Making Cat Food: Homemade and Raw Cat Food Diets Explained

Making Cat Food: Homemade and Raw Cat Food Diets Explained

Making Cat Meals: Selfmade and Uncooked Cat Meals Diets Defined

Is it ok to feed my cat homemade cat food

Selfmade cat meals used to scare me. I used to be afraid of nutrient imbalances, didn’t know what tools I wanted, and wasn’t able to spend hours of each month getting ready cat meals.

The questions had been countless.

Are there nutritionally balanced recipes on the market or is everybody following the one which “appears to be like like” it is smart?

Is it okay to present your cat bacteria-infested uncooked meals? Can individuals of modest monetary sources afford to make home made cat meals?

To search out the solutions to those questions and extra, I’ve consulted analysis papers from sources just like the British Journal of Nutrition, the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, and BMC Veterinary Research. I’ve explored discussion board threads and private accounts from cat meals makers. I’ve spent hours speaking to consultants in feline vitamin.

This useful resource is the results of that analysis. It’s made for somebody who’s contemplating making their very own cat meals however doesn’t need to kill their cat by feeding them an imbalanced food regimen. Possibly that’s you. If that’s the case, maintain studying to get some solutions and possibly a bit little bit of cat food-making confidence.

By the point you’re performed studying this text, you’ll:

  • Know if home made cat meals is best for you.
  • Have a greater understanding of the variations between home made and commercially-available cat meals.
  • Be aware of the various kinds of home made cat meals.
  • Be capable of compile a buying listing to your first batch of home made cat meals.
  • Have a number of tried-and-true recipes to bookmark or print for future reference.

Why make home made cat meals?

Homemade Cat Food Recipes

If you make your personal cat meals, you management what goes into your cat’s physique. You change into the cat meals producer, so you are able to do issues your approach.

Listed below are a couple of sorts of cats and individuals who can profit from home made cat meals:

Cats affected by allergic reactions.

As a result of making your personal cat meals permits you to select the proteins in your cat’s bowl, home made cat meals is ideal for allergic cats. In 2013, DNA testing found that almost all limited-ingredient or hypoallergenic diets contained proteins that weren’t talked about on the label. Mockingly, the examine discovered that of all of the unlabeled elements detected in pet meals, hen was the commonest. That’s proper—one of many main cat allergens.

Cats affected by IBD, IBS, or a delicate abdomen.

Whether or not your cat has persistent irritation or is experiencing acute GI misery, making meals at dwelling permits you to tailor their food regimen to work harmoniously with their physique.

Do not forget that whereas home made cat meals generally is a sensible choice for cats with well being issues, no recipe is the precise match for each cat. Cats with CKD, as an example, require a novel stability of phosphorus, magnesium, and different dietary parts. Not each recipe will fulfill these wants.

Anybody who’s annoyed by the pet meals trade.

In case you’re outdone by fixed remembers and may’t discover meals that meets your requirements, then home made meals is perhaps your resolution.

Selfmade cat meals isn’t good, and neither is business meals.

Homemade Cat Food vs. Store-Bought

Selfmade cat meals could be the best present you’ll ever give your cat or it could possibly be essentially the most dangerous factor you are able to do to them. Most individuals wouldn’t need to take care of that accountability. As a substitute, most of us go away it as much as consultants to formulate and manufacture our cats’ meals.

However the concept business cat meals is safer than home made meals is a misnomer. Makers of mass-produced business cat meals slip up day by day. Recollects can hit anybody and so they occur on a regular basis, however don’t assume that they’re the entire story. If one cat will get sick after consuming a foul can of meals, who will know?

Sooner or later, a manufacturing employee drops her gum within the cat meals. The following day, another person doesn’t get the thiamine ranges fairly proper. Human error happens in meals preparation operations on each degree.

A couple of examples of why you shouldn’t put full religion within the pet meals trade:

Even the sloppiest dwelling foodmaker wouldn’t fill their cat’s meals with melamine-tainted “wheat gluten”.

