Updated: Aug 31, 2022
About 6 months ago, I decided to transition from dry food (MeowMix) to the raw meat diet. Click here for information on benefits of raw meat diet! I won't claim to know everything, I won't claim to be perfect - but we are working on it and it's constantly a process. A lot of our information has come from Feline Nutrition - Feed Cats Like Cats.
Here is what we've learned:
When I first decided to transition from dry to raw, I knew that it was important to get the palette ready so I began introducing some wet food! Aries, of course, loved it so I was confident about introducing the raw meat. I didn't know where to get the meat but some furrfriends suggested we try Darwin's Natural Pet Products and we've loved it.
It took a few tries of learning how to prepare the raw meat (I'm a lifelong vegetarian and have no clue how to prepare meat) but some friends helped us and our standard method for feeding is to warm it using a hot water bath.
What we didn't account for was timing. Aries had previously had access to his food 24/7 so, whenever he was hungry, there was food available. The problem with that is that Aries was not hungry when I was making his food (what a kitty toddler moment) and I didn't want to let raw meat sit out in the apartment all day. The transition was not going well. So, I had to take a step back and work back up towards the raw meat transition with: SCHEDULED FEEDING.
To get Aries on the schedule, I decided to not leave his food out 24/7. I fed him once in the morning, once in the early afternoon, once in the evening, and once more at night
before bed. My reason for so many feeding times was that I was doing smaller portions so that he wasn't full at the next feeding time. It was tricky and challenging (especially at 4:00a-5:00a) but slowly but surely it began to work so we introduced wet food with the dry food. Then, we introduced raw meat with the wet food. We were back on track!
For the last few months, Aries has gotten raw meat at breakfast and dinner with occasional dry food (while I'm busy at school or late at night). It was pretty tough to manage multiple feeding times and types but recently, I began using the WOpet Automatic Feeder and have loved it! It's been so helpful with the various feeding times. We started with 6 feeding times evenly spaced out. When it went off, Aries would eat some and I’d have to remove the rest. Then, we got it down to 4 feeding times with two of the feeding times (breakfast and dinner) using wet food. We stayed on this 4 feeding time regiment for several months. The times were:
This was pretty evenly spaced and he would eat dry food while I slept (3am) and out of the house (2pm). We did wet food an introduced raw at the other two feeding times. Since August, we made the last push down to 2 meal times. I realized Aries meowing and whining wasn’t related to hunger but wanting treats! It took a lot of time. We began adding elements of Stella&Chewy's products and Aries has absolutely LOVED them.
Where there was a bit of hesitancy in eating the Darwin products, there is urgency to eat the Stella&Chewy products.
This isn't because one is better than the other, but just goes to show that cats have specific tastes and likes/dislikes! If your cat is not eating appropriately, try something new, or go back a few steps to even include their original hard food. If there is more trouble than that, we recommend visiting a vet!