Author Topic: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding  (Read 7075 times)

Offline Lola

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2017, 09:37:30 AM »


Can you tell I am nervous?   Doh1  I'm a little embarrassed to be begging for so much hand-holding. 



I asked questions for years... literally... before I took the jump.  Then I asked even more questions...sometimes the same question several times.  Heck, I STILL ask questions. 
I am grateful that so many people "held my hand."  They could have just as easily given up on me and thought... "Yeah, yeah, she is all talk.  She is never going to take the plunge." 

« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 09:41:22 AM by Lola »
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Offline Catgirl64

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2017, 03:10:36 PM »
Oy.  First lesson learned.

Chicken leg quarters on the bone are cheap for a reason.  From one 10 lb. bag of quarters, I ended up with 5 lb., 10.4 oz. of meat to surface bake.  I put at least half of the skin in the stock pot with the bones.

I'm know I didn't get every possible scrap of meat off the bones and I felt rather incompetent at the task, but my bone broth should be amazing.  I do, however, have a new appreciation for the value of pre-boned meats, or for portions that are easier to work with, like bone-in breasts.   :-[ 

We did not make it to Spouts today, but that is just as well, as this will make a difference in terms of what I want to buy there. 

On the bright side, a couple of the cats were trying to get at the chicken even while I was deboning it.   :)

I have the bones simmering on the stove, but still need a little guidance about how much ACV, how much water, how long to cook, etc.  I've looked a little bit online, and all I can say is, 24 hours!?!

*****

Well..."surface bake" probably turned out more baked than I wanted, but there are still a good number of almost raw bits in there.  I'll use a cookie sheet next time, and not a Pyrex casserole.  Waiting for the chicken to cool off enough to handle so I can dice it up.  Time to weigh the liver.

******

Oh, lovely.  I usually do a better job of reading instructions, but Alnutrin specifies skinless on the package.  Now, I either pick out all the skin and risk the measurements being off because of the weight, or leave it in there, and hope for the best.  I'll probably leave it in there.   

I am beginning to understand how new parents feel when they bring a baby home from the hospital:  if I make even one mistake, it will break!   
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 03:44:31 PM by Catgirl64 »

Offline Catgirl64

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2017, 04:55:03 PM »
I am a terrible person.   >:D

I know this large batch of food will not be ready for my cats' next meal, so I snuck a package of grass-fed ground beef out of the freezer to make tonight's dinner.  I can get it ready to go and mix with their canned a lot faster than I can dice all that chicken.

This will be a secret from my housemate, who considers grass-fed a waste of money in the first place, and has probably forgotten that I ever bought it.  Shhhhhhh!     ;)

Disclaimer:  I love my housemate with all my heart, but we have wildly divergent views about what is and is not good food, for people or for pets. 
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 04:57:28 PM by Catgirl64 »

Offline Catgirl64

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2017, 07:26:17 PM »
Well, I would say that went well.  I got really bold and mixed a pound of the semi-raw beef food I just made with one large can of commercial food.  Each cat has eaten some of it, and they seem to like it. 

I also realized something I should have thought of before this.  I was concerned because they didn't seem to eat as much as I expected, and then I thought for a moment, and it hit me: I had put out enough food for two meals, and possibly three.   Doh1  I will leave it down for a bit longer, and then put whatever is left in the refrigerator, and offer it again in a few hours.

Another lesson:  I'm more stuck in free-feeding mode than my cats, putting down so much food at once.  I've also probably been leaving the canned stuff out too long for them to really understand that mealtime is mealtime.  I think people may be harder to transition than cats!

Question about scales.  Would a really good bathroom scale (like down to the ounce) work?  That way, I could either weigh myself, and then weigh myself holding each cat, or weigh a carrier, and then the carrier with the cat in it.  I don't think some of mine will sit still on a baby scale. 

« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 08:15:44 PM by Catgirl64 »

Offline Catgirl64

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2017, 09:58:20 AM »
Gave the cats a couple cans of Redbarn, no homemade, before going to bed.  I knew they were hungry, but was afraid I might fall asleep and leave the raw stuff out too long.  They ate it, of course. 

Put down some more of the canned/raw mix this morning.  They are eating, but I think I will be glad I got the Temptations.  What do they PUT in that stuff, anyway? 

Going to Sprouts today, as we did not make it yesterday, and, yippee, my favorite pet store has a special, today only, on Fromm canned food.  Buy a case, get one free.  I still need some canned until the transition is complete, and this is a brand that I trust more than most.  If we didn't have to go to Sprouts, too, I would take Bandit with me.  He loves to pick out his own dog treats there.  :D



Offline Middle Child

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2017, 01:49:48 PM »
Quote
Question about scales.  Would a really good bathroom scale (like down to the ounce) work?  That way, I could either weigh myself, and then weigh myself holding each cat, or weigh a carrier, and then the carrier with the cat in it.  I don't think some of mine will sit still on a baby scale. 

I am not a fan of this method, though if you can tare to the carrier and get them in it while the tare is still set, that would be okay.  Seems like a lot of extra effort though.  Did you say you thought you knew someone who was giving away a baby scale?

