Should You Make Your Own Cat Food?

Carefully weigh the pros and cons before attempting to make your own cat food.

There are actually serious health considerations that you might want to prioritize over cost issues. Dry commercial cat food is actually less beneficial than what you can get in a can or make yourself.

Cats have a tendency to drink less water than other other types of animals, so the dehydration of kibble makes them susceptible to kidney failure and other digestive problems in their older years.

Should You Make Your Own Cat Food?

Many people also advocate feeding cats raw meat instead of cooked, which is at least theoretically closer to what felines eat in the wild.

If you plan to serve raw food to your cat, don’t leave it sitting out for long. You end up having to freeze it when storing, which in turn poses challenges for defrosting one portion at a time. Cats prefer to eat their food at room temperature.

Also, it’s understandable to feel nervous about serving raw meat to your pet given the potential for contamination.  A nice middle ground might be to simply cook your cat the same types of meats that are listed in recipes for homemade cat food — an example appears below.

Feline Recipes

These recipes largely call for poultry, meat or fish, and often add the nutrient taurine (which is found in fish); these are blended together and then ground into cat-friendly sizes.

Cooked Recipe

Here’s a general format for a day’s worth of food for a 12-pound adult cat with no health concerns, according to a recipe from MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center. Blend the following:

  • 3 ounces of cooked dark meat chicken, beef, pork, lamb, salmon, or tuna
  • 1/3 cup of cooked white rice, oatmeal, barley, corn, peas, or pasta
  • 1/5 cup of cooked sweet potato, without skin
  • 2.7 grams or half a red scoop of Balance It Feline vitamin and mineral supplement
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon of fat, in the form of vegetable, safflower, olive oil or fish oil

Raw Recipe

The following recipe was developed by Dr. Lisa A. Pierson, a veterinarian who provides a lot more detail on the topic on her blog at CatInfo.org — it calls for blending all of the following:

  • 3 pounds of whole fowl or rabbit, including bones, organs, and skin
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs (use raw yolks, and lightly cook the whites)
  • 2000 mg of wild salmon oil
  • 400 IU vitamin E (powdered E in capsule form works)
  • 100 mg vitamin B complex (start with a smaller amount when beginning a raw meat diet; the vitamin has a strong odor)
  • 2000 mg taurine, powdered
  • ¾ tsp light salt with iodine (when using chicken parts)
  • Liver (add 4 oz if the meat you are using does not include organs)
  • Psyllium (add when first introducing the raw meat diet to your cat)

Ask Your Vet First

Given all of the details involved in these preparations, you would do well to talk to your vet before you decide to make your own cat food.

In fact, some veterinarians advocate that commercially available cat food provides better vitamin supplementation than what you could make at home.

If your vet doesn’t think home cooking is a good idea for your pet, he or she might be able to suggest a more nutritious brand of commercially prepared cat food than what you were using before.

Try It Out

Perhaps the vet has trial size versions to give you so you can determine whether your pet likes the new flavor. Cats tend not to do well with sudden changes — and they might vomit up the new food if you don’t phase it in gradually with an interim period in which you serve both the old and the new.

If your vet says no to homemade food, you might want to consider switching to organic, wet food for health reasons.

Of course, this costs more than dry and nonorganic food but in the long run this actually saves money in the form of vet bills for digestive ailments associated with kibble — in addition to the dehydration issues, this type of food allegedly is more prone to containing bacteria due to the way it’s prepared.

Human Food Is Not for Cats

While cats do enjoy the same kind of carnivorous fare that humans do, it’s important to remember not to simply feed people food to your feline.

While it’s okay to give a taste or share leftovers with your cat, don’t give them anything with spices in it and go easy on the carbohydrates. Even dairy should be minimized or avoided, since it gives cats bad diarrhea.

And you would do well to consider the following to be poison as far as your cat is concerned:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Garlic

If you think your pet has consumed any of the above, take them to the vet as fast as you can.

Readers, what are you feeding your pets and have you thought about making food for your pet?

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