How to make cat food at home

How to make cat food at home

Basic information on cat nutrition

Cats are predators with specific nutritional needs. In natural conditions, they feed mainly on rodents (mice, rats, voles), moles, small birds, and their eggs. Of all predators, cats are the most specialized carnivores. Their organisms are adapted to a diet rich in animal protein and fat, and devoid of plant products completely or almost completely. Along with food, cats must have the right amount of taurine, vitamin A of animal origin, and arachidonic acid, because their organisms cannot synthesize these ingredients. Keep this in mind when composing a diet for your cat.

The aforementioned taurine is necessary for cats, its deficiency causes, among others serious heart disease (cardiomyopathy), but also digestive problems and developmental diseases of kittens. In nature, the main source of taurine is mouse meat (the concentration in mouse carcasses is up to 7 times higher than in poultry or beef). Most taurine is found in turkey meat, and sea invertebrates and fish are also rich in it. Taurine is virtually absent in plant foods, and soy, for example, speeds up its excretion, hence a vegetarian diet is not suitable for a cat.

Detailed information about the cat's nutritional needs can be found, among others on the Barfny Świat portal, to which we will still refer.
Down with monotony!
A cat in nature - as long as he has a choice - does not feed monotonously. Therefore, we should take care of the same, wishing to properly feed the domestic cat. We should try to make his food varied so that we avoid both deficiencies and overdose of some ingredients.

A variety of the cat's diet also has other practical dimensions - when an animal accidentally eats something different than usual, you should not get sick after that. We will also not have a problem in the event that the cat's favorite food becomes unavailable (a cat accustomed to one taste could then refuse to eat). Added to this is the most ordinary taste issue in the world; undoubtedly, every animal guardian will sooner or later notice that the cat has its favorite dishes, it also has such that it will not touch for any treasures; So we can give a cat a varied diet.

Cats can be given ready-made food (wet and dry), you can also prepare their own meals and of course combine these methods. However, it is worth paying attention to what connects with what (for example, salmonella is not dangerous for animals eating raw meat, because the Ph in their stomachs is too low for bacteria to develop, but eating dry food raises Ph). Opinions on which option is best are divided and everyone must decide for themselves. In the rest of the article, we'll discuss both home-made food and ready-made foods.

Home made cat food

At the beginning the most important remark: "homemade food" for a cat does not mean serving the animal leftovers from dinner. The cats' need for proteins, fats, and carbohydrates is completely different than in humans, our meals are too spiced, and some of the products we eat are simply poisonous to animals. Homemade cat food means food prepared on its own, especially for the animal - tailored to the cat's needs, from meat and necessary supplements.

Although after the introduction it may seem that preparing a valuable meal for a cat may outweigh the average cat carer, it is worth not to be discouraged. Everyone is able to prepare good-quality food on their own, but there are a few important rules to remember:

* cats must not be given raw pork (it may contain viruses of Aujeszky's disease, which is harmless to humans, which is fatal for cats);

* cats are not allowed to feed onion plants (onions, garlic, leeks);

* cats are not allowed to give coffee, tea, chocolate, mushrooms, alcohol, yeast dough, poppy seeds;

* cats should not be given egg whites;

* cats should not - contrary to popular belief - be given milk, because they are not able to digest lactose; however, you can reach for lactose-free milk, in particular, special milk with supplements for cats;

* diversity is important, the more meat we use, the more valuable the food;
* meat must be unconditionally fresh!

* clean meat does not have enough fat for cats, let's not worry about skin, cartilage, veins, membranes or fat;

* The liver is very valuable, but you need to be careful with its administration because an overdose can seriously harm;

* the best offal for cats are hearts (valuable) and stomachs (good for teeth); they should not constitute more than 15-20% of home food;

* meat is the most important ingredient in cat food, but you cannot limit yourself to it;

* homemade food must be properly supplemented, supplements can be abandoned only if homemade meals are occasional and constitute no more than 25% of the cat's diet.

The best quality home food is prepared according to the rules of the BARF diet - it is closest to nutrition, which is natural for a cat. Precise guidelines help to avoid mistakes and pay attention to the elements that the animal needs. Although BARF's rules may seem complicated at first glance, it's worth not being discouraged; in practice, they are quite easy to learn, and on the Internet, you can find many ready recipes and calculators that allow you to choose the ingredients yourself. The biggest problem in BARF is the one-time purchase of several supplements, but these are efficient and last for a long time, so in the long run, the diet does not have to be more expensive than ready-made foods.

A lot of information about the BARF diet along with ready recipes and lists of supplements can be found on the Barfny Świat website.
Prepared cat food

There is a wide range of cat food on the market, which of course gives a wide range of choices, but at the same time, it causes a big problem with deciding which of the food will be the best. The basic division is, of course, the division into dry and wet foods.

Dry food

The most popular type of cat food is dry food - it is convenient and relatively cheap. This food is in the form of small hard crisps of various shapes and colors.