It’s unattainable to know what number of cats and canine died after consuming pet meals laced with toxic melamine in 2007. Those that keep in mind this mass recall know the sensation of betrayal skilled by pet guardians throughout North America, Australia, and China. This meals was presupposed to be secure, enjoyable, and wholesome—nobody suspected that it could trigger acute renal failure.

Cat meals producers produced taurine-deficient diets into the late 1980s.

When individuals warn that deficiencies are frequent amongst home made meals, do they neglect that taurine deficiencies weren’t acknowledged till the late 1970s, lengthy after the pet meals trade was well-established and churning out nutritionally insufficient kibble and canned meals?

After recognizing taurine’s significance in 1976, the NRC’s tips had been nonetheless unfastened and obscure on taurine, permitting extra cats to die from coronary heart illness related to taurine deficiency.

A 1987 article within the Los Angeles Occasions says that 1000’s of cat deaths had been brought on by taurine deficiency. The affected cats ate meals from main manufacturers like Hill’s Science Weight loss program, Purina Cat Chow, 9 Lives, and Fancy Feast.

All dry meals is poor in water, however who appears to care?

Your vet could discourage you from making home made cat meals as a result of its potential to encourage dietary deficiencies, however how do they really feel about the truth that dry cat meals is outrageously poor in water—crucial nutrient of all? Dry meals is linked to persistent dehydration and an elevated threat of feline lower urinary tract disease.

Common Moisture Content material Vs. Kind of Meals

Average % Moisture Content of Cat Food

Business cat meals contributes to the feline weight problems epidemic.

In response to Banfield’s State of Pet Health report, the variety of obese cats has elevated by 169% within the final 10 years. An estimated one in three cats is overweight. That’s not cute. It’s an epidemic.

Feline Weight problems/Obese Over Time

Feline Obesity Overweight Over Time
Knowledge sources: Association for Pet Obesity Prevention Surveys 2007-2017, Lund EM (2005): Prevalence and risk factors for obesity in adult cats from private us veterinary practices. International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine 3, 88–96.

Extra cats dwell indoors than ever earlier than, and they’re for the primary time in historical past nearly reliant on people for meals. They barely train and so they’re loading up on carbohydrate-laden meals and treats. When an obligate carnivore with zero bodily requirement for sugars or starches eats dry meals, their our bodies will naturally convert the surplus carbohydrate to fats.

Species-appropriate feeding might appropriate the rising feline diabetes downside.

Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, cat vitamin knowledgeable and writer of Your Cat: Easy New Secrets and techniques to a Longer, Stronger Life describes feline diabetes as “a human-caused illness that kills cats.” Dry cat meals—and a few carb-laden canned meals—flood your cat’s system with 500% – 1000% extra energy from carbohydrate than they’d eat naturally. A carbohydrate-dense food regimen could enhance your cat’s threat of diabetes and it will increase their threat of continuous to endure from the situation.

The ever-present “full and balanced” label means lower than you may assume it does.

In the USA, cat meals is formulated in accordance with the nutrient profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These nutrient profiles present a useful guideline for cat meals dietary necessities, however don’t assure that the labeled meals is nutritionally flawless.

Meals are examined in opposition to nutrient profiles or subjected to a 26-week feeding trial. This trial includes eight cats, two of that are permitted to drop out. If, on the finish of the trial, the cats haven’t misplaced greater than 15% of their physique weight and their bloodwork comes again regular, the meals is deemed match for {the marketplace}.

Clearly, dietary adequacy over the course of six months is hardly indicative of lifetime nourishment potential. Cats on criminally poor diets can produce healthy blood work till the deficiency has reached a essential stage.

Contemplating that almost all pet meals regulatory businesses and oversight teams don’t account for nutrient bioavailability, nutrient values after cooking, and barely require reliable feeding trials, there’s no authority guaranteeing that business cat meals is acceptable for each day feeding for the lifetime of your cat.

Once more, home made cat meals isn’t good. However neither is something on the cat meals aisle.

