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Homemade Cat Food and Raw Cat Food

Category: Cat Care & GroomingCat Nutrition
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What Do Cats Need to Eat?

As obligate carnivores, cats need:

⦁ Protein from meat or fish
⦁ Amino acids like taurine and arginine (from meat or fish)
⦁ Fatty acids
⦁ Vitamins
⦁ Minerals
⦁ Water
⦁ Carbohydrates like rice and corn in small amounts are fine, but they aren’t necessary for a cat’s diet. However, a modest amount of carbs will provide useful energy and may reduce the cost of a home cooked diet, says Rebecca Remillard, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist who works with the MSPCA Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston and maintains a dietary consulting business.
Nutrition guidelines for cats are available through the American Association of Feed Control Officials.

Raw Cat Food: The Risks and the Rewards continued…

“There are a lot of people who want to feed raw. I tell them they have to be aware of zoonotic (animal to human) disease transmission, food safety, and contagion issues. I don’t think veterinarians should get upset about it, but they should make clear the health issues,” Remillard says.

Remillard says raw meat diets are neither safe nor nutritionally sound. She’s backed up by the American Animal Hospital Association, which warns against the risk of salmonella poisoning to both the cat and human members of the household.

“There are a lot of people who want to feed raw. I tell them they have to be aware of zoonotic (animal to human) disease transmission, food safety, and contagion issues. I don’t think veterinarians should get upset about it, but they should make clear the health issues,” Remillard says.

Feeding cats a raw meat diet also leaves too much room for variables, another reason she doesn’t advocate such a diet. The potential for slip-up is high if the owner goes out of town and the food is left out too long, or if he substitutes one ingredient for another, she says.

Lisa Pierson, a veterinarian in Lomita, Calif., is familiar with the arguments and disputes them passionately on her own web site. She says she hasn’t had issues with bacterial contamination in the six years she has made her own cat food because she is careful: She knows where the meat comes from, she parboils mostly rabbit and bone-in chicken, grinds it herself, and adds minerals like taurine to make sure her cats are eating a balanced diet.
She says it’s also cheaper than higher-quality canned food and would take an owner of two cats about two hours a month to make.

If you can’t find a supportive veterinarian and you are determined to go raw, go to www.catnutrition.org or www.petdiets.com, both of which provide detailed information.

A Cooked Diet: The Risks and Rewards

Little scientific evidence exists either for or against a cooked diet for cats.
Some, like Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, warn against making raw or cooked cat food at home because of the importance of getting the right quantity and proportions of nutrients.
Remillard says she has talked to many cat owners eager to switch to homemade cat food in the wake of melamine poisoning in commercial cat foods. And although she doesn’t push homemade cat food diets, she says they can work — as long as cat owners consult a veterinarian-nutritionist to formulate one.

Raw Cat Food: The Risks and the Rewards continued…

“There are a lot of people who want to feed raw. I tell them they have to be aware of zoonotic (animal to human) disease transmission, food safety, and contagion issues. I don’t think veterinarians should get upset about it, but they should make clear the health issues,” Remillard says.
Feeding cats a raw meat diet also leaves too much room for variables, another reason she doesn’t advocate such a diet. The potential for slip-up is high if the owner goes out of town and the food is left out too long, or if he substitutes one ingredient for another, she says.

Lisa Pierson, a veterinarian in Lomita, Calif., is familiar with the arguments and disputes them passionately on her own web site. She says she hasn’t had issues with bacterial contamination in the six years she has made her own cat food because she is careful: She knows where the meat comes from, she parboils mostly rabbit and bone-in chicken, grinds it herself, and adds minerals like taurine to make sure her cats are eating a balanced diet.
She says it’s also cheaper than higher-quality canned food and would take an owner of two cats about two hours a month to make.

If you can’t find a supportive veterinarian and you are determined to go raw, go to www.catnutrition.org or www.petdiets.com, both of which provide detailed information.

A Cooked Diet: The Risks and Rewards

Little scientific evidence exists either for or against a cooked diet for cats.
Some, like Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, warn against making raw or cooked cat food at home because of the importance of getting the right quantity and proportions of nutrients.
Remillard says she has talked to many cat owners eager to switch to homemade cat food in the wake of melamine poisoning in commercial cat foods. And although she doesn’t push homemade cat food diets, she says they can work — as long as cat owners consult a veterinarian-nutritionist to formulate one.

Raw Meat Diet: A Recipe for Healthy Cats

The following recipe was developed by Pierson. It yields enough food for 10-14 days for the average cat.
⦁ 3 pounds of whole fowl or rabbit, including bones, organs, and skin
⦁ 1 cup water
⦁ 2 eggs (use raw yolks, and lightly cook the whites)
⦁ 2000 mg wild salmon oil
⦁ 400 IU vitamin E (powdered E in capsule form works)
⦁ 100 mg vitamin B-complex (start with a smaller amount when beginning a raw meat diet; the vitamin has a strong odor)
⦁ 2000 mg taurine, powdered
⦁ ¾ tsp lite salt with iodine (when using chicken parts)
⦁ Liver (add 4 oz if the meat you are using does not include organs)
⦁ Psyllium (add when first introducing the raw meat diet to your cat. See www.catinfo.org for additional information on this ingredient)

Cooked Diet: A Recipe for Healthy Cats

The following recipe, from the MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center, is for a day’s feeding of an average 12-pound adult cat with no medical problems. It is endorsed by Remillard.
Use a dietary gram scale to weigh out foods until you get accustomed to the correct measurements, and make sure all ingredients are well blended before serving. The food must be kept refrigerated or frozen between meals, and for palatability’s sake, warmed before being given to your cat.

Mix together:

⦁ Protein: cooked dark meat chicken, beef, pork, lamb, salmon, or tuna (83 grams or 3 wt-ounces)
⦁ Carbohydrate: cooked white rice, oatmeal, barley, corn, peas, or pasta (50 grams or 1/3 cup)
⦁ Fiber: cooked sweet potato, without skin (30 grams or 1/5 cup)
⦁ Fat (optional): vegetable, safflower, olive oil or fish oil (1/4 teaspoon)
⦁ Balance IT Feline: 2.7 grams or half a red scoop (in the container). This is a commercial blend of vitamins and minerals.

December 22, 2017
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