Your cat is a special member of your family. He or she keeps you company on long nights, entertain you with his antics, helps you relax as you comb her, and can even be a great deterrent to unwanted pests such as mice. Because of these characteristics, and others, you want to take good care of your feline friend. You see that she has plenty of toys, gets all his shots and that the food is just the right type for his or her breed and age. So when it comes to food and snacking for your cat, what is better, making your cat a custom food blend or purchasing cat food and treats?
For many pet owners, it may not be that big of a concern. After all, why bother to make a product that the professionals have already developed and that has been approved by veterinarians! If you are considering making your own pet snacks and food, but are wondering if the time doing so is worth it, then here are some of the reasons a number of cat owners are opting for homemade:
- Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons is the price. In this current economy, people are looking for ways to save some money. Often, making your own cat treats is cheaper; talking to your butcher about the ingredients you need, may even mean getting them for free or at a significant discount.
- You know what it is that your cats are eating. Many store bought cat treats and food are high in fat, contain artificial colors and preservatives, offer minimal true nutritional value and can encourage weight gain.
- Homemade cat treats are simple to make and can be kept for a number of weeks, if stored in the refrigerator.
Before you immediately begin preparing your own cat food, here are some important things to remember:
As carnivores, a cat’s diet needs to have protein from fish, amino acids such as taurine and arginine that can be found in meat or fish, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and water. Also, carbs are not a must in a cat’s diet; however, veterinary nutritionist Rebecca Remillard of the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston points out that a modest amount of carbs will provide energy.
Cooked meats, cottage cheese, cooked veggies, milk and yogurt are feline food favorites and can easily be incorporated into treats and cat meals. However, raw foods-especially fish and poultry- are not recommended!
Treats, whether store bought or purchased, should not comprise more than 20% of your cat’s diet! Specialty food items should never be given more than twice a week, and then only after the regular dietary needs have been met.
Word of warning: Before embarking on making homemade cat treats or food, take some time to learn what human foods are not good for cats to ingest. Keep in mind, also, that excessive amounts of vitamin A, calcium, vitamin E, phosphorus and milk can actually result in feline health problems.
Making Cat Snacks and Food
If you are decided that you want to make your cat’s treats and daily food items, but don’t know where to start, just take a few minutes to search the Web and you will be surprised at how many sites offer recipes. But to get you started, here are some simple ones.
Meaty Meal Mix:
3-oz Chunk light tuna (low-sodium)
2.5-oz Chicken with chicken broth baby food
Fresh dried catnip
Approx. 2-3 spoonfuls of organic plain yogurt
Directions: Stir all ingredients together until smooth. Place in ice cube trays to freeze.
¾ cup of flour
¾ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
5 tbsp. of parmesan cheese
¼ cup of plain yogurt
¼ cup of cornmeal
Form this mixture into balls and bake the ingredients at 350* for a healthy cat treat that your pet will love.
½ cup of chicken livers (fully cooked)
¼ cup of water
1¼ cups of whole-wheat flour
¼ cup of mashed (cooked) carrots
1 tbsp. of margarine
Combine the flour and margarine in a bowl, blend the livers and water, then add to the mixture. Roll into balls and cut into small pieces. Bake this cat treat at 325* for about 12 minutes.
So, have fun making some special treats and meals for your favorite feline(s). Let us know what you think and perhaps share some pics of your cat enjoying these homemade foods. And, as usual, if you have any pet questions, don’t hesitate to ask Sleep EasZZ. We’re here to help.