How a German village’s fresh raw food changed my American city cat’s life

Andrea_Profile_200x200Guest Contributor—Andrea Chesney O’Neill is an advertising writer and speech writer, as well as traveler, and longtime lover of animals big and small. Her pets have brought joy to her and her family for years. From stray cats on Ocracoke Island, NC, to her own three rescue cats, Toola, Lilly and Bob, she has come to believe that if we pay close attention to our animal companions and to nature, too, we’ll help them live their best lives.

Frau Francesca stands outside the heavy wood door of my little Bavarian house one early spring afternoon with two bowls in her hand. One, she tells me, in careful, melodious Bavarian (because she knew I was still learning their old regional dialect, so different from the sparse German I knew), contained fresh goats’ milk. It was still warm; you could feel it through the smooth sides of the old pottery vessel. The other bowl held fresh goat meat, with some herbs, and two duck eggs.

Not for me, she lets me know, pointing to the big black and white tomcat in a basket across the room, but for him, for Harley.  Harley has been visiting Frau Francesca and her husband of fifty years, Herr Josef, on the sly, you see, and they have come to love his calm, affectionate, big-hearted presence over the last few weeks – perhaps he could use some goat’s milk, some better food, to welcome him back from his visits at the animal clinic?

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Morning milking time like this is a German farming task everywhere

She comes in and pours some into a smaller kitchen bowl and puts it down. He sniffs warily, weakly, then begins to lap it up with serious intent. I am amazed, but she is satisfied, and nods, and explains she and her husband began giving him the milk at their house a few weeks ago, when he was starting to seem unwell, quieter than he usually was, not himself. It will help. She is sure he needs it now.

It turns out, she’s right.

A life-changing visit to Bavaria

Three months earlier, at the end of a cold, endlessly gray winter, I found myself driving into a Bavarian village on the banks of the Isar, taking a long dreamed-of holiday break while typing up notes for a writing project. My glass and stone house, the summer home of a friend in the center of a tiny village, boasted a big wood-burning kamine, stunning mile-long views of woodland and hills, and fantastically friendly new neighbors (from age 5 to 90) with their assorted pets, rabbits, horses and livestock. It was a treasure trove of great family stories, recipes, health tips, and new traditions shared over beer (at the “new’ Gasthaus which was merely 100 years old, apparently vs. the “old” Gasthaus, a much more respectable 325 years old).

 

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Milk jugs like these held the health-giving natural magic

A troupe of little village girls was determined to teach me German and Bavarian in exchange for English lessons, American chocolate chip cookies, and my agreement to be the judge when they decided to perform sing-offs or demonstrate their soccer cheers on Saturday afternoons. They pushed a baby buggy filled with their pet mice up and down my path until they were bold enough to approach “the English girl” with their plan to educate me, and we became friends.

A cheerful, kindly elfin baker drove to our village every morning at 6:30 a.m., his sparkling station wagon loaded with baskets spilling over with oven-fresh breads and pastries; the gossip and jokes shared as we all waited for his arrival with our clean canvas bags taught me half the language I would need (I had to hear out who ran off with Herr Max’s first wife on a popular tv show, and how Fraulein Maria did at the horse jumping event, after all).

 

The city cat meets his new world

It was all life-changing for me, much more than a little vacation escape; it was a new world filled with people I would love the rest of my life.

It was also going to be life-changing for Harley.

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City cat Harley loved the country

A dog-sized, broad-chested Norwegian Forest cat with huge paws and soulful, absolutely square green eyes, Harley began his journey as a tiny scruffy kitten I found in a parking garage. He grew up to be a muscle-bound, Thor-type of character who thought he was my bodyguard, covered in miles of snow-white and blue-black fur. He snorted when upset or impatient. He loved to jump five feet into the air, just because. He loved little kids. He talked non-stop, such a varied language that friends would bring people I didn’t know to talk to him. But before all that, at a vet visit, when he was just 5 months old, I was told a defect in his heart would likely claim him in a year.

When he turned three, a big resolute bodyguard of a cat who carried a small stuffed toy cat around the house, I was told more bad news: he might look like a giant parade float of cat, but his lungs had remained too impossibly small for him to live long, another genetic stumbling block. It was why he often sighed. The ultrasound shocked even me.
And yet, he lived on.

