Hey...what do you call that? - Photo by Nimir-Ra
Learn how to make homemade cat food here. There is, though, no single formula. People (including the experts) have slightly differing opinions. Personally, I have gradually been drifting towards making it for some time now (some people spell this "home made" by the way). This gradual change of opinion comes about because of researching, looking at, and thinking about regular cat food. Regular cat food, the kind we buy in the supermarket in the UK is not that good; some is downright bad, to be honest (and compared to the USA it is not that cheap either). And to be fair the top end products are quite good but expensive. There is not much grain free cat food about. And an exclusively dry cat food recipe is arguably not wise. What's ash in we cat food? It just doesn't instill confidence.
In the United States, where there is a far wider range of foods either for people or companion animals, it seems that one can find good quality cat food in a tin at a reasonable price. That said, homemade cat food, despite the effort required to make it, is probably cheaper and more in line with what a wildcat would consume when feeding on prey.
Warning: Unless we know what we are doing it can be risky making our own food as it is difficult to ensure the food is balanced. There are reports of malnutrition in cats caused by pet keepers making their own food. These are guidelines but please go cautiously.
Update: I have duplicated and significantly expanded on this article at: Raw Food Diet
The problem is making certain that we do it right. We need to make sure our cat gets the right supplements including taurine. This makes us nervous about trying. It does for me anyway. There are more reports of cats getting ill eating homemade cat food than cheap junk commercial cat food. Where to get decent information about it? Well, I think that the best place is cat breeders. Many cat breeders have a very good handle on at least two things: medical treatment of cats in their charge and homemade cat food. Not all feed their cats with homemade cat food, however. Some provide a variety of homemade and bought in food, for example. But many do have extensive "front line", at the sharp end, experience of feeding cats with food prepared from scratch and are able therefore to monitor the effects and refine and perfect. It's the best experience you can get.
These are Bengal Cat breeders. They are based in the United States. The same or similar rules apply to the UK or any country, of course. In the UK prices are higher but the supplements can be bought in the UK. However, I am not sure Kitty Bloom is available in the UK. Mixing one's own supplements would have to do, or get Kitty Bloom shipped from the USA.
So I obtained my information from purebred cat breeders and some recommended website as well. The underlying modus operandi is meat (protein) in the form of chicken (usually), to which is added a range of supplements.
It would seem that chicken is the usual meat content in cat food recipes. No doubt this is because of price and its suitability for a cat that must eat meat (flesh to use a non-human term). However, Mark Pennington of Mystre Bengals (located in Houston, Texas, tel 281-538-9590) uses a sophisticated blend of chicken, organ meats and beef. It is a recipe that has proved successful for many years.
The video above is not from me and covers some tips about the hazards and expense of homemade food for cats. Vets in America are generally against homemade cat food. The reasons are genuine and should be observed but are the vets in the pockets of the big pet food manufacturers? Are they promoting pet food because the manufacturers are frigthened that their lucrative market is in jeopardy. Cat owners are increasingly dissatisfied with commercially made cat food......Now back to Mark's recipe:-
Homemade cat food - raw recipe:
Mark uses the following ratio when making raw:
» 2/3 of the total mix should be chicken, bones and all (uncooked)
» Of the 2/3 chicken, 1/3 of that should be organ meats such as chicken livers and chicken gizzards.hearts
» 1/3 of the mix should be beef, Mark uses beef stew meat from Wal-Mart
» (actual amounts /weight of each is up to you depending on how much you want to make, Mark uses 10 whole chickens, and about 6lbs of the stew meat and that makes about 8-10 gallons of mix and feeds all our cats for about 3 months)
» 2 small containers of plain yogurt, non flavored
» 2-4 jars of squash baby food
» 1 can of 100% pure pumpkin
» Kitty Bloom – Mark adds about ¼ tsp per serving (Kitty Bloom is a complete supplement containing 16 Vitamins, 10 Minerals and taurine, a proven essential ingredient in the feline diet - see more about supplements below). Mark figures he can get about 6-8 servings out of each bag of raw we make so depending on how much you make add that much to total mix, or in each bag and mix up in there, or you can add to food daily. I've mentioned taurine above. Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats. Some breeders think Bengal cats need more than other cats. This spreadsheet sets recommended dosages but remember please the jury is out on amounts.
In the USA, Kitty Bloom can be ordered it from: http://www.mystre.com/kittybloom.htm. I am not sure if they ship internationally.
» You can find a local retailer for Chicken Soup for the Kitten Lovers Soul here:
The grinder Mark uses is found here:
Here is another homemade cat food recipe from Jim:
Jim uses chicken necks (or thighs from Wal-Mart in the USA) or thighs if making up a smaller quantity as the central ingredient in his homemade cat food.