I’ve tried to undermine your religion in business cat meals, not as a result of business meals is all unhealthy—it may be very, excellent—however that will help you to see that no meals is flawless or fully secure.

cat raw diet

Selfmade cat meals could be as time-consuming or so simple as you need it to be. You don’t have to have countless free time or be a vitamin knowledgeable to arrange meals to your cat. You may make cooked meals, uncooked meals, or semi-cooked meals.

Selfmade Uncooked

That is the most well-liked sort of home made cat meals. It requires minimal supplementation in comparison with cooked meals. That doesn’t imply that uncooked meals alone is an ample food regimen. You’ll nonetheless want so as to add dietary supplements to make sure that the meals is nutritionally full.

Whereas some categorical issues in regards to the potential micro organism content material of uncooked meat, it’s vital to keep in mind that your cat’s abdomen acid is about 10 times more concentrated than a human’s. Cats have been consuming lifeless animals for 1000’s of years. Micro organism is extra a priority for you than it’s for them.

Selfmade Semi-Cooked

Semi-cooked meals undergoes a short baking course of, which kills floor micro organism and renders the meals safer than a purely uncooked product. It does, nonetheless, introduce some dietary variables. It’s tough to know precisely how a lot nutrient worth is destroyed throughout par-cooking.

Selfmade Cooked

Selfmade cooked meals is nice for individuals nervous about pathogenic micro organism, parasites, and different organisms that might make them or their cats unwell. Nonetheless, it’s tougher to get an entire and balanced home made cooked food regimen than a uncooked one.

Not all home made cat meals recipes are nutritionally full, nor are all of them balanced. When researchers from the College of California, Davis College of Veterinary Drugs analyzed 200 completely different home made pet food recipes in cookbooks and on-line guides, the team found that 95% lacked at the least one key nutrient. Solely 4 of the recipes analyzed had been nutritionally full and balanced.

That will help you to separate unhealthy recipes from good ones, listed below are a couple of dietary guidelines.

Our cats are genetically almost identical to African wildcats. Not like canine, their dietary wants haven’t advanced from their historic roots. Certainly, cats have solely been consuming business human-made meals for the final century. Previous to that, they ate what they at all times have—lizards, rodents, birds, and bugs.

After placing collectively 27 research on the food regimen of free-roaming cats, the authors of an article published within the British Journal of Diet reached some conclusions about nature’s dietary necessities.

They discovered that the macronutrient content material of a feral cat’s food regimen, with basically no entry to human meals or rubbish, was 52% crude protein, 46% crude fats, and solely 2% energy from N-free extract, a time period that refers to every little thing that’s not fats, fiber, or protein.

Macronutrient Comparability Chart – Selfmade vs. Business Cat Meals

That will help you perceive how home made cat meals compares to business meals, right here’s a comparability chart displaying the variations between macronutrient values present in a number of meals.

Homemade Cat Food

Meat Grinder (elective, however beneficial)

If you’re cooking your cat’s meals, it’s okay to feed them pre-ground meat with dietary supplements combined in. In case you’re feeding it uncooked, grind it your self the day you put together the meals.

When most butchers grind meat, they know that the meat might be cooked earlier than anybody eats it. Which means floor meat is held to a low sanitation commonplace in comparison with meat floor to eat uncooked.

Ideally, you’ll use a robust meat grinder to grind your meat with the bones intact. In case you don’t have a grinder robust sufficient to deal with bones, it’s best to both improve or use a grinder-free technique.

Weston Butcher Series #32 Electric Meat Grinder

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This highly effective grinder has sufficient muscle to deal with bones and enormous portions of meat. It prices over $500, so should you’re on a decent funds, you may select the Sunmile SM-G50.

Making Selfmade Cat Meals With out a Grinder

In case you have a Vitamix or equally highly effective blender or meals processor, it’s possible you’ll use it as an alternative of a meat grinder. Different much less highly effective blenders received’t be capable to deal with the bones, so don’t threat it.

In case you don’t have a Vitamix or a grinder, you may make your cat meals with out bones.

