Manual Meat Grinder — Making Raw Cat Food

After discovering raw cat food diets, my biggest concern was meat grinding. I was sure there was a way around it and that in fact I don’t need to buy a grinder and grind meat. But I was wrong. I quickly learned the importance and necessity of bone in a cat’s diet. So I then started researching grinders. Ehhh, the thought of buying a large expensive grinder was not attractive to me. As I am 90% vegetarian the whole process was not appealing. Many people use the Tasin TS8 Electric Meat Grinder and swear by it for making raw cat food. It is about 8 kilo or 15lbs and sells for $150 on onestopjerkey.com.  And if I lived in the US I probably would have bought it due to the great reviews I read. But I don’t, I live in Europe and do not have a huge kitchen, the correct voltage and of course there is the shipping expense.

I started looking at local shops and online for grinders but I could not find anything even close to the Tasin grinder. I didn’t want to buy any expensive grinder not designed for bones and then have it break. Then one day I was in a Swiss Army surplus store and saw a manual meat grinder for $25.  Obviously it is not designed to grind bones but I didn’t care, for that price it was worth the try.

manual meat grinder

Do not buy a grinder with a clamp. Go for the 4 legs you can bolt down.

And it worked! It of course takes a bit of muscle to use. But my husband and I made our first batch of  3 kilo consisting of chicken thighs and chicken organs in 2 hours including clean up. Doing it alone would have been very difficult due to the clamp.  It was necessary for one person to grind while the other held the machine and inserted the meat. And it did move quite a bit which was difficult at times. After 3 months of use (3x),  I decided we needed to upgrade and get something without a clamp.

manual meat grinder raw cat food

This is the grinder I purchased online from this supplier in Germany.

Specifications:

  • Materials: cast iron, steel, and wood FSWF05: Size 22
  • Total Dimensions: approx. 31 x 25.7 x 14.2 cm
  • Funnel opening: approx. 13 x 11.5 cm
  • Ring diameter Ø: approx. 8.5 cm
  • Weight: approx. 4.1 kg
  • Price 20£

The size works great and I think the 32 would be even nicer.  But the most important thing to look for is a base you can screw down like this one, do not bother with anything with a clamp.We then bolted it into a wooden cutting board which is easy to remove to clean. I found a similar grinder with the same dimensions and same materials here on Amazon.

manual meat grinder raw cat food

We make a batch of cat food about every 4 weeks and have used this grinder about 11 times the last year and it continues to work great. *Please note I have only used this for poultry bones and muscle meats including poultry, rabbit and beef, I haven’t tried grinding any larger bones. When I was doing my raw food research I couldn’t find anyone out there who used a manual grinder and couldn’t understand why.  When I asked people in forums everyone was very doubtful it would work. I am so happy it works and see no reason to try an electric grinder now.

manual meat grinder

If I were to ever upgrade this is what I would buy Sportsman Meat Grinder with Pulley.

It is the same concept of what I have now. Just once size up and the pulley handle would make it easier to turn. There are many reviews from people who use it for dog and cat food as well.

Want to see this grinder after 2 years of continuous use?

Read why I feed raw here.

See the raw chicken recipe I use here.

 

This is not sponsored. All items were purchased buy myself. Affiliate links are listed.

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7 Comments

  1. February 2, 2015 / 5:35 am

    while I’m not a vegetarian, I do not process my own meat, so I was very fearful of grinding. I bought the power grinder you mentioned, and I’m glad I did. I’m also considering investing a more powerful machine that grinds faster – but then again I’m making food for seven..

    Good for you for going manual.. I think that is is a good thing

    • meowlifestyle
      February 2, 2015 / 8:23 pm

      Yes if I had 7 I don’t think a manual grinder would be an option. But for just one or two cats it works great. I’ve only heard good things about the Tasin though.

  2. Miriam Richardson
    April 5, 2015 / 3:52 am

    I have just started with the raw meat for my 2 cats, and I have a grinder just like yours. But I did not trust that the bones were small enough. I worried that bone pieces might get caught in their throats. So I bought a cheap, electric grinder second-hand.

    I put the meaty bones and the skin through the hand grinder, and the other meat through the electric grinder with a smaller plate, then I put the ground up meaty bones through the electric grinder. Double effort on the bones.

    I find breaking up the bones with the hand grinder really really hard work. Doable, but having done it for the second time yesterday, it is putting me off. (I was doing 4-weeks worth for 2 cats, so got 3kg out of the hand grinder, which is a lot). Maybe in another month, with my cats being so extremely happy with this food I will be ready to do another lot of effort, and have forgotten how hard it was.

    I have found a source of frozen, pre-ground chicken carcasses, and might try that next time, mixed with all the other necessary things.

    The electric grinder I have is not strong enough to grind up the bones; I couldn’t afford one that could. I am hoping to source whole rabbits, so even if I use the frozen mince for chicken, I will need the hand grinder for the rabbits when I find them. And it IS good exercise.

    I wonder how long you have been giving the hand ground bones to your cats, and if I am worrying unnecessarily over the size of the bone bits.

    Cheers
    Miriam

    • April 5, 2015 / 8:33 am

      First congratulations for putting in the time and effort for your cats. I have been preparing raw since Feb 2014. I haven’t had an issue with the size of the bones. The blade/disc I use has the same size holes as people who use electric grinders so I don’t see what the difference would be. Do you have someone helping you with the manual grinder. I have only done it alone twice and it takes much longer. Having someone help makes a world of difference. One person grinds and one puts the meat inside. I only have one cat so I make the meat once every 3-4 weeks. Soon hopefully I will have two cats so that will change. I would be open to an electric grinder but the ones where I live are well over $300 and are clearly labeled as not designed for bones. So my fear is buying an expensive grinder, it breaking and then loosing that money. I wasn’t sure how long my manual grinder would last either. But after a year of consistent use it works and looks exactly the same as when I bought it.

      That’s great if you can find a a source for preground meat with the correct organs. The other options is just visiting some local butchers and having conversations with them about what you want and perhaps they could grind for you. I tried this once and he looked at my like I was crazy. But maybe my French wasn’t good enough to properly explain. I will try some other butchers again. Thanks for reading and keep me updated on your progress.

  3. Allie
    August 20, 2015 / 6:22 pm

    Hi, I have been looking for a manual mincer that will mince rabbit bones for quite a while now. Like you, I found very little information about people using them for bones. I have been looking at the Italian made Tre spade 22 and 32, which look good, but I still wasn’t sure whether they would cope with rabbit leg and spine bones. Does your 22 actually mince rabbit bones well? Thank you

    • August 20, 2015 / 6:56 pm

      I’ve never tried grinding rabbit bones. Only chicken bones including thighs and drumsticks. I grind muscle meat from rabbit, beef and birds. But the only bones I’ve ground is chicken and birds. So I’m not sure how rabbit bone is different than chicken. My 22 is still going strong after 1.5 years. And with two cats now I use it to do a big grind about every 3 weeks. If I had to buy again I would get the 32. Please let me know how it works and if you have any other questions :-)