Homemade Cat Food
Tips and Recipes to Making Your Own Natural Cat Food
You cook every day for your family, why not for your cat as well? Believe it or not, many conscientious cat owners are now opting to create homemade cat food for their felines made of natural ingredients in order to better control what goes into their bodies. It’s a movement that is gaining considerable interest. Before embarking on this journey to making your own cat food, make sure that you do your homework, as highlighted in this article.
A word of caution: If you’re going to attempt to make your own cat food, be sure to take your recipe to your local vet before making the switch. He or she will be able to tell you whether your recipe will provide adequate nutrition for your feline so that you don’t cause new health problems for your furry companion.
Ingredients you should avoid when making homemade cat food
There are certain foods that should be avoided when making homemade cat food because of the risk of illness and chronic health problems, including:
- Garlic and similar root veggies
- Milk (many are lactose intolerant)
- Raw egg whites
Ingredients you must include in your homemade cat food
Just as there are some ingredients that could harm your kitty, there are others that you absolutely must ensure you include to your cat recipe. The most important ingredient for a feline diet is meat and liver protein since cats are strict carnivores. Here are some of a cat's nutritional requirements:
- Animal-source protein: Cats need (ideally) between 60% and 85% meat protein in order to get enough of the essential amino acids, including taurine (the most important), arginine, lysine, cysteine, methionine, and tyrosine. This protein should come from chicken, beef, pork, fish, or liver. Many conventional cat foods today supplement the ingredients with taurine to avoid deficiency of this nutrient, which you may want to consider for your cat food recipe. Liver is particularly important because it contains a lot of vitamin A and cats cannot make vitamin A on their own (many recommend there should be at least 4% of this animal protein). Like humans, a varied diet is best for balanced nutrition, so it’s best not to feed only fish or just liver to your feline.
- Animal fats: Not only are these important for their omega fatty acids (which are needed for healthy skin and hair, circulatory and urinary systems, and more), they also make the homemade cat food tastier. Kittens need 35% fat while adult cats need 30% fat.
- Calcium to phosphorous ratio (Ca:P): This ratio should be 1.0 to 1.3 parts calcium for every 1 part phosphorous. You’ll likely add calcium to your homemade cat food to ensure the right amount (packaged cat foods often rely on bone meal for this nutrient).
- Fiber: Although this is less of a concern for cats, fiber is important for the full feeling you’re after. Moderate fiber is recommended for cats, though studies are still being conducted to determine optimum levels. You won’t need to add any extra fiber to your cat’s food.
- Low carb: No, your cat isn’t on a diet, but carbs (sugars, starch) should be at lower levels for kitties - below 10% in fact.
- Water: Of course, you’ll likely add water to your homemade cat food, and this can be as much as 10% to 30% of the total weight of the food.
BornFreeUSA.org has a great list of Sample Diets for Dogs and Cats that includes helpful tips and ingredients lists. For more information on the ins and outs of good cat nutrition, check out Alternative Nutrition where they have loads of resources, stats, and helpful hints for making homemade cat food.
Homemade cat food recipes
Making homemade cat food can be a little unnerving, but to give you an idea of what a typical homemade cat food recipe looks like, here’s a sample (enough for one day):
- 1/4 teaspoon olive oil or salmon oil
- 2.7 grams of feline vitamin/mineral supplement
- 30 grams of potato, cooked without skin
- 50 grams of carbs (cooked pasta, white rice, barley, oatmeal, peas)
- 83 grams of cooked animal protein (whole meat chicken, lamb, rabbit, beef, pork, tuna, salmon)
Mix all of the ingredients together (a blender works really well for this purpose) and store the food in the fridge until needed.
Vegan and vegetarian cat food recipes
We’ve said a lot here about the importance of feeding your cat the proper protein for him or her to stay healthy, but there are those who are firm believers in a healthy vegan diet for their cats. The environmental benefits of a vegan cat diet are great, but this is a controversial subject and one you should thoroughly research if it’s something you want to pursue. When making your own vegan cat food, you’ll need supplements like VegeCat Mix by Hoana to ensure your kitty is getting enough taurine.
Recommended books on making your own cat food
If you’re interested in learning more about how to develop the healthiest homemade cat food for your kitty, check out the following helpful, authoritative books on the subject:
- Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
- LAPPING IT UP The complete Quick & Easy Guide to Making Cat Food At Home Cookbook Recipes
- Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats
- Pet Food Nation: The Smart, Easy, and Healthy Way to Feed Your Pet Now
- The Natural Pet Food Cookbook: Healthful Recipes for Dogs and Cats
- The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats
There’s also lots of free healthy, cat food recipe advice at CatInfo.org.