As a substitute of taking the ultra-natural strategy and grinding the meat and bones collectively, you need to use boneless meat and a bone substitute like bone meal powder or eggshell powder. One route is to make use of a meals processor or blender to grind the boneless meat and organs. Whereas it should take extra time, you can too mince the meat with a knife. Here’s a guide to grinding meat by hand.

No matter technique you select, I like to recommend leaving a couple of chunks of meat to your cat to chew and gnaw. That is good for his or her enamel and, I imagine, emotionally nourishing to your cat.

Slicing Board

When coping with massive portions of uncooked meat, a big slicing board actually makes life extra snug. No matter measurement, your slicing board ought to be dishwasher-safe so that you could simply give it a radical cleansing.

Dishwasher Safe Large Plastic Cutting Board

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After utilizing a small slicing board and always worrying about meat sliding onto the counter, I lastly invested on this massive board. It’s reworked my angle in direction of getting ready home made cat meals.

Kitchen Scale (elective)

These permit you to measure out exact quantities of meat and organs, guaranteeing that the recipe is balanced. You’ll be weighing massive quantities of meat, so be sure you get one that may deal with at the least 10 lbs. In case you don’t have a kitchen scale and aren’t ready to purchase one now, you may ask your butcher to measure particular quantities of meat and organs.

Digital Kitchen Scale/Food Scale - Ultra Slim, Multifunction, Easy to Clean, Large Display

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This economical kitchen scale has an 11 lb capability, so you may weigh a whole lot of elements with it. Some favor a scale with a built-in bowl, however I favor the flat high in order that I can pair it with my bowls or storage containers.

When you’ve gone by means of your guidelines of preparation provides, it’s time to get your arms on some elements.

A cat’s prey is roughly 83% meat, fats, pores and skin, sinew, connective tissue, and coronary heart, with 7% edible bone, 5% liver, and 5% different secreting organs. You’ll want to incorporate muscle meat, bones, organs, and dietary supplements.

Which Kind of Meat is Finest?

To stop your cat from creating meals allergic reactions, feed a rotational food regimen and don’t change into reliant on anybody animal protein supply.


Rooster is a cost-effective, easy-to-find meat. Rooster organs are simple to seek out in most grocery shops, so there’s no want to hunt out a butcher store or exit of your method to discover liver and different organs.

One other good factor about hen and poultry, generally, is that it has a excessive meat-to-bone ratio. Bones are an important a part of a home made food regimen, but it surely’s doable to present your cat an excessive amount of, leading to constipation or over-mineralization. The latter can result in urinary crystals.

You need to use both entire carcasses or elements of the birds. In case you select to purchase cuts of poultry, feed about 75% darkish meat and 25% chicken.  Darkish meat has extra applicable fats ranges, is extra nutrient-dense, and comprises extra taurine, however chicken has methionine, which can assist to stop FLUTD.


Turkey thighs, breast meat, and organs are often very appetizing to cats and generally is a good various to hen for poultry-loving felines. In case you can’t discover turkey hearts or livers, you may substitute hen elements.


What’s nice about rabbit is that it’s a pure a part of the feline food regimen. Some domesticated cats kill and eat wild rabbits half their measurement.

Rabbit is lean and is skinned previous to processing, so that you’ll need to add in further animal fats from poultry or different animals. Keep in mind, additionally, that rabbit has a better bone-to-meat ratio than poultry, so it’s possible you’ll need to take away among the bones earlier than getting ready rabbit-based home made cat meals.

Different Choices

You’ll be able to feed your cat nearly any sort of meat that’s handy for you. At any time when feeding wild sport, it’s vital to freeze the meat to kill parasites earlier than getting ready your cat’s meals.

Meats to Keep away from

Don’t feed your cat wild boar, pig, bear, or—if you will get it—walrus meat. These could transmit pseudorabies. Don’t feed your cat squirrel, both, as a result of potential for leptospirosis transmission.

Although it’s delicious and makes an amazing snack, ocean fish is contaminated with heavy metals and toxins, making it an inappropriate alternative for each day feeding. Cats who devour a uncooked food regimen comprised primarily of fish are prone to thiamine deficiency.

