Help! Cats Hate My Homemade Food

smoky&maple

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I'm torn because my cats are noticeably healthier eating my homemade food but they often hate it.

I have two cats, one is 9 years old and the other is about a year old, and they are best buddies. I started learning how to make cat food because my older cat was sick after eating commercial food his whole life. He's made a dramatic transformation on homemade cat food, from being very sick to now having shiny fur, better teeth, and he looks younger now. He's not in perfect shape and is still overweight, but he's doing much better. The younger cat is really healthy and energetic too.

I have been making the cat food using the recipe at My Diet | CAT LADY FITNESS - Raw Cat Food & Apparel by Puppy the Cat . I have been using hamburger meat (from my family's farm raised cow) instead of chicken, and eggshells as a bone substitute, because that's what I have. I don't have access to chicken hearts but I put chicken liver in the food like it says. I also cook the livers and the brown the outside of the meat, for fear of bacteria. The last batch I left raw to see if they would eat it, and they ate it at first but are already tired of it.

The cats have been eating the food on and off the whole time, sometimes they like it and sometimes they don't. Right now my older cat has been eating the food and the younger cat refuses to eat. My dad (I take care of my cats but they are at my parent's house) gives the young cat dry food (Purina indoor chow) in the afternoon because she begs loudly. She is now addicted to it and is refusing to eat other food.

My older cat goes through spurts of liking and hating the homemade food and really wants to eat dry food but I don't give it to him because he doesn't drink water (I put extra water in his food). He also throws up commercial food like Fancy Feast, 9Lives, and Purina so he can't eat those.

I briefly fed both cats Freshpet cat food in the tubes but they got tired of it and refused to eat.

Am I doing something wrong? Are my meat choices ok? How do I make the cat food taste better for the cats?
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
Can you crumble a little of the Purina chow and sprinkle that onto the wet food?
 

Box of Rain

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The blending of meat into a "pink slime" could be a polarizing texture for cats.

Do you have any meat you could hand mince or shred to test whether that might be a prefered texture for your cats?

Bill
 
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smoky&maple

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The blending of meat into a "pink slime" could be a polarizing texture for cats.

Do you have any meat you could hand mince or shred to test whether that might be a prefered texture for your cats?

Bill
I do, I hadn't thought of that but I will try it because they are hardly eating the new food I just made. The latest batch of food is completely raw and definitely more slimy than usual and they hate it. I usually cook their food a little but I wanted to see if they liked raw better.
Thanks!
 

iPappy

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There are a lot of companies that can ship things like chicken hearts to you, as well as many other diet additions (extra protein sources, etc.) Hare-Today.com is a good one. Rawfeedingmiami.com is another. Mypetcarnivore.com is another. I have a few cats that just don't go for beef like they do chicken, turkey, or rabbit.
My work cats are on a hybrid diet, kibble in the morning and raw in in the evening and the more I give them kibble the less they want the raw, so I feel your pain :(
 

Box of Rain

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I do, I hadn't thought of that but I will try it because they are hardly eating the new food I just made. The latest batch of food is completely raw and definitely more slimy than usual and they hate it. I usually cook their food a little but I wanted to see if they liked raw better.
Thanks!
My belief is that it is a good thing for cats to chew (and gnaw) on raw food as much as possible. This work helps keep their bones, teeth, gums. and jaw muscles healthy and strong. Additionally, many cats naturally prefer the texture of more coarsely chopped food.

My cat loves to gnaw meat off meaty bones.

I'd certainly try giving your cat some unblended meat and seeing the reaction.

Hope that helps.

Bill
 
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smoky&maple

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There are a lot of companies that can ship things like chicken hearts to you, as well as many other diet additions (extra protein sources, etc.) Hare-Today.com is a good one. Rawfeedingmiami.com is another. Mypetcarnivore.com is another. I have a few cats that just don't go for beef like they do chicken, turkey, or rabbit.
My work cats are on a hybrid diet, kibble in the morning and raw in in the evening and the more I give them kibble the less they want the raw, so I feel your pain :(
Thank you for the resources! I think the kibble has an addictive flavor or smell because my cats always get addicted to it, which is weird because it's the furthest thing from meat. I only have it as a convenience for my parents in the afternoon because the young cat wants food.
 
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smoky&maple

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My belief is that it is a good thing for cats to chew (and gnaw) on raw food as much as possible. This work helps keep their bones, teeth, gums. and jaw muscles healthy and strong. Additionally, many cats naturally prefer the texture of more coarsely chopped food.