So when he turned five, still strong and hearty enough to please his vet, although showing signs of mild diabetes that we controlled with diet and occasional insulin, Harley found himself in a giant dog-size carrier, in a specially designed private pet cabin with a high ticket price, floating off on a direct Lufthansa night flight with me from Chicago to Germany. Show dogs, white tigers and pandas had used the unique cabin in the past, with its soft lighting, soothing music, and air pumped in from the passenger cabin, plus private vet check-in; now it was big Harley’s turn.

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Harley, in one of his serious “Viking cat” moods, plans his trip

He was given souvenir “wings” by an enraptured flight crew for his handsomeness, his 007-cool “yeah, so?” demeanor and friendly “let’s shake paws on that” trick that he apparently invented on the trip over. At the Munich airport, Lufthansa’s vet proclaimed him a king, and several French tourists took his photo (“is he real? But his head is the size of melon!”). A handsome Japanese businessman with two frantic assistants in matching Chanel suits offered me $1000 for “the lucky cat.” When I declined, his assistants placed his card in my hands with a bottle of duty-free perfume and urged me to think about it and call.

Of course, I wouldn’t call them, but I loved that my big survivor kitty was seen by someone to possess a lot of luck. I felt he’d need it.

“A cat with more soul”

As we waited for my ride, an Air Iberia flight attendant stopped beside us and looked at him, then grabbed my hand and looked intently at me. “He has the eyes of god,” she said. “In my home village, once every seventy years, there is such a cat, with more soul, who is meant to bring something more to all of us, and teach us. This is your cat.” She kissed her fingertip, touched his nose, and was gone.

“Harley,” I told my easy-going emperor, “I think we were meant to make this trip together.” He seemed, with his newly-named soulful eyes, to agree.

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Rocco the dog, Harley’s German BFF

So when I saw my lucky rock star taking his first happy footsteps on the path of our new temporary home, tugging at the harness and leash he wore as a city cat in a strange exhilarating new world of good smells and fresh breezes, breathing the crystal air as a few snowflakes fell on his big broad head, I was happy he’d made it this far. When a few weeks later he shot out the back door on his own to swat a big Bernese Mountain Dog/Shepherd mix with one blind eye that had decided to hang out at our house, and then the two made an instant invisible friendship pact and romped off together to go watch the swans in a pond by the woods (fast friends that would never be parted again until we returned to the states), I knew again I was right to bring him along.

If his life was going to be short, let him go out and enjoy this beautiful place with me, let him breathe the freshest air and hear birdsong. We had all his shots, U.S. and German, every box checked. I told him, “Together forever, little guy” every day, with extra meaning knowing the hidden time-bombs within his strong-looking self.  Now we were together for this visit to a stunning country, too.

Harley quickly acquired a posse of village cats. They appeared one day at the door as if they knew him already, to invite him out, and he looked at me, eyes pleading. I opened the door hesitantly, and he quickly stepped out and joined them like old friends, noses smelled, a few kind licks on ears. Not a hiss or a puffed tail. They walked off together to sit under the trees. In days ahead, they would play in the cornfield, lay on the riverbank to swat at (or catch) little fish this tiny branch of the river carried, or pile on my terrace to nap.

He learned to chase wild rabbits and long-eared squirrels with the dog, always skidding to an elegant stop as their prey scampered safely off. But he also rescued the village girls’ kittens and floppy eared bunnies when they escaped their houses, and would delicately carry them home, one by one, then return to the terrace to flop down with a sigh: another’s day’s work done. He visited other homes with the dog, too, looking for treats. The neighbors would point and laugh in English for me: “Vagabonds!”

Harley also posed nonchalantly in the garden near the road, just inside our fence, when international cyclists, training for races, skidded to a stop to take his photo and ask if all American cats were this big?

He watched television on Tuesday and Friday nights with my elderly neighbors across the road, Frau Francesca and her husband Josef; they waited for him at the door and he would glance back over at me like “’later, my fans need me, see you in the morning.” If strangers parked in the road and then knocked at the door to see the “big American cat?” with their kids, he obliged with his new “shake my giant paw” trick. In Germany, he came alive, running, thriving, chasing, trying to climb the apple tree.

