If you want to know how to make your own cat food you’ve come to the right place. Making your cat homemade meals isn’t just about throwing a bunch of ingredients together and hoping your kitty will like it. Many well meaning pet parents create their own recipes using raw or partially cooked food, but end up doing their cat more harm than good.
Lack of education in a cat’s dietary needs, as well as preparation methods are mostly to blame. We all want the best for our pets and do what we can to keep them healthy. You may provide home cooked meals for yourself everyday, and believe your pet is entitled to the same.
It’s a wonderful idea to make homemade food for your cat, and I’ll be sharing tips and tricks to get you started, but please check with your vet first! I’m no expert, and everything you’ll find here is down to research and my own beliefs.
In this post you’ll discover changing trends in the pet food market and why more pet owners are turning to natural foods. We’ll look at a cat’s nutritional needs and the best way to ensure your kitty gets a healthy, balanced diet.
Plus, we’ll look at the pros and cons of making your own cat food, so you can make informed choices. Lastly, I’ll be reviewing a selection of books showing how to make your own cat food including recipes. Plus, natural, grain free cat foods as an alternative!
Why trends are changing in pet foods
Not so many years ago cat owners fed their kitties scraps from the table, and many kept cats to rid their homes of mice. This was before buying cat food in tins or packets became the norm. Nowadays, most commercial cat food contains a blend of nutrients designed to keep kitties nourished.
In more recent times trends are changing as pet owners are looking for higher quality foods to feed their fur babies. While standard commercial food is fine, many are beginning to compare their own diets with that of their furry companions. You’ve probably read the need for a diet that’s varied, containing little in the way of processed foods. Many are now applying this to their pets as well!
If you’re anything like me, you probably check ingredients on food labels. The words “organic” and “natural” stand out, quickly encouraging you to buy! As an animal loving nation we’re humanising our pets, and demanding the same quality in their foods as in our own.
Natural, organic pet foods are a growing market with pet owners spending millions on quality products. However, there’s also an increasing trend in homemade pet food.
Why feral cats often have the healthiest diet
Not all cats have the luxury of a loving home and many survive outdoors in small colonies as ferals. You’d think these poor creatures would be malnourished and in dire need of a bowl of food. Well, surprisingly most get along really well. A healthy feral will hunt multiple times a day, killing approximately nine mice. This provides ferals with all the essential nutrients they need.
In contrast, our pampered cats don’t have to hunt for food. In fact, obesity is on the rise in cats just as it is with us. Too much food and lack of exercise is as bad for your cat as it is for you. Knowing how to get your cat to exercise and stay in shape can extend her lifespan as well as provide quality of life.
Your cat’s nutritional needs
So now you know the importance of a balanced diet for your cat lets look at her nutritional needs. It’s important for your cat’s health that you include all of these in any food you make.
Taurine is an essential amino acid found in most cat foods. Lack of this nutrient over time can lead to problems with vision, digestive health, heart muscle, and pregnancy. When commercial cat food started to become popular, it was found that some cats were dying due a lack of taurine. Since those days most cat food contains taurine.
You can buy taurine supplement for cats and add it to homemade food. If the supplement is in capsule form you find them easy to break open and sprinkle into food. Never worry about adding too much as cats simply pass any excess amounts in urine.
Cats need higher amounts of protein in their diet than dogs. This in found in raw meat, and carcases. Cats don’t get protein from any other source as they’re carnivores. As they’re lactose intolerant you can’t include cheese or milk.
Calcium is vital for your cat’s health, and in the wild this would be consumed from carcases and bones. Using boneless meat in your recipes would require adding it in supplement form.
Why your cat eats grass
Many pet owners ask why do cats eat grass. There are many reasons, One of them being it contains folic acid, an essential nutrient your kitty needs.
There are many other enzymes, minerals, and trace elements your cat needs for optimum health. One of the best ways to ensure your kitty gets all the nutrition she needs is by adding a multi-nutritional supplement. “Better in the raw for cats” is a quality premix that you add to raw meat. It’s advertised as being made from 100% human grade ingredients.
This product is great as it takes all the guesswork out of preparing homemade cat food. All your kitty’s nutritional requirements are found in this handy mix.
Cats use protein and fats for energy, so their need for carbohydrates is far less than for dogs. If you’re worried about making your own cat food and not sure if it’s the right thing for your cat you could always talk to your vet.
There are certainly pros and cons in making pet food at home. You need to understand what you’re doing before making any attempt at making your kitty a homemade dinner.
What equipment do you need for making cat food?
The biggest expense will be a grinder. It’s worth buying a good one as it will give you years of service. You’ll need to grind meat and bones together when making raw cat food, as this is how they’d eat their prey in the wild. The Kitchener heavy duty meat grinder has a powerful 500W motor with 3 speeds. Stainless steel cutting blades make grinding meat and bones a breeze. You’ll also need to invest in individual plastic trays for freezing.
The pros of making your own cat food
Making your own cat food means you know exactly what’s included! Some commercial cat foods contain very undesirable ingredients. Many are packed with fillers such as grain or cereals. Though this won’t harm your cat there’s no nutritional value in them.