My cat loves to gnaw meat off meaty bones.

I'd certainly try giving your cat some unblended meat and seeing the reaction.

Hope that helps.

Bill
Ok, so here's what I did:
The cats have been eating blended, partially cooked cat food, and I left the last batch raw to see what would happen. They ate it willingly once and then hated it and neither cat wanted to eat it. So I cooked the food like usual but left it textured. It had been blended while raw but after I cooked it it regained a texture. My older cat started eating it again and doesn't mind the texture, so I'm pleasantly suprised. The younger cat is still walking away from her food a lot. I haven't tried putting kibble on top but it may work for her.
When I make the new cat food I will cook it slightly like I had been doing but chop the meat with no blending at all, and see how they react.
I do think they might want me to switch up the meat and I could try chicken. In the past they haven't liked chicken I cooked (it may have been freezerburned) or plain canned chicken. They only like chicken as a treat when my mom boils it for soup. It's a gamble and I don't know what the cost of chicken is right now.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions!
 

Box of Rain

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Ok, so here's what I did:
The cats have been eating blended, partially cooked cat food, and I left the last batch raw to see what would happen. They ate it willingly once and then hated it and neither cat wanted to eat it. So I cooked the food like usual but left it textured. It had been blended while raw but after I cooked it it regained a texture. My older cat started eating it again and doesn't mind the texture, so I'm pleasantly suprised. The younger cat is still walking away from her food a lot. I haven't tried putting kibble on top but it may work for her.
When I make the new cat food I will cook it slightly like I had been doing but chop the meat with no blending at all, and see how they react.
I do think they might want me to switch up the meat and I could try chicken. In the past they haven't liked chicken I cooked (it may have been freezerburned) or plain canned chicken. They only like chicken as a treat when my mom boils it for soup. It's a gamble and I don't know what the cost of chicken is right now.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions!
Glad to know the change in texture (to a coarser mince) has been well received thus far.

If you try chicken, get legs or thighs (or quarters) as dark meat chicken is a good source of taurine. Dark meat turkey is better yet.

From your cow, if you have tongue, heart, cheeks, organs, or tough hard-working muscles (dark red looking being a good clue) chose that your your kitties as rich taurine sources over tender cuts.

I'm curious to hear the progress.

Bill
 

furmonster mom

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Have you only been using beef hamburger this whole time?
I’d get bored of my food too, if I only had one thing ever. 🤷🏻‍♀️
Definitely try adding in more variety of cuts and switch up meat sources. I don’t know where you’re located, but I just got conventional (not organic) whole chicken fryers at Costco for $0.90/lb.
 

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Thank you for the resources! I think the kibble has an addictive flavor or smell because my cats always get addicted to it, which is weird because it's the furthest thing from meat.

It's probably animal digest. Many dry foods are coated in it. FortiFlora contains animal digest so a little sprinkle of that over food will entice cats to eat. Toppers like finely crushed up treats will work too. I wouldn't use toppers for every meal. Some cats will expect toppers and may refuse to eat until you put some on top.
 
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smoky&maple

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Have you only been using beef hamburger this whole time?
I’d get bored of my food too, if I only had one thing ever. 🤷🏻‍♀️
Definitely try adding in more variety of cuts and switch up meat sources. I don’t know where you’re located, but I just got conventional (not organic) whole chicken fryers at Costco for $0.90/lb.
I have just been using beef. I used to switch it up by adding small amounts of Fancy Feast in different flavors, but I stopped doing it when I realized it was making my older cat, Smoky, sick. I have access to a Sam's Club an hour and a half away and I will be looking for chicken there. The local grocery store sucks (the meat literally smells bad because they won't invest in modern refrigerators). I will run out of beef soon anyway.
You're right, I need to switch proteins. Thanks for the advice!
 
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smoky&maple

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It's probably animal digest. Many dry foods are coated in it. FortiFlora contains animal digest so a little sprinkle of that over food will entice cats to eat. Toppers like finely crushed up treats will work too. I wouldn't use toppers for every meal. Some cats will expect toppers and may refuse to eat until you put some on top.
I didn't know that, that's great to know because I've had the younger cat, Maple, not eat food that she really liked before getting kibble.
 