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Harley relaxes with Hermione the chicken (front) and her sister

Then one fine early spring day, he was sick. He went overnight from lively explorer, shiny fur and sparkling eyes, stamping the ground with excitement as he followed our chicken Hermione around the yard, to still and quiet, distant. Always at my side or eager to play, he stayed in his basket. The next morning, his eyes, his expression told me something was going wrong. I rushed him to a vet I’d heard about, a small family-run practice that offered holistic care too. They didn’t like his gum color, from what I could understand, and I was sent to another village, to a vet who had the latest ultrasound machine.

That vet was modern, brisk, and direct: Harley had cancer, a tumor near his tiny lungs, and we should put him to sleep. It was best. He had beaten the odds with that heart, those lungs, but he could not beat this.

Shocked, I found myself driving back through the winding Bavarian country roads to our holistic vet. We talked. He and his daughter, both vets, were kind. They had talked to the ultrasound vet and suggested I take a few days, and try a holistic oil, a few drops in his food or on his tongue, let him rest. At least a few days to say goodbye. They sent another prescription to the Apotheke, run by an animal-loving pharmacist who was also happy to help us.

At home, Harley nibbled food lightly, turned his head away, and lay in his bed next to the long ceiling to floor windows. Outside, on the cool hard spring ground, his loyal friend Rocco the dog hulked like a mountain range, watching his feline friend through the glass, unwilling to leave, unwilling to go home with his owners when they came. We agreed Rocco could stay at my house. He came in and slept near Harley that night, tried to offer Harley his food in the morning and then slumped home, repeatedly looking back over his big wolf-like shoulder.

Harley’s village steps in: eat, pray, love

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Frau Francesca

Word traveled quickly through the village somehow, and the little girls, worried, brought Harley their favorite toys and petted him and sang quietly. Then, right after I’d hung up after talking to our American vet, Frau Francesca appeared with her two bowls. The goat milk would strengthen his blood and muscles, she told me in Bayerisch and a few American words her son had armed her with for the visit. The goat meat. From their own animals, healthy, only good food, playing the fields…. good meat. Raw, and fermented. Healthy traditional foods good for us all.

Crack a duck egg open in another bowl, or a chicken egg, freshly laid; let him lick it up. This helped all their animals. It helped Frau Sofie’s calico cat when it fell off the roof and was healing after surgery at the finest vet in Munich; it would help our big American cat, too. She knew this because sometimes she gave Harley goat milk and eggs when he would visit and look at his nice fur! She, proper and bright, but also tiny, bones still stiff after a tractor accident on their farm decades earlier, then suddenly lay down upon the floor, murmuring to Harley, petting him, talking, telling him in her way to eat, eat, such a brav boy… He looked at me, but, for her, he shifted and made the effort to lick at the goat milk. He licked egg off my fingertips.

 

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Duck eggs: traditional health food from the farm

The next few days melted into a swirl of neighbors and friends checking on Harley, bringing us fresh butter, duck meat, more eggs, broth. Some suggested their freshly baked bread placed in the goat milk (fresh bowls daily) would be more nourishing. Some added garlic to their homemade chicken broth. I was a girl alone in village in Germany with a gravely sick best friend, but I wasn’t. The village showed us love, compassion, and climbed over barriers of the several dialects spoken there to offer advice and hope, or watch him while I tried to work. They each had a Harley story somehow, this cat that they had only known for a couple of months.

And he, ever the king, obliged one and all, obediently licking the milk and broth and eggs, then the next day, licking more.  On day three, he wanted the fresh goat meat, a piece of goat cheese, and some pickled vegetables. The vets called me: was I ready to say goodbye? No, I told them, looking at Harley chewing goat cheese for his fans with a new glint in his eye, no, not yet.

Day five, there was a shout of laughs from the village men and boys outside the house. The giant loyal dog Rocco had furiously dug a massive pit, six feet across, three feet deep. He emerged to cheers utterly filthy with a squirming mouse in his teeth that he had unearthed.

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Harley and Rocco (new haircut!)

He marched proudly with it to the window of the French doors. Harley, in his bed looked up. A look was exchanged. Harley slowly stood, and as we watched holding our breath, indicated he wanted to go out. I opened the glass and wood door and Harley stepped out shakily to Rocco. With the dog leading the way, they went around to the terrace. A moment passed and two little boys returned to say excitedly that the giant American cat ate the mouse promptly and then curled up to sleep with Rocco.

