Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:17 AM

More Advantages to a Homemade Diet

Whenever I take care of someone else's cats, I am always reminded of how yucky commercial cat food is. Despite the inconvenience of having to make your cat's food from scratch, there are many advantages to doing so. Regular readers already know the health and nutritional pluses of a homemade diet. As if those were not enough, I have a few more for you!

For one thing, the mess associated with leaving cat food out all the time is astounding. Since cats aren't really built to chew on dry cat food pellets, they wind up turning their heads this way and that trying to grind this junk-food product with a carnivore's teeth. This, as I remember well, winds up spreading bits of dry cat food here and yon. And that's not even counting the pieces of food that get batted around the house!

Canned cat food is another matter altogether. I had almost forgotten how gross it smells! Unless you clean those cans out really, really well, your trash (or, hopefully, your recycling bin) will stink. Re-hydrating the leftover cement-food in the bowl by soaking it in the sink is also an adventure, since adding water seems to renew the smell, too. Then, there's the "cat-food breath". Cats on homemade diets have sweet-smelling breath, unlike those who eat commercial food. And, if you are like me and like to snuggle with your cats, waiting a while after mealtimes is a must if you don't want to smell Fluffy's canned cat food dinner in her fur!

There is also the other end of the smell issue: The litter box. Cats on commercial diets tend to have bowel movements that are a bit stinky. There's a reason there are so many cat-litter box deodorizers and and scented cat litter brands on the market! Because there are so many fillers in the food, the stool is also much larger than it would be if the cat was hunting for itself. Homemade food produces small, nearly neutral smelling stool. Since the animal is extracting almost everything from the food, there is little waste to pass out of the other end. I certainly don't miss the days of smelly cat boxes, that's for sure.

All the above reasons are selfish, really, since they address our concerns as pet owners rather than the needs of our companions. But making homemade cat food is work, and we should get some extra benefits for this additional effort (besides healthy, long-lived cats). So, during the dog days of summer when the garbage is smelling up the house and/or attracting wildlife on the back deck, remember this article. You may just decide to cook up a treat for Fluffy after all.
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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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