Jump to content

Homemade Pet Food


xcanuck
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm sure this isn't what Don Rocks envisioned when he started this board. But, it is cooking and some of us consider our pets as much a part of the family as the humans (more, in some cases).

I have an adorable, yet somewhat overweight cat. I've tried switching his diet to low cal cat food which he is turning his nose up at. More than that, he's started throwing up the food pretty much every morning (we have managed to train him to upchuck on the hardwood floors, at least).

Anyhow...so I'm looking for advice from the people on this board. Does anyone have a good resource for making homemade cat food? Preferably "diet" cat food. I know there's lots of stuff on the 'net but I trust the people here more than the anonymous masses out there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love animals. I love pets. Dogs especially. Marley and Me is the only book to have every made me cry, and boy did it make me cry like a little girl who's just had her ear ripped off.

Homemade pet food is right up there on my list of Superfluous Indulgences Humans Lavish on Their Pets. Do people really think that Muffy is going to tell all the other dogs how owner-lady bought her the latest brand-name, down-stuffed, silk-lined dog bed? Does the fact that Scruffers has to eat out of a beaten up metal bowl make him less popular on the doggie social scene than Checkers who has the auto-portioning food dispenser with built in plasma TV set to Animal Planet?

Your dog or cat does not enjoy homemade food anymore than he or she enjoys the mass-produced kind. I believe Gary Larson portrayed it best when he showed two dogs grinning ear to ear as their owner prepared their dinner: "OH BOY! DOG FOOD AGAIN!!!"

Ask your vet, but if you're concerned about your cat's weight, as Heather says a standardized cat food would be much easier to control and HEALTHIER for your pet than any homemade alternative.

Here's a suggestions: as mentioned in the human weight-loss thread, portion control is very important. Try giving your cat LESS of the food she DOES enjoy, rather than changing the food altogether. That's what we did when our vet told us that our golden Maggie was going to have some trouble during bikini season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Homemade pet food is right up there on my list of Superfluous Indulgences Humans Lavish on Their Pets.
I'm not arguing with you, there. My cat would gladly eat canned shit on a stick as long as it had some cheese in it.

Our cat has started puking up his food, but only certain brands. I worry that some of the diet food sits around on the shelves an awfully long time and maybe starts to go bad (??? I have no idea!! The fresh stuff still smells like my hockey gear after a month in the trunk). I've noticed that the Iams diet food I get sometimes has black spots on it - is that signs of it going bad? I dunno.

So the thought process was that maybe homemade stuffwith fresh ingredients would eliminate the possibility of his puking due to spoiled commercial product.

And don't ask me to take him to the vet. The last time he went through a spell of refusing to eat, we got all worried and took him to the vet. $750 later, we were told there was nothing wrong with him (that included a sonogram. They had to shave his stomach. I've always wanted a shaved pussy but not at those prices).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure this isn't what Don Rocks envisioned when he started this board. But, it is cooking and some of us consider our pets as much a part of the family as the humans (more, in some cases).

I have an adorable, yet somewhat overweight cat. I've tried switching his diet to low cal cat food which he is turning his nose up at. More than that, he's started throwing up the food pretty much every morning (we have managed to train him to upchuck on the hardwood floors, at least).

Anyhow...so I'm looking for advice from the people on this board. Does anyone have a good resource for making homemade cat food? Preferably "diet" cat food. I know there's lots of stuff on the 'net but I trust the people here more than the anonymous masses out there.

My tubby-assed mountain cat has been eating IAMS low-cal food, he hated it at first but using the mixing in a little bit of the new food to the old food he got used to it. He also knew that if he didn't eat what he was given he would go hungry. I think he's lost like 2 pounds now, just enough to go to the vet and get his teeth cleaned. They said he was too fat to put under, something I remind him of every day. The vet has prescription food as well, I don't recall a big, if any, price difference.

I think the guidelines on the can to lose weight are a bit off, he gets a 6 oz. can a day along with a bit of dry.

Cats sometimes puke to piss you off. At least mine does.