 

Each day he was better. Each day, his diet was his dab of special cat food topped with a duck egg, plus a small bowl of goat milk or kefir. In the evening, we had our choice of the fresh-caught fish or goat meat or rabbit, or what seemed to be a sort of pickled duck meat, brought by our village supporters. I gave him a drop of the little vial of holistic oil every night. In two more weeks, he was ambling around again, turning back into the king he was. I noticed that when he resumed his visits to favored houses in our village, bowls of goat milk and plates of fresh meat would magically appear. “We had too much, we were about to eat, he can have it,” his host would shrug. “See, he likes it. Good for cats! German cats are strong, he knows what is good, he is really a German cat, see?”

Harley and I returned to America, then made another trip back some months later. Harley was thriving, but clearly longing for his German fields and friends, and the fresh wholesome food I was having trouble replicating back in the States, so back on the plane he went for a little visit. He could breathe air, walk, visit with village friends to eat well, play, boost his health. We booked visits with our German vets.

 

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Pastured goats like these enjoyed the German fields and hills

Our holistic vet was happy but not surprised; nature’s food is best, he explained. He had studied in Vienna and went to seminars, and good, natural healthy food, this is what our pets need. The modern ultrasound vet with his sleek modern clinic was stumped. Harley was still with us? How could this be? He offered to do another ultrasound, free, just from curiosity. The tumor was smaller, hard to see. No one could explain it. We crossed our fingers.

 

One more feast from nature

Harley went back to his Bavarian diet, especially thrilled to have his goat milk and kefir and nest-fresh duck eggs again. Now 6 years old, he ran through the fields with his old friends and made his visits, enjoying the summer evenings as he slept under a bench as neighbors gathered at someone’s courtyard in the evening to laugh and talk. Some nights, he went home with Rocco the dog to sleep in the dog’s lavish, two-story chalet-style doghouse, side by side in the doorway, best buddies always.

Everyone had milk or eggs for Harley’s visits. His fur was glossy, and he bounded around again on strong muscular legs. He made the most of his little vacation in every way.

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Raw Goat Milk

Harley and I returned to the States, and he lived another five years as an indoor city cat again, before heart issues and pancreatic cancer, mimicking a fake bout of diabetes again, caught him short. I had trouble sourcing the milks and meats I wanted for him, though when I could find them, he ate them; though perhaps the cartoned pasteurized goat milk and processed duck eggs weren’t as appealing to him as the treasures carried to him by his loving village friends. I would always wonder if I should have left him in his beloved village with the people who eagerly offered to take him in, the people’s whose knowledge of nature, and animals, gave him seven extra years to be his delightful, strong, loving self on this earth.

Harley’s legacy

But what Harley taught me still lives on. Before his death, a tiny sickly stray Maine Coon came into our lives, frail, nearly blind from malnutrition, suffering from failure to thrive, not recognizing food as something she needed to consume. As he had done back in Germany with the village kittens, Harley took little three-month-old Toola under his wing, chewing food and carefully placing it into her mouth like mother bird might, carrying her around the house on his massive back like a cat taxi, washing her, sleeping with her, until she began to get well. Uncle Harley was her hero.

A few months later as he was living his last days before we put him to sleep, Toola spent 24 hours washing him nose to tail, and back again, a tiny undersized piece of fluff trying to clean and soothe a jumbo jet. The love she had for him echoed the love I, and an entire distant village, would have for him forever.

A beautiful life goes on, with good nutrition

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Toola loves her garden too

Eighteen years have passed, and Toola is now in her twilight years. Two years ago, we were told she had just days to live. But as Harley and a group of wise Bavarians taught me, why give up easily?  Although very picky about eating her whole life, forcing us into a diet regimen we aren’t crazy about to just get to eat and maintain weight, she has been willing to lap up a little goat milk and goat cheese, sardines or kefir every few days. But then, finding Answers Pet Food at our local better pet food shop a little over a year ago meant she can also have the kind of goat milk Harley enjoyed, farm fresh, filled with nourishment few other foods supply. She’s holding her own, still asking us to take her outside to scratch the bark of a favorite tree, or sit on the porch with us for a few minutes, then curling up in my husband’s lap with a look of pure devotion on her face.

At every vet visit, the team’s happy amazement at Toola’s continuing journey as she gives them one of her sweet, doe-eyed looks, this gentle little cat reminds me that nothing is over until it is over, that more answers are always around the corner, that just like her superb vet, Mother Nature knows what she’s doing – as a village filled with new friends taught me when I needed the knowledge most.

