Cats are like children; they are picky and stubborn eaters. They are likely to get disgusted by certain foods eaten over time or just out of preference. It’s paramount that you switch up your cat’s diet every once in a while by making homemade meals.
Gourmet meals for cats have several benefits including:
1.They are natural:
While an artificial diet is okay for cats, a natural diet sufficiently meets the carnivorous instincts that a cat has. Cats are evolutionary predators and hence need a diet of high protein content.
2. Homemade meals are healthier:
With their sharp, pointed teeth, carnivorous animals are meant to tear through flesh (mostly raw meat). Homemade meals provide enough nutrients to enhance oral health as opposed to processed foods which are light in nature. Due to the healthy nature of home cooked meals, cats have fewer hairballs and less shedding. This prevents accumulation of hairballs which may trigger vomiting. Gourmet meals promote better urinary health and reduce the odor of cat stools.
3. They are fun:
Just like preparing a home cooked meal for your family is, as a cat owner, preparing a homemade meal for your cat is equally exciting. It is also fun to see your cat devour your very own home-cooked meal.
4. They are highly palatable:
The delicious meals are not only appealing to your cat but also easy to digest. As your cat chews and chomps the treat, signals are sent to their tummy to prepare essential gastric acids that help with digestion.
5. Homemade meals enable you to manage your cat’s diet:
As a cat guardian, being able to control what your cat eats creates a sense of responsibility and saves you from plenty of veteran visits. By sourcing your own ingredients and preparing the food yourself, you can determine the type, portion, and content of your cat’s food. This way it is easy to tell when your cat is encountering problems related to dietary issues. You can also efficiently and effectively aid an overweight cat to lose weight while remaining healthy.
Transitioning your cat into a new diet
While cats are very adventurous and will be thrilled to try new recipes, you must be very cautious while introducing new meals. Rapid changes in a cat’s diet can trigger regurgitation of their food when they eat too fast or if they suffer from megaesophagus (the esophagus, a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach, is too wide, preventing food from moving in a downward motion).
Introduce the new diet in smaller portions while watching how your cat behaves. Watching over your cat as they eat might help you control their eating speed – you will be able to give them little portions of food over time – or even help you to tell whether the food is pleasant to the cat or not. Alternatively, if you are planning to feed your cat homemade meals but cannot be there to control the portions, times, or speed of feeding, using an automatic cat feeder for wet food will help you split the portions in advance, schedule eating times and be able to serve fresh food through the day or night when you are away.
Depending on your cat’s reaction, increase the portions of the new meal accordingly. Also, put into consideration the age of your cat as elderly cats seem to get accustomed to new diets over a longer period of time than younger ones.
You can serve your homemade meal in 3 different ways: serve as a raw diet, half -cooked, or a completely cooked meal. This natural diet consists of ingredients that are purely useful to your cat.
For their daily living, adult cats need the following essential nutrients:
- Fatty acidsThese essential ingredients are a must to maintain healthy skin and fur and keep the circulatory and urinary systems in good shape. They also make cat food tastier. Adult cats need a diet of about 30 percent fat while kittens require about 35 percent fat.
- Amino acids
Organs are a great source of healthy fats, unlike lean muscle or bone which don’t contain any amino acids.
Animal protein is especially important for cats. This should mainly come from chicken or another type of poultry, beef, pork, rabbit, fish or liver. Cats cannot produce Vitamin A on their own thus liver is particularly important because it’s full of vitamin A. Small game such as rabbits are ideal for a cat’s unique digestive system but chicken is the most common type of meat used in preparing home-cooked meals. Cats of all types of breeds and ages need plenty of meat. The average cat should consume 60-80% of meat.
Cats are lazy drinkers so they are likely to be frequently dehydrated. Natural foods offer a great source of water and aid in digestion as opposed to processed foods which are dry and lack liquids leading to dehydration of your cat.
