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Myuzikalsoul's avatar

How much crushed eggshell should I add to kitten's raw diet consisting of 1/4 cup of meats per meal?

Asked by Myuzikalsoul (582 points ) December 30th, 2013

I am transitioning my kittens to an all raw diet. They seem to be doing really well on it, but I have some concerns with making sure it is nutritionally balanced. Having researched the calcium to phosphorous ratio, I have decided to use crushed eggshells as the calcium source. Can someone please tell me if I feed about a ¼ cup of meat what amount of crushed eggshells should I add to make a 1.5:1 calcium to phosphorous ratio?

Note: I currently do not have a grinder so I crushed the eggshells as much as I could by smashing them with a piece of wood. The pieces are not exactly a fine powder.

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28 Answers

jca's avatar

I never heard of giving kittens eggshells.

chyna's avatar

Do not give eggshells to a kitten that is not a fine powder. It could cut their throat.

gailcalled's avatar

None, please.

Seek's avatar

It might be better to wait until you have all the necessary tools before beginning the transition to a raw diet.

I’m looking as best as I can on tiki.vn for a suitable coffee grinder or even a mortar and pestle, but the best I can come up with is a blender. Google Translate isn’t catching the finer points of Vietnamese translation, I’m afraid. The one I have was very inexpensive. Mine is an older and cheaper version of this which for some reason is evading my best Tiki searches. Haha.

Seek's avatar

Too late to edit.

I wasn’t paying attention, and thought @Mimishu had asked this question.

Ignore all the stuff about tiki.vn. Unless you also live in Vietnam, that is.

hug_of_war's avatar

Have you ever gotten a bit of eggshell in a dish? If it’s not finely ground it is going to be annoying at best and a choking hazard at worst.

I am not a huge proponent of raw foods for domesticated pets but at least consult someone. I hope you’ve told your vet about this.

Coloma's avatar

No eggshells and little fish.
Too much fish causes a Taurine deficiency in cats.
Yes, consult an expert for this. You can find very good commercial foods that would be just as good for a cat, why take chances if you are unsure of what to feed.

jca's avatar

This makes zero sense. A little kitten with a little, soft, delicate throat? Eggshells? Really?

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

I have done a great deal of research and I only feed one sardine a week @Coloma. As for those opposed to raw feeding, I’d encourage you to do some research on what is really in those so-called premium foods (canned and kibble), and how most domesticated cats are dehydrated as a result. I am also not a supporter of genetically modified ingredients, and anything made commercially in general. I am especially suspicious of manufactured products touting specific health claims. When I go to the grocery store I only buy from the perimeter. This is how I eat and I want nothing less for my beloved furry friends. They are 16 weeks, by the way, and up until now they have been on the Iams kitten food.

Many people are saying ‘no eggshell’ but are not providing an explanation for their stance. I have looked into edible bone meal, however, I am concerned about the metals which may be present. Furthermore, I have read that bones not only supply calcium but they ALSO supply phosphorus, making it harder to achieve a 1.5:1 ratio when relying on bones alone for calcium.

As for the cutting of the insides or throat concern, I have researched this and found that the level of acidity in a cat’s digestive system renders that possibility not much of a concern (also why salmonella is not a concern – the acidity coupled with a very short digestion tract). As for the throat being cut as mentioned by @chyna, this is something that I am not sure about. My kittens have experience eating meaty bones and they have not had any problems with those, so I am inclined to think they should be fine with ground eggshells mixed in with their otherwise moisture-rich food. As I said, I ground down the shells as much as possible mortar and pestle style, so they are not chunks either. They resemble a rather grainy powder, but not a finely ground powder. I’d like to add that my methods are temporary until I can purchase a grinder. However, at this time, what I am most concerned about is getting them the correct calcium to phosphorous ratio using what I have, which are eggshells.

The recommended amount for a pound of meat is ½ tsp. I am feeding less than finely ground at a ¼ cup of meat per feeding. Although I do enjoy a good healthy conversation and/or debate, if anyone has a more direct answer to my question I would be very appreciative. I have an approximate idea but I was fishing for someone who has experience in raw feeding who may be able to provide some more detailed information.

Thank you all for your responses!

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

P.S. The grounds are the size of sea salt.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Generally, 2 cups of meat = 1 lb. So, ¼ cup = 1/8 lb. If it calls for ½ tsp of eggshells per pound, the amount in 1/8 lb would be 1/16 tsp…which is basically nothing.

