Healthy homemade cat food for senior cats.

Garfield in a sundae:Paws,Inc.

Today I will give you guys some insight into making your own cat food from scratch and that is nutritional but not dangerous for our furry little friends. Will talk calories and types of menus depending on your cats age, weight and condition. Knowing there are so many chemicals in store bought food and wanting to control the quality of what’s given by preparing and cooking it ourselves can change our cats quality of life!

Mind you, the store bought foods are trying to mimic homemade food and sometimes can look more appetizing than our own food! All kidding aside, let’s get right to it!

Benefits of raw food for senior cats:

Lots of reasons for than against! Shinier and softer coats, more playful and lively kittens and more of them in a litter! There is also more alertness to them. The mom has more milk to give, the stools are smaller simply because they don’t eat stuff with filler and fiber. Cleaner teeth caused by the fact of scrapping the teeth on bone. Survival rate post-op is way better, less premature dying.

One precision though:It must be raw.Why?Because cats cannot LIVE without Taurine… As essential as vitamin B 12 for human’s! And Taurine is eliminated in cooking. If you do go cooked meals, please supplement with Taurine.

Calories needed according to pounds:

So what does it need exactly?Let’s look at the calories needed per pound for cats that live indoors and those who live outdoors.

Indoors:

  • 125-130 cal.\day for 4 pounds
  • 155-160 cal.\day for 5 pounds
  • 220-225 cal.\day for 7 pounds
  • 285-290 cal.\day for 9 pounds
  • 350-355 cal.\day for 11 pounds

Outdoors:

  • 140-150 cal.\day for 4 pounds
  • 250-260 cal.\day for 7 pounds
  • 400-410 cal.\day for 11 pounds

Your cat may need more or less depending, but do talk with your pets vet about calorie intake if they are above those 11 pounds! I know Garfield is adorable but fat on your cat’s health is anything but! If your cat is 15% more than normal weight, your cat is now in the “obese” category.

Pet food appellations:

Natural:Defined as not processed or transformed by chemical processes and does not contain additives or made in a synthetic fashion. The term may be used on commercial pet foods but natural here is a loose term because they are allowed to add vitamins and minerals as well as other elements that are synthetic in origin. The reason being that they put natural ingredients otherwise (chicken,fish,veggies).

Holistic:Seen this word before on your pet’s food packages?It means nothing really! There are no laws surrounding this term. It is supposed to mean of very good quality and nourishing but it’s all hype!

Organic:Well, it doesn’t mean “contains organs”, LOL!Simply the definition of food that is grown by natural means only.No chemicals or radiation or artificial means as in radiation.

They can say 100% organic if it don’t contain any other ingredients than what it’s made of and salt plus water and flavor if from organic source as well.

If it’s only labeled “organic food”, they must have at least 95% organic ingredients in it.

If it’s a “dinner”, it must contain 95% too but can contain diverse non organic ingredients.

Human-grade:Suitable for consumption by humans. Usually not seen on labels but there is something called “the honest kitchen”. They earned their right in court to put this on the label as they had the constitutional right to truthful commercial free speech.

Dry kibble:I think you guys are more familiar with this one but I will clarify. It is food that is 6-10% moist. More grain based but they are now catering to their customers in adding more meat or offering grainless food in the kibble.

Canned:Higher proteins and moisture but often with grains to hold everything together!Disadvantage with this type is that is spoils quickly and you pay for the container and the water…Bad for cat’s teeth and can cause bad breath. Makes for softer stools and smelly ones accompanied by flatulence in your kitty.

Also, do you want to bait insects in your home as well as rodents?Give them canned food with the bait and voilà!Just make sure your cat is not in contact with the “stew” for pests that you want rid of.

Semi-moist:Now more seen in treats because of scandal around the amount of preservatives, calories and sugars blended into it. Not to mention the dyes. Still dry but just a little more than dry. Food that can stick to teeth and gums and the chemicals can make your cat hyperactive so watch out if you normally give them semi-moist!

Refrigerated:Type of food that is fresh and vacuum sealed and refrigerated. Doesn’t mean they are organic.

Frozen foods:Foods you must thaw before serving. Can contain cooked or raw food.