He grinds up a tub of meat...probably between 10 and 15 pounds (the cheap grinder mentioned above is recommended in the USA, currently costing less than $100). He dumps in 4 taurine capsules, 4 L-lysine capsules, some beneficial bacteria (either 4 capsules, or around a half ounce of the bulk powder). He grinds up 4 calcium tablets (usually he gets the powder in bulk) and he adds around a cup and a half of dry oatmeal and 4-6 ounces of tomato juice. He mixes this well.
He actually grinds and mix around 200 pounds at a time using plastic tubs (also from Wal-Mart) and cover the meat directly with Saran Wrap and put the top on the tub, and freeze it. For two cats you would probably freeze in one pound baggies...maybe a pound and a half; enough for a feeding, anyhow, he says.
Maryll uses homemade cat food recipes from the websites below, grinding her cats' food as they like it that way. The other way, I presume is what she calls the "prey model", replicating cat prey, which is in a whole or more or less a whole state:
Maryll also offers dry Chicken Soup for Cat Lovers to her cats This seems to be high quality dog or cat food manufactured in the USA. The USA is well known for the variety, quality and quantity of its food products. She recommends the grinder referred to above.
Maryll buys human grade supplements, like Salmon oil, dry Vitamin E, probiotics, B-Complex, powdered taurine and L-Lysine (much easier to deal with than capsules), from www.vitaminshoppe.com.
» L-Lysine is a necessary building block for all protein in the body. L-Lysine plays a major role in calcium absorption; building muscle protein; recovering from surgery or sports injuries; and the body's production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies (src: Wikipedia verbatim under license, see below)
» Taurine is an essential amino acid. Read about Bengal cats and Taurine. "I use Taurine Powder from Now Foods, which is a human-grade supplement for my cat. It is completely tasteless." and " Kitty bloom has Taurine in it and they like that. I mix it into their wet food completely." (quoted breeders)
» Probiotics are dietary supplements and live microorganisms containing potentially beneficial bacteria or yeasts. According to the currently adopted definition by FAO/WHO, probiotics are: ‘Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’.(src: Wikipedia verbatim under license, see below). This is why Mark above adds plain yogurt to his recipe.
» B-Complex is: Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin, includes nicotinic acid and nicotinamide), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine), Vitamin B7 (biotin), also known as vitamin H, Vitamin B9 (folic acid), also, vitamin M, Vitamin B12 (various cobalamins; commonly cyanocobalamin in vitamin supplements) .(src: Wikipedia verbatim under license, see below)
» Salmon Oil is added to strengthen immune systems. I also is claimed to increase fertility and reduces the risk of heart disease. (src: Active Pet Feeds)
A Yahoo Group that seems to be active is called CatNutrition.
Other recommended sources of supplements for homemade cat food are:
Taurine and Calcium from Kirkman Labs http://kirkmanlabs.com/ (thanks to Jean Danforth). A good all in one vitamin supplement recommended is http://www.platinumperformance.com/
Update 2-Jan-08: Homemade Cat Food - Here is another recipe and links:
Add powder (Instincts) to the raw meat mixture:
Also, daily add salmon oil (keep refrigerated and add fresh daily to one
feeding of meat):
4 cups Instincts powder
10 cups water
Mix the above
10 pounds turkey thighs (skinless and boneless)
6 pounds beef bottom round
2 pounds beef liver
4 tins sardines (water packed and add the liquid)
Mix in the Instincts powder.
Put it into freezer bags or Ziploc freezer containers and take them
out when needed.
It's important to buy a professional quality meat grinder that way you will
save on grinding time. We purchased ours from a Fish & Tackle supply store (USA).
Twice weekly add egg yolks to a morning feeding (no whites).
This recipe gives cats perfect poops, no diarrhea, and on the raw there is
much less stool because so much of the food is utilized. Notice at
least twice as much urine though which is a good thing.
This is from Mara of Dazzledots Bengals -- thanks Mara. I hope you don't mind me publishing your great recipe here. I have provided a link in return. If you want anything else just ask.
Here's another USA recipe for homemade cat food - original source unknown:
To make one batch:
4 cups Instincts powder; mix in 10 cups water. (Let it stand to thicken while grinding the meat.)
Using the middle plate (not ultra-fine, not coarse) grind:
10 pounds turkey thighs, skinless and boneless
6 pounds beef bottom round, no fat
2 pounds raw beef liver
4 tins water-packed sardines
Add the powder/water mixture and mix well.
Place into individual Ziploc containers or bags and freeze for 2 weeks.
We take out the raw food to thaw, as needed. Before feeding, we heat the thawed meat in the microwave until it's slightly warm. We leave the food down for a maximum of 15 minutes. What is left can be refrigerated and used for the next feeding, but discard if there are leftovers from the second feeding of the same meat."
Makes about 50 cups.
Click on this link to see the Wikipedia® License src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version, November 2002 Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA - - no other conditions to the license are added.
Comments adding to this would be great......