My 13 yr old cat Tweak is doing REALLY well on the raw food diet 4 months in - we started elsewhere and switched to Rebel Raw for a local option. Still works like a charm without all the effort of pre-mixing the cat vitamins from the old provider ourselves. He is as happy and energetic as when he was 5. His fur is softer and shinier, he plays more with toys and with more gusto, and he cries a lot less / almost not at all.
The challenges we have now are standard to typical pet ownership instead of the soul-crushing challenges we had before. He and I have been through the ringer to get him here. I cannot emphasize enough how raw food changed our lives. Before this, only outdoors gave him peace and happiness. Giving more details below to underscore, bold and italicize the miraculous changes. You can read for yourself - I have tried almost everything under the sun. Here was our OLD life before raw food:
Tweak's hardships from age 6-12: - regularly fed up with food, vitamins, probiotics and fiber solutions (hairball gels, greenies, etc). He hardly even likes treats, except Temptations (for the week they aren't stale), which are like cat McDonalds - vomiting multiple times a week - daily crying around age 7-10 - daily banshee-level crying around age 10-12 - consistent lethargy, disinterest in play, cat hide-y holes and other cat furniture - serious issues and stress trying to incorporate a second cat for a buddy - desperate and mostly ineffective attempts to find plants for digestion that resulted in 1 extra-bad incident with a vomit-induced minor esophagus tear - semi-chronic deep ear infection from an outdoor fight incident where he nearly lost a chunk of ear
My hardships: - regular complete loss of sanity & phases being emotionally numb to my own cat - extreme stressor for anyone dating or living with me (good riddance to the bad apples, though) - hours of researching and selecting healthy foods - daily high effort meals curated with wet food combinations + chopped up vitamins and probiotics + calming drops + whatever else I thought would improve his health - hours of crafting or purchasing & setting up elaborate cat entertainment, which often fell flat even following training best practices - miserable daily cat wake-up calls - $$$$$ - several "giving up moments" where I regressed to mixed wet/dry food or had bad mom temper problems (withholding affection/shutting him in a room/making sharp noises and shooing him off), which only increased his unhappiness and vomiting.
What worked the best? - outdoors (in a safe area) was a charm, I was still mom and his home, but he was much more independent and happy, but it made indoor-only phases extra hard - he had one cat bestie (during his outdoor days), but we had to move away, and no other cat was acceptable - balcony time via window-installed cat door with bird feeder entertainment; he will go out there in all weather conditions, it's cold for us in the winter but we hate to take away anything that interests him - automatic feeders help reduce "bad habit" crying, but it's tough to keep up the daily cleaning and ice pack juggle for wet food.
What sort of worked? - very strict human training to avoid responding to crying (sound canceling headphones, etc), but it was a small impact and could make him feel rejected when used inappropriately - cat training, including clicker training, but after months there are only 2 useful takeaways: (1) help him associate specific blankets/spots as a safe space, he sleeps in these spots regularly now, and (2) "good boy" is an amazing and powerful verbal reward when used regularly, way better than regular generic soothing talk - cat rescue remedy drops straight into food, but seemed to cause issues if used daily for too long - pheromone spray as part of the safe space training - prozac; mainly for human sanity; complete toss up if it would help or hurt his health over the long run had we continued - Catmandoo Bonito Flakes works wonders to get him to eat food he doesn't like, but should be used sparingly and in small quantities What didn't I try? - cat daycare - more expensive / more creative cat furniture - never tried adopting his only cat bestie, his owner was willing but said he would do very poorly in indoor life - raw food, until recently.
Was he sick? - peak health every vet visit until age 12, hundreds of dollars in extra checkups and tests for no solutions - the first vet to find an issue was at age 12 and she removed half his teeth in surgery, she also recommended prozac for a last-resort option We started raw food this year (he is 13 now). It was almost instantaneously better. We gave up the prozac and had our happy little kitty back. It's not without problems only 4 months in, but I was shell-shocked at the transformation within the FIRST MONTH. This was the first good lead in 6+ years.
Amazing and prompt customer service online and over the phone from Rebel Raw. I have had no issues with the quality of the Rebel Raw products I tried so far, and I love that vitamins etc are premixed for several of the proteins. My previous provider shipped everything unmixed, so I had to thaw, mix and refreeze large batches on my own.
Rebel Raw gave me all the details I needed for a seamless transition. In addition, they have given me great and thoughtful advice when I couldn't find answers to my cat diet challenges.
General comments on raw food: My cat is 13 and has been on raw food for 4 months - he had a high quality protein wet food diet before and has gone through many brands. On raw food, rabbit is the favorite (typical for cats new to raw food from what I read). After 1-2 months on the diet, my 13 year old cat is 5 again. He has stopped yowling all over the house, his interest in his toys has been reborn, his ears look perky and his coat is the shiniest I have ever seen it.
— Rebecca L.
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