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Switching to a raw meat diet

Many people know it is better to feed and eat fresh rather than processed foods and have committed to do this. Then their animals, especially cats, say – “No way – I want my dry food candy only.”

Trish wrote about this: I have a new cat in my life that spent a year in the pound and was a stray prior.  My others always ate raw or cooked – she won’t eat anything but canned and dry. My homeopath (who is retiring Sad smile)and vet both concur that what’s most important is that she eat.  Any suggestions? I’ve tried everything I can think of as I’ve been doing homeopathy etc with my animals for years.

Also, what are examples of good diets for cats – both fresh prepared.  I realize raw is best but I live on a small island so I have to go with availability too.  Checked out Lily’s kitchen as per your blog but it is in the UK.  And….there are a lot of herbs in the food.  What are your thoughts on the many organic prepared foods that have herbs in them and alfalfa.  I’m wary to give medicinal herbs daily…but most have them in there!

First, I thought homeopaths never retired!!! It is good there are homeopaths for people and animals who work well by phone.

For cats or dogs who will eat canned food:
This is easier since cats can be healthier on canned foods than on dry, so first step, Trish, is to completely stop the dry food. Put some in bags in the freezer for times of illness when only dry food will tempt her to eat.

Anytime an animal is having trouble eating, or who are ill and not eating, or just do not like certain foods, try doing Reiki on the food. This often works.

I am sure you have tried all different foods – cooked and raw meat; canned tuna/salmon/sardines/mackerel/oysters/clam juice/other seafood; deli roasted chicken (something about the basting juice really gets them going); any vegetable (had one patient who would only eat broccoli and cauliflower when ill); any dairy products; tomato sauce; commercial freeze dried foods & freeze dried treats; dehydrated fish (Kitty Kavier or Bonita flakes from Asian market); commercial frozen raw foods (I know that is not readily available for you on an island in BC and local is better anyway; melons – anything you eat.

When to tempt is another trick – while it is true that cats have livers that may be sensitive to problems when not eating (only in ones whose vital force is weak that way), you can decrease the amount fed with no danger. Cut back for several meals, then offer some fresh food. When hungry they are more likely to try something new. Anitra Frazier of the Natural Cat book talks about really thinking about how good this food will be for your cat, how tasty, how yummy. Let the food sit for 10 or 15 mins and take it up.

If you find she loves some people food -bagels and cream cheese or tuna, whatever –  use those to tempt her to eat new foods. Soak meat in tuna juice. Take some of the dry food from the freezer and use a coffee mill to finely puree it and roll raw or cooked meats in it.

Another trick once you have a canned food she will eat is to cut up the raw meat very fine and mix with the canned food.

When cats will only eat dry food (few dogs will only eat dry if offered canned):
First, switch to a grain free dry food. Then stop feeding free choice (although some cats do fine with this – one woman who runs a behavior list serve feels cats in the wild snack so she feeds dry free choice and her cats live over 20 – every animal is different).

Then try many brands of canned food in the teeny tiny cans, as well as A/D from Hills (I know – that is not a great brand, but this one will often tempt sick or picky cats to eat). Powder the dry food and put a sprinkle on top of the canned food.

Keep following the tricks listed above, especially keeping your companion hungry and saying, “look at this great treat I have for you.”

Lots of good books give even more tips on getting those finicky eaters on a fresh diet.

Use holistic treatments: Maybe they just are not healthy enough to switch, so try homeopathy (the constitutional remedy), great Chinese medicine, chiropractic, Reiki, Flower Essences, HTA, TTouch, Reconnective Therapy or others.

Question 2 – good fresh diets for cats. I am assuming that Trish is asking for brands of raw meat diets (which she would have to mail order, so I would not suggest that). I do not stay on top of every brand. There is one I love from Virginia, Chow Now, where the chef visited every farm to be sure every ingredient was sustainably, organically raised with no chemicals. She even snooped in their sheds and visited their feed and hay sources! Bravo has been a mainstay from day one and offers different levels of quality for different prices. It is up to you to ask the owners where they get their ingredients.