It is worth remembering, however, that dry crisps are not a natural form of animal food; cats as carnivores have a fairly short digestive tract adapted for rapid digestion, and dry food before it gets wet for a long time in the stomach before it is digested.

Theoretically, dry food is very durable, but it quickly spoils under the influence of moisture. Remember not to put too much food into the bowl at one time (under no circumstances should you leave the soaked crisps in the bowl!) And after opening the packaging, store them in a dark, cool place, preferably tightly closed. Otherwise, it will weather out and the fat contained in it will go rancid.

When feeding a cat with dry or mainly dry food, make sure that the cat has constant access to water and that it is being used. Many cats are reluctant to drink and may become dehydrated due to a lack of moisture in the food. It is worth placing a few containers of water in the apartment, observing what the cat prefers - some prefer jugs or vases in place of bowls, and others flowing water, e.g. dripping from the tap. In this case, it's worth thinking about buying a cat fountain.

However, it is worth considering dry food in the context of outgoing and free-living cats - especially in winter. It is high-energy and does not freeze, which is important if the animal does not reach the bowl immediately after its exposure.

Wet foods

The second option is wet food. They can take various forms: pate, luncheon meat, pieces of meat in sauce or in jelly. They can be packed into cans, sachets, trays, etc. After opening, the food is immediately ready for serving, and if the animal is not able to eat the whole packaging at once, the rest should be stored in the fridge (warming to room temperature before serving). It is important to check that food packaging is airtight and undamaged.

The advantage of wet food is humidity similar to natural cat food and often a lower degree of processing combined with a better composition compared to dry food.

What to look for when buying food?

Both dry and wet foods offer better and worse quality products. Unfortunately, the guarantor is neither the price nor even the brand (the same company can produce, for example, very good quality wet food and dry food, which should not be given to a cat). It happens, however, that cheaper food may have better composition than much more expensive or widely advertised. Products appear on the market and disappear from it all the time. For this reason, we will not recommend specific manufacturers or use brand names, because the most important thing is to learn what information to look for when choosing food.

To begin with, let's focus on what good cat food should not contain :

* animal by-products from the slaughter and utilization of animals and of unknown origin not specifically named (on the food label listed as "meat and meat products" or "meat and animal by-products");

* cereals and all their derivatives (wheat, rye, barley, oats, rice, corn);

* other plant products containing large amounts of starch and vegetable protein - primarily legumes (including soybeans), potatoes, vegetable by-products;

* vegetable oils and oils of unknown origin;

* excess fiber (vegetable cellulose) - apart from what is contained in the vegetables contained in the feed, the composition should not contain any cellulose isolated from anything, pulp, pulp, bran, etc .; the feed may contain ground linseed;

* chemical preservatives, chemical antioxidants, dyes, flavors (natural and artificial), stabilizers;

* sugar, caramel, and any sweeteners;

* milk and dairy products.

What good cat food should contain:

* meat, fat, and offal - all listed specifically by name and specific species of animal;

* chicken, quail or other bird eggs, preferably the yolks themselves;

* fish of a particular species;

* vegetables (listed specifically by name) up to a max. 5%;

* additional taurine - the more, the better, because no producer adds it in sufficient quantity;

* fish oil (preferably salmon) as a source of omega-3;

* calcium (if there is no bone in the diet - bone meal or eggshells, possibly calcium carbonate or citrate);

* additional "deficit" vitamins and minerals, preferably in the form of natural supplements.

Parameters that good food should have:

* only animal protein source (trace amounts of protein from vegetables can be omitted);

* fat of animal origin only;

* carbohydrate content max. 5% in dry food, max 2% in wet food;

* protein content between 41-51% in dry food, 9-11% in wet food;

* fat content in the range of 20-35% in dry food, 4.5-7.5% in wet food.

The different% values ​​for wet and dry feeds are due to the different water content in the feed.

Because the amount of carbohydrates in foods is usually too high, manufacturers avoid providing this value on the packaging but must provide values ​​for other ingredients. The carbohydrate content should then be calculated independently as follows: 100% - (protein + fat + ash + fiber + water) =% carbohydrate.

More detailed guidelines on good karma parameters can be found here.

By using the above guidelines and carefully reading the information given on the food packaging, we are able, with a little practice, to easily determine the quality of the product.

We read the labels!

The most important information on each food package is COMPOSITION - that is, a list of ingredients used to produce the food - and ANALYSIS - which is the content of individual nutrients in the finished food (given in% - protein, fat, carbohydrates, moisture, ash).

Let's practice reading the labels on the example of four wet foods.

Feed No. 1

COMPOSITION: meat and offal (turkey min. 40%, lamb min. 28%), meat stock, calcium carbonate.
Additional ingredients per 1 kg:
vitamin A 2,000 IE, vitamin D3 200 IE, vitamin E 25 mg, Taurine 1,000 mg, Zinc 0.35 mg, Manganese 1.4 mg, Iodine 0.5 mg The
the manufacturer declares that all offal and meat, have the appropriate quality of food for humans, food contains only natural ingredients, without chemical additives.
ANALYSIS: crude proteins 10.1%, crude fats and oils 5.6%, crude fiber 0.4%, crude ash 1.7%, humidity 80%, calcium 0.3%, phosphorus 0.19%, magnesium 0.017 %.

