Hello there, and welcome to our blog! I'm Stephanie, and together with my husband Dan, we have launched Raw Paw Feast, a premium raw pet food company owned and operated in St. Louis, Missouri.
If you follow Raw Paw Feast on social media (and we hope you do!), you may notice that our Facebook and Instagram posts can be a little...long winded? I'll admit it -- it's my fault! As someone who absolutely loves to write, sometimes I can go on...and on...and on. Short and sweet has never been my thing.
So what better way to satisfy my love of long-form content than this space? Blogs and I are a match made in heaven. And this is nothing new to me; I may or may not have been a food blogger in a previous life ;)
Anyway, the topic of this blog post says it all: What is the story behind Raw Paw Feast? Well...it all started when I adopted this beauty in 2011:
Meet Walcott! She's our 10 year old calico cat that I adopted from the APA of Missouri 9 years ago. She loves snuggling, napping, and enjoying (supervised!) playtime in our backyard. Oh -- and she loves to eat. Our vet once described Walcott as being "food motivated." We'd have to agree!
To fully understand the story of how Raw Paw Feast began, we first need to flashback to August of 2011. As I loaded my new kitty (and the 10-pound bag of cat kibble gifted to me by the adoption agency) into my car, I immediately decided upon two things:
1. I REALLY HATED the name “Sparkle.” It was just...weird.
2. I was NOT going to continue to feed my cat commercial pet food. Having worked in the commercial pet food industry as a Product Quality Manager and having seen firsthand the way commercial food is manufactured, handled, and stored, I was not at all comfortable feeding my cat the equivalent of McDonald’s every day.
The first problem was easy to solve. Sparkle quickly became Walcott – named after my favorite song from one of my favorite bands, Vampire Weekend.
The second issue took a little longer to figure out. I immediately jumped head-first into my research on cat nutrition. After learning that cats are obligate carnivores (that is, their diet should ONLY consist of meat), and knowing (again, from my direct experience in the pet food industry) that virtually all cat food (and pet food in general) contains grains, fillers, preservatives, and other unnecessary ingredients, I switched Walcott to a canned, wet, grain-free food.
It was expensive, hard to find locally, and super smelly, but I was happy to pay upwards of 100 bucks a month for her food, knowing that I was doing the right thing for her long-term health.
However, although Walcott’s new food was a big step up from the dry kibble that she grew up on, it was still far from perfect. The food, while grain-free, still contained unnecessary ingredients like peas, cranberries, pumpkin, tomato, and artichokes.
So the research continued.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered the huge world of raw feeding. I learned all about the B.A.R.F. diet, an really strange acronym that stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods. I learned that in addition to being obligate carnivores, cats (and dogs) are biologically designed to consume uncooked meat, bones, and organs.
I called around to specialty stores and found several brands of raw cat food. I ignored the fact that the small container of raw cat food, which would last Walcott about 2-3 days, was $30 (plus tax!). I cringed the entire way home, knowing that I was quickly becoming one of those ‘crazy cat ladies’ willing to shell out serious cash for her cat’s food.
After feeding it to Walcott -- and quickly discovering that she loves good food just as much as her mama – I knew this was it. THIS was the diet for my baby.
I also knew that spending upwards of $300 a month for cat food was not going to be sustainable in the long-term. So I did even MORE research and learned how to make healthy and nutritious raw food myself.
I purchased a grinder, along with whole chicken, chicken hearts, chicken livers, supplements, storage jars, and all of the other ingredients I needed.
The day the grinder finally arrived, I got to work. Breaking down an entire chicken and grinding it – bones and all – was…an experience. This girl -- who just a few years prior, was a full-on vegetarian -- was now shoving chicken hearts into a grinder. I had officially crossed the line into ‘crazy cat lady’ territory, and I. DIDN’T. CARE.
Almost four hours later, I completed Walcott’s first batch of raw cat food. Feeding Walcott her first serving of biologically-appropriate raw food – food that I made entirely by myself – was the most rewarding and gratifying feeling EVER.
It was such a good feeling that I continued making Walcott’s food myself, spending 4 hours every few months chopping, grinding, and making her food. Four years later, in 2015, I met Dan, who helped speed up the prep time to under 2 hours. Turns out, he’s way better at snapping chicken ribs in half than I am! :)
And that brings us to today. Nine years after making the first batch of Walcott's food, Dan and I decided to start Raw Paw Feast. We are so passionate about raw feeding, and we feel so strongly about sharing that passion with the world -- starting right here in St. Louis!
Our cat food is the exact formula that we’ve been feeding Walcott for the past nine years, and we’ve spent months coming up with the perfect dog food formula as well. And with my experience in food safety and quality assurance, and Dan's background in operations, it just made sense.
We are so excited to share this amazing product with you. We are so confident that you pets will love it just as much as ours does.
Stay tuned for more blogs in the very near future! We'll be writing about all aspects of raw feeding, including tips on transitioning, ingredient benefits, and why you should get rid of that kibble -- for good. In the meanwhile, go reward yourself -- and your pet -- by ordering some Raw Paw Feast! Click here to visit our online store.
As always, we are here to answer any and all of your questions! Don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help!