Once you know how to make your own cat food and have the right equipment, you can save money. Many quality cat foods are expensive, and over a year you’ll save a lot of money. Of course, the initial cost of equipment will be a big expense, plus supplements. However, it will pay for itself many times over!
Cons of making cat food
The main con is not getting it right! However use a product like “Better in the raw for cats” as suggested earlier, and you should be fine. There is also a danger from salmonella poisoning. Both humans and cats are at risk. Only buy meats from a source you know and trust. Handle the meat the same way you would for yourself. Thoroughly clean chopping boards and work surfaces. Freeze batches of food soon after making it. Don’t leave food out to get warm as bacteria can quickly spread.
There is always a risk your cat won’t like the food you’ve made. My advice is to make a small amount first. If your cat’s been used to packet or canned food, it may take a while for her to adjust. It’s always best to introduce new food gradually, so don’t throw any food out just yet! Some cats have likes and dislikes just as we do. If your cat doesn’t like a particular type of meat just try another.
Recipes for making your own cat food
I don’t have any recipes I’ve personally made, but I can recommend the following books. Each one is packed with natural cat food recipes for you to try.
Purr-fect Recipes for a Healthy Cat: 101 Natural Cat Food & Treat Recipes
This book has both recipes and a wealth of information on nutrition and keeping your cat healthy. You can look inside the book for chapter headings and introduction. Plus, you also get to read the first two chapters. The author gives a lot of valuable information for free, but you’d need to buy the book for recipes. There are also interviews with dietary experts, and a lot of very detailed material. It’s available both in kindle and paperback format. You can buy the book here
Homemade Cat Food For Beginners!
This book contains a variety of different recipes and is aimed at those completely new to making homemade cat food. It contains tips and tricks, as well as all the necessary steps required to get started. The book is available in both kindle and paperback format. You can preview the first few pages as well as list of contents. You can buy the book here
My recommendation for high quality cat food
Lastly, if the idea of making your own cat food sounds too much like hard work, here are a few of the highest quality cat food productsI can recommend for your kitty. Though some are a lot more expensive than regular brands, the ingredients are far better.
Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain Free Recipe Natural Cat Food & Toppers
This product has 3 times more real chicken than many other brands. Plus the source comes from cage free birds. It’s also advertised as being grain free, as well as containing no animal meal.
This is great for your cat as she’ll be getting a far more natural diet. It’s also great for animal welfare as all chickens used are free roaming.
Instinct Ultimate Protein contains guaranteed levels of natural probiotics. This is great for your cat’s digestive health. This freeze dried kibble is made from real meat and whole food ingredients. This is great news if you want to feed your cat quality food without making it yourself!
Some buyers find their cats eat less when being given this food. No fillers and high protein means your cat doesn’t have the need to eat more. Compare it to eating a plate of junk food instead of a nutritious stew. The stew will keep you feeling fuller for longer, whereas junk food will quickly leave you feeling hungry!
Some buyers mention the expense, but also note the difference in quality to cheaper cat food. A couple found their cats didn’t like the kibbles.
Price: You get a 101b bag for $42.74, or 1.81b bag for $12.99
This is great as you have the option of trying a small amount first before committing yourself to the large size. There is also a medium size as well, at 4lb for $29.99
Nulo Grain Free Dry Indoor or Adult Trim Cat Food with BC30 Probiotic, Salmon or Duck & Lentils Recipe
This grain free cat food contains no artificial ingredients or fillers. It’s advertised as having a high meat content ,and contains patented BC30 probiotic. Manufacturers claim the disc shaped kibbles help prevent build up of tartar and plaque.
Giving your kitty kibbles as part of her diet can help prevent dental disease. Low carbs help support your cat’s weight, keeping her slim and youthful.
Price: Nulo Grain free is available in either a 5lb bag at $22.99, or a 12lb bag at $42.09 The only drawback is there’s no small size. There’s no guarantee your cat will eat Instinct Ultimate kibbles. However, many buyers report their cats loved it! Some even noticed health benefits.
As I’ve previously mentioned, it’s always a good idea to make changes to your cat’s diet gradually. A sudden change in food can sometimes cause diarrhea or other side effects. Always talk to your vet if you have any concerns about your cat’s diet or health.
Are you ready to make your own cat food?
So now you know how to make your own cat food, do you feel it could fit in with your lifestyle? It does require a bit of your time each week. However, once you’ve learned the basics and have the right equipment, it can become part of your routine.
Just as you make and freeze your own meals, so you can do the same for your cat. Knowing your kitty is getting wholesome food as opposed to some of the low grade cat food on sale, it can give you peace of mind.
In this article you’ve learnt a bit about your cat’s nutritional needs, as well as the pros and cons of making your own cat food. We’ve looked at a few recommended recipe books as well as equipment you’ll need to get started.
For those who decide it’s too much like hard work, I’ve reviewed a couple of natural, grain free cat foods. These look very good and a near to homemade food you can get.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please share:) I’d love to know your thoughts and ideas, or any experiences you may have had with making cat cat food. Please leave your comments below.
Wishing you a purrfect day 🙂