Organs and Hearts


Liver is jam-packed with vitamins. It’s a wonderful supply of vitamin A and D, together with copper and zinc. Rooster liver is essentially the most generally accessible sort, however you will get it from nearly another animal. It’s vital to notice that beef liver has extra copper than liver from different animals. If feeding your cat a beef-based food regimen, be sure you supply liver from one other species.

Hearts are muscular tissues, not organs. They’re a key supply of taurine.

Hearts are muscle meat, however in distinction to different sorts of muscle meat, coronary heart is wealthy in taurine. Cats can not synthesize this amino acid, but it surely’s important for good well being. Rooster hearts are the best sorts of coronary heart to supply, however they’re not as taurine-dense as a mouse coronary heart. Because of this, you may’t depend on hearts alone as a supply of taurine. It’s vital so as to add a taurine complement.

Word that should you’re feeding your cat home made cat meals on an occasional foundation as a complement to a nutritionally full product, you don’t want to fret about following an entire and balanced recipe.

If, nonetheless, your cat might be consuming uncooked meals day by day for per week or extra, you could comply with an excellent recipe. You’ll be able to select from recipes accompanied by a dietary evaluation, which is right, or comply with one which’s tried-and-true. Some recipes are neither, and these are those it’s essential to keep away from.

The next recipes had been chosen based mostly on a mixture of popularity and obvious high quality.

Selfmade Cat Meals Across the Net – Recipe Listing

This uncooked cat meals recipe was tailored from one revealed by the Feline Nutrition Foundation, a non-profit group lead by veterinarians and different people who find themselves obsessed with feline vitamin.

The recipe makes sufficient to feed one cat for about two weeks.


  • 2 kg or 4.5 lbs bone-in hen thighs, with 20-25% of the bone eliminated OR Four lbs or 1.Three kg boneless darkish poultry meat, ½ of the pores and skin eliminated
  • 200 g or 7 ozraw hen liver
  • 400 g or 14 ozraw hen hearts
  • .24 liter or Eight ozwater
  • Four uncooked egg yolks
  • 2000 mg taurine
  • 4000 mg salmon oil
  • 200 mg vitamin B advanced
  • 200 IU vitamin E
  • 8.Four g or 1 ½ tsp lite salt
  • IF USING BONELESS MEAT: 2 ¼ tsp eggshell powder


1. Arrange your workspace.

Making cat meals is a lot simpler once you’re ready! I’ve discovered that overlaying the workstation with newspaper or one other disposable overlaying is a good way to attenuate cleanup time after you’re performed making the meals.

In case you’re notably nervous about micro organism and an infection, put on gloves. Keep in mind to alter the gloves all through your course of to keep away from cross-contamination.

2. Weigh, depend, and measure your elements.

3. Use a pointy knife to cut a couple of quarter of the muscle meat into chunks.

Chunks give your cat one thing to chew on, which helps to attenuate tartar buildup and encourages good oral well being. Begin with small chunks or strips and work your approach as much as bigger items to your cat to gnaw on.

Chunking Chicken

4. Grind the remainder of the muscle meat with the organs.

Once more, you’ve got a couple of choices right here. Except you’ve got a really high-powered blender, you’ll want to make use of a grinder to interrupt down the bones.

You need the bone items to be pretty small. Any bones remaining within the grinder ought to be discarded.

These getting ready a boneless interpretation of the recipe can use a meals processor or blender to interrupt the meat right down to a smooth, mixable grind.


5. Whisk the nutritional vitamins, egg yolks, and water collectively in a medium-sized bowl.

In case you’re utilizing boneless meat, that is the place you’d combine within the eggshell powder. In case you’re grinding within the bones, simply use taurine, fish oil, vitamin E, B-complex, and lite salt.

Supplements (1)

6. Combine every little thing collectively within the largest mixing bowl you personal.

This stage can get messy, so select an enormous bowl to attenuate spillage. Use a big spoon to softly and totally incorporate the vitamin slurry into the muscle meat and organs. It’s crucial to combine properly—you don’t need your cat to have one nutritionally poor meal and one other that’s excessively supplemented. The concept is for every little thing to be absolutely included for a balanced food regimen.

