When my husband-to-be and I had known each other for only a few months, we bought a cat together. We were young and in love, and I guess we knew our lives would be knit together in one way or another. Ezra, our new cat, followed us separately from college apartment to college condo, until at last she settled down under one roof with the both of us after we were married.
She proved a devoted cat over the years. It was wonderful to have her around, especially when our home crawled with scorpions. She slowly aged, and we prayed that she would live long enough to be buried in the land we hoped to settle. And so we buried Ezra, our beloved cat, under the old magnolia tree in our yard a few weeks ago. Since we are not quite done remodeling yet, she moved onto our new place before we did, but she now occupies a spot where we can remember her for years to come.
Considering (and Changing) Our Cats' Diet
Although I do not believe in spending exorbitant amounts of money to keep an ailing animal alive, I do believe in humane treatment and loving care as much as possible. When we had a hunch that Ezra’s kidneys were ailing, instead of rushing to purchase the nearest pharmaceutical-grade food, I researched good diets that could reverse her condition or help her. I bemoaned the years of Friskies. We had fed her what we could at the time, but over the recent years I had not given much attention to the type of diet a cat should eat: one fitted to the feline nature.
Hours of researched convinced me that our cats needed a raw food diet — simplicity at its finest. If my cat lived in the wild, what would she likely eat? Rats, mice, small rabbits, chickens, etc. After finding rabbits too expensive, I decided to rely on the next best alternative: raw chicken. One meat grinder, a few varying vitamins, and an hour of smashing and grinding later, Ezra and our other cat had their first “natural” meal. I divvied up individual portions to store in the freezer for each day’s feeding.
What The Cats Thought
Initially, the cats weren't too excited about their new food. They tasted it, went away, visited every so often, and then after a few hours, finally polished it off. I was dumbfounded. Why wouldn't they devour this hearty meal from the get-go? After further research, I discovered that pet foods have many addictive additives, which provide such an initial “yum” that cats prefer junk food over a more traditional diet. Based on the current American obsession with fast food, this sounded all too familiar. So for subsequent meals, I mixed the new good food with the old bad, planning to transition them into an all-raw diet. The cats took well to this compromise.
What About Ezra?
This new venture is one I wish I had considered a long time ago, especially for Ezra's sake. I believe the raw chicken and vitamins provided her with needed nourishment before she died, but it also came too late — her kidneys were already too close to failure. I am, however, continuing the diet with our other old cat, and I hope to implement a raw food canine diet soon as well.
Somehow, the death of our cat symbolized the passing of an age of innocence for me and my husband. Through all of the many pivotal moments in our lives, through the times of change these moments have brought, by the grace of God, I am blessed to see progress in our walk with the Lord. Of course, great learning curves and roadblocks have hindered the way, but the youthful mindset of living for oneself has, for the most part, passed us by.
Although the desire to live unto self remains at times, we see responsibility wherever we turn: in our children, our animals, our land, our time, our commitments, and most importantly, in our devotion to the Lord and His people. I have learned that, in all things, we need to work unto the glory of God. Even in this area — pet food — may the Lord be glorified and may we nourish the creatures in our care according to their nature and need.
Below I include a simple recipe for chicken-based raw cat food.
Raw Chicken Cat Food Recipe
- 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) whole chicken, ground (bones, meat, and all)
- 200 grams (.44 pound) chicken liver, pureed
- 4 raw egg yolks, whisked
- 4 grams iodized salt (it's for the iodine)
- 4000 milligrams salmon oil or fish body oil (emptied out of capsules)
- 4000 milligrams taurine powder (emptied out of capsules)
- 400 IU Vitamin E
Adapted from this recipe by Natascha.
Combine all ingredients. Feed 1/4 cup, 2 to 3 times a day. To store, divide into serving size portions (or daily amounts) and freeze. Thaw frozen packets in a cold water bath or in the refrigerator overnight. Scale up the recipe to make it in big batches.
What are your thoughts and experiences with pet care or cat food, raw or otherwise?
Photos are of Wardee's family's kittens in July 2013. 🙂
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or veterinarian. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You are responsible for your own health and for the use of any remedies, treatments, or medications you use at home.
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