If you want to save money and chop or grind grocery store meat yourself, you can save hundreds of dollars! Look for deals on chicken & Pork and make those a staple in your cat's diet. The following are my tips to DIY raw.
You never know when questions might come up along the way, so get direct answers to experts and fellow breeders who have been feeding raw for over 40+ years! It's important to follow only one group at a time so you don't get conflicting information. After much research the Facebook Group: CRAP (Cats Raw and Proud) is the ONLY group you should follow.
This group has plenty of 'Recipes for Dummies'.
The major components to a raw diet for a cat is meat, bone and organ. Typically the meal should be made up of 80% boneless meat, 5-10% bone and 10% offal (organ).
You will add in things like oily fish and raw eggs a couple times a week. Many people make a huge batch once a month a save big! Your goal is to use as much whole ingredients as possible without using 'completers' or dehydrated products. No cutting corners!
You can also decide if you want to give your cat(s) the most nutrient diversity possible by offering frozen pink rats and day old chicks to their diet. Usually you feed each 1-2x a week. If you can afford to, do it! Typically each product is around $1 each. I used to have it a more frequent staple in my cats meals, but was spending way over budget. Now its an occasional snack. You can purchase these from Layne Labs.
Multiply recipe x3 for 15lbs for a single kitty's one month supply. *This is a rough estimate*
You must rotate recipes with different boneless meats every 3 to seven days. You cannot feed the same recipe consistently.
Photo by SFRAW
Decide what meats you are going to use based on the info green graphic above. The cheapest and most available meats are chicken, turkey, pork, duck and Beef. (Make sure your cats like beef. 50% of cats will not eat it!) You can grind this meat yourself, buy ground from the store (no sodium injected) or do what I do. I buy those base meats bone-in and ground already from Blue Ridge Beef. I get their chicken (12% bone) & venison (12% bone) then mix in store bought ground turkey and pork to lessen the bone content.
Cat's need between 5-10% bone in their meal. Look at the green info graphic for acceptable bones. You can grind chicken wings, ribs, chicken feet or chicken thighs. You can also buy already ground bone-in meat from Blue Ridge Beef. The cheapest will be to grind everything yourself. When you've added too much bone your cat's poop will become white and chalky! If you haven't added enough it will be soft and shapeless. The key is to be as accurate as possible or use a Dummies recipe from the Raw Cat group CRAP (Cats RAW and Proud) on Facebook.
Study the white info graphic so you understand what is declared as meat and what is declared as organ. Cats need 10% offal a.k.a organ with atleast 50% being liver. You're welcome to feed all 10% liver and its perfectly safe. Organ can be found at your grocery store, Asain market or from premade company like Raw Feeding Miami.
Adding fish to the meal is very easy! You can purchase canned sardines, mackerel or salmon in water and feed a spoonful 2x a week per cat. This is important for omega-3. You can also add a raw egg at the same time so you don't forget.
If you have a cat who has never eaten raw and/or suffers from Gastro Intestinal problems and food sensitives, please order 5Strands Pet Food Intolerance Test for Dog's and Cat's on Amazon so you know what meats to avoid!
After you've received your raw test results you can then transition your cat to raw.
I practice the hunger method for transitioning cats, especially picky eaters. Please only do this if your cat is healthy.
On average it takes 2-3 days using the hunger method to transition your kitty to raw if the only food available is the premade. I have had some stubborn kitties take up to 5 days! During this time make sure your kitty is drinking plenty of water. If your kitty experiences any signs of major illness, stop immediately and seek veterinary assistance.
Hunger Method: For adult cats & kittens, remove all commercial pet food and offer only a spoonful of raw food for the 1st & 2nd day so as not to waste food. You can offer more once your kitten starts eating.
Second method: You may also try a gradual approach that can take several weeks to several months. This entails adding a tiny bit of raw food to your kitty's usual diet while gradually increasing the amount with time. You can also cook your raw food while slowly decreasing the amount cooked till your kitty is eating 100% raw. Cooking causes loss of nutrients, but can make the transition easier.