How to Prepare Homemade Cat Food: Recipes and Tips

I’ve been thinking about incorporating more homemade food into my cats’ diet for a while now. As you know, the diet of domestic cats is a crucial aspect of their long-term well-being. It’s a good way to prevent future digestive diseases while providing them with the nutrients they need. Although the range of quality cat food and canned wet food is becoming more extensive, I have many questions about their diet being based on processed foods, which are not recommended for us humans.

Over the years, the idea of preparing homemade food for cats has become more common instead of relying exclusively on commercial foods. Traditionally, feral cats were fed leftovers generously provided by neighbors in the area, so it’s not something new. However, it surprises me that more and more people living in shared open spaces with cats are buying large quantities of cat food as their primary source of nutrition.

The trend toward homemade cat food is due to a growing concern about the quality of ingredients in processed foods and a desire to provide felines with more genuine and personalized nutrition.

5 Benefits of Homemade Cat Food

Some of the benefits of incorporating homemade food into your cats’ domestic diet are:

1. More Genuine Nutrition

When you prepare homemade cat food, you have complete control over the ingredients. You can choose high-quality proteins, healthy carbohydrates, and avoid unnecessary additives. Traditionally, cats did not eat dry kibble or canned food; they hunted prey and consumed fresh proteins and high-quality fats.

2. Diet Customization

Each cat is unique, and their nutritional needs may vary. When you prepare food at home, you can customize your cat’s diet to meet their specific requirements. For example, if your kitty has food allergies or special dietary needs, you can adjust homemade food to cater to these needs. And, of course, their preferences.

3. Sensory Enrichment

Homemade meals are often tastier and more aromatic, which can stimulate your cat’s appetite and improve their eating experience. The variety of fresh ingredients can provide homemade cat food with a range of smells and flavors that resemble what they would find in nature.

4. Reduced Unnecessary Carbohydrates

Cats are natural carnivores and do not need large amounts of carbohydrates in their diet. Many commercial cat foods contain a significant presence of cereals and carbohydrates. Homemade recipes allow you to control the amount of carbohydrates they consume, which is essential for proper nutrition.

5. Long-Term Health Improvement

Providing a balanced and natural diet can have long-term benefits for your cat’s health, such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Homemade food can help control weight, prevent diseases, and keep cats in optimal health.

However, it’s important to approach homemade feeding with care and consider the following considerations.

Flea doesn’t need to breathe when there’s delicious food

Safety Guidelines for Homemade Feeding

Food safety is a fundamental concern when preparing homemade cat food.

  • Toxic Ingredients: It’s crucial to avoid ingredients that are toxic to cats, such as onions, garlic, grapes, and raisins. It’s also important to ensure the hygiene and proper cooking of food to prevent foodborne illnesses.
  • Diet Balance: Homemade diets must meet all of a cat’s nutritional needs. Imbalances can lead to long-term health issues.
  • Consult a Veterinarian: Before making significant changes to your cat’s diet, you should consult a veterinarian to ensure it meets the specific nutritional needs of your pet. In matters of health, the internet is a great source of information, but also misinformation, unfortunately.

Transitioning to Homemade Cat Food

We’ve already provided a good introduction to how our beloved felines can benefit from homemade food. With our new mindset, the crucial moment arrives: a successful transition where commercial food gives way to a greater presence of homemade food.

Transitioning to Homemade Cat Food

We’ve already given a good introduction to how our favorite felines can benefit from homemade food. With our new mindset, the decisive moment arrives: making a successful transition where commercial food makes way for more homemade food.

Gradual Transition to Homemade Diet

The transition to homemade cat food should be gradual to avoid digestive disorders like diarrhea or vomiting. Introduce homemade food progressively alongside store-bought food and increase the presence of homemade food over time. This way, you’ll give their digestive system time to adapt to the new diet.

Cats are creatures of habit and can be particularly sensitive to abrupt changes in their diet. We know that cats can be a bit “finicky” when it comes to their food. They are used to the texture and taste of the foods they already know, so an abrupt change can lead to them rejecting the new diet, no matter how fantastic it is. A gradual transition increases the chances of acceptance.

Constant Monitoring

In practice, pardon the specialists, but you are the ethologist of your cats. Ethology is based on observation as a form of learning and understanding of felines. During the transition, you should be that observant person, always paying attention to your cats’ responses and any signs of digestive discomfort, behavioral changes, or health issues. Cats may need time to adapt to new flavors and textures.

Weight Control for the Animal

It’s not always easy to get your cat on the scale. In my case, it’s practically impossible. They perceive the scale as a strange instrument with malicious intentions, and it’s very difficult to keep them there for two seconds. During the transition, monitoring your cat’s weight is important. Make sure your cat maintains a healthy weight with no sudden changes in trends. Homemade food is a favorite for them, and its interesting flavors may affect their already insatiable appetite.