Dehydrated:They are foods that you must rehydrate before serving. Helps preserve and safer than raw food. This is heated just enough to kill bacteria and out the moisture but not as high as dry food and may be labeled “raw” because the heat is insufficient to cook everything. Meat and eggs are exceptions though.

Examples of companies process dehydrated raw food:

  • Sojo’s
  • Easy-Raw
  • Addiction
  • The Honest Kitchen

Freeze-dried:May be cooked or raw and dried afterwards. Food prepped this way is flash-frozen and subjected to a powerful vacuum without chemicals nor heat.

What are forbidden foods:

Gluten:Gives GI upset in large quantities.

No sugars, even natural ones!:They cannot taste it and they don’t need it!

Cereal and grains:Don’t need. More calories and trouble than anything.

Milk:Most are intolerant to lactose BUT cream, on occasion as a “dessert”, is acceptable.

Anything with cellulose that has not been cooked and passed through the food processor to help undo the cellulose like plants and leaves and veggies, for example.

Feline diet combination:

Consists of high protein ( around 30%), moderate fat and low carbohydrate contents. Cat’s need more protein and fat than us and lots of other mammal’s too! And carbs provide energy but they must be from veggies and cooked. In the wild, they eat their prey’s with the intestines and partly digested matter. Calorie needs with age stay about the same but if your cat is less moving and playful,you should revise the intake.

With age, they digest fats with less ease so you might look into giving fatty acid supplements.Symptoms are:Loss of weight and dry skin and fur. Consult the vet who can help you with this.

There is a thing called the BARF diet that was developed by Australian Vet Ian Billinghurst which stands for “Biologically Appropriate Raw Food” diet. This emphasizes raw meat, eggs, bones,fruits and vegetables of the highest quality.

Another Australian Vet, M. Tom Lonsdale, also leans towards the raw diet but with marking the importance of feeding it with the bone or even the whole carcass with it.

The rationale for this?Alley cats and other animals do this and are healthy so we should than feed our pets too in this matter.

As for the raw diet in itself, many high breed dogs and cats, sled dogs and racing dogs are fed this diet or a combination or raw and cooked. Something to think about!

The caveats to “paleo” for cat’s:

Our cat might THINK himself to be the Lion King, even if he looks just like Garfield mixed with Buddha but… What we’ve got now is not what feline we’re in the far past! They are of course, domesticated and adapted to their indoorsy\city life.

Secondly, the meats have diverse parasites and pathogens in it.

Thirdly, bones can be a risk to our furry friends because they can choke on the smaller ones or cause obstruction in the intestines. They can get stuck in the teeth or puncture an organ.

Fourthly, if our cat has a health history filled with chronic diseases like diabetes or is immunosuppressed or just older;extreme caution is in order in feeding them with this diet!

Is the natural diet expensive:

Well, let’s reason from the cat’s point of vue! If you feed him better quality ingredients, it will equal a healthy, thriving cat with a longer life to give you. A more fulfilling life too! Food that is not boring adds to a very loving and loyal pet! Would your kids thrive on Mc Donalds food all their years?No?Well, same can be said for our furry friends!

They’res going to be less waste because this diet is not boring as you can vary ingredients. They won’t be so finicky about their food either. Low priced commercial foods are decommended for seniors, by the way, as they don’t easily digest it and it’s less nutritious .

If you go dry, go high quality for the senior cat. Low quality foods contribute to allergies and behavior problems and poop that smells pretty bad because they put dyes and preservatives and might make your cat to vomit and lead to expensive vet visits cause many ailments your cat will develop with age is food related!

Just keep in mind that if a senior cat’s senses are less than stellar and cannot smell their food, they will likely be less interested in eating the food as they get older. I suggest putting a little warm water or salt less broth on the food or switch to natural\semi-ccoked food for your pet.

Plus, cat’s will eat less if filled with proper, rich nutrition but retain a health that is more robust overall!

It is more advantageous to go local to buy the food for your cat. They might give you great discounts if you’re a regular and you can easily trace the quality with which the food is handled and where it comes from, stuff they put in it, etc.

Green stuff your cat can eat:

You can feed your cat these plants and greens but be aware that they cannot provide a lot of nutrients to your cat. But they enjoy these usually because it’s either helps their digestive track or they just plain love the taste or “high” it gives’s them.

