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.
- 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
- 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:
- 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)
- Japanese barnyard millet
- rye, but don’t feed ergot! That’s a fungal hallucinogen.
- Grass-of course! Like bluegrass, fescue and rye 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:
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.
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:
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,