Back on topic, the rare occasion I cook in the house he gets a shot at it as long as it won't kill him. He doesn't like truffles but does like Epoisses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Homemade pet food is right up there on my list of Superfluous Indulgences Humans Lavish on Their Pets.

I strongly disagree and will, in fact, go a step further: All cats should be fed only organic foods and free-range meats. That way, when you fricassee them you won't be getting all those harmful additives in your system.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have more experience feeding dogs home-prepared meals than cats, but it's not that difficult, and probably much healthier than commercial diets, because you have control over the quality of the ingredients, and most commercial pet foods are not made from top-quality raw ingredients (to learn more, read Foods Pets Die For by Ann Martin). Cats are obligate carnivores, and don't need a lot of carbs and certainly not much if any grains. I recommend a visit to PetSage on Dove Street in Alexandria. The owner and her senior staff are very well-informed about pet foods, carrying carefully selected brands of dry, canned, freeze-dried, and frozen foods for dogs and cats. They also have a good selection of books on home-prepared diets. I buy my cat's food there--he's 18 years old and unfortunately addicted to kibble, so I feed him the grain-free brand, Evo, by Natura Pet Foods.

Preparing pet food at home is not as difficult as some people (vets and pet food manufacturers, mainly) make it out to be. One does not have to have every meal exactly balanced (any more than we do for ourselves), but maintain a balance over time.

My own experience, and that of many of my fellow dog trainers and clients over the years, is that animals often gain more weight on so-called "lite" foods. I've had no trouble maintaining my dogs' weights on a more natural diet, and my cat, who is lame from a spinal injury and doesn't get much exercise these days, does fine with free access to his Evo dry food.

Some really good books on the topic are Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, by Richard Pitcairn, and The New Natural Cat, by Anitra Frazier. Those are two that my boss recommends. I also recommend The Ultimate Diet: Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats, by Kymythy Schultze.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I strongly disagree and will, in fact, go a step further: All cats should be fed only organic foods and free-range meats. That way, when you fricassee them you won't be getting all those harmful additives in your system.

Cheers,

Rocks.

So much you know, Don. My cat has been eating commercial food for 11 years and has a wonderful, luxurious coat. I look forward to making a hat and mittens out of him when he passes on/gets too annoying. I can only assume he will taste divine, too, as long as you use enough black bean sauce. :)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have more experience feeding dogs home-prepared meals than cats, but it's not that difficult, and probably much healthier than commercial diets, because you have control over the quality of the ingredients, and most commercial pet foods are not made from top-quality raw ingredients (to learn more, read Foods Pets Die For by Ann Martin). Cats are obligate carnivores, and don't need a lot of carbs and certainly not much if any grains. I recommend a visit to PetSage on Dove Street in Alexandria. The owner and her senior staff are very well-informed about pet foods, carrying carefully selected brands of dry, canned, freeze-dried, and frozen foods for dogs and cats. They also have a good selection of books on home-prepared diets. I buy my cat's food there--he's 18 years old and unfortunately addicted to kibble, so I feed him the grain-free brand, Evo, by Natura Pet Foods.

---snip snip snip---

Thanks for the more...uh...intelligent response :) I think the Evo route may be more practical than trying make it myself.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our little orange bastard so far has eaten:

Mandarin oranges

Cauliflower

Toenail clippings (that was memorable)

Lard that we were thawing for a pie crust

Baked salmon with lemon butter

He seems to prefer oatmeal stout, but I'd like to switch him to something cheaper.

I understand that some cats are more discriminating. We are planning on moving him to a homemade/raw food diet. It's not because we love him, or because we think it would be better for him, but because he produces twice his weight in crap every two days and fewer processed cat food products apparently might help that.

Our google searches turned up using ground turkey and brewer's yeast to make little meatballs, which will commence once the turkey market crashes in three days. Anyone know where one might acquire brewer's yeast cheaply?

I love cats, but I could never finish a whole one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my friends cooks pet food for her own pets' use. Links here for cat food and dog food recipes. She is not, to my knowledge, trained as a veterinarian. Part of her motivation is a concern that pentobarbital contamination of commercial pet foods may be diminishing its usefulness as a veterinary anaesthetic. Note that while this report concludes that effects are unlikely, their conclusion is based mainly on the survey sample reaching a maximum dose of 4 mcg/kg, versus a threshold level is 5 mcg/kg. Not exactly a wide margin.

Myself, I don't have a dog in this race. I just find it interesting that people cook their own pet food successfully.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Man Servant Hecubus is on a strict regimen of Canned Heat and 15oz. canned “people food” pink salmon (not soylent), which, aside from the bones that he dutifully discards, is consumed with the same enthusiasm as the water from canned tuna and it smells the same and in desperation almost tastes the same. The sodium content may be high, but MSH is active, doesn’t smoke or have a job or hair around his nipples. If you are cordial with a restauranteur or cook, perhaps you can ask for the tuna scraps, boil and blend with water; or it is too dry. Feeding your creature as you would yourself eliminates the guess work when the light in the fridge goes out.

hat and mittens
MSH will become a taxidermy rug if he expires.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i usually feed my (obscenely large) cats science diet "lite" cat food. i'm not sure it's working though (my vet friends tell me it should!). my cats have ballooned in the past year that i've been living in dc. so i'd be interested in hearing about any results you have in making your lite (gourmet?) food for your cat.

i do know, though, that part of the reason my cats have gained so much weight is because they aren't able to run around outside like they used to when i lived elsewhere. so my advice: check portions of cat food when you feed them (something that i need to start doing), and get a mini-treadmill for them to run on for some exercise, in case your cat cannot get out to the gym. hehe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I strongly disagree and will, in fact, go a step further: All cats should be fed only organic foods and free-range meats. That way, when you fricassee them you won't be getting all those harmful additives in your system.

Cheers,

Rocks.

So much you know, Don. My cat has been eating commercial food for 11 years and has a wonderful, luxurious coat. I look forward to making a hat and mittens out of him when he passes on/gets too annoying. I can only assume he will taste divine, too, as long as you use enough black bean sauce. :)

If the cat's already 11 years old, it's way too tough unless you use a lengthy preparation like a braise (traditionally, in Germany, with cabbage, potatoes and a Mosel, a local favorite commemorated in the labels of some of the region's wines). Usually, at 11, they are used only for breeding the younger "fryers."

"Cat's -- Friend or Food."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an adorable, yet somewhat overweight cat. I've tried switching his diet to low cal cat food which he is turning his nose up at. More than that, he's started throwing up the food pretty much every morning (we have managed to train him to upchuck on the hardwood floors, at least). .

My cat started doing this several times a day. The vet did some blood work, which came back negative, and then started suggesting various expensive tests (like ultrasound). When I insisted that we discuss less expensive things to try, he suggested feeding a T. of food several times a day instead of allowing her to eat kibble ad lib. She continued to puke up canned food instantly, so we stopped doing that. I switched her to Royal Canin special kibble (for digestive problems), feed her six times a day and the vomiting gradually subsided and has now stopped completely.

A friend of mine sent me an online article about many cats being made ill by the substance used to line the inside of cat food cans. Mine ate only a T. of canned food a day, but she seems to have gotten better now that she no longer eats it.

As far as the poster who accused people who make their own pet food of being hopelessly indulgent; I would like to counter that with my story. My beloved wirehair, "Janis Joplin, the rock and roll terrier" who came into my life when she was 6 weeks old, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 9. She had a mastectomy but no other medical treatment at the time of diagnosis, and I started feeding her what I called the "Puppy Pritikin" diet -- cooked mixed whole grains, steamed fish, garlic, fresh cooked veggies, a teaspoon of oil and brewer's yeast. Her immune system was able to fend off the cancer until she was 16, when she had a recurrence of tumors in her axial lymph nodes and was ultimately in a lot of pain, so we said goodbye. Of course, a skeptic might say that I can't prove that the diet is what did it. But I know that she was a happy, energetic, fun-loving dog who loved life and food until the end.

