Pet owners have been duped by the billion-dollar pet food, well-intentioned veterinarians, and advertising disguised as educational content.
There is nothing commercial pet food provides that you can’t make in your own kitchen other than a high price markup, depressingly inferior ingredients, disease-causing fillers, and a fancy label.
Here’s an easy, cheap way to get cats the nutrients they need. Like so much in human nutrition, feeding cats is actually very simple once you take out the dogma. See the 2 rules for feeding cats below, and when you follow those rules, you’re on your way to good pet health at a fraction of the price.
Take a look at the bigger picture (how cats eat in the wild) and stop trying to apply human nutrition myths to our pets, your pet will get the food it needs to live a long healthy life.
Raw rules food for Cats
There are two main rules for feeding cats. When you follow these, you’re working with the cat’s natural nutritional patterns.
- Feed your cat nose-to-tail animals that are smaller than they are (what they could realistically catch in the wild). This includes bones, muscles, and organs – especially the heart.Be careful about giving cats too much liver – they can get vitamin A toxicity from liver. This recipe has a good amount – you want it to replicate what they would get if they were hunting in the wild: Muscle meat and liver/heart/kidney. If you can find small animals (ie chickens rather than beef) that is a more natural diet for a cat!
- If your food is not fresh and raw, supplement with the essential (for cats) amino acid taurine. (source)
After seeing so much success with switching our cat Bob to a raw food diet for kidney disease, friends and family and readers have been asking me about a recipe for kittens and healthy cats.
The only change to the Feline Kidney Care Raw Food recipe is that I used bone-in chicken in place of the beef, as it contains the healthy fats from the skin as well as bone bone that cats need to grow and maintain bone health. Cats with kidney disease need to limit their phospherous, but cats without kidney disease should NOT limit phosphorous and should include bones in the diet.
Is this recipe enough taurine? I wasn’t sure, since taurine in the chicken heart may degrade when it’s frozen, and my chicken hearts come frozen. Since taurine is so essential to cats, I sprinkle powdered taurine, 1 pinch, on each container of his food (2 days’ worth).
Feeding cats vs dogs
Cats are carnivores, dogs are scavengers. If you feed your dog raw already, you may know that it’s a simple process. For cats, there are more delicate needs to take into consideration.
Because this recipe requires thawing multiple kinds of meat, I do meal prep for the cat – I make up 4 bags with the organ meats in it at a time, and then freeze each bag, adding the chicken, water, and egg as I make each batch.
Then I make 1 recipe at a time, and freeze into tablespoon fulls (shown below) to introduce the dietary change to the cat, or in 1/4 cup portions as the cat’s whole diet.
Where to find the ingredients below: US Wellness Meats has them most of the time.
Chicken and Salmon-Based Raw Kitten and Cat Food Recipe
This is the cat food recipe that I made for my sister-in-law's kittens. It is based off the raw kidney care cat food that our cat Bob is thriving on, but includes needed bones in place of the extra egg shell.
- 50 grams chicken liver raw
- 50 grams beef kidney raw
- 2 cups water more as needed to puree
- 1 whole raw egg including shell
- 100 grams chicken heart raw
- 700 grams bone-in skin-on chicken wings raw, cats need to be eating some bone in their diet for phosphorous and calcium
- 100 grams raw salmon bones kept in, cats need to be eating some bone.
- 1 teaspoon taurine supplement powdered form. Taurine is essential for cats, and lack of it can lead to cardiac death.
Pulse to grind all ingredients in a high-powered blender or meat grinder. Leave raw!
Divide into how much the cat will consume in 2-3 days and refrigerate. Freeze the rest, in small portions for easy serving.
This works best to puree all the organ meats (heart, kidney, etc) into the water, and then pulse this mixture into the chicken. If you have a Vitamix this should work just fine (just pulse and allow to rest if it sounds like it's over working). If desired, a meat grinder can also be used. It should be relatively easy to grind up raw (never cooked) chicken wing bones and skin
Divide out into containers and thaw 2-3 days' worth at a time.
Nutrition facts most likely are lower in calcium than are really in the recipe, as they assume the bones and shell are not consumed.
Changing from Commercial to Homemade Cat Food
If your cat has been on commercial cat food for most of its life, his digestive enzymes and digestive system has most likely acclimated to this unnatural diet. Slowly transition over to raw food, 1 teaspoon at a time, over the course of a month.
You will want to follow the advice of your veterinary professional, but for many this will look like:
Day 1-5: Mix 1 teaspoon of raw food (freeze food in 1-teaspoon blobs to make this easy) into whatever your cat normally eats.
Day 5-10: Increase the raw food by double.
Day 10-15: Feed your cat half raw, half what they were eating before.
Day 15 on: You may be able to switch to all raw food as your cat has had time for their digestive system to catch up. If your cat is fussy, continue the slow transition.
Is commercial cat food necessary for cats?
We keep dry food as recommended by our vet available at all times to our cat. He greatly prefers the wet food, and most weeks doesn’t even touch the dry food. Still, I don’t want to have to worry that I’m not giving him enough, so I do have a feeder for Bob that always has dry food in it.
I don’t think that a little dry food here and there is bad for cats, but I would always want to have raw meat, including organ meats, as the main part of their diet.