Home Cooked Diets for Cats

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Some people prefer to give home-prepared food to their cats, for numerous reasons. Some cats are picky eaters and will not eat commercial foods. Some people believe that home-cooked food contains more nutrients, or they just like to use fresh, varied ingredients. Sick cats sometimes have trouble digesting commercial cat foods, so a home-prepared meal can be given instead. The transition to home-cooked food should be made gradually over a few days.

Protein Sources

  • Many cats like change in their diets, so ingredients can be alternated on a weekly basis for variety. Cats are predominantly carnivorous, so protein as meat is an important ingredient of a home-prepared diet, however, other animal proteins such as cooked eggs, cottage cheese or ricotta cheese can also be included in smaller amounts and combined with other ingredients. Meats can include poultry such as deboned chicken (cats generally prefer particularly dark meat), lamb, beef, or fish such as salmon. Some people feed their cats raw meat, but cooked is also fine and is easier to break into pieces. Meat may be cut into small pieces or ground up, then placed into containers and stored in the freezer, ready to be used within one or two weeks. Meat can be added to other ingredients to make complete meals, or it can be added to regular kibble for extra, fresh protein.

Vegetables and Fruits

  • In the wild, cats include some plant matter, such as grass, flowers, roots, berries and leaves of some plants. A variety of vegetables used as human food can be added to the cat's diet. These may include celery, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, squash and green beans. They can be cut into small pieces and steamed or lightly cooked and then added to meat, cheese or egg dishes, and cooked rice. Some cats don't like certain vegetables, so it's best to add one vegetable at a time to meals. Lettuce may also be experimented with, as some cats do like it. Fruits such as blueberries, blackberries or apple can be included in the diet but should be added gradually and occasionally. Fruit can be cooked or fed raw.

Rice and Other Grains

  • Rice is usually an easily digested grain for cats, provided it is well cooked. It can be added to meat, eggs, cheese and vegetables to create a complete and filling meal. Quinoa, oats, buckwheat and millet can also be added to other ingredients in the same way as rice, depending on what the cat likes.

Human Foods Toxic to Cats

  • Some foods commonly eaten by humans are dangerous to cats. These include vegetables in the allium family such as onions, garlic and leeks. Grapes and raisins can be harmful, chocolate is very toxic, and nightshade plants such as green potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant should be avoided. Many cats have adverse reactions to cow's milk, so if giving milk, give in a very small quantities to begin with, and avoid mixing it with other foods until it is certain the cat is not allergic to it.

References

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