Home-Cooked Cat Food Resources

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Jun 25, 2002
Fighting for ferals in NW NJ!
Cooked Food Resources


One very easy option is to start with meat or meat and organs and add a commercially available premix of nutritional supplements that will make the food nutritionally balanced.

By Dr. Donald Strombeck: http://www.dogcathomeprepareddiet.com/feeding_a_normal_dog_or_cat.html#cats *
Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, PhD, is Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, and an honorary member of the College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He is widely published and has received numerous awards. The home page: http://www.dogcathomeprepareddiet.com/

* Please note that Dr. Strombeck states that "Cats have always been carnivores. Cats have some unique nutritional needs that a strictly vegetarian diet cannot satisfy," yet then goes on to provide two "vegetarian recipes" (though not strictly vegetarian, containing bone meal), the primary source of protein is tofu. TheCatSite.com does not endorse any particular method of feeding. Yet TCS members that feed homemade cooked or raw food to their cats feel it is important to note that non meat-based diets are not species-appropriate for our obligate carnivores. Further, there is evidence that an abundance of soy in a diet (among other things) can contribute to feline hyperthyroidism: http://www.catinfo.org?link=felinehyperthyroidism#What_are_the_causes_of_hyperthyroidism_

From TCFeline (a manufacturer of Premixes) http://tcfeline.com/2010/08/16/cooked-meat/

At IBD kitties: http://www.ibdkitties.net/Homecooked.html (requires a grinder)

TCS home-cooked recipes & discussion:

Cooked Recipes Thread
My first cooked chicken cat food!

Nutritional Supplements (Premixes)

Note: Some are designed to make just meat complete; others require liver and/or a source of calcium to make the recipes balanced & complete. For most, a source of fiber is optional (which can be important for IBD kitties or as a method to lower fat for specific medical reasons). Some of these were designed with raw feeding in mind, but provide appropriate supplemental nutrition for home-cooked food. Please ensure you purchase the correct supplement for the recipe you intend to use.

Alnutrin http://www.knowwhatyoufeed.com/
Balance IT https://secure.balanceit.com/ -- NOTE: Clarification on the use of Balance IT premixes - TCS thread
Call of the Wild http://www.wysong.net/products/cotw-dog-cat-supplement.php
Warning: Call of the Wild by Wysong may have iodine levels that are too high. Please see http://www.thecatsite.com/t/269085/warning-call-of-the-wild-high-in-iodine
Food Fur Life: http://www.foodfurlife.com/
TCfeline (Canada) http://tcfeline.com/
TCfeline USA http://tcfeline.com/tcfeline-usa/
TCPremix EUROPE http://tcfeline.com/tcpremix-europe/
U-Stew http://www.knowbetterpetfood.com/cat_food_u-stew

Alnutrin and Balance IT have online calculators and recipes.

Sources of Calcium

Warning: Never feed cooked bones, even if ground; these can splinter and harm your cats.

Most home-cooked recipes will include either bone meal, calcium carbonate, or eggshell.

If you want to create your own diet using real bone, this thread describes a method that does not require a grinder, just a pressure cooker and food processor: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/261751/bone-question-dr-piersons-ground-recipe

If you want to use a source of bone other than bone meal, there is a freeze-dried bone option. It is called Microcrystalline Calcium Hydroxyapatite (MCHA). In the U.S., there is only one supplement available that has no other ingredients. It is manufactured by NOW, and is called just "NOW calcium hydroxyapatite." Note that MCHA costs considerably more to use than bone meal or eggshell powder.

How to balance meat (and organ) for just the calcium component of the diet using eggshell or MCHA: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/263426/...hydroxyapatite-to-balance-meat-or-meat-organs

Impact of Cooking

Even for carnivores, cooked meat is easily digestible:

Energetic significance of cooking. "While cooking has long been argued to improve the diet, the nature of the improvement has not been
well defined. As a result, the evolutionary significance of cooking has variously been proposed as being substantial or relatively trivial. In this paper, we evaluate the hypothesis that an important and consistent effect of cooking food is a rise in its net energy value." Carmody & Wrangham 2009. The Energetic Significance of Cooking, Jour Hum Evol 57 (2009) 379–391.

Nutrient Retention, various cooking methods (PDF file). USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/retn/retn06.pdf

Nutrient Retention data from the USDA: information for just cooked meats summarized in data tables in this TCS thread: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/263946/nutrient-retention-values

Food Safety & Proper Cooking Temperatures

Revised Recommended Cooking Temperatures, FoodSafety.gov: http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/meat_temperatures.html

How to keep your food safe: http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/howtocook/primers/foodsafetymeatpoultry

New York Times article, Bending the Rules on Bacteria, with information about reheating previously cooked food.

Books & Other Resources

Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Diets, Second Edition (2010). "The new edition of Donald Strombeck’s classic handbook has been completely rewritten by new author Patricia A. Schenck to reflect the latest nutritional recommendations based on current research."

Some books with cooked recipes people could take a look at to see what they think:
The Ultimate Pet Food Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Feeding Your Dog or Cat The recipes are heavy on seafood, IMO, and the author is a dog trainer, not a vet. Nutrition info is given in simple terms.

Dinner PAWsible: A cookbook for healthy, nutritious meals for cats and dogs
The recipes are in cups, tablespoons, etc., and in grams, with calorie counts and indications for calcium supplements or ground eggshell. They have veggies and some grains like brown rice. Ground sunflower seeds are used a lot. Note that one of the authors, Susan Thixton, runs the Truth About Pet Food site.

Both books are available in paperback or as Kindle e-books. You don't have to have a Kindle to read them, as you can download a free Kindle app for your PC, tablet or smartphone.

Helpful Resources: Raw & Home-Cooked Cat Food Forum

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