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Transitioning a picky eater to raw diet?

Molly Pearl

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Jun 2, 2014
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We started feeding raw a week ago and our littlest, Walter, took to it like second nature. This is great because he has HCM and we wanted to feed him raw for health reasons.

As for Sturgeon...well, he's picky. We started with ground chicken and he refused to go near it. He also doesn't like the "loaf" type cat food so we picked up some whole chicken breasts and chunked them. He'll sniff it but won't eat it. If I mix it in with canned food he suddenly doesn't want to eat the canned food either. I tried sprinkling some parmesan cheese on top of the raw food and he ate the cheese...but not the food. >_< It seems like unless it comes straight out of the can he won't go for it. I'm going to try a different type of meat next week, perhaps beef? Maybe some fish?

Any suggestions and encouragement would be greatly appreciated! My husband is ready to give up early and just keep Sturgeon on canned food but that just seems like a pain in the butt to me to have to prep raw food and still buy canned.

(As an aside-- did anyone else notice that their cat lost a little bit of weight when they stopped the 24/7 kibble buffet? Sturgeon's pooch is a little less poochy now. :p)
 

Condo commando

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Haha yes, they do lose some poochiness when they get off the kibble. If you can get rabbit, not only is it good for them but cats love it. Chicken is the most economical though.

You said you chunked some chicken breast....the raw diet is supposed to include bones and organs as well as muscle meat. I was going to suggest putting a little more liver in it; liver is another thing that cats seem to love.

You might also try warming up the food a little bit instead of serving it straight out of the fridge.

Other than that, be patient ...it takes a while for them to recognize that this is indeed food.
 

Xandria

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He might also prefer gamier meat like camel, kangaroo, beef, venison. Perhaps try something a little more odorous. You can also try adding fortiflora too.
 

Calicocious

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Cats don't always recognize the raw as a food. It can be hard to transition from canned too. Like Xandria said the Fortiflora can help since it smells and tastes a lot like dry kibble. You can try a really slow transition of mixing in a very small amount of the ground raw in with the canned. Very gradually increase the amount of raw. It can take months to make the change but I think it's worth it. Which supplement are you using? One of mine won't eat the Better the Raw but will the Alnutrin.
 

Julie

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When I started our cats on raw, I started with Primal Freeze Dried, turkey. The consistency is pretty much like canned cat food when mixed with water and they took to it easily. Good luck!
 

Molly Pearl

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I think I'm going to pick up some Fortiflora since he seems particularly drawn to the smell of the canned food. He doesn't seem to mind the better in the raw (he'll smell and lick the mix without a problem) but perhaps trying Alnutrin isn't a bad idea either.

I've made some progress. They're on beef this week and he seems more open to that than the chicken. The other day I put a chunk of beef and a treat in my hand. Since he's used to the grab and chew motion when he eats the treats this effectively "tricked" him into grabbing and chewing the raw beef as well. This morning I hid a couple of treats underneath the raw beef and he ate most of it while trying to smell out and grab the treat. So it seems like it's an issue of both smell and getting used to the chewier consistency. Baby steps, right?! :D
 

Molly Pearl

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@Calicocious and @Xandria I cannot thank you both enough for the Forti Flora suggestion!

I ordered it online and it showed up today right after I'd scooped a heaping serving of raw beef into their bowls. Sturgeon was kinda sniffing at it and doing his usual MEH but I sprinkled the packet on there and WOAH. It was like the scene in Jurassic Park where they feed the Velociraptors. He devoured the meat and licked out the inside of the bowl and is now staring at me expectantly like there will be more.

Question though: should I use one packet per meal, or try and space out the packet through all three meals in the day? I'm thinking about emptying all the packets into a spice shaker and giving him a dusting at each meal. :p
 

Xandria

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I would reduce the amount over time until you don't need to add it any more. It took me a while to transition Max (about a month), so have patience. But next meal try half a packet on a meal... usually that's all that's needed... and less over time.
 

Calicocious

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If you're using it just to tempt them to eat the raw a little bit will do it and you can phase it out. Otherwise it's a pro biotic and good for them :) I still use it everyday for mine. Amazon has good prices on it. Glad it worked for you!
 
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