  • Wheat (but I would stay away unless organic)
  • oats
  • Japanese barnyard millet
  • rye, but don’t feed ergot! That’s a fungal hallucinogen.
  • Grass-of course! Like bluegrass, fescue and rye grass.

cat eating grass

Special appreciation for info in this post is brought to you:

-Animal Planet Senior cats by Sheila Webster Boneham, Ph.D. in 2007.

The completes idiots guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, By Liz Palika 2011

These books have been my companions throughout the COVID-19 confinement since the library let me have them longer because of the pandemic… How am I so blessed! I highly recommend buying them, not just reading at the library in view of all the completeness and rich info I can grab for you guy’s and my own now 23 ish year old cat!

Speaking of books, here is one you might like to get you started on cooking for your cat:

https://www.amazon.com/Purr-fect-Recipes-Healthy-Cat-Natural/dp/1601383983

Perfect recipes for a healthy cat by Lisa Shiroff



Adapted feeding techniques:

When it comes to homemade, true-blue food for your older cat, you must go very progressively in making the change. Whatever the reasons are:weight management, general health, preventing disease, stabilizing an existing chronic disease or pain control.

Spread the change on 1 even 2 weeks because we do not want the cat to lose too much of its weight in a short span of time.

Hygienic considerations:

It is extra important to clean everything as soon as you use it and to not cross contaminate meat and veggies as you would cook for yourself usually. Cutting boards, knives and other utensils must be disinfected as well as the counter top and the sink. Wash hands and do not prepare food if sick.Thoroughly clean your cat’s bowl, preferable with javel bleach and rinse and leave to air dry.

Recently, some cats and dogs have been known to contract the COVID-19 virus and some infections are transmittable to your pet so be vigilant and careful!

If your cat wants to eat the food on the floor, clean and disinfect it after your pet eats. Especially if they eat raw or semi-raw food.

Raw food diet recipes for cats:

Cat treat:

1/2″ X 1″ slice of raw fish of any type. Slice into slivers. Mix with a few drops of cod liver oil and a pinch of finely diced wheat grass.

Seafood Delight: The recipe is adapted for 10 pound indoor cats,350 calories and is the cat’s daily ration of food.

2 TBSP. Grated carrots

2 TBSP. Finely diced broccoli florets

1 cup raw oysters

1/4 cup fresh tuna (not in a can),cut into fine pieces

1 hard boiled,shelled and crumbled chicken egg

1 TSP. Salmon oil (fish or cod oil will do too!)

1-Lightly steam the carrots and broccoli.Place in a bowl.

2-In a food processor, liquefy oysters, tuna,egg and salmon oil until the mixture becomes a thick paste.

3-Add paste mixture to the vegetables in the bowl.Stir well.

4-Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To serve, portion into small meals;depending on cat’s feeding times. Add any supplements and Taurine to the mix at meal time.


Turkey and Pumpkin:Adapted for most cat’s, even those not familiar with raw foods. Daily requirements of 350 calories for a 10 pound indoor cat.

1 raw chicken neck

1/4 cup fresh or canned pumpkin but without spices

1 cup of raw turkey or ground turkey

1 TBSP. Cod liver oil

1-chop chicken into quarters, bones and all. Freeze 3 pieces for future meals or recipes.Retain 1/4 for this recipe, and set aside.

2-Grate pumpkin and than lightly steam it. Place in a bowl.

3-Cut turkey meat into slivers. In the food processor, liquefy;turkey,chicken,pumpkin,and cod liver oil until it becomes a thick paste. If you need for processing, add a small quantity of water or chicken broth.

