Hey, are you making my dinner?

(Related: Hey, what’s that in my food dish??, Consider the food-safety impact of your petfood delivery time, Hey, are you changing my food?, Hey, is that tuna good for me? , Roly poly isn’t cute, unless you’re a whale stocking up for summer, Never crash diet the moggie either, Kitty Allergies – Food)

So maybe after reading about cat food and how it’s related to your cat’s health, you’re thinking about becoming your cat’s personal chef. Good on you! We’ve not been able to manage, but if you succeed, do share your secrets.

But before then, here’s some info that may prove useful.

Home-Prepared and Commercial Raw Meat Diets
Many people have a strong negative reaction to the idea of feeding their carnivore raw meat but this is what a carnivore is designed to eat. Keep in mind that there are no hibachis or stoves in the wild. Also, wild cats do not always consume their prey in its entirety immediately upon killing it so the meat that they eat is not always from a fresh kill.

Cats are very different from humans with respect to their susceptibility to ‘food poisoning’. Cats have a much shorter transit time through their intestinal tract than humans do (about 12 hours, or less, for the cat versus 35-55 hours for the human). This is a very important point because the more time bacteria spend in the intestines, the more they multiply, eventually leading to intestinal upset.

Cats are designed to eat raw meat.

A properly handled and prepared raw meat diet has much less bacteria in it than many commercial dry foods. Commercial pet foods may also contain high levels of mold toxins from grains which are never a danger in a grainless raw meat diet.

There are several ways to feed a raw meat diet. One way is to prepare the diet yourself using a very simple recipe. This is my preference so that I can control the ingredients that go into the diet. My cats are thriving on a raw meat diet that I prepare using either ground whole carcass rabbit from a reputable farm, or whole meats (usually chicken thighs) from Whole Foods Market that I grind myself. I add just a few supplements to complete the diet.

In addition, the article goes on to say:

One common mistake people make when feeding a home-prepared diet is thinking that a cat can live on meat alone – without bones as a source of calcium. While meat must be the primary component of a feline diet, there is not enough calcium in meat (without the bones) to ensure that a safe calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is achieved. Always remember that calcium is not an optional “supplement,” but a very critical component of the diet. The bones must be ground with the meat (preferable), or bone meal must be added to the recipe.

This is pretty much what I said, in discussing the health of Didi Boy, a 20-year old cat who was fed a primary diet of raw meat (The importance of nutrition)

I did do some readup on preparing kitty grub myself. Here’s a list of references from the about cats site for your convenience:

Home-Prepared Cat Food – Cooked and Raw Diets for Cats

Many concerned cat owners have turned to home-prepared food for their cats in an effort to provide the very best diet. If you are interested in feeding your cat “naturally,” these articles, recipes, and features will pave the way toward an understanding of home-prepared food for cats.

  • Turkey Surprise –
    Thanksgiving turkey recipe especially for your kitties
  • Before You Try a Raw Food Diet for Your Cat – What You Need to Know
    Cats are obligate carnivores and their systems have evolved from thousands of years of eating a raw food diet in the wild. A raw meat diet supplemented with grains, vegetables and fruits, taurine, certain enzymes, and essential fatty acids will closely approximate the food your cat would get in the wild.
  • Natural Raw Food Diet for Cats – The Hows and Whys of Feeding Cats Raw
    A carefully home-prepared raw food diet closely approximates the diet cats would get in the wild; the diet to which their physiology is naturally attuned.
  • Raising Cats Naturally by Michelle T. Bernard
    Although this book encompasses the whole scope of raising cats as Nature intended, a large portion of it is devoted to the raw food diet the author feeds her cats.
  • Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets
    This book offers a plethora of information about diet related to health, and over 200 recipes for dogs and cats, but I found it a bit tedious to separate out the cats-relevant material.
  • Cats Top Picks – Raw Food Supplements
    The recent emphasis on cat food ingredients has caused many concerned cat owners to turn to a home prepared raw food diet for their cats. However, finding the necessary supplemental ingredients to round out the nutritional requirements can be daunting. These raw food diet supplements take out the guesswork and save time, in addition.
  • Product Review – Instincts TC from Feline Future
    Instincts, from Feline Future, was in the vanguard of promoting raw diets for cats, after a decade of research and analysis of cats’ natural diet. Mixed with raw meat, Instinct forms a complete and natural diet for promoting optimal health in your cat.
  • Product Review – Sojourner Farms European-Style Cat Food Mix
    Mixed with raw meat and fruit or vegetables, forms a tasty, complete and natural diet for your cat.
  • Kitty Is What Kitty Eats – Guest Article
    You have heard the phrase, “you are what you eat” and that applies to animals too. You can’t take a package of “dead” cat food and keep “life” in an animal. Guest writer Donna Watkins shares tips for herbs, fruits, and vegetables you can add to your cat’s diet to bring it alive.
  • Making Cat Food
    Noted veterinarian, Dr. Lisa A. Pierson, DVM, describes her experiences with raw feeding, and shares sources for protein such as chicken and rabbit, along with her notes on why certain ingredients are added or eliminated. A very worthwile read for someone interested in feeding raw.

Here’s other sites and pages worth checking out:

(Created: 8 Dec 06)


2 responses to “Hey, are you making my dinner?

  1. Pingback: The importance of nutrition « Tipped Ear Clan

  2. Great post!

    Catinfo.org is a great source of information on a homemade diet for cats, as is catnutrition.org. The Michelle Bernard book is excellent – blakkatz.com. These three sources, are all based on the work of Natasha at Feline Future (maker of Instincts TC powder), felinefuture.com.

    Some of the recipes you posted, however, do emphasize the importance of finding a *good* recipe that meets or better yet, exceeds, nutritional recommendations for cats.

    For example, one recipe you linked to:
    1 1/2 cups water
    1/2 tsp iodized salt (optional)
    2 teaspoons corn oil
    1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
    1/2 pound raw turkey giblets, chopped into kitty-bite-size pieces
    1/4 cup carrot, chopped fine
    1/2 cup chopped spinach

    With just a quick glance, I doubt this recipe contains sufficient calicum and other essential minerals. It may also be inadequate in taurine content. There’s absolutely NO need to be adding carrots, spinach, or rice to a cat’s diet! Cats cannot utilize carbohydrates – and, in fact, carbohydrates are linked to diabetes, IBD, and struvite crystal formation in cats. Cats also can’t process beta-carotene into necessary vitamins (like dogs and humans can).

    Personally, I don’t think a homemade diet is for everyone – some don’t have the time or patience to make it, or transition a finicky cat to it. I have no issue with those that opt to feed a commercial canned food diet with little to no grains. I would, however, IMPLORE with caregivers to STOP feeding cats dry “kibble” food. Dry food is high in carbohydrates and low in moisture and linked to many diseases, including diabetes, CRF, FLUTD, IBD, obesity, and cancer.

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