 While many cats have to be trained to accept the weekly weigh in  it's not all that difficult. Mazy cat and Queen Eva dislike being weighed.  Jennie doesn't care.  :)

By the way do you have a food scale?

Offline Catgirl64

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2017, 02:19:24 PM »
I am not a fan of this method, though if you can tare to the carrier and get them in it while the tare is still set, that would be okay.  Seems like a lot of extra effort though.  Did you say you thought you knew someone who was giving away a baby scale?

 While many cats have to be trained to accept the weekly weigh in  it's not all that difficult. Mazy cat and Queen Eva dislike being weighed.  Jennie doesn't care.  :)

By the way do you have a food scale?

I said I thought my housemate might be able to find someone who had one they don't need any more.  I will ask her again today.

I do have a food scale, one I can tare to.  I would have been afraid to even start this using the Alnutrin without one.

I would still love to have your bone broth instructions, or a link to the recipe you use.   

Offline Catgirl64

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2017, 02:51:43 PM »
Shopping trip!

Went to Hollywood feed, and got BOGO on Fromm's canned cat food.  Two cases.  Not grain-free, but cheaper than Redbarn and way better than Friskies.  I am hoping this will be the last canned I must buy, but I know that is probably not terribly realistic.  I also got some goodies for the dogs:  beef tendons for both, and a new split antler for Bandit, as that is the only chew I have ever given him he won't let Lily steal from him.  We had a nice visit with a friend who runs a local cat rescue - they have adoption events there the first three Saturdays of each month - and met some very beautiful cats and kittens.

On to Sprouts.  Pork shoulder roast, skinless, boneless chicken thighs, split breasts, an eye of round roast, and three turkey necks with giblets, which I will probably cut up and give to the dogs.  I want them to eat bone if they will, and I think necks would be a good place to start.  I love how clearly the meats at Sprouts are labeled, with regard to solutions and additives.   

Ha.  As soon as I said Lily would not steal the antler, I looked up and found her on my bed with it.  Guess I need to get two next time.   ::)

Sprouts carries Bragg ACV, so I got that, too, as well as a few delicious things for the human occupants of the house.         

Offline Catgirl64

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2017, 07:44:02 PM »
Had a bit of a setback.  I had put all of the partially baked chicken in the fridge, planning to dice it up and finish making the food today.  Felt a bit woozy after shopping, but posted anyway, then laid down for a nap.  Woke up feeling wretched.  Nasty cold, it seems, the kind that makes you feel light-headed and slow, along with all the other misery.  I've felt it coming on for a couple of days, but tried to ignore it, hoping it would go away.  Put chicken in freezer and gave the cats canned.  I think I rushed them a bit with the 50/50 canned and raw I made last night, as they ended up leaving quite a bit of it when I put it down again today.  I had some doubts about all that skin on the chicken, anyway, since Alnutrin says to used skinned meat, and will probably end up using it for the dogs, and starting fresh with the stuff I got today to make food for the cats.  I split it up into three freezer bags, so I don't have to try to use it all at once.  I guess, since I haven't added anything to it yet, that I could offer some of it to the cats as chunks with their canned food. 

I hate head colds.   :'( 

Offline Middle Child

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2017, 08:12:25 PM »
Ugh!  Coddle yourself! Lots of fluids! xx

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2017, 10:25:50 PM »
Ugh!  Coddle yourself! Lots of fluids! xx

And vitamin C, alternating with Zicam or Cold-Eeze.  Just be sure to take them at least 30 minutes apart, or they reduce the effectiveness of the other.  Personally, I find while Zicam is ok, Cold-Eeze is better.  The lozenges have a lousy aftertaste, but between that and the C, I can usually kick a cold out in a couple of days.  And definitely rest and hydrate to flush out the germies!
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Offline Middle Child

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2017, 03:10:42 PM »
Regarding bone broth, I don't really follow a recipe. I put the bones in a pot with water, bring it to a simmer, dump in some ACV and let it simmer for at least 8 hours usually a bit longer.

I no longer do the 24 hours thing.

If I am using the slow cooker for time restraints, for instance if I start it in the evening, and it will cook all night, or if I start it in the morning, but need to be out and about during the day, I'll start it in the slow cooker, then when I am done with the running, or am up in the morning, I will transfer it to a stove pot, for the final few hours of simmering.

Once you start making it, you will find your own methods that work best for you, in fact you may find (as I ahve) that each time you do it is a little bit different. You'll be able to judge whether it needs to simmer longer because there is too much water (so it doens't gel) or if you need to add water and cook it a little longer, and so on.

Three key things.  The ACV is important.  The recommended amount, I think, is one tablespoon per quart of water. I kind of just dump it in now.  If I need to add water, I add more ACV.

Cook at a low simmer at least until the hardest bones (for instance chicken thigh bones) are starting to go soft on the ends (you can break them open with a little pressure)

Offline Catgirl64

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2017, 04:02:05 PM »
Regarding bone broth, I don't really follow a recipe. I put the bones in a pot with water, bring it to a simmer, dump in some ACV and let it simmer for at least 8 hours usually a bit longer.

