As a cat owner who loves to get hands-on with my feline’s nutrition, making DIY homemade cat food can be a rewarding experience. It’s crucial, however, to understand the nutrient needs of cats and ensure the homemade diet is complete and balanced.
For both kittens and adult cats, protein is the cornerstone of their diet. Kittens require more protein than adults due to their growth needs. For a good source of protein, I turn to cooked chicken breast, which is lean and rich in essential amino acids. For every 100 grams of chicken breast, there’s about 31 grams of protein, which is fantastic for muscle growth and repair.
Fat is another essential nutrient, especially for kittens who need it for energy and development. Cooked salmon is my go-to for healthy fats, providing omega-3 fatty acids which are great for skin and coat health. A 100-gram serving of salmon offers about 13 grams of fat.
For vitamins and minerals, I like to add a small amount of liver to the mix. Liver is a powerhouse of nutrients, including vitamin A, crucial for vision and immune health. Just 10 grams per day is sufficient due to its high concentration.
Now, cats don’t have a high requirement for carbohydrates, but they do need fiber for digestive health. Pureed pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber. About one tablespoon per meal works well.
Taurine is an essential amino acid that cats can’t synthesize on their own. It’s abundant in heart meat, so adding a small amount of beef heart, which contains about 2.3 grams of taurine per kilogram, is beneficial.
To combine these, I generally follow this ratio for adult cats: 80% meat (including organs), 15% fat, and 5% fiber. Kittens need about 10% fat in their diet, so I adjust accordingly.
For a simple meal, I’d mix 80 grams of cooked chicken, 15 grams of salmon, 10 grams of liver, a tablespoon of pumpkin, and a small piece of beef heart. Always consult with a vet or a pet nutritionist when formulating a homemade diet, as cats’ nutritional needs can be complex.
Remember, this is a basic framework, and it’s important to ensure that the diet is varied and balanced over time. Supplements may also be needed to fill in any nutritional gaps. For instance, calcium is often added to homemade cat diets, as meat alone doesn’t provide enough.
For kittens, they need more frequent feedings and larger amounts of food relative to their size to support their growth. I feed kittens a slightly modified version of the adult diet but in smaller, more frequent portions suitable for their tiny tummies.
Making your cat’s food at home can be a labor of love, but it’s vital to do thorough research and involve a professional to ensure their dietary needs are met. It’s not as simple as just feeding them what we humans eat; their bodies are different and require specific care.