Stay strong, try not to give in to desperate food requests. Help them determine the healthy amount of food they should consume. Keep in mind that a domestic cat exercises much less than one in an open space, so their caloric needs are lower as well.

Cat eating homemade cat food

Risks of Human Food for Cats

At this point, we must make an important clarification. Homemade cat food and human food are not the same thing. In other words, before offering your kitties a bowl of your food, you need to consider some health-related considerations.

Some foods that are safe for humans, such as onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, chocolate, and xylitol, can be toxic to cats and cause poisoning. Furthermore, human food may not meet the specific nutritional needs of cats, which could lead to nutritional imbalances and digestive problems. There’s also the risk of allergies or intolerances in cats, and the danger that they may ingest bones and pieces that we can separate but could cause obstructions or damage in their gastrointestinal tract.

When it comes to foods high in salt or spices, offering them to cats can pose additional risks. Excessive salt consumption can raise cats’ blood pressure, leading to cardiovascular diseases. It can also cause dehydration, kidney damage, digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea, and increased water consumption, which can negatively affect cats’ kidney health. Therefore, it’s essential to avoid high-salt foods in cats’ diets and opt for safe and balanced options to ensure their well-being.

What Foods Should Be in a Cat’s Diet

The BARF nutritional pyramid is a dietary approach for cats that focuses on providing raw and natural foods that mimic the diet cats would consume in the wild. Thus, the essential ingredients for preparing homemade cat food would be something like this:

  • Base of the pyramid: lean meat (chicken, turkey, lamb), fish
  • Intermediate zone of the pyramid: edible bones, animal organs like liver, kidneys, and heart
  • Top of the pyramid: cat-friendly vegetables, small amounts of oil
Source: Aniforte.co.uk

Examples of Homemade Cat Food Recipes

Here are some examples of homemade diets specifically for cats at different life stages, including kittens, adults, and senior cats.

Important note: remember that it’s essential to consult a veterinarian or nutritionist before implementing a homemade diet for your cat, especially if it includes specific dietary supplements like in this case. Please note that this is a personal blog created with the utmost rigor and based on articles from specialists, but the author is not a specialist.

Recipe for Kittens (2 to 6 months)

This homemade diet for kittens is rich in proteins, fats, and calories for healthy growth.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 250 grams of lean chicken or turkey meat
  • 2 teaspoons of salmon oil (a source of Omega-3 fatty acids)
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup of cooked and mashed pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon of calcium supplement

Instructions:

  1. Cook the chicken or turkey and cut it into small pieces.
  2. Mix the meat with the rice, pumpkin, and salmon oil.
  3. Add a calcium supplement to ensure a proper balance of calcium and phosphorus.

Cost:

Approximately 4 euros for 4 servings. Keep in mind that the initial purchase of some ingredients, like supplements, will increase the cost of the first preparation.

Recipe for Adult Cats (1 to 7 years)

This homemade diet for adult cats provides balanced and appropriate nutrition to maintain a healthy weight.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 250 grams of turkey breast
  • 100 grams of chicken liver
  • 2 teaspoons of fish oil (a source of Omega-3 fatty acids)
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup of cooked and chopped carrots
  • 1 teaspoon of taurine supplement

Preparation:

  1. Cook the turkey and chicken liver and cut them into small pieces.
  2. Mix the meat with the rice, carrots, and fish oil.
  3. Add a taurine supplement to meet the cats’ nutritional needs.

Cost:

Approximately 4 euros for 4 servings. Keep in mind that the initial purchase of some ingredients, like supplements, will increase the cost of the first preparation.

Recipe for Senior Cats (Over 7 Years)

This homemade diet for older cats focuses on maintaining joint and digestive health.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 250 grams of salmon
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil (source of monounsaturated fatty acids)
  • 1 cup of cooked and mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of cooked and mashed peas
  • 1 teaspoon of glucosamine supplement

Preparation:

  1. Cook the salmon and flake it into pieces.
  2. Mix the salmon with the potatoes, peas, and olive oil.
  3. Add a glucosamine supplement to support joint health.

Cost:

About 6 euros for 4 servings. Keep in mind that the first purchase of some ingredients, such as supplements, will increase the initial cost.

Conclusion

Feeding your cat with homemade food is an adventure for both your cat and you, which can be beneficial when done correctly and balanced. It offers a range of advantages, such as ingredient control, diet customization, and sensory enrichment. Every cat is unique, and homemade feeding allows you to tailor the diet to meet individual needs.

However, you must approach this option with extreme care, considering food safety and your cat’s specific nutritional needs. Always consult with a veterinarian or an animal nutrition specialist before making significant changes to your cat’s diet to ensure their long-term health and well-being. After all, that’s what it’s all about.

If you have a special recipe or advice to share, feel free to share it in our comments section.

Bibliography

Arsenio Coto
Arsenio Coto
Growth specialist, feline rookie. I write to learn and provide answers to the hundreds of questions I've had since Noa đŸ± became a part of my life.

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