I no longer do the 24 hours thing.

If I am using the slow cooker for time restraints, for instance if I start it in the evening, and it will cook all night, or if I start it in the morning, but need to be out and about during the day, I'll start it in the slow cooker, then when I am done with the running, or am up in the morning, I will transfer it to a stove pot, for the final few hours of simmering.

Once you start making it, you will find your own methods that work best for you, in fact you may find (as I ahve) that each time you do it is a little bit different. You'll be able to judge whether it needs to simmer longer because there is too much water (so it doens't gel) or if you need to add water and cook it a little longer, and so on.

Three key things.  The ACV is important.  The recommended amount, I think, is one tablespoon per quart of water. I kind of just dump it in now.  If I need to add water, I add more ACV.

Cook at a low simmer at least until the hardest bones (for instance chicken thigh bones) are starting to go soft on the ends (you can break them open with a little pressure)

Thanks, a ballpark estimate was all I expected.  I don't think I added enough ACV to this first batch.  I'll check the bones, and if it needs to cook a bit longer, I'll put in some more.  It does not seem ready to gel yet.  I'm happy to hear that 24 hours isn't necessary, that was a bit daunting.  I've been simmering this for a few hours at a time, then popping it back in the refrigerator when I couldn't watch it, for a couple of days now, trying to reach the 24 hour mark.   :-[  I have a slow cooker, but I don't think it's big enough to make any kind of stock in.

Since I stashed all of the semi-cooked thigh meat and skin in the freezer yesterday (I wrote down the raw weight, so I will have it when I am ready), I started over today with some of the boned, skinned thighs I got at Sprouts yesterday.  Partially baked one lb. to cut up and add to their canned food, and am getting ready to bake two more to be diced up and mixed with the Alnutrin and bone broth.  I feel a little silly doing this, because the other meat was ready to go, but it's just more chopping and dicing than I can face right now.  Still congested, but at least not feeling light-headed with it like I was yesterday. 

I know smaller batches will be more work, or at least more frequent work, but I also kind of feel like they may be best until I learn what I am doing, so I don't waste too much if I mess up, and until I get a feel for what sort of meats my cats like best.  That way, if I find that my cats don't care for a particular protein I have gotten in quantity, I can still use it for my dogs.   

Thanks again.  I know I have been pretty persistent about this question.   
« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 04:13:34 PM by Catgirl64 »

Offline Middle Child

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2017, 05:23:47 PM »
I must have missed it then.  I only saw your request elsewhere.  ;)

That's what I was doing before I got the "slow cooker".  It was not an efficient method. The bones really do need a steady 8 hours of simmering.  And make sure you have at least some "joint" bones.

 If it doesn't gel, after at least 8 steady hours, two things may have happened.  One may be the heat was too high...the simmer more of a boil.  This can break down the protein too much.  (I think that is what I remember reading). It's still good and nutritious, but won't gel.  The other reason would simply be there was too much water, you have to cook it longer to cook off more of the water, or start with less to begin with.

Since I make this for both myself and the cats, I make it often and have gotten pretty good at it, from my own point of view anyway.  ;D

You, with six cats and two dogs, are likely to go through it pretty quickly so may be making it more often as well.

For the cats' bone broth I portion it into tablespoon size portions into ice cube trays and once frozen, bag it up in freezer bags.

 I actually couldn't find what I wanted in a slow cooker so I had to buy an electric pressure cooker that can also be used as a slow cooker.  I wanted an 8 quart with a stainless steel cook pot.  The only way I could get it was to pay for a pressure cooker.

Offline Catgirl64

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Re: Catgirl64's Journey To Raw Feeding
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2017, 09:34:00 AM »
Well, I mixed some real chicken with cheap canned food last night.  They ate some of it, but I ended up having to throw some out, too.  Offered some of the better canned straight during the night, but they were not hungry.

This is making me a little nervous.  They are eating, but not as much as I am used to seeing them eat, and they don't all mob me in the kitchen when they hear the cans being opened anymore.  Could this be because they are getting used to food that has less filler, and don't need as much to be satisfied?  I admit that in a moment of panic, I even offered them a little bit of dry, but they wouldn't touch it.  I started throwing most the kibble out - not just taking it away from them or putting it up, but actually putting it in the trash - yesterday, but still had some left.  I think getting rid of it altogether scares me.   :-[   I may have told this story before, but years ago (long enough that it was a whole different group of cats), I tried to switch to canned, and before I knew it, I had a rather secretive cat who, unbeknownst to me, had stopped eating altogether and ended up with fatty liver.  It took a huge vet bill and a month of tube-feeding to get her healthy again.  I know ditching kibble, and eventually all commercial food, is better for my cats, but I probably never would have worked up the courage to try again had this lot not taken a sudden dislike to what I was giving them.  Still...I get a little freaked out to this day any time a cat does not seem hungry. 

Cats are my life, but dogs are so much easier to get on real food. 
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 09:49:16 AM by Catgirl64 »

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