4-Store in airtight container in the fridge. Divide into meals for the day as-per cat’s feeding times. Add supplements, Taurine when you serve.

~~~You may use a turkey neck instead of chicken or chicken meat instead of turkey.~~~


That concludes the subject on homemade food!:

Whether you are a proponent of cooked or raw, dry or wet or anything in between, do take away from this post that you gotta have a variety of good ingredients that are well adapted to your senior cat’s condition and watch for hygiene and no chemicals or preservatives if possible.

Also very important is the holy grail of supplements-Taurine-that is a non-avoidable element to put into your cat’s diet. Change slowly and go back to the old food if they have symptoms like diarrhea and try again when the cat is better but with a little bit to see if they can tolerate less of the new diet.

If you do think of any questions to ask me, please comment below and I will be glad to answer you! I might do a part two or you can give me YOUR suggestions on topics that matter and are relevant to you!

Puurrrfectly at your disposal,

Elizabeth









15 thoughts on “Healthy homemade cat food for senior cats.”

  1. I’m so glad I’ve read your article – I’ve never understood why feeding cats raw meat should be preferable to treating them to a nice can of Whiskas. The point about Taurine, which cooking destroys, has explained it all. Really good to know! I’d also like to ask you a question about one thing that intrigued me: You’ve mentioned that feeding senior cats can result in more kittens in a litter. Is that really so? Can nutrition have a direct effect on the number of offspring? Thanks a lot.

    1. LoL! I have read that a mum will have more kittens per litter and they will be more lively and there would be more milk to the mom.I don’t know if you are implying better genetics…that the effects of feeding one cat could be positive along the cat bloodline?I am not sure but it should have because good genes transmit themselves from parents to children.

      I hope no one is thinking of breeding offspring from the senior cats!I knew a wild female Spanish cat who had lots of offspring and well into her twenties!She would even breastfeed her grandchildren!

      That was way before any programs to sterilize and release the cats elsewhere and the people in my area had no means to go to a vet with one.Also,the ignorance at the time spread faster than litters of cats!

      Thank goodness for campaign of education and sensitization to the need to sterilize your cat when young to prevent litters of unwanted cats and prevent cancers in the female cat later on in life!Plus,the SPCA is trying to see to it that people don’t abandon their pets when it’s moving time because the next landlord won’t accept them.

  2. Hello Dear Elizabeth, thanks so much for this post, this is very detailed and informative, my grandmother has a cat and she has always to know how to give her cat some home made food but she’s has been very skeptical about it because she’s unsure of what reaction it will be for the cat, I’m sharing this with her immediately, I’m very sure she will be happy to see this.

    1. Greetings to my website and you are very welcomed! I am entirely glad that this post has been timely for you! If your grandma is worried about the cat’s reaction, she should speak to the vet and get a rundown of his overall condition first!

      The main thing is to transition very slowly and slower if the cat can’t tolerate a certain amount of the new food and check the fur, teeth, energy, etc. for amelioration and deterioration of her cat.

      Do tell me if she has any more questions or things she would like me to bring up in discussion and I will be happy to help!

  3. Hi! Thank you for this amazing detailed article. It was very informative. I have a 11-years old cat, so he is not very old for now but I am glad to read your post now to adapt his food in the future. The only issue I have now is that my cat is no eating anything else that the basic cat food bought at the grocery store. I worry that he will reject totally the homemade food as he is not used to it. How can I really make the transition between industrial and homemade food for him to accept it ?

    1. Hi Lauranne!To answer your question,food from the grocer is made to be addictive and the cat is very used to it by now.Homemade food must be tasty and the change must be gradual and as the cat can physically tolerate.It would be helpful if you went to the vet to get a good idea of your cats condition because dry food has been known to cause kidney failure.One thing you will want to avoid is “temptations” like treats because of it’s effects on kidneys.Nowadays,we have dried meats for treats that are healthier for them.

      Do you give him table food at any point?I ask because you could start with 1/3 amount of that to help with the transition.Smell being important for a cat,you might want to put broth and the ingredient warmed a little WITH his regular food.That can stimulate him to eat both and get used to more natural foods.

      I am curious to know if he eats ad-lib or not?On a schedule?Better to transition him to a schedule BEFORE transitioning to a new kind of food.Cats don’t appreciate too many changes!You leave food at hours where you see your cats eats the most and you wait if he still is eating but you leave the food for 1/2 hour and put it away.Important that you give what the cat needs in calories…Not what he wants to because they will often eat when bored or anxious,etc….Same as us in confinement!LOL!

