Krutika wants to save money on commercial cat food and switch to a homemade diet for her cat.
Rohan feels that feeding his cat homemade food is healthier than giving her commercial pet food. So, he’s looking up quick and easy recipes for homemade cat food online.
It is possible to give your cat homemade food that’s healthier and more wholesome provided you follow certain guidelines. However, as with anything, there are both advantages and disadvantages to making your own cat food. For example, consulting a vet for recipes is highly recommended.
Do I really need to consult a vet nutritionist? I can look up easy and nutritious recipes online!
Unlike commercial food, home food does not undergo standardized tests to ensure that it’s complete and balanced for your cat. Researchers from University of California found that at least 40% of the recipes for preparing cat food at home lack essential nutrients.
Cats are primarily carnivores and prefer eating meat. (Yes, some cats prefer leafy vegetables too but a major portion of a cat’s diet must contain meat.) Some cat owners assume that shredded chicken breasts are enough to satisfy their cat’s nutritional requirements and keep them healthy. Cats need a mix of meat (phosphorus), bones (calcium), liver (necessary vitamins & iron), heart (taurine), and intestines (fibres) for a balanced diet.
Cats especially need the taurine for a healthy heart and great vision. An absence of taurine in their diets can cause blindness and issues like cardiomyopathy. Arginine is another essential vitamin present in meat whose absence can make your cat sick from ammonia toxicity.
Contrary to popular belief, cats mustn’t be fed tuna and adult cats are lactose intolerant. So, adding milk to their diet is a big “no”.
Moreover, the nutritional requirements of your cat vary if they have other health conditions and only a vet nutritionist can explain these to you in detail.
Ok, but homemade food is more affordable than commercial cat food, right?
It depends on the ingredients. If done right, homemade cat food will cost approximately the same as commercial cat food because it needs to include important nutrients for your cats as mentioned above.
Surely, cooking for my cat is easier than making food for myself?
You’ll be surprised to know that cooking for cats is tougher than cooking for humans.
The process is time-consuming and requires attention to detail because:
Raw food calls for grinding meat, liver, bones, and other ingredients in a specific ratio.
Cooked food recipes for pets are very specific and must be followed down to the last detail. For example, if a recipe calls for a few bits of chicken, you cannot swap it for other meat nor can you add a few extra pieces of boiled egg because your cat loves it. This will alter the calorific value and nutrients leading to deficiencies.
You need to watch out for additional vitamin and mineral supplements that your cat requires and can ingest.
Does this mean I should just give up on home-cooked food?
Not really. You can feed your cat home-cooked food on holidays and special occasions like their birthdays as long as you remember to follow recipes from reputable websites or from your vet nutritionist without making the slightest modifications.
Making homemade cat food is tricky but not impossible. It does have the advantage of being fresh and of good quality. However, with the number of options available in the market it’s also possible to pick products with high grade ingredients without too many preservatives and additives. Whatever you choose, make sure you give a complete, balanced, healthy meal to your cat!