Has a movie ever made you barf?
Raw feeding - beginners course
Content last updated on: 07/17/2017
If you want to start feeding your cat with raw meat, the whole thing will be either incredibly complicated or incredibly simple. In fact, neither is the case: feeding cats raw meat is not a science, but basic knowledge and a well thought-out procedure are important.
This beginner's course is intended to give you an introduction to raw meat feeding for cats - and it is easy to understand and compact. A detailed explanation of backgrounds, contexts and complicated metabolic processes was deliberately omitted here - however, corresponding content is linked accordingly for the inquisitive reader. Just as deliberately - in contrast to other contents of the info page - a simple, direct address to the reader was chosen: many things can be explained more understandably if no nested formulations are used.
If you have any questions or suggestions for improvement, I can of course be reached by email.
Step 1: Is that even something for me?
"Getting your fingers dirty" is one of them
Feeding your own cat with barf is neither "just putting meat in the bowl", "copying recipes" or "buying ready-made barf" - it is rather "taking responsibility", "acquiring knowledge", "implementing knowledge individually" and "regularly Take time to prepare ". If you are not prepared to obtain information yourself or to give a little thought, you will hardly be able to feed your cat healthily with raw meat in the long term. Barf is only as good as the holder who mixes it together.
The answers to the basic questions like "What must be added to the meat and why - what is it for?" and "Where do I have to be careful with the dosage?" have to to sit! Ultimately, of course, the owner must also have the will to handle raw meat and offal and offer the cat variety in the bowl. Adequate freezing is also more than advisable in the long term.
Barf can be a very healthy diet for cats, but it is only when done carefully. For those who have little time to spare, are too insecure or at least too passive, feeding cats with wet food makes more sense. Better a good can than negligently mixed, poorly composed barf!
What can I actually do wrong?
Undersupply and oversupply with all their pathological consequences are quite possible. These range from more harmless symptoms such as dull fur to extreme exceptional cases such as kidney failure and death of the cat. However, there are often longer intervals between a healthy cat and a terminally ill cat, and above all, there are longer periods of incorrect care extreme Incorrect supply. Indeed, if you stick to important principles, you can't go wrong.
For more information, see "Nutrients and Supplements" and "Methods and Basic Recipes".
Step 1a: Basic recipes, complete preparations and ready-made barf
Ready-to-use beef in sausage form
Before or while you read yourself in and try to process the information you have gathered, you can certainly offer the cat the first pieces of raw meat. However, only pure meat - with no nutritional supplements - should not be fed for a period of around 2-4 weeks. And only in very small quantities (preferably offset in time) with the finished feed. If you want to feed more than tasty quantities of raw meat at regular intervals, you should make sure that you achieve a balanced composition: "Meat alone" is then no longer sufficient and can lead to incorrect supplies in the short term - see "Step 5a: Divisible".
It is advisable not to feed any offal during this time and to offer the cat small amounts of different types of meat (e.g. from the supermarket, butcher / butcher). If you want to carry out this trial phase for more than a month, you should feed a complete preparation with the required nutrients, ready-made barf or basic recipes: this ensures that no incorrect supply occurs over a longer period of time.
It is important to have ready-made barf / basic recipes Not to mix with each other or with complete preparations for a meal! Even ready-made feed should not be combined with complete preparations.
For more information see "Divisible barf - the magic 20% mark", "Ready-made mixtures and complete preparations", "Ready-made barf: convenient or better not?" and "Methods and Basic Recipes"
for the sticky note: Meat without anything, only in small quantities (up to 20%) and only for about 1 month, complete preparations, basic recipes and good ready-to-use barf make it easier to get started
Step 2: Gather basic knowledge: What do I need to know about ...
It is really more than important to master the "1x1 of raw feeding" if you want to feed your cat (s) with raw meat meals in the long term. There is a lot to know and to understand: once you have a perspective, you don't get confused so quickly. It is best to gather this basic knowledge before you create your first recipes for your cat and start offering her raw meat.
... lean meat?
Muscle meat, (finely) minced to lumpy
Muscle meat makes up the largest share in raw meat meals. It provides the cat with important animal proteins (energy donors), amino acids and nutrients such as taurine. Basically all types of meat can be fed to the cat, the only strict exception is wild boar.
Caution is advised when feeding raw pork, but the cat does not necessarily have to do without it entirely if it comes from certain countries of origin and was also slaughtered and processed there (e.g. Germany, Austria, etc.). However, it is advisable to "save" certain "exotic" types of meat - such as ostrich, kangaroo, llama, elk, zebra - for a possible exclusion diet in case of allergies. Stomach / rumen, tongue and heart are also muscle meat when fed raw.
Fatty, sinewy muscle meat is best for feeding cats. Ideally, large chunks of meat are fed (especially) so that the cat can clean teeth and gums and keep them healthy. Some cats prefer minced meat, some strictly refuse it. It is the same with rumen: many cats do not eat it (perhaps because of the smell), while others have no problems with it.
It is advisable to have between 3 and 5 different types of muscle meat alternating on the menu per month in order to have the greatest possible variety (in the nutritional composition). The individual recipes can consist of different types of meat: they do not necessarily have to be single-origin.
For more information see "Aujeszky's disease (pseudo rage)", "Which meat? Which offal?", "Feed allergy" and "Proteins or proteins"
for the sticky note: Meat, heart, stomach and tongue are muscle meat, do not feed wild boar, caution is advised with pork (pay attention to its origin), feed several types of meat for a change, recipes do not have to be single-origin
Offal, on the other hand, only make up a very small part of the meal: depending on the method of raw meat feeding, only up to 10%. Above all, they bring important nutrients into the recipe. For example, liver (up to 5% of the meal for vitamin A), spleen (around 2.5% of the meal for iron), kidney (around 2.5% of the meal for B vitamins) are used. But the lungs, brain and testicles can also be used.
When dealing with liver, it is important to know that it brings a fat-soluble vitamin (Vit A) into the meal that is stored in the cat's liver. It can also be overdosed - it should be handled carefully! Since the cat stores vitamin A, it does not have to be included in the meal every day. Liver can therefore be included in small amounts in the cat's daily meals or it can be fed in larger amounts at regular intervals. It is also important to know that the cat can only use vitamin A from animal sources: the beta-carotene contained in plants cannot be converted into vitamin A by them due to metabolic peculiarities in the cat.
It is advisable to alternate between different types of innards, and the innards used do not have to come from the same animal as the meat.
For more information see "Which meat? Which offal?", "Nutrients and supplements", "Nutrient contents in various supplements" and "Methods and basic recipes"
for the sticky note: Offal (liver, spleen, kidney, lungs, testes, brain) important for various nutrients, do not feed liver in large quantities, liver does not have to be in the meal every day, offal does not have to come from the same animal as the meat, variety is important
... animal fat?
