4.05.2007

Cooking for Cats


With all the pet food furor going on, a few people have mentioned that they're thinking of preparing food for their cats. If you can, you should! It's cheaper, it's better for them, and for goodness sakes, you know what's in it.

I started cooking for my cats in 1997 because I had an FIV-positive cat.

I can't recommend Richard Pitcairn's "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats" book highly enough. I've been using his recipes faithfully for ten years. (I also posted about it previously; you can get it used on Amazon for less than a dollar.)

It took a little while to get in the habit of cooking for the critters but now I'm convinced it's actually cheaper that commercial food, not to mention better for the fur babies. For convenience, I make large batches of food and simply freeze it.


I generally stick to ground turkey (turkeys are less heavily farmed than chickens), ground beef, and canned fish. I do worry a bit about the salt content in the canned tuna, mackerel, and salmon that I buy (I used to rinse it) BUT at least I know what "salt" is. (I get dizzy just looking at the labels on canned cat food.)

The Pitcairn recipes add meat/fish and eggs as the protein source to hot grains (I generally use cornmeal or oatmeal since they cook quickly and are inexpensive), so this isn't a raw or BARF diet. I add calcium in the form of ground eggshells -- I simply wash and save eggshells and grind them in a spice grinder.

For vitamin A, I use cod liver oil (important--get the UNFLAVORED kind!). You will need to add a little nutritional yeast (which cats seem to love), powdered kelp, lecithin, and vitamin C powder--all of which are available in the bulk aisle [and cheapest that way] at Whole Foods or your health food store. You'll also need a little vitamin E and taurine capsules (health food store again). Canola and wheat germ oil are nice for the necessary oils, but you can simply use butter.

Once you get the ingredients you're all set for quite awhile. With three cats, I restock on the nutritionals maybe every four months or so. And when I decided to prepare a diet for the cats, I wanted to make sure it was a balanced one, because the vets and pet food manufacturers want you to believe that you can't possibly make a healthful diet for your cats at home. (Not true...in fact, they could find one for themselves in the barn.)


I confess that I do feed my girls dry crunchies in the morning and my own food at night. I'm mixed on crunchies--but the cats are all extremely healthy; Grey Cat lived to a robust 16 years of age (over half his life on this diet) and Emma is now nearly 8 without a single vet's visit since her initial shots and spay. Isis and Morgan were 5 and 6 weeks old and have reached a hearty year on it; Graty, the cat who prompted me to begin preparing home-cooked meals for cats in the first place, lived virtually asymptomatically with FIV for six years until she finally succumbed to breast cancer.

If any of y'all have any questions, please feel free to ask. It's a subject I've researched extensively, and I want all of our furbabies to be happy and healthy!



14 comments:

Obsidian Kitten said...

i forgot to mention how much less *stinky* the cat box is than when i was feeding them canned commercial cat food.

i could also tell horror stories about what has been found in canned cat food, and how badly regulated the pet food industry is. well, not really regulated at all, since it's watched by the FDA but by the folks who monitor livestock feeds.

because the laws are based on livestock feed, there are only FOUR things pet food makers are *required* to put on their labels, and it's not the actual ingredients. it's the percentage of moisture, protein, fat, and fiber.

Obsidian Kitten said...

i meant NOT under the watch of the FDA. scary, huh?

RheLynn said...

Wow - I would never have thought so much went into a kitty's diet - you've really done your homework!

Never seen taurine capsules in the health food store here either, but she would probably order such if asked.

Elizabeth said...

I do wonder about the necessity of the grains, though. What does the authour say about them? Current, current thinking is that they are not necessary but used as filler in commercial food.
Please discuss! Enquiring minds want to know. ( and I've been trying to wean the canned food off entirely and just do raw because of the cost and the current scare.

thursday said...

My cats will only eat the dry stuff - one of my cats won't eat tuna, one won't touch treats of any kind... I'd hate to work so hard and get all that stuff and have them refuse to eat it!

So none of your other cats got FIV from Graty?

Mouse said...

As the daughter of a holistic practitioner.. I am always interested in "homemade" versions of things seen on shelves.. especially animal foods and baby food items/formulas (for those of us who were unable to nurse our own children..). I regularly give my cat (and the other animals we've had) nutritional suppliments - though our cat won't eat wet food at all. The only food that isn't kitty kibble that the silly cat will eat is lunch meat from the deli... lol!

Chris said...

Does the book cover cats who need special diets? Chaos is on a FLUTD diet... And May seems to be sensitive to grains...

I hope you don't mind if I link to thise tomorrow.

aqoona said...

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Un6abe3y! said...

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it is very nice blog that gives you cat recipes
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aqoona said...

I think u got a good blog!!
I hope you can visit mine. It's all about Copycat Recipes at http://copycatcookbook.blogspot.com

Uncover the Secret Recipes from Your Favorite Restaurants!
Easily Prepare the Most Guarded Restaurant Recipes in Your Own Kitchen.
The same tastes and flavors for a fraction of the cost!
Learn to cook the highly guarded secrets behind dishes from:
» Red Lobster
» Applebee's
» Chili's
» Olive Garden
» T.G.I. Fridays
» Outback Steakhouse
» Starbucks
» +700 recipes from other most Famous Restaurants.

http://copycatcookbook.blogspot.com/

There's new 5 recipes each day!!

Csilla said...

Just wondering if there is a certain brand of taurine capsules or powder that you recommend.

gypceegerl

Obsidian Kitten said...

Hi Csilla! I just buy taurine capsules at the health food store. I get ones that I can open so I can sprinkle out the taurine. Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

how much of the supplements do you add? with every meal?

Obsidian Kitten said...

Thanks for asking. It depends on the recipe. I follow the guidelines in Richard Pitcairn's "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats" book.

There is a lot more info online now than when I originally posted this.

This looks like a good, recently updated tutorial on making homemade, grain-free cat food: http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood