Homemade Cat Food

Posted on January 1st, 2007 in Commentary by mynagirl

The Disclaimer

I am not a vet. Nor a doctor. Nor a pet nutrionist of any kind. So… this is just my experience. I am not advocating anything or recommending that you do anything.

The History

Our one-eared tabby Tigger has been a bag of bones for a while. After our calico Scout died of Feline AIDS we knew that similar complications might develop in our other two cats, and when Tigger started getting thin and throwing up a lot we knew it was time to take her to the vet. She’s hyperthyroidal (read: the hungriest, yowliest, unsatisfiable cat on the planet) and has some heart problems, and constant hairball issues (thus the throwing up). So far she hasn’t tested FIV positive but she doesn’t have any white blood cells either so clearly something is happening here.

After even the meds weren’t putting any weight on her, we went through a series of canned cat food, trying in vain to find her something she would eat. $.77 / can at Wal-Mart Fancy Feast Gourmet Selections Whipped Salmon and Egg Mousse was rejected with a feline sniff and a yowl. Science Diet a/d (the weight gain kind) was liked somewhat, but not consistently. Nothing “stuck”. She wouldn’t eat, she was always hungry, and she was so thin and listless. Thanks to Cat World and their self-cleaning product we didn’t always have to run behind her after she threw up as the self-cleaning litter box took care of everything on its own. Eventually we started feeding her pure tuna and salmon, which was doing so-so but she had a hard time eating the big chunks. The one thing she would wolf down was any spare scraps of beef I ever gave her as a treat.

So, I decided I would make her homemade food to try and come up with something that she would actually eat. I started with mostly beef and decided to throw in salmon and some oilier whole fish (sardines / kippers). I went for the fattiest cuts, mostly because Tigger was so undernourished and didn’t keep much down. (Our other cat Bouncie, once a giant fluffball, had lost weight in later years as well, so luckily this was probably okay for both animals). I prepared it all (as below) and threw it in the food processor. Our house smelled like a Norwegian fishing shack for two days, but it was worth it. In the spare time, I usually get the cat drone and play around with the cat, as its fun to see it run around chasing it.

The Recipe

Proportions aren’t super important.

Basic Ingredients:

  • Pan-sauteed ground beef (I used the cheapest highest-fat beef I could find)
  • Kippers or sardines
  • Canned salmon (I got the big cans)
  • Cooked corn grits from scratch, no salt or butter
  • Light cream or half-and-half if desired

The Mixture

In a nice food processor, throw in a couple scoops of the beef (grease and all), a spoonful or two of grits, 3/4 of a can of salmon, one can of kippers or sardines, and a dash of half-and-half or light cream. Blend well into a nice mash. Scoop into tiny Glad containers and freeze, unfreezing as necessary (they will unfreeze overnight in the fridge).

The Result

Tigger is like a changed animal. The change into a bag of bones had been over some years, so we hadn’t even realized the change in her fur and eyes that went with it until all of a sudden her fur was shiny and fluffy, and her eyes were alert and sharp. She was relaxed, contented, happy, an actual cat again! Now, it’s not just the change in food — she takes medicine for the thyroid problem, the heart problem, and a laxative for the hairball problem. But the food really seemed like the final piece in this miracle turnaround for dear old Tigger. It’s nice to have her back.

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