Home nutrition can be an alternative to the industrial cat diet: here are all the pros and cons, with tables, recipes and advice from the veterinarian.
Those who choose to adopt a cat must necessarily assume the responsibility of providing them with the most suitable diet for their health and well-being: exactly as it happens for people and for any other pet, in fact, eating healthy is essential to stay healthy, growing up. and living in the best possible way.
The cat’s diet can be based on homemade preparations or commercial cat food, which in turn is distinguished in wet and dry. Another possible alternative is to feed the cat with the so-called BARF diet based on raw foods, resuming what would be the natural diet of the feline if it procured the food necessary for its own sustenance by itself.
Whatever the chosen food alternative, what matters is that the cat’s diet is healthy and balanced from the point of view of the necessary nutrients: the cat, in fact, is an essentially carnivorous animal which, however, needs not only proteins, but also of carbohydrates, vitamins, fibers and fats to stay in perfect shape.
In this article, we analyze the option of home feeding for the cat: can you feed my cat with food prepared at home? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this diet for a domestic feline? What are the rules to follow to make sure my cat eats properly? As you continue reading, you will find all the answers you need.
Homemade cat feeding: a 360 ° look
The home diet for the domestic cat is an interesting alternative to the diet based on industrial foods and to the more radical BARF diet for cats: it certainly represents a demanding choice, because the foods must be chosen, purchased and cooked appropriately, following the principles recommended by the vet to guarantee the cat a balanced diet, but it is also a potentially healthier alternative as it allows us to really know what is in the bowl of our beloved four-legged friend.
These, in essence, are the main advantages and disadvantages of home nutrition for cats: on the one hand the safety of choosing foods with care and love, on the other the difficulty of having to balance nutrients correctly every day. However, with a little attention and prior information, you can try to educate your cat about home-cooked nutrition at all ages.
Homemade cat food: at what age is it possible?
Potentially, home feeding is a viable path for cats of any age: obviously, since the cat is a notoriously picky animal in terms of food, it is certainly easier if the cat is still a puppy or in any case young.
Getting the kitten used to domestic food right from the weaning stage means making it grow with healthy and natural foods, choosing high quality raw materials and without chemical additives of any kind. If home nutrition is offered from an early age, it is certainly easier for the cat to be able to accept it without problems.
The speech is slightly different in the case of adult or elderly animals: the home diet can be introduced, perhaps due to one of the health problems typical of elderly cats, even if it will take more time and a lot of patience to introduce the new eating habits into the life of the cat.
Quantity and types of food in the home diet of cats: useful tables
Depending on the age, the cat needs different quantity and quality of food regardless of the type of diet with which you choose to feed it: in the case of home feeding, it is necessary to know these quantities as precisely as possible in order to prepare the best possible meals for our feline friend.
Kittens from 2 to 18 months – Table
The daily ration of a kitten at this age must include:
– 70/100 grams of meat or fish
– 10/20 grams of overcooked cereals
– 10/20 grams of boiled vegetables
– 1 teaspoon of seed oil
– Vitamins and minerals
Adult cats from 2 to 8 years – Table
The daily ration of a cat in this age group must include:
– 120/150 grams of meat or fish
– 23/35 grams of overcooked cereals
– 25/35 grams of boiled vegetables
– 1 teaspoon of seed oil
– Vitamins and minerals
Senior cats 9 years and older – Table
In the phase of old age, the cat’s daily food ration must include:
– 60/90 grams of meat or fish
– 15 grams of overcooked cereals
– 35 grams of boiled vegetables
– 1 teaspoon of seed oil
– Vitamins and minerals
– The tables refer to a cat in good health and in the medium weight range for its age: the specific energy requirement for each cat must be calculated with the help of the veterinarian.
– The quantities of food are calculated raw: the best cooking methods are boiled and steamed.
– The vegetables must be chosen among the vegetables suitable for feline nutrition.
Yes and no food in the home diet for cats
Although there are some foods for human consumption that are also suitable for cats , we must never forget that some foods are absolutely forbidden for domestic cats because they are potentially toxic and dangerous. In the following list, the main examples of yes and no foods for home cat feeding.