You might want to check my math – it’s very late and I’m tired. However, even with no math you can clearly see that ½ tsp per pound is barely anything at all.

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Thank you so much! I did my math the same as you, however there is the slight difference in that my grounds are not grinder quality ground and since the measurement given was meant for finely ground eggshells I was wondering if there would be much of a difference in measurement. I have been using a 1/8 tsp and filling it roughly half-way ( a little less than half to account for bigger pieces) – or, I am curious if I should fill it a little more than half because of the difference in volume between very fine grounds filling a 1/16 tsp and sea salt like grounds. Trying to think about that relationship hurts my head, Again, thank you so much for your pertinent response!

Buttonstc's avatar

You can do a whole lot better than the tedious mortar/pestle method if you want to pulverize eggshells so they’re not a risk for your kittens.

The only equipment needed is a cheapo coffee grinder ($10–20 at most) and your oven.

Here is one Mother’s natural method of doing it for herself.

http://mamanatural.com/how-to-make-eggshell-calcium/

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I would also hope that you’ve read every single word on the website of Lisa Pierson DVM who is a strong advocate of a natural prey diet for cats. She details what she does for her own cats and her experience is a valuable resource. Her website is:
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catinfo.org
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Several years ago I was doing quite a lot of researching to consider the possibility for my own cat and its not all that simple. Proportions of everything have to be correct in order to approximate what the cat would be getting were they still in he wild. That’s not a simple matter.

PS you can also look into getting a VitaMix, the best blender on the planet which can purée or pulverize just about anything.

You don’t necessarily need a brand new one. There are plenty of good used ones on eBay for a fraction of what they cost new.

WestRiverrat's avatar

My friend feeds whole raw mice, and other small animals. She gets them from the pet store frozen. She also feeds them chicken and beef.

As long as it is raw, the bones are not a hazard to a kitten or cat. It is only after they are cooked that bones become a choking and puncture hazard to pets.

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

@Buttonstc Thank you! I actually have read through the catinfo.org site a lot. It really is a wonderful resource! I am drying the eggshells as I speak to try and get the grounds even finer. I am also going to purchase a grinder as soon as possible! I wish I could afford a VitaMix! I priced them recently and they are just a bit out of my price range. Perhaps I will try my luck with eBay.

@WestRiverrat You are absolutely correct! Thank you for your response.

Buttonstc's avatar

You can pick up one of these at your local thrift shop for a couple of bucks until something better comes along. It pulverizes my coffee grounds to a fine powder in ten seconds and will obviously do the same for eggshells.
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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006IUX5?ie=UTF8&force-full-site=1&ref_=aw_bottom_links
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You absolutely don’t HAVE TO get a VitaMix, I was just letting you know that you can get used ones pretty reasonably. Even the 10–15 yr. old models which may not look like much have that die-hard motor still going strong after all that time.

ccrow's avatar

Re Vitamix: save up, it’s well worth it! I feed my dogs a homemade (mostly raw) diet, and I use the Vitamix to pulverize the veggies I give them a couple times a week. Here are some recipes for raw cat food; they also sell a premix of all the supplements to be mixed into the raw meat. I have used a small mortar and pestle for eggshells, and it’s easy to get them to a fine powder.

Smitha's avatar

To get fine eggshell powder just crack the eggs, rinse the shells, leave them on the counter overnight to dry, and then pop them into a coffee grinder and grind it to fine powder. In case you don’t have grinder try to get one or use a supplement because smaller and broken down egg shells still have sharp edges and may injure the kitten’s internal organs. Regarding the quantity to be added, this article has complete details.

Cupcake's avatar

Can’t you just put your eggshell bits through a sieve and only use what is small enough to pass through? Surely you have dust and fine grounds along with your sea salt-sized chunks. Keep the bigger pieces for the next time you grind and keep filtering out and using the smaller bits.

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

@ccrow, @Smitha Thank you for the wonderful resources!

@Cupcake I do have a metal sieve, and that is a marvelous idea! Thank you!!!

ccrow's avatar

It just occurred to me, you could probably get good results with a pepper mill; they can be set to a fine grind, and you should be able to find an inexpensive one.

glacial's avatar

@ccrow Pepper mills are tricky – they usually (on purpose) produce inconsistent grain sizes, and they wear out remarkably quickly. A coffee grinder would yield a better result, I think – and the prices are probably better for a good-quality coffee grinder than for a good-quality pepper mill.

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

After allowing the grains to dry out overnight, smashing them again, then putting them through a sieve, I am happy to say that I have a fine powder! Thank you all for your help! :)

livelaughlove21's avatar

I was at the vet’s office today (kitty has an eye infection, poor thing) and saw a brochure about the most common pet food myths, and one was, “Raw food diets are the healthiest option for pets.” This is what it said underneath. Do with it what you will.

Myuzikalsoul's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Thank you for sharing your photo.

Unfortunately, there are a lot more politics going on behind the scenes than a lot of people realize when it comes to our ‘trusted experts’ in any field. Typically, vets do not receive nutrition training, and they are biased by a lot of pet food companies.

When feeding a raw diet most people feed human grade meats that you and your family would be comfortable eating yourself. This is far superior to the “meat” content that is found in commercial foods, which disgustingly enough, is often source from dying and diseased animals found as roadkill, not to mention all the additives and carbohydrates that your cat (or dog) simply does not need!

As far as Salmonella and E. Coli go, you may be surprised to find that there have never been any reported illnesses caused by a raw diet. There have, however, been a great number of illnesses cause by commercial food that was contaminated, and eventually re-called.

A cat is built to process meats, period. Should you take precautions when feeding raw, such as not leaving the food down for long periods of time, and washing their meats? Of course! But felines are built with a highly acidic digestive system and a very short digestion period. You and I could eat a hamburger and not process it fully until the next day, but cats have much shorter intestines, and they process foods very quickly. This, coupled with their high acidity grants E. Coli and Salmonella virtually zero chance to reproduce inside their intestines.

If feeding raw is dangerous because it offers too many nutrients, then commercial diets are at fault for offering too little, or low quality nutrients that may or may not be utilized by your pet. A sure way to test the validity of this statement is to evaluate your pets stools after feeding commercial food, and comparing them to those after switching to raw. You will see that your pet will go less often and when they do, their stools do not stink, and they are small and even crumbly – because all of the nutrients have been utilized by the body, and there is no excessive waste of unnatural byproducts like you will find after feeding a commercial diet.

Feeding bones to an animal is only dangerous if the bones are cooked and are not raw, or if the bones given are big enough to choke on and small enough to swallow. I always give my cats bones that they could not possibly swallow whole. Too many bones IS a concern however because bones contain phosphorus and metals whereas eggshells contain very little phosphorus and no metals.

As far as fracturing teeth and gastrointestinal problems, that is a scare tactic. As long as you are careful and use common-sense in determining what kind of meaty bones you feed, the process of the cat grinding down the bones with the cat’s teeth is actually a very naturally healthy process that has a number of health BENEFITS. It is animals who have had a lifetime of kibble and lackluster nutrition that have a plethora of dental problems.

And think about it, who gets paid when your pet is sick and in need of health care? Wouldn’t you rather prevent that office visit and save your pets (and yourself) the anxiety by utilizing natural products rather than money-making ‘scientific’ diets that do more harm than good???

My biggest concern with preparing a homemade diet for my babies is that it is properly balanced nutritionally. It is not as hard as the business of pet health would have you believe, though. As long as you have the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio, and are supplementing taurine (may not be necessary with a raw diet but is a safe-guard), vitamin E, and salmon oil – you are feeding a balanced diet. As far as all the other minerals and nutrients that have to be synthesized and added back into commercial foods, by feeding a natural raw diet – and providing a variety, I might add – nature will fulfill that requirement for you.

I could go on and on with facts and reasons why I opt for a homemade diet, but the bottom line is natural is ALWAYS better than processed. I like knowing what is in my food, and I want nothing less for my cats. I have much more faith in what is natural and intuitive than in what someone who wants to collect my money has to say.

ccrow's avatar

@livelaughlove21 If you can balance a diet for humans without a PhD, you can also balance a diet for cats or dogs. You only need to educate yourself about their nutritional requirements. If you follow reasonable hygiene procedures, there is no more risk feeding animals a raw diet than there is handling raw meat for your family’s consumption. As to teeth, cow hooves commonly sold as pet treats are notorious for causing fractures. Warnings like those are only necessary because of people who think they can throw some raw hamburger and/or soup bones at their pets and it will be fine.
@Myuzikalsoul I am less concerned with the possibility of roadkill etc than I am with meat that has been rejected due to excessive pesticides etc, to say nothing of the possibility that euthanized pets may have found their way into the pet food.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Like I said, you can do with it what you wish. I’ll admit I know nothing about raw diets for animals. I just thought I’d mention it. Mine eat Wellness, and that’s what they’ll continue to eat.

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