There’s always another day when the answer can come, and beautiful life can go on, here at home, or along a distant riverbank where a waterfall tumbles to the delight of group of lazy country cats.

And Toola reminds me every day what Harley and I learned years ago:  that sometimes we are lucky enough to have a real village or a village of friends, or a farm filled with caring people like everyone at Answers. A family we didn’t know we had, who know what to offer us to help our pets thrive when they are most in need, and help those little ones we love so much stay by our sides for the journey ahead, wherever it takes us.


7 Reasons Why We Use Fermentation

 

Fermentation is safe way to ensure healthy, nutritious foods for your pet.

+  Provides the highest-quality, most nutritionally dense, microbially responsible raw food product

+  Inoculates food with billions of probiotics 

+  Enhances the nutritional value of food 

+  Predigests food making it easier to assimilate and digest nutrients

+  Protects naturally occurring proteins, probiotics, active enzymes, vitamins, and minerals

+  Increases the safety of foods by preventing the growth of disease-causing microbes

+  Adds beneficial micro-flora (probiotics) through raw goat milk whey, kefir, and kombucha increases the competitive microbial environment, thus reducing the risk for pathogenic bacteria growth

 

4 ways we control ingredient quality before fermentation

Answers™ implements strict controls to minimize microbial contamination and pathogenic bacteria through competitive inhibition. It starts with happy, healthy livestock, and minimal or limited processing of meat which delivers the most nutritionally dense food and complete raw product benefits to our pets.

Because any processing step can have a deteriorating impact on the molecular composition of the meat, we minimize the processing of our raw materials even before the fermentation step.

+  Livestock is healthy, high-quality, and properly cared for (humanely raised and handled)

+  Livestock is organic, pasture-raised, grassfed, and grass-finished, living in their natural habitat and eating their native diets

+  Vegetables are organic, grown and processed on regenerative farms

+  Regularly visits farms; farms are apart of Global Animal Partnership (GAP rated), processing and post-handling is closely monitored and controlled

 

It’s our mission to protect health and food quality from from farm to bowl, for the good health of all our pets.

 


8 Benefits of Raw Feeding for Pets

The top 8 benefits of raw feeding for pets from an Answers™ raw food diets are the ones we hear about from pet owners, and see in our own dogs and cats.

+ Odorless breath and white teeth, free of tartar and dental disease
+  Shiny, smooth, oil-free coats
+  Healthy skin, odorless body
+  Improved energy and vitality
+  Chronic allergies and infections subside and/or disappear
+  Decreased visits to the vet
+  Reduction in bowel movements. The stool is firm and nearly odorless
+  Clear eyes and ears

An Answers™ raw diet helps deliver those benefits. Here’s why.

1. Pets receive biologically appropriate nutrients.  Dogs and cats are carnivores. Their bodies are designed to digest raw meat. Foods like carbohydrates and grains are difficult for them to digest. And HPP, processing, and cooking foods destroy the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and healthy bacteria that are needed for good health.

The answer? Thanks to our unique, alternative process of fermentation, an Answers™ fermented raw food diet can deliver the biologically appropriate nutrients pets need.

2. Inhibition through fermentation. Fermentation provides the number one missing ingredient in pet food: good bacteria. Unlike any other pet food diet, Answers™ enhances the nutritional value of raw food through this process, creating formulas that encourage a healthy gut.

Fermentation is a huge supporter of immune functions. It increases B-vitamins, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and lactic acid that fight off harmful bacteria. It is also the ultimate source of probiotics.


ANSWERS CELEBRATES: CHRISTMAS DOGS EVERYWHERE

MEET OUR ADOPTED ANSWERS HOLIDAY DOG

Our Answers family absolutely loves our dogs and cats. (You may have guessed that!) We’re always happy to take in a furry new family member and often find our lives profoundly changed by each new addition, and our love for each unique personality.

So, this holiday season, we’d thought it would be fun to share the story of one adorable and lucky dog adopted this year by an Answers family member and the head of the Answers HR department.

The Story of Judah

Meet Judah. Here’s what we know about him. He was found over the summer along the Texas/Mexico border. His tail had been cut (possible home cropping gone wrong) and he was chained to a fence and left to starve.

