For many people, the idea of feeding raw is not very enticing. I was once one of those people. I erely thought it cost too much and was too difficult to deal with. But when my cornerstone cat died of kidney issues which could logically be traced back to being caused by her premium kibble diet, I started looking into alternatives to kibble. If you look into it by visiting the local premium pet store, you can find the cost to be overwhelming - especially if you opt for the dehydrated raw to try to get the benefits of raw with the convenience of feeding a dry food.
The Nutrition Code does an excellent job of breaking down the costs of feeding the different types of food, so you can see for yourself that raw feeding is not the most expensive form of food. In the following chart, they compare, the cheapest options of all the different types of food: homemade raw, kibble, canned, dehydrated raw, freeze dried raw, and pre-made raw. You can see that while kibble is the cheapest of the cheap, homemade raw and the least expensive option for pre-made raw are the next two cheapest options. When you consider the difference in nutritional value that your cat receives between kibble and raw food, it just doesn't make sense to feed kibble.
In this next chart, The Nutrition Code breaks down the most expensive cat foods for you by the same different food types: homemade raw, kibble, canned, dehydrated raw, freeze dried raw, and pre-made raw. Homemade raw is certainly the winner here, but even the pre-made raw comes in as the third cheapest type of the most expensive brands of cat food.
While dry kibble is the cheapest convenient food, it is also the most damaging food to your cat's health. Please read "Are you Killing Your Cat with Kibble" for further information on why dry food, regardless of quality, is so bad for your cat.
As one can see, the cheapest form of raw feeding is the homemade raw. There are risks to be aware of and take very seriously when making one's own raw food. Cats must have the correct balance of bone, secreting organs, and muscle meat or their health will be negatively affected. One way to make sure you are are getting the right balance is to add supplements, but one can also purchase an organ blend from a pre-made raw company, such as Reel Raw, and add it to your homemade grind of meat and bone.
If pre-made raw is the answer to the convenience issue, The Nutrition Code has a chart to help you sort through those options as well. In all of their quality ratings, 8 is the highest, meaning the food has no ingredients other than meat, bone, and organs. 6 means protein is the first ingredient and there are no artificial vitamins or minerals along with no grains, but there may be some fruit or veggie in the food, and 5 means the same as 6 except there is only 1 protein source.
If you have already found a pet store that sells raw, but it doesn't sell the brand you'd like to try, it may be worth asking them if they can source your desired brand. A lot of the locally owned pet stores that sell raw food are willing to get what their customers want to buy.
Don't walk into the pet store, find Stella and Chewies and decide that raw is too expensive for your budget. Look into the alternatives. I think you will find one that fits your pocketbook and your lifestyle.