Cat Food Goo
September 30, 2010 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Cat Food Filter -- Seeking a supplement medium

Tl;dr: What's a homemade substitute for the goo portion of canned cat food?

We just started Spike on a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, which is essentially a powder to be sprinkled over his food.

Spike eats prescription dental dry food, for the sake of his teeth and our sanity. We aren't interested in going back to canned food full time. We've started buying the little cans of wet food to sprinkle the supplement over as an evening snack -- half a little can a day.

Thing is, those little cans are still expensive, and Spikers is only interested in the goo surrounding the chunks -- he just licks off the chunks and leaves them there.

I want a homemade alternative source of goo, because right now the expensive non-goo portion just goes into the trash.

We cook. We make our own chicken stock and whatnot. What can I come up with that Spike will like just as much as the canned goo, without tossing 79 cents in the trash every two days? Because this will just be a snack, it doesn't need to be nutritionally complete.
posted by freshwater to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I can think of two things that might work:

1. Nutritional yeast. Available at health food stores, I sprinkle it on the cat's dry food as a vitamin supplement and they go gaga for it - might be able to mix it with the supplement powder and get it eaten that way.
2. Pablum. Used to mix it with some warm water and a little canned food to feed sick cats and kittens.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 5:15 PM on September 30, 2010

Hit publish too soon: meant to suggest mixing up the pablum with some meat broth.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 5:16 PM on September 30, 2010

Ever tried canned pumpkin? Swear to god, cats love it, and it's good for them. (Fiber, vitamins... antioxidants... I don't actually remember why.)

Also: baby food. Spike will no doubt find any given meat puree to be irresistible.
posted by ErikaB at 5:19 PM on September 30, 2010

For what it's worth, no cat I've ever owned was ever willing to eat the chunks in the "chunks and goo" kind of canned cat food. They will eat the other kind of canned cat food though - the kind that's all meat and no goo. (It looks like a can of tuna or salmon when you open it.) So if all else fails, you could try a different type of canned food.

Alternately, when I need to get pills into a cat, I usually grind it to a powder, then mix it with a little diluted Vietnamese fish sauce, and put it into a syringe and squirt it down their throats.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:47 PM on September 30, 2010

Best answer: I had good luck with the paste-looking stuff that doesn't have chunks as well. You might be able to stir in a bit of chicken broth if you want to water it down some.

PS: You can stick the cans in the fridge. If you cover them, they usually last a few days, so it might be better for you to get the larger cans.
posted by Heretical at 6:23 PM on September 30, 2010

Seconding baby food, although that gets expensive at a buck a pop. But if it's PURELY a vehicle for the supplement, you can probably get 3 or so cat-snack-servings out of a jar.

Try a cat food without chunks. Friskies "classic pate." My cat completely scorns the meaty chunks and goo kind and prefers the homogeneous food (ironic). You can get several servings from one can, just keep it in the fridge in a small ziploc. (you don't blow through ziplocs this way if you rinse the Dedicated Ziploc and reuse)

It's quite possible your cat will drink straight up chicken broth and your problem is solved. Mine once went for Campbell's Chunky Chicken Soup. One cat I knew liked broccoli, and one other liked bananas. They are all weird little guys. So, really, ANY soft food or liquid is worth testing out (without supplement powder).

I'll have to see how canned pumpkin goes over!
posted by mostlybecky at 6:33 PM on September 30, 2010

Best answer: Make scrapple without the cornmeal--in other words, boil some cheap-tastic cuts of meat (pork liver and a hock or neckbones--not expensive), strip the meat from the bones, puree the meat with some of the gelatinized broth, cook it down a bit if it's too liquid-y, and pack into little baggies for freezing.

This is obviously an incomplete meal, but for something meat-y and gooey that's cheap and is a kitty delight. I suppose you could do the same with chicken or turkey necks or some such.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 6:45 PM on September 30, 2010

My two cats also dislike the chunky canned cat food and will leave the chunks on the plate licked dry, but they do love the Friskies "classic pate" that mostlybecky mentioned. It's worth a try.

Aww, Spike is such a cutie!!
posted by platinum at 6:46 PM on September 30, 2010

Response by poster: I suppose this was obvious to me, but Spike does not like the pate kind very much at all. He tends to eat two bites and walk away. Maybe watering it down would help.

He used to like canned pumpkin, but doesn't any more.

These are great though, keep 'em coming!
posted by freshwater at 7:42 PM on September 30, 2010

Best answer: When I serve the pate types, I put them in a little bowl with an equalish amount of warm water and then use a fork to break the pate up into a chunkless stew, My cats love it.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:34 PM on September 30, 2010

Best answer: You can actually buy packets of just the gravy, something I discovered when looking for something to tempt a sick kitty to eat. I found it at Petsmart.

Also, googling "cat gravy" has brought up some recipe ideas in the results.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:52 PM on September 30, 2010

If you use baby food or soup stock, be sure to carefully check the ingredients - you want something that does NOT contain onion or garlic powder, as onions and garlic (and their botanical relatives) are toxic to cats.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:20 PM on September 30, 2010

Best answer: The goo is aspic and you can sure as hell make your own.

Basically, home-made chicken stock (For the love of god WITHOUT onions, because of what LobsterMitten said), used to make up gelatine. Make it 'wet' so it's not hard cubes, and you should be golden.
posted by Quadlex at 9:39 PM on September 30, 2010

Best answer: One of our elderly cats has thyroid issues and was losing a lot of weight. He's on medication for that, plus the powder.

We put cheapo chicken bits (big bags of thighs from Safeway seem to be fine) in the blender until they come out like some disgusting pink goo. The powder sprinkled on top seems to make it even more delicious. He can't get enough of the stuff, and he's gained back some weight, too. He gets the goo two or three days a week.
posted by vickyverky at 9:51 PM on September 30, 2010

Best answer: I came in here to suggest aspic, but Quadlex beat me to it.

Also, I ♥ Spike.
posted by Koko at 4:52 AM on October 1, 2010

Best answer: Reading Koko's comment, I realized I hadn't looked at the Cute Kitty Pictures (TM). He's adorable! I want to floof his fluffy white tummy :)
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:53 AM on October 1, 2010

My cats prefer "pâté" style catfood to the "chunks in goo" type. I add half a can of water and mush it up with a fork to make sure they're drinking enough water, and they seem to prefer it that way.
You'll probably also win with chicken baby food, plain yogurt, and the liquid from canned tuna.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:41 AM on October 1, 2010

Response by poster: For anyone who cares, I got a package of beef bones, and simmered them for about eight hours with salt and water. Then I took the bones out, and ran a stick blender through the remainder -- marrow, some cartilage-y stuff. This part was a little gross. Then I strained the stock and stuck it in the fridge. After about three hours, I was able to peel a layer of solid fat off the top. I now have a big bowl of beef jello. Which is kind of disgusting, but which kitty loves. It's soft enough that it starts to get liquidy at room temperature, and I have enough for months. So there you go.
posted by freshwater at 6:51 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

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