Norja Norwegians
A Species Appropriate
Prey Model Raw Diet
Norja Norwegians recommends feeding a species appropriate prey model raw diet.  We recommend
avoiding all commercial foods, especially dry food or kibble.  This prey model raw diet has
maintained the Norwegians of Norja and grown their kittens since March 2006.  It is a species
appropriate diet since cats are obligate carnivores.  One of the benefits for the people feeding this
diet to their cat is that the litter box will smell less and there will be fewer "deposits".  A raw diet is
more digestible so there is less solid waste and it is not as odoriferous as what is left after eating
commercial foods.   It is not unusual for cats on this diet to have a bowel movement every 2-3 days.
 Cats are designed to get most of their water from their food.  While they still need clean water
available at all times, cats on this diet will drink less than cats eating a dry food diet.  This diet will
also help keep your cat's teeth and mouth clean, reducing the risk of needing dental cleanings which
require putting your cat under anesthesia and helping to keep their breath from being objectionable.

All parts of this diet are fed raw with no cooking to destroy nutrients or make the bone dangerous.

The basic plan is 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other organs.  Work for this balance over
the course of about a week, you don't need to work this out every day.

Start feeding 2% - 4% of the healthy adult weight. Feed half this amount twice a day for adults.  
Feed kittens 2% - 4% of the
expected adult weight, or as much as the kitten will eat, 3-4 times a
day.  By about 9-10 months of age you can cut back to 2 meals a day but don't cut down the
amount of food.  This 2-4 percentage is just a starting point.  Your cat's metabolism and activity
level may need more or less.  I have one 8 pound cat that needs only 1 oz. twice a day  and a 9
pound cat that needs almost 2 oz. twice a day. (These are both altered domestic shorthairs.)  My
Norwegians average about 2 oz. twice a day (unless they are pregnant or nursing.)  

If your cat or kitten seems to be getting pudgy cut back on the food.  If they seem to be thin or
always begging  increase the amount of food.   Mostly you are pretty safe letting kittens eat as much
as they want.

The only supplement you want to add is fish body oil like salmon oil to balance out the omega 3's &
6's.  Do NOT use Cod Liver Oil.  You run the risk of overdosing on vitamin A.

Feed as much variety as possible, especially to young kittens.  This is when they are learning what
food is and will help keep them from becoming "finicky".

Unless you are transitioning an adult to a prey model raw diet feed your cat/kitten chunks of meat
and bone that she has to chew.  This will keep her teeth and mouth clean and healthy. Avoid feeding
ground food which provides no help for oral health and increases the risk of bacterial contamination
by greatly increasing the surface area of the meat.

Meats to feed include chicken, turkey, Cornish game hens, quail, pork, beef, lamb, rabbit, goat,
ostrich, emu.  And some people have access to frog legs.  Virtually any raw, unprocessed,
unenhanced meat you can get.  Watch out for meats that have solutions added to them, usually salt
and flavorings. Read the labels.  You DO NOT want to feed these.  Raw eggs are also good to feed
and the shell can be included.

And don't feed just the muscle meat that you eat.  Heart and tongue from any animal are fed as
meat.  Actually, feed any parts that you can find.

Bones that most cats can manage easily are chicken bones, especially the neck and the ribs, turkey
ribs and the bones from game hens and quail.  Some adult cats will even manage most of a chicken
leg or thigh bone and much of a pork rib.  Just be sure that all bones are RAW and not cooked or
heated in any way.  The warnings against feeding bones that you have heard forever are against
feeding cooked bones, not raw ones.

Organs include liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, testes and brains from any animal.

Depending on your comfort level, you can also feed whole prey including chicks, quail, guinea pigs,
mice and rats.  These are great because they constitute a completely balanced food.  These are
available on line from companies that supply feeder animals to people with reptiles.

Try to feed as wide a variety as you can find, a minimum of three different protein sources.

Starting this diet is easy if you have a kitten that has been raised on it.  Just keep offering as much
variety as possible.  If the kitten won't eat one type of meat just put it in the freezer and try again in
a few weeks.  Cats do change their minds.  If you are transitioning an adult cat that has only had
commercial food you may be facing a challenge.  I recommend joining the rawcat group on Yahoo
and listening to their advice.

It is normal to be a bit nervous starting this diet but soon you will be comfortable with it and
surprised at how easy it really is and how healthy your cats will be.
Sources
for what you can't find at
your supermarket,  butcher or
ethnic  market.  These are
companies I have done
business with, you may find
others.
Yahoo Groups
On Line Sources
for More Information
                                    Tips, Hints & Suggestions

Unless you are "eyeballing" the amount of food use a scale to weigh the food.  Two ounces of meat is by
weight, not a 1/4 of a cup.

Use a flat dish or saucer to feed your cats.  Cats don't like to get their whiskers dirty or bent.  Your cat will also
have an easier time picking up the pieces of meat.

Feed each cat in their own carrier.  Your cat will develop a favorable association with their carrier and will be
very willing to go in any time this is necessary such as infrequent trips to the vet. You will also know exactly
how much each cat is eating and your cat won't be able to drag pieces of meat around the house.

If your cat seems to be having trouble dealing with big chunks of meat try cutting it into strips.  Start as small
as necessary and slowly work up in size so the cat really has to chew off chunks she can swallow.

If your kitten doesn't seem to want to eat the meat in his dish try putting a piece on the floor  near his dish.  
Or you can hang a piece of meat off the side of the dish.

Don't bother trimming the fat off the meat.  Cats need a lot more fat than people do for their skin & coat.

It is OK to feed different meats at the same meal.  For example, my cats may get a meal that has a chunk of
liver, a chunk of pancreas, chicken, and beef or chicken heart.

If your cat or kitten eats too much or eats too quickly they may throw up.  Some cats will just eat it again.  
This is OK.  For your own comfort just don't watch.  Others will walk away from it.  Just clean it up and throw
it away.

If your cat doesn't finish all the food you have given them (this happens often with kittens since you are
feeding as much as they will eat)  just put the leftover food in a small plastic bag and put it back in the
refrigerator.  Use this as the start of the next meal.  There is no need to waste it.

If you feed too much bone the cat's stool will get chalky looking and be very hard.  Just cut back on the
amount of bone you feed.  Because bone can be constipating for a cat if they develop soft stools for any
reason feeding more bone can help get them back to normal.  Liver and organs work the opposite.  Too much
liver will give your cat soft stools.  Just cut back on the amount of liver you feed and/or feed more bone.