Herbs in foods are not necessarily bad. First, if they list a lot of herbs it is probably just a marketing ploy. Read about each herb (I love Greg and Mary Tilford’s Herbs for Pets book). Alfalfa, for instance, is considered a food source for large animals and totally safe by the FDA. In animals with anemia, or in horses, you need to watch the quantities fed. I doubt that the dose in food is very large. It is an appetite stimulant, so probably a smart choice for a food manufacturer. Yucca, with similar principles, is more irritating and cannot be fed long term.

I recommend feeding a good variety of foods, so not food would be fed long enough to cause problems.

I could write for days on feeding…but I won’t. Read the many great books on nutrition and general health care, then ask specific questions that I will try to answer. Once you agree that processed food is not the best, there are hundreds of opinions of what to feed, so use the Healthy Animal’s Journal (or make one of your own) to carefully evaluate current health status, then try different diets and see what changes. One woman found that 1 Tablespoon of brown rice added to 5 C of food for her big dog was needed. She was observant and took good notes.

There are also great list serves with archives, so I am barely touching on facts to answer your question, Trish. Hope it helps.

Comments are welcome.

By |2012-04-08T20:17:57+00:00April 8th, 2012|cats, dogs, Healthy Animal's Journal, nutrition|4 Comments

About the Author:

Christina Chambreau, DVM, graduated from the University of Georgia Veterinary College in 1980 and has had a Homeopathic Veterinary Practice since 1988. She is co-founder and was Chair for the Academy of Veterinary homeopathy. She is the author of Healthy Animal’s Journal: What You Can Do to Have Your Dog or Cat Live a Long and Healthy Life; Healthy Dog Journal ebook; Fleas Be Gone kindle; and co-author of Tutorial and Workbook for the Homeopathic Repertory and How to Have a Stress Free Wedding and Live Happily Ever After. She has written and is quoted in many magazines. She lectures at veterinary conferences around the world. She speaks and gives classes for animal enthusiasts and practitioners. She is committed to empowering people to heal their animals and themselves in a way that heals the planet.


  1. tina-admin July 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    My 8 yr old chihuahua gets stomach problems once in a while. His stomach gurgles and he won’t eat anything for a day or so until he feels better. He will only drink a little water. I saw someone on line recommended Mitomax and the article gave your website.

    • tina-admin July 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm - Reply

      Definitely try Mitomax. Also, you may want to read the articles on nutrition and switch to a fresh food diet. I have had Chihuahuas live to 25, so it is certainly worth working on better health while he is still young. Keep trying different products and healers until he no longer has these occasional stomach problems. Read the 7 keys to health, as well.

  2. Patricia Najhawan January 13, 2014 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I have a kitty who at one time, always had a problematic immune system. I went to Natural Pawz, which is a natural pet food store in Houston, Tx. They told me about Rad Cat raw Food diet for Cats.
    I found some, and have been giving it to him ever since. I wanted to tell you that this cat food saved his life. Anitra Frazier had talked about a raw food died, and Rad Cat is amazing in bringing back health to my kitty. At one point, he nearly lost all of his fur. Fur is one of the main things that outwardly show the immune system and how it, and the car are doing…but I have another question.

    I saw, in Natural Cat book by AF, a list of fish that kitties should only get sparingly.
    One was Sardines which I read are extremely healthy…and the other was Salmon. My kitty, Poopsie, loves both of these fishes, and I am wondering how sparingingly I should be about giving it to him.
    I seem to find so many conflicting answers about Sardines and Salmon, and wonder what insight you all have.
    Also…does raw meat (chicken) from Rad Cat have taurine in it, and for that matter do fishes have taurine?
    Thanks so much, Patricia Najhawan

    • tina-admin January 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      I am actually researching the taurine content of salmon. As long as you feed it weekly there would be no problem. I would suggest looking at more sustainable fish than salmon, which is struggling (Read the book Four Fish – on tuna, salmon, cod and bass)
      the raw meat (chicken) has plenty of taurine.

      More later.

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