Indy, Bunny and friends, and my diet conversion project

This morning, I think it must have been at 5am or earlier that Indy came to wake me up by nudging me repeatedly. He was really persistent but I was also persistently dead-beat and could not get up at all. So Indy finally let me sleep on until 6.45am.

Downstairs at the kitchen, everyone came in. Including The Sheikh (Bunny)! Bunny was actually waiting for me at the landing of the stairs as I came down. Now, that’s a great improvement. The Sheikh doesn’t need breakfast-in-bed this morning… I hope this means he is feeling better.

And guess who ate the most this morning?


He had triple helpings, and kept asking for more. I started with his AD and followed with Natural Balance Chicken. He walloped all.

It’s only been about less than a week since I went on this “diet conversion” with my brood. After listening to Dr Susanna’s definition of “persistence” – it had taken her THREE YEARS of never giving up to convert one of her cats from kibble to home-cooked, I realised how easily I had given up in those early years. I remember buying raw food (BARF) from a very reputable source. My cats wouldn’t eat it, and I gave up too soon.

How often we cite “but my cat won’t even touch it, they walk away and don’t eat it!” and then, we give up? Too often, for me, I’d shamefully admit now. We give in so easily, not knowing how persistent cats are. The trick now is to out-persist them AND more importantly, to have this I’m-not-going-to-give-up-or-give-in frame of mind. I believe cats read our mind and once they know “gosh, she’s not going to give up and it looks like I cannot win”, they might just buckle (note that I use the word “might”, hence, there is no guarantee).

After having experienced this most challenging time with Indy, seeing how sick he was, how close I had been to losing him and how Dr Susanna attributes that state Indy is in to the wrong nutrition given in the last few months (he was on RC Renal and KD because we suspect he had a kidney problem) and how Bunny, though appears stout (Dr Susanna likens Bunny to a “German”!), is actually very weak (my whole brood has been on kibble-diet, albeit “good” brands), I am finally convinced that changing their diet may be the key to cultivating better health for them.

Yes, it all sounds so matter-of-fact now, but the problem in the past was I had not been totally convinced. Vets tell us that kibble is good, and we see other cats or dogs doing so incredibly well on their kibble-diet. Then, there is the other school of thought that swears by raw food. And our animals turn their noses away from raw food or even home-cooked. I wasn’t sure which school of thought to subscribe to. Given the convenience of kibble, I just stuck to that, with Fussie Cat as a treat. Well, at least it wasn’t only kibble all the way.

Until now…that Indy got so sick and I’m reading literature that supports canned food, home-cooked and raw food.

I guess it took this experience for me to make a strong conviction that YES, I must switch them over for their long-term health.

So, armed with the consolation that even Dr Susanna took 3 years to convert her most persistent cat, I started my journey.

Cow and Bunny were okay – these two are eaters. Tiger was absolutely reluctant to switch, but at least he ate Fussie Cat (the jelly is toxic, so that has to be weaned off). Pole and Cleo are total fuss-pots and refused to switch as well. It was a little easier with Pole since she lives outside and is often hungry. Indy was sick, so he doesn’t count yet. Tabs eats anything I give, so she’s going to be easy, I think.

Long story cut short, it’s only been a week, and this morning, the whole gang ate Natural Balance. No Fussie Cat. No kibble. Just purely Natural Balance canned food.

No one asked for any kibble at all. No one asked for Fussie Cat.

I think my other problem is the feeding on demand habit that we practise at home. Partly, it’s because there are four of us and we don’t know who has fed them. And these cats KNOW how to ask for food whenever they see us.

That has to change now.

Dr Susanna says feed only TWICE a day (the gastro-intestinal tract needs time to rest between meals). And no snacking. She gives her 8 cats home-cooked (not all cats can eat raw food) in the morning and canned food at night. That’s it. On movie nights, they get kibble as a treat.