Every six weeks or so, I cooked up a big pot of brown rice, millet and barley. I bagged it in double portions in ziplock sandwich bags and kept them in the freezer. Every two days, I'd take a bag out to defrost. I would buy a (then) inexpensive fish filet, and cook it briefly with garlic and chopped carrot and celery every day to mix with the grains, oil and brewer's yeast. It really wasn't much work, and I would have done it even if it had been more time-consuming. Call me hopelessly old-fashioned, but I find it satisfying to take good care of those I love in my life. And I loved that dog as much as I've ever loved anyone. She's been dead for twenty years and I still tear up when I talk about her...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the cat's already 11 years old, it's way too tough unless you use a lengthy preparation like a braise (traditionally, in Germany, with cabbage, potatoes and a Mosel, a local favorite commemorated in the labels of some of the region's wines). Usually, at 11, they are used only for breeding the younger "fryers."
You are a reprehensible human being. :)

xcanuck, will your cat eat people food? Mine won't touch anything but commercial cat food. Pippin will catch birds but not eat them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are a reprehensible human being. :)

xcanuck, will your cat eat people food? Mine won't touch anything but commercial cat food. Pippin will catch birds but not eat them.

My cat will eat anything not nailed down. He eats cheese, cereal, LOVES fudge, etc. etc. The only thing our cat kills and eats are large moths. Otherwise he's a pacifist (read: LAZY).

I knew I was opening myself up for ridicule when I started this post, but given my marriage, being ridiculed and emasculated is a day to day occurance. I'm tough. :) Thanks to all those who have taken me relatively seriously.

I think we'll switch to smaller portions of uncanned soft food and hope that works. If that doesn't, I'll go with the Evo. Home cooked will be a last resort.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread isn't going to end here, is it? Cooking for cats (rather than cooking of cats) --- I suggest

the Chicken Liver Lyonnaise.

Most cats love brewers yeast. Big cans of brewers yeast are sold in health food stores.

It tastes so nasty, I don't even think Anthony Bourdain could eat more than two or three spoonsful.

If a cat pukes, examine the ejecta -- if it contains hair the cat needs a hairball product, such as Petromalt.

Put a glob of it on the cats paw, and watch the fun.

(after the "Donner Party Cookbook" thread, I didn't think things could get any more ewww ... but now ...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the cat's already 11 years old, it's way too tough unless you use a lengthy preparation like a braise (traditionally, in Germany, with cabbage, potatoes and a Mosel, a local favorite commemorated in the labels of some of the region's wines). Usually, at 11, they are used only for breeding the younger "fryers."

"Cat's -- Friend or Food."

Hmmmmmm...Feline in layers of sauce, or what I like to call 'Cat Nap'
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I knew I was opening myself up for ridicule when I started this post, but given my marriage, being ridiculed and emasculated is a day to day occurance. I'm tough. :)

I wonder if that has anything to do with posts like this:

$750 later, we were told there was nothing wrong with him (that included a sonogram. They had to shave his stomach. I've always wanted a shaved pussy but not at those prices).
:)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My late cat (died of old age, not from eating this food) scarfed up this diet concoction that my vet recommended to cut down on fat (he was getting a bit hefty) and protein (aged kidneys had trouble). Buy a few bags of the cheapest frozen green beans your local supermarket carries, toss the beans into your food processor with an equal weight of good canned cat food and give it a whirl. Put the mixture in plastic containers and refrigerate or (for longer storage) freeze. My cat loved it, but this was a cat that liked rasberries, corn on the cob, and cheesecake, in addition to "normal" cat food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there,

I've had a projectile puker on my hands for years. We tried lots of different things, but I think what's working best, of all things, is a particular commercial cat food - Purina One Sensitive Stomach. She seems to tolerate it really well - the puking is WAY down, and it only seems to happen when she eats a leaf accidentally dropped off of us or the dog. (She loves to chew plants, but always pukes afterward, so we try to keep her away). Also, she rarely ever gets wet food (maybe 4 - 6 times a year as a treat). A vet once told me that they don't really need the wet food, but that it is designed as much to satisfy humans than cats. She also told me that it contributes to the overfeeding of most cats, since dry is more nutritionally dense for the calories. (I hope I'm remembering that right - if not, someone will correct me.)

