overweight and sedentary cats who do not eat for a couple of days, can develop a serious condition called Fatty Liver Disease (hepatic lipidosis) whereby their livers are stressed by the fat metabolisation that occurs due to lack of food.
- Go back to canned wet food: It’s not a race to get madam over onto a raw diet, for now you want to get her off the kibble, and if it means feeding canned food for a while, then that is what you have to do. Once she is fully transitioned to canned wet food, then slowly introduce the raw food again.
- It takes time and determination: It can take months to transition some cats, do not get discouraged and fall back to feeding kibble. Stick it out with wet canned food with a ratio to raw food that she is comfortable with for a week, then gradually increase the percentage of raw food. You can even resort to attaching small pieces of meaty bones to a flirt-pole and playing with her by dangling it in front of her to grab her attention. Most cats cannot resist playing with their food.
- Change the texture: Most people start off with offering ground raw food to their cats once they are comfortable with raw food. Play around with textures, and consider that your cat’s jaws might not have the necessary strength to crunch through bone. Offer chunkier food to encourage her to chew, and gradually offer tougher meat like gizzards to strengthen her jaw muscles. Some cats prefer chunky food over minced food, and vice versa.
- Change the temperature: Some cats don’t like cold food straight out the fridge, and like it at “mouse temperature”. Warm the food up in a saucer over a bowl with hot water to slightly warm it for her.
- Change her bowl to a small plate or saucer: It’s easier eating wet chunky food when it can be dragged off a plate – consider serving her food on a small saucer to prevent whisker stress which might make her more reluctant to eat if her whiskers are touching a wet food bowl.
- Be more adventurous: Change from gizzards to duck and chicken backs, chicken wings, quail and baby poussin drumsticks, breastbones to offer much needed crunching to keep teeth clean. Do monitor your cat closely, as you might have to chop the bones into smaller pieces that are manageable, but not too small for her if you are feeding a Frankenprey diet.
- Change proteins: Be adventurous with proteins, but don’t vary the recipe too much if you are making bulk batches. Stick to our guidelines here: http://wefeedraw.co.za/pmr-guide/
- Add more moisture: Raw meat is naturally high in moisture, but don’t be afraid to add more moisture in the form of bone broth, rooibos tea and filtered water. Cats don’t have a high thirst drive, and benefit from all the moisture they can get naturally from their diet.
- Watch the poo: Always monitor the litter box, it’s your first sign if something is wrong.
- Give yourself a pat on the back: Whether it’s 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months later when your madam is happily munching on her plate of raw delicacies, you have done it. And her beautiful silky soft fur, fresh breath and clean teeth will be the reward for many hours of frustration.
Good luck! Here are some more articles to read through:
Seminar Audio File (Incomplete)
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