Helpful Resources: Raw & Home-Cooked Cat Food Forum

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Jun 25, 2002
Fighting for ferals in NW NJ!
General Resources for the Raw & Home-Cooked Cat Food Forum

Feline Nutrition

Your Cat's Nutritional Needs Summary Booklet (PDF) by the Nutrition Research Council of the National Academies

Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats (2006) Subcommittee on Dog and Cat Nutrition, Committee on Animal Nutrition, National Research Council

Nutritional Guidelines for Dogs and Cats (2011) PDF FEDIAF - The European Pet Food Industry Federation

Morris, JG 2007. Idiosyncratic nutrient requirements of cats appear to be diet-induced evolutionary adaptations, Nutrition Research Reviews / Volume 15 / Issue 01 / June 2002, pp 153-168. Full Report Available for free.

By Dr. Mark Peterson, a Veterinary Endocrinologist:

C. Leigh Broadhurst, Ph.D. Fats your cats need: The Essential PUFA Guide - October 2001 issue of Nutrition Science News

Plantinga et al. 2011. Estimation of the dietary nutrient profile of free-roaming feral cats: possible implications for nutrition of domestic cats, British Journal of Nutrition / Volume 106 / Supplement S1 / October 2011, pp S35-S48. Full Report Available for free.

Species-Appropriate Feeding & Health Information on species-appropriate feeding of obligate carnivores, with a focus on the relationship between diet and health from veterinarian Dr. Lisa Pierson, including information on urinary tract health, diabetes, and weight management. Holistic feline health, nutrition, and behavior information from veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve and feline behavior expert Jackson Galaxy.

Zoran 2002. The Carnivore Connection to Nutrition in Cats, JAVMA, Vol 221, No. 11, December 1, 2002.

Updated for current research: Zoran DL & Buffington CAT 2011. Effects of nutrition choices and lifestyle changes on the well-being of cats, a carnivore that has moved indoors, JAVMA Vol 239, No. 5, September 1, 2011. Created by Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, this is an in-depth resource for diabetic cat owners written by one of the U.S.' leading experts on feline diabetes. A collection of resources for owners of cats suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and similar symptoms, pancreatitis, and fatty liver disease assembled by Lisa Provost. Includes case studies, food product reviews and research. Currently working with the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine in a study of IBD and small cell gastrointestinal lymphoma (GILSA).

The Best Diet to Feed Hyperthyroid Cats by Dr. Mark E. Peterson, Veterinary Endocrinologist specialist

Optimal Protein Requirements for Older Cats and Cats with Hyperthyroidism, also by Dr. Mark Peterson.

Why Not More “Standard” Commercial Diets?

Homemade vs. Commercial Food for Cats (and Dogs!) at LittleBigCat

My Cat is Doing Just "Fine" on Dry Food at

Diabetes and Obesity: Preventable Epidemics at Feline Nutrition Education Society (FNES)

Feline Urinary Tract Health at

What's Really in Pet Food at Born Free USA

Studies linking commercial pet food to illness, hosted at Mousabilities:

TCS thread: Nutritionally Complete Assurances for our pet food

Transition Guides

Transition Guides are typically written for transitioning cats from kibble to canned or raw, but the basic principles are the same, no matter what food a cat is being transitioned from and to. Please also note that an important part of any transition should include keeping track of the cats' weekly weights to determine the correct amount to feed to maintain a stable weight. If a cat needs to lose weight, once the daily amount needed to maintain weight on the new diet has been established, then the weight-loss program can be implemented.

Transitioning Free-Fed Kibble Kitties to Timed Meals

Transitioning Your Cat from Kibble to a New Type of Food (Canned, Raw, or Homemade)

Transitioning Dry Food Addicts to Canned Food at

How to Transition Your Cat to a Raw Diet at Feline Nutrition Education Society (FNES)

A Practical Guide: Transitioning Your Cat to a Raw Diet at

How to Win the Healthy Food Battle with Your Fussy Feline – Part 1 at Mercola's Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker

How to Win the Healthy Food Battle with Your Fussy Feline – Part 2 at Mercola's Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker


Beware of enhanced meat! Many supermarket meats, typically chicken, pork, turkey breast, and duck, are often enhanced with a sodium solution. (Increases water weight). It raises the sodium content substantially. These are not often marked clearly, as even "all natural" and "minimally processed" meats can have this salt solution. Before purchasing, check the sodium content per serving. In the US, a standard one serving of meat has less than 100mg of sodium. If there is more than that, it is inappropriate for our cats.

You might be able to afford grass fed and/or pastured animals; you can check a large database of local farms here:

It is also worth checking local resources to see if there are farmer's markets held regularly in your area.

Ethnic markets often carry interesting proteins and a wide variety of organ meats.

There are two national suppliers of grass fed / pastured meat in the US. This is an expensive option, and shipping frozen adds a lot to the cost. But if you can afford it, these are high-quality options:

There are two national suppliers of frozen pet foods in the U.S. that cater to raw feeders but that also carry a wide variety of ground and/or non-ground organs; hearts; boneless meats (ground, cubed, or in chunks); and "raw meaty bones". Those feeding raw or cooked can source organs and a wider variety of proteins than may be available locally - and bone-in meats can be cooked and the bone removed prior to feeding (never feed cooked bones). and

You can also check for local Yahoo raw feeding or BARF groups to see if there are any co-op purchasing groups in your area.

Helpful Information

Nutrient Data. If you need any information on the nutrient data of the food choices in the diet choices for your cat, the USDA database is an invaluable tool. This link will always take you to the most current version (it is updated regularly). Note that most on-line "recipe" calculators do not update their links to the most recent version of the database. Please also note, the nutrient data is not always complete for every item, and some things important to those making homemade food for their felines are not tracked by the USDA (for instance, iodine and taurine). The USDA's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference:

Balancing Your Diet. See the caution about online calculators in Nutrient Data, above.

University of Illinois has a Nutritional Analysis Tool. Just be aware of the potential limitations, and it may link to an outdated version of the USDA database.

Further discussion of analysis and its potential limitations: The problem with home made diets and how to analyze your diet - TCS thread​

Food Scales. One of the most important tools when making homemade food is the kitchen scale. TCS members discuss food scales here:

Further reading:

Raw Feeding Resources

Home-Cooked Cat Food Resources
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