Hope this helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seemed like a good time to bump this thread back up. I've had a cat since last summer and never had a cat before. I asked her previous owner what she ate, and the answer was Purina One dry food. Since she was already two, I figured I should stick with what she was used to. (I alternate between giving her the chicken and rice and the salmon and tuna. She loves the stuff.) It seemed like a good idea to give her wet food periodically too, based on trying to balance the various pieces of advice I could find online. At first, I was giving her bits of the foil pack tuna (for humans) and had people telling me that wasn't good because it didn't have the proper balance of nutrients that canned cat food has. She only seems to like canned chicken or turkey--one particular formulation of each. The canned Iams turkey is the only wet food I can reliably predict she will eat. The cans I have are not within the code range of the recall, but I'm still nervous about feeding them to her anyway. (A couple of times I tried the foil pouch ones that have been recalled and she absolutely refused to eat the food at all. Sometimes being finicky is a good thing :lol: .)

She doesn't like people food all that much, but she meows furiously whenever I'm working at the kitchen counters, since she thinks that means food for her. Yet if I give her a bit of something I have out, she most likely won't eat it (even cheese, which people keep saying cats love). When I made prime rib at new year's she liked that, though :o , and she likes freshly poached chicken. Mostly she turns her nose up at anything that isn't crunchy. I just keep trying to make sure she has plenty of water to balance out the dry food.

I'm now reconsidering the wet food being something I make rather than from a can, though I'm trying not to be too alarmist. I've been searching around, and what I really would like to find out for sure is what foods cats should NOT have. I've found lists of plants and herbs to avoid, but I'm wary of coming up with some concoction that would be harmful. She's perfectly healthy now (a bit overweight but less than when I got her) and I don't want to fix something that's not broken.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just in case any fellow dog or cat owners have not heard of this massive food recall:

http://www.menufoods.com/recall

Recently, I changed my dog food, both wet and dry, to brands with less filler and products they really don't need, and good protien as the first ingredient. So far, Natural Balance (Dick Van Patten's brand) Venison and Brown Rice, and Merrick brand canned food have been well tolerated and demolished at each meal.

On the home-made side: I make chicken stew (with potatoes, a little broth and peas) to sooth any upset tummies, or I feed them Gerber babyfood meat in a jar (they love it). Baby food was recommended by a veterinarian to help ease my dogs back to the normal diet.

I have been making home-made peanut butter and molasses biscuits/cookies for them. It's cheap, nutritious, easy and best of far FAR more economical than buying them goodies at the bakeries, er...barkeries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I write this, a pot sits simmering on the stove with brown rice, sweet potato, carrots, garlic, a pinch of salt, little cider vinegar to which I will add tofu and rehydrated seaweed. My two dogs (each almost 100 pounds) are off all canned dog food. This stew will supplement their dry food. If not, all I would end up cooking is for those hippos. :o

Does anyone have a recipe/suggestions for large breeds?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone have a recipe/suggestions for large breeds?

This recall got me looking around the net in quest of the same information (we have a 150 lb. Irish Wolfhound). The bottom line seems to be there is no answer to the question. Those who have specific diet advice are generally contradicted by others offering the opposite specific advice. There is an active "raw meat" contingent, and given the dog's heritage that has some intuitive appeal, but I'm not sure how practical or economical that approach would be. Any dog can have its own peculiarities, and a diet that works for one may not work at all for even its litter mate; every dog is different. You apparently have to keep trying what's out there and eventually find what works best for your particular beast.

