In one of my previous posts, A Healthy Diet, I dove into the subject of natural pet foods. The more research I did, the more I realized how much conflicting information exists. Oprah recently toted her beloved dogs’ home-made diet and spawned some controversy. Some vets and pet nutritionists argue that it is extremely difficult and near impossible to feed your cat or dog a balanced diet through home-made foods alone. According to this line of thinking commercial pet foods are formulated by nutrionists and meet the specific needs of certain species. They claim that you can not feed pets “human food” and expect to reach the proper nutritional requirements.
I do know that there are premium commercial pet foods that are all-natural and made out of whole foods. However, the majority of pet foods on the market are not. Instead they are laden with carbohydrates, grains and artificial additives. I have to believe that a home-made diet consisting of primarily organic meat is much better for our pets than the traditional commercially packaged foods.
Following the pet food recalls companies are getting in on the action and providing nutrition advice to pet owners. This expert advice is coming at a hefty price. One such company, Pet Diets, charges $200 for a personalized Nutritional Consultation.
Just for the Cats – Feeding Your Cat a Home-Made Diet
A cat’s natural diet is mainly raw meat, also known as a “prey” diet. Feline’s are carnivores and therefore require a large amount of protein and very little carbohydrates. If you choose to feed your cat a home-made diet stick with lightly cooked meats, very little grains and select vegetables such as carrots or spinach. If you can, gradually add raw meat to your cat’s diet as well. Some vets advocate strictly raw diets, while others are leery of parasites and bacteria. Felines do have a very short digestive system and are therefore able to handle bacteria much better than humans. There is a lot of conflicting information about home-made pet diets among veterinarians and pet nutritionists. Whether you choose to feed your cat a strictly raw diet, or a diet of home-made lightly cooked foods, be sure to speak with your veterinarian and make an informed decision on the needs of your feline. Pets have nutritional needs that are specific to their breed, age, species and other factors.Remember that most cats are known to be finicky eaters. A switch from commercial foods to home-made foods may cause intestinal upset. After consulting your veterinarian gradually start by introducing home-made foods into your cat’s current diet.
Recipes Beefy Oats for Cats — from *Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
3 cups raw rolled oats (or 4 ½ cups cooked oatmeal)
2 large eggs
2 pounds (4 cups) ground lean beef heart (or lean chuck, lean hamburger, liver, kidney, or other lean red meats)
4 tablespoons Healthy Powder
1 tablespoon calcium supplement (or 1 ½ teaspoon of powdered eggshell) — to equal 3,00 mg of calcium
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter (or 1 tablespoon each)
10,000 IU vitamin A
100-200 IU vitamin E
1 tablespoon fresh vegetable with each meal – finely grated if cooked (optional)
500 mg taurine supplement (optional)
Bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add the oats, cover, and turn off the heat, letting the oats cook in the hot water for about 10 minutes or until soft. Then stir in eggs, letting them set slightly for a few minutes. Mix in the remaining ingredients.Yield: about 9-10 cups with around 337 kilocalories per cup. Immediately freeze whatever cannot be eaten in the next 2 to 3 days.Daily ration (in cups): about ½ cup for small cats; a scant cup for medium sized; and about 1 1/3 cup for large cats.*Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats; Richard H. Pitcairn DVM, PhD and Susan Hubble Pitcairn third edition (2005); Rodale
Beef Meat and Rice Diet – from *Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Diets; Donald Strombeck DVM, PhD
1/3 pound very lean beef, cooked
2 cups rice, long-grain, cooked
2 tablespoons sardines, canned, tomato sauce1 tablespoon vegetable (canola) oil
¼ teaspoon salt substitute – potassium chloride
Bone meal tablets to equal 10 grains calcium1 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet
Provides 890 kilocalories, 44.3 grams protein, 38.1 grams fat. Supports the caloric needs of a 30-pound dog. *Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Diets; Donald Strombeck DVM, PhD;Iowa
State Press; 1999