Home-made cat food and what you should know.
Homemade cat food and what you should know.
Before we begin, it’s important to appreciate that cats are carnivores, but more so they are “obligate carnivores”, which means that meat is a biological necessity. As you might gather the word “obligate”, can be extended to imply “obligated”. There’s no choice in the matter. Cats need a lot of meat protein and fatty acids. If you have experience, with cats, you’ll notice cats are not very interested in what you’re eating. Unless, it’s something very meaty and fatty, such as BBQ chicken. That fatty, crispy skin is irresistible. Same with bacon, or the like. Unlike dogs, which can stand in front of you, druelling over that soda biscuit you’re about to eat. Cats couldn’t care less. As humans, by ratio, if you ate the same balance in your diet, as cats require, you would undoubtedly develop heart disease. And unlike dogs, which can consume a wide variety of food products. Cats are really restricted to these high-level protein and fatty acid diets. Grains and vegetables should only be present in small quantities, for complimentary purposes and grains should probably be avoided, altogether. I’m sure I’ll hear arguments, to the contrary.
Let’s call it a discussion to the contrary. The debate is both healthy and welcome. So please, I’d like to hear your opinion. Just send them along in our comments section.
Is home-made be better?
Now the question really is, are home-made cat foods better for your cat? We’ll they can be, if prepared properly and in accordance with their requirements. It is however, important to note, that commercially prepared foods, are quite suitable and superior brands are very suitable. Beyond the base ingredients, such as meats and grain (the later being more so avoided these days), commercial producers create their own scientifically balanced blends of supplements, which are added to their foods. Now these supplements, are readily available and can be purchased from countless outlets, on the internet. A simple Google search will easily guide you. You’ll need to acquire them to supplement your own home-made cat food. We’ll discuss these supplements in further detail, later in the article.
So, how can you improve on those foods typically purchased from the store? The first consideration for improvement, is in selecting higher quality base ingredients, such as the meat. In avoiding detail, most meats in commercially prepared cat foods are often rendered, undesirable parts of the animal or from unconventional animals. It’s the process of handling rendered meats that’s of real concern, which leads us to the second consideration, which is processing. Commercially prepared foods are over processed and thus can diminish the benefits derived from the meat and of the supplements we add to the food, that being the vitamins and minerals. The final consideration for improvement, in making your own cat food, is you can add that one ingredient, commercial producers can’t and that’s love.
As for the supplements, relative to feline nutritional requirements you can check out the nutritional chart provided by Association of American Feed Control Officials, in the following link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_food. In order to meet these requirements, you’ll have to add supplements to the base ingredients of your recipe. The most significant are (but not restricted to): Taurine, Vitamin B-Complex, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Calcium and fatty acids. Several sources have suggested probiotics as another supplement to consider.
To facilitate matters, several companies offer blends of these supplements, along with good guidelines on quantities to add and best mixing practices. You might want to ask your Vet, which blend they would recommend for your cat. The type of or formula can vary depending on the cats’ condition. By example, if your cat is over weight, or has an underlying condition. Your Vet may recommend one formula, over another.
Now, with a good understanding of your cats’ needs, you’ll be setting out to look for recipes. Be prepared for endless and varying opinions. You’ll hear it all: Vegetables, or not. Grains, or not. Cooked meat, versus raw meat and so on. My opinion, for what it’s worth. I wouldn’t add grains and would only add small quantities of vegetables and I only go with cooked meats, thoroughly cooked meats. You can cook meats in any manner you like. I play it safe and within the parameters, of an “obligate carnivores” biological needs. You need not venture far, in improving the nutritional value and quality, of your cats’ food.
Preparation and preservation
The next thing you’ll want to consider is preparation and preservation. In that, always prepare your cats’ food with the same food handling precautions, you would afford yourself. You can never be too clean. As for, preserving larger batch preparations, freezing is the simplest manner and if done properly, is a very safe method. There is no difference in the proper protocol, for freezing human food and cat food. I might add, that you can pre-portion amounts by using an ice cube tray. Then just retrieve the number of blocks for *defrosting, as you may require.
Meat and supplements don’t exactly constitute a recipe, do they? So, what can you add, to make this a true recipe? First off, a rule of thumb. The meat should constitute between 80% and 90%, of the recipe. The addition, of complimentary **ingredients, is to add flavor, texture and overall variety Just like the formulation of recipes we make for ourselves. It’s these added ingredients and their combination of, that define the final product. So, here’s some ingredients you can safely add. Some of these ingredients to hard in raw form will require cooking, such as potato, corn, etc.
Eggs (cooked) Blueberries
Cheese Green beans
Sweet potatoes Corn
More to come!
All meats are acceptable, provided they are thoroughly cooked. In addition, here are some processed types you may want to consider:
- Canned tuna, salmon or sardines. Either in oil or water.
- Lean deli meats. Try to avoid those which are heavily seasoned and removing the rind might be a good idea.
- Smoked salmon (lox). Unsalted would be preferable.
- Organ meats, such as chicken livers, or beef hearts.
Let your imagination guide you. A bit of this and a bit of that. Maybe your cat will have a preference, in consistency. Pureed, or chunky?
I’ll be posting recipes as I develop them and would like to hear about any gastronomic creations you come up with, so they can be passed on to all our readers. Just leave them here in the comments section, along with pictures, if you have any.
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*Always defrost, in the fridge. If you see the need to lightly warm up, prior to serving. Simply place the food in a sealed baggie and run under warm water for a few minutes, before serving.
**Do not season your recipe. Herbs, spices, salt and pepper are not required and may be harmful to your cat.