Homemade Cat Food Recipes
February 5, 2010 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm hoping some of you have had some success with homemade cat food recipes. Can anybody share their experiences? Either raw or cooked recipes are fine with me.

I understand that homemade food is not ideal for all cats, and there may not be any nutritional benefits to it, so that's not what I'm asking about. I also understand that there will be a transition period and cats can't start new diets cold turkey. I'm really just looking for recipes, and experiences with recipes. To be clear, I am not interested store-bought cat food, even Evo (but I am interested in necessary store-bought cat food supplements). Thanks!!!
posted by jabberjaw to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Have you read either The Natural Cat or Dr. Pittcairns Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats?
I have used recipes from both.

I disagree that homemade food is not ideal. It just involves a lot of reseach and preparation, and most pet owners/guardians aren't willing to put that time in, or are unable to.

Good luck!
posted by bolognius maximus at 10:04 AM on February 5, 2010

To add to my previous post, the cats really like the poultry recipes, but really did not care for beef.
posted by bolognius maximus at 10:12 AM on February 5, 2010

Our cat loved the Instincts Plus chicken but not the beef one. We mixed the chicken one with ground chicken, which she loved and even hunted a bit, but ground turkey didn't go as well. We switched back to ground chicken but she just ate her dry food instead. Ditto with the beef flavor. This is a cat who'll try to bury chocolate candy wrappers since she senses it's food (we'd never give it to her though) but she didn't seem to get that the ground meat was food, other than that first time.

Between that, us being vegetarians, and not liking the contamination potential, we ended up with dry food again, though we switched from regular Blue to the Wilderness one. She loves it as much as the original.

Looking forward to hearing how others have done for a second try.
posted by jwells at 10:43 AM on February 5, 2010

The information available here, written by a veterinarian, may be useful to you.
posted by vers at 11:06 AM on February 5, 2010

For a while, I was feeding home-cooked meals in the evening, and a regular high-quality dry food in the morning (so they could get all their taurine and stuff). Here's the recipe I used:

2 eggs
1 boneless chicken breast or thigh
Small handful of green peas
Splash of fish sauce (I happened to have a bottle around)

Microwave chicken breast until it's falling apart (5 minutes?). Crack in eggs, and microwave another 2-3 minutes until it's all cooked through. Toss in peas, add fish sauce.

They loved it!
posted by ErikaB at 11:33 AM on February 5, 2010

Many years ago, I adopted a cat who turned out to be quite sickly; the vet told me it was as though her autoimmune system had crashed, and she was allergic to everything. We tried various prescription foods, but she still scratched and clawed at her skin. I finally found a recipe in Anitra Frazier's The New Natural Cat. I don't remember the recipe exactly, but it had chicken, carrots, eggs, wheat germ(?), and various vitamin powders. It gave the option to use raw or cooked chicken, but since I was concerned about her immune system, I cooked the chicken. Anyway, it completely cured her. After a year on the homemade stuff, we were able to transition her to high quality commercial food with no problem. She lived long and healthy life. The main reason I didn't keep doing homemade is because it's expensive and time consuming, but if you have the time and money, it's worth it.
posted by SamanthaK at 11:46 AM on February 5, 2010

Seconding bolognius maximus on the Dr. Pitcairn book. I don't have cats, but I do feed my two dogs from that book. My vet tells me each visit, to keep up the excellent work.
posted by sarajane at 12:37 PM on February 5, 2010

I decided last year to transition my cats to a home made raw food diet. They are older, and so the transition is slow, but we are getting there! I am currently using the no-bone recipe from Cat Nutrition.org, and my cats are now very, very excited about their raw food. On days when I've run out of home-prepared and I give them a can of Evo, they are definitely put out! I have got them to go from cooked, finely ground meat (no bone, have to use bonemeal), now they eat totally raw chunks of meat (still no bone). We are working our way towards bone.

I don't know what stage of transition you are in, or if this is just at the idle experimentation stage. If you are starting out or experimenting, then you can just try them on some raw chunked or ground chicken thigh to see what they make of it. If they are unimpressed, you can lightly cook it, to make it more appealing to a cat used to canned food. Try this for one meal, so that you don't need to worry about whether you have all the supplements they need, you are just testing the waters. When I started I just got some boneless skinless chicken thighs, lightly broiled them and put them in the food processor with some water to make something more like canned food. I often read that the younger your cat is, the easier the transition will likely be. Kittens may happily go straight to raw chunks, as they haven't yet developed a preference for canned or kibble, and you can engage their prey drive with the smell of raw meat.

There are lots of different styles of home-feeding. Within the raw feeders, there are the whole prey types, who snark about people who use supplements or grinders, arguing that by feeding whole mice, quail etc then you know all nature's requirements are right there, and that the chewing of bones promotes great dental health. I don't think I'm ready to buy whole prey, and I don't think my cats are ready for it yet, so I'll continue on my current path with pieces of raw animal, and work on introducing bone. There are other recipes that use vegetables and fruit to add fibre and antioxidants, but some argue that this is not species-appropriate. The Dr Pitcairn book (which I own) has a great selection of recipes, but personally I am trying to use meats my cats would naturally catch. The Dr Pitcairn recipes use various sources of protein like tofu and clams. Its nice that there are targeted recipes for cats with various common ailments though, so you can match the food for your particular cat.
posted by Joh at 4:40 PM on February 5, 2010

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