Comparison of different fat contents in meat - from lean meat (left) to pure fat (right)
Besides the proteins from muscle meat and offal, animal fat is the most important source of energy for cats. Yet it is just as important for the absorption and metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins and much-needed fatty acids.
The meal should ideally contain around 9-16% fat - e.g. through fatty meat, the addition of skin or animal fat. A higher fat content in the meal than 10% can be fed, and is even advisable for some cats - e.g. for kittens, very active breeds, old or sick animals and mother cats. Less than 9% fat is not recommended in the long term (even for overweight cats): the cat lacks the necessary energy donor.
Each meat has a different fat content, and the fat content of different parts of an animal can differ enormously in this regard: for example, duck and lamb are more fatty than chicken or rabbit, for example. The mixture of fatty and lean meat can achieve the desired fat content in the meal without adding any extra.
If the fat content in your recipe is not enough despite mixing in fatty types of meat, you can, for example, use meat with skin, animal skin with fat on it or unseasoned animal fat (goose or pork lard). It shouldn't contain herbs, spices, or onions. Pork lard is also harmless for those raw feeders who prefer not to feed pork due to the possible risk of the Aujeszky virus: the lard is heated during processing, which kills any virus it may contain.
Which meat (part) has which fat content can be looked up either on the packaging or in nutritional databases (links in the link list). However, these values are only average values and are used to roughly calculate the total fat content of the meal. For the sake of simplicity, only the fat content of the meat is included in the calculation - offal etc. are "left out". The fat calculator can help you calculate or balance the fat content in your meals.
With a little experience, you can roughly estimate the fat content of the meat and thus decide whether it is sufficient. If you look at the photo at the top right of this section, you should add fat to the two left meat parts, the two middle parts should have roughly enough fat and the two right meat parts should be mixed with lean meat.
For more information see "Oils and Fats / Fatty Acids", and "Nutrient Contents in Various Supplements"
for the sticky note: about 9-16% fat content in the meal: better not less, more but possible, only animal fat: fatty meat, skin, animal fat
Salmon oil in capsules and in a bottle
Oil is only used in catfish to balance the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids - it is not used as a fat substitute or as a source of energy. For various reasons, vegetable oil (with two exceptions for omega-6 supplementation, which you almost never need anyway) is rather unsuitable for cats. Salmon oil, krill oil or green-lipped mussel oil are the only supplements that make sense for the cat.
However, the balance of fatty acids - and thus fish oil - is not always necessary: as a rule, only animals from factory farming have too much omega-6 that it would have to be balanced with an omega-3 oil from animal sources. As a guideline, about 1g of salmon oil is mixed with one kilo of meat.
It is important to know that such oil goes rancid quickly and that you as a cat owner do not use too much of it: Oil in bottles spoils very quickly after opening the bottle, it is usually not worth buying - unless you freeze the oil you do not need (e.g. in Disposable syringes without needles). But oil from capsules can also be mixed into meals - very conveniently, in fact.
It is also important to note that fish (e.g. salmon) and salmon oil fulfill two different tasks in the barf: Salmon oil serves to balance the fatty acids, fish brings vitamin D into the recipe. Although fish often contain important omega-3 fatty acids, the content in the various types of fish fluctuates so strongly that only a few are suitable for balancing fatty acids without additional salmon oil.
Salmon oil capsules are available, for example, in the drugstore. For example, "omega-3", "salmon oil - omega-3" or "sea fish oil omega-3" capsules are suitable. The dosage "1000mg" (1 capsule on 1Kg meat) or "500mg" (2 capsules on 1Kg meat) is the easiest to use. If you regularly make a mess when poking the capsules, you can soak the capsules in warm water shortly before mixing the recipe: the gelatine that covers it dissolves and can also be safely added to the recipe. Incidentally, any vitamin E contained in the capsules is there to protect the fatty acids from oxidation - it is not withdrawn from the cat's needs.
Not all raw feeders add fish oil to their recipes to balance out the fatty acids. Instead, attempts are made to achieve a balance in other ways by changing the meat, adding fish (also contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, depending on the variety) and / or using meat from grazing animals.
For more information see "Oils and Fats / Fatty Acids"
for the sticky note: Fish and fish oil cannot be exchanged for one another, no vegetable oils for cats, salmon oil (1g on 1kg meat) for meat from factory farming, to balance the fatty acids - not as a fat substitute
Bones bring mainly calcium and phosphorus, but also magnesium, potassium and zinc into meals. By chewing bones, the cat can keep teeth and gums clean and strengthen the jaw muscles.
A bone content of 5-10% in the cat meal is achieved, for example, from chicken / turkey necks, chicken thighs or wings and carcasses. It is really important never to feed heated bones, as they can splinter: bones just raw! As an alternative to whole bones, ground bones or bone meal can also be fed.
Too much bone in the meal can cause bone feces and constipation. Not all cats eat bones (from the start): some cats need to be accustomed to it first. Bones are not absolutely necessary in the meal, the calcium content of the cat can also be covered differently - phosphorus is usually already enough from the muscle meat in the meal.
In the case of catfish, only the so-called "fleshy bones" of poultry and small animals are usually fed - that is, bones that still have meat on them. These are, for example, chicken necks, turkey necks or carcasses (= skeleton with meat on it). Their bone content fluctuates widely from around 30% -75%. Accordingly, they should be mixed into the meals: in order to achieve a bone content of 5% (= 50g in the entire meal), for the sake of simplicity, 10% (100g in the entire meal) are usually fed meaty bones - i.e. about twice as much. Fluctuations are normal here - as with all other nutrients. For this reason, too, variety is important not only in terms of bone content, but also in terms of the "type of bone": sometimes chicken necks, sometimes rabbit carcasses, etc. Bones from large animals (e.g. beef, lamb) are not suitable for feeding cats for various reasons.
If you want to feed a whole minced animal including bones, you should "fill up" the high bone content proportionately with muscle meat. For example, for one kilo of minced animal with a bone content of approx. 30% (the bone content is on the packaging or can be obtained from the manufacturer / sender), there would be around 2 kg of pure meat so that you achieve a bone content of 10%. With a bone content of 25%, 1.5 kg of pure meat would be required, with a bone content of 15% 500g of pure meat, etc.
For more information see "Bone feeding: do not feed them heated bones!", "Nutrients and supplements", "Nutrient content in various supplements" and "Methods and basic recipes"
for the sticky note: 5-10% raw bones in the meal bring important nutrients into the meal, you can also feed them minced, never heat bones, do not feed too many bones = constipation, fleshy bones are calculated with double the amount for simplicity
Fish mainly brings fat-soluble vitamin D into the barf, but also unsaturated (omega-3) fatty acids, iodine, other nutrients and important amino acids. Just like bones, the bones that may be contained in the fish are pliable in their raw state and only become brittle when heated and thus possibly a danger to the cat. Since cats - in contrast to humans - cannot synthesize vitamin D through the skin, it has to be taken in with the food.
