Tuesday, November 10, 2009 1:00 PM

Preparing a Homemade Diet for Your Cat

Now that you have decided to start feeding your cats a homemade, cooked food diet, let's talk about exactly what this entails.

First of all, many people make the mistake of assuming that since cats are obligate carnivores, all they need to eat is meat, and nothing else. This is a mistake that can cause multiple health problems for your cat. Whether you decide upon a raw food or cooked diet, cats need more than meat in their diets. Of course, the cat food manufacturers tell us that cats love meat (true, of course) and then go on to create dry cat food which is anything but meat. When you open a can of cat food, it looks like meat and nothing else, right? But we all know all of the nasty additives that are found in these products, many of which are not even related to food (like melamine!). Therefore, we need to take our cue from nature, as well as those who understand cats and their nutritional needs, rather than corporations.

That said, let's talk specifics. How much of this diet should be made up of meat? Most texts will tell you to use 60% protein (meat), 20% vegetables and 20% grains. The protein portion can be made up of mostly meat (recommended) as well as eggs and organs. You can be a little bit loose with these percentages, but they are all necessary. I'm not sure that my recipe follows them all that closely, but it works very well, so I keep on keepin' on.

By taking one bit of advice here and another there, I figured out the recipe I now use. I buy whole chickens, since this is the best and most bio-available protein for cats (turkey runs a close second). I put approximately one pound of another type of meat in each batch just for a bit of variety: Beef, pork, gizzards, heart, liver, etc. Of course, all the "guts" that come with the bird go in the pot, as well. I usually toss in a few eggs, as they are a good, cheap protein that really helps thicken the broth, too. Brown rice, barley, oatmeal--these are good, easily digested carbohydrates that need to be added into the mix. Cover with water, simmer on low heat for about 50 minutes--hey, it's chicken stew! Last thing, I throw in a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, just so they are lightly cooked.

Once I remove the bones, the whole pot of goodies goes into the food processor, then freezer-safe containers. I take them out to thaw as I need them, so they're always fresh. Easy as pie!

Tomorrow, I'll discuss more cat nutrition tips to go along with your new homemade cat diet!
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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