More on Cooking for Cats


Elizabeth asked about grains. I’m conflicted about this too, and think they probably aren’t necessary for cats. In the wild, cats wouldn’t get any more grains than they would digest from their prey’s stomachs, and possibly nibbling on a bit of grass here and there.

For me, the grains are more a cost issue; they make the food more affordable for me to prepare, and sometimes I do feed my cats fresh raw meat or fish. If you’re worried about feeding raw, it’s what cats prefer and I’ve seen no documentation of toxoplasmosis or other raw-meat transmitted problems with cats. I’ve also found that if the meat isn’t really fresh, they won’t eat it. (I myself like sushi, sashimi, and even steak tartare; if I wouldn't eat it, the cats won't either. Worry solved.)


I know people who feed raw poultry necks. (Note: Never cooked; cooked bones dry out and will splinter.) This ensures that their cats get to gnaw on nice, teeth-cleaning bones. I myself still worry about choking, but I think I’m overly paranoid. (Grey Cat did try to swallow a corn cob whole...) Here Morgan gnaws on a felted toy. Not, I might add, a nice, calcium-rich, chewy marrow-filled bone. This is probably something I should think more about.

Carrie asked about bonemeal. I used to buy bonemeal in the health-food store but it was really expensive. (Note: You definitely don’t want to use the garden supply type.) In the Pitcairn recipes, you can use bonemeal or the ground eggshells as a calcium source.


As for the taurine...it's optional because as far as I know studies are still conflicted as to whether cats really need it or not, but I add it just in case (one 500 mg capsule per batch of food). I just got 100 capsules for $7, and I know you can order them online as well.

I wait until cans of fish or ground beef go on sale. For example, I'll use four 15-oz cans of fish and 2-3 c. oats or cornmeal, and that makes about 8 lbs of food. Five lbs. ground beef or turkey with 10 c. oats makes 17-18 lbs. of food.

So if the salmon or mackerel costs $5 for four cans, that’s eight pounds of food I wind up with for my $5 (aside from the cost of the other ingredients). Not bad considering the cost of canned cat food. If the beef is $2/lb, I’ve gotten 17-18/lbs. of cat food for $10. (And of course you can make it in smaller batches as well.)

Isis, Morgan, and Emma

And no, none of my other cats got FIV from Grady. She was an amazing cat. I’d adopted her off of a stoop in the winter of 1995 and had never heard FIV at the time. When I found out from the vet that she had FIV I was quite worried, but she did live a pretty long, comfortable life considering her condition. FIV is not nearly as easily communicable as HIV; primarily FIV is transmitted through deep, penetrating bite wounds and infrequently from cats to their kittens during birthing or through infected colostrum or breast milk.

Hope this helps!


Chris said...

I'm learning lots! :) Thank you.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the update. One of my four is not as keen on raw as the others. I do cook the meat (sometimes).
I did try Instincts TLC
http://feline futures.com
which is a powdered supplement and fish oil capscules to add to raw meat. I assume buying them on your own is cheaper, maybe not. I probably won't stop the dry completely, due to cost issues as well as my multi-cat household, which means they don't always eat at the same time, or the same quantity all at once! This is more complicated than cooking for kids sometimes, really. I'm not complaining, just stating!

thursday said...

This is all quite helpful! I know my husband is interested in making food for our cats, but was worried about misinformation (seems to be a lot out there these days...). And my vet was trying to freak me out about FIV and the strays in our backyard (we don't vaccinate for that, blah, blah, blah). I think I'm over protective! Thank goodness I don't have kids.

Obsidian Kitten said...

fyi re. eggshells: i just rinse the eggshells a bit (so they don't get all stinky) and save them up until i have a bunch. then i spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. this makes them nice and brittle.

grind them into a fine powder (i used a mortar and pestle before i got a nut & seed grinder) making sure there are no large or sharp pieces remaining.

1 tsp. eggshell powder = about 1,800 mg calcium.

and i feel the same way about kids, Thursday! i worry so much about my cats, i'd be an absolute wreck as a parent of 2-legged children! rotfl

Puss-in-Boots said...

I buy Oscar the one-meal cans of cat food. Although they are more expensive, according to a lot of vets and animal nutritionists, they have a lot of minerals and vitamins essential for cats. He also has raw meat at night, plus cat biscuits and, of course, always fresh water.

Have a wonderful Easter.

Anonymous said...

Have you or others figured out the appropriate weight for young cats--under 5 years old? I am not sure of how much to feed and my kitty seems ravenous a lot of the time


Obsidian Kitten said...

The amount to feed will depend in part on your cat's activity level, living conditions (indoor vs. outdoor, cold weather vs. hot weather), as well as metabolism and other factors (like general health and age).

In my experience, my cats have done best when I feed them 2x/day and then remove the uneaten food. (Indoor cats in particular seem to overfeed when food is left out for them around the clock.)

As for the actual amount to feed, if your cat is ravenous but not overweight, perhaps you are not feeding enough or not enough protein (or minerals or vitamins or something else). Is your cat the right weight (not underweight)?

The Pitcairn book has good guidelines for amounts to feed. If you are totally confident that the food you are offering is nutritionally balanced and the quantity is sufficient, the hunger your cat is showing (if not just a way of demanding food on schedule) could be a sign of something else and you may wish to consult your vet.