The cat stores vitamin D in the body, so on the one hand it is not necessary to feed fish every day, on the other hand, of course, the amount of fish fed should not be too high. Instead of putting around 20-50g of fish per kilo of meat in the individual daily portions, around 200g of fish per month can also be fed on certain "fish days".
Another reason to eat fish sparingly is the fact that some raw fish contain an enzyme (thiaminase) that destroys vitamin B1: long-term feeding in large quantities of certain raw fish could cause this vitamin to be deficient.
For cats who do not like fish, lamb heart, for example, can be offered as an alternative to vitamin D supplementation. It is important to note that fish and salmon oil fulfill two different tasks in the barf: Salmon oil serves to balance the fatty acids, fish brings vitamin D into the recipe. Although fish often contain important omega-3 fatty acids, the content in the various types of fish fluctuates so strongly that only a few are suitable for balancing fatty acids without additional salmon oil.
Not all raw feeders include fish in their meals. The strict Frankenprey method, for example, does not provide for this. Vitamin D, for example, is also included in the recipe with the addition of liver. Whether this is sufficient, however, depends on the respective recipe composition.
Pure fish recipes are rather unsuitable for the beginning: you would have to choose types of fish that contain as little vitamin D as possible, keep an eye on or balance their omega-3 fatty acids and iodine content, etc. As a beginner, you should concentrate primarily on meat recipes: putting them together will probably be challenging enough as it is.
For more information, see "Thiaminase: Important When Feeding Fish"
for the sticky note: Fish and fish oil cannot be exchanged for one another, fish brings vitamin D into the recipe, which can be overdosed and does not have to be included in the meal every day, raw bones do not splinter, thiaminase (contained in many raw fish) destroys vitamin B1 - which is also why it does not destroy it feed a lot of fish
Bovine blood in the cup
Blood in the meal brings fluids, protein, iron, sodium (salt), B vitamins and copper to the cat. You can get it in barf shops (online or stationary), for example, but also from some butchers / butchers - the conditions and permits for the sale of blood are very strict. It is possible that many butchers / butchers refuse to sell.
Blood is a sensitive food and can spoil and / or coagulate quickly. Therefore, it should not be kept in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours. Coagulated blood may look unsavory, but its quality is no worse than liquid blood - once it is passed through the mixer, it becomes liquid again. Blood is now also available frozen in thalers, which makes handling and dosing easier for many raw feeders.
Those who do not want to or cannot feed liquid blood can use blood powder, spleen and / or other supplements that bring the individual nutrients into the recipe (e.g. seaweed meal for iodine, sea salt for sodium, brewer's yeast for B vitamins, etc.). Not all raw feeders add blood to their meals: some are of the opinion that the amount of spleen alone brings enough iron and other nutrients into the recipe that blood is not absolutely necessary.
For more information see "Raw feeding with blood: disgust or species-appropriate?"
for the sticky note: Blood brings many important nutrients into the recipe, which can also be supplemented individually, blood powder or spleen are suitable alternatives to liquid blood, blood is perishable quickly
For cats, taurine is an essential beta-aminoethanesulfonic acid. In contrast to humans and dogs, it cannot synthesize them from certain amino acids in the feed itself. Accordingly, it is imperative that she receives them in sufficient quantities through her diet. Otherwise there is a risk of heart disease, eye diseases and reproductive disorders.
A requirement of around 9.9-50mg taurine per kilo of cat and day is assumed. Taurine can be added to meals through animal components (e.g. muscle meat and offal, mussels, fish) or taurine powder. Green-lipped mussel powder is also suitable for adding small amounts of taurine.
The dosage and origin of the taurine is a very controversial topic among barers: some assume that they cover the needs of the cat with muscle meat and possibly a large proportion of the heart - and without any additional powder. Especially "working muscles" (heart, stomach, leg) and dark muscle meat are rich in taurine. But offal and fish also contain some.
However, since the taurine content in the various types of meat and heart fluctuates extremely and a lack of taurine definitely harms the cat over a long period of time, some raw feeders also add powder (about 0.5-2g to 1kg meat) to their meals. For various reasons, the cat's taurine requirement is lower when eating raw meat than when feeding with (cooked) ready-made food. Accordingly, the dosage recommendations that apply to ready-made feed (1000-2500mg per kilo of total dry matter content) cannot be applied to barfing. Much smaller amounts are sufficient here.
Even if excess taurine is excreted via the kidneys or the urine, there have not yet been any studies on cats that have analyzed long-term oversupply. An oversupply is also controversial. There are, however, studies on the harmlessness and effects of taurine powder: the cat should be able to utilize it well (in some cases it even seems to have a better availability than taurine from inferior animal by-products) and it does not appear to be carcinogenic, nor should it have a negative effect on development possibly affect unborn kittens. Overall, one could say that it seems harmless for the cat, is well absorbed and used by the body. The fact that there are hardly any deficiencies since such synthetic taurine has been added to ready-made feed supports these investigations again quite impartially.
The decision "is the meat enough - powder yes or no?" seems to be a very individual decision, where there is really no "right" or "wrong". To have a rough clue, you can keep the following in mind: do you mainly use dark meat parts (not -sorts!) - e.g. meat from poultry thighs or wings - a heart content of around 5-15% is sufficient to cover the need. If, on the other hand, you mainly use light-colored pieces of meat (e.g. breast meat), you can add around 1.5g taurine powder per kilo of meal to safely cover your cat's needs (see .pdf file "Covering the taurine requirement").
For more information see "Important for cats: taurine" and the topic "Raw feeding for cats": Covering the taurine requirement (.pdf download)
for the sticky note: Taurine cannot be produced by the cat itself - it has to be ingested through food, it comes into meals through muscle meat (including heart) or through powder, deficiency is harmful in the long term, nothing is known about oversupply in the cat, predominantly dark If meat parts are used, a heart content of up to 15% is sufficient to cover the requirement, otherwise it is better to use 1.5g taurine powder per 1kg meal
the cat needs very little fiber, if at all, but a lot of meat
Basically, the cat has no need for plant-based ingredients or carbohydrates. It can use them poorly or not at all and can hardly get any nutrients from them. Vegetable admixtures in barf are actually only useful for the cat's excrement - but many cats do not need any "little helpers" for this either.
Often it is also sufficient to feed the cat at irregular intervals (e.g. once a week) food animals with feathers or fur: Fur / feathers are the most natural fiber for cats - plant-based foods are only "substitutes".
Only if the cat's excrement is too hard or soft without fiber does an admixture make sense - but only up to a proportion of maximum 5% (So 50g on 1Kg meal). Ideally, only vegetables are used - no rice, no grain, no potatoes or pasta, no fruit or fruit. Cucumber, carrot, zucchini or pumpkin are particularly popular.