We first check the COMPOSITION for inappropriate content.
Food # 1 contains nothing from the list of inappropriate ingredients. Instead, it contains specific meat and high-quality offal, as well as essential additives such as taurine, calcium, and vitamins.

Then we check the ANALYSIS.
The amount of% protein and fat is within the wet food ranges. We calculate the amount of carbohydrates:
100% - (protein 10.1% + fat 5.6% + ash 1.7% + fiber 0.4% + water 80%) =
100% - 97.8% = 2.2% carbohydrates

Both the composition and the analysis of food # 1 are very good, it can be safely said that this is good cat food. If you add salmon oil to it, it would be close to ideal.

Feed No. 2

COMPOSITION: chicken meat (45.4%), rice (1.0%), potassium chloride (0.18%), boiled water (52.6%)
Additional ingredients per kg: technological additive: cassia gum (3.150 mg)
ANALYSIS: crude protein 10%, crude fat 2%, crude fiber 0.1%, crude ash 3%, humidity 84% The
manufacturer reserves that this is a complementary feed and the feed does not contain mineral components.

We check the COMPOSITION for inappropriate content.
Karma 2 contains a small amount of rice and a natural gelling agent. Of all cereals, rice is the least harmful and its addition is really small, so it does not disqualify this food. The food contains specific high-quality meat but does not contain taurine and calcium.

We check the ANALYSIS.

The amount of% protein is within the wet food range given, but the amount of fat is too low. Calculated carbohydrate amount: 0.9%.

Although the composition of food # 2 is not bad, and the ingredients used for its production are of high quality, the lack of important additives and low-fat content cause that this food is not well balanced and can only be given as an addition to other well-balanced food. This agrees with the information provided by the manufacturer.

Karma No. 3

COMPOSITION: Meat and animal by-products [poultry (20%), poultry hearts (20%)], minerals
Dietary supplements: vitamin A 3,000 IU, vitamin D3 200 IU, vitamin E 30 mg, taurine 1,000 mg, zinc (sulfate zinc monohydrate) 15 mg, manganese (manganese (II) sulfate, monohydrate) 3 mg, iodine (calcium iodide, anhydrous) 0.75 mg, selenium (sodium selenate) 0.03 mg. Technological additives: cassia gum 1,000 mg.
ANALYSIS: crude proteins 10.1%, crude fats 6.8%, crude fiber 0.4%, crude ash 2.1%, moisture 81%

Karma 3 contains animal by-products, i.e. post-slaughter and post-production waste unfit for human consumption. The quality and bioavailability of such food is much worse than that of high-quality ingredients. It is positive that the manufacturer took care of the addition of taurine and vitamins. The food does not contain cereals or preservatives. The analysis of the number of nutrients is also normal. It can be said that this is poor quality food but well balanced. It is not good, but it can be given to a cat if you cannot buy better food.

Food No. 4

COMPOSITION: meat and animal by-products (min. 6% beef, 8% chicken), vegetable protein extracts, cereals, fish and fish by-products, minerals, sugar.
dietary supplements:
vitamin A (1,365 IU / kg), vitamin D3 (210 IU / kg), iron (9,5 mg / kg), iodine (0,2 mg / kg), copper (0,8 mg / kg), manganese ( 1.8 mg / kg), zinc (9.5 mg / kg).
ANALYSIS: crude protein 12%, crude fat 3.5%, crude fiber 0.5%, crude ash 1.2%, moisture 80%
calculated carbohydrates: 2.8%

The manufacturer praises this food as an optimal, high-quality, and, in addition, very tasty cat food. However, at first glance, you can see that the composition is simply bad. Virtually all ingredients are on the list of what food should not contain (sugar, cereals, vegetable protein extracts), and the lack of valuable ingredients. The ingredients are given in general terms, which means that they are not of high quality. Despite the addition of vitamins, the manufacturer did not take care of the addition of taurine. Also, the analysis is not good, there are too much protein and carbohydrates, too little fat.

It can be said that this is definitely bad food, largely produced from waste and trash left after food production for humans. Absolutely do not give this cat food.

As a summary of the comparison of these four different karmas, we can add that none of them belongs to the so-called cheapest market food. Prices, taken from one of the large online stores, are as follows:

Karma No. 1: 14.54 - 37.33 PLN / kg - very good balanced
Karma No. 2: 20.75 - 29.02 PLN / kg - quite good food supplement
Karma 3: 9,50 - 13,17 zł / kg - average / poor quality food properly balanced
Karma 4: 17,11 - 19,41 zł / kg - bad, ill-balanced food containing harmful ingredients

we have here a clear example is that at similar prices we can buy both very good and very bad food and that cheaper food may be better than more expensive food.

Public Demand: we coverup on the next articles

1.Raw food diet for cats pros and cons
2.boiled chicken for cats with diarrhea to make wet cat food from dry

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