If you have read our older blog postings, you may have noted that we've shared with you before on how inexpensive and healthier it is to make your own food. But what about the food for our pets? How hard can it be to make your own pet food?
And if it is really easier, should owners start cooking up cuisine for their fur friends? The answers to these questions aren't as straightforward as you may think. In this instance, let’s talk about making meals for man’s other best friend, cats.
Hold On, Why Make Our Own Cat Food in the First Place?
Regular ol' cat food from the grocery store works well enough and is already pretty cheap. With an average price of RM4.50 (for three packets of cat food) per day, it isn't any more expensive than buying an extra candy bar every day.
However, store-bought cat food does have its downsides as most of them contain preservatives, artificial colouring, emulsifiers, and stabilisers. In fact, some nutritional experts say that even the natural ingredients in store-bought cat food may not be optimal for your cat's health.
While this doesn't mean that cat food is dangerous to consume, some pet owners are vigilant enough to avoid such ingredients in their diet and extend that limit to their pets as well. For these people, preparing homemade cat food is the way to go.
Wait, But is it Actually Cheaper?
No. It costs about the same. In fact, if you're attentive enough to your cat's reactions to different types of food and eager to adjust your recipes to their tastes, it might even cost you a bit more on expenses.
Oh… It's Healthier Though, So That's Good
Yes, it is. But that depends on how you make your cat food. Remember how we said that even the natural ingredients in cat food may be bad for your cat?
Back in the 1970s, thousands of cats were mysteriously dying due to a form of heart failure known as dilated cardiomyopathy. It was only until the 1980s did people figure out the culprit: a taurine deficiency. Since then, pet food has been formulated to contain enough taurine for a balanced diet, although this assists in prolonging a cat’s lifespan, it still doesn’t address the issue of kidney failure.
What we're trying to say here is that even veterinarians working under big multinational pet food companies can still have huge knowledge gaps as far as proper feline nutrition is concerned. That being said, there are a few good rules of thumb to follow when formulating your own homemade recipe for your house cat.
A Simple Recipe to Get You Started
As we've mentioned, cats have their own dietary peculiarities. Just as we humans require our own ratios of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, so do cats.
We won't bore you with the details of a cat's particular necessities, however. If you don't want to think too much and are just itching to get started, here's a quick recipe you can throw together to make 3kg (about 100 meals for an average adult cat) of homemade cat food:
- 2kg chicken thighs with bone.
Ensure that about 20 to 25% of the bone is removed from the total amount of meat used. >Remove the skin from half of the thighs but keep the fat from the meat. Weigh the meat >after you have removed these skin and bone amounts.
- 200g raw chicken liver
- 400g raw chicken heart
- 240 millilitres boiled water
- 4 raw egg yolks
- 4g wild salmon or wild caught small fish oil
- Add egg yolks to the water and whisk together
- Grind up the meat (you can do this at the shop or with a grinder if you have your own)
- Put the meat in a bowl and slowly mix in the liquid prepared earlier
- Portion them out for storage
If you are wondering if it is safe to feed your cats raw chicken, here’s a fun fact for you.The short and acidic digestive tract of cats allows them to digest raw meat, albeit preventing them from contracting food poisoning. Having said that, you can still opt to cook the chicken and its giblets prior to serving it to your cats but do note that the cooking process will destroy the taurine content in raw meat.
One IMPORTANT Thing Before Giving it to Fluffy!
We hope you haven't gone ahead and made the recipe yet. Because before you even buy any of those ingredients and start grinding up your cat chow, you should always consult your local veterinarian first.
Read Also: The Unexpected Costs of Owning a Pet
Your vet will be able to tell you if the recipe you've chosen is good for your cat and also recommend some recipes of their own as well.
Many people are used to giving their pets leftovers of their own food too but this is a major no-no if you want your kitty in optimum health and to live for a longer time.
We can't stress this enough: Do not feed your cat whatever you like without consulting the vet.
What NOT to Give to Your Cat
There are some things you should never ever give your cat as those things might be poisonous, make them sick, or just terrible for your cat in general. Those items are:
- Milk. This looks cute on cartoons but not so in real life: Cats turn milk into diarrhoea. Don't do this to them.
- Onions. These cause anaemia (red blood cell deficiency) in cats.
- Alcohol. Cats get alcohol poisoning way faster than humans and it's lethal.
- Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate. Caffeine (in coffee and tea) and theobromine (present in chocolate) are toxic to cats and can make them very ill.
There you have it. If making food for yourself can be a rewarding, cheap, and nutritious experience, you can do the same for your cat too.
Can’t wait to start on your pet-food adventures? Awesome! Here’s a final tip from us to make your meal prep hassle-free and fulfilling: get a credit card. Bid adieu to fumbling through your wallet for exact change when paying for your groceries when you have a credit card in hand. If you’re not sure where to start, our comparison tool will help you to compare and decide. Happy hunting!