– Protein sources: in the substantially carnivorous diet of cats, they mainly consist of meat (preferably chicken, beef, rabbit) and fish. Various cuts are allowed, including entrails. To be limited to special occasions and one-off prizes, cold cuts and canned tuna. Other types of animal proteins are also allowed, such as those deriving from cheeses (be careful to choose lean types such as ricotta) and eggs.
– Cereals: cats can eat both rice and pasta, as long as they are overcooked and therefore soft and more digestible. Another source of carbohydrates suitable for cat’s home diet are potatoes, as long as they are cooked to perfection: raw potatoes are, on the contrary, highly toxic for the cat.
– Vegetables: source of fiber, mineral salts and vitamins par excellence, they can be freely chosen among those suitable for cats (especially green leafy vegetables and carrots). The best thing is to cook them in a boiled or steamed pot. Beware of dangerous vegetables for the cat’s diet, including for example: onion, garlic, avocado, green peppers, grapes and raisins.
– Fats: sometimes underestimated, they are actually essential for the good health of the cat. They can be integrated in the form of oil, but also preferring not too lean cuts of meat and offal.
– Liquids: even if cats sometimes tend to drink little, in reality water is essential for their health. Here we have explored the topic of the amount of water needed by cats. Attention, however, to milk which is not recommended especially in adult specimens: unable to digest lactose, cats could suffer from diarrhea.
– Vitamins and minerals: when the cat is fed with home recipes it is important to ask the veterinarian for advice on the need to administer supplements to make sure that the cat has all the necessary nutrients available.
Homemade recipes for cats
When you decide to accustom your cat to a home diet, you have to take on the burden of choosing the right ingredients and combining them into meals specially prepared for our feline friend. Here are some recipes with examples of complete and balanced meals: obviously, the doses must in any case be adapted to the specific needs of your cat, after asking your trusted veterinarian for adequate advice.
Recipe 1 – Homemade cat paté
With these doses it is possible to obtain about 10/12 jars of paté to be consumed over the following months, perhaps reserving them for special occasions. Here is the procedure to follow:
– Thoroughly wash a carrot and a courgette (or other vegetable such as spinach). Boil the vegetables in a large pot, as soon as the water boils, add about 500 grams of fish. Cook for about half an hour, then add 3 handfuls of rice and continue cooking for another 10/15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Remove from the heat, let it cool and then blend everything very finely. Add a few teaspoons of oil, then mix and fill the jars with the mixture and seal them perfectly.
– Place the jars on the bottom of a saucepan, fill with water up to about 3/4 of the height of the jars and light the heat over low heat. Bring to a boil, then leave the jars immersed for 15 minutes from the moment of boiling. Close with a lid and let cool perfectly without touching, then dry the jars and store in the pantry or in the fridge.
Recipe 2 – Rabbit stew
Rabbit is a white meat very suitable for the diet of a domestic feline: this stew is simple to prepare and contains all the useful nutrients, in a healthy and balanced combination. Here’s how to prepare it:
– Brown 230 grams of rabbit meat cut into small pieces in a pan with a teaspoon of olive oil, then add a pinch of aromatic herbs of your choice (parsley, thyme, rosemary, marjoram) and unsalted vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and continue cooking over low heat.
– Meanwhile, finely chop about 20 grams of sweet potatoes, carrots, celery and peas and add the mince to the pot. Continue cooking for 45 minutes, then allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
Recipe 3 – Prepared with sardines
Sardines are among the types of fish best suited to the cat’s home diet: in this home recipe, they are combined with pumpkin and oats for a complete and nutritionally balanced meal. Here’s how to proceed:
– Cook a cup of oats in water, then boil a quarter or half of the pumpkin (depending on the size) in water until you get a puree (you can help yourself with a fork to mash the pulp better).
– Mix the ingredients and add a jar of sardines, using a hand blender to get the right consistency. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a maximum of 2/3 days.