Friday, December 28, 2012

Homemade Cat Food: Update 06/09/13

Homemade Cat Food: Update

Some of you may have read about the different specialty foods that are targeted to various cat health issues. After reading up on cat nutrition I saw a common problem. All these foods had grains. Since cats are obligate carnivores I felt there was a better way. Searching online I saw that many talk about the Raw Food diet.

I bought the grinder and gave it a try. Of course my cats said “DO NOT WANT”. Ah, for the love of cats. So while I agree that it may be very healthy since my cats would not eat it I needed another way. My cats would eat cooked chicken. In fact they will eat it all day long. I figured why fight Kitty Hall. That’s funny, right? So cooked was the way to go for my kitty family.

When I started researching cat food I bought the same books that are used in Veterinary College. (I figured the cost of textbooks can be covered by a couple vet visits) I do not say I am equal to a good vet as I am simply an Advanced Practiced Registered Nurse who worked in ICU CCU ER. I do have a good grasp of Anatomy and Physiology and was intrigued by the way the bowels of cats get their nutrition. 

The bowels get this from the food itself along with the bloodstream. This is highly simplified of course for brevity. These cells only live a short time and need constant replenishment. Nutrition is key. Feeding a better quality food and cutting out things a cat does not need like carbohydrates while adding small amounts of key nutrients is answer.

I laugh when I look at some cat food labels. No kitty should have a nice bowl of cereal with fruit with a side of veggies. That will not help her in the least. She needs the right mix of vitamins and minerals with plenty of good quality protein. I like Chicken but some cats, due to allergy may need rabbit or another novel protein. There may be renal (Kidney) disease or diabetes. In those cases I suggest having a nutritional consult by one of the several companies that are on the web.

You may wonder why I did all this. The reason was my Rumpy Bump Stumpnots. He is an American Bobtail that was a pure breed rescue from Virginia. After being here a month he started with an on again, off again, GI problem of very loose stools. We went to the vet numerous times over a year with no answers. Checks for parasites were negative. Medications were given. Nothing worked. 

The worst part was that the endless washing and wiping was impacting Rumpy's behavior, and, our relationship. He  terribly hated being washed and stated being very shy of me. I wanted my boy to have a fun happy life and this was not it. I did the homemade in desperation.

Imagine my surprise when after only two meals the problem resolved completely. It was simply amazing! We have been on the meal plan for a year and he is still fine. Our only problem is when I forget and put down one of the stringy or gravy like cat foods when a can gets in with my normal purchase of Pate. My others love that goop but it goes right through Rumpy. 

I think some may ask this so, Yes, he still eats regular cat food along with the home made. I have found a meal in the morning gives his bowel what it needs. Will this be right for another cat? I do not know. Paying attention to your cat and keeping a food diary is how you will know. For Rumpy I feel it is the Guar-Gum that is the magic ingredient. I made a batch and forgot to add the additions and in 3 days he was having problems. I whipped up a fast batch correctly and he was better in one meal.

Another cat who benefited was my big Buddy, He was slim and trim due to being on wet vs dry, but, being an elder had a big of sluggishness. Not really constipation but very hard stools that may have been uncomfortable Adding soluble fiber to my cat food takes care of this too. Yes it seems odd that it helps loose and tight stools but it does. Again it has to do with how the intestines and colon get nutrition.

This recipe is thought to be complete to the best of my knowledge.Please remember that this if for information only! You should ALWAYS discuss any medical issues and interventions you are planning with your cats veterinarian! 

Pete's Famous Cat Food Recipe. Per Pound (Multiply for additional chicken)

It really helps to have a grinder. I have heard of cutting the meat into small chunks but that will really wear you out if making a bigger batch. My grinder is from Amazon and was for a reasonable price. Not cheap but no more than a vet visit or maybe much less depending.

I use chicken thighs from my local grocer. Many times I get them for $0.99 a pound. They have a good bit of flavor and enough fat which cats like. If eat the all natural type of foods then go to it. I do not for myself so do not for my cats either.

1. Strip the skin from 1/4 of the thighs. Cover with foil. Add ½ cup water to pan and cook at 325 for about an hour. I like to slightly overcook so the meat comes off the bone easily. Remove from 

oven and allow to cool. Pour off drippings. Set aside.

2. Add the vitamins and supplements to 1/2 to 1 cup of warm water (except the Guar-Gum) in a jar with a lid and set it aside. This allows the capsules time to melt. Shake now and then as your are doing the chicken.

Vitamins, Supplements, Additions per Pound of Meat:

3. Strip chicken from bones and grind with the medium plate. You can also cut chicken by hand into small bits. This is much easier if well cooked. (I do not suggest using cooked bone. It splinters and this can be very dangerous to a cat. See Below)

3a. Optional: Grind Bones. First with coarse plate and once with the medium plate and once with the fine plate. My grinder needs the plate cleaned several times during bone grinding. Discard this material. Cooked bone is very sharp so better to be careful. I no longer grind the bones as it adds a LOT of time.

4. Put the drippings, vitamins and supplements and about ¼ cup water per pound to large bowl. (A Blender is even better) Mix in Guar-Gum very slowly as it and thoroughly mix. You will find it really thickens the mix up. Then add ground or cut up chicken and mix well. I use a 3 gallon pot I got at the local thrift store and mix by hand.

5. Ball jars are really great to store food and once you buy them you have them. The 16oz size that stores about 2-3 large dishes of food. I give about a cup a day.

To Serve: Let thaw in refrigerator. It will be very thick. I spoon about a 1/3 cup of food into a 2 cup Pyrex measure with a half a cup of water. I heat in the microwave for 30 seconds so it is just nice. Stir well and make sure it is not too hot. Yes it looks odd and soupy but the cats love it. They lap it up.

As I stated before I only give one meal of this in the morning. Rumpy, Buddy and Buttons jockey to get the first slurp. Ms Fitz will finish what is left. I put this down when I have my morning coffee and by the time I am packing my lunch I clean the dish as it is gone.

My cats water consumption has gone way down as they get a lot with this type meal. This may be a big plus if you have a cat that needs extra fluids.

Feel free to contact me through the blog with any questions. May health be with you and yours in 2013.


  1. Got a few questions for you on this recipe.

    First, did you mean 'one half egg', or 'one or two eggs'?

    Second, I'm guessing you grind skin and all on the half of the thighs cooked with skin on?

    Next, have you tried Knox Gelatin for the thickener? Most kitten glop recipes I found that called for that. (although I didn't include it for Billy)

    1. That is a half egg per pound.
      I just keep it close
      Since I make some 3-4 large packs of thighs at a time 6 eggs are a good extra.

      1. Make sure the white is cooked to inactivate the Avidin which can inhibit Biotin. I do not think it would actually cause a deficiency but paying attention to details prevents error in the long run.

      2. The Skin. Since I make treats I separate the skin from all the parts.For a batch we use 3 big Pyrex pans so there is one that goes in the oven with no skin. I add the skin on top of one of the other pans. This way the fat can be poured off without it getting on all the meat. I keep this separate from the rest of the liquid pour off. This way I can add as much as I like after the meat is ground without it getting in the meat I make treats from.

      BONE Cooked bone really needs to be ground very fine so I had been doing three trips. Course Medium Fine. The plates get that nubby white build up behind them and I got tired of stopping to clean out. 6 times or more during a cook off. I have gone to stripping the bone out.

      Now I do the meat with two passes of the course plate.
      Then the bone separately with two course and one medium. This gives a nice fine mix with no shards.
      I never add the plate clean out back into my mix. May have a sharp bit in there.

      3. I do Guar Gum for the soluble fiber. The mix really needs nothing to thicken it. My meat actually needs more liquid to make it palatable.
      That's what the helpers who test the mix as we go through the process say anyhow.
      If there is no problem with loose or hard stools then this is not as important.

      After some trials I have been adding the Guar to a full blender of liquid. This liquid is pour off from the meat and the fat. As soon as it is fully mixed pour it over the meat in a large bowl and mix. If it sits it will gel in the blender. Once I have turned the mix a few times in my big bowl I add water to get it to the right consistency.

      I did a batch with much less Guar and thicker meat chunks. (I forgot a big pile of meat that was set aside). My guys did not like it as much. Also Rumpy had a messy rump after 3 days. I started adding Guar to the daily breakfast bowl (A real pain in the you know what) and in 2 days no more messy rump. Now this may have been coincidence BUT... I think I will just stay with the plan.

      Are you considering this for a health issue or just to go to better food?

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  3. Haha, you got grinder and your kitties said no....typical, isn't it? :-) I was scared to make home made food for kitties myself because I thought I might do wrong. So I only cook for snacks. Your kitties are very lucky to get to eat yummy home made meal :-)

  4. I noticed you haven't blogged in a while and hope everything is okay. Your blog is extremely informative and funny. I have 7 cats, one with IBD, one FIV+ and crystals, and a third with crystals. You nail kitty psychology/thought processes.

  5. Do you think I could use a food processor instead of a grinder? (I'd be stripping all bones and using bone meal.)

    1. Hi deb I cannot reply as I do not have your e so home you stop back
      You sure could.
      Dad Check Timmys blog for more fun