7. Switch the meals into your storage containers.

Pull out your storage containers, place them near the bowl to keep away from messiness, and begin transferring the completed home made meals into your storage containers. A meals scale is useful right here. With out a scale, you’d both must get your measuring cup soiled or depend on guesswork to present your cat each day parts of uncooked meals.

A meals scale permits you to measure the home made meals within the container—no want to clean extra dishes or marvel should you’re giving your cat the correct amount of meals.

8. Freeze what you may’t use throughout the subsequent 48 hours after which clear up after your self.

I often use sanitizing wipes to wash up small messes whereas I’m working after which use cleaning soap and water to totally clear the counter, sink, and another dirty areas as soon as I’m performed. If I’m feeling notably nervous about sanitation, I’ll use an answer of water and bleach on high of every little thing else.

I understand that many readers received’t need to use these poisonous cleansing merchandise round their cats. In case you’re nervous about your cat ingesting these cleansers, a vinegar and water resolution will even work.

Most grownup cats want round 200 energy per day. This often interprets to six ozof home made cat meals, however in fact, the quantities will differ based mostly in your recipe. The above uncooked cat meals recipe from the Feline Diet Basis comprises about 35 energy per ounce.

Feeding Kittens

Ask your veterinarian or a revered veterinary nutritionist to guage your home made food regimen for kitten-appropriateness. Do not forget that your kitten’s meals necessities are calculated on their predicted grownup weight, not their present weight. They’ll have to eat about 5% of their predicted grownup weight every day.

In case you assume your kitten will develop as much as weigh a wholesome 10 lbs, they’ll have to eat about Eight ozeach day. A big-breed kitten like a younger Savannah may want 13 ozor extra.

The reply to this query is extraordinarily variable. It is dependent upon the worth of meat the place you reside, which sorts of meat you utilize, and what recipe you depend on.

Right here’s a value comparability chart that will help you perceive how home made cat meals compares to different sorts of meals. All averages had been calculated for a 10-lb cat and based mostly on costs in October and November 2018.

Cat Meals Day by day Feeding Price Comparability Chart

prices comparison chart

Commercial Raw Cat Food: $5.30
Freeze-Dried Cat Meals:         $3.67
Premium Canned                 $2.85
Financial system Moist:                         $1.22
Selfmade Cat Meals:           $0.81
Premium/Grain-Free Dry:    $0.70
Financial system Dry:                          $0.33


Surprisingly, home made cat meals is among the least expensive choices on this chart. Granted, that is on the low finish of the home made meals value spectrum. By together with natural novel proteins, you could possibly simply rachet the worth up nearer to the premium finish.

There may be a couple of method to feed your cat an amazing food regimen. It doesn’t must be all uncooked, all cooked, and even all home made. And it could change over time.

Don’t really feel any strain to go “all in” proper now. There’s no ethical dichotomy between uncooked, cooked, and business meals. It’s nice to feed your cat a mixture of all of these. In reality, feeding your cat a different food regimen is a good way to make sure that they continue to be wholesome and adaptable all through life.

For these afraid they received’t get issues proper, there are some nice choices which might be much less susceptible to imbalances and human error.

You may use a premix from corporations like TCFeline, EZComplete, and Alnutrin.

These complement blends take among the concern out of constructing your cat’s meals. As a result of every little thing is premeasured for optimum vitamin, the outcomes are at all times nearly the identical, diminishing the potential for deficiencies over time.

Otherwise you may skip the “field cake combine” strategy and simply go for a stellar business meals.

Take into account Nom Nom. This firm makes and sells human grade, homemade-style meals. Identical to meals you may make at dwelling, every pouch of their meals is made-to-order in small batches from restaurant-quality elements.

In regards to the writer

Mallory Crusta is a author and adventurecat fanatic on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of many founders of Wildernesscat – a web site for blissful, wholesome, and adventurous cats who’re fueled by nature. Go to Wildernesscat for radically pure cat vitamin, dwelling treatments, and way of life inspiration.

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