 His “owners” moved and took their other two dogs, but left Judah for dead. Amazingly, he fought infection and wounds, and his tragedy turned him into a gentle giant who just wants to be loved.

Judah_Rescue_1024We believe he is about a year and a half old and predominately American Staffordshire Terrier. He is a big boy, most recently weighing in just over 75 lbs., and is expected to pack on some more weight.

Since adopting him from the rescue, we have fully transitioned him to @answerspetfood raw diet with an introduction to our fermented cow milk kefir and raw cow cheese bites to his pre-existing diet. Shortly after, he took to our raw diet seamlessly. His favorite foods thus far are Beef Detailed Formula, our kefir and raw cheese bites. Within a few days, we noticed Judah had more energy, required less water, and his bowel movements were less frequent and smaller. His coat is becoming soft and wounds are on the mend. He is thriving.

Avoiding any unnecessary stress, we’ve also given him Turkey Stock with Fermented Beet Juice because it’s high in Glycine. Glycine produces a calming effect and aids in sleep.

The kids have already established a few cute nicknames for him like “Judy with the booty” and “Jude the Dude”, they also think his “hot dog tail” is quite comical.

He has no idea the glamorous life he’s about to live and we are so blessed to have him. Welcome to the family big guy!

We wish a wonderful holiday season to all Answers pets and all the “new adoptions” that 2019 brought to our homes as fuzzy gifts of love we’ll cherish for years to come.

Share your holiday pet photos, and stories of how your new pet joined your family on our Facebook page and/or at info@answerspetfood.comJudah.Outside.1024


How to transition your cat to a raw food diet in 5 steps

Slow and steady wins the race when you’re transitioning cats onto a raw food diet.

Cats can be extremely picky eaters. Because of this, we recommend following our 5 step plan for transitioning your cat onto an Answers™ raw food diet to achieve success. Some cats will take to Answers™ almost immediately, but some will require days to weeks to accept the diet.

Remember: never, ever try the “tough love” method when switching your cat’s foods. Because cats will actually starve themselves to death if unable to access food they like.

Answers™ 5-Step Feeding Transition Plan for Cats

Step One: ELIMINATE THE ALL-DAY BUFFET

Cats naturally will tend to gorge rather than graze. Begin the current feeding schedule regularly twice a day. Again, please remember: do not use the tough love method. Cats will starve themselves to death if denied access to foods they like.

Step Two: PREPARE TO TRANSITION SLOWLY

Known as “imprint” eaters, cats have addictive natures. They become addicted to smell, texture, taste, size, shape, and temperature. Some cats will take to raw food immediately, but most will not. Have patience. Give yourself up to six months to transition.

Step Three: INTRODUCE A SMALL AMOUNT

Cats’ sense of smell is 14 times more powerful than that of humans. For this reason, introducing a new scent or smell to their food routine must be done very gradually. Under their usual kibble, place a tiny dab of room-temperature raw food. This will start to acclimate the cat to the new food scent. Be patient.

Step Four: INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF RAW FOOD

By gradually increasing the size of the raw food under their kibble, they will begin to associate the smell with their normal routine. They will eventually sample it, but the time frame for acceptance will naturally vary from cat to cat.

Step Five: SAMPLING LEADS TO EATING

Even if they reject their initial sample the first several times, they’ll eventually start eating their raw food. Once they’re eating, start increasing the volume of raw food and decreasing their kibble until they’re eating 100% raw diet.

Again, always remember: with cats, slow and steady will win your race. Patience is everything.

Why it’s so worth it: 8 benefits of raw feeding for pets

. + Odorless breath and white teeth, free of tartar and dental disease
. +  Shiny, smooth, oil-free coats
. +  Healthy skin, odorless body
. +  Improved energy and vitality
. +  Chronic allergies and infections subside and/or disappear
. +  Decreased visits to the vet
. +  Reduction in bowel movements; ?stool is firm and nearly odorless
. +  Clear eyes and ears

Learn more about the many health benefits of a raw food diet for your cat or dog, including the benefits for kidney and liver health, as well as how it can help you deal  with issue like diabetes, pancreatitis, and more.


How fermentation makes our raw pet foods safe & nutritionally dense

Answers Pet Food™ enhances the nutritional value of raw food through the process of fermentation. We use a special process of fermentation to safely enhance organic raw whole foods.

