It may seem easier to give a cat a scrap of the salmon or tuna you are eating, and they are likely to enjoy it - but proceed with caution when feeding cats food that their human family enjoys.
While cat foods tend to incorporate ingredients like chicken, salmon, or tuna in their recipes, they are formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition. So, if food is homemade, the same consideration needs to be taken as well in order to avoid having a malnourished - or ill! - kitten. Here's how to make healthy, balanced homemade cat food.
Before creating any homemade cat food recipes, make sure to speak with a veterinarian to ensure they will be meeting their appropriate nutritional needs. “If your cat has an underlying disease, I recommend using a recipe from BalanceIt.com or Petdiets.com,” says Catological veterinary writer and adviser Dr. Michelle Burch. Sites like these are a great resource because they offer free, nutritionally complete and balanced recipes for healthy adult cats. In fact, the BalanceIt program was developed by a veterinary nutritionist! Alternatively, contact a certified veterinary nutritionist for a consult.
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Cats require several essential nutrients in order to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. These include:
Water: Water keeps a cat’s body hydrated.
Protein: Proteins help keep your cat’s cells, muscles, tissues, and organs, healthy.
Amino acids: One particularly essential amino acid to look for in your cat’s food is taurine.
Fat: An essential energy source for cats, fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in reducing inflammation and ensuring skin, joint, intestinal, and kidney health.
Carbohydrates: Another essential energy source for cats, foods high in fiber can help cats with digestion.
Vitamins and minerals: They can help ensure proper metabolic functioning and optimal bone and oral health.
Dr. Burch shares some recipes that allow for a balanced nutrient profile to help promote a healthy lifestyle for cats. “Healthy adult cats require 40% of high protein, 10-15% carbohydrates, and 45-50% fats in their diet,” says Dr. Burch.
“The supplementation found in the meal recipe ensures adequate heart health with taurine from the Wysong, joint and heart health with the fish oil, and intestinal health with the psyllium husk,” says Burch.
3 pounds poultry thigh meat/bones/skin
4 ounces of chicken liver
1.5 cups of water
1 Tablespoon bone meal
1 Tablespoon whole psyllium husk
1 Tablespoon Wysong AddLife Dog & Cat Food Supplement
10 scoops Welactin Fish Oil liquid
½ teaspoon salt with iodine
Bake the poultry thigh meat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 to 55 minutes. Debone the meat from the cooked thighs once cooled and cut into bite-sized pieces. Cook the liver in a non-stick skillet for approximately 20 minutes on low heat. Halfway through cooking, stir and break up the meat. Boil the eggs for 8 to 10 minutes. Once the eggs have cooled down, remove most of the shells and cut the egg into bite-sized pieces. Mix all cooked ingredients and remaining ingredients together.
This recipe will yield enough for one cat for approximately 10-12 days with eating 4-6 ounces a day.
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1 pound raw tuna (cut into 1” cubes)
Put the cubes in a single layer on an oven-safe pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours until dry and jerky-like. Turn the tuna once after 2-3 hours. The tuna jerky needs to be refrigerated and can be kept there for 3-4 weeks.
Dan Richardson of tuxedo-cat.co.uk has a tried-and-true recipe that his cat Whiskey adores. He calls them Tuna Balls.
1 standard size tin of tuna
1-2 tablespoons of catnip
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of coconut flour
2 tablespoons of tap water
Preheat the oven to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all the ingredients listed together using a blender. Take the mixture and shape it into round balls and put them on a lined tray. Put it in the oven for up to 15 minutes... or as long as it takes for them to brown. Let them cool and feed them to your cat.
Whatever you feed your cat, be sure to consult their vet before changing their diet - whether adding items or taking items away - and they can let you know if it’s a healthy change for them at this stage in their life!