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Rabbit Organs

John Popp

Site Supporter
Just read something that suggested extra rabbit organs shouldn't be added to raw. Not sure what the rationale is and wondering if anyone could shed some light on it.

Personally, despite my posse loving rabbit, I generally try to keep it under half their diet. I've always added a pound of mixed organs for every 6 lbs of muscle meat. Cats don't mind at all and love the stuff. Now wave a chicken gizzard over 25 lbs of chicken and they won't touch the stuff.

Thanks in advance for your response(s).
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
Catinfo.org, a Dr Lisa Pierson article. Probably looked over the thing a hundred times before, but first time I read that the organ meat in whole rabbits was enough and no extra needed to be added. Not sure I buy it, and perhaps it's just misrepresented in the article. For some I'm sure it's hard to get extra organs and again whole rabbit carcasses generally include them. So if not to dissuade people from doing rabbit I get it, otherwise someone needs to explain it to me.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
Can you share the source of the material? Context is important. Some reasons I can think of are 1) if adding rabbit organs to another type of meat, calcium/phosphorous would not be balanced which would be a long term but not a short term problem. Rule of thumb is to use organs from the same animal; 2) there are conflicting reports about the phosphorous content of rabbit so adding extra organs may cause a diet too high in phosphorous; 3) a whole carcass with bones, organs, feathers or fur (no matter what the animal) provides a perfectly balanced meal so adding additional organs disturbs that balance. Too much liver for example, no matter the animal, can cause problems.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
Thanks Deborah! I am aware of the issue with Liver, and phosphorous isn't an issue with cats who have healthy kidneys. In fact the opposite is true and phosphorus is good for kidney function. It's only when kidneys are failing that they can no longer process phosphorous and it enters the bloodstream.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
John, the issue with phosphorous and potassium in CRF cats is a whole other issue. What I'm talking about above is maintaining a properly balanced diet in healthy cats. An improper calcium/phosphorous ratio is indeed an issue with cats who have healthy kidneys. In addition to building good teeth and bones, calcium is necessary for normal blood clotting and muscle and nerve function. Phosphorus is necessary for the storage and transfer of energy. Calcium and phosphorous are partners in ensuring proper growth of bones & muscles and for metabolic function.

Meat and organs are much higher in phosphorous than bone so if a cat is fed too much meat/organs and not enough calcium, cat becomes ill. Too much calcium and not phosphorous and the cat becomes ill.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
With the bone to meat ratio of rabbit being high there is definitely a lot of calcium in rabbit. At the same time, the phosphorous levels in rabbit are about 3x higher than chicken. From there I guess I need to do some math to figure out.

Time out!

OK, after just checking some things out, there is a problem with the assumption bone to meat ratio of rabbit is higher than chicken. Could be true for wild game rabbit, but it's not true of anything we are buying to feed our cats. With that as a baseline for Dr Pierson's rabbit recipe, the rest is challenged in it's concerns on how to formulate a rabbit recipe. For our purposes, the bone to meat ratio are close enough to the same for not dancing on the head of a pin to discern any differences. Just the same rabbit does contain 3x the amount of phosphorous.

From there I guess I am still sent back to the drawing board. I don't believe any food in nature is perfectly pre-packaged for a cat. There is the nutritional value of what their prey may be, but there is also what they leave behind. Smaller prey and they may eat the whole thing, larger 4-6lb rodents probably not and even a 45lb serval would be eating a whole rabbit or chicken in one sitting.

Back to my rabbit recipe, and the break down of organs to whole rabbit is as follows. 6 lbs whole rabbit, approximately .5 lbs rabbit liver, .25lbs rabbit kidneys and .25 lbs of rabbit hearts. I guess I could change the whole rabbit to organ ratio, although I can't really deviate from the pre-packaged percentages of rabbit organs. My cats love it, but it's only about 40% of their diet, then they also have higher fat content foods like chicken and duck.

One other part of this whole equation is that we breed these super chickens to have lave larger breasts, higher meat to bone ratios and basically just larger chickens. At issue is that despite these chickens being much larger, they don't really pack in any more nutritional value for the extra weight they carry. Same has to be true of rabbits who have been farmed for a long time now, and are far removed from the wild game they once were. In other words, I don't think I know anything more than when I started.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
Thanks Jacq! I definitely mix it up, just trying to figure out how much rabbit organs are appropriate. I'll cut the amount of rabbit organs I use in half and run from there.
 

Jacq

Savannah Super Cat
You take them for walks too, right? That way they can eat grass. I always make sure mine have grass in their diet as well. Seems to aid in digestion.
 
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