- Minerals and vitamins
This can be found in bones which are rich in calcium and other minerals.
Raw Meat Vs Cooked Meat
Although both raw and cooked meat is equally of nutritional value, with raw meat, you must be very cautious in purchasing and handling. The main sources of raw meat diets include meats like bone meal, chicken livers, or other animal fat. Since salmonella and other bacterial contamination is highly risky with raw meat, you should observe food safety when dealing with this meat.
Food-borne diseases affect humans as much as animals and some of the symptoms include diarrhea, issues with the urinary tract, and inflammatory bowel disease in chronic cases. Ensure that the source of your meat is safe and maintain maximum food hygiene when handling the meat. You can also partly boil the meat or use a meat grinder or food processor to lessen handling. Ground meat and pre-ground cat meat are not recommended for cats. This is because the surface bacteria introduced into the muscle tissue during the grinding process is impossible to clean away.
4 Best Home Made Recipes
While there are a variety of dishes that you can experiment with, the 4 best cat recipes include:
Raw Chicken Cat Food Recipe
• 14 Oz chicken hearts (or extra meat/bone source with 4000mg taurine supplement)
• 4 Lbs. chicken thighs (including bone and skin!)
• 7 Oz chicken livers
• 4 egg yolks or whole eggs (optional)
• 2 cups water
• 200 mg Vitamin B supplement
• 200 IU Vitamin E
• 1.5 teaspoons of light iodized salt
• 2000 mg taurine
Remove and discard about half of the skin and 20% of the bone.
Slice and dice the thighs into small bite-sized portions.
Grind the rest of the thigh meat, bones, liver, and hearts at home. Stir very well.
Combine all vitamin supplements, salt, and eggs, and add the 2 cups of water in a bowl.
Prepare three main mixtures: the ground meat/bone, the sliced/sheared meat, and the supplement bowl. Thoroughly combine and mix all ingredients.
Store a day or two’s worth of meal in an airtight container in the fridge and freeze the rest.
This recipe can make about 100 ounces of food and a typical cat consumes around 4-5 ounces of food daily.
• Rabbit meat — wild or domestic — boned and cut into small pieces.
• Sweet potato, carrot, celery, leek, turnip, and peas.
• A few sprigs of parsley, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.
• Vegetable stock — unsalted (prepare at home).
• A little olive oil.
Sautee the rabbit chunks in olive oil and sprinkle with herbs.
Add the vegetable stock water and let the mixture boil.
Cover the food and let it cook through in a medium to a low-temperature oven.
Add the chopped vegetables and return to the oven for an extra 45 minutes.
Once it cools, serve the meal to your cat.
This is great for treats to break the routine diet for cats. Cats thoroughly enjoy any fish diets.
• 1 can tuna
• 1/2 cup boiled rice
• 1/4 cup pureed liver
• 2-3 sprigs parsley chopped
1. Drain the tuna.
2. Mix all ingredients together and serve your cat.
This is a great recipe that caters for cats with food allergies as it doesn’t include ingredients that trigger allergies in cats.
• 4 teaspoons bone meal (2,400 milligrams calcium or 1 1/3 teaspoons powdered eggshell)
• 2 pounds lean lamb or mutton (ground)
• 2 cups brown rice
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Boil the rice in 4 cups of filtered or spring water. Let the rice boil, reduce heat and let it simmer while covered for 40 minutes.
Once the rice is done, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Freeze about 2/3 of the mixture.
This recipe can be consumed by an average cat for 8 to 10 days.
Never use a microwave to reheat frozen cat food but instead thaw with warm water to room temperatures. With the recommendation of your veterinary, you can also add supplements to your cat’s diet to boost their health.
Ian Mutuli is a pet enthusiast, keeper of two dogs called Moxy and Metsy, and one lovely cat, Sassy. When he isn’t blogging at Smart Pet he is sipping coffee, hanging out with Sassy, or designing homes to make the world a better place to live in.