      It will help you see any changes to how much or little he eats.If you work,you can get a programmed feeder for him!Some are even connectable to your cellphone!I hope i was helpful to you Lauranne!Do come back and tell me how you two manage in the food department!

  4. Wow, I am so glad you referred to Naturally Grown food. Organic is a pet peeve of mine. In fact anything that has grown is organic by pure definition. Including coal and oil. And I wouldn’t want to chow down on those.

    You have here, a well written, very informative article. We must be doing something right as all our pusses live to the 19 year range. (Except Oscar who had the great misfortune to get FIV. And we did ask for him to be vaccinated but were told there was none down here.) We do use commercial food but read the labels very carefully. 

    We do provide milk, but lactose free milk.

    Our current puss, Katie, was quite sick about 10 years ago. It turned out to be a liver problem that resulted in a vitamin B12 deficiency so I give her a shot every month. Our vet is a treasure. She believes in attacking problems in a broad brush approach,  to diagnose quickly, not piecemeal. So Katie turned out fine. She is no 14 and is eating pretty much as your post notes.

    So, once again a very interesting article and enjoyable read.

    Ciao
    Helen

    1. Hi there Helen!Glad to hear that you take such good care of your furry members of your family!I am also overjoyed at the fact your vet is into what is called “holistic care” in medical terms.That she’s “on the ball” and really seems to have deep concern for the animals brought to her!

      About milk,you can,if the cat is too thin,feed it kitten milk to help with the ingestion of calories but if you don’t trust store brands for that and if you can find lactose free and organic milk that’s whole,that’s fine too!

      Share with anyone who need to know and has cats and do comeback for more articles and let me know if you have a subject in particular in mind!

  5. Very happy to read your article as we have an aging kitty that is getting up there in years. It’s good to know how to make cat food from scratch. I agree that there are too many harmful ingredients from store brands. We have gone to using raw dry food for our aging kitty. I was not aware of taurine before, and that it is eliminated from cooking. Thanks for the heads up on that. I have learned a lot from your pros and cons of the various types of cat foods. Thanks for also mentioning the forbidden foods as well. It’s never expensive to keep your kitty healthy. I did not know that plants and greens were good for cats. Thanks for all of this useful information.

    1. Hi M. Stasaitis!Oh!How wonderful to know that we’ve got some responsible “parents” here!;-)

      I’d agree  that it’s never too expensive to keep our cat’s in good health!I,however,do not know how things will unfold once this Pandemic is over!I am hoping that with the bad weather we’ve had and the lack of sunlight and the lack of people working in the fields and farms,we can still get enough good quality of food for man and beast!

      So i would suggest to support your local farms anyway you can to keep it running cause they are our most precious food basket and they work hard to bring food to us…and our pets!

      If you have any questions,do ask and give me your suggestions if any!In life,we learn AND we teach!

  6. Hi thanks for sharing this wonderful article.it  is a very nice and detailed information.my older sister has a cat and she only knows how to give her cat some home made food but she’s has been so uncertain about it because she’s unsure of what effect it will give to the cat, I will recommend this for her and am very sure she’s gonna love it.

    1. Hi! I am very glad that this was useful and i hope your sister will be helped with this article!I am thrilled that is was enjoyable and that you thought it to be informative and nice!

      You can follow me on Pinterest as well and enjoy on the go!

      Have a great week-end now!

    2. Hi! I am so glad you enjoyed the article and that it was helpful!Hope your sister can roll by sometime.You guy’s can follow my website on Pinterest as well!

      Please forward any questions you have about any aspect of the article and don’t be shy!Give me any suggestions for what you’d like to know about!…I’m ALL ears!!! 

      Have yourselves a great week-end!

      Elizabeth

  7. Hey  Elizabeth nice article you have there. My mum has been contemplating about the type of home made food to give her older cat, having seeing this article of home made cat food, I am convinced that this is the exact information my mum will be needing with respect to the type of home made food to give her furry friend and how to prepare it all by herself, I am surely gonna make some recommendations to her

    1. Hi!I hope she succeeds well with her cat! It’s certainly a great place to start!You can find me on PInterest too to get the posts on the go! 

      You didn’t mention her taking the cat to the vet to get a baseline of the pets needs.Maybe THAT would be a starting point to consider before switching the cat on homemade!

      Do comeback and tell me how it well it all went!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *