Let’s welcome Jennifer from @hazel_the_tortie in this third episode of the “Raw Feeding Interviews”!
The “Raw Feeding Interviews” is a series of interviews to fellow raw feeders! It is aimed at providing different points of view and raw diet examples for several cats other than mine.
In this third interview, let’s welcome Jennifer from @hazel_the_tortie
. Jennifer is sharing pictures of the adventures of Hazel on her Instagram, as well as inspirational raw food bowls and batch prep! Be sure to check it out :)
-Can you present yourself and your pet?
My name is Jennifer and I have an almost 4 year old tortie named Hazel. I adopted her from a local rescue group when she was 10 weeks old.
-What are you feeding your cat? Prey model or not? NRC? Supplements or not?
Hazel is fully raw fed. I feed her DIY prey model raw based on the ratio of 84/6/5/5 (84% chunked muscle meats/6% edible bone/5% liver/5% other secreting organ). I also add whole egg, oysters, blue mussels, kelp, and a fish oil/vitamin E blend for omega-3s as extras to cover common nutritional gaps when not feeding whole prey. The amounts of those extras are based on NRC recommended allowances. I think that variety is really important when feeding prey model raw since different meats have different nutrient profiles, so I aim to feed as many different proteins, organs, and bones as I can.
-Since when are you raw feeding? Was it difficult to switch her to raw food?
I started researching pet nutrition about 5 years ago when my elderly dog became ill. After he passed and I planned to adopt a kitten, I started to focus on feline nutrition, which led me to raw feeding as the most species appropriate way to feed cats. Since I adopted Hazel when she was still a kitten, she took to eating raw food right away. However, at that time, since I was new to raw feeding, I fed her a commercial raw product. Over time as I learned more and became more confident in feeding raw, I transitioned from commercial freeze dried and frozen raw to making her food with a supplement pre-mix and eventually to DIY prey model raw. The hardest part of the transition for Hazel was eating bone. The commercial raw she ate previously was ground, so she needed some time to develop the jaw strength and confidence to eat bone.
-Why did you decide to start raw feeding?
I wanted to provide Hazel the best nutritional foundation that I could for her overall health and well being. In my search for how to best provide that, it became clear to me that feeding raw was the most species appropriate and bio-available way to feed an obligate carnivore—which is what cats are.
-Did you see any difference in your cat after starting to raw feed them?
I have enjoyed the privilege of having cats for most of my life and the difference between the kibble fed cats of my childhood and my raw fed cat now is striking. Hazel’s fur is so soft and shiny! She hardly sheds and doesn’t have any odor. Her teeth are clean and white, she maintains a healthy weight, she has much smaller and less smelly poo, and has lots of energy. Her vet is always impressed by how healthy she is!
-What are the pro and cons of raw feeding for you?
The pros are Hazel’s health and vitality. I feel very good knowing what she is eating and having control over what she eats—no mystery ingredients! It’s fun to find new organs for her or find a local source for unusual proteins. The cons would be the time and planning that is needed to feed DIY raw. I think another con would probably be getting used to cutting up organs!
Raw food prep for one week
-How much do you spend every month to raw feed?
I recently calculated this out and it averages $35 per month to feed Hazel, which is WAY less expensive than feeding high quality canned or commercial raw where I live. I have a dedicated freezer to store her food in, which helps keep costs down since I can purchase items in larger quantities to save on shipping costs or take advantage of bulk pricing.
-How much time do you spend every month to prepare their food?
I make Hazel a batch of food each week. I find it easier to make weekly amounts than monthly or daily. There is some advance planning needed to make sure that everything is thawed properly and ready on the day that I am going to assemble her food. I probably spend around 45 minutes to put her food together in containers and clean everything up afterwards. I spent time in the beginning researching where to purchase the meats, bones, and organs required, and of course, time is needed to shop for and prep those items as well.
Raw food prep for one week
-How did you learn to raw feed?
I read, asked questions, and read some more—there is a wealth of information available and I found some very helpful and supportive groups on Facebook, Feline Nutrition
and Raw Feeding University
, to learn about feline nutrition and raw feeding. As I learned more, I felt more confident to find the method of raw feeding that works for Hazel and for me.
-Anything else you would like to add?
Raw feeding can seem daunting at first, but there are several different ways to feed raw, so you can find what works for your situation. It took time to discover which method worked best for me and Hazel. But the most important thing I’ve learned about feeding cats is that they require a meat based, moisture rich diet, and raw is one of the most natural ways to do that.
Thank you so much, Jennifer, for this interview!
I hope you enjoyed reading about another person’s insight into raw feeding. Stay tuned for the next interviews!
If your cat is raw fed and you’d like to be part of the “Raw Feeding Interviews” series, send us an email.