Calling all tweeters (twitterers?)! CatNutrition.org is now on Twitter. I hope that's a good idea. Follow us here if you're into the Tweetin' thing. We'd love to hook up!
And here's a picture of a cat.
Dr. Lisa Pierson of catinfo.org - who is much more of a numbers person than I am - has on her website an awesome, detailed breakout of what it costs to make homemade raw cat food.
Many folks are understandably dubious about the price of doing it themselves and, to be sure, if you go down the path of making cat food yourself there can be an initial outlay for a grinder and a supply of the dry vitamins and other ingredients. The grinder, however, will last you for years and years (mine's been going strong for over a decade).
I finally did some calculations this morning on what it costs me to make a supply of cat food for my two furry shamans. I bought free-range chicken (on sale at Whole Foods) and when I added up the total cost of the meat, eggs, organs and other ingredients - and divided the cost by the number of days it will feed Wilson and Sidney-Beans, I came up with a cost of about 90 cents a day per cat.
As a benchmark, I looked at the cost of buying - on sale - a premium canned cat food. That came to $1.50 a day per cat.
A few other snippets to inform your thinking about cost:
Methinks homemade raw feeding really is a bargain.
I love what feeding a balanced, raw diet does for cats. But everything we do that isn't exactly what Mother Nature intended has consequences. Like, for instance, the act of grinding the food. I don't see a way around that - in order to feed a nice balance of meat, organs, and bones, we have to grind those bones up so they're of a safe size.
But in grinding it all, our cats lose the benefit they'd get from shearing at large chunks of muscle meat. Benefits to their teeth and their gums. But since we're usually feeding animals that have bones that are much larger than what a cat would eat as her natural prey, we're left to grind up the bones and the meat along with it.
If your cat is game and has a healthy mouth? Then you might consider feeding some meals now and again of big chunks of just muscle meat. I like to cut up chicken thighs (minus the bone) into sizable pieces - a couple of inches for each piece - and feed those.
Not every cat is up to the task. My previous cats couldn't be bribed, cajoled, or begged into eating chunks. But the two boy-cats I live with now are game, and they do a pretty good job. Even Wilson, who's missing more than a few teeth, does an admirable job if the chunks aren't too big - though he takes longer than he would if he had all his premolars.
Sidney-Beans, on the other hand (knock wood) has all his chompers in place and tears through big chunks of muscle meat like a pro. We're so proud.
Have a look at the video - Sidney-Beans shows how it's done.
Throw in some regular checkups to assess and take care of your cat's dental health - and add in some tooth-brushing? You've done a lot to help ensure your cat has the best shot at good dental health.
A special appeal to all you animal-loving people out there, especially if you are in Utah or have a network there that may be of help.
A very dear friend of mine and her husband opened their hearts to offer a forever home to a beautiful dog named Hudson. In the course of transporting him from his foster home in California to his new home in Montana yesterday, Hudson bolted. He is now missing and was last seen in the Red Cliff Recreation area of Utah, just outside of St George, Utah.
If you or anyone you know can help with your contacts or resources to help bring this very special boy home, please contact the St. George rescue organization - H.A.R.T. (Homeless Animal Rescue Team) that is coordinating the search for this extraordinary animal - at 435-668-2655. You can also contact Susan, at shewhosmiles (at) hotmail.com if you have other ideas for helping.
Thank you so very much. This means a lot.
Big meows of gratitude go out to Eunyoung Lee and Eunsoo Lee, who very generously donated their time and incredible talents to translate another page on cat nutrition.org - the home page! Many many thanks!
One year ago, tomorrow, I said a very difficult goodbye to Nettie. She's come to mind so much lately - though not so much with sadness about how very hard that day was a year ago, but with gratitude for what she taught me, and continues to teach me, about the ongoingness of love.
Nettie arrived as a wee little thing having been plucked from a cold Virginia autumn into safety by some dear friends. Just a few weeks old and with every known kitten malady, she blossomed quickly and made her way straight into my heart so fast it made my head spin.
Every animal that comes into our life arrives with a special lesson to to share. They help us to give expression to a part of ourselves that would otherwise be dormant. Some cats come to teach us about joy, some about accessing our peace, some about how to have fun, some about the gifts that accrue to our hearts if we mimic them in their ability to sit in stillness and remain gently attentive and interested in everything in the world, no matter how small or seemingly ordinary.
Nettie taught me that it's possible to love an animal deeply and still survive after they're "gone." Oh yes - I miss her antics, her snuggles, having her sleep on my heart every night, her sparkling green eyes . . . and I miss having a being in my life that saw straight past any masks I wore right into my heart and was willing to stick around anyway.
Last summer I took her ashes and spread them in Montana at one of the most precious and holy places I know. I'd left Duke's ashes there the year before. I love to think of them there, on that sacred ground.
Thank you, Nettie. You're loved always, and in All Ways.
During cat foodmaking cleanup yesterday, my patient foodmaking partner asked, "So, since I started helping with foodmaking 8 years ago, do you think we've made a ton of food?"
Being math-challenged and because "a ton" sounded like an absurdly high amount, I brushed off the question. But then I got curious. So I decided to calclulate how much cat food I've made since I started this adventure about 10 years ago.
I checked my math about a dozen times (always a good idea for me), and came up with 3,212 pounds. That's well over a ton.
The same Tasin TS-108 grinder I purchased from the One Stop Jerky Shop ten years ago has successfully ground 3,212 pounds of rabbit, turkey, and chicken - including bones. In that time, it's never whined, whimpered, sputtered, or complained. That's one admirable appliance. In those same ten years, I've lost count of the number of times we've had to replace our coffee-maker, our toaster, and heaven knows how many other kitchen tools.
Even more heartening is the feedback I get from website visitors who consistently report that the service from One Stop Jerky Shop could not be better. Customers with a question or who need a replacement part are happily surprised to get speedy, personalized service and answers.
Long-time website visitors and friends know the angst I went through when it came to accepting ads for the site. I tinkered briefly with Google ads but gave up almost as soon as I started when all kinds of advertising for unhealthy cat food started littering the site. The Google ads were lucrative, but had the effect of diluting the core message I wanted this site to convey. The website has never been a money-making venture (understatement), of course, but I've fantasized for years how nice it would be to at least break even on the costs associated with it. I can dream, right?
Amortized over ten years, that $150 grinder has cost $15.00 a year. That's less than 30 cents a week. And it's showing no sign of giving up.
The point of all this? I know that people who are new to the idea of making their own cat food can be a little overwhelmed at the startup costs: a grinder, storage containers, and the initial outlay for vitamins and other dry ingredients. But keep the big picture in mind: if my experience is any indicator, the grinder will serve you and your cats well for a very, very long time.
Do remember: don't wash any of the grinder parts in the dishwasher. If you remember that one easy little rule, my guess is you stand a very good chance of getting as many years out of your grinder as we have.
So this chilly Sunday morning I'm giving a big hearty shout-out to the One Stop Jerky Shop. I'm proud to endorse them.