Box of Rain

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I have just been using beef. I used to switch it up by adding small amounts of Fancy Feast in different flavors, but I stopped doing it when I realized it was making my older cat, Smoky, sick. I have access to a Sam's Club an hour and a half away and I will be looking for chicken there. The local grocery store sucks (the meat literally smells bad because they won't invest in modern refrigerators). I will run out of beef soon anyway.
You're right, I need to switch proteins. Thanks for the advice!
If you are doing chicken--which would be a plus here--I'd advise just getting the relatively taurine rich dark meat (thighs and legs, quarters) rather than fryers or breasts (as there is nearly 10 times the taurine in dark meat vs light meat).

In addition to being more nutritious for cats, dark meat tends to be more economical.

If you can find dark meat turkey (that is not brined) that's even better with 2X the amount of taurine as chicken.

Bill
 
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smoky&maple

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I just made a new batch of cat food a few days ago, the same way I usually make it with the recipe I mentioned, but I blended it less so it had texture but wasn't too chunky for the cats. I fed them the first time and left the food with my parents. The cats ate the first serving of food and today my dad told me that they both like the food way more and the younger cat, Maple, is actually eating. The older cat, Smoky, was begging for food early today after he was fed. He's overweight though and has a tendency to overeat so I didn't give him more.
I honestly didn't think about texture and didn't know it would make such a difference! I will also be getting chicken to vary their meat.
I'm really grateful for all of the helpful advice!
 
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smoky&maple

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If you are doing chicken--which would be a plus here--I'd advise just getting the relatively taurine rich dark meat (thighs and legs, quarters) rather than fryers or breasts (as there is nearly 10 times the taurine in dark meat vs light meat).

In addition to being more nutritious for cats, dark meat tends to be more economical.

If you can find dark meat turkey (that is not brined) that's even better with 2X the amount of taurine as chicken.

Bill
Thanks Bill, I am able to get chicken quarters but thighs have been harder to find sometimes. I haven't looked for dark meat turkey but I will check that out.
 

Box of Rain

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Thanks Bill, I am able to get chicken quarters but thighs have been harder to find sometimes. I haven't looked for dark meat turkey but I will check that out.
Quarters are perfect. You may consider at some point leaving some meat on a leg bone or a thigh bone and giving a kitty an opportunity to grow on a big soft bone that it can not possibly swallow. Always observe these sessions carefully. Not only fun for you, but cats (and dogs) who are new to bones must be watched like hawks.

Strong prey model fed cats who regularly eat more size-appropriate (smaller) bones may very well to the point where they may be able to demolish a thigh or chicken bone, but not likely a newbie. Can be entertaining to watch.

Gnawing soft edible (and raw) bone helps with teeth hygiene and really build the dental strength of teeth, jaw bones, and jaw and neck muscles. My belief is that "if you don't use it, you lose it" and that applies to people and cats.

My life-long PMR raw fed dog (who is 8.5) has perfect teeth and vitally healthy gums. My vet (an excellent traditionalist who does not "endorse" raw feeding) is highly impressed. The vast majority of dogs have periodontal disease--and most by the age of 3. The situation with cats is perhaps even more dire?

Desmond can now destroy a chicken leg--I'm about to give him one. He is a tiny cat. Maybe 8.5 lbs. But his teeth and jaws are so strong and the gums look perfect.

Maintaining good dental health is one of the big factors in my feeding a diet inclusive of raw meaty bones.

If you trim bone-in thighs, think about saving the bones (freeze in ziplocks) and making a stock/broth when you have enough. I make pure broth for my spoiled cat, who will drink it as a warm snack between meals.

Bill
 
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smoky&maple

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The younger cat, Maple, likes chewing on bones but I haven't given her one in a while. I'll have to give them both a bone and see what happens. My older cat, Smoky, isn't usually interested, but he has had commercial food for most of his life since I didn't know about homemade cat food. I had to take him to the vet this year for constipation and he wasn't eating well because of his teeth. The vet said they may need to remove most of his teeth. I took him back home, canceled the next vet appointment, and bought kelp powder after some research. I started giving him the powder and his teeth problems cleared up fast and he eats fine now, he regained the weight he lost. I learned how to make cat food so he wouldn't be so sick again because I was giving him enemas at home and my dad thought he had died one morning. He's doing so much better now.
I did make chicken stock out of the bones in my instant pot and poured it on the cat food, but oddly enough they hated it. I plan on making more anyway and if they don't take to it I'll use it for something else.
 
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