If you would like more control over what goes into your cat’s bowl, learning how to make your own cat food might be your best bet. But just feeding your cat tuna all day would not do the trick. Homemade food can help cats with sensitive stomachs avoid allergens and eliminate processed ingredients, as well as encourage timed feeding instead of free-feeding, which can benefit cats’ digestion and weight management. Making your own food can also help your wallet. Here is what you need to know.
Cats are carnivores
While you may be vegetarian or vegan, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their shorter, more acidic digestive tract has evolved specifically to digest meat, not veggies and carbohydrates.
Cats need added vitamins
Your cat needs some very specific vitamins and minerals to maintain proper health, including vitamin A and Taurine.
Commercial cat foods come with these already mixed in, but if you’re making your own, add them yourself to avoid health problems like heart disease or even blindness.
Keep the bones
Cats hunt and eat entire animals — including organs and bones when they are un-domesticated. For this reason, meals made of solely muscle meat can cause a lot of harm. This is great for dental health and mental stimulation. All that gnawing and chewing is what keeps their mouth so healthy.
Consult with your vet before changing diets
While many tout the benefits of homemade cat food, it is not for everyone.
Your cat may have unique nutritional needs or be sensitive to new food. Always consult your veterinarian before making major changes to your cat’s diet, especially if your cat is still a kitten, getting on in years, or has health concerns that require a special nutritive balance.
Get the right supplies
The Feline Nutrition Foundation offers a comprehensive recipe on its website that uses bone-in chicken thighs and includes several variations and adaptations.
Necessary equipment includes a meat grinder, stainless steel mixing bowls, a dishwasher-safe cutting board, a very sharp knife, a kitchen scale that goes up to 10 pounds, and storage containers or bags.
Know the risks
There is opposition to raw and homemade diets within the food safety and veterinary establishment because of the risk of transmitting pathogens. But veterinarians also caution that dry or prepared cat food can also carry bacteria that can make us sick. Always practice safe handling and hygiene whenever handling food for you or your pet.
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