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How to feed a cat without really trying.
October 17, 2005 1:37 AM   Subscribe

What do I feed my new kitten?

Where I live, cat food is not available (or at least, it's prohibitively expensive), and I want to make sure my cat is getting all the nutrients he needs. There is some good info out there, but advice from cat owners would be reassuring. Can I just feed him whatever I eat? How do I make sure he's getting enough protein (I don't eat much meat)? What other vitamins do I need to watch for? Are there foods I should avoid?
posted by asnowballschance to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
 
Go see your vet. Now. S/he can give you the best advice. And make sure that your lil guy gets all his shots on time, and is spayed/neutered, and microchipping is also a good idea.

Also, do not give cats dairy, they are lactose intolerant!

Out of curiosity, where do you live that you can't easily get cat food? Could you order it on the internet? How were you able to get all your other supplies (litter box, brushes, toys, etc)?
posted by radioamy at 1:46 AM on October 17, 2005


(from his/her profile, it looks like snowballschance is in Benin)
posted by blueberry at 3:38 AM on October 17, 2005


I'm in Benin (West Africa). Cats as pets are relatively rare here, and are generally left to scavange on their own (and look it). The vet here is basically for shots. He recommended table scraps, but I have a feeling that giving it exactly what I eat (high carb, low protein) won't be enough, especially for a growing kitten.
posted by asnowballschance at 4:03 AM on October 17, 2005


You should find some recipes to make at home if you google for "BARF diet", "bones and raw food", or "Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods".
posted by amarynth at 4:57 AM on October 17, 2005


Can you have your family send you cat food from the States?
posted by davidmsc at 5:02 AM on October 17, 2005


Google [url=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=homemade+cat+food&btnG=Google+Search]homemade cat food[/url] and look through the various recipes and philosophies until you find something you can make work with the ingredients you can easily find where you are.

I would recommend ordering (or having someone buy and send you) a cat-specific vitamin powder or liquid that will provide the vital nutrients that you cannot easily provide with whole food ingredients. Cats need specific amino acids and generally need very low levels of magnesium and phosphates to prevent kidney problems (which is why dog food/vitamins are bad for cats); there's a good overview [url=http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/howto9.html]here[/url].
posted by Lyn Never at 5:47 AM on October 17, 2005


Definitely don't just fee table scraps. Some foods that we consume safely are bad for or even poisonous to cats--for example, onions are toxic. (That link discusses other foods, as well.)

I've gotten a lot out of The Cat Site forums, so you might want to check them out (especially the Health & Nutrition section). There are a number of conscientious cat owners there who feed home-prepared food to their cats. Just doing a quick browse, I found a couple of recommendations for the book Home Prepared Dog & Cat Diets; maybe you could have someone send it to you? Good luck!
posted by CiaoMela at 6:52 AM on October 17, 2005


I had a cat once who ate spaghetti, but in general, cats are carnivores. Don't feed your kitty carbs. Your cat will need meat, and an occasional snack of grass.
posted by mds35 at 7:16 AM on October 17, 2005


Definitely check out Lyn Never's links. MY cat got sick by eating cheap cat food. The ph levels were too high and she ended up with crystals in her urine which can actually kill a cat.
posted by jdl at 8:41 AM on October 17, 2005


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