Depending on its consistency, this fiber is usually also fed raw: if the cat's body cooked it, it would be "processed", which would contradict the sense of fiber. They can be mashed, pounded or pounded. Flax seeds or psyllium husks should be soaked thoroughly in warm water until they stop absorbing water - otherwise the cat could suffer from constipation. If you want to use seeds as fiber, you should keep in mind that the limit of 5% applies to the already soaked seeds - do not weigh them and then soak them.
For more information see "Carbohydrates / Dietary Fiber / Herbal Ingredients"
for the sticky note: Fiber only if the cat has problems with defecation, up to a maximum of 5%, vegetables are preferred, no potatoes, no rice, no pasta, no grain, are usually also given raw
... Supplements: What brings what into the recipe? What can I replace with what?
The information given here is only a rough guide: it is of course advisable to check and adjust the exact amounts required yourself - e.g. using a special recipe calculator. The individual quantities relate to the addition to 1 kg of meat and are only suitable for healthy cats.
* important: Cod liver oil brings vitamin A and vitamin D into the recipe; different amounts are required to meet the needs of both nutrients. Since both nutrients are fat-soluble and can be overdosed, an exact dosage of the liver oil is important
** Wheat germ oil as a vegetable oil is controversial, especially in sick cats
... the calcium / phosphorus ratio?
So that calcium and phosphorus - and a few other nutrients - can be properly absorbed and used in the cat's body, these two nutrients should be included in the recipe in a certain ratio to one another. One speaks of a range of 0.9-2: 1: it is therefore desirable that there is about 0.9 to 2 times as much calcium in the recipe as phosphorus. In short: there should be more calcium than phosphorus in the recipe. The problem is that meat alone brings a lot more phosphorus into the recipe than calcium. So the barfer has to add even more calcium to the recipe - on the one hand to cover the cat's calcium requirement at all - on the other hand to "balance" the aforementioned ratio.
Calcium is included in the recipe with bones, bone meal, eggshell meal or algae lime, with bones and bone meal in turn bringing additional phosphorus with them: this can be unfavorable for a balanced ratio. A pure calcium supplement (i.e. one that does not also contain phosphorus) should therefore be used if possible. These are, for example, egg shell meal and algae lime.
So that the correct ratio does not have to be recalculated for each individual recipe and the barfer does not have to remember x numbers, you can add flat-rate amounts of calcium supplements to the meals for the sake of simplicity. So you can mix about 6-7g eggshell flour or 7-9g algae lime per kilo of meat. The fact that not every recipe is perfectly balanced here can for the most part be neglected: the large range in which the calcium-phosphorus ratio is considered "good" makes it possible that with these amounts of calcium you are usually always somewhere "in between." lying "- at least a lot more like adding bones to the meat.
Not all raw feeders do this, however: they believe that bones alone add enough calcium to the recipe to meet the cat's calcium needs and to balance the calcium to phosphorus ratio. Here, however, the bones and amounts of bones used are very important - necks, for example, do not bring a balanced ratio in meals, carcasses with a higher calcium content are more likely. With 20% necks (corresponds to about 10% bone content) in the meal you can meet the cat's calcium needs, less than 20% necks do not cover it.
For more information see "Methods and basic recipes", "Sample calculations: calcium / phosphorus ratio" (.pdf download) and "the calcium-phosphorus ratio in raw meat meals"
for the sticky note: Calcium and phosphorus should be contained in the recipe in a certain ratio to each other, this cannot / hardly be achieved with bone / bone meal alone, so a calcium supplement can be mixed into the meals: 6-7g eggshell meal or 7-9g algae lime
... nutrient contents and requirements?
Nutritional recommendations for meeting the needs of cats are officially published by several different institutions. There are also databases for the individual nutritional values of the meat parts that contain the individual values.
The individual nutrient requirements of the cat and the individual nutrient contents of the respective meat parts bring huge question marks to the forehead of many a beginner when it comes to the subject of "balance in raw feeding". To make it short and to lighten the confusion a little, the following can be said: Neither requirements nor contents are fixed numbers "set in stone"! Ultimately, even today nobody knows exactly how much the cat really needs which nutrients. The official figures for this were determined using animal experiments or calculations that were questionable in some cases - so they do not necessarily have to reflect the cat's actual needs. They also differ enormously depending on the advisor. In addition, the contents of the meats are only average values and vary greatly depending on the age, husbandry and diet of the slaughtered animal.
The question that really remains in the end is "If nobody knows exactly how much the cat needs and nobody knows exactly what is in the flesh - how knows I then what's right? ". To find an individual solution to this question, you can either use the cat's prey as a model for compiling the recipes (= Frankenprey method) or stay within the huge ranges of the official recommended values (= Barf with supplements). Ultimately, everyone has to find their own "right" one. And you can only do that with basic knowledge and with the thought in the back of your mind, why certain nutrients should not be overdosed and where "oversupply" or "serious deficiency" begins.
For more information, see "Nutrient Recommendations", "Methods & Basic Recipes", "The Cat's Nutrient Requirements" and "Nutrients & Supplements"
for the sticky note: Neither nutrient requirements nor nutrient contents are fixed numbers: fluctuations, deviations and huge ranges are always given, you can either move within the wide ranges of the recommendations (barf with supplements) or recreate the cat's prey (percentage, Frankenprey)
... nutrients / supplements - accurate to the milligram or "thumbs up"?
The most appropriate answer to this question would be "neither nor!". As already described in the previous section, it would be useless to calculate and weigh the individual supplements to 3 decimal places: it is highly questionable whether this will make the recipe composition "more correct". But even "thumbs up" is not an approach that is advisable in the long term. Even if weighing down to the milligram does not make sense, neither is the absolute opposite of "one hand of this, one hand of this" either.
The ranges in which nutrients for the cat are neither overdosed nor underdosed are large. You should stay within these ranges: one gram more or less usually hardly makes a difference in the long term - depending on the supplement and the amount of the recipe, 10g may not matter, but extreme underdosing and overdosing does. The fine scale is therefore - depending on the method of raw meat feeding and the amount of processed meals - not absolutely necessary, but using a normal kitchen scale with gram graduation makes sense.
for the sticky note: No extremely precise calculation and weighing of the supplements is necessary: You can round up and down where it makes sense and does not shift important relationships unfavorably
... balance: does everything have to be balanced every day?
That must and - above all - can it not. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D and E), for example, are stored in the cat's body; they do not necessarily have to be included in meals every day anyway - it can be sufficient to replenish the stores once a week or a month. All other nutrients should be included in the meals on a daily basis, but here, too, 100% balanced feeding is not possible - even if each individual meal was prepared fresh before feeding.
Instead, most raw feeders mix large amounts of meals and freeze them in portions. It makes sense that this way not every single meal contains exactly the same amounts as the previous or next. It is also logical that not every cat consumes the same nutrient content when it is fed - for example, it sometimes doesn't eat everything, sometimes it eats more or steals from its neighbor. This is initially not a cause for concern, but what is important is that this imbalance is corrected over a short period of time.
for the sticky note: not every meal has to be 100% balanced: however, variety and balance in the next recipes are advisable
... freezing and thawing?