Our guy used to pant a lot and our vet at the time suggested a feed based on fish and potatoes. We tried the "salmon" feed in the Purina "Beneful" line, and it worked pretty well, so we've stuck with it, tho it has no potatoes and little salmon. He gets about 4 cups of that once a day and about half a can of wet food or some scraps or both mixed in, and he seems to stay healthy. According to the bag it is about half of what he "should" be getting, but he's healthy and the vet says keep doing what we're doing. Poor thing thinks he's being starved to death. But hopefully he'll live longer this way---IW's have an average lifespan of only about 6-7 years, so that's a big factor for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last month, my fourteen-year-old cats starting exhibiting signs of early-stage kidney failure after eating some of the Safeway Priority brand (on the recall list)--vomiting, diarrhea, and increased water consumption over a several-day period. But I noted that they seemed to hold the dry food down just fine and they weren't otherwise distressed, so I stopped giving them wet food and the symptoms quickly abated. Then I weaned them back on to wet food with their regular Friskies, and they've done just fine since. I didn't make the connection about what had happened to them until I heard about the recall, so it freaked me out a bit to realize that they easily could have died. Even if I'd taken them to the vet, he probably could have diagnosed the kidney problem but wouldn't have been able to make the pet food connection, and couldn't have done much to help them, maybe would have even suggested putting them down, given their age. :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I write this, a pot sits simmering on the stove with brown rice, sweet potato, carrots, garlic, a pinch of salt, little cider vinegar to which I will add tofu and rehydrated seaweed. My two dogs (each almost 100 pounds) are off all canned dog food. This stew will supplement their dry food. If not, all I would end up cooking is for those hippos. :o

Does anyone have a recipe/suggestions for large breeds?

The very best website for information on feeding dogs, whether home-prepared or commercial foods, is Dog Aware, by Mary Straus. She provides a tremendous amount of information, backed by research and including citations. In addition to general diet recommendations, she also provides extensive information on feeding dogs with certain health problems. I relied heavily on her Kidney Disease section a couple of years ago when I had a little Boston in acute renal failure. He lived almost a year longer than the conventional vets predicted, in due in no small part to Mary's advice.

In the mean time, Crackpot, please do consider adding lightly cooked meat to your stew pot, rather than tofu. Meat is a more natural protein source for dogs, who are opportunistic carnivores, which means that they're primarily carnivores but will eat other foods in a pinch. Overcooking meat in a stew risks reducing the nutrition available to dogs.

Regardless of our own dietary choices, we really have an obligation to feed our carnivorous companions a meat-based diet. In particular, although a need for taurine has been established in cats, it hast not yet been established for dogs. It is not unreasonable to expect that it will be established for dogs in the future. Taurine is availble from meat.

There are several good holistic pet supply stores in the area. These can be good sources for information on home-prepared diets for dogs and cats. The store I patronize and recommend is PetSage in Alexandria. They carry many wonderful commercial foods (none of which was involved in the recall) and books on preparing diets at home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RE: cats and baby food...both my cats now have been diagnosed with kidney disease, the older one (Female) has had it for about a year and a half. In the process of trying to find a food that she would eat when she could not get rid of a kidney infection, baby food was the only thing I could get her to eat. However, I was cautioned not to give her anything with garlic or onion, as that itself could cause kidney failure. This is also mentioned on the FAQ menufoods website regarding the petfood recall

Are there other ways my pet might get sick and show similar symptoms? Yes – antifreeze ingestion, certain rodenticides and some medications. Certain lilies have been shown to cause kidney failure if consumed by cats. Grapes have been reported to cause kidney failure in dogs and may affect cats. Physical damage from trauma and cancerous conditions can also cause kidney damage.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another company has recalled two of thier products. Natural Balance by Dick Van Patten does not use wheat gluten, rather, they use rice products. It appears the rice protein concentrate may be tainted with melamine. It also seems that it is a very recent batch is affected, but all pertinent food should be discarded. I feed the Venison and Brown Rice Allergy Formula to my dogs and have not had problems. Nevertheless, they are officially back to Beneful. For now.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/2...-recalled_N.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...