Transitioning to Raw Food

When I started Pooky on raw food she just went for it, but not all cats are accepting to change as she is. Since starting the business I’ve run into a number of cats that don’t care for Pooky’s HomeMade. I know  – it’s hard to believe!

EnticeCat-800I always explain to customers that it’s like raising a kid on fast food and now you want them to eat salads or healthier. Dude! That ain’t happenin’ so easy!

Yet, there are customers that I have that have patiently refused to give up on Pooky’s HomeMade. So this page is dedicated to their success.

Did you know humans have around 9,000 taste buds and cats have about 470? Cats don’t need as many because their sense of smell is a lot greater than a humans and a lot more important.

Cats are obligate carnivores and driven to consume meat. Cats don’t need sugar or carbohydrates (that turn to sugar). Basically their taste buds respond to meat and fats, though bitter and sour taste buds can warn against some harmful or poisonous foods.

Almost all cats prefer soft or wet food over dry, hard kibble. Food temperature is another issue. Their prey in the wild is warm, so coming directly from the refrigerator may lead to rejection. If you can, allow Pooky’s HomeMade to sit on the counter top for a few minutes. Pooky and other customers eat their food straight from the refrigerator, so it may make no difference with your cat.

REPLACING COMMERCIAL DRY FOOD
Let’s start with the hard part first. Cats get addicted to dry food because of the fats and chemicals sprayed on commercial dry food to entice the cat. In its original form no cat would eat commercial kibble. This transition may be easier if the cat is used to wet or canned food.

BUT! Good news! If your cat is still a kitten, they will take to Pooky’s HomeMade with no transition. Kittens eat more than adult cats – about twice as much food per ounce as suggested on the bag label per body weight as an adult. Remember that their stomachs are smaller and they may need to eat every six hours versus an adult cat eating every 10-12 hours. One other point is that kittens mimic the behavior of older cats around them.

If you are lucky, your adult cat will just eat Pooky’s HomeMade. If this isn’t the case, the process can take up to a few days to three months. I can only tell you to be patient because the benefit or reward is a healthier cat.

Options for adult cat transitioning
All these options tie together if needed.

1. Tough Love!
Maybe you are in the habit of feeding your cat twice a day and this might just work. I can’t support using hunger to help transition a cat, but holding off an hour or so might work with stubborn cats. I know with Pooky she tells me when she wants to eat. I wouldn’t go any longer than 24 hours. It’s okay to give in and try the next approach.

2. Master of the House
Here’s the best piece of advice about feeding a cat. If your cat has dry food out all day – STOP! A cat should be fed two or three times a day because you want the cat to connect food with you and not a bowl on the floor. Start bringing out their food at a regular time. I suggest before leaving for work, when you get home, and before bed to start with. Eliminate one of the feedings if needed. The objective is to get them use to mealtimes. A hungry cat with an appetite is a good thing!

3. What the heck is that?
This section ties into number two above. Put their dry food on a plate with Pooky’s HomeMade as a side dish. Couple points: always feed cats on a plate because they can develop chin acne or their whiskers get in their bowl. They may not eat Pooky’s HomeMade right away, but will get familiar with the smell and try it at some point. Another way of introducing it is put some of their dry food on top of Pooky’s HomeMade. They may ignore it, but if they are hungry they’ll eat. Remember – Patience!

4. Oh! Look at the baby!
Put some Pooky’s HomeMade on your finger and let your cat lick it off your finger. If your cat loves you, they will clean it off you. Maybe then try option three above.

5. Caution! Will Robinson!
Dry food is the worst thing to feed a cat because cats have no thirst mechanism. They get their moisture from their food – and dry food doesn’t provide this. Dry food will lead to all kinds of urinary problems down the road. I hear this a lot from people at farmer’s markets that they “water” the dry food. NO! Dry food has a high bacterial and mold content, so soaking it is just plain crazy! Bacteria and mold thrive in moisture! There is a pet food recall every week or ten days because of eating mold, mycotoxins, vomitoxins and aflatoxins which often contaminate the grains found in dry food.

REPLACING WET CANNED FOOD

This won’t be much of a problem. Make sure that Pooky’s HomeMade is warm. Think mouse body temperature. NEVER microwave it! Microwaving cooks the food and will reduce the nutrients you’ve been so careful to obtain, which reduces it to canned food. I suggest placing Pooky’s in a kettle of hot water in a smaller container for 10-15 minutes (not on the stove!) I would suggest mixing it with the cat’s current food and gradually reducing the canned food in fourths.

The other option is treating it like a side dish and let your cat get used to the scent. If your cat is hungry, it will eat it up. Maybe the first few times they will ignore Pooky’s HomeMade, but remember a hungry cat will eat it. Patience!

A special thanks to Margaret Gates at www.Cat-Nutrition.org. It’s an excellent resource for cats!

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