Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Yes, I make my own cat food.

Meet Luna, my lil' mama. She came into my life a few months ago and has unquestionably changed it for the better. As a dietitian, I morally cannot be feeding myself whole nutritious foods as my beautiful Siamese cat is stuck eating cat food or what I like to call, cereal. Think about it this way. You like cereal with milk, right? But what if you had to eat it every meal for your entire life? Yes, you'll be getting the majority of your nutrients and duh, it tastes great, but in the long run, all that sugar could cause a lot of problems chronic problems to your body. Excessive carbohydrate intake means a lot of the sugars become stored as fat and a potential for developing diabetes. It works the same way for our feline friends. 

Cats biologically do not have a strong thirst. They tend to get a majority of fluids from eating fresh killed prey, which is comprised of 70-75% water. Dry food is... dry. It has only about 5-10% water content. By feeding cats only cereal, they have a higher chance of developing kidney and bladder issues. Though your cats may seem to be drinking an adequate amount of water, that amount still does not necessarily compensate for the lack of fluid in the dry food. 

Now, making cat food I understand is not for everybody. I confess that I'm a crazy cat lady and spend a couple hours a month chopping up chicken and turkey for my little lady. If your cat at home is eating predominantly cereal, I'd recommend transitioning to canned wet foods several times of week. Canned food has ~75% water content and is much higher in protein than cereal! 

Also, cats should mostly be eating chicken/ turkey/ rabbit. It's most similar to what they would be catching if they were outdoor cats (small rodents, birds). I give Luna sardine with bones (canned in water) about 2-3 times a week with her raw poultry meal. This gives her healthy fats and calcium. Don't choose salmon or tuna too frequently, for those fish tend to be higher in mercury. Think if your cats were doing their own hunting. Would they be catching wild salmon or deep sea tuna?  

So, what do I feed my cat? I feed her raw meat. Cats requires a high protein diet and get their calcium from eating bones. There's a limited if null need for carbohydrates, but I throw some whole grains in there due to conflicting articles that I've researched. I also make sure she has access to plenty of fresh water! When I first started making cat food, I was neurotic and weighed everything out to the gram. But my cat is not a body builder, so now I estimate the portions (like I do with my own diet) to form a balanced meal for her. 

This is not based entirely on scientific research. I'm no veterinarian. I just love my cat and want to give her the longest healthiest life I can. Let me know what you think! 

HOMEMADE RAW CAT FOOD (lasts 10-12 days, 2 ~2-3 oz servings / day)
- 2 lb chicken thigh / turkey, ground or sliced thinly (depending on your cat's willingness to eat raw meat, I started with ground and transitioned slowly to small chunks) 
- 4 oz chicken liver
- 3 oz chicken gizzard / heart
- 4 oz sweet potato / pumpkin, mashed 
- 3 oz omega 3 oil blend (for a healthy coat) 
- 3 tsp calcium supplement (cats eat their prey whole with bones, that's how they naturally get their calcium! - my supplement recommends 1 tsp per pound of food, I've been using less since introducing bones into her diet) 

1. Mix together
2. Serve at room temperature 

It's a work in progress! Luna now eats a combination of the chicken, whole cornish hen, and no salt added sardines throughout the week. A diet fit for a queen! 

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