"Chilled" is desirable when preparing
There are also widespread prejudices regarding this topic: "I am no longer allowed to freeze anything that has been thawed!" - In short: Yes, you can! You just have to pay attention how and how often you thaw and freeze again. In order to prepare the individual recipes, the individual ingredients must be thawed or thawed at least once and then frozen again.
Here you should make sure that it is best to thaw the finished meals in the refrigerator: the higher the temperature around and in the meat, the more the bacteria multiply. Roughly speaking, you shouldn't keep the meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours - blood and minced meat even shorter.
Also make sure that you do not thaw more than once or twice: if you have a block of meat, fish or offal, defrost it once, portion it into smaller amounts (e.g. 50g or 100g) and freeze these small amounts again - so you have convenient packaging the next time you prepare a recipe and prevent the meat from going "bad".
Even if meat that has been frozen and thawed several times is unsightly - and sometimes has an unsavory consistency - it doesn't have to be bad! Meat or fish that emits a strong smell or has a greasy film on the surface no longer belongs in the cat, but in the garbage! Please do not thaw - even the finished meals - in the microwave or in warm water, even if that works faster. Use cold water: this can also be done quickly, but is not so beneficial for bacteria to multiply.
Freezer bags, deli cups, glasses or plastic cans can be used to freeze the finished meals. Make sure that the containers are no higher than 10cm and freeze evenly and quickly. It goes without saying that you shouldn't open the door to the freezer unnecessarily often to prevent the cold from escaping. It is also logical that - pressed flat - freezer bags require less space in the freezer than all other containers: if you have little space, you should use them.
None of the nutrients contained in meals suffer from freezing! However, water-soluble nutrients (taurine, B vitamins) could be lost when thawing with liquid thrown away. So the sauce of the recipes should always be fed as well. It is advisable to only let meat / offal in the block defrost: this will make it easier to cut.
For more information see "all about freezing and thawing"
for the sticky note: Thawing and refreezing is fine as long as it is done quickly, the meat is kept cool and not thawed too often, the nutrients do not suffer, larger quantities can be divided into smaller portions and frozen in this way - that is more convenient and better for the meat quality
... hygiene in raw meat feeding?
In addition to balance, hygiene seems to be the second most important issue for barf beginners. Everyone has probably heard of germs, worms or viruses in barf and was then unsettled. In short: yes, worms, germs and viruses can be found in raw meat - but various precautionary measures and the specialized anatomy of the cat make this very minor. A certain basic hygiene is of course absolutely advisable. Also because humans can be infected with many of the pathogens contained in meat. Incidentally, worms (and their eggs) are killed if they are frozen at -17 to -20 degrees for at least a week.
You do not have to make a "clean room" or excessive hygiene in your kitchen when barfing. Like cats, we have a functioning immune system that can usually cope with all kinds of pathogens. The meat for barfing is also no more contaminated with germs than the one we eat ourselves. As long as you wash your hands and all other utensils thoroughly, you can maintain the same hygiene when feeding raw meat as when preparing food for yourself. You yourself only come into contact with the meat when it is cut and fed, and there is hardly any contagion through consumption.
It goes without saying that after cleaning the litter box, you must wash your hands thoroughly and keep children / other pets away from the cat's feces and small children - or yourself - not put the raw meat in their mouths.
For more information see "Hygiene when feeding raw meat"
for the sticky note: Excessive hygiene and disinfectants are not necessary, but basic kitchen hygiene is
... preparation and portioning - how much for my cat?
portioned meals in 200ml delicatessen cups
As already mentioned, not every single meal has to and cannot be perfectly balanced and many barfer mix large amounts of recipes. This procedure facilitates raw feeding and is also perfectly fine in terms of long-term balance.
Roughly speaking, when putting together the recipes, meat and offal are first prepared (minced, mashed and / or cut into pieces), mixed with the individual supplements such as bones, offal, etc. and then packed and frozen in individual (daily) portions.
It is a matter of attitude whether a separate "sauce" from supplements such as bones, innards, blood etc. is calculated and mixed for each individual recipe or whether a large amount of "standardized" sauce is used for the total amount of meat to be mixed.
As a rough guide for the amount of food, 25-50g meal per kilogram of body weight of the cat is assumed - most cats tend to eat more during the changeover. Depending on the exercise and experience, it takes about half an hour to make a 1kg meal.
Freezer bags, plastic jars, delicatessen cups or small glasses are suitable for freezing meals. In order to find the "right" size for the container, the following applies: minced food takes up less space than lumpy items, there should be some space in the box in addition to the meal. Roughly speaking, about 180g of minced barf or 150g of chunky barf can be frozen in a 200g container. It is a very individual question whether the water that is also included in the meals is frozen with everything else or is only added when the meal is served: on the one hand, you save space in the freezer if you do not freeze the water, on the other hand, you save a minimal amount of time if you do.
For more information, see "How do you do this? Mixing raw meat meals"
for the sticky note: about 25-50g per kilo of cat is considered a daily ration, the individual recipes can also be mixed in large quantities and frozen in individual portions
Delicatessen cups in the freezer
Barf meals can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two. If they are kept for more than two days, they should be frozen.
If you don't have a lot of space to freeze, you can either use flattened freezer bags or have to mix meals more often. The finished meals can be safely frozen for up to 6 months, depending on the type of meat and fat content.
It doesn't really matter whether you have your own freezer for the cats or whether you keep the meals together with your food: the meals are usually packed in such a way that they do not come into contact with anything else.
How many kilos of meals fit in a freezer compartment or a drawer depends not only on the size of the drawer, but also on the containers in which you freeze the meals. As an example: the 48x36x13cm large drawer of our freezer compartment fits 60 delicatessen cups with 200ml content, which makes about 11-12 kilos of meals. With the freezer bags pressed flat, 18 kilos of meals could be stowed in the same drawer.
In the end, however, I decided to use deli cups because of the environmental concerns, as I can reuse them many times and do not produce as much waste.
for the sticky note: Ready meals can be frozen for about 6 months, a special compartment for the cats is not necessary, depending on the container and size of the drawer, the amount of stowable meals varies enormously
... feed animals?
To put one thing straight up front: feeding animals for food is not absolutely necessary when feeding raw meat to the cat - unless you feed your cat according to the "whole prey model", in which mainly food animals are on the cat's menu.
Not everyone can and wants to feed feed animals, especially since the sight of them alone makes some people shy away. To be honest, the way some cats deal with food animals is not exactly nice to look at: some cats only throw and play with the food animals the first time they are fed, some cats do this for their entire life.
And quite a few cats completely refuse to eat food. Others in turn only eat mice, but not chicks - with some other cats it is the other way around. If you can overcome yourself, you should just try it out. Food animals can be a healthy snack, but not a must.
Whether feeding exclusively with food animals represents a balanced diet for the cat depends on many factors: on the one hand, on the keeping, nutrition and breeding of the food animals and, on the other, on the range in which variety is offered. Because this is absolutely necessary here. Food animals from pet shops and day-old chicks are not suitable for exclusive feeding - they are actually just a snack for the cat that does not have to be "deducted" from the daily amount the cat eats or the nutritional requirements.
Squeezing out the yolk sac is important when feeding a realistic number of chicks per day (around 1-3 pieces) Not necessary. It should be noted, however, that the frequent feeding of large numbers of chicks has made some cats "addicted": some cats then refuse all other food and insist on their chicks. Possible concerns about "gas residues" in the dead feed animals are not necessary. It is advisable to feed the feed animals where they can be easily cleaned (e.g. in the bathroom, on the terrace), because the animals are not always eaten without residue and sometimes entrails or body fluids are also distributed around the feeding area.
The majority of cats do not know what to do with food animals at first and do not eat them either. Here tips are needed to make the cat palatable to the animal. As an example, cutting (the faint-hearted do this when the animal is still frozen), rubbing it with treat paste or "filling" it with treats can be cited here as an example. The toughest can tie the food animals to ribbons, move them around and thus awaken the cat's jadgin instinct. Despite all attempts, there are certainly cats that never eat food animals.
Food animals are available, for example, in barf shops (online or stationary), in some branches of large retail chains (e.g. in the reptile department), in hatcheries (day-old chicks) or in special shops for reptile supplies.
For more information see "Raw meat feeding according to the whole prey model", "Feeding feed animals: crazy, species-appropriate or cruelty to animals?" and "Feeding only with food animals - is that possible?",
for the sticky note: Food animals can be a healthy snack for cats - but they are not a must, exclusive feeding of commercially available food animals is not recommended
... Costs and sources of supply - where can I get everything and how expensive is it?
The question of sources of supply and costs also seems to concern many cat owners at the beginning of raw meat feeding. In short: Meat, offal, bones and blood can partly be obtained in the supermarket, at the butcher / butcher, in (foreign) grocery stores, in barf shops (online and stationary) or from the hunter. The costs - depending on the amount eaten, the source of supply and the type of meat fed - amount to around € 20-40 per cat per month. Especially at the beginning, when smaller quantities of meat are bought to try, the discounter / supermarket is a good choice, but the costs can be slightly higher than if you would get the meat from the barf shop.
This is due to the fact that the barf shop usually offers meat that is not on the menu of people for many reasons - e.g. optical - hardly anyone wants spleen, kidney, fatty or sinewy meat these days. But it is precisely this meat that is good for cats: they cannot do much with the lean chicken fillet. The quality of the meat specially made for animals is not "bad" - it is just sorted out and offered for less because we humans are too spoiled.
If you need pure meat and offal - i.e. no ready-made meals - you can definitely buy the meat that is suitable for dogs according to the packaging. Always remember: nature did not make meat especially for humans, dogs or cats - meat is and remains meat - regardless of what is written on its packaging! However, since dogs and cats have different nutritional requirements, ready-mixed meals for the dog are not for the cat.
There are also various sources of supply for other supplements: flaxseed, sea salt, brewer's yeast, salmon oil and vitamin E capsules are available in many drugstores, for example. Liver can be found in many discounters / supermarkets. Eggshell meal can be made at home.Other supplements such as calcium carbonate, seaweed meal and taurine are available from many barf shops or specialized online shops. Taurine, for example, can also be obtained quite cheaply from athletes' needs: it is not necessary - and also much more expensive - that "for cats" be noted on the packaging. It is important to ensure that the tauin is at least 98% pure and does not contain any flow aids.
It is always difficult to give advice for or "against" certain barf shops, because not only the priorities, the quality perception and the wallet of each owner differ, but above all the taste of the respective cats. What one cat strictly rejects as "inedible", the other cat can in turn greedily inhale. Ultimately, the experiences made by the individual owner are a reason for them to personally decide for or against a certain shop - these experiences can, but need not, be more than exceptional cases.
For more information see "Sample calculation: Is Barf so much more expensive than ready-made feed?", "Quick tip: Make eggshell meal yourself" and "Quick tip: List of various Barf shops"
for the sticky note: You can get meat at the butcher, in the supermarket, in grocery stores or from the hunter, offal, bones and blood are often only available in special barf shops, you can get many supplements in the drugstore, meat, bones and blood can be used for dogs as well can also be used for the cat - finished meals are not
Step 2a: notes, reminders and donkey bridges
To start with, the basic knowledge alone can seem incredibly confusing and almost endless. But do not worry: every beginner feels the same way! Only with time, with the first own recipes, the first specifically formulated questions does the "AHA effect" come. It is important to know: Nobody can know or remember everything. He doesn't have to do that, as long as the most basic things are "right" and you know where to read the rest if in doubt.
And you should read a lot. And not only here, but also on other websites, in forums, in books. Perhaps you will also attend a barf seminar or talk to a good nutritionist. Many beginners find it particularly helpful when they can look over the shoulder of an "old bare hand" while mixing and personally pester him with questions. Try to get your own, broad picture of the bar and an overview of different opinions and approaches. And then decide for yourself which way you want to go and what you personally think is "right" or "wrong" for yourself and your cat.
Often it also makes more sense to "do the math yourself" than to ask others, because a lot of raw feeding is not only a matter of opinion, but also (un) knowledge that is passed on without reflection - in case of doubt it is better that you have made a picture for yourself than that you comfortably listen to others. Ultimately, you don't need more than the rule of three to recalculate simple trains of thought.
Most beginners will find it particularly helpful to write down everything that seems important. Sometimes it is more useful to scribble down short notes in your own wording than just read elaborately designed texts by others. Make a note of everything that comes up to you, that seems important to you and that you think would bring you closer to "the barf understanding"! Over time, you will probably have accumulated a lot of notes. And then slowly the understanding of connections will arise.
As an example and maybe a first start, I have summarized the respective notes from this Barf beginners course for you: You can print it out, add to it or simply use it to copy it for your own knowledge collection: "Barf Beginners Course Notes (.pdf Download)"
Step 3: Which feeding method suits us?
There are roughly three methods of raw feeding: "Barf with supplements", "Frankenprey" and the "whole prey model". Of course, mixed forms, adapted or improved variations are also possible (e.g. the "Frankenprey +") - there is no universally valid "right" or "wrong", only individual beliefs and ways. With all three methods, basic knowledge, variety and the use of your own mind are important.
Which method you choose for you and your cat depends on many factors. On the one hand about how great your own need for "accuracy" is, what your cat eats in the first place and which sources of supply are easy for you to reach. So neither Frankenprey is particularly easy, nor is barf with supplements complicated or unnatural, nor is raw meat feeding according to the "whole prey model" the only natural diet for the cat.
How do the methods differ?
The three feeding methods differ partly in what is fed and also in how the individual meals are put together. With the "whole prey model" - as the name suggests - whole prey animals or parts of them are fed to the cat. However, not every food animal can be used here and it is important to deal with variety, the keeping / nutrition of the food animals and the diet of the cat. There are no recipes here; instead, individual menus should be put together.
The "Barf with supplements" and the "Frankenprey" method both only use parts of slaughter animals and put them together according to their method. Both types can be done with the same meat and the same supplements - "artificial" is not absolutely necessary here.
The difference between these methods lies in the basic idea they pursue: Barf with supplements is based on the officially recommended nutritional requirements of the cat and also takes into account the individual contents of the various types and parts of meat. If the cat does not eat certain supplements from animal sources or if the respective needs are not fully covered, powders, drops or tablets are also used. Since many values and relationships have to be taken into account here, the computational effort is higher - however, many computer programs are already available that greatly simplify the recipe calculation.
The Frankenprey method takes the cat's natural prey as a model and composes the individual meals according to a fixed percentage scheme: 80-85% muscle meat, 10% offal, 5-10% bones. This scheme always remains the same, no matter which meat (part) is used. Official nutritional recommendations are irrelevant here. The calculation effort for the individual recipes is low: since the percentage scheme is always the same, the simple rule of three is sufficient here.
For more information see "Methods & Master Recipes"
for the sticky note: With the whole prey model, only food animals are fed, with Barf with supplements and Frankenprey, individual pieces of meat, offal and bones are fed, with Frankenprey recipes always based on the same percentage scheme and based on the cat's prey animals as a model, with Barf with supplements official nutritional recommendations are used as a basis - the respective nutrient content of the individual meat parts is taken into account, the calculation effort for Frankenprey is low, for barf with supplements the calculation effort is high - there are various calculators to simplify the recipe compilation
Why are so different amounts of supplements used in both methods?
As already mentioned, the same percentage ratios are always used in the Frankenprey: 80-85% muscle meat, 10% offal, 5-10% bones. It does not matter which meat from which animal, which innards from which animal or which type of bone is fed. When it comes to barf with supplements, the procedure is exactly different: the official nutritional recommendations serve as a guide value, and it is also checked which nutritional values the individual ingredients used bring into the recipe and how these have to be "topped up" until the required values are reached.
An example based on the proportion of bones: With Frankenprey, you mix a flat rate of 5% or 7% or 10% bones into the meals - depending on which amount you think is right for you. In every recipe. When you go barf with supplements, first check how much calcium and phosphorus (that's what the bones are for) your cat needs and how much of it is in the bones you want to use. Since these values can fluctuate greatly depending on the type of bone, the amount of bone required also fluctuates.
Step 4: relocate your cat and learn about its preferences
not every cat likes every type of meat
Now that you have the most basic knowledge, you can move on to switching your cat to full-time or part-time barf. For some cats, this step proves to be the most laborious of all. You can roughly say: the younger the cat, the shorter the changeover time.
So much for theory - every cat owner knows that practice can look completely different. If you have already offered your cat some raw meat in the meantime and have got to know its preferences, you are halfway there: now it "only" has to get used to the various supplements. Even that alone is often not easy.
If you haven't offered raw meat yet, you'll have to start from scratch. For example, you can just bring some chicken breast fillet or beef goulash with you the next time you go shopping at the butcher or in the supermarket. Basically, if you eat meat yourself, all you need to do is set something aside before preparing it for your cats. Once the meat is there, there are many different ways to proceed. Not every trick works with every cat, in a multi-cat household you sometimes have to "ensnare" each cat individually.
The many tips, tricks and details of the changeover are not to be discussed in more detail here - I have linked the corresponding subpage for the feed changeover to you below. It is important to say, however, that it can sometimes take a lot of patience, time and nerves to move your own cat. Step backwards are just as normal as phases in which you would like to throw everything away. However, if you don't give up, one day your cat will reward you with eating your lovingly prepared meals. It can take several months for your cat to eat the raw meat. And even then, not all cats in your multi-cat household have to draw level: sometimes the animals look at each other, sometimes the uncomfortable animals get curious enough to steal from their neighbors and sometimes you really have to for each individual cat the trick so that she can touch the raw meat.
For comparison: in our household it took a total of about a year for all three cats to reliably empty their bowls with the raw meat meals. The oldest cat only needed a few minutes for the changeover and the two cats were only persuaded by brewer's yeast over the meat or supplementary food in the meat - after long months of trying things out.
For more information see "Feed conversion -> conversion to barf"
for the sticky note: converting cats to raw meat sometimes requires a lot of time, patience and various tricks - everyone has to find the way and the pace that seems suitable for themselves and their cat
Feed what to try, what better not to?
Basically any meat except wild boar is suitable for test feeding. If you know what to look out for when feeding pork and you decide to feed it, then you can offer a sample of it as well. If you eat meat yourself, it is of course easier for you, because you can only "shred" some of your food (raw and unseasoned, of course). It is better not to feed off offal such as liver, kidney or spleen: some of them bring nutrients with them that can be overdosed - so they are more suitable for mixing into a whole recipe. As a snack, they should only be given in very small amounts, if at all.
Basically, you can actually offer everything that the counter in the supermarket or butcher's shop offers: chicken, beef, turkey, rabbit, lamb, including chicken thighs or wings. Please note, however, that many cats initially do not know that meat can be eaten with bones. Here it can make sense to first cut or chop the individual (raw!) Parts and slowly introduce the cat to bone feeding.
for the sticky note: if possible, no offal to try, pure meat and meat with bones can be fed to try, some cats first have to get used to bone-feeding, the meat must be unseasoned
Between theory, practice and different opinions ...
As already mentioned in the individual sections, there are also not a few points among raw feeders that are controversial. For example, feeding pork, adding fish, taurine powder and a calcium supplement, but also the fundamental question of the right raw feeding method are among the topics that often trigger discussions about the pros and cons. It must be said that some of these questions cannot really be answered in a fixed manner and that there are not so many different opinions on them for nothing. It can make sense for you as a beginner to listen to the individual arguments once and to be open to other views, because this is the only way to develop further.
But under no circumstances should you unseen everything that is being told to you - no matter how plausible it sounds or who is telling it. Because not a few of the common arguments are based on hearsay and misunderstandings. This also applies to some of the statements made by veterinarians, nutritionists, breeders, long-term raw feeders, etc. So before you join an opinion, you should first research the basics for yourself. This is no longer particularly difficult in today's world, when the Internet provides a wealth of information, scientific texts, dissertations and studies free of charge.
Don't forget that you alone You are responsible for your cat's health. Only you can make decisions that affect your diet and therefore your life. So you should also be convinced of what you are doing - ultimately you are also the one who has to deal with any wrong decisions. The justification "I was told ...!" not much.
Even the balancing act between theory and practice is often not easy to master, especially for beginners. Of course you want to do everything "right" - or at least the way you imagine it - but sometimes your cat, for example, throws you a spanner in the works by not eating certain meat, too little or too much of it or also, that she doesn't like certain supplements. Or the required supplement is no longer available in the required quantity, you made a mistake in putting together a recipe or you want to proceed differently than you were advised, etc.
Here you have to find your own way, far from theory. If you have to replace meat or supplements, you also have to overcome fears and doubts and do what you think is right. As long as you know exactly what you're doing, why you're doing it, and where to watch out, it doesn't have to be "wrong".
Digestive problems, acceptance problems, sore muscles in the jaw, etc. ...
with a little practice, even the largest chunks of meat can be managed without blocking your mouth and sore muscles
The problems during / after the changeover are manifold. Here, however, only those points will be discussed that are particularly common.
The most common problem is that your own cat doesn't like certain meats or certain supplements. Poultry and beef are often popular - lamb, sheep and goat are extremely divided. "Critical" supplements are, for example, liver, blood meal (Fortain) and also salmon oil. The fact that cats do not like some meat does not have to be worrying at first: there are enough alternatives to one of them, and on the other hand, after a while of raw feeding, many cats are far more open to new things.
The fact that the cat doesn't like all supplements doesn't have to be a bad thing, after all, there is a suitable substitute for almost every supplement. However, it can often pay off to be persistent as a holder.
Pureeing and mixing in the liver, kidney or spleen makes them bearable for many cats. Unpopular types of meat, for example, can be minced in small quantities and mixed with the meal. It can also lead to the goal if you only mix supplements into the meal in smaller than the intended amounts and increase their proportion every few days. It's okay if you do this: a few days or weeks of less supplements the cat won't get sick straight away. It is better to increase the amount to the required amount in a short time than for your cat to continue to refuse the supplement altogether.
As with any feed change, changing to raw meat meals can cause digestive problems. This is normal: the cat's body is not adjusted to the raw meat and has to get used to it. Diarrhea, flatulence and vomiting can certainly occur and are no reason to abandon the conversion entirely or to think that the cat would not get the raw meat feed. If these problems persist for more than two days, however, it is advisable to move the cat more gently and allow its digestive tract to relax a little.
Sensitive cats react, for example, to a mixture of raw and ready-made food: then feed both at longer intervals. Even a few days of light food or cooked / seared food can bring relief here. The cooking time is then reduced in smaller steps every few days so that the cat's body can get used to it. However, some cats have an attacked intestines / digestive tract (e.g. from antibiotics, parasite infestation) - here it is necessary to look for the cause, eliminate it and carry out a course of treatment to rebuild the intestines.
Very often it can be observed that after a few days of enthusiastic eating, the cat suddenly refuses the raw food completely and appears reluctantly to sit in front of the bowl. That doesn't have to mean that the cat no longer likes the raw meat. Often there is a very banal reason behind it: sore muscles. A cat that was previously only used to pre-cooked, soft ready-made food and now suddenly actually has to chew pieces of meat, has to get used to it. Cutting smaller pieces and / or grinding meat for the next few days can reduce the pain and make eating more tolerable for the cat. Cats can also eat very large pieces of meat after getting used to them.
For more information see "Homemade Chicken Broth and Light Food"
Step 5: creating your first own recipes
With basic knowledge in mind, the first recipes can be created much easier. Depending on which method of raw feeding you have chosen, creating your first own recipes is another challenging step.
Recipes based on Frankenprey feeding are probably a bit easier to calculate at first, because there is a fixed percentage scheme that only needs to be converted for the individual amounts of meat, bones and offal: 80-85% muscle meat (including heart and stomach) , 10% offal (half of which is liver) and 5-10% bones. It can be helpful to keep in mind that "percent" means nothing else than "per hundred": this is 80-85 grams of lean meat per hundred grams of meal, regardless of whether you mix 1Kg meals or 7Kg.
Depending on whether you have opted for the strict Frankenprey method or the "Frankenprey +", additional supplements can be added. Which scheme (80/10/10 or 83/10/7 or 85/10/5) you choose depends primarily on which meaty bones you use and how your cat tolerates the bone-feeding. If you use fleshy bones with little (less than 50%) bone content such as wings, thighs or necks, you should choose a bone content of 10% in your meals. Meaty bones with more bone content usually provide sufficient calcium even with a proportion of 7%. If you want to add an additional calcium supplement to your bone content (eggshell, algae lime, calcium carbonate or citrate), a bone content of 5% is usually sufficient.
In order to calculate the required quantities for you according to this percentage scheme, you can either use a special calculator or do the whole thing yourself using the rule of three by hand, pen and paper. You can find one of these calculators in the section "Barf - Raw Meat Feeding -> Frankenprey Calculator"
The individual invoices "by hand" could look like this:
- for the lean meat content:
(Total amount of meals in grams • 80/83/85) ÷ 100 = required amount of lean meat in grams
- for the offal:
(Total amount of meals in grams • 10) ÷ 100 = required amount of offal in grams
- for the bone portion:
(Total amount of meals in grams • 10/7/5) ÷ 100 = required amount of bones in grams
For further information see "Raw meat feeding according to Frankenprey" and "Raw meat feeding according to Frankenprey Plus"
Recipes for barfing with supplements
As already mentioned, the official requirements of the cat and the nutritional value of the individual meat parts are taken into account in the calculations of the recipes when barfing with supplements. Since the nutritional content of the meat parts fluctuates extremely (e.g. lamb liver has far more vitamin A than chicken liver), putting together the recipes is not that easy. The required amount of supplements is different for each recipe, so each recipe is put together differently - individually.
Special recipe calculators or calculators can be used in order not to know every single requirement value of the cat, not every single nutritional value of the meat parts and to have to coordinate these in complicated calculations. To put it simply, these are small software programs that have saved all the individual values in a database and calculate them appropriately according to your specifications (amount eaten, weight of the cat, activity, etc.). There are currently several such computers on the Internet. Some of them are free, some of them can be downloaded for a small donation and are looked after accordingly.
You can imagine the use of such computers as operating a navigation device for the car: they can do a lot, but definitely need a sensible user to get you to your desired destination. For this reason, it is important to have the necessary basic knowledge when using such programs. Here, the dosage of the individual supplements is not necessary to the third decimal place: if you know where to round up and down, which substitute is available for which supplement and that variety is important, you can approach the recipe calculation with more peace of mind.
For more information, see "Barfen with Supplements", "Links to Recipe Calculators and Nutritional Databases" and "How Do I Use a Cat Food Calculator?"
Accessories - what do I really need?
There can be no general answer here, as every raw feeder goes slightly different ways, has different tricks when compiling recipes and uses different supplements in general.
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