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Why fermentation?

Fermentation makes our raw pet foods safe, and nutritionally dense.

Here’s how. Fermentation produces a natural medicine known as bacteriocins, which destroy unwanted bacteria. By utilizing raw cultured whey, cultured raw goat milk, and kefir, we created our own category in the world of pet food.

We’ve become the first and only fermented raw pet food diet in the industry.

Fermentation is a safe, healthier option to standardized High Pressure Processing (HPP) or the use of bacteriophage. Fermentation is inoculated with billions of lactic acid bacteria, or good bacteria, that when faced with a compromised environment, is able to prohibit any pathogen from growing and becoming a concern.

Because our nutritional vision is to provide the safest, highest-quality, most nutrient-dense, microbially responsible raw food product on the market, our scientists found that the best way to accomplish this was by using fermented raw foods.

It is a nutritionally rich option for dogs and cats.

 

Fermentation’s gut health benefits

Good bacteria is needed to create a thriving gut, and yet we believe that bacteria is the number one missing ingredient in pet food.

We inoculate every one of our foods with this beneficial bacteria and allow the organisms to thrive. These bacteria go to work pre-digesting the food, making it easier for pets to assimilate nutrients.

 

Helps support immune function

Fermentation increases B-vitamins, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and lactic acid that fight off harmful bacteria. Good bacteria fill up the food and also inhibit the growth of bad bacteria.

We call it “safety through inhibition” and it is the most natural and effective way for us to make our products as safe and as healthy as possible.

Just as nature has done it from the very beginning.


The Heart of the Grain-free Debate

Dr_Doug_3724_Silo_BLOG_200x200Guest Contributor— Answers Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Doug Knueven, veteran among veterinarians, examines raw nutrition as a healing power of pets and works to ensure an all-encompassing true health (physical, mental and spiritual) regimen in veterinary medicine for animals. Apart of his work with Answers Executive Veterinary Program, he’s a consultant for Answers product and program development, lecturer, and participant on panel discussions.

Since last July when the FDA released a warning regarding a possible link between grain-free dog food and the development of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), the grain-free debate has raged on. Before we get into the grain-free issue, let’s back up and look at the disease we’re talking about. DCM is an ailment of the heart muscle brought on by a weakening in the muscle tissue. It is the most common cause of heart disease in certain large-breed dogs such as the Great Dane, Boxer, and Doberman Pincer, so there is a genetic component. However, this disease is also linked to a deficiency of the amino acid taurine in a dog’s blood.

The concern with grain-free diets is that they might lead to taurine deficiency. Most caregivers choose grain-free foods because they realize that grains are an unnatural ingredient in a dog’s diet. What they don’t appreciate is that grain-free diets simply replace the grain with ingredients such as peas, lentils, legumes, or potatoes, which are equally inappropriate foods for dogs. In addition, these grain replacers contain anti-nutrients which are natural plant compounds that interfere with the digestion and/or absorption of nutrients such as taurine. So, grain-free dog food manufacturers may formulate their diets to contain adequate taurine, but not account for the amount lost to the anti-nutrients in the diet’s novel components.

Meat and dry food for petsThe grain-free link to DCM has brought conventional veterinary nutritionists down from their ivory towers and into the media. They are using the concern over grain-free diets to extol the value of grain in dog foods. The mantra of the nutritionists is that, when it comes to pet foods, it’s not the ingredients that are important, but the nutrients. I suppose that they themselves eat “People Chow” [it would be great if you could link People Chow to this video – https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=934204840081266]rather than freshly prepared meats, vegetables, and fruits.

Pet caregivers are understandably confused. They seem to be forced to choose between foods with crummy ingredients, including gains, with adequate taurine, and dog food with nice looking ingredients that might cause heart disease. Some people have become convinced that corn is good for dogs (which is obviously not true unless you’re talking about corndogs).

For me, this whole grain-free debate is moot. The truth is that no mater how “natural” the ingredients, there is no processed dog food (grain-free or otherwise) that is appropriate for dogs. Dogs have evolved over millions of years to eat a balanced, raw diet such as that of wolves. That’s why their dental structures are nearly identical. A truly natural diet for a dog is free of grains, peas, lentils, legumes, potatoes and other starchy ingredients. It has all the needed taurine and no anti-nutrients.

So, skip the grain-free debate and go raw!