If you love your pet and can’t afford the high ongoing cost of pet food, you may be interested in creating homemade cat food! We dug into this subject after receiving an email from a reader who has been adopted by three adorable furbabies. Unfortunately, money is tight and pet food doesn’t quite fit in the budget.
At this reader’s request, we investigated the possibility of creating homemade cat food and homemade cat litter. Here’s what we found.
What is cat food, anyway?
Packaged, commercial cat food is a convenient way to keep your pet satisfied and healthy. The products are designed to meet certain nutritional requirements for growing, healthy cats.
Since cats are carnivores, they rely on the nutrients in meat products. Thus, most pet foods include a lot of protein, some fats and a small amount of carbohydrates. The food usually includes other ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids.
The ratios in commercially prepared cat food are specifically created and balanced to create the optimal diet for your pet.
Should your cat eat homemade cat food?
It is generally recommended that pet owners purchase prepared pet food to ensure that their pets are getting the nutrients they need. It can be difficult to recreate the balance of commercially produced pet food when you’re creating it at home.
However, I recognize that there are circumstances that may occur which require you to make homemade cat food for your pets. These situations can include budget concerns, emergencies and more.
Furthermore, I live in an area that is densely populated by barn cats and other strays. They don’t have access to commercial cat food, yet they survive and even thrive. They do this because they are instinctive hunters, and our area offers a lot of natural prey. Clearly, a cat does not need commercially produced food to survive.
Should you use raw or cooked meat in homemade cat food?
There is a strong debate about whether you should use raw or cooked meats in your homemade cat food. Some prefer a raw diet, while others prefer it to be cooked.
A raw diet can be very dangerous. There are numerous bacteria in raw meat-based diets, including E. coli, Clostridium, and Toxoplasma Gondii. The harmful bacteria can pose a serious threat to the human that prepares the homemade cat food and interacts with the cat.
As the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuft’s University observed, “These health risks are particularly serious for the elderly, infants, pregnant women and their fetuses, and individuals with compromised immune systems. Infections can even be passed on in everyday interactions between you and your cat.”
Whichever you choose, protect you and your pet from salmonella and other food-borne diseases by adhering to food safety rules. Be aware of how long the meat is left out and be careful to store it safely.
Homemade Cat Food Recipe #1: Tuna
This first recipe is fairly simple. It takes just two ingredients and its very easy to put together! The website I referenced states that it should cost about 36 cents per day.
Mix 8 1/8 ounces of drained, light canned tuna and 1/4 of a tablespoon of corn oil. It is recommended that you add 7/8 teaspoon of Balance IT Carnivore Blend or the recipe will present 16 essential nutrient deficiencies.
Homemade Cat Food Recipe #2: Chicken
This recipe has three ingredients, so it’s slightly more complicated than the others. However, it is very affordable and easy to create.
You’ll need 2 1/8 ounces of chicken thigh meat, 2 1/4 ounces of chicken breast meat and 1/4 tablespoons of corn oil. Roast the chicken thigh and breast meat. It should be skinless and boneless. After the chicken is cooked, mix it with the corn oil and 7/8 teaspoons of Balance IT Carnivore Blend.
Homemade Cat Food Recipe #3: Pork
This next recipe is similar. Since pork is slightly more costly than tuna, this recipe may be slightly more expensive.
You will need 2 3/8 ounces of ground 84% lean pork and 3/8 tablespoons of con oil. Cook and crumble the pork. Drain it. Mix the meat into the corn oil and add 7/8 teaspoons of Balance IT Carnivore Blend.
Are nutritional supplements and vitamins important to homemade cat food?
Unfortunately, yes. I realize this increases the cost of your homemade cat food but without these supplements your beloved feline may suffer from nutritional deficiencies.
If you choose to create homemade cat food, remember this.
Cats do have specific dietary needs. They need protein from meats or fish. They need amino acids, such as taurine and arginine, which are also derived from meats and fish. Fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and water are also important to their diets.
Studies by the Journal of Nutritional Science have found that homemade cat food diets are generally insufficient nutritionally. If you choose to use homemade cat food, please note that Low Income Relief cannot be held responsible for any consequences of that decision. If you choose to use homemade cat food recipes, you do so at your own risk.