Wednesday, November 11, 2009 9:01 PM

Things to Consider When Feeding Cats a Homemade Diet

If you are still seriously considering feeding a homemade raw or cooked diet for your cat, I strongly suggest that you do your own research on the subject. It is all well and good for one person to give advice on a subject, but I believe it is only possible to make a well-informed decision on anything by reading all you can about it, both pro and con, and then figuring out how you feel about it. I do believe that either homemade diet is superior to anything commercial, even prescription diets. You need to discover for yourself how and why this is so, and understand biologically why cats, just like humans, "are what (they) eat".

That said, I do have a few tips that I will pass on in regards to homemade cat food, some of which I read about and others I discovered on my own. I've already mentioned the protein factor in homemade cat food, and I would like to extrapolate on that. First, don't substitute tofu for part of the protein. This is OK for dogs, whose protein requirements are not as stringent as those for cats, who of course would never eat such a thing in the wild. Also, tofu is bean curd, which could possibly cause intestinal upset. Also, never give cats raw egg whites (yolks are OK). I cook the whole thing in with the food, which works great. Raw albumen contains a substance called avidin, which prevents the absorption of B vitamins.

As I've mentioned previously, I don't add bone meal to the cat's food for the calcium component, due to the lead contamination issue. I use ground eggshell powder, which I make myself. I rinse the eggshells really well, then freeze them until I have a baggie full. I cook them at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes to dry them and kill any bacteria. Then, I grind them in a coffee grinder. A large ground eggshell contains about 2,000 mg. of calcium and 75 mg. of phosphorus, which is a good ratio for cats. I don't add this to the pot of food, but use it as the base for a daily supplement I make for my cats.

Whenever you cook meat for your cat, it is very important not to throw out any broth or drippings, as this is where the amino acid taurine will escape to. Cats with a taurine deficiency will develop serious eye and heart problems. I add taurine to the supplement that I give to my cats, as well.

If you decide to change your cat to a homemade diet, you will never regret it. I have a friend who has many cats, and she uses the food I make to treat elderly cats for a variety of problems such as hyperthyroid and chronic diarrhea. She claims it works better than prescription cat food and drugs, combined!

Just So You Know: For healthy cats, the stool becomes small and odor-free, since there is so little in the diet that the cat's body cannot use. What a bonus!
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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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