Making your cat’s food at home can not only save you money but also gives you the opportunity to provide a diet that is more in tune with what they would naturally consume in the wild. Cats are primarily carnivores and tend to suffer nutritionally when offered a diet with a high carbohydrate content. Commercially prepared diets for cats do provide some protein, but animal health professionals disagree on whether or not it’s enough. Homemade cat foods can provide a superior diet to your cat over commercially prepared foods as long as you make sure to add necessary vitamin and mineral supplements and avoid toxic substances such as onions, garlic, root vegetables, green leaves from tomato or eggplants, mushrooms and chocolate.
The main principle behind creating a cat food from scratch that offers you cat the optimal balance of protein, vitamins and minerals for good health keep these tips in mind:
- The base of the cat food should be a quality protein source such as chicken breast, fish, lamb, duck, or turkey.
- Refrain from adding starches such as white rice, corn, wheat, and starchy vegetables, etc. Cats do not require large amounts of starch in order to maintain good health.
- Be sure to add a vitamin and mineral supplement that includes taurine into each meal to promote good health. These can be found in any pet supply store or veterinary office.
- Do not store homemade foods for longer than 48hours in the refrigerator.
Homemade Cat Food Basics:
Choose a protein source and cook thoroughly. The meat should be cooked all the way through in order to destroy bacteria and parasites. Boil a small amount of brown rice to add to the protein to aid in maintaining healthy bowel function. Prepare the rice in accordance with package directions. Combine the ingredients and serve.
Once or twice a week, throw a chopped hard-boiled egg into the mix to add a little flavor. It is also recommended that you utilize organ meat such as beef liver as the protein source once weekly as well as using properly prepared fish (with bones) twice a month to ensure your cat is receiving the proper amount of calcium.
Make sure that you monitor sodium intake, as it is very easy for cats to consume more than is necessary for good health. Excess sodium can cause electrolyte imbalances and kidney damage. Cats with certain health concerns, such as diabetes, liver and kidney disease, will require more complex carbohydrate and less protein to help control vital blood components and reduce stress to the organs.
As with any dietary change, consult with your veterinarian before changing your cat’s diet to a homemade diet to ensure that you are feeding your pet appropriately. He or she may want to monitor the cat for a few months to ensure that the change is well tolerated.