So this morning, the obese cats (Cow, Bunny and Tiger) had huge helpings of Natural Balance wetfood. Indy ate the most – he had his AD plus Natural Balance. Cleo also ate Natural Balance since she has got the idea that I’m not giving anything else. Pole came late and was extremely hungry, so she gobbled up everything that I gave.

Tabs ate Natural Balance too, but fresh from the can. She didn’t want last night’s. Fuss-pot.

So, ding-ding-ding…today, all my cats ate Natural Balance canned food.

Maybe they are humouring me (poor Mum, let’s make her happy today, after all, she’s been through so much with us).

Or maybe they are converting to better food now.

One meal at a time then.

For now, I rejoice.

I read from Dr Lisa Pierson’s website that even obesity is due to poor nutrition. Well, I have three obese cats now. It’s going to be challenge to get them back to near optimum weight.

From canned food, the next step is home-cooked food. Raw food would be good, too, but in both home-cooked and raw food, it has to be balanced. How do we determine the balance? Cats eat chicken or birds. What does a chicken or a bird contain? That is what should be in the raw food that we give. There is, maybe, 95% protein (which includes muscle, organs, etc), there is some digested vegetables in the stomach of the prey (for us, it translates as pre-cooked veggies) and there is bone (for us, ground bone). But hey, I’m no expert at all, so please source for the relevant websites and hear it from the experts themselves.

And I’ll be realistic here, EVEN if I fail to get them over to home-cooked, at least I’ve converted them to canned food successfully. That’s already one step in the right direction now since Dr Pierson says any canned food is still better than kibble.

P.S. Today is Indy’s last day for the injections!!  He was very restless this morning and wanted to go out. I let him out and whoosh, he darted under the car. I camped there with me and the moment he came out, I grabbed him back to the house. Just a few hours more, Indy, and you’ll be home free. Just two more trips to the vet’s, pls…and I’ll be home free, too!

 Tabs’ new favourite spot.

 Cow in Tabs’ cage. Don’t ask me why! He went in himself.

 Indy asking to go out.

Just a few more hours, Indy.

I think the Bard would probably be quite proud of me now – Patience, be near me still.

And while I sustain my brood on canned food (before moving over to home-cooked later, hopefully!), my next project, after I move, would be to re-litter box train my 6 cats. They started off with litter-boxing but soon got out to use the grass and has been doing it on the grass ever since. Retraining them to use the litter-box would involve changing 5 or more years of habit. It also doesn’t help that their cat-space in my new house has a garden with grass and plants. In this department, I’ll let Tabs set the example.

Patience, be near me still. 

My cats are incredibly patient people. I’ll have to be, too.






4 responses to “Indy, Bunny and friends, and my diet conversion project”

  1. Chen

    My kitties have been on raw food and steamed meat since kittens. But I also feed them many kinds of kibbles, canned food (Fussie Cat included) and cat treats. They are same age as Cow and siblings, and so far I’m glad I stuck to the yucky experience of handling raw meat because I can see my cats thriving on it. Very few incidents of sickness. I also wean little kittens from milk with raw chicken, and I’ve never had trouble with them – no dreaded diarrhea. In fact, the little ones who were sickly when first come to me became energizer bunnies once I gave them raw food. As for discipline in eating, I have a mantra for them when they sniff and walk away – “If you don’t want to eat, then you don’t get to eat” and take the food away after giving 2nd chance to eat it up.

  2. Huey

    I personally very much agree with Dr Susanna’s diet for the cats and the never give up way. My rule is, the only way to conquer a stubborn animal is to be more stubborn than he/she is.

    They can only hold on for that long – even if that means mogok for days. My understanding is a reasonably healthy animal can go on not eating for days because of change of diet. Their system will kick out those old stuff and they’ll finally start eating again. Cats might be more difficult than dogs – or so I read, since I’ve never dealt with cats before.

  3. BK

    May i know where to get the BARF (from your source)?


    1. chankahyein

      I got mine from Alicia Horseley of Pet Epicure, located in Melawati.

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