If you have a cat at home, chances are you give them commercial cat food. Not only is this food something mass produced by companies, it can only be quite costly, especially if you have many cats. You make your own food at home, so why can’t you do that for your cats? Well, the great news is that you absolutely can. Read below on the kinds of homemade food for cat, recipes that you can consider, and the individual benefits and harms.
Cooked homemade food
One kind of homemade food is food that is cooked. The biggest benefit of cooked food is that you can avoid risks of contamination. Cooking, as a process, rules out most risks of infection because the high temperatures kill most of the harmful bacteria that exist in food, especially in meat which can easily be contaminated.
What to consider
Are you thinking of switching your cat over to a cooked food diet? Well, there are a couple of things that you should consider. The biggest consideration is the cost. This includes the cost of the meat you are adding and the cost of supplements that you will need to provide. Although these may seem expensive at first, not only do they average out over time, they can help save you numerous veterinarian bills eventually.
What ingredients should you avoid?
Just like with commercial cat food, whether wet or dry, you need to make sure that some kinds of foods are not part of your cat’s diet under any circumstances. These include some well-known ingredients, such as chocolate and garlic, as well as onions, tomatoes or eggs.
What to incorporate into the food
Unlike humans, that enjoy a wide diversity of food types, cats eat most meats, and aside from certain quirks, they do not differ much in this aspect. The primary content of your homemade food should always be meat. This means they need protein, fats, and essential compounds from meat that they can’t get from any other sources.
Always make sure that your meat is sourced well, and comes from somewhere you trust. Incorporate bone meal into your cat food as well, which is a good replacement if you cannot grind bones on your own. Also, cats require carbohydrates as well, so do consider adding some percentage of carbohydrates to the food for normal development.
You can also include vegetables in your cat’s diet, however, many vets do not recommend it especially at high concentrations. If you absolutely wish to add in vegetables, keep them at a percentage lower than 5. DO not add vegetables in raw – it’s a good idea to use steaming in order to break them into parts more easily digested by a cat, which is an obligate carnivore.
Potential risks of homemade food
While homemade foods are often recommended because of how well you can control the diet of your pet, do consider the fact that there are also risks associated with this diet. The biggest possible issue that can affect your cat is an unbalanced diet. This is why you need to keep a vet in the loop, so they can review your recipe to make sure your cat is getting all of the ingredients it needs to stay healthy and safe.
Another potential (and related) problem is the lack of taurine in diets, which can cause serious health problems such as blindness. Make sure to check that you have taurine sources included so your has all the essential compounds it needs. Too many supplements can also cause problems, and so can too much cooking, which will destroy the nutritional value of the food you have prepared.
Depending on whether you plan on providing a complete homemade diet, or partial homemade diet, you can start using this recipe.
General cat food
To make general cat food, mix the given ingredients using a blender. You can store these in a fridge and given the right conditions, they can least you between 10-14 days.
- Quarter teaspoon salmon or olive oil.
- 2.7 g of cat mineral supplements.
- 30 g of potato without skins.
- 50 g of a source of carbohydrates, e.g white rice.
- 83 g of animal source, such as chicken, lamb, rabbit, etc.
Take 1 can of tuna, drain it in your sink, and then place it in a bowl. In this, mix half a cup of boiled rice, along with a quarter cup of pureed liver. Mix them all well, until you can make bowls, which can be shaped into patties. You can either give them to your cat there and then, and then leave the leftovers in the fridge for later.
In a food processor, mix in 1 cup of chicken, that has been cooked. Along with this, add in a quarter cup each of carrots and broccoli, and some tablespoons of chicken broth. Keep changing the amount of broth until you can the pasty texture of normal cat food. Do not make it too liquid, as your cat may not like it. You can also store the leftovers in a fridge for later.
Raw meat diets
Vets and experts disagree about the value of raw meat diets. On the one hand, these diets are extremely beneficial because there is no loss in the nutritional value of the cat food based on the cooking process. However, because of not heating up the food, dangerous infectious bacteria can remain inside, such as salmonella, which can cause severe problems in both cats and their humans.
However, on the other side of this debate, vets argue that if you are careful, you can make sure there is no risk of contamination, and end up saving a lot in terms of time and money. If you are determined to feed your cat a raw diet, you can do so by consulting online sources.
My cats don’t accept homemade food!
Cats are picky eaters, there’s no going around it. Even if you give them the perfect food that you slaved over for hours, they may just turn their nose up at it. And while an aspect of this is their preference, you shouldn’t give up right away. There are a couple of tricks you can use to try and get them used to the taste of home-made food. If your cat doesn’t enjoy the food at first, try out some of the following:
- Cats tend to prefer thigh meat over breast meat.
- If your cat doesn’t show in the meat itself, try cutting it into pieces and mixing it in his or her wet food, or rolling it in the dry food. This will get him used to the texture and flavor of just the meat itself.
- If you’re using a mix of meat/vegetables, experiment with ratios. Keep the ratio of the vegetables lower than meat, always.
- Take it slow – introduce the homemade food over a couple of weeks or months, by slowly reducing the ratio of commercial food and increasing the ratio of the homemade food.
- A good tip is to get him or her used to the taste of the meat first, then move forwards towards introducing vegetables, especially if your cat is picky.
Don’t forget to consult resources for balanced cat diets or your vet to make sure that your cat’s nutritional needs are being met.