A Complete and Balanced Diet for Cats: A Nutritional Manual for Home-Cooked Meals
During your cat's growth, aside from love and care, a crucial requirement is proper, balanced nutrition. Many commercially available pet foods lack vital nutrients, contain preservatives and other undesirable substances, or may just become an accumulating expense. Homemade cat food, crafted from natural ingredients, is beneficial for their digestive health, it helps manage calorie intake, promoting overall well-being. Additionally, it enhances dental and urinary health, reduces shedding, and boosts their energy levels. It’s a win for your wallet as well!
Being obligate carnivores, cats primarily require,
- Protein sourced from meat or fish
- Amino acids such as taurine and arginine (derived from meat or fish)
- Fatty acids
While carbohydrates like rice and corn in limited quantities are acceptable but not obligatory in a cat’s diet, a small amount can offer useful energy and potentially cut down the expenses of a homemade diet.
Safe and Homemade Cat Foods
- Eggs - Cooked eggs provide excellent protein and amino acids, aiding in growth. Avoid raw eggs as they can cause food poisoning and interfere with biotin absorption, necessary for healthy skin and coat.
- Steamed Vegetables - Fresh veggies are rich in vitamins and fiber, aiding digestion. Despite cats' reluctance, try steamed or baked vegetables, excluding garlic and onions.
- Fish - Cooked fish provides protein and omega-3 fatty acids, benefiting eyesight and health. Avoid raw fish or sushi; consider fish oil supplements.
- Whole Grains - Oats and other grains offer protein and fiber. Ensure they're well-cooked for easy digestion.
- Chicken - A lean protein source, boiled chicken supports heart and reproductive health. Opt for boneless and mildly seasoned chicken.
- Bananas - Though not a cat favorite, bananas offer soluble fiber and potassium, ideal as occasional snacks due to their sugar content.
- Turkey - Cooked turkey breast, being a lean protein, is safe for cats. Offer plain, skinless, boneless turkey, avoiding raw turkey.
- Apples - Rich in fiber, vitamins A and C, apples promote healthy tissues and bones. However, remove the peel and seeds due to their cyanide content.
- Bread - In moderation, bread offers fiber and protein. Avoid feeding bread dough to cats due to potential health risks.
- Blueberries - A source of Vitamin A and C, blueberries offer antioxidants for added health benefits.
Diabetic Cats - Senior cats with diabetes require special dietary considerations.
Foods that are harmful to cats
- Dough made for bread
- Garlic and onions
- Macadamia nuts
- Sugar-free gum or candy
- Under no circumstance should cats be given dog food!Top of Form
Transitioning to a Homemade Diet
Check Nutritional Balance - Balanced nutrition is essential for the well-being of cats. Both deficiencies and excesses in nutrition can cause significant health issues. Unfortunately, many homemade cat food recipes lack or overemphasize essential nutrients.
Use Approved Recipes from Veterinary Nutritionists - For reliable recipes, consult a certified veterinary nutritionist to ensure your cat's dietary needs are met.
Include Necessary Supplements - Creating a nutritionally complete and balanced cat diet often requires vitamin and mineral supplements. Be cautious of recipes that claim to provide all the necessary nutrients without supplementation. Reputable sources will specify the required amounts of each supplement for the recipe.
Allocate Time for Food Preparation - Preparing homemade food for your cat demands additional time. To save time, prepare larger portions and freeze meal-sized servings. Thaw food in the refrigerator and warm it to body temperature before feeding. Homemade food should be refrigerated for a maximum of two hours at room temperature or used within a few days.
Transition Gradually - Abrupt diet changes can upset a cat's digestive system. Gradually introduce the new food over a week or two, reducing the old food. If your cat struggles to adapt or exhibits symptoms, consult a vet.
Regular Veterinary Check-ups - Cats on a homemade diet should visit the veterinarian twice or thrice a year to monitor health and ensure the diet aligns with your cat's needs.